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CKA Uber
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2013 10:24 am

Looks like the excuse that we can't reform our pot laws because of the US may not hold water much longer. What these bills would do is leave marijuana regulation up to each state, from outright bans to outright legalization.

Driven by a groundswell of public opinion, Colorado and Washington state last November became the first states in the U.S. to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. That wave of support, it now seems clear, has echoed through the U.S. Congress, which Tuesday formally questioned the federal government’s prohibitionist drug policy in the form of marijuana reform bills.

Representatives Jared Polis, D-Colo., and Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., introduced two separate bills that would drastically change U.S. marijuana laws by addressing what they say are the human and fiscal costs associated with marijuana-related arrests.

It’s not the first time marijuana reform bill have been introduced in Congress, but Tuesday’s measures are considered historic in scope and give further momentum to a marijuana legalization movement that has surged recently from Colorado to Washington to Latin America.

The Polis bill, the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act, would call on the federal government to regulate marijuana much like it does alcohol. Under the measure, cannabis growers would have to obtain a federal permit in states that legalize the drug. The bill does not force any state to legalize pot, but it does allow states that approve recreational and medical marijuana regulatory systems to operate without the fear of crackdowns from the Drug Enforcement Administration. The measure would also transfer authority to regulate marijuana from the DEA to a renamed Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Marijuana and Firearms.

“In my short time in Congress, and certainly over the last few decades, Americans have increasingly come to the conclusion that the drug war is a failed policy,” said Polis. “While substance abuse is a real problem we need to address, we need to address it increasingly as a public health issue more than a criminal issue.”

The Blumenauer bill, meanwhile, would create a taxation framework for pot similar to that in place for tobacco and alcohol. The Marijuana Tax Equity Act would impose an excise tax of 50% on the “first sale” of marijuana, from growers to processors or retailers. The measure would also tax pot producers $1,000 annually and other marijuana-related businesses $500. Blumenauer said that imposing such a tax would help lower the national deficit while providing funds for drug treatment centers and law enforcement units.

“There is an opportunity for us to make, at a minimum, a $100 billion difference over the next 10 years,” said Blumenauer.

There were 1.5 million drugs arrests made in the U.S. in 2011, according to the FBI. Of those arrests, over 660,000 were for possession of marijuana. The enforcement of federal marijuana laws, including incarceration, costs at least $5.5 billion annually, according to study by the CATO Institute. In New York state alone, the estimated cost of marijuana related arrests surpasses $75 million every year, according to the Drug Policy Alliance, a non-profit that supports drug policy reform.

Passage of the two bills remains a long shot, according to analysts, but Rep. Blumenauer said the measures are just the beginning of a Congressional push to reform what he calls “antiquated, ineffective and, in some cases, nonsensical federal policies and laws.” Blumenauer pointed to a growing swell of support for marijuana reform measures among his colleagues on Capitol Hill.

In December, Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., said he intends to hold hearings on the conflicts between state and federal marijuana laws. And Rep. Dana Rohrabacher, D-Calif., is soon expected to introduce a measure that would allow states to establish pot policies without federal interference.

“These are the first two of what will probably be eight, 10 bills or more,” said Blumenauer, referring to Tuesday’s measures. Added Polis: “There is growing support within the Democratic caucus and also within the Republican caucus for reexamining the future of the drug war.”

The sudden flurry of federal action on cannabis comes as national polls highlight an outpouring of support for marijuana legalization in recent years. A Gallup poll in October showed that a record high 50% of Americans believe marijuana should be legal. By contrast, just over 30% of Americans held the same view in 2000. Support for medical marijuana is even stronger. A 2012 Gallup poll indicated that 70% of Americans believe it should be legal for a doctor to prescribe pot to reduce pain and suffering.

“Congress is frequently a lagging indicator for public opinion,” said Polis. “Public opinion is that it should be up to states and local governments how to deal with marijuana—it’s just a question of how we’re going to catch up, not if.”

Read more: ... z2K8n8KXqJ

PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2013 11:55 am

It's going to be B.C. to force this issue here, soon I hope. The feds will lose the jurisdiction battle here. :)

CKA Uber
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PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2013 12:14 pm

Curtman wrote:
It's going to be B.C. to force this issue here, soon I hope. The feds will lose the jurisdiction battle here. :)

I'm not seeing that. Neither party here will want to touch it, too many other things to worry about. Plus, in Canada there's less rights for the provinces, it's up to the feds.

I think this all hinges on California. If they vote to legalize, the feds will have to follow along, and it gives Obama cover for not opposing it. That in turn will put pressure on Harper to also legalize - no excuses left, plus everybody in Canada screaming how we're losing so much money to the US, especially in BC.

PostPosted: Wed Feb 06, 2013 12:42 pm ... arsen.html
Elections BC has approved in principle an initiative petition filed by one of B.C.'s leading marijuana advocates aimed at decriminalizing possession of cannabis by adults.

Dana Larsen, who ran unsuccessfully for the leadership of B.C.'s New Democrats, says he's going to raise an army of well-trained, disciplined volunteers for the petition effort.

A similar petition initiative in 2011 was the first step in bringing about the end of the HST in B.C.


We don't need either party to lobby either side of this referendum.

PostPosted: Sun Feb 10, 2013 4:25 pm

‘Marijuana millionaire’ to match donations made to decriminalize pot in B.C.
Recent lotto winner and marijuana activist Bob Erb has promised to match all donations made to the Sensible BC campaign to decriminalize pot in the province.
The 90-day effort begins in September and runs until November. Larsen must get 10 per cent of registered voters in each electoral district in B.C. to sign in support, forcing a referendum on the decriminalization of marijuana in B.C. in September 2014.

“This is an issues that’s time has come,” said Larsen. “The polls show that the majority of British Columbians support this, but we’ll have our work cut out for us.”

Larsen said decriminalization means provincially mandating that police will no longer dedicate resources to cannabis possession charges. Sensible BC is also calling on the federal government to legalize marijuana.

Last weekend, Erb brought cannabis activists from across Canada to his hometown Terrace for an informal conference and planning session.

“I wrote cheques for most of the groups who came,” he said in a statement. “But most of my funding is going into changing the law here in British Columbia with the Sensible BC campaign.”


Sensible BC: Decriminalize for a safer province

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