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H.R. 5843, The Act to Remove Federal Penalties for the Personal Use of Marijuana by Responsible Adults (482 comments ↓ | 6 wiki edits: view article ↓)

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H.R. 5843 would eliminate most Federal penalties for possession of marijuana for personal use.

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From the Blog

Marijuana: It’s Time for a Conversation

A top bill on WashingtonWatch.com this week is H.R. 5843, which would “remove federal penalties for the personal use of marijuana by responsible adults.” It’s gotten hundreds of comments over the last few months. The terms of the bil...

Marijuana Decriminalization – On a Roll?

It was a notable the other day when Attorney General Eric Holder announced that he would not devote federal resources to pursuing marijuana dispensaries in the many states that have legalized medical marijuana. On the heels of that announcement, sever...

Visitor Comments Comments Feed for This Bill

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John

April 21, 2008, 10:30pm (report abuse)

It's about time, pot is now the nations #1 cash crop.

Did we learn nothing from alcohol prohibition? Legalize and put the 100+ billion pot industry into our economy and tax revenue, not organized crime.

Tax and control like alcohol and it'll be harder for kids to get, as right now they buy it at any school in the country.

Will

April 21, 2008, 11:04pm (report abuse)

Its about time someone stepped up to the plate. It needs to be done. Just think about the thousands (maybe millions) of tax dollars that each state could make off taxing marijuana.

Johnny

April 22, 2008, 10:14pm (report abuse)

This should have happened a long time ago. We need to realize that this can only improve economy and the youth.

Emma

April 23, 2008, 12:36pm (report abuse)

Legalizing marijuana will have many positive effects on the nation's economy and will finally free space in our nation's prisons. People accused of possessing, distributing, or using marijuana are NOT criminals by any means.

Erik

April 23, 2008, 8:58pm (report abuse)

Im all for the legalization of pot, but does anybody really think this could happen?

Lagoon

April 24, 2008, 8:41am (report abuse)

End the war against our family and friends.

Shaun

April 24, 2008, 12:49pm (report abuse)

How do we support this bill? Who do we write to? I think it's long overdue, the last vestiges of the age of Temperance and the social class fearmongering of Reefer Madness. Reefer causing rape IS madness.

Shelley Marie

April 24, 2008, 4:13pm (report abuse)

Yes, yes, yes. It's about time. End the war on marijuana!

Jake

April 24, 2008, 6:55pm (report abuse)

I believe that we should learn from the past. Look to the Prohibition and see how organized crime became rampant in the United States. This is a big leap forward for the US economy.

Andrew

April 24, 2008, 7:30pm (report abuse)

Legalize it! Go here to send a message to your state rep!

http://capwiz.com/norml2/issues/alert/?alertid=11280301&type=CO

Terry

April 24, 2008, 10:46pm (report abuse)

Yes e-mail or call your congressman immediately and tell them to support H.R. 5843!

I AM NOT A CRIMINAL

Mikey

April 24, 2008, 10:48pm (report abuse)

Also Terry, tell everyone you know, friends, family. I am thinking about writing Support H.R. 5843 on my car window with those marker things. One Love~!

loonidood

April 25, 2008, 11:35am (report abuse)

This would have a tremendous effect on the workforce, with millions of people suddenly free to work for utilities, factories, and all the other jobs that require drug tests as a sorting-out of a big percentage of the population.

wingtip

April 25, 2008, 11:50am (report abuse)

prison guard's union;

has become a major player in California politics. Its political influence has grown to the point that it is widely considered to be one of the most powerful political forces in Sacramento.

Have you ever wondered why California's prison population grew from 23,264 in 1980 to 180,846 in July 2000? What has driven the growth of the prison system in California over the past two decades is the 25-fold increase in the number of drug offenders sentenced to prison.California now has the highest rate of drug offender incarcerations in the nation .....

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and the Legislature approved a $7.4 billion bond measure last April to provide 53,000 new prison and county jail beds

U.S. District Judge Thelton Henderson ruled in 2006 that the $1.1 billion medical care system in California's 33 prisons was "broken beyond repair," ......

Against and Anonymous

April 25, 2008, 11:55am (report abuse)

You must be kidding me - So far I can't see anything helpful about alcohol and weed or drug usage OF ANY KIND - I I did my best to use them all!! Look at any crime - guns involved, domestic abuse - almost all crime is 'under the influence' -

I think alcohol is SUPER deadly; let alone pot - so you get no + vote from me. I know what you think re: taxes etc - it all sounds great on paper - but it stills opens the door to ALLOW and condone the usage of it all.

Why do we need any of it???? Ever think about that? Why can't we seem to 'feel' life rather than numb ourselves from living a REAL life - an authentic life. Oh and by the way? Think about how many BAD decisions you've made (young and old) under the influence of both these things. AND GUESS HOW PAYS FOR THAT???

Idiots everywhere.

Maybe stop and think about getting through a DAY WITHOUT - hmmmmmmm there's a thought.

Against Against and Anonymous

April 25, 2008, 12:16pm (report abuse)

Almost all crime is not under the influence. You obviously know nothing about what you speak. Drug crimes are committed because of the black market drugs create. Eliminate the black market, eliminate the crime. I'd love to see whatever stat you can produce about crimes committed on marijuana - because you can't produce one, it doesn't exist. I had to read your incoherent junk twice to figure out that you were against - because the amongst the arguments you make are the best for legalization & taxation. Please, educate yourself.

john

April 25, 2008, 12:24pm (report abuse)

I am in favor of this bill. But I do disagree that there will be a significant amount of tax dollars on this 'product.' It is not like alcohol or tobacco because it is very easy to grow your own (i.e. tax free).

to Against and Anonymous

April 25, 2008, 12:26pm (report abuse)

it's about people being free to make their own choices and have their own experiences.

People like you would keep EVERYONE from doing ANYTHING that YOU feel is NOT GOOD.

Just because it may become legal, does NOT mean you have to use it or like it or not fight against it. You can continue to be a highly regulated, government shill while I'm not...

Dave

April 25, 2008, 12:26pm (report abuse)

Legalization of possession gets some benefits (reduces costs), but to really make a difference you should also legalize its sale, and tax it to get some revenue (and thus reduce other taxes).

Justin

April 25, 2008, 12:28pm (report abuse)

Write your congressman. Reasonable change starts with you.

Jason

April 25, 2008, 12:33pm (report abuse)

It's about time we citizens do something to support our representatives who bring forth these types of things. There's no need for the government to regulate personal responsibility. There's no need for our government to punish and jail people for personal drug use.

Repression

April 25, 2008, 12:51pm (report abuse)

People may not like marijuana use, or think its unhealthy. Sh*t, I love the stuff and I worry about it sometimes. What you have to understand, Against and Anonymous, is the cost of repressing these things in society. As with psychological repression, social repression doesn't actually stop the behavior in question, it just sends it underground, to come out in far more harmful and twisted ways. And what happens when we repress our society's desire for drugs? It becomes a war on the poor, a war on the cancer patients, a war on our children, and nobody benefits. It was always far harder to get alcohol in high school than it was to get marijuana.

john is dumb

April 25, 2008, 12:58pm (report abuse)

tobacco is easly grown also, you dont see people doing much of that in their back yards. people are lazy if you sell packs of joints at the store most people would just do that. becides you would have to have more than a few plants in your closet to stay stoned for any period of time, not to mention the time it takes to grow the things.

Doug

April 25, 2008, 1:18pm (report abuse)

@ Against Against and Anonymous:

Do you ever go to a nice restaurant? Do you drive a car that is any bigger that the absolute minimum? I don't cast aspersions on the way you relax and enjoy life, please don't get on your high horse and do it to me.

Before you go to the old argument that my usage kills other people...no one is saying to legalize DUI. And violence associated with drugs is a side effect of the black market.

The angry economist

April 25, 2008, 1:23pm (report abuse)

http://youtube.com/watch?v=22dX74hgTiw

my contribution to the legality of marijuana

Sheila

April 25, 2008, 1:34pm (report abuse)

No new taxes....please.

Say yes to HR 5843 just to be right for a change.....the country of freedom is starting to look like a concentration camp.

Ian

April 25, 2008, 1:40pm (report abuse)

I can sympathize with people who are afraid of social costs of legalization. I assure you the social costs of the war on drugs are worse. First, keep in mind this is only regarding personal use of marijuana. This is not distribution and it is not the more serious drugs that are actually involved in violent crime. There is no reason to lock up nonviolent marijuana offenders or to put a black mark on their employment record keeping them from gaining education or employment in the future. As Jimmy Carter said, "Penalties against possession of a drug should not be more damaging to an individual than the use of the drug itself."

Dennis

April 25, 2008, 1:41pm (report abuse)

I disagree with you John. There are many reasons for government regulation and control of a relatively harmless recreational drug like marijuana. One main reason is the measured quality of the product. I personally would rather pick up a five-pack of special "swisher sweets" at the liquor store, than mess with fertilizer, watering, curing, rolling, etc... Although there will be a few enthusiasists who prefer to grow their own, most people would prefer to just buy it rolled and ready to go. The "convenience" under a regulated market in the consumer driven US would supercede thoughts of home grown hassle. The market exists for regulated distribution of marijuana, as evidenced by the unregulated distribution of marijuana. Think about it.

Dirk Diggler

April 25, 2008, 1:43pm (report abuse)

i don't think these kats use marijuana responsibly http://digitalfuntown.squarespace.com/dft-blog/2008/3/4/the-nuttcups-series-chemical-compound.html

anonymous advocate

April 25, 2008, 1:44pm (report abuse)

Pot should be legalized, but regulated like tobacco and alcohol. If people are educated on the effects of pot, then we'd be in a much better situation than we are now. Due to the "illegal" nature of the plant, you don't get much education about it aside from the typical "Just say no" mantra. There are countless numbers of people in the world who smoke pot and still live productive (and pleasant) lives. It should really be a matter of choice whether someone wants to use it or not.

BOSS

April 25, 2008, 1:46pm (report abuse)

i hope everyone realizes that this is to remove federal penalties. states will still have the restrictions in place. so, while this is an important step, it's nothing more than a nudge in the right direction. hopefully it'll find away to get tacked on to a bill that's more likely to get passed.

Richard

April 25, 2008, 1:46pm (report abuse)

Legalize it. Tax it. Put the billions of dollars into our economy instead of letting illegal growers and importers from Mexico get it. It's been proven time and again that Marijuana is far less harmful than alcohol and a total waste of time for our police. So quit the ridiculous political posturing and legalize it.

Joe

April 25, 2008, 1:47pm (report abuse)

It's about time.

Dennis

April 25, 2008, 1:57pm (report abuse)

BOSS. You forget that "The People" have a lot more political clout at the State level than they do at the Federal level. Practical grass roots movement can easily sway a state legislature.

Will

April 25, 2008, 2:07pm (report abuse)

All the other good agruments aside...

Regulating what people can and cannot put in their bodies is unconstitutional! Any real patriot should respect the freedom endowed to us by our founding fathers.

Fred

April 25, 2008, 3:22pm (report abuse)

There are a great many hurdles to overcome before the ruling class finally see reality. The alcohol and prescription drug companies don't want to see legal pot as that would cut WAY into their profits. They pay the lobbyists, fund campaigns, and the rest of us in America don't. Who do you think the law makers will listen to?

Sad, but true.

Keri

April 25, 2008, 3:32pm (report abuse)

A lot of people use marijuana for reason other than just getting high. My father suffers from an inexplicable tremor. He can't even write his own name. Doctors have been unable to determine the cause, though, so without a diagnosis he cannot use marijuana medicinally, not that he could in our state anyway. It does stop the tremors, and he doesn't deserve to be treated like a criminal.

Seriously

April 25, 2008, 3:45pm (report abuse)

how have I impeded on anyone elses rights by enjoying a herb? why do people still think that marijuana is so harmful, even though it was made illegal without even studying it? I'm not bothering anyone by playing video games and listening to music under the influence of marijuana. I don't drive high. so why does society think I owe it something when I enjoy something by myself? Prisons have turned into a slave trade. Privately owned prisons make more money when they have more people incarcerated. the american people are better than this. live stoned.

Tom

April 25, 2008, 3:58pm (report abuse)

A good way to collect tax revenue on home growers is to require a license to grow it. Charge per plant, simple enough. I'd gladly pay.

We have too many no violent people in prison right now because of our draconian drug laws. What is wrong with someone who wants to grow a plant in the privacy of their own home and partake in the privacy of their own home? Nothing.

We make such a big deal about drinking and driving, but still there are parking lots in front of bars...think about that one for a moment.

What we do in the privacy of our own homes is no ones business but our own.

a1

April 25, 2008, 4:07pm (report abuse)

I'm against legalization. I'm for decriminalization to a certain extent. Get it however you can get it. Do it in the privacy of your home. Don't get caught with it or under the influence of it unless for some insane reason you WANT to be penalized.

Shell

April 25, 2008, 4:17pm (report abuse)

2.5 million people in jail in this Country and about half for marijuana at a cost of about 1 billion per year to taxpayers. How about that for a reason to legalize it.

Bob/Paul

April 25, 2008, 4:19pm (report abuse)

John: Read the detailed summary... "This bill will not affect federal laws prohibiting the sale of Marijuana for profit, nor the import, export and cultivation of Marijuana. It will also not alter the legal status of Marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug according to the Controlled Substances Act."

If sale for profit, import, and export are all still illegal, than I have a feeling they won't be able to tax it, either. How can you tax that which can't be sold?

Alicia Mariah

April 25, 2008, 4:43pm (report abuse)

It's already been said. The money that one could make off of legalizing marijuana is reason enough alone.

Lets do it

April 25, 2008, 4:49pm (report abuse)

Always was told it was bad bad bad. So I thought it was bad bad bad. Then I met quite a few good people who use marijuana. Every one of them have proven to be responsible adults. I have no further reason to think its bad bad bad... lets do it

G

April 25, 2008, 4:53pm (report abuse)

This should happen how can we help get this passed?

xkey

April 25, 2008, 5:08pm (report abuse)

Wake up sheeple!

Daniel Fulenwider

April 25, 2008, 5:40pm (report abuse)

Finally two congressman that have enough balls to stand up to the mainstream and their closed-minded propaganda. Please support this bill and tell everyone you know too as well.

Freedom LOVER

April 25, 2008, 5:44pm (report abuse)

Contacting you congressmen is the best thing you can do. You had the time to read my comment, you have the time to contact him/her. DO IT NOW!

Hate the smell

April 25, 2008, 5:52pm (report abuse)

I'm all up for passing this act. However, to all the smokers, PLEASE stay the HELL away from me if you reek of the stuff. It's freaking gross having to sit next to a person who just smoked it or even have the smell of it on your hand when someone who just smoked touches your stuff.

Smitty

April 25, 2008, 6:06pm (report abuse)

Here’s what you can do to help move this legislation along…

Contact your House representative:

https://forms.house.gov/wyr/welcome.shtml

Contact the Speaker of the House – Nancy Pelosi:

http://www.speaker.gov/

Contact the Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee – John Conyers:

http://judiciary.house.gov/contact.aspx

Contact Chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee – John Dingle

http://energycommerce.house.gov/membios/contact_form.shtml

Email all your friends and ask them to do the same thing. Use the tools on this site.

The Cenobyte

April 25, 2008, 7:17pm (report abuse)

Legalize it. All making something illegal does it make more crime. Nothing should ever be illegal unless you can see direct effect on someone else. Smoking, drinking, drugging, no seatbelt. Whatever... Become a libritarian, take back your liberty.

chris

April 25, 2008, 8:45pm (report abuse)

i want can has weezburgerz?

Jim

April 25, 2008, 11:06pm (report abuse)

Good luck! The marijuana laws result in the employment of lots of people from arrest, prosecution, incarceration or rehab, and so on. How is that segment of the economy going to agree to stop that income stream and become unemployed? Wish it would be legalized/de-criminalized, but reason and facts are not the issue.

Steppenwoof

April 25, 2008, 11:51pm (report abuse)

I contected by email my congresswoman (a republican) about this bi-partisan bill, to get her to co-sponser it. She claimed that no such legislation existed. The moron.

bobbydee

April 26, 2008, 11:11am (report abuse)

The bill won't pass this time through, but it will allow us to determine which reps, who live in contestable districts (either general or primary) oppose/favor it. That will allow us to focus our resources on electing/tossing-out those reps. I would be willing to relocate in order to establish residency anywhere in the US to help get reasonable reps in office. I am also willing to purchase a home and take on as many roomates as local law allows so that they can establish residency.

The Millenial Generation is now larger than the Baby Boomers. And the so-called Greatest Generation is moving on to the next life. Demographic shift (Millenials increasingly attaining voting age status) and new tools for organizing (the internet) will allow us to succeed within the next decade.

Mr. Sensible

April 26, 2008, 12:54pm (report abuse)

Hemp should definitely be legalized. The word 'marijuana' was invented to make hemp sound more foreign and to aid the agenda of those who conspired to make it's cultivation and use illegal. Since then, the drug war has done nothing but ruin many people's lives by turning them into criminals and incarcerating them simply because they prefer to smoke a little weed on the weekends rather than getting hammered in some bar then sliding behind the wheel for the trip home. Anyone who disagrees that hemp should be made legal is either an idiot who refuses to see the truth or a cop who makes his living from forfeitures.

Sign me,

A P.H.D. from Missouri

Barb Marshall

April 26, 2008, 2:44pm (report abuse)

Marijuana does NOT make you violent.

If anyone says they know someone who smoked weed then committed a violent crime, they should look more closely at what was smoke and inquire as to what other drugs might have been taken as well. Pot makes the user passive. That is a fact. As with any drug there may be a few whom have the opposite effect, As with Benadryl an antihistamine sold over the counter. This can be said of almost any drug in your local pharmacy.I am against the government telling me what I can or can not put into my body.Then using my tax dollars to impose the law that I don't support. I can think of much more urgent need of my tax dollars. I want the government to STOP wasting my money.Everyone reading this needs to know how their local congressmen feels about this subject. If they don't agree with your beliefs then get them voted out of office.

shady8x

April 26, 2008, 3:18pm (report abuse)

Nearly 3 out of 4 Americans support a fine-only (no jail) for recreational smokers.

Its about time that politicians listened to the people they claim to represent!!!

Mario

April 26, 2008, 4:41pm (report abuse)

About time. All for it!

KT

April 26, 2008, 4:51pm (report abuse)

This only eliminates federal penalties. Aren't most people who are arrested/convicted/incarcerated for marijuana use penalized under state law?

bobbydee

April 26, 2008, 6:05pm (report abuse)

KT,

Yes, but if a state legalizes low level possession, then federal law enforcement officials can still prosecute individuals. This bill would allow states to decide. This is certainly a marathon, not a sprint, but we ought to get running by taking the first step.

College Student

April 26, 2008, 7:26pm (report abuse)

It seems the further west one travels, the more likely it is to encounter a state that has legalized Marijuana use. Now it seems that a person is more likely to get in trouble with the feds than with local police for drug use. In my state, if you have less than an ounce (no matter the quality) it's a $100 fine. However, people previously incarcerated remain in jail (we don't want to look soft on crime).

While smoking is a different experience for all people, and like alcohol there is no reason to do it continuously all day, everyday... My friends and I smoke nearly every day, usually just once and only casually. We all maintain above a 3.6 at one of the hardest universities in the state.

Put simply, "Dope" doesn't always make you dumb, and usage should be at the discretion of the people.

Elizebeth

April 27, 2008, 12:21am (report abuse)

oh good. It is such a peaceful harmless drug compared to alchohol.

i vote no

April 27, 2008, 1:34am (report abuse)

damn stoners using up the worlds supply of lighters, snack cakes, and glass.

Travis

April 27, 2008, 5:20am (report abuse)

heres a few other reasons why to legalize it . First of all and most productive if u ask me is it can replace paper , and its so easy to grow you don't need to cut new forest down to make more. cooking oils and food. clothing . even car fuels . the list go's on and is expanding ever more as research is being allowed more and more nowadays. so maybe the reason the government doesn't want it legalized . is because it will stop allot of money they make on many other products and industry's/company's. not to mention it might bring upon a more peaceful planet and in my opinion they don't want that either.

Kevin

April 27, 2008, 5:42am (report abuse)

I believe many Americans are opposed to legalization of marijuana because they have been immersed in the "war on drugs" for almost 30 years now. Propaganda like "just say no", "gateway drug", "drugs are bad, mkay" have brainwashed the American people into thinking that marijuana is one of the most harmful substances in existence.

I don't smoke weed, I've never even touched marijuana! but I can clearly see the cost on our economy that the war on drugs has. I can clearly see that marijuana is no more dangerous or harmful than cigarettes or alcohol (and is probably less dangerous than those legal drugs). And finally, I can clearly see that marijuana is making 'criminals' out of normal people every day.

Legalize it (write to your reps!)

John Sullivan

April 27, 2008, 6:32am (report abuse)

Yeah I have been to jail like 10 times for a dime bag,thats pretty stupid on my part yeah but how much money was wasted.420 style check out my blog homies

http://potpolitics.com

willnavidson

April 27, 2008, 6:36am (report abuse)

If you read the bill, you'll notice that this is supported by none other than Ron Paul :)

Tyestick

April 27, 2008, 6:50am (report abuse)

It really boils down to this..Your Personal Liberty To Choose.

Liberty to "Just Say No"

Liberty to live your life as you want

If it dont Infringe on your personal Liberty then why would you be bias and Infringe open my Liberties?

Feel free not to smoke it.

Its real simple cause I'll only ask once if you want to smoke with me.

Its not a big deal if you dont.

See, Thats respecting your rights.

Doug

April 27, 2008, 9:53am (report abuse)

... and among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness...

Dave

April 27, 2008, 9:56am (report abuse)

Please legalize and end this madness. For a country that calls itself "the land of the free" America locks up and criminalizes alot of free people. America and the UN are running the modern incarnation of the Inquisition. It's time to end this insanity before it is carried to its logical conclusion and becomes something much worse.

pissinguparope

April 27, 2008, 10:02am (report abuse)

People in British Columbia would love to see this pass, since the bud from here has been keeping alot of you potheads stoned since the late 60's

Tommy2

April 27, 2008, 10:13am (report abuse)

Legalize it and the kids will actually smoke it less.

harry

April 27, 2008, 10:16am (report abuse)

Cannabis users will always be criminals in this country. Deal with it.

Cokehead

April 27, 2008, 10:28am (report abuse)

Legalize cocaine too while you're at it.

Kenny

April 27, 2008, 10:38am (report abuse)

Seriously, this criminalization of such a harmless thing has got to stop.

A frequent user

April 27, 2008, 10:39am (report abuse)

I smoke cannabis regularly, but have recently stopped for a month to pass a drug test for an upcoming job. Partial legalization like this in the U.S. will help make it possible for the same thing to happen for us here in Canada. Weed is not addictive, it will not take over your life and you do not (in any respects) feel like committing crimes when you are high. You feel like sitting on your couch and watching cartoons or the discovery channel. Who the hell is harmed by that? I don't go to work stoned, I don't go to school stoned. I get stoned at home and I am not hurting anyone. So friends, legalize it!

@ harry

April 27, 2008, 10:42am (report abuse)

Some of the smartest people in the world where/are cannabis users and a few where even president of the united states. Racists and bigots are criminals. the lack of knowledge that people have on cannabis causes much more harm then cannabis users do. do some homework

Anon

April 27, 2008, 10:46am (report abuse)

A wiki requiring login is stupid. If I didn't have to log in I would have fixed the "non for profit" thing.

@ i vote no

April 27, 2008, 10:48am (report abuse)

its a good thing there are people out there like you just to show how stupid some people can be. I'm glad you say no, because you sir, are an idiot and frankly i don't want you on our side if your just going to be saying stupid sh*t all the time.

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