You probably saw the note last week from our friend, Niambe Tosh, announcing that at long last, a marijuana legalization bill will be introduced in Congress by Congressmen Barney Frank and Ron Paul, among others. We at SSDP are so excited to follow up on the incredible momentum of the past year and lend our voices of support to this historic legislation.
The bill would essentially treat marijuana similarly to alcohol, and it closely models the Webb-Kenyon Act for state-based control of alcohol laws. Before alcohol prohibition began, the Webb-Kenyon Act established the same type of law that now exists in the 21st Amendment. This law allowed any state to ban alcohol sales, but it also allowed states to regulate alcohol. Believe it or not, many states continued to ban the alcohol trade decades following the repeal of prohibition in 1933. For example, Mississippi continued to outright ban alcohol until 1966 and Kansas banned point-of-consumption sales until 1987!
So it would be with marijuana if this new bi-partisan bill were enacted. States would have the explicit authority to fully tax and regulate marijuana, and the federal law would protect the state’s right to do that. But states could also decide to continue prohibiting marijuana. Because of this state-based approach, we are confident that many Republicans will find this model appealing.
I’ve dedicated many years of my life to this cause, both in my previous work and at SSDP for the past year, so this will be a momentous occasion for me personally. Check back here for more updates. Tomorrow will be a big day!