Cannabis: neuer Vorstoss im US-Kongress

Zum ersten Mal seit fast 25 Jahren machen zwei amerikanische Parlamentarier einen Vorstoss für die Legalisierung von Cannabis: Barney Frank (Demokrat, Massachusetts) und Ron Paul (Republikaner, Texas) fordern gemeinsam unter dem Titel House Bill HR 5843, an ‘Act to Remove Federal Penalties for Personal Use of Marijuana by Responsible Adults.’, dass der private Gebrauch von Cannabis durch mündige Erwachsene durch keinerlei Strafen bedroht wird.

Die parlamentarische Initiative erfolgt in enger Zusammenarbeit mit NORML und dessen langjährigem Geschäftsführer Keith Stroup. Stroup schreibt im NORML-Newsletter. “Millions of hard-working Americans use marijuana.  Most consume it responsibly, in the privacy of their own homes, and in a manner similar to alcohol.  Why then are we spending millions of dollars each year to arrest these otherwise law-abiding individuals?  It’s time to end the madness; it’s time to stop arresting responsible marijuana consumers.  I urge you to support House Bill HR 5843, an ‘Act to Remove Federal Penalties for Personal Use of Marijuana by Responsible Adults’.

NORML fordert alle amerikanischen Bürger auf, ihre Abgeordenten am 21.4. 2008 mit Telefonen und emails zu überschwemmen. Dies ist der vorgeschlagene email-Text:
I’m writing today to urge your support for H.R. 5843, an “Act to Remove Federal Penalties for Personal Use of Marijuana by Responsible Adults,” which seeks to eliminate federal penalties for the possession and non-for-profit distribution of small amounts of cannabis.

Specifically, the bill would eliminate federal penalties prohibiting the personal use and possession of up to 100 grams (3 1/2 ounces) of marijuana, and for the not-for-profit transfers of up to one ounce of cannabis. This common sense change will ensure that adults who possess small quantities of cannabis for their own personal use will no longer be subject to arrest or prosecution, or the emotional, social, and financial hardships that follow.

Otherwise law-abiding citizens who use marijuana responsibly are not part of the crime problem, and we must stop treating them like criminals. In 2006, the last year for which national data is available, law enforcement arrested over 829,000 persons for marijuana violations – the highest annual total ever recorded. Of those arrested, approximately 90 percent were charged with minor marijuana possession only.

Seldom emphasized penalties associated with a minor marijuana conviction include probation and mandatory drug testing, loss of employment, loss of child custody, removal from subsidized housing, asset forfeiture, loss of student aid, loss of voting privileges, loss of adoption rights, and the loss of certain federal welfare benefits such as food stamps. Thousands of Americans suffer such sanctions every day – at a rate of one person every 38 seconds. Surely, our limited law enforcement resources would be better served targeting more serious and violent crimes.

On this latter point, most Americans agree. Marijuana decriminalization currently enjoys support from the majority of Americans. According to a CNN/Time Magazine poll, 76% of US citizens favor a fine over criminal penalties for the possession of marijuana. In fact, twelve states – representing one third of the population of the United States – have already enacted various forms of marijuana decriminalization, eliminating criminal sanctions for cannabis possession. Vermont, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts are currently considering similar options.

Once again, I urge you to support the passage of H.R. 5843. It is a common sense approach that will refocus law enforcement resources on fighting violent and more serious crimes. Please support H.R. 5843 and stop arresting responsible adult marijuana consumers.

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