Posted April 30, 2013 by evergreen-culture in Policy

National Commission…Redux


Some much-needed reason is being injected into the debate around the federal prohibition on cannabis (marijuana) as a group of congressmen are calling for a presidential commission to investigate our current marijuana policy and hold it up to the light of facts as presented and reviewed by experts on the commission. We are especially impressed with the list of recommendations that are being proposed for investigation and delivery to the federal government by this council.

  • ‘How federal policy should interact with the State laws that make marijuana legal for medicinal or personal use;
  • ‘The cost of marijuana and potential state and federal regulation of marijuana, as well as the potential revenue generated by taxation of marijuana’
  • ‘The health impacts…related to marijuana use…in comparison to alcohol and tobacco use;
  • ‘The impact of marijuana prohibition on criminal justice, including any racial disparities, and the collateral consequences of prosecution for marijuana possession, including lack of access to housing, education and employment.’

These are precisely the right questions and areas to investigate, and there is a wealth of data, study results and medical/health evidence available so it is our hope that when the facts conflict with longstanding mythology around this plant they will be prepared to make bold recommendations regarding the senseless policies that have been in place, put there based on corporate greed and strengthened by political corruption.

House Resolution 1635, the National Commission of Federal Marijuana Policy Act of 2013, has been proposed by Congressmen from TN, OR, VA, CO and CA (kind of surprised that WA isn’t represented here along with CO as that would make more sense, but hopefully we will be represented somehow).

Their model will be built off of the 1970 Shafer Commission – which returned a report that marijuana was not a harmful social or health risk and should be de-emphasized as an issue for the government to take any significant action against. This was ignored and Nixon went on to found the DEA and launch a “war” against marijuana (the hippies in actuality, using marijuana as a vehicle to do so) that has imprisoned upwards of 20 million Americans due to their possession of a plant. It is our sincere hope that these folks actually read the 1970 report in full so they can see that much of what has transpired between now and then has its basis in corrupt politicking which overruled the expert opinions and careful study undertook by the 1970 commission which stated that marijuana should be de-emphasized as a problem in the US and any plans to spend significant federal resources to fight it would be ill-spent. This is obvious when you read the report and then compare to the policies that followed, completely ignoring the council.

Let’s hope we learn from history this time rather than repeat it. As US Congressman Steve Cohen (D-TN), who is the lead in the proposal for the commission stated the following:

A national commission would provide us with the information we need to create sensible policy going forward. – Congressman Steve Cohen (D-TN)

Exactly. And it will happen so long as the commission ensures that their recommendations are based on fact (not emotion or previous attitudes/policies that clearly were based on fictions) and so long as they go a step further than the 1970 commission and insist upon the utmost transparency to the public (possible thanks to global information sharing and the Freedom of Information Act) including the federal governments responses to their findings. In 1970, the report came back saying, “You are wrong on marijuana, move on to other actual problems – it isn’t a health or social risk” (that was essentially their conclusions, go read it in full here – or find some quotes in our article here)

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