Drug War

Legalization Republicans


Putting the "kush" in "GOP"

Mother Jones has a good little piece up about the growing pro-legalization sentiment among GOP figures and the Tea Party movement. Excerpt: 

"What the tea party talks about is wise spending," [Gary Johnson] said, adding that the war on drugs was certainly no better a deal than Social Security or Medicare. The tea party's libertarian elements, he noted, have already led to the unthinkable: "You find more Republican candidates right now espousing legalization of marijuana than you do Democrats."

He's probably right, says Allen St. Pierre, head of the pro-legalization National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), which funnels 80 percent of its political donations to Democrats. "Republicans are definitely more on the record in terms of support for ending prohibition," he says. While pot-friendly pols from either side of the aisle are still rare species, the GOP variety tends to voice unequivocal support for outright legalization. Republican exemplars include ex-Colorado GOP congressman Tom Tancredo (now running for governor on the American Constitution Party ticket) and the GOP challengers to Reps. Barney Frank and Nancy Pelosi. Nobody, of course, is more outspoken on the issue than Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), the 2008 presidential hopeful and tea party patron saint, who recently wrote that "decriminalizing marijuana at the federal level would be a start" to ending "the insanity of the War on Drugs."

GOP voters might prove receptive to such a message. According to the Pew Research Center, a whopping 61 percent of Republicans support legalizing the drug for medical patients (as 14 states already have). In a recent Gallup poll, nearly one-third favored legalizing p

Put THAT in yer pipe, blah blah

ot outright. In California, pollsters have shown similar levels of Republican support for Proposition 19, the ballot initiative that would legalize, regulate, and tax recreational marijuana for adults.

While Democrats favor Prop 19 at twice the rate of Republicans, pot activists insist that the tea party world is helping to narrow the gap.

Whole thing here.

Some other Prop. 19 news:
* The New York Times interviews The Dude.
* All major Oakland mayoral candidates are in favor.
* The Lompoc Record joins the editorial stampede against.
* Why this is a problem for Obama.
* Prop. 19 is the most popular item on California's November ballot.

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  1. Impossible. We’re the Republicans who want to smoke pot.

    1. Then maybe we just need to be patient. It will happen. It’s like slavery was. [sarcasm]

      “You know, the slaves sitting around a fire singing freedom songs, they weren’t sure when slavery would end, but they understood it was going to end.”

      I’m sorry. That quote from Obama just gets me every time.

  2. Maybe it has to to with that freedom thing.

    1. Damn first post rushing. Maybe it has something to do with that freedom thing.

  3. “You find more Republican candidates right now espousing legalization of marijuana than you do Democrats.”

    The RNC will purge these heretics.

    1. They’re too busy trying to keep the villagers from storming the castle right now.

  4. You know, if the GOP were to swing on this sort of thing, they’d do some serious damage to the Democratic base. And they could get away with it, because only Nixon could go to China.

    1. …only Nixon could go to China

      True. And only Clinton could reform welfare.

      1. And end the Era of Big Government.

        I know where Gary Johnson is on this issue. Where are the other possible presidential candidates? Does Newt (short for Newcular Titties) Gingrich support legalization? He might.

        1. Hopefully, Mitch Daniels bust in college taught him about the folly of the WOD.

        2. Does Newt (short for Newcular Titties) Gingrich support legalization?

          Sometimes when I hear him speak, I think he is high.

        3. Nah, Newcular Titties is fairly pro drug war from what I’ve seen. One time I heard him saying that we either need to legalize or impose Singapore-type penalties, rather than doing this thing half-assed…and he came down on the side of the latter.

        4. I recall Newt saying pot smokers should be lined up and shot…

      2. Reps forced Clinton to reform welfare. A better example is NAFTA, which he pushed through on his own initiative and probably could have avoided with little to no political consequence.

        1. Clinton passed NAFTA with mostly Republican support. Could a Republican President curb the WOD with Democratic support? which Democrats would support him? I don’t see many that would.

    2. I think you are right. And the Democrats are so in bed with the public employee unions, they could never pivot to meet them. It would be a brilliant flanking action. Yeah, a lot of social cons would get pissed off, but the Democrats are so committed to abortion rights, they could never offer the social cons any kind of alternative. It would leave the Democrats as the party of public employees and no one else.

      1. The GOP could spin it to explain the switch.

      2. Though now SEIU is getting into the legalization game….

        1. Yes, but the GOP has had a legalization minority for many decades and can make the switch without losing their tough guy credentials. Maybe they’ll go officially pro-decriminalization while simultaneously proposing that we amend the Constitution to take out protections for guilty people.

        2. How? Wouldn’t legalization put a lot of cops and prison guards out of a job?

          1. No. There are millions of dogs out there that are lead deficient. And when filming cops becomes a felony the prisons will be bursting at the seams…again.

          2. How? They’re officially supporting Prop. 19, and a little birdie told me last night that they’ll be supporting pro-legalization initiatives in 2012 as well.

            I don’t think the SEIU plays w/ the prison guards’ unions.

          3. Or maybe, just maybe, the po-po could turn its efforts to, you know, violent/property crimes instead of insisting on arresting nearly a million pot smokers a year. The kind that actually do harm to others.

            Prison guards would be fucked, but whatever. Let those bitches find a productive job somewhere.

            1. Umm. Prison guard isn’t usually a first (or even second) career choice. You’re pretty much at the bottom of the bucket when you sign up for that.

              1. Not really. I know a guy who just graduated from college (criminal justice) and went right into being a prison guard — making something like 40-50k IIRC. Apparently, at least in this state, it’s a good way to get in with the Sheriff’s department.

                Don’t get me wrong, I think it would be the most depressing job on the planet, but a lot of people see it as a viable career choice.

      3. I’d also like it because it would combat the “states rights = racist” meme better than just about anything else out there. Well, if it were done the Ron/Rand Paul way of “let the states do what they want, but the Federal involvment in this issue is over”.

    3. Maybe, but they would probably be afraid of pushing the middle class mommy vote even further into the Democratic camp.

      Try arguing legalization with a Mom and they’ll quickly pull out “but I don’t want my kids using drugs” as if it’s some sort of trump card. Pointing out that they don’t want their kids going to jail either helps, but they still have a hard time imagining that happening to their child.

      1. That is a good point. Suburban moms are among the least informed, most narrow minded, and most influential voting blocks. They are generally a menace of stupidity. And their support is behind many of the laws that Libertarians mistakenly blame of social cons.

      2. Yes, John, on all accounts.

        And my wife is one of them.

        And pretty much all the wives of my friends.

        1. My wife isn’t but her sister is. She is an example of a very dangerous kind of voter. She is not aligned to either party. So no one can take her for granted. And she supports every kind of nanny law one can imagine from zero tolerance DUI laws to smoking bans to the drug war to you name it. And she is not alone.

          1. Sounds like my girlfriend. You learn to chuckle regrettably about it after enough arguments.

  5. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/tvs…..ewart.html

    Wow. Herimone had a sex change and is now a teenage boy. What a shame.

    1. Dude, welecome to two months ago.

      And while not the best ‘do in the world, she looks nothing like a teenage boy. Heck, in those pictures you linked, ITS GROWN OUT.

      I think the primary reason she did it was she was contractually obligated to not cut it for so many years.

      1. She looks like a boy. I think she cut it because Brown has made her into a lesbian.

        1. Yeah, Brown sucks!

          1. I’m a bit more concerned as to whether she directed those clippers further down south. Based on what photos I’ve seen, she’s in serious need of a pubic school education (compliments of South Bend if necessary).

          2. Didn’t you go to Brown, Otto?

  6. The Governator just signed a bill decriminalizing pot. Under an ounce, $100 fine. No court, no judge.

    Link: http://thenewsoftoday.com/schw…..p-19/3047/

    There’s the first big victory. Team Red needs to get behind this right away. This is a golden chance to do the right thing, and cut into Team Blue’s base. Either way, it’s a step in the right direction from a usually-bumbling state government.

    1. Drudge is reporting this now.

      This is freakin’ huge.

    2. Isn’t Arnold on TEAM RED? How much more ‘behind’ it could they get?

      1. I believe Arnold shot down a very similar bill when he wasn’t a lame duck. It’s not like this is a cause of his or something. So yeah, they could be more “behind” it for sure.

        1. i think that was a ballot initiative the failed.

  7. Oh yes the GOP is going to abandon its devoted social con base (the ones who aren’t for legalization) in favor of the fickle, openly disloyal teabaggers who are a much smaller group. If they can convince the theocrats to change their mind on some things, go get ’em, but that’s a tall order.

    1. I don’t think the social conservatives are anywhere near as concerned about pot as they are about other issues. They could be easily placated.

  8. Social Conservatives:republicans::blacks:Democrats.

    Neither party has to pay attention to them since they will get 90% support no matter what.

    1. Increasingly the gays have the same problem.

  9. The overlying argument against legalization from a Supreme Court standpoint is the Commerce Clause.

    And it’s the conservative judge Clarence Thomas who argues in the dissent of Gonzales Vs. Raich that the Commerce Clause should not be used to regulate personal use or cultivation of marijuana. Furthermore, Thomas rightfully states that if the Commerce Clause can be used to regulate weed, than Congress is no longer under the constitutional restrictions of limited and enumerated powers.

    From the Thomas’ dissent in Gonzales Vs, Raich-

    Respondent’s local cultivation and consumption of marijuana is not “Commerce … among the several States.”

    Certainly no evidence from the founding suggests that “commerce” included the mere possession of a good or some personal activity that did not involve trade or exchange for value. In the early days of the Republic, it would have been unthinkable that Congress could prohibit the local cultivation, possession, and consumption of marijuana.


    ” If the Federal Government can regulate growing a half-dozen cannabis plants for personal consumption (not because it is interstate commerce, but because it is inextricably bound up with interstate commerce), then Congress’ Article I powers — as expanded by the Necessary and Proper Clause — have no meaningful limits. Whether Congress aims at the possession of drugs, guns, or any number of other items, it may continue to “appropria[te] state police powers under the guise of regulating commerce.”

    and further:

    ” If the majority is to be taken seriously, the Federal Government may now regulate quilting bees, clothes drives, and potluck suppers throughout the 50 States. This makes a mockery of Madison’s assurance to the people of New York that the “powers delegated” to the Federal Government are “few and defined”, while those of the States are “numerous and indefinite.”[9]

    So from a liberal vs. conservative standpoint, it’s the Conservatives on the bench who will support eventual legalization by revoking congress’s powers from the Commerce Clause.

    1. I think you can sell prohibition at the Federal level to a lot of conservatives even though they don’t like drugs. They will still support prohibition at the state level. But I think a lot of them would support getting the feds out of it. That wouldn’t be perfect, but it would be one hell of an improvement.

      1. If congress is denied the use of the Commerce Clause to regulate “local cultivation and consumption of marijuana” it would be impossible for them to justify federal enforcement of what would be then state laws.

        1. Basically they would be left policing the borders. That would still suck. But at least it would be constitutional.

          1. A fascinating concept: The federal government is supposed to do what it says in the Constitution, and what it doesn’t say is to be regulated by the states.

            Why, I think there is even a constituional amendment that states such an idea quite plainly!

            “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.”

            How about that!

  10. It’s impossible to overcome decades of anti-drug propaganda and hysteria overnight. Philosophically, the Republicans seem closer to doing so, but it’s interesting that Schwarzenegger’s move is related to budgetary concerns, not ideological ones.

    It may be that a broke-ass nation like ours can no longer afford to maintain such a massive Prison Industrial Complex, regardless of what the suburban mothers think of it.

  11. “the GOP challengers to Reps. Barney Frank and Nancy Pelosi”

    Wait . . . Bielat is pro-legalization? I may have to hold a sign for him come election day . . .

  12. The times they are a-changin’

  13. The Great Depression led to the end of Prohibition. Perhaps this crisis will lead to the end of the drug war.

  14. I do not understand why Reason writers start with the assumption that drug legalization is a “left” position. National Review has been pro-legalization as its official editorial position for over a decade, so any GOP can point to that as an orthodox conservative stance.

    Similarly, the Left’s position on making our individual health care a function of government requires them to want a s ay in what an individual citizen does with their body, including recreational drugs.

    The major representatives of Left and Right are so mixed up on this issue, I say that drug legalization neither a Left or Right issue and goes off in a completely different direction.

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