National Lawyers Guild Calls For Ending Cannabis Criminalization

The criminalization and prohibition of cannabis has been an abject failure and should be ended as a federal public policy, according to the findings of a new report issued this week by the National Lawyers Guild.

States the report:

“The NLG believes that ending the prohibition of cannabis would offer multiple benefits. Legalization would help transform the marijuana industry … into a stable regulated one. It would significantly reduce infringements on civil liberties and lower the arrest and incarceration rates of people of color. Changing the criminal status of marijuana would lower the costs of law enforcement and protect people from entering the criminal justice system. Finally, legalization would remove restrictions currently impeding [the] study of medical marijuana and allow more users to acquire treatment if necessary. Each of these goals is consistent with sound economic, criminal justice, and public health policies.”

The authors of the report recommend rescheduling cannabis from its present Schedule I illicit classification, revisiting the United State’s involvement in international drug control treaties, and ending the practice of civil asset forfeiture by law enforcement agencies. The report also call for the passage of additional statewide legislative and initiative efforts depenalizing marijuana use and possession.

Full text of the report, “High Crimes: Strategies to Further Marijuana Legalization Initiatives,” appears online here.

30 thoughts

  1. Geez! First the conservatives started coming around. Now it’s the lawyers who profit from our suffering.

    What the hell else is it gonna take, Washington?

  2. “Legalization would help transform the marijuana industry … into a stable regulated one”

    vs the clugey, unreliable, unaccountable, untaxed, machination which generally only profits the enemies of society.

  3. The only thing marijuana illegalization does is protect the black market. Keeps drug lords in power. Why do we live in a country that does this I have not a clue.

  4. If marijuana is scheduled as it is now and bumped down to schedule 3 i wonder how it will effect eveyone. I mean if Americans found out that the government was lieing about the medicinal purposes of marijuana, then what else are they lieing about? I want it to be legalized and regulated and i think they should do it slow so the kids on the street dont go trying the other schedule one drugs just because ‘marijuana wasnt so bad’

  5. In the book “A Better America” it talks about legalization and the amount of money our government waste on the war on drugs is explained. If you have ideas about the best way to start and regulate the legal marijuana business, share them on
    Instead of complaining, the goal is to collect the best ideas to make our country, A Better America. Colorado and Washington should be proud for taking the first steps. Those of us in the drug war states are looking for guidance on the best way to proceed.

  6. It often seems like everyone except the Feds want to see marijuana legal and regulated; and that includes thousands of Doctors!

    The only exceptions outside the Feds are those who are brainwashed by propaganda or are too predjudiced and ignorant to consider any alternatives to mass incarceration.

    Come on President Obama, what are you waiting for???

  7. @Weed The People – What do you suggest when our Representatives represent only themselves and ignore us?

    All to often that truly seems to be the way things work in this country!

  8. Lawyers, Doctors, Mayors and even some smarter washington types realize the waste of billion$$ has us in a worse state than when it started.
    The drug war is a farce that hurts otherwise law abiding citizens.

    And those winning? Big pharma and those receiving monies to “fight” the “war on drugs”.


  9. Remember when Barry said the government ‘had bigger fish to fry”in referance to addressing the legality issue? Well, things arent getting any easier for ole Barry in Washington….My guess is that Obama will pass the buck,and stick Hillary (yep, shes the next shu in)with making a decision….by that time, Barackster will be firing up the ole Choom mobile,and writting his book…

  10. Are they willing to do pro bono work for cannabis legalization in their respective states? Some of them may be already. Will anyone listen? Nothing like a pack of Philadelphia lawyers, let’s see what these hungry wolves can do to legalize cannabis in their state. How’s about coordinating with packs in other urban parts of the state? You can forget about the Alabama in between. Be surprised if anything pro comes out of there.

    Budget criticism, don’t get me started!

    The Beat Goes On


    Sonny & Chere

  11. Wow 40 Patents so far. How many more can we find? The Government has told you and I, that Marijuana is a “Schedule one” controlled substance. Substances in this schedule have no currently accepted medical use in the United States, a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision, and a high potential for abuse. Who is lying to all of us??? Look at Patents US7179800 US7184198 US7285687 US7597910 US7674922 US7884133 US8106244 US8372169 and WO2009013506A1 WO2010012506A1 6630507 7807711B2 O197941A1 0225156A1 0035978A1 6410588B1 6946150B27 20130059018 US2304669 US4876276 US5227537 US5284867 US5434295 US5462946 US5512270 US5521215 US5538993 US5635530 US5696109 US6410588 EP0427518A1 EP0576357A1EP0656354A1 EP0658546A1 WO1993005031A1 WO1994012667A1 WO1996012485A1 WO1996018600A1 WO1997019063A1 WO1999053917A1

  12. Your too passive! NORML and its allies need to take a more hard lined approach to ending marijuana prohibition. That responsible adult use of marijuana (a substance safer than alcohol) is a civil liberty.

    Rather than just framing the debate about legalizing marijuana for tax revenue or to help stop the arrests of poor minorities, you need to focus more on the rights of the adult marijuana consumer.

    That adult marijuana consumers should not get jail, fines, or be forced into treatment. That adult marijuana consumers deserve the right to have a safe legal market to buy it rather than dealing with dangerous criminals off the black market who will sell you deadly hard drugs. That adult marijuana consumers deserve the right to grow marijuana in their home for their own use.

    You got liberal traitor Patrick Kennedy out there screaming with his crusade against you. The marijuana reform community has to take an aggressive stance against those who want to take away our rights instead of playing nice with these people! None of the rights of no fines, no jail, no forced treatment, safe access, and homegrows for personal use is even addressed by Project Sam! All of that would remain felonies if they have their way. You need to expose them for what they are and tell them they do not represent the marijuana community!

  13. @Joe – NORML has been a major force to end the stupidity of marijuana prohibition. However, I tend to agree with you! We should be more aggressive since good people are still having their lives ruined by prohibition. People like Sabet and Patrick Kennedy need to get called out on this and ultimately get their behinds kicked – hard! If it was up to me, I’d put those two jerks in prison for their crimes against peaceful cannabis users.

  14. This is going to become one of America’s most interesting elections next year for Congress. Immigration and a series of Supreme Court rulings are clearing the way for a cannabis debate. Senators and Congressmen are scrambling like roaches in a dirty apartment when somebody flips the light on. Thanks to organizations like NORML, the truth is out there for people to see. In five minutes, we can google up the history of hemp and marijuana, find NORML and, donate and write your Congressman, feel better about ourselves and create Democratic history. The Controlled Subtance Act’s days are numbered. It’s a good day to be Democratic.

  15. The Controlled Substance Act is neither Controlled, a Substance, and should never have been an Act. Discuss…

  16. To All-

    Several main inescapable points:

    1) NORML has done what I, with all my abilities and resources, could not have – and we are seeing things begin to break down in our favor… however frustratingly slowly.

    2) As far as elections, and votes, and polls… Colorado areas have voted for legalization, however, they are still screwing around:

    3) Many of the real problems with our country are not ‘because of capitalism’, but because we are not a democracy-
    where ALL vote on ALL issues.
    We are a republic-
    where voters elect individuals to make the calls and set policies in line with the voters.
    BUT this almost does not happen-
    it is because of LOBBYISTS.

    Lobbyists have caused the drug war to maintain, in spite of the illegitimacy of it.
    (Factor in a vote to legalize by EVERY SINGLE ADULT ARRESTEE.)

    To REALLY win this war. The politicians MUST BE HELD ACCOUNTABLE. And we must have an undeniable lobby of our own.

    The drug war is a financial crusade against society by FOR-PROFIT corporations (pharma, liquor, tobacco, prison complexes, treatment groups, and more…).

    Stand with NORML.
    Clearly define your point of view, and clearly and intelligently express it.
    Hold the politicians accountable.

    And work and keep up with other groups, like these guys:

  17. WASTING YOUR TIME “Recently, there have been increasing efforts to legalize marijuana. The Obama Administration has consistently reiterated its firm opposition to any
    form of drug legalization. Together with Federal partners and state and local officials, the Office of National Drug Control Policy is working to reduce the use of marijuana and other illicit drugs through development of strategies that fully integrate the principles of prevention, treatment, recovery, and effective supply reduction efforts. Proposals such as legalization that would promote marijuana use are inconsistent with this public health and safety approach.”

  18. @Miles,
    What do you suggest to do? Nothing?
    I still say, call your reprentative & tell them what you want.
    Tell them you will help in voting them OUT of office.

  19. @Weed The People – I’ve done that already to no avail! That is exactly why I now feel the way I do. These politicians don’t seem to care what we want unless it is also what they want…

  20. I wish some lawyers would do more then print stuff like this. File a suit already especially for those of us in desperate need of medical marijuana all over the country. If I have a right to the pursuit of happiness why dont I have the right to a medication(cannabis) for major depression that actually works vs. the placbo know as Prozac or Zoloft

  21. Legalize it. Period. Its a plant. Let anyone grow it of age under controlled circumstances. Don’t let get it into the hands of underage kids just like alcohol and BUTTS. Being self reliant scares the government. Tax it? Sell it in stores like booze and cigarettes. Put pot leaves on signs saying This BUDZ for you. Then and only then will this crime against marijuana smokers start to reside. Idiocy rules America. Don’t fall for that. The government wastes trillions on war toys to kill people and fights a natural plant all these years.

  22. Every one irrespective of their status, they have to follows the legalization rules. However if there some difficulties, but need to follow those regulations, it’s important.

  23. After citizens riot and destroy the DEA headquarters, maybe then the nation will cease the war on its own people. The Egyptians are an impatient lot. How long we continue the lies?

  24. All this progress is awesome. I want to chime in a proposal.

    Have the cannabis legalization special interest groups team up with the fire arms rights groups. Both are victims of government lies and public ignorance. Both advocate personal liberty as long as it does not infringe on one another. To finish up, both have many supporters.

    Thankyou for reading this post, if you can, will you please forward this post to as many people you can? Forwarding this to the higher ups in NORML will help.

    Have a great day!

  25. Please sign the latest Whitehouse petition to decriminalize marijuana.

    We all can spread the word around and keep the pressure on our government to decriminalize marijuana.

    We have 1 month to get 100,000 signatures and then the whitehouse must respond, it will also show how easily the proponents of marijuana legalization can mobilize.

    I don’t have Twitter or Facebook if anyone does and wants to put the link up or just to sign the petition here it is.

    Decriminalize marijuana, and pardon all marijuana convictions. Over 100,000,000 U.S. Citizens have used marijuana.

    With over 500,000 marijuana arrests costing over $13 billion annually, and with more than half of U.S. Citizens favoring legalization the time is here to end marijuana prohibition.

    Marijuana prohibition is very costly to society, wasting billions of dollars and billions of hours in law enforcement, justice system and penal system time, it also destroys families and personal lives and futures.

    The effects of marijuana both physically and socially are less harmful than alcohol or tobacco, and adults should be entitled to make the decision whether or not to consume marijuana.

    It’s time to finally put an end to the criminalization of marijuana, This would not only allow our government to save billions of dollars, but could be a source of income and bring in billions of dollars in revenue.

    Please help to spread the word on any social media you can, we need this petition to go VIRAL!

    Thank you,


  26. The problem is we have political cowards in Washington who are afraid to stick there necks out. They can leave things the way they are and there is little risk. Listen to the truth about pot and make things right Mr. politician. Our political leaders are arresting and putting people in jail with based on a law that is based on non scientific facts just far flung propaganda. But by not allowing research they could keep a lid on their lies. I think our leaders are a disgrace. They have allowed our young people to be arrested to make money in the law enforcement community. Rather than catch real criminals. I hope these lawyers have an influence on our politicians so they do not have another 800,000 people arrested next year. Remember these clowns in Washington are going to tell you they are all about jobs as they ruin your kids chances to get one because of a pot arrest. Here in Florida RICK SCOTT signed into law a bill that made it a felony to sell a bong, june 2nd 2013. Remember this creepy governor come election time next year, so seniors have a chance for medical marijuana.Remember florida has prisons for profit that are making millions of dollars. So much so that they had millions extra to try and have FAU stadium named after themselves. The new bong law will make them money. Next vacation leave a hostile state like Florida to themselves and go somewhere you can have fun with out being a criminal. GIVE IT HECK LEAGUE OF LAWERS!

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