More and more states, in conflict with federal policy, are permitting the use of medical marijuana and decriminalizing its recreational use. In order to examine this unnecessary conflict as well as the current federal policy’s broad impacts, Congressman Steve Cohen (D-TN) introduced legislation last week to create a National Commission on Federal Marijuana Policy.
“[I]t’s important that we understand the impact of current federal policy and address the conflict with those state laws that allow for medicinal or personal use of marijuana,” said Congressman Cohen. “This conflict is only going to continue to grow…we must provide certainty to the millions of individuals and businesses that remain caught in a web of incompatible laws. “
Congressman Cohen is optimistic that a national commission would provide the government with the tools necessary to create sensible policy.
A similar commission was created in 1971. Released two years later, the “National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse,” which was led by former Pennsylvania Governor Raymond P. Shafer, called for the decriminalization of marijuana.
The Shafer Commission’s recommendations were disregarded and the War on Drugs nonsensically expanded. As a result, countless responsible marijuana users have been saddled with criminal records, nonviolent offenders have been crammed into our overcrowded prisons, and taxpayer dollars and law enforcement resources continue to be wasted in the attempt to impose failed marijuana policies.
The majority of Americans believe marijuana should be taxed and regulated like alcohol. Forty years of ignorance is enough; it’s time to re-evaluate federal policy.