NORML Press Advisory: US Lawmakers To Hold Capitol Hill Press Conference Tomorrow To Urge Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition

WHAT: Congressman Barney Frank (D-MA) and other House members will convene a press conference on Wednesday, July 30, in support of legislation to remove federal penalties for personal marijuana use, and take questions from the media.
HR 5843, An Act To Remove Federal Penalties for the Personal Use of Marijuana by Responsible Adults, seeks eliminate federal penalties for possession of up to 100 grams of marijuana, and for the not-for-profit transfer of up to one ounce of marijuana.
Representatives from the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), the Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) and the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) will also participate in this press conference.
WHEN: Wednesday, July 30, 2008 at 10:00am
WHERE: Room 2220 Rayburn House Office Building
CONTACT: R. Keith Stroup, NORML Legal Counsel, at (202) 483-5500.

0 thoughts

  1. This makes sense. When will it happen? (The ending of the prohibition, not the news conference). Is it a generational thing?

  2. So will this be televised or at least on the daily audio stash??? I can’t be there to support my fellow brethren but I will certainly be there in spirit…unless televised and then I’ll have my eyes glued to the tube….
    I support this too like the others here but remember this is just one step of many forward! Our NORML, DPA, MPP will stomp the SHIT out of any comments or references that are made. I know that they can hold their own and will look out for us smokers….I will be burning green candle, saying prayers, and wrapping some nice joints while looking forward to hearing of the results of this union….

  3. If I wasn’t an atheist, I would pray. We are moving forward, its only a matter of time. We are morally right! Good luck.

  4. It’s a longshot, but it’s a beacon of hope for herbal enthusiasts everywhere. I really hope the bill makes it through, this is exactly the momentum we need. Prohibition kills. I’m ashamed to live under a government that would keep laws enacted that kill its own citizens. Let’s make things right!

  5. Carson…It’s not about being athiest or religious. In fact, I’m not very religious…It’s about having faith in something that you believe in. I , like you and many others, believe in this soooo bad….
    It would have been nice if we had the aggressive assertiveness of our alcoholic brethren to help us win this fight, but notice how potheads are much more mature and laid back…well until you mix the two!

  6. Sorry, friends. I really don’t think Obama has the b*lls.
    Maybe the dems will get their party in order next election. 🙁
    Good Luck!

  7. Come on already cannibis has never hurt even one person prescription drugs kill 100’s of thousands of people each year legalize it and tax it so much money can be made from it.

  8. its about time!! how can i be informed asap with decisions? can anyone do anything to help?

  9. YES! YES! YES! I sure hope they make a good case, but I mean come on…look who we’re talking about. NORML, DPA, MPP..My favorite acronyms. It’s about damn time prohibition ended. Good luck men, safety and peace be with you.

  10. This is an election year and I urge anyone to check the ACLU’s website, bottom of homepage, and click on the “Congressional Scorecard” link> Fnd find out how your socalled representative or senator has voted on these important issues. We have a chance on making our voices heard, and none of those up for re-election who chose to vote against Barney Frank’s Bill deserve our vote!

  11. CNN did a 10 sec segment on this. they pretty much said barney frank is holing a press conference on the reform of mj. then it was over. anyone have the channel that this is playing on or is this a private conference.

  12. Paul!
    Please make sure you post when the interview will be up, it’s 10:26 in the morning this wednesday and I’m freaking out wanting to know whats going on in that room.

  13. I am awaiting the reaction on this as well. The bill will change things quite a bit. Although it will remain an illegal activity to some extent it’s definitely a step forward. This is an exert taken from the official website:
    It would not affect federal laws prohibiting the sale of marijuana for profit, import and export of marijuana, or manufacturing (cultivating) marijuana.
    It would not legalize major drug dealing or create obstacles for agents of the federal government seeking to prevent major drug dealing.
    It would not affect any state or local laws and regulations.
    It would not alter the legal status of marijuana as a Schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 801 et. seq.).”

  14. its 11:30 am and still no word.. I guess we can be patient and wait a few more hours.. but the anticipation is killing me..!! can’t wait to hear what happed.. I’m hoping for the best… but knowing some of our poloticians and drug czar’s .. I’m expecting the worst..

  15. I have been combing through C-Span this morning…but I am not finding ANYTHING…..what happened in room 2220 this morning……its like 11:30 in Texas, so its 12:30 there!! HELP…SOS…HELP….

  16. CNN: Legislators aim to snuff out penalties for pot use
    (CNN) — The U.S. should stop arresting responsible marijuana users, Rep. Barney Frank said Wednesday, announcing a proposal to end federal penalties for Americans carrying fewer than 100 grams, almost a quarter-pound, of the substance.
    Rep. Barney Frank’s bill would radically curb federal penalties for personal marijuana use.
    Current laws targeting marijuana users place undue burdens on law enforcement resources, punish ill Americans whose doctors have prescribed the substance and unfairly affect African-Americans, Frank said, flanked by legislators and representatives from advocacy groups.
    “The vast amount of human activity ought to be none of the government’s business,” Frank said during a Capitol Hill news conference. “I don’t think it is the government’s business to tell you how to spend your leisure time.”
    The Massachusetts Democrat and his supporters emphasized that only the use — and not the abuse — of marijuana would be decriminalized if the resolution passes. Watch Frank lay out the proposal »
    Allen St. Pierre, spokesman for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, likened the proposal to current laws dealing with alcohol consumption. Alcohol use is permitted and the government focuses its law enforcement efforts on those who abuse booze or drive under its influence, he said.
    “We do not arrest and jail responsible alcohol drinkers,” he said.
    St. Pierre said there were tens of million of marijuana smokers in the United States, including himself, and hundreds of thousands are arrested each year for medical or personal use. Is it time to legalize pot?
    There have been 20 million marijuana-related arrests since 1965, he said, and 11 million since 1990, and “every 38 seconds a marijuana smoker is arrested.”
    Rob Kampia, director of the Marijuana Policy Project, said marijuana arrests outnumber arrests for “all violent crimes combined,” meaning that police are spending inordinate amounts of time chasing nonviolent criminals.
    “Ending arrests is the key to marijuana policy reform,” he said.
    Reps. William Lacy Clay, D-Missouri, and Barbara Lee, D-California, said that in addition to targeting nonviolent offenders, U.S. marijuana laws also unfairly target African-Americans.
    Clay said he did not condone drug use, but he opposes using tax dollars to pursue what he feels is an arcane holdover from “a phony war on drugs that is filling up our prisons, especially with people of color.”
    Too many drug enforcement resources are being dedicated to incarcerating nonviolent drugs users and not enough being done to stop the trafficking of narcotics into the United States, he said.
    Being arrested is not the American marijuana smoker’s only concern, said Bill Piper of the Drug Policy Alliance Network. Those found guilty of marijuana use can lose their jobs, financial aid for college, their food stamp and welfare benefits or their low-cost housing.
    The U.S. stance on marijuana, Piper said, “is one of the most destructive criminal justice policies in America today.”
    Calling the U.S. policy “inhumane” and “immoral,” Lee said she has many constituents who are harassed or arrested for using or cultivating marijuana for medical purposes. California allows medical marijuana use, but the federal government does not, she explained.
    House Resolution 5843, titled the Personal Use of Marijuana by Responsible Adults Act of 2008, would allow “a very small number of individuals” suffering from chronic pain or illness to smoke marijuana with impunity. The legislation is cosponsored by Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas.
    According to NORML, marijuana can be used to treat a range of illnesses, including glaucoma, asthma, multiple sclerosis, HIV/AIDS and seizures.
    Frank said there were about a dozen states that already had OK’d some degree of medical marijuana use and the federal government should stop devoting resources to arresting people who are complying with their state’s laws.
    In a shot at Republicans, Frank said it was strange that those who support limited government want to criminalize marijuana.
    Asked if the resolution’s passage would change his personal behavior, Frank quipped, “I do obey every law I vote for,” but quickly said he did not use marijuana, nor does he encourage it.
    “I smoke cigars. I don’t think other people should do that. If young people ask me, I would advise them not to do it,” he said.
    If HR 5843 were passed by the House, marijuana smokers could possess up to 100 grams — about 3½ ounces — of cannabis without being arrested. It would also permit the “nonprofit transfer” of up to an ounce of marijuana.
    The resolution would not affect laws forbidding growing, importing or exporting marijuana, or selling it for profit. The resolution also would not affect any state laws regarding marijuana use.

    Bush Drug Warrior Crashes Pot Press Conference
    By Nick Juliano
    July 30, 2008
    President Bush’s drug warriors must really, really want to protect their ability to throw non-violent marijuana users in jail.
    The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy sent its “chief scientist” and two aides to Capitol Hill Wednesday to provide some instant rebuttal to Rep. Barney Frank’s press conference touting his pot-decriminalization bill. Even the bill’s co-sponsors and ardent defenders acknowledged that it’s chances of becoming law in the near future were nearly non-existent, so plenty of puzzled glances greeted Dr. David Murray’s impassioned, if misguided, arguments against the demon weed that seemed more appropriate in Reefer Madness.
    Indeed, why did ONDCP feel it necessary to send at least three staffers to the Hill to place in every reporter’s hand a copy of its 20 page, color-copied “2008 Marijuana Sourcebook”? RAW STORY posed this question to Murray.
    “It is our responsibility to be aware of policy developments,” he said, explaining that Frank’s attempt to modify the controlled substances act was very much of interest to the Bush administration’s pot prohibitionists.
    The Marijuana Policy Project’s Rob Kampia, who stuck around to listen to Murray’s post-press conference diatribe, suspected some ulterior motives behind the propagandistic pontificating.
    “Nothing’s going to happen on this before he loses his job,” Kampia said, acknowledging that Frank’s bill won’t move forward until at least next year, when President Bush — and his appointees like Murray — would be out of office. “This is him emptying the clip.”
    To its defenders, Frank’s bill is a common sense move aimed at protecting letting states institute marijuana policies as they see fit, protecting patients in the dozen states that have legalized medical marijuana and generally telling the government to butt out of people’s private lives.
    “I don’t think that it is the government’s business to tell you how to spend your leisure time,” Frank (D-MA) said of his bill, which would eliminate federal penalties for individual possession of up to 100 grams (about 3.5 ounces) of marijuana.
    Frank’s proposal is aimed only at decriminalizing individual possession, so it alone would not end raids by the Drug Enforcement Agency on medical marijuana dispensaries in states like California. Frank said he’s authored separate medical marijuana legislation that he would introduce in concert with the individual bill.
    Rep. William Lacy Clay (D-MO) criticized the government for wasting billions of dollars on a “phony war on drugs” that’s done virtually nothing to actually stop anyone from using drugs.
    One presumes that some of those billions were spent on the glossy ONDCP report with the Strangelovian title, “Marijuana: The Greatest Cause of Illegal Drug Abuse.” Naturally, if marijuana were decriminalized, that wouldn’t be the case, but such nuance is lost on drug war defenders.
    The press conference also featured marijuana defenders pointing out that the drug has caused none of its users to die, unlike alcohol and tobacco — both of which are legal.
    “We do not arrest and jail responsible alcohol drinkers; this should be our policy with marijuana as well,” said Allen St. Pierre, executive director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. The NORML representative was sporting a small gold marijuana leaf pin on his lapel, where miniature American flags are a more common Capitol Hill accessory.
    Frank, who chairs the House Financial Services Committee, said his decriminalization bill would fall under the purview of the House Judiciary Committee, which he hoped would hold hearings on the proposal next year. A Judiciary Committee spokesman did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
    Asked specifically if he thought his bill would become law, Frank said more shifts in perception were needed first.
    “The chances are not high at this point,” the lawmaker said, a knowing chuckle letting the audience know his pun was very much intended.

  18. WOOOOOOOOOO WHOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! It’s about time this is happening. I’m not getting too excited yet though.

  19. “Will this Press Conference Tomorrow To Urge Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition be televised?”
    CSPAN. I think.
    Also check congress dot org for bill numbers.

  20. Yeah, great. Congress is going on recess in August so is this just symbolic? What progress have you made in getting WHO and other international bodies to change their prohibitionist stance on cannabis? There was just a meeting in Vienna, and there were two delegations from the U.S., and what of it? Eliminate the excuse that it can’t be legalized because of international treaties!

  21. under this bill, states will have the ability to impose marijuanas illegality, meaning not much is changing except for the 12 states who already have approved medicinal marijuana. Legislation must be enacted on the state level for this bill to make a difference in the other 38 states. yes, this bill is progress, but people seem to believe this bill is the legalization of marijuana which it is not!

  22. This might be the best thing i have ever awaken to.
    The time has come, and we must keep our voices loud.
    Oasis Dig Out Your Soul OCT 8
    Thats the 2nd best thing i have heard.

  23. Now is the time to write to your Rep/Senator and get them to act!! Make them accountable for the way they vote. If they are stuck in an archaic style of thinking, it is up to us to knock some modern sense into them. NORML’s website makes it very simple to do just this!! Contact your elected officials, through phone, email, fax, written letters via pony express, homing pigeons, smoke signals(haha) WHATEVER IT TAKES!! Get your non pot smoking friends involved in a discussion and tell the pot smoker’s side, b/c from what i can tell, non smokers are indifferent to this blight on society. INFORM THEM OF THE ISSUES!
    I’m off my soapbox.

  24. I am “conservative, therefore a “republican” because I am not a socialist or “democrat”.
    In my upbringing, my parents taught me how to be self-sufficient. I have experienced many life’s hardships and have never asked government to help me (Even though “Social Security” insists that I need their help). They should be on the forefront of NORML.
    If I had strayed from my parents teaching, I would expect others to help me in my life. I believe in me and the power of my existence. I do voluntarily give to charities, I don’t need the gubberment to force me to give.
    I am a “capitalist” – not a “socialist”.
    But in my capitalist mind, I wonder why my “Republican” “Representatives” can’t figure out that there is no reason for criminalizing marijuana.
    The marijuana prohibition began after the 18th Amendment failed.
    The marijuana prohibition began when Congress created an unexpected and unreasonable tax act.
    Since the tax act is unreasonable, the act is “illegal”.

  25. The likely next president, Mr. Obama admits to smoking cannabis and stated that “inhaling was kind of the point”. Someone should ask him if he thinks he should have been busted for his college high jinks. Of course if he had we wouldn’t be batting about the notion of “president Obama”. So some one should ask him if he would have busted his younger self and if he intends to allow law enforcement to continue persecuting african americans (the majority of those arrested for pot) or if he is only going to bust white stoners.
    People scream bloody hell where I come from if somebody raises their taxes but I don’t know a stoner who wouldn’t happily pay the same tax levied on tobacco. In point of fact, the money from pot taxes could fund drug rehab for all the junkies and meth heads out there whob keep getting into trouble because nobody wants to fund any rehab clinics. Not to mention all the cash to be saved when we stop paying for busted potheads room and board. Horay for Barney! He has the BALLS.

  26. I got this statement:
    The Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) monitors drug-related emergency department (ED) visits for the nation and for selected metropolitan areas. DAWN also collects data on drug-related deaths investigated by medical examiners and coroners in selected metropolitan areas and States.
    In 2005, DAWN estimates that nearly 1.4 million emergency department visits nationwide were associated with drug misuse or abuse.
    An estimated 816,696 drug-related emergency department visits involved a major substance of abuse. DAWN estimates that:
    Cocaine was involved in 448,481 ED visits.
    Marijuana was involved in 242,200 ED visits.
    Heroin was involved in 164,572 ED visits.
    Stimulants, included amphetamines and methamphetamine, were involved in 138,950 ED visits.
    Other illicit drugs, such as PCP, Ecstasy, and GHB, were much less frequent than any of the above.
    Source: U. S. Department of Health and Human Services, SAMHSA, Office of Applied Studies, Drug Abuse Warning Network, 2005: National Estimates of Drug-Related Emergency Department Visits. DAWN Series D-29, DHHS Publication No. (SMA) 07-4256, Rockville, MD, 2007.
    In 2003, 122 jurisdictions in 35 metropolitan areas and 6 States submitted mortality data to DAWN. The States, which are all new to DAWN, are Maine, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Utah, and Vermont. DAWN cannot provide national estimates of drug-related deaths.
    In the metropolitan areas, nearly half of drug misuse deaths, on average, involved a major substance of abuse (cocaine, heroin, marijuana, stimulants, club drugs, hallucinogens, or non-pharmaceutical inhalants). Across the 6 States, major substances were reported in about a third of misuse deaths. Still, major substances were reported in 40% to 45% of drug misuse deaths in Maryland, New Mexico, and Utah. Descriptions of drug abuse deaths in the participating metropolitan areas are available in the Mortality Data from the DAWN, 2003 report.
    According to data from the 2003 Mortality Data from DAWN — Cocaine was the most frequently reported illicit drug. In the drug misuse deaths, cocaine was among the top 5 drugs in 28 of the 32 metropolitan areas and all of the 6 States. On average, cocaine alone or in combination with other drugs was reported in 39% of drug misuse deaths (range 8% to 70%). Alcohol was one of the 5 most comment drugs in 30 of the 32 metropolitan areas and 5 of the 6 States. In 29 of the 32 metropolitan areas, more drug misuse deaths involved an opiate/opioid than any other drug.
    Source: U. S. Department of Health and Human Services, SAMHSA, Office of Applied Studies, Drug Abuse Warning Network, 2003: Area Profiles of Drug-Related Mortality. DAWN Series D-27, DHHS Publication No. (SMA) 05-4023, Rockville, MD, 2005.
    From the U.S. Department of justice…did you notice that cannabis wasn’t responsible for one single fatality…just saying..

  27. Aloha!
    As a disabled American, and having lived with a sometimes very physically daunting and painful neurological disorder, known as Spastic Diapalegic Cerebral Palsy, I deal with muscle spasms and I use mobility aids. (walker and wheelchair)
    I have perservered this condition for almost 25 years now, and as a staunch supporter and advocate for bill HR 5843, one in which I wrote about in my Social Work Chemical Dependency class this last semester. ( I am studying to be a social worker) In my reports and 10 + page essay, I discuss alcohols failed prohibition, but also the negatives since 75 years ago. If anyone would like to read it, let me know! I will continue in the fight.
    Marijuana is my only medicine…. END PROHIBITION!

  28. Chicago Tribune, May 22, 1997
    By Stephen Chapman
    If a major study revealed that people who use marijuana can expect to die before their time, we would hear about it on the news. If people were expiring in noticeable numbers from overdoses of pot, the discovery would soon be common knowledge. If smoking dope were proven to cause lung cancer, Clinton administration drug czar Barry McCaffrey would be shouting from the rooftops.
    But you rarely see anything reported about research into the health effects of cannabis. That’s not because there isn’t any research going on. It’s because the findings are acutely embarrassing for supporters of the war on drugs.
    Much of that unending war consists of harassing and punishing people who use, sell or cultivate pot. Nearly 600,000 people were arrested on marijuana charges in 1995. Fifteen states provide life sentences for some non-violent marijuana crimes. Under federal law, anyone growing or selling a large quantity of cannabis is eligible for one free lethal injection.
    This ferocious approach is supposedly necessary to protect us from the hazards posed by pot use. When voters in California were preparing to vote in November on a referendum allowing the medicinal use of marijuana, critics acted as if someone wanted to put LSD in the Los Angeles water supply. George Bush,
    Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford emerged from retirement to portray the proposal as a threat to the health of “all Americans.”
    Likewise, a survey last year that found teenagers using more drugs, mainly marijuana, evoked screams of panic. Bob Dole called it a “national tragedy,” and McCaffrey said the study showed that the nation needs to begin delivering “anti-drug” messages to kids starting in kindergarten. (Why not in preschool? Why not in maternity wards?)
    But as the rhetoric against marijuana gets more lurid and hysterical, the facts grow less and less alarming. A growing pile of authoritative research, almost entirely ignored by the mainstream news media, has exonerated cannabis of almost all the charges against it.
    Physicians in California’s Kaiser Permanente managed care program recently reported in the American Journal of Public Health that they had looked at more than 65,000 patients over an entire decade and found that pot smokers had no higher a death rate than abstainers. The investigators also noted that “few adverse clinical health effects from the chronic use of marijuana have been documented in humans.” Imagine the news coverage if similar findings emerged about tobacco or saturated fat.
    Because it is usually set on fire and smoked, marijuana has long been assumed to be no friend of the respiratory system. But a study by doctors at the UCLA medical school, published in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, discovered that even heavy, chronic smoking of pot doesn’t damage lung function.
    Australia’s National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, in yet another survey, found that career potheads are no more unhealthy than the rest of the population–with the exception of mild respiratory problems that could be the result of tobacco use. “The exceptional thing is that the respondents are unexceptional,” the chief investigator told the Sydney Morning Herald, in news you won’t get from the Partnership for a Drug-Free America.
    Among scientists who have examined the real consequences of pot use, these discoveries came as no great surprise. Two years ago, the prestigious British medical journal The Lancet concluded, with a remarkable lack of tact, “The smoking of cannabis, even long term, is not harmful to health.”
    When pressed, drug warriors fall back on the claim that even if pot is not so bad by itself, it serves as a “gateway” to hard drug use. But 80 million Americans have tried cannabis. Most of them have never tried any other illicit substance, and few of the rest have become addicted to cocaine or heroin. While the percentage of teenagers using pot has risen in recent years, the number of those who go on to try cocaine has fallen by more than half. The gateway looks more like the eye of a needle.
    None of this means that pot is good for kids–any more than alcohol, tobacco or sex is good for kids. Marijuana use can retard their emotional development and interfere with their academic achievement at a vital stage of their lives. But teen pregnancy isn’t grounds for locking up anyone guilty of fornication. So why do we think that draconian criminal law enforcement is the only possible way to deter adolescent drug use?
    Supporters of the drug war prefer to suppress the reassuring evidence about marijuana because it doesn’t serve their cause. But the rest of us should be ready to confront the truth, remembering that it shall make us free.

  29. we need to do something about this issue i think is that people are so ignorat about this issue the think if you smoke a fat one you will die and become dum is not true. non smoker dont be so stupid and ignorant learn study try it and you see that is not bad a beer is worts.

  30. Americans need this industry. Why buy it from Canada or Mexico when we can buy Medical Marijuana from our own dispansatarys. Tax will be collected and Tax money will save on users going to jail. Americans will be save when buying it from controlled and safe places. As it stands when users buy it from the streets, dark areas, and from unknow people it is unsafe. You never know when you will get bit up or rupped. Americans are going to buy it or grow it anyway. The Feds can not win by using the fear BS. My medical bills is around 350.00 per month. Medical Marijuana is about 20 to 40 dollars per month and it works better than all the pills I have to take. Pass the law already so I can start buying it in a safe place. Why should my freedom be taken away from choice of medical marijuana? and yes it can be Taxed. Frank is our voice and yes it should be taked about it more openly. The State passed it but the Fed stops it……This is Bullshit…where is our freedom of choice

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