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Bipartisan Marijuana Bill Would Allow States to Legalize Marijuana

The war on drugs celebrated its 40th birthday in 2011, which has prompted many state and national legislators to reconsider this longstanding drug regulation as many consider it to be "over the hill."

Legalization of Marijuana is an extremely controversial issue with arguments on both sides and the public's discourse has become increasingly vocal about this issue in the past several years. Many are questioning whether the war on drugs is an effective use of our nation's resources.

Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act

U.S. Representatives Ron Paul and Barney Frank attempted to rekindle the marijuana debate in the legislature. CBSNew.com reported that the two introduced a bill on June 12, 2011 which would remove the federal prohibition on marijuana and allow states to legalize, regulate and tax the drug.

Politico says the bill is modeled after the 21st Amendment, which ended the federal prohibition on alcohol and handed the regulation duty to the states.

Legalization Arguments: Benefits of Regulation

Proponents of marijuana legalization are armed with numerous studies and statistics to champion their cause:

  • USA Today states the Global Commission on Drug Policy has criticized the national war on drugs in its most recent report
  • 46.5 percent of Californians voted in favor of Proposition 19, indicating significant public support for cannabis legalization. Santa Cruz citizens have overwhelmingly supported the decriminalization of marijuana each and every time a marijuana related issue has been on the ballot.
  • The U.S. spends significant amount of money on prosecuting, penalizing and defending drug crimes
  • Legalizing and taxing marijuana would give states $10-$50 million in annual tax revenues
  • The production of industrial marijuana would create significant job opportunities in struggling economies

Marijuana Possession Remains a Criminal Activity for Now

The bill itself is unlikely to pass through subcommittee, but its purpose is more to spark lively debate rather than institute immediate widespread change. Thinking critically and analytically about this issue is the best possibility for change.

Until such change occurs, however, marijuana use will continue to be federally illegal, much to the chagrin of many, which reinforces the necessity for many individuals to seek the help of criminal defense attorneys who can help guide people through a difficult criminal process.

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