Marijuana policy at the state level has shifted abruptly in recent years as states have moved to legalize the drug for both medicinal and recreation use. Unfortunately, federal marijuana policy remains rooted in the past, as all types of marijuana continue to remain illegal under federal law. It is time for Congress to face the facts surrounding marijuana, its use and regulation, and develop a legislative framework that accounts for the inevitable transition of marijuana policy – one that is already well under way. Federal marijuana policy use should be modernized to reduce confusion, uncertainty, and conflicting government priorities. Maintaining the status quo creates an inconsistent legal environment that wastes law enforcement resources and misses out on potential tax revenues.Polis:
Washington, Feb 5 -Their policy paper; “The Path Forward: Rethinking Federal Marijuana Policy.” (PDF) lays out the arguments for legalization.
Congressman Jared Polis (D-CO) and Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) today introduced two pieces of legislation to de-federalize marijuana policy and create a framework for the federal taxation of cannabis. Polis’ Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act would remove the Drug Enforcement Agency’s authority over marijuana and allow states to choose whether to allow marijuana for medicinal or recreational use. Blumenauer’s Marijuana Tax Equity Act would create a federal excise tax on marijuana. Together, these bills would provide a system of regulation and taxation for marijuana in states where it is legal.
The document reviews the history of marijuana prohibition in the US, current conflicts between state and federal law, and outlines several opportunities to reform and clarify marijuana law at the federal level.
Hemp for victory! From the summery of the paper:
3. Remove Ban on Industrial HempThe ban on industrial hemp is without a doubt one of the stupidest policies ever perpetrated on the economy. We have only to watch the film Hemp for Victory to see what just some of the uses this amazing plant has in store for us if we would just stop prohibiting it.
Congress should remove the senseless ban on industrial hemp by passing legislation removing industrial hemp from the definition of marijuana. This would allow a new agricultural industry to begin to flourish in the United States.
The film was made to encourage farmers to grow hemp for the war effort because other industrial fibers, often imported from overseas, were in short supply. The film shows a history of hemp and hemp products, how hemp is grown, and how hemp is processed into rope, cloth, cordage, and other products.Typical asshattery by the feds.
Before 1989, the film was relatively unknown and the United States Department of Agriculture library and the Library of Congress told all interested parties that no such movie was made by the USDA or any branch of the US government. Two VHS copies were recovered and donated to the Library of Congress on 19 May 1989 by Mia Farrow, Carl Packard, and Jack Herer.
The only known copy in 1976 was a 3/4" broadcast quality copy of the film that was originally obtained by William Conde in 1976 from a reporter for the Miami Herald and the Ethiopian Zion Coptic Church of Jamaica. It was given in trust that it would be made available to as many as possible. It was put into the hands of Jack Herer by William Conde during the 1984 OMI (Oregon Marijuana Initiative). The film 20 years later is now available anywhere on the Internet.
As it was made by the US Government, it is public domain and is freely available for download from the Internet Archive.
An Exercise of Self-GovernmentA federal case ensued.
On the 28th day of July 1998, the Oglala Sioux Tribal Council, exercising its sovereign right to prescribe laws applicable to tribal members and enforce them through criminal sanctions, adopted Tribal Ordinance 98-27, which authorizes Oglala Sioux tribal members to grow industrial hemp as a cash crop on reservation land. The ordinance begins with the recognition that, today, industrial hemp is a profitable international commodity that is grown in more than thirty countries including Canada, France, England, Russia, China, Germany and Australia. Next, invoking the Fort Laramie Treaty of 1868, the ordinance states that both the tribe and the United States government acknowledge that the tribe retains the right to grow food and fiber crops from the soil. Having established that industrial hemp is an internationally recognized commodity, and that the United States government acknowledges the tribes’ retained treaty right to engage in agriculture, the ordinance then creates a nexus between the present and the past by stating “that industrial hemp was a viable and profitable crop grown in the Pine Ridge region when the treaties were entered between the United States and the Oglala Sioux Tribe.”
The Planting of the FieldTeh stupid it burns.
Under the auspices of Ordinance 98-27, and attorney Thomas Ballanco’s offer to represent any person or entity prosecuted for cultivating industrial hemp on the Pine Ridge Reservation, Alex White Plume, along with members of his tiyospaye, Wa Cin Hin Ska, in early May 2000, planted an acre and a half field of industrial hemp along the banks of Wounded Knee Creek.] Prior to planting the crop, Mr. White Plume invited U.S. Attorney Ted McBride and BIA Superintendent Bob Ecoffey to the planting.
However, nearly four months later, under the auspices of the Controlled Substances Act, early in the morning on August 24, armed Drug Enforcement Agency agents and FBI officers destroyed Mr. White Plume’s field. According to one account, twenty-five federal agents wearing bulletproof vests surrounded the field, while two small-engine planes and one helicopter flew reconnaissance overhead. By 8:30 a.m. the agents had confiscated virtually all the hemp plants.