Drug Legalization

Truth in Trials Act (H.R. 6134) to Protect Medical Marijuana Patients: Reps Barney Frank and Ron Paul are Supporters


California Rep. Sam Farr (D), along with familiar anti-drug war friends Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) and Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) have teamed up to push the Truth in Trials Act (H.R. 6134) through the House of Representatives. The Act, a version of which was previously attempted in 2003, would protect medical marijuana patients by counteracting Gonzales vs. Raich (2005) in allowing state legality of the drug to be offered as evidence.

This might save some folks from federal prosecution if they live in a state where the drug is legal. It would also be generally contrary to the Obama administration's habit of cracking down on clinics in California, Colorado, Montana, and Michigan, and would be a nice step in drug policy humanitarianism and sanity.

Notes the Huffington Post:

State-licensed medical marijuana users would be given the right to provide an "affirmative defense" in the case of a federal prosecution. This effectively allows them to prove that their actions, while illegal at the federal level, were in fact protected under state law.

"Any person facing prosecution or a proceeding for any marijuana-related offense under any federal law shall have the right to introduce evidence demonstrating that the marijuana-related activities for which the person stands accused were performed in compliance with state law regarding the medical use of marijuana, or that the property which is subject to a proceeding was possessed in compliance with state law regarding the medical use of marijuana," the bill reads.

The legislation also lays out specific language stating that cannabis plants grown legally under state law may not be seized. Under the legislation, marijuana and other property confiscated in the process of a prosecution must also be maintained—not destroyed—and returned to the defendant if they are able to prove it was for a use accepted by the state.

Much like prior legislative attecmpts that saw Frank and Paul team up (including a June 2011 effort to try and federally legalize marijuana and let states decide pot policy for themselves), this doesn't seem likely to pass. Nor did it in 2009, when Frank and Paul also tried. But it's still a hell of an effort, and a reminder that Paul is going to be missed all too soon. And so is this most peculiar sight of both sides of the aisle working together to make the state less powerful.

Reason on drug policy.

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  1. Anyone who really believes in “states rights” should support this.

  2. Hey man, just chill out. President Choom will totally go all in with the whole “not busting state sanctioned marijuana dispensaries that obey state laws” if you just give him another chance.

    He had like other shit to do in the first term. He’ll totally get to it this time.

    Totally. Trust him man, he’s cool. Bush was like, a total christofag, amirite? Just give the man another chance, dood.

    /actual defense of this argument, earlier this evening.

    I weep for our future.

  3. very cool. mj makes strange bedfollows.

  4. The med mj is a totally wrong approach to re-legalizing marijuana but any law allowing the defense to fully argue it’s case is a good thing. I find it maddening that anyone can be restricted from introducing a potentially exculpatory defense in any criminal case.

    1. i disagree that it’s a totally wrong approach, but i think we’ve covered this before.

      granted, i am a pragmatist, and for legalization advocates (like m e) you gotta be pragmatic if you accept medical MJ

      in my state, any moron with a pulse can get a medical MJ card. and given that card, the chances the feds will go after them for having some buds (vs. a hyooooge grow) is about as close to zero as can be measured with modern equipment

      as for the local guys, i have seen a VERY few guys from one local dept. who are being major assholes about medical MJ. their chief FINALLY came down on them, but they were trying to find the cards invalid for really stupid reasons.

      old habits die hard.

      and i think the advent of medical MJ has made it much more acceptable amongst the elderly – people who vote, but who likely (imo) would not be as quick to change their minds about MJ without the medical MJ thang

      1. You know, Dunphy, if you want to convince us that you really are devoted to upholding justice and public safety, let’s see you arrest a cop for stealing an innocent citizen’s marijuana.


        1. 1) i’m not trying to convince anybody of anything. i simply speak truth and of my experiences because that has a dignity all its own. i accept that most bigots will never change their mind. heck, most ideologues won’t PERIOD. they come on to the internet to PROVE shit and uphold their pov. they do not come to have rational discussions and consider stuff and then change their mind given sufficient data. that’s much more rare

          it was intelligent argumentation that helped change me towards the view that concealed carry is a constitutional right (not yet recognized by the scotus) and that changed me from prolife to prochoice.

          i accept i could be wrong about anything

          2) i get tired, as mentioned in this other thread about the relentless obsession with ARREST ARREST ARREST

          even in many cases where cops MAKE and charge a misdemeanor mj case, they do not arrest. they cite. ditto for minor theft cases.

          that aside, everybody from the attorney general to the governor has admitted that as our medical MJ legislation is written, it can be read a # of ways, and it’s simply a fucking grab bag of ‘who the fuck knows”

          OUR dept. came out with a policy, thankfully, that if it appears prima facie bona fide (iow the medical MJ script isn’t written on toilet paper) ASSUME it is and leave the people the fuck alone

          they weren’t stealing, they were merely using a very poorly written law to be pains in the ass

          and they got spanked for it and no longer do it

          1. most ideologues won’t PERIOD. they come on to the internet to PROVE shit and uphold their pov. they do not come to have rational discussions and consider stuff and then change their mind given sufficient data.

            Said without a trace of irony.

            they weren’t stealing, they were merely using a very poorly written law to be pains in the ass

            So what definition of stealing do you have that doesn’t include taking someone’s possessions?

          2. they weren’t stealing

            Taking someone else’s property without their consent is stealing. Am I going to fast for you?


    2. I am with you SIV. I never understood how the defense can be restricted from introducing anything. That essentially allows the prosecution to formulate the defendant’s case. My response would be ‘fuck you, when you are on trial you can formulate your defense. I will formulate mine.’

      But then I am not a legal scholar, just an ignorant member of the hoi polloi.

  5. The constitutionality of this law is questionable. The CSA is a federal law, and the effect of this proposed law would be that states can opt out of it. To repeal a law, you need bicameralism and presentment, but that wouldn’t happen under the proposed law.

    1. There is no constitutional issue with this bill. Congress has the power to enact exceptions to its own laws, which is all that this bill would accomplish.

      1. Congress isn’t enacting an exception to their law here, they’re delegating authority for the _states_ to enact an exception to their law. Also, I’m not sure Congress does have that authority. They have the power to amend or repeal a law, but the “exceptions” power has to do with federal jurisdiction.

  6. This effectively allows them to prove that their actions, while illegal at the federal level, were in fact protected under state law.

    Smoking marijuana is NOT “illegal at the federal level.” There is no constitutional authority for the war on drugs, and any acts of congress that purport to ban any drug are not laws at all.


    1. ^^this^^ At least when they wanted to ban alcohol, they still had the decency to pass an amendment to give them the authority to do so.

  7. Damn fascinating essay on the development of post liberal economics and the rise of the progressive era in regards to racist policies:

    Eugenics and Economics in the
    Progressive Era
    Thomas C. Leonard


    The Eugenic Effects of Minimum Wage Laws

    During the second half of the Progressive Era, beginning roughly in 1908, progressive economists and their reform allies achieved many statutory victories, including state laws that regulated working conditions, banned child labor, instituted “mothers’ pensions,” capped
    working hours and, the sine qua non, fixed minimum wages. In using eugenics to justify exclusionary immigration legislation, the race-suicide theorists offered a model to economists advocating labor reforms, notably those affiliated with the American Association for Labor Legislation, the organization of academic economists that Orloff and Skocpol call the “leading association of U.S. social reform advocates in the Progressive Era.”
    Progressive economists, like their neoclassical critics, believed that binding minimum wages would cause job losses. However, the progressive economists also believed that the job loss induced by minimum wages was a social benefit, as it performed the eugenic service ridding the labor force of the “unemployable.”


  8. Sidney and Beatrice Webb put it plainly: “With regard to certain sections of the population [the “unemployable”], this unemployment is not a mark of social disease, but actually of social health.” “[O]f all ways of dealing with these unfortunate parasites,” Sidney Webb opined in the Journal of Political Economy, “the most ruinous to the community is to allow them to unrestrainedly compete as wage earners.” A minimum wage was seen to operate eugenically through two channels: by deterring prospective immigrants and also by removing from employment the “unemployable,” who, thus
    identified, could be, for example, segregated in rural communities or sterilized.
    The notion that minimum-wage induced disemployment is a social benefit
    distinguishes its progressive proponents from their neoclassical critics, such as
    Alfred Marshall), Philip Wicksteed, A. C. Pigou and John Bates Clark, who regarded job loss as a social cost of minimum wages, not as a putative social benefit.
    Columbia’s Henry Rogers Seager, a leading progressive economist who served
    as president of the AEA in 1922, provides an example. Worthy wage-earners, Seager
    argued, need protection from the “wearing competition of the casual worker and the drifter” and from the other “unemployable” who unfairly drag down the wages of more deserving workers. The minimum
    wage protects deserving workers from the competition of the unfit by making it
    illegal to work for less.

    1. Today I learned that the world would have been a better place if this Sidney Webb character had succumbed to a childhood disease.


      1. There is quite a bit more in those pages. Any progressive who thinks that his beliefs were founded upon compassion for humanity after reading that essay and its overwhelming evidence to the contrary does not change course in his assumptions has no moral compass to guide him in the first place.

        1. “….has no moral compass to guide him in the first place.”

          Killaz….how do you think they got to be progressives in the first place? Heh.

  9. According to Paul Craig Roberts, a former editor of the Wall Street Journal and former assistant secretary to the treasury under Ronald Reagan, “Police in the US now rival criminals, and exceed terrorists as the greatest threat to the American public.”


    Here is part of the testimony of Judge Alfred J Talley, given before the Senate Hearings of 1926:

    “It has brought the sickening slime of corruption, dishonor, and disgrace into every group of employees and officials in city, State, and Federal departments that have been charged with the enforcement of this odious law.”

    The second biggest business during prohibition in Detroit was liquor at $215 million a year and employing about 50,000 people. Authorities were not only helpless to stop it, many were part of the problem. During one raid the state police arrested Detroit Mayor John Smith, Michigan Congressman Robert Clancy and Sheriff Edward Stein.

    1. and if you’re poor and black and can’t pay bail, you will enter a place where any protection under the American constitution and the Bill of Rights is stripped away.

      Tha fuck does that mean? They have a separate jail for black people?

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