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Congressman Mark Kirk Targets High Potency "Super-Marijuana"

Just as his colleagues in both state and federal legislative bodies are beginning to question the United States' historically punitive approach to marijuana policy, Illinois Republican Mark Kirk takes a turn in the other direction, introducting legislation that would establish stiffer penalties for people accused of trafficking "a highly potent form of weed," the Chicago Tribune reported on June 15, 2009 ("U.S. Rep. Mark Kirk to Push for Tougher Sentences for More-Potent Marijuana"). The proposed bill, according to the Tribune, "would target offenders who sell or distribute marijuana that has a THC content exceeding 15 percent." The article cites "[d]rug dealers [who] are increasingly cross-breeding plants to produce high-potency variants of marijuana, which are called 'kush' in street slang," as Kirk's motivation for pushing the legislation.

Kirk's "High-Potency Marijuana Sentencing Enhancement Act," according to the Drug War Chronicle ("US Congressman Mark Kirk Introduces Bill Targeting 'Kush Super-Marijuana'"), not only "call[s] for prison sentences of up to 25 years for trafficking even small quantities of the kind bud," but would also increase "the maximum fines for high-potency pot to $1 million for an individual and $5 million for a group." Additionally, Kirk wants to increase "the maximum prison sentence five-fold." As the Chronicle feature states, "A second offense would double the fines and increase the maximum sentence to 35 years."

Kirk has made his bizarre June 15 press release, which compares this "new" form marijuana to crack and powder cocaine, cites "law enforcement reports that Kush users are 'zombie-like' because of extreme THC levels," and bears the name "Kirk and Law Enforcement: Super-Marijuana 'Kush' Hits Suburbs," available for public viewing on his web page. Take a look at it for more information on the Congressman's misguided bill.

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