This Bill Will Finally End Cannabis Prohibition

July 24, 2015   |   Claire Bernish

Claire Bernish
July 24, 2015 

(ANTIMEDIA) Washington, D.C. — A bill with bipartisan support introduced in Congress this week is finally tolling the death knell for cannabis prohibition. By removing a notorious legal contradiction, the legislation would give precedence to state marijuana laws—making federal enforcement a thing of the past in states where medical and recreational weed are legal.

While its brevity is astonishing—without the obligatory title pomp, it would struggle to take up a single page—the legislation is capable of ending perhaps the most contentious provision in the ubiquitous War on Drugs. Simply titled the “Respect State Marijuana Laws Act of 2015,” the bill introduced by Rep. Dana Rohrabacher has incredible potential for substantial reform that makes its passage of paramount importance.

Like a pebble thrown into a still pond, once federal cannabis law is essentially nullified, states where lawmakers were previously reluctant to approve medical or even recreational use will be far likelier to approve decriminalization. As ripples go, once constituents see neighboring states end prohibition, the chance exists for those states with even the harshest pot penalties to succumb to public pressure and follow suit. It’s entirely feasible to expect the death of cannabis prohibition altogether, resulting from this single-sentence legislation.

From there, the ripples become waves.

If the de facto elimination of prohibition passes, the true beauty of the legislation will begin to shine. Consider the U.S. claim to fame as the world’s leading jailer of its citizens—a notorious achievement resulting from the insanity of sentencing due to the plant’s inexplicable designation as a Schedule I substance (Could there be any clearer evidence the War on Drugs is purely for government profit than lumping pot with heroin? But I digress). Removing the possibility for such penalties would immediately ease prison overcrowding and free court dockets to begin to deal with more serious criminal cases.

And that’s not all.

Besides the legal benefits, there are myriad beneficial economic corollaries stemming from passage of this little bill. Consider Colorado. In the state’s first year of legal weed, tax and licensing revenue alone topped $60 million—most of which the state devoted to school construction. That figure—though less than the anticipated $100 million—sharply contrasts the estimated $145 million Colorado had previously been spending to enforce cannabis laws, according to a 2010 Harvard study. With America’s seriously sketchy infrastructure in desperate need of repair and improvement, schools around the country in total disrepair, and countless other improvements in every state waiting to happen, there are endless possibilities. Ending cannabis prohibition would benefit everyone—ironically enough, even those who somehow still believe negative propaganda.

If ending prohibition takes away any possible legal consequences, people whose only ostensible criminal activity involves cannabis suddenly aren’t able to incur a related arrest record. This would make employment possible for countless people, not to mention better jobs for those who were previously constrained by a “dubious” criminal history. It’s even feasible to expect consequent additional legislation to stem from the original bill that would expunge past offenses related to cannabis. The total effect is destigmatization of the consumption and cultivation of a plant.

And that still isn’t it.

According to the latest figures available from the ACLU, the cost of enforcement of laws for pot possession alone are simply inexcusable—more than $3.6 billion each year. New York City is a prime example of the inanity of arrests resulting from unnecessary laws. In 1991, there were less than 800 total arrests for pot—but by 2010, less than two decades later, that number was a whopping 59,000. And the bias against minorities for those arrests is stunning, too—though cannabis use remains rather even regardless of race, black people are almost four times likelier to be arrested for possession. While ending cannabis prohibition won’t end institutionalized racism in America, it’s certainly a significant step forward in the effort.

There are plenty of other positive repercussions should this bill become law. It might just be time to get to know your Congresspeople a little better. Find your representatives by clicking here and for your senators click here.


This article (This Bill Will Finally End Cannabis Prohibition) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Claire Bernish and theAntiMedia.org. Anti-Media Radio airs weeknights at 11pm Eastern/8pm Pacific. If you spot a typo, email edits@theantimedia.org.

Claire Bernish joined Anti-Media as an independent journalist in May of 2015. Her topics of interest include social justice, police brutality, exposing the truth behind propaganda, and general government accountability. Born in North Carolina, she now lives in Ohio. Learn more about Bernish here!

Author: Claire Bernish

Claire Bernish joined Anti-Media as an independent journalist in May of 2015. Her topics of interest include thwarting war propaganda through education, the refugee crisis & related issues, 1st Amendment concerns, ending police brutality, and general government & corporate accountability. Born in North Carolina, she now lives in Cincinnati, Ohio.

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56 Comments

  1. Cannabis and Neurogenesis
    http://planet.infowars.com/uncategorized/cannabis-and-neurogenesis

    Alcohol vs Cannabis
    http://planet.infowars.com/uncategorized/alcohol-vs-cannabis

    If you understand the symptoms of alcohol destruction you will understand why the world is as crazy as it is.

    Alcohol is a neurotoxin that causes cancer and destroys the brain.

    Cannabis is the opposite of alcohol.

    Cannabis has cannabinoids that are antioxidants and neuroprotectants that kill cancer and promote neurogenesis.

    Legalize Cannabis, a Safer and Better Alternative.

    Post a Reply
  2. this does not revoke the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs treaty of 1960 that keeps marijuanna classified as a narcotic

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  3. Imagine the amount of money that the legalization of pot will bring to the local economy. If selling it will be legal, it will be taxed, and those taxes will go to infrastructure.

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  4. Tristan DaSilva No Tristan, that treaty was ratified by congress, and signed by the Democratic president, if a single law nullifies a treaty, then we wouldn't be in the U.N.

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  5. Will Fons my guess is most of those countries signed to gain u.s. favor. i understand your making a legal point and i don't know what it takes to legally dissolve a treaty, but i would imagine if a majority of parties are willing, it wouldn't be that hard.

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  6. Steven Drucker both portugal and peru voted to disgraurd the treaty, legalised all drugs, and amasingly, drug use, overdoses, crime all dropped. once the USA votes to disreguard the treaty, we can start working sensably on our own drug problems, crime, etc.

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  7. It's a nice idea, but there's one big problem with it:

    It presumes that the federal government has any authority whatsoever to prohibit or allow marijuana legalization by states.

    Cannabis is a plant. It grows wild if allowed to, in most of the United States. Alcohol that you can safely drink, that tastes good, is a manufactured substance that does not exist in nature.

    The feds have just as much supremacy over the states today in 2015 as they did 100 years ago in 1915 — and they could not pass a law to prohibit alcohol without amending the constitution. That amendment was repealed. So where did the feds get their authority to prohibit cannabis from?

    Where is the cannabis prohibition constitutional amendment they need to override a state law? The tenth amendment says they can't override a state on this, so how can the Controlled Substances Act be constitutional in the first place?

    And if they lack the authority to override state law in this, a federal law legalizing cannabis is equally unconstitutional.

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  8. Will Fons — treaties that are ratified become federal law, just like any other act of Congress. What Congress agrees to, it can later choose to disagree with, including treaties.

    All it takes to un-ratify that treaty is for Congress to pass a law doing so.

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  9. Start working at home with Google! It's by-far the best job I've had. Last Wednesday I got a brand new BMW since getting a check for $6474this – 4 weeks past. I began this 8-months ago and immediately was bringing home at least $77 per hour. I work through this link, go to tech tab for work detail..

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    Post a Reply
  10. Start working at home with Google! It's by-far the best job I've had. Last Wednesday I got a brand new BMW since getting a check for $6474this – 4 weeks past. I began this 8-months ago and immediately was bringing home at least $77 per hour. I work through this link, go to tech tab for work detail..

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  11. "While ending cannabis prohibition won’t end institutionalized racism in America, it’s certainly a significant step forward in the effort." This is an asinine comment. While I agree with the wasted resources and ineffective dealings on the "War on Drugs" any " Everything has to be about race? How about a simple libertarian stance on individual sovereignty and the ability to run ones life as one chooses (as long as you don't F with mine) and let it be

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  12. @Bergman Oswell; the supposed authority of the feds to prohibit marijuana comes from the Interstate Commerce clause in the Constitution. The Supreme Court has usually upheld that authority as far as I know, but it does seem a bit of a stretch to me. The Interstate Commerce clause has been referred to by some as "the catch-all clause".

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  13. it's the pharma company's that own the governments that are more worried about this natural herb being legal. Prescription drugs kill about 100,000 people in the world each year. Off the top of your head, do you know how many deaths are caused by using marijuana, either medicinally or recreationaly?
    "There are no deaths from cannabis use. Anywhere. You can't find one," 200 different medical conditions respond favorably to cannabis.Marijuana: Why Is It Illegal. the pharma companies don't want cures they want prophets .
    Believe it: In 10,000 years of known use of cannabis, there's never been a single death attributed to marijuana.

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  14. could someone teach them how to spell marijuana if you click the act the first time they mention it its misspelled i hope that's not the offical bill

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  15. could someone teach them how to spell marijuana if you click the act the first time they mention it its misspelled i hope that's not the offical bill

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  16. I agree with you 100%. Add to that big pharma wants to monopolize it so they can control the manufacture and distribution of it and then mark it up 300% like every othe 'drug' out there, which puts the money in THEIR pockets……like every other 'drug' out there. Furthermore, once the federal legislation is removed, there's a whole host of manufactured drugs that will no longer be wanted or needed, which means they're losing money.

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  17. one problem i have with this is if fda handles this then they control the price and when you see medical weed at three hundred and twenty an ounce but it has NO THC well then its counterfiet and i know i have come acrss the cbd bud and its a placebo ..no thc whatso ever and i have noticed the increase in violence it hascaused due to the effect of the no thc ..the thc is what relaxes like a zanzx or clonopin does but if you remove the thc then its lawn trimmings nothing more ..it smells nice and looks good but you get agressive and hyper and violent …this is because fda wants to flood the streets with this junk and the weed of the past from the 9o's or lower will have to be orderd online and seeds will be bouhgt and we will whip out our areoo gardens agian and make shift cabinets to grow in speakers what not because we cant trust fda with existing meds that cause cancer so we need to grow ourselves or order from out f the united states ..but for past oh i say five years cbd is crazy in colorado ..it doesnt work and friends here in florida have it shipped here and then sell it on street ..the street weed market is gone because alaska and colorado and dc have put their fake bud out there making people illl….dont trust this cbd weed ..it will d you no good ..i have stopped smoking because of the war on terror and the powders from china being sprinkled on candies etc that will kill a child or make you go into seizures ..the weed is tainted and i beg any of yu fourtwenty smookers to be careful out there be cause their setting you guys up …im switching to beer to get my buzz until cbd goes away

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  18. I am not in favor because the people under the influence of hallucinogenic substances can commit acts that do not even remember later.

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  19. Go back to chemistry class. Alcohol (specifically, ethyl alcohol, aka "ethanol") is a natural byproduct of fermentation (digestion of sugars by yeasts and/or bacteria), and is found in trace amounts in most ripe fruits and vegetables. In commercial production (beer and wine), specialized yeasts are used for the fermentation process, but "wild" yeasts work nearly as well (brewing beer or wine at home).
    Alcohol (ethanol) content can be increased by freezing and pouring off the portion of liquid that does not freeze ("apple jack"), or by distillation.

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  20. Well, Jimmy… it isn't a matter of making "everything about race." The fact that this law is being looked at, does indeed have a little something to do with race The "war on drugs" has been about race. Look at sentencing laws, look at the amount of time served if you are white vs black. IF we stop putting people in jail for marijuana… and release those in jail who are only in there for non-violent marijuana crimes, then YES it goes a long way to doing something about the problems of race. We stop putting our black citizens in jail for having a little weed, while we let little Michael from that "good" white family off with a slap on the wrist for the SAME crime. You want everything to stop being about race…then lets get this garbage out in the open. Let's own it, and put a stop to criminalizing black skin. Let's have an open and HONEST conversation about the stuff that makes us white folk a little nervous.
    If that isn't enough go back and look at a bit of the propaganda put out when we first started this nonsense about marijuana being prohibited. Take a GOOD hard look at how blacks using marijuana was portrayed. THAT is honest conversation about how we racialized drug use. Sorry if that makes you uncomfortable. We can not just pretend that many laws and things we have done havent been about fear of the "crazed black man" … You can jump up and down and scream about how it all has to be about race all day. IF we do not start confronting the things that are making it about race.. We cant end the problems. Systemic, Socialized Racism. We have to fix THAT. Without that problem and those laws that have all been about the black man being portrayed as a demon, a beast, crazed, a monster…. and how we "fear" that, then we cant get around racism.

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  21. Drug laws have always been about race. When the Chinese finished building the railroad, people complained they were taking jobs away from americans. Chinese loved their opium. So opium became illegal. Mexicans are taking our jobs, marijuana became illegal. Blacks like crack. The only exception is meth. Whites like meth so now these laws are pretty much all inclusive.

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  22. It's what should've happened many year ago but it's always about money somewhere somehow someway. Somebody will make billions

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  23. It's what should've happened many year ago but it's always about money somewhere somehow someway. Somebody will make billions

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  24. You don't black out from smoking weed… your ignorance on this subject is obvious so please just take a seat and get off the soap box with that bullshit.

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  25. You don't black out from smoking weed… your ignorance on this subject is obvious so please just take a seat and get off the soap box with that bullshit.

    Post a Reply
  26. Isn't there a Bill Number or something we should refer to with our Reps and Senators?

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  27. You really shouldn't speak about something you obviously have ZERO knowledge on. You'll only make yourself look ignorant. Though you are correct that weed is a hallucinogenic substance, not even eating it will cause you to have hallucinations..

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  28. Lincoln threw the Constitution in the garbage during the War Between the States. The war was never officially ended and we are still under martial law. All this is just smoke and mirrors to control the population. Correct – prohibition is unconstitutional and jailing citizens for offenses that did not infringe on another's liberty is unconstitutional. But it happened. The 13th, 14th, 15th amendments were not legally ratified, and the Act of 1871 was passed. That's just the tip of the iceberg of how the federal government has overextended its power.

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  29. Michele Mayes-Gerra The war on drugs has always been about $, allowing the funding of the prison industrial complex and promoting a asset-seizure program.

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  30. William H Lanteigne Yes, and how often do you see any of those processes happen without human intervention? How often do you go out for a walk in the woods — or even a fruit orchard — and happen across a puddle of fruit-flavored ethanol that is completely free of contaminants? Even enough to fill a single shot glass?

    Perhaps you're the one who needs to go back to chemistry class?

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  31. Fuck You i hope you fucking die from drinking so much or you get cancer from smoking all your god damn ciggarettes i fucking hope youre fat ass eat 100 quarter pounders and has a fucking heart attack you have wit dipshit

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  32. You are so stupid, do you fucking believe people are going to buy something that is supposed to get them high, but doesn't? Seriosuly shut up.

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  33. Bullshit. Redefining how growing, using, selling or owning cannabis is a crime is not the same as ending the criminalization of cannabis.

    Colorado: http://norml.org/laws/item/colorado-penalties

    You'll note, if you are found growing a 7th plant outside of the allowed 6, that's a felony with a $100,000 fine and 6 mo to 2 years in jail. If wanted to bring 5 oz of cannabis with you to a party, and hand it out to your friends at 1 oz a piece (legal) but were caught on the way there with it and explained to the officer that you were going to give it as 5 legal gifts to your friends, that's a felony, $100,000 6 mo to 2 years in jail, for, yeah, distribution.

    Want to sell some of the cannabis you took the time to grow and make some money with your legal possession? Sorry, that's a crime, 6 to 18 months jail, $5,000 fine (for less than 4 oz!). Trying to selling 5 oz at your little stand? Felony, 6 mo to 2 years, and this should sound familiar, $100,000 fine.

    And that's a legal state. So yeah, huzzah for the feds getting out of the way of our states recriminalizing cannabis. I call bullshit. Cannabis prohibition ends when it stops being a crime to grow cannabis, share cannabis, have cannabis, or sell cannabis like you would any other crop… but don't get me started on the FDA and the insanity of farming law right now, or we'll be here all day.

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  34. Why should we need a BILL to respect State Rights? They had to change the name to marijuana to make it illegal by whopping big lies, racism, and stupidity!

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  35. Patrick Savage It's people like you that are the reason marijuana is ruined for the rest of us. She is obviously fighting a losing battle but that's her opinion it didn't hurt you nor was she malicious in anyway.

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  36. In my opinion, a plant should not be legally sanctioned.
    Criminalization – Obviously oppressive to Cannabis users, restricts their rights to grow and possess it.
    Legalization – While gives them the right to possess it, the state limits them how much they can grow and possess.

    I think it should be left alone without goverment approval.

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  37. All of you totally fell for Patrick's bait, how sad you can't point out when someone is deliberately trying to piss you off.

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  38. this upsets me the most. our esteemed govt patented cannabis in 2003. effectively stating it had medicinal qualities 12 YEARS AGO. this alone should nullify all convictions where people were arrested for medicinal use, even recreational. In 2003, as a matter of law, cannabis should have been rescheduled. so not only have we been lied to for over 70+ years, our govt has also hid this fact from us and incarcerated millions of people for something the Feds deemed medicinal all along. if i had been arrested i would seek other arrestees and file a class action lawsuit for all arrests post the patent date. all arrest records for this crime should be expunged. http://theantimedia.org/this-bill-will-finally-end-cannabis-prohibition/

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  39. Matthew Ortega: <<~ Michael Confer expressed it best, …"I was giving my opinion".
    Even though Patrick Savage may have intended to anger me, it did not; and I will not retaliate in a malicious way to anyone. I know who I am, and to Patrick I am a mere stranger. I was not offended because I don't smoke or drink and I very rarely eat red meat.

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  40. I have seen people get so stoned while smoking marijuana they become seriously forgetful. Not sure that is a healthy state of mine to be in.

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  41. Shirley Hamelman i have seen people get slightly drunk and beat their wives, cras cars and outright murder people. Soooooo ya.

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  42. H.R. 1940: Respect State Marijuana Laws Act of 2015
    https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/114/hr1940 – "Prognosis: 0% chance of being enacted"

    H.R. 1538: CARERS Act of 2015
    https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/114/hr1538 – "Prognosis: 0% chance of being enacted"

    While the introduction of such legislation at the federal level is historic in itself, they died in committee. Old bills with no chance of revival make for great op-ed pieces, but not much else.

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  43. H.R. 1940: Respect State Marijuana Laws Act of 2015
    https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/114/hr1940 – "Prognosis: 0% chance of being enacted"

    H.R. 1538: CARERS Act of 2015
    https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/114/hr1538 – "Prognosis: 0% chance of being enacted"

    While the introduction of such legislation at the federal level is historic in itself, they died in committee. Old bills with no chance of revival make for great op-ed pieces, but not much else. They're something to talk about, at least, maybe see if the next congress would support these bills being reintroduced in the next term – probe candidates for their opinions on this issue.

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