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Asking Congress To Study Marijauna Laws


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US: Cohen Bill Asks Commission To Study Marijuana Laws

 

 

 

 

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URL: http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v13/n172/a02.html

Newshawk: http://www.drugsense.org/donate.htm

Votes: 0

Pubdate: Fri, 19 Apr 2013

Source: Commercial Appeal (Memphis, TN)

Copyright: 2013 The Commercial Appeal

Contact: http://web.commercialappeal.com/newgo/forms/letters.htm

Website: http://www.commercialappeal.com/

Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/95

Author: Bartholomew Sullivan

Page: 10B

 

 

COHEN BILL ASKS COMMISSION TO STUDY MARIJUANA LAWS

 

WASHINGTON - With a recent Pew Research Center poll finding for the first time that a majority of Americans agree marijuana should be legal, Congressman Steve Cohen introduced a bill Thursday to create a commission to study federal cannabis laws.

 

The Memphis Democrat said the commission is needed to clarify the federal approach to the drug in light of state laws that have legalized it for either medical or personal use.

 

In a February gathering of the House Democratic Caucus, Cohen asked President Barack Obama to reconsider pursuing the decades-old war on drugs, which Cohen maintains is a waste of resources. Cohen commended the president for making prosecution of recreational drug use a low priority. Obama told him that he planned to study the issue in his second term but was obligated to enforce the laws.

 

R. Gil Kerlikowske, director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy - sometimes called the drug czar - has said he opposes legalizing marijuana use for both public health and safety reasons. He has said the federal government can make enforcing marijuana laws a low priority, but he said he opposes both legalization and the "War on Drugs" approach.

 

Cohen has been a longtime critic of the expense of the war on drugs and the damage to lives caught up in it. He has written letters asking both the Justice Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration to respect the decisions of voters in states that have legalized the substance and in 2011 introduced legislation that would permit states to legalize it. It remains illegal to possess marijuana under federal law.

 

National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws spokesman Erik Altieri on Thursday applauded the introduction of the bill and said the organization was "pleased to support it." Altieri said his organization worked with Cohen's staff in drafting the legislation, which is reminiscent of the Shafter Commission of 1971, created by President Richard Nixon. That commission recommended discouraging the use of marijuana by means other than the criminal laws.

 

Lee D. Hoffer, a professor of anthropology at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland and an expert in drug addiction and public policy regarding drugs, applauded Cohen's commission idea but questioned whether it will move in a Republican-controlled House. "This would be a nice way to break the ice and get a discussion going about how federal law associated with marijuana needs to think about what states are doing and what people actually want," Hoffer said.

 

"Once again, the people would probably be behind it - as they are with gun control, and that doesn't go anywhere," Hoffer added. "It may be one of these things where there's a lot of support at the grass roots, community level, but it's hard to tell what kind of traction it will get in the Senate or the House."

 

Cohen's office noted that, since 1996, 18 states and the District of Columbia have legalized marijuana for medical use and that Colorado and Washington state legalized possession by adults last year.

 

"Regardless of your views on marijuana, it's important that we understand the impact of current federal policy and address the conflict with those state laws that allow for medicinal or personal use of marijuana," Cohen said in a prepared statement. "This conflict is only going to continue to grow over the next few years and we must provide certainty to the millions of individuals and businesses that remain caught in a web of incompatible laws. A national commission would provide us with the information we need to create sensible policy going forward."

 

Asked what he expected to come from such a commission, Altieri said he hoped to see a recommendation, "at a minimum ( of ) decriminalization." But he said he hoped to see recommendations leading to marijuana being taxed and regulated.

 

 

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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom

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The first commission already issued their report.

 

I think it was 1972. The commission was formed as a part of the passage of the controlled substance act.

 

The report stated that there was no reason to put a person in jail for this herb.

 

No reason at all.

 

Every president has ignored the Schaffer report since it was issued.

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Schaffer was only one report of many that found that ill effects of the drug are not consequential. There was also the LaGuardia Report, which predates Schaffer by decades, European reports that are clear in their conclusions, and the '88 decision by DEA Administrative Law Judge Young that the agency, in fact the entire government, turned its back on. This is not an exhaustive list.

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Schaffer was only one report of many that found that ill effects of the drug are not consequential. There was also the LaGuardia Report, which predates Schaffer by decades, European reports that are clear in their conclusions, and the '88 decision by DEA Administrative Law Judge Young that the agency, in fact the entire government, turned its back on. This is not an exhaustive list.

 

 

Yeah .. You know, I think this has proven to function to side track the entire issue, in the past.

 

Studies have been done. It is no longer a mater of science.

 

In Michigan, cannabis has been approved for medical application. As a matter of law. No science was required to put it into schedule one. Only law. Law called it lacking in safety, no medical value, highly addictive. ALL of which were made that way by law.

 

Now a new law has reversed all of those findings. Science wasn't required the first time and it isn't required now.

 

It always has been a matter of law without science ..

Edited by peanutbutter
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