Joined: Oct 24, 2006
Sat Aug 04, 2007 10:44 am
Washington, DC: The federal prohibition of marijuana was signed into law seventy years ago today, and stands as one of the government’s greatest public policy failures, NORML Executive Director Allen St. Pierre said today.
On August 2, 1937, then-President Franklin Roosevelt signed the "Marihuana Tax Act" into law, which criminalized the possession and use of cannabis through prohibitive taxation. The legislation received less than one hour of debate by Congress, during which time government witnesses testified to the drug’s allegedly "deadly" nature. Though the American Medical Association (AMA) lobbied against the bill’s passage, both the House and Senate overwhelmingly approved the measure without taking a recorded vote.
In 1969, the Supreme Court struck down the 1937 law. However, in 1970, Congress included cannabis as a Schedule I substance under the US Controlled Substances Act – determining that marijuana possessed "a high potential for abuse" and "no currently accepted medical use in treatment."
Under current federal law, possession of any amount of cannabis is punishable by up to one year in prison and a $1,000 fine.
"Without question, the federal government’s seven-decade long criminal prohibition of cannabis has been one of the most destructive and financially taxing public policies of all time," St. Pierre said. "More than 17 million Americans have been arrested on marijuana violations since 1970 alone, and today one in every eight inmates is serving time for pot. Even more disturbing, for seventy years the US government has been deliberately twisting science, thwarting free speech, withholding a legitimate medicine from seriously ill patients, and dramatically encroaching upon the public’s civil liberties – all in the name of it’s futile war on cannabis and cannabis consumers."
According to federal government figures, nearly half of the population over aged 12 admits using marijuana. The government further reports that domestic marijuana production has increased ten-fold in the past 25 years from 1,000 metric tons (2.2 million pounds) to 10,000 metric tons (22 million pounds).
"By every conceivable measurement, marijuana prohibition has been a catastrophic failure," St. Pierre said. "It’s time to end this seven-decade experiment in futility and enact a legal system of cannabis regulation and taxation."
St. Pierre noted that the organization is ‘celebrating’ the 70 year anniversary of pot prohibition by launching a special outreach appeal the to group’s 32,000 supporters on its myspace.com homepage (http://www.myspace.com/natlnorml), as well as broadcasting a special August 2nd "anniversary" edition of the NORML’s podcast, the NORML Daily Audio Stash.
Since April 1, 2007, more than 1.2 million listeners have downloaded broadcasts of the Audio Stash, making NORML’s podcast one of the most popular audiocasts available on the Internet.
For more information, please visit: http://www.normlaudiostash.com or http://www.myspace.com/natlnorml. Media inquiries should be directed to Allen St. Pierre, NORML National Director, at (202) 483-5500.
Wait - what was I just talking about?