Enforcing marijuana prohibition costs taxpayers an estimated $10 billion annually and results in the arrest of more than 750,000 individuals per year -- far more than the total number of arrestees for all violent crimes combined, including murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault.Of those charged with marijuana violations, approximately 86 percent, 663,032 Americans were charged with possession only. The remaining 94,937 individuals were charged with "sale/manufacture," a category that includes all cultivation offenses, even those where the marijuana was being grown for personal or medical use. In past years, roughly 30 percent of those arrested were age 19 or younger. NORML supports the eventual development of a legally controlled market for marijuana, where consumers could buy marijuana for personal use from a safe legal source. This policy, generally known as legalization, exists on various levels in a handful of European countries like The Netherlands and Switzerland, both of which enjoy lower rates of adolescent marijuana use than the U.S. Such a system would reduce many of the problems presently associated with the prohibition of marijuana, including the crime, corruption and violence associated with a "black market."
March 19, 2013
Dear Mr. ********Thank you for contacting me about H.R. 689, the States’ Medical Marijuana Patients Protection Act and H.R. 789, which would amend the Controlled Substances Act so as to exempt real property from civil forfeiture due to state authorized medical-marijuana-related conduct. I appreciate this opportunity to respond to your concerns and to provide you with a legislative update.As you may know, H.R. 689 was introduced by Representative Earl Blumenauer (OR-3) on February 14, 2013 and has since been referred to the House Committee on Energy and the House Committee on the Judiciary. H.R. 689 would remove medical marijuana from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act leaving regulation of medical marijuana up to the states.H.R. 784 was introduced by Barbara Lee (CA-13) on February 15, 2013 and has since been referred to the House Committee on Energy and the House Committee on the Judiciary. H.R. 784 would protect citizen-owned property used for the legal cultivation and/or sale of medical marijuana from being taken by the federal government.Under current California State law, medical marijuana is available to qualified patients and their care givers. The Medical Marijuana Program (MMP) requires a state-recognized doctor to deem a patient eligible. The patient must register with the state so that quantity and frequency of use can be regulated. Under the MMP, qualified patients can possess, grow, transport and use medical marijuana in California.As your elected Representative, I have long supported the use of medical marijuana for patients with terminal and chronic illnesses. I believe that the federal recognition of a state’s rights to regulate medical marijuana and conduct research would be a constructive first step. In the last Congress, I signed onto a letter stating that the Drug Enforcement Administration should respect a state’s right to have dispensaries. Also, I voted in favor of an amendment to a 2013 appropriations bill that would have ensured federal law enforcement respected those rights and halted raids on marijuana dispensaries. Unfortunately, there was effective opposition to the amendment. Please be assured that should this issue come to the floor of the House, I will keep your comments in mindI am leading the fight to help our families by working to create new jobs, improve our public schools so that every child has access to a quality education, protect benefits for our seniors and veterans, and close tax loopholes to ensure corporations pay their fair share. I will continue to fight for these and other issues that affect our community.Again, thank you for contacting me with your concerns. If I can be of assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me.Sincerely,Rep. Loretta Sanchez
Member of Congress