Jeff Merkley on Drugs
Democratic Jr Senator (OR)
"I think folks on both sides of the argument make a good case," Merkley said. "And there is concern about a series of new products--and we don't have a real track record from Colorado and Washington. But I feel on balance that we spend a lot of money on our criminal justice system in the wrong places and I lean in favor of this ballot measure."
While politicians nationwide have been reluctant to stake out a position on the issue, Merkley is unlikely to be the last to so explicitly announce his support for legalization as attitudes toward the drug continue to shift. As an increasingly clear majority of Americans support the idea of legalizing the drug, more are expected to follow.
Right now in Oregon, meth is threatening our communities and casting a cloud upon the future of our state. To take it on we need to increase federal resources to prosecute meth producers. Iíll fight in Washington to add more federal prosecutors in Oregon and increase the capability of the Drug Enforcement Agency to investigate and arrest drug dealers.
We have to step up enforcement, but locking up drug dealers and shutting down meth labs is only part of the puzzle. Iíll also push for investment in proven meth drug treatment programs at the local, state and federal levels and strengthen sentences for property crime and identify theft.
Merkley hopes his crime-fighting proposals will respond to voter concerns about high levels of methamphetamine use and cuts to law enforcement in many Oregon communities.
Merkley wants the federal government to pay the costs of adding another 50,000 local police officers around the country, as well as additional prosecutors and resources for crime labs. He would also toughen laws against meth traffickers, toughen reporting requirements for sex offenders and expand federal laws against child pornography.
Rep. PAUL: Nine States allow industrial hemp production or research in accord with State laws. However, Federal law is standing in the way of farmers in these States growing what may be a very profitable crop. Because of current Federal law, all hemp included in products sold in the US must be imported instead of being grown by American farmers. Since 1970, the federal Controlled Substances Act's inclusion of industrial hemp in the "schedule one" definition of marijuana has prohibited American farmers from growing industrial hemp despite the fact that industrial hemp has such a low content of THC (the psychoactive chemical in the related marijuana plant) that nobody can be psychologically affected by consuming hemp.
The US is the only industrialized nation that prohibits industrial hemp cultivation. Industrial hemp is a crop that was grown legally throughout the US for most of our Nation's history. In fact, during World War II, the Federal Government actively encouraged American farmers to grow industrial hemp to help the war effort. It is unfortunate that the Federal Government has stood in the way of American farmers competing in the global industrial hemp market. Indeed, the founders of our Nation, some of whom grew hemp, would surely find that federal restrictions on farmers growing a safe and profitable crop on their own land are inconsistent with the constitutional guarantee of a limited Government.
Congressional Summary:Amends the Controlled Substances Act to exclude industrial hemp from the definition of "marihuana." Defines "industrial hemp" to mean the plant Cannabis sativa and any part of such plant, whether growing or not, with a THC concentration of not more than 0.3%.
Argument in favor (Sen. Ron Wyden):
Members of Congress hear a lot about how dumb regulations are hurting economic growth and job creation. The current ban on growing industrial hemp is hurting job creation in rural America and increasing our trade deficit. This bill will end this ridiculous regulation. Right now, the US is importing over $10 million in hemp products--a crop that US farmers could be profitably growing right here at home, if not for government rules prohibiting it. Now, even though hemp and marijuana come from the same species of plant, there are major differences between them. The Chihuahua and St. Bernard come from the same species, too, but no one is going to confuse them.
Argument in opposition (Drug Enforcement Agency):
Argument in opposition (DrugWatch.org 10/30/2013):
OnTheIssues.org interprets the 2016 NORML scores as follows:
National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Law's mission is to move public opinion sufficiently to achieve the repeal of marijuana prohibition so that the responsible use of cannabis by adults is no longer subject to penalty.
NORML is a nonprofit, public-interest lobby that for more than 30 years has provided a voice for those Americans who oppose marijuana prohibition. We represent the interests of the tens of millions of Americans who smoke marijuana responsibly and believe the recreational and medicinal use of marijuana should no longer be a crime.
NORML supports the removal of all criminal penalties for the private possession & responsible use of marijuana by adults, including the cultivation for personal use, and the casual nonprofit transfers of small amounts. This model is called "decriminalization."
NORML additionally supports the development of a legally controlled market for marijuana, where consumers could purchase it from a safe, legal and regulated source. This model is referred to as "legalization."
NORML believes that marijuana smoking is not for kids and should only be used responsibly by adults. As with alcohol consumption, it must never be an excuse for misconduct or other bad behavior. Driving or operating heavy equipment while impaired from marijuana should be prohibited.
NORML strongly supports the right of patients to use marijuana as a medicine when their physician recommends it to relieve pain and suffering.
Lastly, NORML supports the right of farmers to commercially cultivate hemp for industrial purposes, such as food and fiber production.
Merkley sponsored immunity for banks offering services to marijuana businesses
Congressional Summary:This bill provides a safe harbor for depository institutions providing financial services to a marijuana-related legitimate business insofar as it prohibits a federal banking regulator from:
Argument in Favor: [Cato Institute, March 31, 2016]: Marijuana is now legal under the laws of [several] states, but not under federal law. And this creates huge headaches for marijuana businesses:
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