Pubdate: Sun, 26 Jun 2011 Source: Tribune Review (Pittsburgh, PA) Copyright: 2011 Tribune-Review Publishing Co. Contact: http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/opinion/letters/send/ Website: http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/ Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/460 THE MARIJUANA BILL It's a sad commentary on the disconnect between politics and common sense that only now, 40 years since President Nixon declared war on marijuana, have members of Congress summoned the brain matter to propose ending the colossal failure known as federal marijuana prohibition. A bill introduced by Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., and Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, would let states legalize, regulate and tax marijuana, limiting Washington's role to cross-border and interstate smuggling enforcement. Passage wouldn't quite bring about the flat-out legalization we favor but it would be a huge step in the right direction. The bill wouldn't just save taxpayers billions of dollars, deprive organized crime of financial incentives that fuel violence, unleash new state revenue streams and spare countless law-abiding Americans criminal records for using a substance less harmful than legal alcohol. It would curb Washington's intrusiveness, too. Will enough members of Congress summon the courage to do the right thing and pass the bill? Or will too many lack the backbone to buck discredited moralizers and propagandists, preventing even a floor vote? Congress must not waste this opportunity to rectify the costly, destructive mistake that is federal marijuana prohibition. - --- MAP posted-by: Richard R Smith Jr.