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Reps. Ron Paul, Barney Frank Introduce Bill to Legalize Marijuana

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It might be legal to light up a joint again if Reps. Ron Paul and Barney Frank have their way.

Two House members – one a libertarian Republican, the other a liberal Democrat – teamed up to introduced a bill today that would legalize marijuana by removing it from a list of federally controlled substances.

The proposal would give states the freedom to regulate marijuana instead of the federal government. Each state would have the choice of whether to make marijuana legal and subject to taxation or illegal and subject to prosecution.

The legislation by Paul, a Republican presidential hopeful from Lake Jackson and Frank, D-Mass., would remove marijuana penalties while maintaining a ban on transporting the substance across state lines. If passed, the bill would also make it legal to grow and sell marijuana in states that similarly decriminalized the substance.

The co-sponsors of the plan are a political odd couple, but they share a belief that criminalizing marijuana has led to myriad problems across the country and a view that states and not the federal government should decide the matter.

Paul also views the issue of drug use as a question of personal liberty. He doesn't believe that the government should regulate behavior that many (including him) may dislike, such as alcohol, marijuana or tobacco use.

"I think the government's role should not be involved in personal habits. I believe those rules should protect children who are below the age of making good judgment," Paul said in a 2007 interview on ABC. "So I have no problem with state laws that would protect children from the use of these drugs but under the Constitution, the president and the federal government wouldn't have a say in it."

The bill will face an uphill battle in the Republican-controlled House but having a prominent Republican name on the bill will help Frank and his Democratic co-signers hail the bill as truly bipartisan.

There are more than a dozen states nationwide that have decriminalized the simple possession of the drug.

"The legislation would limit the federal government's role in marijuana enforcement to cross-border or inter-state smuggling, allowing people to legally grow, use or sell marijuana in states where it is legal," the Marijuana Policy Project, which advocates for pot legalization, said of the first-of-its-kind legislation.

News Hawk- Jacob Ebel 420 MAGAZINE
Source: blog.chron.com
Author: Lauren French, Andrea Vasquez
Contact: Contact Us
Copyright: The Houston Chronicle
Website: Reps. Ron Paul, Barney Frank introduce bill to legalize marijuana
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