This Thursday: US Senate Committee To Debate Reevaluating The Drug War!

[Author’s Note: The following legislative alert is being e-mailed to NORML e-zine subscribers. To sign up to receive federal and state-specific updates like this one, please go here, and don’t forget to check NORML’s Take Action Center for the latest legislative developments.] This Thursday, December 3, members of the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee will debate Senate Bill 714, The National Criminal Justice Commission Act of 2009. The time and location of the hearing are available here.
Senate Bill 714 will establish a `National Criminal Justice Commission’ to “undertake a comprehensive review of the criminal justice system … and make reform recommendations for the President.” The lead sponsor of this measure, Democrat Senator Jim Webb of Virginia, has remarked that this review ought to include a “very careful examination of all aspects of drug policy. … I think everything should be on the table.”
It’s been many years since a federally appointed commission has taken an objective look at American criminal justice policies, and it’s been nearly 40 years since federal lawmakers have undertaken a critical examination of U.S. marijuana policy.  Please take time today to urge your United States senators to support Senate Bill 714. If your senators sit on the Senate Judiciary Committee, then it is especially important that that they hear from you.  For your convenience, a pre-written letter will be e-mailed to your members of Congress when you enter your contact information here.
After you have written your senators, please take a moment to write or call Sen. Webb and thank him for raising this important issue.  You may contact him here.
Thank you for assisting NORML’s federal law reform efforts.

0 thoughts

  1. Good points Bob riley. The aspect of society / law enforcement is something I mentioned in my email to Senator Webb.

  2. I read on the site that 714 has been “held over” i am not sure what i am to think of this. Held over? Not acted on?

  3. Can we get an update on anything that happened?
    [Editor’s note: NORML staff attended the hearing and indicate that the committee did not reach the applicable part of the hearing where SB 714 was to be addressed. The bill will be up again for discussion at the next committee hearing, and it should come up early in the proceedings. NORML will continue to apprise the cannabis community and advocate for the creation of a federal review commission.]

  4. Oh man I get so tired of the roller coaster ride of hope and dispair. I’m so tired of technically being a criminal because I choose to medicate and recreate with a safer but wrongly villified substance by a bunch of people who (a large percentage of them) are usually drinking by noon every day. Being reduced to a third class citizen due to fear mongering idiots who continually ignore scientific evidence proof that they are on the wrong side of the issue and then use the media to promote their lies convincing most of the voting populace believe their garbage.
    I just wonder how it doesn’t sicken the members of this commitee enough to take action when they read the same stories every day that we do about real criminals being released to rape more wemon and children, kill more cops and citizens and so on so we can make more room for the constant flow of “might be” and “would be” addicts and small time dealers.

  5. obama can have a beer on the whitehouse lawn but i cant smoke a joint? one year i was in athens maine and a big sign read we suport our seletman i found out later she was busted for reefer.i also read that a pot plant 4 feet high was pulled up at the townbarn in athens maine.

  6. I don’t see why everyone is so excited. I think a lot of people have already forgotten that Obama laughed at our face a couple of months ago. Don’t get me wrong, i think its great that they are doing this, but i don’t see it going anywhere!

  7. 109, Dave
    The reason we are so excited about this, is because it is yet another positive sign that people are finally waking up. No, there aren’t nearly enough officials in our gov’t behind us, but compare the number today that are to ten, or even five, years ago. We are not only gaining ground and support among the public, but now we have our foot in the gov’t’s impenatrable door. And personally, I can’t stand Obama, but I do applaud him for keeping good on his promise to stop going after cannabis patients who use it according to state laws. Also, in his defense, there is still a majority of voters out there who want pot to remain a crime. Now, from my perspective, he announced the question, had a chuckle, then moved on. This man LOVES to talk – whether it’s something he’s opposed to or not. He wanted the voters to see that, but I personally believe he has a vested interest in this issue. That’s my $0.02.

  8. Yeah…anything happening??? I rifled through this video, but found nothing of interest…did I miss it?
    Any updates?
    [Editor’s note: The senate committee met on Thursday, and about the only business they addressed was a journalism ‘shield law’. The next committee hearing should get to the Crime Commission legislation…]

  9. Do we know when this will be rescheduled? Read an article today on early release programs states are using because of overcrowding. Makes sense that this judiciary committee would put two and two together to realize that nonviolent crimes such as use and possession of cannabis should be decriminalized and legalized.

  10. EDITOR: What happened? Anything?
    [Editor’s note: The hearing did not get to this bill and will not likely until after the holiday break.]

  11. This is what I got back from Al Franken.
    Thank you for contacting me about the United States criminal justice system. I appreciate hearing your thoughts on this issue that is critical to public safety and the well-being of our country.
    The United States makes up just 5% of the world’s population, but detains 25% of the world’s prison population. The number of drug offenders in jail has increased 1,200% since 1980, there are significantly more mentally ill people in prisons than in mental health facilities, and minors are being sentenced to life behind bars.
    The National Criminal Justice Commission Act, which was introduced by Senator Jim Webb on March 26, 2009, would create a committee to review our criminal justice system. This bill has been referred to the Senate Judiciary Committee for consideration. As a member of that committee, I am a proud cosponsor of this bill.
    The bill would create a non-partisan committee to look at federal and state criminal justice costs, practices, and policies; research incarceration, gang activity, drug policy, mental illness in the system, and crime prevention; make policy recommendations; work with governmental and nongovernmental leaders; and submit a public report to Congress and the President. The commission would consider sentencing, treatment, and other fair, effective rehabilitation strategies. I look forward to voting for this bill when it comes up in the Judiciary Committee and the full Senate.
    Thank you again for contacting me about reforming the criminal justice system, and please don’t hesitate to do so in the future on this or any other matter of concern to you.Sincerely,
    Al Franken
    United States Senator

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