Saturday, June 20, 2009

The Beginning Of The End

The Federal Government is trying to get out of arresting users of marijuana.

Washington, DC: Massachusetts Democrat Barney Frank, along with co-sponsors Ron Paul (R-TX); Maurice Hinchey (D-NY); Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA); and Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), will reintroduce legislation today to limit the federal government's authority to arrest and prosecute minor marijuana offenders.

The measure, entitled an "Act to Remove Federal Penalties for Personal Use of Marijuana by Responsible Adults," would eliminate federal penalties for the personal possession of up to 100 grams (over three and one-half ounces) of cannabis and for the not-for-profit transfer of up to one ounce of pot - making the prosecutions of these offenses strictly a state matter.

Under federal law, defendants found guilty of possessing small amounts of cannabis for their own personal use face up to one year imprisonment and a $1,000 fine.

Passage of this act would provide state lawmakers the choice to maintain their current penalties for minor marijuana offenses or eliminate them completely. Lawmakers would also have the option to explore legal alternatives to tax and regulate the adult use and distribution of cannabis free from federal interference.
Note that two Republicans have signed on. And note that one of the Republicans was in the running for the Republican nomination for President in 2008.

I would be very surprised if marijuana prohibition for individuals was the law of the land in 2012. Of course the laws says nothing about suppliers. So there will still be good money in the business of supply. Especially when retail customers no longer need to fear arrest. This was essentially how alcohol prohibition worked. Small amounts of alcohol for personal use were legal. Large amounts got you busted for trafficking. No doubt if you frequented a place where liquor was trafficked (a speakeasy) you were subject to arrest, but otherwise you were generally free to go about your business.

It may take another 10 years to get all this properly sorted out.

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