Ron Paul, Barney Frank to introduce bill that would end pot prohibition

June 23, 2011

Eyder Peralta

(NPR/Luis Robayo)
A farmer handles a marijuana leaf in Caloto, department of Cauca, Colombia, on June 12, 2011.

Reps. Ron Paul (R-TX) and Barney Frank (D-MA) are set to introduce a bipartisan bill today that would remove the federal prohibition on marijuana. The bill would instead let states legalize, regulate and tax marijuana.

The USA Today reports the bill is being championed by a legalization advocacy group:

The Marijuana Policy Project highlights that 46.5% of Californians voted for Proposition 19. It also cites a report released this month by the Global Commission on Drug Policy that slammed the decades-old war on drugs and called on governments to take a look at decriminalizing marijuana and other drugs.

The bill by Frank and Paul would "end state/federal conflicts over marijuana policy, re-prioritize federal resources and provide more room for states to do what is best for their own citizens," the group says.

Politico says the legislation is modeled after the 21st Amendment to the Constitution, which repealed the federal prohibition on alcohol and handed that responsibility to the states. Quoting the Marijuana Policy Project, Politico reports its "the first bill ever introduced in Congress to end federal marijuana prohibition."

But, as CNN money puts it, the bill is a long shot. But part of the point, adds CNN, is to start a conversation.

The bill is co-sponsored by Reps. John Conyers (D-MI), Steve Cohen (D-TN), Jared Polis (D-CO), and Barbara Lee (D-CA).

Copyright 2011 National Public Radio.

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