Back in 1996 Bill Clinton was president, we still thought he "didn't inhale," and the Speaker of the House wanted to put anyone who brought two ounces of weed into the US to death. You read that correctly -- in the unfortunate presidential succession of that year, Newt Gingrich was far too close for comfort (3rd in line past Clinton and Gore) to being top dog and he had some radical ideas that didn't sit well with anyone then and still don't today.
Introduced on September 25, 1996 -- late in the second year of Gingrich's term as Speaker of the House -- H.R. 4170 (104th): Drug Importer Death Penalty Act of 1996 (Read the full text here) directed courts to sentence anyone who brought more than two ounces of weed into the United States to life in prison ...unless of course they had prior convictions in which case they should be sentenced to death. Let that sink in for a minute.
Under current Colorado laws, residents of the state can buy up to an ounce for recreational use. But back in '96 if you were caught bringing in a little extra herb (because it was difficult to get in the US back then of course), you would be PUT TO DEATH.
The Washington Post explained: "Broadly speaking, this seems typical for Gingrich’s career: His ideas on the big issues are standard-issue conservatism, and they’re mixed in with occasional flights of fancy (illuminate highways using orbiting mirrors that reflect moonlight), pure plays to resentment and fear (execute 19-year-olds who are stupidly trying to smuggle two ounces of pot from Mexico), and a lot of small, specific ideas, like the Louisiana port reconstruction."
Luckily for America that act never passed as the rest of Congress had better sense. That would have been a huge black eye in the history books.