NORML's Message To Capitol Hill: 'Let The States Decide Their Own Marijuana Policies'

Tell members of Congress that you support HR 2306, the ‘Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2011’ and that you oppose efforts by House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-TX) to stifle its debate.
You can do so by clicking the link below to NORML’s commentary, ‘Let the states decide their own marijuana policies,’ which appears today on’s influential Congress blog and is excerpted below. (The Hill is the paper of record for Washington, DC insiders, members of Congress, and their staff.)
After you have done so, please also join the thousands of other advocates who have e-mailed their US House Congressional Representative here and urged him or her to support ending federal marijuana prohibition. You can also stay up-to-date regarding the latest political developments surrounding HR 2306 via the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2011 Facebook page here.

Let the states decide their own marijuana policies
via The
[excerpt] Lawmakers for the first time have introduced legislation in Congress to end the federal criminalization of the personal use of marijuana.
The bipartisan measure — H.R. 2306, the ‘Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2011’ … prohibits the federal government from prosecuting adults who use or possess personal use amounts of marijuana by removing the plant and its primary psychoactive constituent, THC, from the five schedules of the United States Controlled Substances Act of 1970.
Speaking during an online town hall in January, President Obama acknowledged that the subject of legalizing and regulating marijuana was a “legitimate topic for debate.” Yet last week Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), chairman of the House Committee on Judiciary, boasted that he would not even consider scheduling the measure for a public hearing. On Friday, when NORML requested its members to contact Rep. Smith’s office, the Congressman promptly shut off his DC office phone and later closed down his Facebook page.
It’s obvious why marijuana prohibitionists like Rep. Smith will go to such lengths to try and stifle any public discussion of the matter. Over the past 70+ years, the federal criminalization of marijuana has failed to reduce the public’s demand or access to cannabis, and it has imposed enormous fiscal and human costs upon the American people. Further, this policy promotes disrespect for the law and reinforces ethnic and generational divides between the public and law enforcement.
Since 1970, police have arrested over 20 million American citizens for marijuana offenses — nearly 90 percent of which were prosecuted for the personal possession of marijuana, not marijuana trafficking or sale. Yet today federal surveys indicate that the public, including America’s young people, have greater access to marijuana — including stronger varieties of marijuana — than ever before. It is time to stop ceding control of the marijuana market to unregulated, criminal entrepreneurs and allow states to enact common sense regulations that seek to govern the adult use of marijuana in a fashion similar to alcohol.
After 70 years of failure it is time for an alternative approach. The Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2011 is an ideal first step.

61 thoughts

  1. shame the UK dont follow in this debate! I just went to trial for posession of 5 grams 🙁

  2. it is not fair to send americans to jail for marijuana. it is a plant that has been used by the human race for thousands of years.

  3. Rep. Lamar Smith has no confidence in allowing anyone to vote. He is afraid that H.R. 2306 will pass because the law makes perfectly sense to allow the states to handle the policy of marijuana.
    This federal Drug War must end.

  4. Cliff Stearns of Florida has already written me back saying he never votes for ANY Drug legalization of any type—EVER!!! Florida will never pass marijuana reform un-less it is by the ballot vote.


  6. The present administration feels that it is politically incorrect to go after medical Cannabis users so they are harassing and threatening state employees that administer medical Cannabis programs. They want and need our votes in the 2012 elections. So they will feed us something to gain our support before then. Write all of your elected officials and let them know how you feel about the continued criminalization of Cannabis. So when they give us something to gain our vote it is substantial not just the availability of non Cannabis based Sativex.

  7. Smith isn’t the top dog for Republicans in the House. Have Boehner order him to put it on the agenda and give it a hearing. Have Boehner take a states’ rights position, regardless of whether he is personally against cannabis.

  8. Contact your representatives to support this bill! Don’t be a chicken shit contact them! What are you waiting for? Don’t expect others to pull your load. I know you want legal cannais so do your part. Contact your representatives. Please don’t space this off.

  9. If only Republicans didn’t gain control of the House this year, Conyers would still be the chairman, and HR 2306 would actually have a shot of making it to the floor.
    Smith is going to do everything he can to make certain 2306 doesn’t go anywhere, and, unfortunately for us, he doesn’t have to do much to kill this bill. If HR 2306 made it to the floor, it would stir up all manner of public attention and possibly throw even more momentum behind the medical and legalization efforts taking place right now.
    Most probably, we’ll have to wait on the next election cycle to hopefully shift House control back to the Dems and a favorable chairman – not to mention a supporting administration.

  10. It’s a sad time when tobacco & alcohol are legal whilst marijuana is categorized right along with peyote & cocaine… Who exactly is the Federal Government kidding? If you’re going to smoke pot, you’re going to smoke pot. If you’re not going to smoke pot, you’re not going to smoke pot. The same mentality goes with alcohol & tobacco. Either you are a user or you are not, plain & simple. It’s a medical debate & it’s only an issue when the person is ruining their life or the lives around them. It’s time to put our thinking caps on & peaceably enforce a solution that benefits American Citizens! USA! USA! USA!!! I wouldn’t have it any other way 😉

  11. I wrote my congressman and he is all for it. He was actually a cosponsor a while back for a federal marijuana decriminalization bill. I also called Lamar Smiths DC office. We gotta keep the pressure on.

  12. Living in Texas most of my life it would be nice change to have good policy. Just sent my letter. Hope it helps.
    Thank you NORML.

  13. @11 Oracle– As with Lamar Smith and Alcohol, above, note Boehner’s probably loyalty– large donations from tobacco corporations; has “advisory council” including John H. Fish, Vice President for Legislative Affairs (sic) at R. J. Reynolds, and Bruce Gates from Philip Morris. What kind of salaries do these guys receive to advise Johnny and schmooze with Johnny’s staff, promoting a pro-$igarette point of view? (Johnny smokes “a low-tar brand”; unlike Obama, hasn’t even promised to quit.) Oh yes, what do Fish and Gates advise Boehner to do about… legalisation of cannabis??

  14. The Hill needs about 500,000 comments there.
    Let the states decide their own marijuana policies

  15. We the People cannot trust the majority of politicians from either mainstream political party when it comes to protecting OUR civil rights — just look at who passed the extension of the Orwellian-inspired and horribly misnamed USA PATRIOT Act. The ‘War of Drugs / War on People’ is first and foremost a civil rights issue, as well.
    How about a government in some future time and place that respects the Constitution and Bill of Rights, and the personal freedoms and liberties that once made the phrase ‘life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness’ actually mean something?
    If our rights are ‘inalienable’, and limited rights are granted by We the People to our governments, firstly to our States and secondly to the Federal government, how did we manage to get into such a situation where the government decides which rights We have, rather than the other way around? We the People are not mere supplicants asking, begging, the Federal government to ‘please, sir, give us more (rights)’.
    It may take a revolution at the ballot box to turn things around, but better that than a revolution in the streets. I personally am a libertarian socialist (or libertarian anarchist) depending upon which dictionary you use. The least government necessary to take care of its citizens universally is my greatest desire. If it means tearing down the walls of the Federal ‘temple’ to start over with an egalitarian government by, for, and of We the People, then let it be so. We can start by supporting the Tea Party, the Libertarians, and those who would refuse to raise the National Debt Limit. It will bring down the good parts of the government as well as the evil fascistic parts — perhaps better that than continuing along the path this country is on ….

  16. Trust in this. Under Obama we will be denied. I don’t care who else you vote for, but Obama will lie to you (AGAIN) AND YOU WILL BE STUCK WITH LESS THAN YOU HAVE NOW!!! We need to reflect on this situation and really consider what it means for our country. Our government all but blares with loud-speakers on every corner that they know best, and that they are going to continue to throw us in jail and make their friends and themselves rich from our continued misery NO MATTER WHAT YOU HAVE TO SAY ABOUT IT!!!
    Sorry, but it has proven itself to be true. Obama went so far as to say that he’d leave the compliant medical providers alone, then turn around and let the DEA lose on MMJ dispensaries. You can lie to yourself and vote for him again, but he will disappoint you if he retains his seat.

  17. Let the punishment fit the crime.
    Cannabis use is not a crime at all.
    The war on some drugs is transparent corruption and patently unjust.

  18. I just shot a custom pro-pot email to my local rep, I think he’s down with it, so it’s like preaching to the choir.
    Knowing this, I tried to send the same email to this Lamar guy, but his website blocks anyone outside his district from contacting him. I was using my real info and all, no shame no fear, and the site said “You Shall Not Pass!”
    Knowing that people get locked up all the time for stupid shit stemming from stupid laws, I had to falsify my info to get the message sent. What’s he hiding from? The truth about marijuana? Differing opinions?

  19. And please don’t just think away this issue, call Mr. Smith’s office like I did and tell them that Communist Smith should stop the War on Drugs and move that cannabis (‘marijuana’ actually started as a racist term) bill forward, otherwise the innocent blood shed by this immoral war is on his hands. I, as a former Communist in the push for the War on Drugs, didn’t realize I was a Communist, since I never thought out thoroughly what Government and Law are meant for. Our Constitution is a bunch of negative liberties against the government to keep it in check so that they do not trample on our YHWH-given rights of freedom of Religion and freedom of speech. Mr Smith and other Communists of the War on Drugs make outlaws out of otherwise law-abiding people, all the while taking money from those with a vested interest in keeping hemp illegal. This is the definition of corruption — malfeasance in government — and what I consider Communism by a Communist. Those jack-booted officers bust down your door for politicians to the twisting of our Constitution by people of warped, twisted minds who think their self-righteous indignation against these illegal drugs somehow gives them the right to trample our YHWH-given rights in favor of their evil, blood-dripping policies of destruction and lawlessness that have wreaked havoc on every city in American and even all throughout the enire world. Thanks for listening, 777denny

  20. please dont stand on the sidelines being a cheerleader, email your representative! it is the least that you can do to help end this war on our beloved plant! just say no to putting your brothers and sisters in jail for wanting to relax!!!!!!!! for the love of god this has gone on far to long!!!!

  21. As the saying goes – “You’ll get a lot more with sugar than you will with salt.”
    In theory that’s correct – however – we the Genesis People are clean out of sugar. Now we’re getting your salt in return. How long do you think we are going to take it. – before we start giving you a little of our pepper.
    It’s just too fuckin’ simple – they don’t get it. What great enjoyment I expect to receive in 2012 – to watch their sinking election returns//numbers waltz their asses out of power. Fuck! – that’s were we made our first, biggest, and most important mistake – we gave them the power. What a bunch of dumb shits we are. The best weapon we’ve got is our vote – then our number – and most of all – our American Spirit. We’ve got it – so! – we must “use it – or – lose it.”

  22. The response I got from my congressman when I sent him a email. Im from North Carolina,
    Thank you for contacting me to share your support for medical marijuana. I appreciate you taking the time to contact me and I’m honored to respond.
    I believe the use of marijuana and other illegal drugs pose great dangers to our nation, especially to the youth of today. We must not legitimize the use of drugs, especially habitual usage, because it has dramatic negative health effects on the lives of many young people. Marijuana use has been proven to damage brain cells as well as to contribute to numerous forms of cancer. Further, until marijuana is scientifically proven to help hospitalized patients, I cannot support a policy that allows legalized “medical marijuana.”
    Again, thank you for sharing your concerns. While we may differ on this specific issue, please continue to contact my office with issues that impact you and your community.
    Walter B. Jones
    Member of Congress

  23. This tea party movement is BS. They are not for your rights, they are for corporate rights.
    The reason we are in this mess is because people don’t look at a candidate as a whole, they pick ONE issue and vote based on that… *looks at the situation we are in* works really well, huh?
    We can win without selling our souls. We need to focus on just getting cannabis removed the the controlled sustance schedule. That is the only goal that matters. Then we move on to the states.
    Heck, I would support paying off the US AG Eric Holder (since he can deschedule cannabis according the the controlled substances act), not like the corporations aren’t paying off officals already too. Fight fire with fire and offer him a few hundred K under the table… see if he caves like the rest of them (he IS a lawyer after all… :)~ Just offer him the rest of the money normal has in it’s coffers, you won’t need any funds if he accepts anyway right? /satire OFF

  24. Some rules are meant to be broken!
    If everyone kept all the [unjust, inane] rules, we’d still be practicing cherished traditions like child marriage, slavery, and public hangings.
    Let’s be blunt. Slavery continued because people were too lazy to do the work themselves.
    Prohibition continues because some people choose financial gain over ethics and doing what is right.
    What will the czar (Russian from the Latin, Caesar or dictator), the DEA (not the FDA), and the Drug Dealers do when it’s time to go after real crooks (white collar banking and gambling addicts)? When it’s time to get a real job? What will they do when all 50 states exert the will of the people and not of corporations and self-enriching public officials?
    -Cry- Easy money is going away. Boohoo. The lie can’t be sustained forever, but they already knew that under their facade of public-protection and denial of what is right and what is plain wrong.
    Then try to find something that more resembles an honest living.

  25. Before you can get anybody to listen to you – they have to know that you’re listening to them – they will care how much you know – when they know how much you care. So! what makes politicians think we are listening to them – because – they sure as hell aren’t listening to us – and – neither do they care. The best example of this is Lamar Smith. The minute he turned off the people who elected him – the people who elected him turned him off. He is now only effective to himself [perhaps it has been that way all along]. So! Smith – “You’re only as good as your last game – and – your last game was a tragedy – to say the least – and – I’m being kind to say that.
    I have a horrible habit of calling it the way I see it. I’ve often been told that – “One day – your mouth is going to get you into a lot of trouble.” Well! – trouble is my middle name – and – the truth is the rock upon which I stand.

  26. I sent an e-mail to my freshman republican congressman (and lawyer too).
    He wrote back thanking me, he would consider it and would get back to me as soon as possible.
    We’ll see?

  27. IL Rep. Adam Kinzinger replied to my email stating, “I do not support marijuana legalization.” Therefore, I will not support him next election.

  28. “If only Republicans didn’t gain control of the House this year, Conyers would still be the chairman, and HR 2306 would actually have a shot of making it to the floor.”
    What was Obamas response to the number #1 ranked Question on the citizens poll? “we see what are online comiuity has on their minds….hahahah…”
    Pull your head out of your ass…..then ask your great Democratic Pres do the same
    Vote Ron Paul!!

  29. “It only takes one to form a line.”
    The reformation of the Genesist Faith and Sacrament will come from an “endless line” – started by one Genesist. It’s time – to form that line. It’s time – for Genesists [who believe in God and God’s Sacrament] to claim “Religious Use” – under the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment of the Constitution – and – the Holy Bible. The First Amendment proscribes preemption of federal law – or – any law that prohibits “The free exercise thereof.” Compelling Justification , and Prior Competing Governmental Interests prohibit “the free exercise thereof.” It’s time – for Genesists to reject Compelling Justification, and Prior Competing Governmental Interests [as] Abusive Governmental Authority – and – an untenable preemption, in that it “violates” the Establishment Clause in Article I of the U.S. Constitution, and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act by “substantially burdening our religious belief and the free exercise thereof.” It’s time – for Genesists to declare and invoke a “Conscience Clause”[a law exempting those who’s religious or moral principles forbid compliance]. Genesists refuse to comply with any law that prohibits our Faith and Sacrament..
    Good CDXX Communion.

  30. Hey David762, I agree with a lot of what you say, except about the Tea Party. They’re corporate-funded astroturfers and also Right-Wing power lovers. They’re only upset because THEIR Man isn’t in power (you know, George W. Bush or McCain/Palin). They support the jailing of cannabis users. They also support senseless wars overseas. Where were these people when we were spending a billion dollars a day in the Iraq War? They were cool with that. So, I won’t be supporting the Tea Party. They don’t want a end to “The Man”, they want THEIR MAN back in power, putting the screws to all the people they hate.

  31. Or instead of begging people Lamar Smith we could like you know, unite and vote against him in the next election, or if we don’t live in his district, contribute money to his opponent, and then like if we help defeat him promise to do the same next election to congresspeople who don’t slide a little our way or at least don’t go out of their way to piss us off. You know like the NRA and Chamber of Commerce and and AARP and all those other groups that make congress say Yes Sir. Or we can continue to beg, like we’ve been doing for 40 years, and will probably be doing 40 years fron now. You know like, either one.

  32. Would I be out of line if I just Yelled… PUSH…push your congress, push your senator, push your family and friends…so damn close to big things happening..Gently but firmly …Push..

  33. I wish I could call these people, however, I am from Canada. Know that there are tons of Canadians cheering for H.R. 2306! Keep the pressure on!!!

  34. wow 750 comments on let the states decied on the capitol blog. the next closest issue has 20 comments most have 0. Lets keep up the presure.

  35. proposed new meme for us after watching Chong on CNN:
    We’re not ADDICTED to Marijuana! We’re ADDICTED to LIBERTY!

  36. I like what I’m hearing, us pot smokers are a lot more intelligent than our congressmen obviously.Of course they are great at deflecting the will of the people they are supposed to represent.I bet our congressmen were all great at dodge ball.You know what they really need is a good ass kicking to make up for the last forty years of their bullshit.It’s too bad we still have to put up with a dead man’s mean spirited selfish opinion that became the law of the land.I say we get about 50 million of us together and swoop down on Washinton D.C. and trap them bastards in their bunkers for as long as it takes to get their attention.You know they are never going to budge until we make them budge.Enough said, OK Norml how bout it, it’s my weed (freedom) and I want it now!!!

  37. 40. I said – “It only takes one to form a line – that will extend for eternity.” A friend added that – “That one had to be a leader.” Wisdom speaks louder than words.
    Say or do what you will – but – Genesists will no longer cave in to the insanity that permeates the Halls of Justice. There is no more justice – and – when you’ve got nothing else to lose – well! – I’m sure – yes! I’m sure – one’s brain turns to water and flows out one’s ears.

  38. P.S. They want to “kill” America and its Constitution – and – make it a part of the North American Union. Well! that’s about enough bullshit to take for one day.

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