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Jansen Harrison Dr. Goble POSC 31213 March 27, 2012 H.R.

: Legalization of Cannabis Act Short Title: This act may be cited as the Legalization of Cannabis Act. Findings and Purpose: Costing over $10 billion annually, government prohibition of marijuana, or cannabis, must be considered a failure. Marijuana is the third most popular recreational drug, following alcohol and tobacco. Its use has increased substantially since it was first criminalized, and the negative stigmatisms regarding the drug have gradually been fading. Notably, scientific studies of the use of cannabis suggest the health risks associated with marijuana are less than that of both tobacco and alcohol. Furthermore the risk for physical or psychological addiction is far lower than the previously mentioned products, which currently are legal in the United States. Other medical research has shown actual health benefits for using cannabis, used to treat symptoms in a variety of diseases. The benefits of using cannabis as a medical treatment are voided by the strict regulation and classification of cannabis as a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act of 1970. A Schedule I drug is defined as a drug that lacks any medical benefit, has high potential for abuse, and there is lack of safety while taking the drug under medical supervision. This classification, as demonstrated by

scientific research, is inappropriate; yet, the federal government continues to keep cannabis on this list and its use prohibited. In addition to the enormous revenue the country spends in the “War On Drugs”, the prosecution of individuals for violating the current harsh cannabis prohibition statutes is significantly slowing down the judicial system. The conviction of these individuals contributes to the crowding of our federal and state prisons, increasing the amount of taxpayer dollars that must be spent on the attempted prohibition of cannabis. By legalizing the use of cannabis for either recreational or medical purposes, Congress will spend only a fraction of the cost to continue their “War On Drugs.” Through this legalization, the law regarding this heated issue will finally reflect public policy. Section. 1 Removal of Cannabis from Controlled Substances Act of 1970 While being classified as a Schedule I drug criminalizes the use of cannabis, having the drug listed in this Act requires the use of a prescription to get access to it. In order to truly reap the benefits of legalizing marijuana, Congress will remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act of 1970. Section. 2 Federal Regulations on the Production and Distribution Following the decriminalization of cannabis use, whether for recreational or medical purposes, Congress will form criteria an individual must meet in order to obtain

marijuana. Similar to the criterion already placed on tobacco and alcohol products, these requirements will be applied to all States nationally. The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) shall be responsible for regulating the production and distribution of cannabis. This includes setting standards of practice, accepted/unaccepted methods of production, and developing a system that will effectively ensure the safety of the cannabis being issued. Section. 3 Taxation of Cannabis The taxation of cannabis will be on both the federal and state level. Individual states will be able to assert their own tax percentage in addition to the uniform taxation standard applied to all States, as established by Congress.

Proposal Insight My decision to propose a piece of legislation concerning the legalization of cannabis stemmed from my personal belief that prohibition laws regarding the substance are outdated. As a representative it is my duty to address not only the desires of my district, but the American populace as a whole. Studies have demonstrated that the previous fears encompassing the health concerns and risk of using marijuana are no longer factual. Congress has continued to ignore these findings, and the actions of the American public demonstrate this. Being the third most popular recreational drug in America, following alcohol and tobacco. Ironically, and unlike alcohol and tobacco, marijuana has been proven to lack any health risk to the individual. Regardless of this knowledge however, Congress has continued to remain silent on the issue of marijuana use. It’s prohibition has been maintained and estimated 800,000 citizens will be arrest for possession or use of marijuana. I cannot as a representative allow this to continue to happen. By arresting these individuals for drug use that is less damaging than legal alcohol and tobacco products, Congress is harming us. The prohibition of cannabis keeps the courtrooms filled with cases concerning cannabis use and substantially slows the judicial process. In addition, individuals convicted may spend substantial time in a prison, depending on state laws and the amount of cannabis the individual held. It is estimated $10,000,000 is spent annually on the “war on drugs.” Marijuana is included in this fight, and statics are signaling the “war on drugs” is not working.

A bill proposing the legalization of cannabis is uncharacteristic to come from a Republican Party member, however my first priority must be the American public and my district. However, my approach to the legalization of cannabis is of a conservative nature as I hope to rally the support of other Republican members of Congress. By viewing this bill through the scope of fiscal benefits it would provide to our economy, I believe the bill is too beneficial to ignore. If willing to address the issue, legalizing cannabis can open up our judicial system, lower the cost of maintaining “criminals” convicted of marijuana use, and place taxes on cannabis to provide a income for the country.

Works Cited NORML Foundation. "Working to Reform Marijuana Laws." Www.NORML.org. NORML Foundation, 27 Mar. 2012. Web. 27 Mar. 2012. Univ. Rhode Island. "Legalizing Marijuana." Www.uri.edu. The University of Rhode Island, 14 May 2002. Web. 28 Mar. 2012. <http://www.uri.edu/personal/atro6990/>.