House bill seeks an end to U.S. ban on marijuana
The legislation would eliminate marijuana-specific penalties under federal law, but would maintain a ban on transporting marijuana across state lines. It would allow individuals to grow and sell marijuana in states that make it legal.
The bill has no chance of passing the Republican-controlled House.
The bill was introduced by Democrat Barney Frank of Massachusetts and Ron Paul, a Texas Republican running for his party's presidential nomination.
Four Democrats are co-sponsors: John Conyers of Michigan, Barbara Lee of California, Jared Polis of Colorado and Steve Cohen of Tennessee.
"Criminally prosecuting adults for making the choice to smoke marijuana is a waste of law enforcement resources and an intrusion on personal freedom," Frank said.
"I do not advocate urging people to smoke marijuana. Neither do I urge them to drink alcoholic beverages or smoke tobacco. But in none of these cases do I think prohibition enforced by criminal sanctions is good public policy."
The bill would have to go through the House Judiciary Committee. Chairman Lamar Smith, R-Texas, said his panel would not consider it.
"Marijuana use and distribution is prohibited under federal law because it has a high potential for abuse and does not have an accepted medical use in the U.S.," Smith said. "The Food and Drug Administration has not approved smoked marijuana for any condition or disease."
"Decriminalizing marijuana will only lead to millions more Americans becoming addicted to drugs and greater profits for drug cartels who fund violence along the U.S.-Mexico border. Allowing states to determine their own marijuana policy flies in the face of Supreme Court precedent."
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