Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The American People and Conservative Republicans Agree - Legalizing Pot Is a State Right

Some of the most conservative Republicans in Congress are leading the charge to end their federal government's war on pot.  They introduced a bill, the Respect State Marijuana Laws Act, in the House last week.  The legislation would mean the feds would have to accept state laws that legalize or decriminalize production or possession of marijuana.

Depending on the state, the legislation would cover both medical marijuana and recreational pot, and would protect not only the users of state-legal cannabis, but also the businesses that cultivate, process, distribute and sell marijuana in these states.

The legislation is in keeping with poll data released last week from Pew Research that found that 60 percent of Americans believe the feds should allow states to self-regulate when it comes to marijuana. The same poll finds that 57 percent of Republicans also favor this approach, which may explain why this bill is attracting arch-conservative backers in the House.

Steve Fox, national political director of the Marijuana Policy Project, hailed the effort to bend federal marijuana law to the will of the governed. "Marijuana prohibition is on its last legs because most Americans no longer support it," said Fox, adding that the new legislation offers the states'-rights crowd in the House with a chance to vote their principles: "This legislation presents a perfect opportunity for members to embrace the notion that states should be able to devise systems for regulating marijuana without their citizens having to worry about breaking federal law."

 Rolling Stone magazine has identified seven more states likely to join Washington and Colorado in decriminalizing recreational pot:  Oregon, California, Alaska (a west coast sweep), Vermont, Maine, Rhode Island and Nevada.

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