Five House Members Pledge to Continue Rep. Ron Paul's Fight For Saner Marijuana Policies

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Four House Democrats and one House Republican recently published statements saying that the fight for saner marijuana laws will not end with the retirements of Congressmen Ron Paul (R-Texas) and Barney Frank (D-Mass.), who introduced legislation last year to repeal the federal prohibition of marijuana

Democrats Charlie Rangel, Sam Farr, Steve Cohen, and Barbara Lee, as well as Republican Dana Rohrabacher wrote into Politico's Arena, a forum for policymakers and advocates, to answer the question, "Will the push to legalize pot fade away?" To a one, they answered "no." 

Here's Rangel on the question: 

Marijuana decriminalization is an issue that will undoubtedly become more prevalent over time. Things are very different from when I chaired the House Select Committee on Narcotics Abuse and Control back in the 1980s. Polls have shown that since October 2011, at least 50 percent of Americans favor legalization at the federal level—a number that is on the rise.

The U.S. already has the highest incarceration rate in the world. We lock up the majority of inmates for non-violent drug-related crimes. Instead of attacking the consumers, we should give them alternatives to poverty and street life to steer them away from drug abuse in the first place. It simply doesn't make sense to waste billions of dollars putting hundreds of thousands of Americans in prison for non-violent offenses of the law.

 Farr: 

I believe that the federal government should stop targeting the legal vendors that are providing safe access to this treatment, and instead focus limited resources on those who sell illicit drugs. On this front, I will continue to work with my colleagues on protecting those who need to access this critical treatment. 

On the issue of legalizing marijuana across the board, I believe we at the very least need to open this conversation. 

Rohrabacher: 

The movement to allow for the medicinal use of marijuana in particular saw growing support just last week when I, along with Congressmen Hinchey, McClintock, and Farr, introduced an amendment that would prevent the Department of Justice from using funds to prevent states from implementing their own medical marijuana laws.

Cohen: 

This is an important bipartisan issue and the public is beginning to understand and appreciate how medical marijuana can help people with cancer, glaucoma, AIDS, multiple sclerosis and other life-threatening illnesses. If regulated and administered properly, medical marijuana can help thousands of Americans across the country. In addition, more and more people view the war on drugs as a great misuse of resources that criminalizes millions of ordinary Americans, with a disproportionate impact on minorities.

Lee:

While Congress will certainly miss the leadership of Mr. Frank and Mr. Paul, the fact is that the war on drugs has failed.  These failed policies will mean that the fight for sane policy will continue.

Ethan Nadelmann and Bill Piper of the Drug Policy Alliance also weighed in. You can read all of the responses here

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  1. Charlie Rangel speaks truth and makes sense. WTF? How did that happen?

    1. The source doesn’t matter. The message matters. When you are talking about increasing freedom, even in an incremental, inadequate way, it’s difficult to not make sense. Likewise, when you are spouting the freedom-destroying garbage that Rangel normally is, it’s difficult to sound anything but delusional.

    2. At some point, you’re going to intersect with someone, it can’t be helped: I don’t believe children should be sacrificed and put into the wood chipper!

      Hey, it makes a lot of sense, dude. LOL.

    3. Perhaps Rangel regrets all the human misery his mandatory minimum sentencing has caused.

      1. I was pretty sure he was that guy. He’s just trying to stay in tune with the electorate (read: campaigning for re-election)

        But, yeah. Even baby steps in the right direction make hard to blast the guy.

        1. That stuff is all well and good but I’ve still got a bad case of cognitive dissonance because of it.

  2. So, in a country where at least half of the population thinks pot should be legalized or decriminalized, 5 out of 435 representatives are willing to say anything about it. What?

    God, politicians are pussies.

    1. Congress: The Pauls, Amash and 532 assholes.

    2. Yeah Democratic Republicanism!!

  3. Democrats Charlie Rangel, Sam Farr,

    Damn, post-registration, it makes it a pain in the ass to do my celebrity impersonation of Rick James and yell, “Charlie Rangel!”

  4. I may be misremembering, but didn’t Congress grant the President the authority to reschedule marijuana?

    1. But now the polls dictate they take a different position so they can keep their jobs, at least in 5 districts.

    2. The president can kind of do… anything with an Executive order.

      At minimum, he could write an executive order stating that all marijuana raids on clinics where Marijuana is legal under state law will stop until the federal laws are reviewed. It would be a gesture, and I’d stand behind Obama if he did it.

      1. It’s in the CSA. The POTUS has the express authority to rewrite the various naughty lists if he sees fit.

  5. I remember Charlie Rangel being on the prohibition team in a debate that Ted Koppel ran on ABC years ago.

    I forget who teamed up with William F Buckley on the legalization side and Rangel and Pat Schroeder and I forget who else on the prohibition side.

    At one stage Buckley kept pressing the incarceration issue to the point of almost reducing Schroeder to tears as she blurted out something like “When I voted to save the little children from drugs, I didn’t know they were going to arrest them and put them in jail!”

    Sums up the liberal mind almost perfectly. Yeah, make something illegal and it just stops. No need to hurt anyone.

    1. I meant to add in the first paragraph that I am glad to see that Rangel has evolved.

      1. So racist.

        1. “Asshat” is not a race.

    2. IIRC, Ethan Nadelmann of the Drug Policy Alliance, helped WFB with the legalization argument in the debate I refferred to.

      As he and his colleague wrote in the linked article,

      But it is also noteworthy that Rep. Charlie Rangel, who spent much of his career as a cheerleader for the war on drugs, also signed on to the Frank-Paul bill.

      Maybe, to avoid giving offense, I should have written that “Rangel’s position on the War on Drugs has evolved.”

  6. I’m sure that this bipartisan event will be hailed by all the pundits who worry about partisanship.

  7. What about the push to legalize LSD? Anyone in Congress for that?

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