A new bill has been introduced in the House of Representatives that would “eliminate most Federal penalties for possession of marijuana for personal use, and for other purposes.” H.R. 5843 is sponsored by Massachusetts DemocratBarney Frank and co-sponsored by Texas Republican Ron Paul, among others. The bill carries a very reassuring title, too: Act to Remove Federal Penalties for Personal Use of Marijuana by Responsible Adults.
Over the past few years, numerous states have passed so-called “medical marijuana” laws, allowing doctors to prescribe pot to patients to treat a variety of symptoms. A total of 13 states have also passed measures decriminalizing marijuana. This new bill would expand that tolerance of the drug to include open recreational use.
Interviewed recently by Esquire about the new measure, Frank was asked why Congress is taking so long to take action that so many states have pursued. Here’s his response:
“This is a case where there’s cultural lag on the part of my colleagues. If you ask them privately, they don’t think it’s a terrible thing. But they’re afraid of being portrayed as soft on drugs.”
Another politician who has never been accused of being afraid to express his beliefs on legalizing pot is Paul, who gave a memorable interview on the subject a few months ago. Watch it here.
So, it’s clear what Barney Frank and Ron Paul think about decriminalizing marijuana, but what’s your take?
“New scientific evidence shows that treating people with HIV not only fights their own illness but also stops the HIV virus spreading – in fact, the evidence is that people on antiretroviral treatment are 90% less infectious than those not on treatment. This opens up a whole new world where we not only treat the individual with ARVs but we can aim to reduce new infections at the community level too.”—
Dr. Isabelle Andrieux-Meyer,HIV advisor, MSF Access Campaign
MSF is calling on world leaders to massively scale up HIV treatment at next weeks UN Summit on AIDS. Learn more.