Jim Webb

Jim Webb Is Open to Legalizing Pot


Sen. Jim Webb (D-Va.), who has been an outspoken proponent of criminal justice reform, especially related to the war on drugs, told CNN today that marijuana legalization is one of the policy changes that should be considered:

"Well, I think what we need to do is to put all of the issues on the table," Webb said this morning on CNN when asked if marijuana legalization would be part of his criminal justice reform efforts.

"If you go back to 1980 as a starting point, I think we had 40,000 people in prison on drug charges, and today, we have about 500,000 of them," the first-term Virginia lawmaker said. "And the great majority of those are nonviolent crimes—possession crimes or minor sales."

Webb is not making any promises, of course, but his attitude is a major improvement over laughing off the issue as if it were not worthy of consideration.

Last month I noted Webb's concern that "we are locking up too many people who do not belong in jail." Radley Balko praised Webb here and here.

[Thanks to Tom Angell aty LEAP for the tip.]

NEXT: The Anti-Man-Eat-Dog Act

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37 responses to “Jim Webb Is Open to Legalizing Pot

  1. Some Guy Thinks Weed should be Legal

    Hope springs eternal.

  2. tip-o-the-spliff to webb. now he just has to get off his ass and do something about it or go to hell already. Fuck - what's wrong with these people?

  3. Some Guy Thinks Weed should be Legal

    Hope springs eternal.

    When "some guy" is a former Reagan appointee and a conservative-to-moderate senator from the Old Dominion, yeah, it's a touch more than hope.

  4. i voted for webb in the '06 election based on some of aspects of his personality, reason.com's coverage of his campaign, the need for gridlock against the bush administration and the pure fun of voting against a tool like george allen but i doubt i'll vote for him again. he ran on the appeal of being a different kind of democrat but his voting record is pretty much towing the party line.

  5. When "some guy" is a former Reagan appointee and a conservative-to-moderate senator from the Old Dominion, yeah, it's a touch more than hope.

    Buckley came out for marijuana legalization. Didn't have a whole lot of effect on the rest of the right wing.


  6. Hey,

    If Balko can post about "isolated incidents" of the creeping police state, surely Sullum can post about "isolated incidents" of the serious discussion of rolling back of the police state.

    My guess is Balko will win in a landslide, but that's probably because I'm a cynical bastard.

  7. the phrase is "toe the line"

  8. Webb? What was that gun thing of his someone mentioned earlier in the week? Tried googling it and did not find anything.

    I am all for freedom for weed, but what is up with this guy?

    No, my hotter than me 🙁 character is in VA I am not.

  9. TIO,

    the phrase is "toe the line"

    I think you mean "toad the lion"

  10. Wow, first Frank Barney, now Jim Webb. If Webb is serious about legalizing it that makes the count Dems: 2 and Reps: 1 (Ron Paul). Well, I'll gladly eat my hat if the Dems legalize it. Bottom line, I want to end the War on Drugs.

  11. Towing the lion.

  12. Legalization in our lifetimes! Now to go commit an act of civil disobedience...

  13. I second Mark's idea, I'm rolling a fatty named "Jim Webb" for tomorrow night. Cheers people, on some decent news for a change...

    Hey, Suki! So whats the deal with you vs. you character?

  14. I always say that for all intensive porpoises it's hard to tow the lion for the long hall when someone's trying to head you off at the past.

  15. Buckley came out for marijuana legalization. Didn't have a whole lot of effect on the rest of the right wing.

    Thank you, John Randolph. I was about to post a series of links pointing to conservatives who have idly expressed introspection on the drug war (to the current results we have today better known as the ever-expanding drug war), but your comment summed it up nicely.

  16. [hysterical voter] Jim Webb is soft on crime. [/hysterical voter]

  17. Buckley never won a public office, and thus certainly never advocated for such positions while defending a seat at the table. It's far easier to be an airy intellectual on the sidelines, and consequently far less effective.

  18. Hey, Suki! So whats the deal with you vs. you character?

    Can see more at the link I am using now.*

    Me vs Character, well my real name is not Suki, I do not have a PhD and I am not so lean and toned like a runner that I miss ovulation on a regular basis.

    Not sure I could even win a sack of peanuts at an archery competition either.

    I do use the handle because I helped develop the character for my writer friend.

    Seems my politics are moving towards those of 'hers' pretty quickly, but I think that has a lot to do with being better informed through Reason and some other recent reading.

    *Finally was able to change link when I started using Chrome. If SukiSite.Com comes up it is a post using IE.

  19. "I am all for freedom for weed, but what is up with this guy?"

    Suki, you have all the articulateness of the old anonymity bot:

    "Freedom is good, but what is up with this character? LOL


  20. Webb is a true statesman/scholar. Virginia had one of those in John Warner and now they have one in Webb. Good for them.

  21. Leftoid 'bot MNG tossing rocks from within her own glass cage never misses an opportunity to sound like a jackass.

    When a commentator makes an effort to stop linking to a site promoting a book, THEN MNG has to pipe up and make accusations of what? Of course, exactly what the commentator was expressly trying to avoid. LOL!

    Patiently awaiting Naga to counter attack MNG with his fancy words and Ninja style.


    I think what you were trying to remember was Jim Webb having his assistant take his pistol back to his office in DC, getting caught with it in the Senate Office Building and getting off scott free with barely a peep out of Reason while they were making text love to Webb on a daily basis.

  22. I expect VP Biden to support the legalization of Cocaine.

  23. Not only Buckley, but I think that the general line of National Review is that marijuana should be legalized.

    A year ago I was asked be run for State rep as a sacrificial lamb (a Republican in a district about 90% Democrat). My platform was going to be (i) transparency, (ii) eminent domain reform, and (iii) school choice. Then I said the fourth -- drug law reform. The GOP had no problem with that either.

  24. Jim Webb is one of the most thoughtful and independent people in Congress, so it's not surprising to see that he's concerned with the unheralded issue of an exponentially rising prison population.

    Among Democrats, though, he's unfortunately an exception. I think Republicans are slowly (ever...so...slowly) beginning to nudge in the right direction, but in a reversal of past positions, I predict Dems will serve as the bulwark against criminal justice reform in the future.

  25. Senator Webb is on the right track but the legal profession will never let it happen. There is to much money paid out to the lawyers, prosecutor's, judges, police, DEA, bailiffs, guards unions and the list goes on. Marijuana arrest, adjudication and incarceration is a huge money maker for the legal profession, do you really think that they would allow this cash cow to expire? The weed dealers don't make the big money, the lawyers do.

  26. Did someone say Toad the Wet Sprocket?

  27. Great. He votes consistently with the majority to massively expand Federal intervention in every other part of our lives, but as long as we can smoke a J, then we should all vote for him?

    No thanks. We should not be suckered. Webb is a malevolent clown who should crawl back under his rock.

  28. >>I always say that for all intensive porpoises it's hard to tow the lion for the long hall when someone's trying to head you off at the past.

  29. Did someone say Toad the Wet Sprocket?

    That is what I think of whenever that chick writes "toad the lion".

  30. Good for him for sticking his neck out on this (somebody has have enough balls to go first), but what about his positions on gun rights - which is more my issue at this phase of my life 🙂 - and where Sen. Webb has echoed the librul position pretty much consistently?

  31. Yggh - (somebody has have enough balls to go first) = (somebody has to have enough balls to go first).

    Preview is your friend.

  32. Was anyone in Virginia during 2006 for the Webb v. Allen Senate race. Nothing but attack ads and sleaze, some of it bordering on the bizarre. The "macaca" incident and the big kerfluffle over what Webb did or did tell Reagan 25 years ago about women in service was the tip of the iceberg. There were also stories about George Allen decapitating a deer and shoving it in a black guy's mailbox. Also, there were stories about Webb performing pedophilic acts during tours of duty in Southeast Asia.

    I'm use to seeing election year smear campaigns, but what struck me in 2006 was that there was zero discussion about policy anywhere. It was all crazy-ass character assassination, all the time, running on local radio and TV like something out of South Park episode. To this day I still can't find any solid information on Webb's policy or ideological views.

  33. I knew there was something about Webb I liked. I still think Obama should have picked him instead of Biden...

  34. Mr. Webb, please address the ramifications of H.R.1105, (Public Law No: 111-8) Sec. 819 which specifically restricts the use of funds for legalizing or reducing penalties relating to Schedule 1 substances, explicitly: THC.

  35. Did we not learn anything from alcohol prohibition?
    Marijuana prohibition has been an indisputable failure. Legalize it and take the money out of the black market. Marijuana is less dangerous than either alcohol or tobacco yet both of those substances are legal (and should be). Every year our prison system releases violent offenders to make room for non-violent pot smokers. That is just plain insanity. Think of how better society would be served if our law enforcement efforts were directed more towards dealing with violent individuals. We would also save millions of dollars on prosecution costs and jail expenses.
    There is also substantial evidence indicating marijuana has numerous medical uses as well.
    This is a plant, legalize it and regulate it. We need to look at this issue using nothing more than basic common sense. Isn't it time to drop the "Reefer Madness" stupidity?

  36. Alcohol is 5 Times Deadlier than All Illegal Drugs Combined!

    Prison Reform NEEDS TO Seriously Consider Legalizing Cannabis!

    Total Alcohol and Tobacco Deaths per Year (U.S. Only): 520,000 deaths - over one-half million dead Americans.

    All Illicit Drug Use, Direct and Indirect Deaths per Year (U.S. Only): 17,000 deaths.

    All Illicit Drug Use, Direct and Indirect (yes, this would include Methamphetamines, Cocaine, Crack, Heroin, etc. - all hard drugs and soft drugs - all illegal drugs) deaths compared to the annual deaths caused just by Alcohol and Tobacco = 0.03269. This means that all illegal drug use put together is less than 03.27% as harmful as Alcohol and Tobacco use. Wow!

    Deaths per year caused by the two legal drugs, Alcohol and Tobacco, are over 30 times more than all illegal drugs combined! Even with 30 times the total number of hard drug users in the U.S. the death rate would still be lower than the annual U.S. Alcohol and Tobacco death rate!

    Now let's look at just the deaths due to Alcohol: 85,000 deaths. 17,000 (All illegal drugs) / 85,000 (Alcohol) = 0.2. This means that all illegal drug use combined is only 20% as harmful as Alcohol use. So - Alcohol accounts for 5 times more deaths per year than all illegal drugs combined! Wow again! - Put that in your beer mug and drink it!

    So when you hear a Drug Warrior say that "Legalizing Cannabis sends the Wrong Message to our children" - "The Message" that they are really telling our children is that (when the children reach legal age) they will NOT be allowed to use a safe recreational drug like Cannabis but they Will be allowed to use Alcohol as a recreational drug, even though legal alcohol kills 5 times more people per year than Methamphetamines, Cocaine, Crack, Heroin and all of the worst illegal drugs combined!

    Now let's look at Cannabis.

    For those who do not know, Cannabis is the genus name for the very common plant that Harry Anslinger called "Marijuana", so that he could confuse/trick the public into thinking that Cannabis was some new type of dangerous drug as well as to use racism in quest for criminalization back in the 30's. (I refuse to use Harry Anslinger's derogatory terminology)

    Total Cannabis Deaths throughout All of Recorded History (Worldwide): 0!!!. Usage of Cannabis (Marijuana) has never killed anybody - ever!

    Hmm, we can't even get a percentage of Cannabis Deaths (0) compared to Alcohol and Tobacco Deaths (85,000) since Cannabis has never ever killed anybody can we?

    So - Alcohol and Tobacco kill over a half million Americans in one year and Cannabis has never killed anybody (in the whole world - ever), yet we allow the U.S. Government to support the Alcohol and Tobacco industry while they arrest us, put us in cages and steal our homes/cars/money for using Cannabis - a safe alternative to Alcohol?

    The Pharmaceutical Industry also "pushes" many extremely deadly poisons that could easily be replaced by Cannabis and Cannabis Derived Drugs. "Adverse Reactions to Prescription Drugs" kill around twice as many people per year as "All Illicit Drug Use Combined" - and that Cannabis use has never killed anyone!

    I wonder how many people die yearly from Alcohol and Tobacco who would prefer Cannabis instead? Cannabis is a completely safe alternative to Alcohol. Alcohol almost killed me. I would love to use Cannabis as a substitute for the deadly drug Alcohol! The problem is that I live in a country where Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness is NOT possible - I live in the United States of America - Freedom is NOT an option here. The American public is completely terrorized by the U.S. DEA.

    Terrorism is, most simply, policy intended to intimidate or cause terror. It is more commonly understood as an act which (1) is intended to create fear (terror), (2) is perpetrated for an ideological goal (as opposed to a materialistic goal or a lone attack), and (3) deliberately targets (or disregards the safety of) non-combatants. (Wikipedia)

    Therefore, the U.S. DEA, who break into peoples homes, incarcerate people for exercising their Constitutional Freedom to use Cannabis as a safe alternative to Alcohol (or even as medicine), revoke student aids, separate families, cost people their jobs, take their driving privileges, take their homes, take their right to vote, and kill family pets, are indeed Terrorists! We need our government to dismantle the U.S. supported and funded American Terrorism Group also known as the U.S. DEA. We the People are PAYING for our own Terrorization with our own taxes!

    The U.S. - with 5% of the world's population - cages 25% of the world's population caged population. Many of the people who are kept in cages should not be. Many people who are forced to live in cages and suffer the brutality of the American Prison System are otherwise law abiding citizens who have simply exercised their Constitutional Right of Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.

    Legalize Cannabis Now!

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