And Now For Something Completely Different

Interesting:

The first-ever Congressional bill to let states legalize marijuana will be introduced in the U.S. House by a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers on Thursday, and a group of police and judges who fought on the front lines of the failed “war on drugs” is announcing its support.

Neill Franklin, a former Baltimore narcotics cop and executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, said, “Clearly the ‘war on drugs’ has failed, and nowhere is that more clear than with respect to marijuana. It baffles me that we arrest nearly 800,000 people on marijuana charges in this country each and every year at taxpayer expense when we could instead be taking in new tax revenue from legal and regulated marijuana sales. Making marijuana illegal hasn’t prevented anyone from using it, but it has created a huge funding source that funnels billions of dollars in tax-free profits to violent drug cartels and gangs. More and more cops now agree: Legalizing marijuana will improve public safety.”

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) and Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), would essentially end the federal government’s bullying of states when it comes to marijuana policy reform. Initial co-sponsors include Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN), Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO).

I wonder if this will ever see a vote.






39 replies
  1. 1
    Catsy says:

    I wonder if this will ever see a vote.

    Maybe, but I wouldn’t put good odds on it passing. It’s related to the whole “soft on crime” nonsense and the problem of rolling back the national security state: once a measure is in place, no one wants to be the guy who voted to eliminate it when a terrorist attack succeeds. In this case, no one wants to be the guy who voted for the bill that turned the entire country into a hookah parlor.

    The fact that this kind of fear is absurd doesn’t enter into it. It’s not rational.

  2. 2
    kdaug says:

    I think LEAP’s got enough clout against the neo-Puritans to get a floor vote on this.

    The optics of uniformed officers vs. Bachmannettes will appeal to the authoritarian impulse.

  3. 3
    cathyx says:

    Make smoking pot have the same legalities as drinking alcohol.

  4. 4
    The Other Chuck says:

    No.

    SATSQ

  5. 5
    Hawes says:

    I will love watching the State’s Rights party contort itself to vote against this bill.

    Ah, fuck it, no I won’t. I’ve been waiting 25 years for the GOP to explode from hypocrisy overload, and I’ll be waiting another 25 years.

  6. 6
    Zandar says:

    Zero chance. In fact, the Obama administration will get Orange Julius off the hook and announce that the White House is 100% committed to continuing the War on Drugs and that any such legislation will be vetoed, and will do it before the Republicans have a chance to respond.

    All the GOP has to do is keep their mouths shut until then.

  7. 7
    gex says:

    Thing is, the rest of those cops buddies like all the drug war monies and goodies that come their way. Efficacy has never been the point. The war on some people and funding cops via property seizures instead of taxes suits a lot of people just fine.

  8. 8
    chopper says:

    and the prison industry lobbyists are starting their limos in 3..2..1..

  9. 9
    cleek says:

    the real question is: what does Jon Huntsman think about it?

  10. 10
    Hunter Gathers says:

    I wonder if this will ever see a vote.

    Hell no. If you think Officer McRoidRage is going to give up his free supply of weed (and the revenue he gets from selling his confiscated weed) without the conniption fit to end all conniption fits, I have a bridge made out of magic beans I’d like to sell you. There’s one overarching reason why the Drug War will exist until the end of time : the cops make too much fucking money off of it.

  11. 11
    MikeJ says:

    Where will we get the prisoners we need to work the fields?

  12. 12
    kindness says:

    Nice bill but until marijuana isn’t listed as a Schedule 1 drug, I don’t think it’ll change a thing. Maybe I’ll actually read the proposal to see if it forces the Feds to do just that.

    Make every day a 4-20 day.

  13. 13
    Martin says:

    Where will we get the prisoners we need to work the fields?

    I think every 16 year old in America will do it for free.

  14. 14
    PeakVT says:

    Good goal, bad tactics. More states need to decriminalize before changes should be attempted at the federal level. This bill just gives the culture warriors a rhetorical cudgel.

  15. 15
    Martin says:

    God, Democrats are once again swinging the big government stick, depriving us our freedom to engage in clandestine back-alley transactions under the imminent threat of arrest and incarceration. Why do Democrats hate freedom!

  16. 16
    Zifnab says:

    I’m actually curious to see where the Tea Party Patriots in the GOP come down on this. If Ron Paul actually has some kind of coalition going, this could have legs. Abet itty bitty legs.

  17. 17
    Corner Store Operator says:

    A pet peeve of mine is when journalists say something is bipartisan when it only has one vote of support from the other side. Of course this is just a press release, so they would be silly if they didn’t call this a bipartisan effort. But anyway, it got my hopes up. It’s just Ron Paul.

  18. 18
    chopper says:

    I think every 16 year old in America will do it for free.

    until they get sick as shit eating raw beans by the handful out in the fields.

  19. 19
    Martin says:

    This bill just gives the culture warriors a rhetorical cudgel.

    How? Over 50% of the nation think that it should be decriminalized. If they want to make this a main campaign platform in 2012, bring it. We’re going to win it handily all the while screaming ‘States rights’.

  20. 20
    chopper says:

    @Zifnab:

    Barney Frank is a sponsor, which gives it a bit more weight. not much, but a bit. eh, fuck it, i’m too cynical.

  21. 21
    Catsy says:

    @PeakVT:

    Good goal, bad tactics. More states need to decriminalize before changes should be attempted at the federal level. This bill just gives the culture warriors a rhetorical cudgel.

    I don’t see what this gives them that they don’t already have.

  22. 22
    Tonal Crow says:

    Excellent. Perhaps we are slowly turning the ship of state toward justice.

    Now please call your representative and ask her to support this bill.

  23. 23
    trollhattan says:

    Not if we have to use Ill-eagles to harvest it, namsayn?

  24. 24
    MikeJ says:

    Martin @13:

    I think every 16 year old in America will do it for free.

    I think you misunderstood. I was referring back to the thread about GA trying to use prisoners to harvest food crops, not working in the dope fields.

  25. 25
  26. 26
    negative 1 says:

    Maybe, but I wouldn’t put good odds on it passing. It’s related to the whole “soft on crime” nonsense and the problem of rolling back the national security state: once a measure is in place, no one wants to be the guy who voted to eliminate it when a terrorist attack succeeds. In this case, no one wants to be the guy who voted for the bill that turned the entire country into a hookah parlor.

    I disagree, if only because of the states’ rights catch. I live in a state that was thisclose to having medical dispensaries before the Attorney General’s office sent a letter to our governor saying they intended to prosecute. It’s drawn an unusual mix of ire, from the stoners (obviously) but also from the Teahadists. We all accuse them of being lockstep Repubs (they are) but they do take “states’ rights” really seriously. Either way it becomes a boutique issue with no upside to a vote and a potential downside if you have to explain a position, either way.

  27. 27
    Tonal Crow says:

    @HyperIon: From the article:

    A coalition that includes former U.S. Attorney John McKay, Seattle City Attorney Pete Holmes and travel guide Rick Steves is launching an initiative that would legalize marijuana in Washington state. The group, led by the American Civil Liberties Union of Washington, decided to push the initiative this spring after Gov. Chris Gregoire vetoed most of a medical-marijuana bill that had passed the state Legislature.

    Did I mention that contributing to the ACLU is a good idea?

  28. 28
    El Cid says:

    Does this mean party politics can go back to deals being made in smoke-filled rooms?

  29. 29
    PeakVT says:

    @Catsy – it gives the Republicans a current activity that can be used to scare people in marginal federal races around the country. Decriminalization seems to be advancing at the state level right now, so I see no advantage to bringing it up at the federal level when it has no chance of passing.

  30. 30
    Tonal Crow says:

    @PeakVT: Republicans can use any of thousands of current activities to scare people nationwide. Just having this bill proposed in Congress will help legitimize the idea of legalization among many who now consider the idea too radical. Also legalization polls well, so Republicans may (finally) be barking up the wrong tree by attempting to use the concept to scare voters.

  31. 31
    chopper says:

    think of the austerity argument you can make over legalizing it.

  32. 32

    @Tonal Crow:

    Republicans can use any of thousands of current activities to scare people nationwide.

    +1000. No matter what the Democrats do, the Republicans will find something to bash them over. The past 2+ years should be proof this will even be the case when the Democrats implement ideas the Republicans have been advocating. There’s simply no percentage in giving up on an idea because the Republicans will use it against us. The only time we should do that is when they actually have a point (i.e. when the blind squirrel finally finds his nut). Otherwise we’re just prematurely capitulating.

    ETA: FYWP. When I lead a line with a “+” sign, that does not mean I want to strike through the rest of the comment until the next “+”.

  33. 33
    cat48 says:

    Wonder if they could work on that Infrastructure Bank that Obummer requested in 2009 after they legalize pot? You know, since they’re introducing uncommon bills.

  34. 34
    Scott P. says:

    Making marijuana illegal hasn’t prevented anyone from using it

    They can say it all they want, but it isn’t true.

    % of 12th graders who have ever used marijuana: 43.8
    % of 12th graders who have ever used alcohol: 71.0

  35. 35
    Martin says:

    % of 12th graders who have ever used marijuana: 43.8
    % of 12th graders who have ever used alcohol: 71.0

    I think we missed your point, as to 12th graders, alcohol is roughly as illegal as marijuana. Further, I think it’s hard to claim that when more 12th graders have smoked pot than are likely to vote for president next year, that legality has served as any kind of barrier.

  36. 36
    Tonal Crow says:

    @Scott P.: A couple of observations. First, I don’t entirely disagree with the thrust of your comment — criminal sanctions have definitely dissuaded some people from using pot. But second, you’ve mischaracterized the pot usage figure. It should read “% of 12th graders who have admitted to an unknown interviewer (who could easily be a cop) to have ever used marijuana, considering the fact that mere possession is at least a misdemeanor and can also result in losing your student loans and in the government taking your car and your parents’ house.” Once you account for all that, your data might actually support your argument.

  37. 37
    Sloegin says:

    Class this sucker under the category “Only Nixon could go to China”.

    No way in hell a black president would allow (or allow his party) for legalization to happen on his watch. You’d have a better chance of a President McCain decriminalizing the chronic.

    Legalization is still way the hell overdue however.

  38. 38
    Caz says:

    It will be voted down 75-25%, but this margin will shrink with each passing year until it will actually pass sometime around 2017.

    We ought to take a long, hard look at Portugal’s drug “laws,” and follow their example. Drug use of all kinds is down across the board, as are robberies, thefts, murders, and weapons charges related to the black market drug industry.

    The bottom line, though, regards liberty and pursuit of happiness. The epitome of the pursuit of happiness is sitting at home getting high. A bad decision? Sure. Dangerous? Yes. Infringing on the freedoms of others? No!

    Driving under the influence of anything will always be illegal, as will selling to or possession by minors.

    So why not let people decide for themselves if they want to get high on whatever? What business is it of the govt’s if someone wants to pursue happiness via a bong or a needle? What business is it of the user’s neighbor if the user sits in his home pursuing happiness?

    So instead of spending billions of dollars a year and putting both citizens and police in the deadly crossfire of a domestic all-out war on various plants and chemicals, we could regulate it, ensure the purity of the plants and chemicals (no more dirty heroin overdoses!), and tax the crap out of them. It would be a multi-billion turnaround, from spending to receiving.

    And to put the cherry on top, how about using those additional tax revenues on prevention, rehabilitation, education, and treatement of the users’ disease?

    This approach is consistent with freedom, common sense, and fiscal sense.

    Legalizing marijuana, or at least allowing states to decide whether to legalize it, is a great first step to truly addressing the dangers and damage that drug use does to the individuals in our society.

    People should be permitted to evaluate and assume the risks of drug use without govt interference.

    Plus, it will increase sales of Greatful Dead albums.

  39. 39
    bjacques says:

    I’m skeptical. Paul’s the only Republican name on it. On the other hand, maybe the bill’s real benefit when it fails is that it will soothe the consciences of Libertarians voting Republican in 2012.

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