Bayh VowsNo Legislation Without Decriminalization
Senator Birch Bayh hopes (lie Carter Administration will support his attempts to decriminalize marij uana this year. Federal deciim is an integral part of Bay It's .new drug enforcement bill, introduced in the opening weeks of llie Ninety-fifth Congress. The bill's main purpose is to bolster government efforts against high-level heroin traffickers. Charging that (lie DEA":s refusal (o support deciim aggravates the heroin problem, Bayh pledged (o fight for an Oregon-type law (hat favors a $100civil fine for possession while retaining stiff penalties for import and sale. The Indiana senator first outlined his plan at last summer's hearings on the Ford Administration's naicotics bill, which died in committee.
At the hearings. Bayh attacked the opposition to deci im by former DEA Director Peter Bensinger, who claimed, "I don't Uiink we have enough knowledge medically," without mentioning five years, of government reports that have found no dangers in pot smoking. Bayh countered, "Do you think we will ever get enough information so that it won't be a political hot potato? I think we'd better stand up and face realities." He said the vast expense of the grass war prevents an effective campaign against heroin smuggling.
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