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Old 29th April 2008, 23:42   #3
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H.R. 5843 is described as an "Act to Remove Federal Penalties for Personal Use of Marijuana by Responsible Adults". The bill has been introduced by US Congressman Barney Frank (D-MA) and co-sponsored by US Presidential candidate Ron Paul (R-TX). If passed, this legislation would legalize the possession, use and non-for-profit of up to 100 grams (3.5 ounces) of Marijuana. Under this legislation, adults who consume Marijuana would no longer face arrest, prison or civil fines.

This bill will not affect federal laws prohibiting the sale of Marijuana for profit, nor the import, export and cultivation of Marijuana. It will also not alter the legal status of Marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug according to the Controlled Substances Act.
Status of the Legislation

Latest Major Action: 4/17/2008: Referred to House committee. Status: Referred to the Committee on the Judiciary, and in addition to the Committee on Energy and Commerce, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned.
Points in Favor

- States Rights: Allows states to decide if and how they wish to prosecute possessors of small quantities of Marijuana. By eliminating federal penalties for such possession, the Commerce Clause will no longer pre-empt state law with respect to low-level possession.

- Cost: Would reduce cost of federal law enforcement efforts that are disproportionate to the alleged cost of self-harm. Law enforcement resources should be used to prevent harm-to-others, not self-harm.

- Law Enforcement: Allows law enforcement to more thoroughly address activities that cause harm-to-others by relieving officers, agents, prosecutors, and judges of legal duty to enforce a law which has been enacted to prevent harm-to-self.

- Personal Liberties: Live and let live. The bill would allow states to determine whether people should be able to use marijuana in the privacy of their home. So long as the users aren't harming anyone, it is extremely offensive to brand them as criminals and force them to live in fear.
Points Against

- Action Required at State Level: The bill would divest the federal government of authority to prosecute low-level possession, but state laws would still need to be changed for responsible users to be protected, except potentially in Alaska.

never happen

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