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Mar-24-2008 14:53printcomments

Congressman Frank to Introduce Federal Marijuana Decriminalization Bill

CSMP Applauds Effort and Symmetry with Proposed Statewide Ballot Initiative.

U.S. Representative Barney Frank
U.S. Representative Barney Frank
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(BOSTON, Mass.) - The Committee for Sensible Marijuana Policy today applauded U.S. Representative Barney Frank's (D-4th MA) announcement that he would introduce federal marijuana decriminalization legislation that parallels CSMP's statewide effort to create sound marijuana policies.

Frank announced his bill to reform smalltime marijuana penalties – a position shared by the majority of Massachusetts voters – during his appearance on HBO’s "Real Time with Bill Maher" over the weekend.

"The Massachusetts Committee for Sensible Marijuana Policy is proud to be moving forward on the state level to create a sound marijuana policy while Congressman Frank tackles this issue in the nation’s capital," said Whitney A. Taylor, CSMP campaign manager.

"The people of Massachusetts are ready for a proven, practical marijuana policy, which is reflected in the efforts of both Congressman Frank and CSMP."

By creating a civil penalty system for possession of up to an ounce of marijuana, CSMP's initiative will greatly reduce the human and financial costs of current laws. According to Harvard economist Dr. Jeff Miron, Massachusetts’ taxpayers spend $29.5 million a year just to arrest and book offenders who possess an ounce or less of marijuana.

This arrest can result in up to six months in jail and a $500 fine, but more costly is the creation of a criminal record — or CORI — for these offenders.

A CORI can essentially mean a lifetime of punishment, making an individual ineligible for student loans, creating barriers to employment, and banning smalltime marijuana violators from many housing opportunities, Taylor said.

Last year, over 7,500 Bay Staters received a CORI and endless barriers to a successful life for personal possession of an ounce or less of marijuana.

"This commonsense approach to marijuana possession will create huge savings, both human and financial," Taylor said. "Thousands of individuals will be able to move on to lead productive lives, while over $29 million a year can stay in local community coffers — it is a win-win for Massachusetts."

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like it matter what i say March 26, 2008 3:43 pm (Pacific time)

Ok so we see a trend in last 40 years dont we. Maybe this will be the beginning to a not so radical approach. What I think needs to be kept in mine, is to not get so excited over the possibility of a national leniency towards this compromise. I hope the pro canninas culture can contain their radical behavoir and conduct themselves in the necessary manner to acomplish the attainment of this personal right. Do the right thing, vote pro cannabis.

Bernard Continelli March 26, 2008 5:42 am (Pacific time)

How come the only person to revive the decrim/de-facto battle in an age of "PC" medical/industrial-only cannabis is openly gay? Hmmmm, maybe Frank's MORE of a man than you cowardly gangsta rappers and "tough" guy bikers with your "I like to fight" T-shirts, AND New Age gun-and-omnivorism hating hippies who ABANDONED decrim/de-facto when "the goin' got tough"!

famous March 25, 2008 11:55 am (Pacific time)

Makes sense you know teacher it really makes sense

LIBERTARIAN JIM March 25, 2008 8:13 am (Pacific time)

I'm not a Barney fan, but at least he has the courage to get the ball rolling to stop the Federal despots from violating Americans rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. I'm sure Ron Paul will sign on for bipartisan support. Get'm Barney!!

Mike March 25, 2008 5:38 am (Pacific time)

I'm moving there!!!

mntnman March 24, 2008 6:21 pm (Pacific time)

Way to go Barney!

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