April 16, 2013
"Conservatives Push Marijuana Reform in Congress"The title of this post is the headline of this notable new piece from Rolling Stone. Here are excerpts:
There's a new congressional push to end the federal War on Pot in the states – and it's being spearheaded by some of the most conservative members of the Republican conference.
The "Respect State Marijuana Laws Act" introduced in the House last week would immunize anyone acting legally under state marijuana laws from federal prosecution under the Controlled Substances Act. Depending on the state, the legislation would cover both medical marijuana and recreational pot, and would protect not only the users of state-legal cannabis, but also the businesses that cultivate, process, distribute and sell marijuana in these states....
The three GOP co-sponsors are:
Rep. Dana Rohrabacher of California, who is best known to liberals as a villainous climate denier for theorizing that global warming is the result of "dinosaur flatulence."
Rep. Don Young of Alaska, the mastermind of the infamous Bridge to Nowhere, who was most recently in the news for recalling the "wetbacks" his father employed on the family farm.
And Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan, who was recently "purged" from the Republican House Budget Committee – allegedly for being too conservative – and who has repeatedly voted against toughening penalties for human trafficking.
These hardcore Republicans are joined in a ganja Gang of Six by liberal pro-pot stalwarts Reps. Jared Polis of Colorado, Earl Blumenauer of Oregon and Steve Cohen of Tennessee.
Speaking for the group, Republican Rep. Rohrabacher said the bipartisan bill "establishes federal government respect for all states' marijuana laws" by "keeping the federal government out of the business of criminalizing marijuana activities in states that don't want it to be criminal."
Steve Fox, national political director of the Marijuana Policy Project, hailed the effort to bend federal marijuana law to the will of the governed. "Marijuana prohibition is on its last legs because most Americans no longer support it," said Fox, adding that the new legislation offers the states'-rights crowd in the House with a chance to vote their principles: "This legislation presents a perfect opportunity for members to embrace the notion that states should be able to devise systems for regulating marijuana without their citizens having to worry about breaking federal law."
A few recent and older related posts:
- Supporting pot prohibition as divining rod pointing toward social conservatives and away from fiscal conservatives
- Fascinating (distinct/similar?) commentary on marijuana policy and politics from inside the Beltway
- A few minutes of ganja gold social commentary from The Colbert Report
- "Nearly three-quarters of Americans (72%) say that, in general, government efforts to enforce marijuana laws cost more than they are worth"
- "Buzzkill? Cash-strapped states eye pot tax"
- AG Holder indicates federal response to state marijuana reforms coming "soon"
- Intriguing new comments from President Obama on federal pot prohibition policy
- "California inspired — and now inspired by — other states' marijuana legalization measures"
- "Marijuana poll: Californians' support for legalizing pot at record level"
April 16, 2013 at 05:26 PM | Permalink
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Q: How can you tell when a Republican Congressman has Alzheimer's?
A: When he gets a laudatory story in "Rolling Stone."
Posted by: Bill Otis | Apr 16, 2013 5:29:59 PM
Young and Rorhabacher are essentially orthodox conservatives (though Young's pork barrel spending has long infuriated fiscal conservatives). Amash, however, is more of a rabble-rousing libertarian in the mold of Ron Paul.
Posted by: Anon | Apr 16, 2013 6:41:54 PM
Anyone who thinks Don Young is one of the "most conservative" members of the current House GOP caucus doesn't know what he's talking about. That said, he's probably not viewed as flaky/quixotic/inconveniently-philosophical by certain other House GOP members the way Rohrabacher and Amash might be, so it's probably useful to the cause to have him on board rather than just three birds of a feather.
Posted by: JWB | Apr 16, 2013 6:45:12 PM