Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Republicans Favor States' Rights When It Comes To Racist Symbols... But What About Medical Marijuana?


I haven't talked to a congressional candidate so far this cycle who hasn't been in favor of legalizing medical marijuana. And the last time marijuana policies were voted on, May 30, a healthy bipartisan majority passed an amendment by California Republican Dana Rohrabacher, 242-186. 175 Democrats voted for Rohrabacher's amendment-- and only 10 joined 176 Republicans in opposition. But so many Blue Dogs and New Dems have been defeated in recent years that many of the anti-marijuana Democrats who support backward GOP policies are now lobbyists and bums. So the 276 nay-voting Republicans (plus the idiot Dems like Debbie Wasserman Schultz and Dan Lipinski who joined them) couldn't overcome the 67 more libertarian Republicans who backed Rohrabacher's legislation. In recent marijuana roll calls 9 Republicans who were formerly NO votes have begun voting YES: Raul Labrador (R-ID), Scott Tipton (R-CO), Johnny Duncan (R-TN), Chris Gibson (R-NY), Peter King (R-NY), Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), Thomas Rooney (R-FL), Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI) and Jason Chaffetz (R-UT).

According to a report in The Hill over the weekend by Tim Devaney, it is the GOP conference that's being torn apart by the marijuana issue. The uptight conservatives in charge have attitudes about marijuana, including medical marijuana, that harken back to the 1960s-- and to the bad guys in the 1960s. Sick elderly people find relief from pain and suffering from the marijuana their doctors prescribe? Republicans and the dwindling number of conservative Dems want to lock up the sick patients and their doctors! "Pot policy," Delaney wrote, "is splintering the GOP."
GOP support for medical marijuana is on the rise as backers look to couch legalization as a states’ rights issue, while other Republicans are fighting tooth and nail to beat back recreational pot laws like the one approved in Washington, D.C.

The division reflects a political conundrum for the party, which is torn between social conservatives who still see marijuana as a gateway drug, and libertarian-leaning voters who want to legalize pot.

The GOP’s internal conflict has been on full display of late, as Congress has voted on a series of conflicting marijuana measures-- frustrating advocates on both sides of the fight over legal pot.

"I think there are some mixed signals, particularly among Republicans," said Dan Riffle, director of federal policies at the Marijuana Policy Project.

Added Kevin Sabet, the head of Smart Approaches to Marijuana, which advocates against legalization: "I think a lot of lawmakers are confused."

Many of the recent votes have come as Congress looks to fund the federal government for fiscal 2016. A number of competing pot amendments have been tucked away in government spending bills.

Most would further the push to strike down varying degrees of the federal prohibition of pot. One popular provision, for instance, would prohibit the Justice Department from interfering with state medical marijuana laws.

But other provisions backed by some of the same lawmakers would prohibit the sale of recreational marijuana in the nation’s capital and a select few states around the country.

...Slowly but surely, the politics surrounding pot may be changing, suggested Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.).

"I think it’s getting easier,” Cohen told The Hill. "Republicans wouldn’t have touched these issues in the past. Now they’re real popular. I think things are changing."

Although Romney joined all the Democratic presidential candidates calling on South Carolina to stop flying the Confederate flag of treason and racism on state property, the current crop of crap candidates are all too cowardly to do so, even if it's completely obvious that the more mainstream ones would like to join Romney and the Democrats on this. Scott Walker, an ardent anti-marijuana crusader, told reporters over the weekend that flying the racist flag-- if not the freak flag-- is strictly "states' rights"... like conservatives used to say of slaveholding. "The placement of a Confederate flag on the Capitol grounds is a state issue," said the pandering Walker. Ted Cruz, another Republican who wants to throw people using medical marijuana into jail, regardless of the laws in their own states, was whining over the weekend that the last thing the people of South Carolina need is "people from outside of the state coming in and dictating how they should resolve it." Yesterday Walmart and Sears announced their own resolutions-- both retail giants are getting rid of all Confederate-branded merchandise in all their outlets.

If seeing medical marijuana legalized is an important issue for you, all the candidates on this list are on the same page as you are. Replacing conservatives like Dave Reichert and Steve Knight with progressives like Jason Ritchie and Lou Vince is exactly how you effect the change that is so long overdue.

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At 12:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Indeed, the "local control" mantra is often used ... when the fascists are in control locally.

But when, say, a county sanely wants to outlaw GMO crops/foods THEN the term "local control" may as well be a Martian phrase.

(See "conspiracy theory" and "Godwin's law" as two other prime examples of quick and easy methods to avoid any discussion of important issues.)

John Puma


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