January 08, 2012 /24-7PressRelease/
-- Ask each of the 300 million people living in the United States their opinion on marijuana and you will hear hundreds of different responses. These differing opinions are precisely one of the reasons that U.S. Representatives Ron Paul (R-Texas) and Barney Frank (D-Mass.) are heading a campaign to deliver power to more people regarding the legalization of marijuana use and possession
Advocating smaller government, Paul and Frank recently introduced a bill that said marijuana laws should be set at the state level rather than the federal level. The goal of the bill -- HR 2306 -- is not to legalize cannabis, but to withdraw marijuana from a federal list of controlled substances. As of now, Frank suggested federally regulating marijuana is an infringement upon civil liberties and a "waste of law enforcement resources."
The legislation is backed by several state representatives and is the first of its kind to be presented before Congress since marijuana became illegal with the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937. By giving states like New York the power and authority to decide how to regulate marijuana and apply related laws to New York citizens, federal resources could be spared.
Critics' View of a Cannabis Bill
But it is unlikely that such a bill will pass; the likely reality has even been acknowledged by one of the representatives bringing the proposal. The Associated Press (AP) confirmed that sentiment in its own report. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith said he would not consider the bill when it reaches his panel of lawmakers.
According to the AP report, Smith discounts any medicinal purpose marijuana might serve, stating that -- despite medical marijuana laws in some states -- the Food and Drug Administration has not approved marijuana use to treat "any condition or disease."
Smith also believes marijuana is a gateway drug and has a high potential for abuse. According to Smith, decriminalizing weed will lead to: a sharp increase in the number of addicts in the country, more money for illegal drug syndicates here and abroad, and heightened drug-related violence throughout the U.S. and especially along the border with Mexico.
The Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) has also expressed concern over the drug's long-term health impact, citing intensified potency and earlier exposure. Like Smith, the ONDCP believes marijuana is a gateway drug.
But the Journal of Health and Social Behavior disagrees. A 12-year study at the University of Pittsburgh showed that people's stress levels and whether someone was employed are superior predictors of future hard drug use than pot usage. In fact, other studies suggest that, despite what the ONDCP says, pot is not addictive: only about nine percent of marijuana smokers will develop an addiction. Comparatively, 32 percent of cigarette users will become "hyper" dependent on tobacco and the highly addictive chemical nicotine. And unlike other drugs, marijuana has very few withdrawal symptoms.
Nevertheless, hefty opposition remains a barrier to the federal government leaving discretionary legalization of marijuana to the states.
Article provided by Law Offices of Mark J. Sacco, PLLC
Visit us at www.mjsacco.com