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RainDog

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U.S. Representative Massie Introduces Industrial Hemp Bill

http://www.theweedblog.com/u-s-representative-massie-introduces-industrial-hemp-bill/

Today, Congressman Thomas Massie (R-KY) introduced federal legislation that requires the federal government to respect state laws allowing the growing of industrial hemp. H.R. 525, the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2013, amends the Controlled Substances Act to exclude industrial hemp from the definition of marijuana. Rep. John Yarmuth (D-KY) is a co-sponsor of the bill in the U.S. House. Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) and Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (KY) are supporting a similar bill in the U.S. Senate.

“Industrial hemp is a sustainable crop and could be a great economic opportunity for Kentucky farmers,” said Rep. Massie. “My wife and I are raising our children on the tobacco and cattle farm where my wife grew up. Tobacco is no longer a viable crop for many of us in Kentucky and we understand how hard it is for a family farm to turn a profit. Industrial hemp will give small farmers another opportunity to succeed.”


Massie, a Republican, is the third member of the House of Representatives to introduce legislation this week to address the gross misapplication of federal law. Two Democrats introduced legislation to remove cannabis from the controlled substances act and to provide a framework for taxation on recreational cannabis production. Those two bills were introduced by Democrats, including Jared Polis, who noted in an interview with a reporter at TruthOut,

"Congress is a lagging indicator for public opinion; public opinion is leading, public opinion is there on this issue that it should be left up to states and local governments how to deal with marijuana," Polis said. "It's just a question of Congress catching up, and I think it's a question of when, not if."


http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/14400-is-america-ready-to-legalize-marijuana

I think 40 years is enough time for Congress to buy a clue, personally.

Polis also acknowledges something I have noted here repeatedly, which is the fact that Congress is not really part of the cutting edge of anything. Those who are are quickly excoriated by the press and their fellow politicians. I totally understand why Al Gore, for instance, would not want to be in govt. when climate change is such an important issue for him.

It's time for Congress to join the 21st century.

Colorado Democratic Rep. Jared Polis: Remove Cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act

http://www.coloradoan.com/viewart/20130204/NEWS11/302040049/Colorado-Rep-Polis-introduces-national-marijuana-bill

Polis’ measure would regulate marijuana the way the federal government handles alcohol: In states that legalize pot, growers would have to obtain a federal permit. Oversight of marijuana would be removed from the Drug Enforcement Administration and given to the newly renamed Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Marijuana and Firearms, and it would remain illegal to bring marijuana from a state where it’s legal to one where it isn’t.

The bill is based on a legalization measure previously pushed by former Reps. Barney Frank of Massachusetts and Ron Paul of Texas.


The legislation created by Frank and Paul was left to die in the office of Texas Republican Representative Leland Howard, who claimed it would never get out of his committee. It didn't. Do not let this happen again. Call your Representative to encourage them to do the correct thing regarding the increasing estrangement between Congress and the American people regarding cannabis' legal status in the US.

It is important to remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act because Nixon's organization has created intractable conditions for a plant to meet the standards of a human-manufactured drug. (BTW, Nixon's own commission recommended cannabis not be included in the CSA but Nixon wanted a way to punish his enemies so he ignored the legal and scientific evidence, as has the rest of the Federal govt for the last 40 years.

Democratic Reps. Earl Blumenauer introduced legislation to create a tax structure for cannabis that would be reviewed after two years, and then five, to tax the commercial production of cannabis for both recreational and industrial use.

CO and WA were the tipping point. We're beyond that moment and moving into a major shift in cannabis law in the U.S. Hopefully Congress will not keep itself mired in racist law and will acknowledge the will of the American people sooner rather than later.

Two Legislative Measures Introduced by Polis and Blumenauer (NORML)

http://blog.norml.org/2013/02/05/everything-you-wanted-to-know-about-the-new-federal-marijuana-legalization-measures/

Representative Polis’ legislation, The Ending Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2013, would remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act, transfer the Drug Enforcement Administration’s authority to regulate marijuana to a newly renamed Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Marijuana and Firearms, require commercial marijuana producers to purchase a permit, and ensure federal law distinguishes between individuals who grow marijuana for personal use and those involved in commercial sale and distribution.

Speaking on the bill, Rep. Polis stated, “This legislation doesn’t force any state to legalize marijuana, but Colorado and the 18 other jurisdictions that have chosen to allow marijuana for medical or recreational use deserve the certainty of knowing that federal agents won’t raid state-legal businesses. Congress should simply allow states to regulate marijuana as they see fit and stop wasting federal tax dollars on the failed drug war.”

Representative Blumenauer’s legislation is aimed at creating a federal tax structure which would allow for the federal government to collect excise taxes on marijuana sales and businesses in states that have legalized its use. The Marijuana Tax Equity Act, would impose an excise tax on the first sale of marijuana, from the producer to the next stage of production, usually the processor. These regulations are similar to those that now exist for alcohol and tobacco. The bill will also require the IRS to produce a study of the industry after two years, and every five years after that, and to issue recommendations to Congress to continue improving the administration of the tax.

“We are in the process of a dramatic shift in the marijuana policy landscape,” said Rep. Blumenauer. “Public attitude, state law, and established practices are all creating irreconcilable difficulties for public officials at every level of government. We want the federal government to be a responsible partner with the rest of the universe of marijuana interests while we address what federal policy should be regarding drug taxation, classification, and legality.”

New Reason/Rupe Poll: 72% say don't interfere in CO and WA legalization

http://reason.com/blog/2013/01/31/poll-finds-most-americans-support-treati

Asked if the feds should arrest people who use marijuana in the states that have legalized it, 72 percent of respondents said no. More strikingly, by a margin of 2 to 1, the respondents said the federal government should not arrest newly legal growers or sellers either. President Obama has said there are no plans to go after pot smokers, which the federal government almost never does anyway, but he has not said how state-licensed suppliers will be treated.

Opposition to federal interference was even stronger than support for legalization. While 47 percent favored "legalizing marijuana for recreational use" and 53 percent said "the government should treat marijuana the same as alcohol," 68 percent said the feds should leave state-legal growers alone and 64 percent said the same about state-legal sellers. These results indicate that some people who oppose marijuana legalization nevertheless believe the choice should be left to the states, as a consistent federalist would. Reflecting that tendency, most Republicans and self-identified conservatives supported marijuana prohibition, but most also said the federal government should not try to impose that policy on Colorado and Washington. These findings are similar to those of a CBS News poll conducted last November, except that poll found even stronger federalist preferences among Republicans, 65 percent of whom said states should determine whether marijuana is legal within their borders, compared to 55 percent of Democrats, even though Democrats were more likely to say pot should be legal (51 percent vs. 27 percent). Overall, 59 percent of respondents in that poll said the feds should mind their own business, compared to around 66 percent (averaging the responses for growers and sellers) in the Reason-Rupe poll.

...As surveys generally find, support for legalizing marijuana in the Reason-Rupe poll was stronger among Democrats (57 percent of whom said it should be treated like alcohol) than among Republicans (35 percent), among progressives (72 percent) and libertarians (86 percent) than among conservatives (39 percent), and among people younger than 65 (whose support ranged from 53 percent among 45-to-54-year-olds to 58 percent among 35-to-44-year-olds) than among people of retirement age (41 percent). The generational divide is clearly not just a matter of people getting more conservative as they get older, since overall support for legalization has been rising more or less steadily since the 1960s (with a dip in the '80s), breaking through 50 percent in the Gallup poll for the first time last year. Allowing legalization experiments like those in Colorado and Washington to proceed, as a large majority of Americans want, is apt to accelerate this trend.


A link to the poll is at the article.

What is the best regulatory framework for legalized marijuana? (Baker Institute Series)

http://blog.chron.com/bakerblog/2013/01/what-is-the-best-regulatory-framework-for-legalized-marijuana/

Gary J. Hale, the nonresident fellow in drug policy at the Baker Institute, authors the second of a three-part Baker Institute Viewpoints series on the regulatory framework for legalized marijuana. Hale is the former chief of intelligence for the Houston Field Division of the Drug Enforcement Administration.

The best manner by which to deal with the issue of legal marijuana is to provide context to the meaning of “legal.” The “legality” of marijuana must be addressed in terms that define the movement of the drug from the source to the street, or in this case, from the land to the lip.

In the case of persons who choose to become wholesalers of the drug, and there will be many, there is a business model that will be followed to commercialize the production, transportation, sale and profits made from marijuana. First, the plant had to be cultivated, then, in some cases moved from its place of origin to market for distribution. As a result, new rules, regulations and/or laws will have to take into account the profits that will be generated from the sale of marijuana. The difference between whether an individual becomes a wholesaler, or is characterized as a personal user, will determine whether the federal government steps in to enforce laws that several states have chosen to liberalize through legislative change, or whether the federal government decides to not enforce the laws at all.

...It is also likely that the U.S. attorney general’s office is waiting to see what Congress does in the wake of state laws legalizing personal use of marijuana before it develops policy at the Department of Justice. Full legalization of the possession and use of user-quantities of marijuana will only be reached if and when the Congress changes marijuana from its current designation as a prohibited substance under Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act.

...Congress will have to carefully examine whether these criteria (the CSA Schedule I definitions that are currently used to classify cannabis) as well as the definitions and application of verbiage such as “high potential for abuse,” and “no currently accepted medical use in treatment” and “lack of accepted safety for the use of the drug” are terms that have become obsolete, or overcome by events — or whether they still apply to marijuana as a drug when alcohol abuse could easily be defined with these same criteria. These definitions are certainly open for discussion by Congress, especially because they can easily be argued by both proponents and opponents of legalization, depending on which side of the debate they may take.


...more at the link.
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