Marijuana Ballot Initiatives

The New Chair of the House Judiciary Committee "Opposes Any Effort to Legalize Marijuana"

Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), the new chair of the House Judiciary committee, is a committed drug warrior.


Goodlatte is the one in the picture

Yesterday House Democrats introduced the Respect States' and Citizens' Rights Act of 2012, which would resolve the conflict between the federal government and states with their own marijuana laws. As of right now, the bill faces two hurdles: A lack of Republican co-sponsors, and Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), the new chair of the House Judiciary committee. 

Goodlatte, who's been in the House since 1992, is notorious in the tech community for having co-authored and co-sponsored the Stop Online Piracy Act, or SOPA, with former Judiciary chair Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas). Now that Smith will be chairing the Science, Space, and Technology Committee, drug reformers will have to get their legislation past Goodlatte. Based on Goodlatte's record on marijuana issues, that's probably going to be tough. 

As recently as January 2012, Goodlatte was responding to pro-pot constituents from the Roanoke area with this form letter (emphasis mine): 

As you know, marijuana has been used in societies for thousands of years. Scientists over the years have learned much about the plant, including the usage of hemp for fiber and oil for cooking. However, scientists have also learned that the drug itself, when smoked, creates serious behavioral and psychological health risks. Studies have proven that the mind-altering effects of marijuana use have led to increased crime rates and an inability to function in society.

The medical benefits of the drug are inconclusive at best. The most recent study by the National Academy of Sciences' Institute of Medicine concluded in 1999 that plant material marijuana has no currently accepted medical use. In fact, there has been some evidence that use of marijuana may lead to the use of other harmful and addictive drugs. Therefore I oppose any effort to legalize marijuana. The proven harmful effects of the substance on the body and mind far outweigh any limited agricultural use or unproven medical benefits.

You may also know that H.R. 2306, the Ending Federal Marijuana Act of 2011, was introduced by Representative Barney Frank of Massachusetts, and would limit the application of federal laws to the distribution and consumption of marijuana.

H.R. 2306 was introduced on June 23, 2011, and was referred to the House Committees on the Judiciary and Energy and Commerce. No further action has taken place. As a member of the Committee on the Judiciary, rest assured I will keep your views in mind as this legislation is considered by Congress.

As of Dec. 2011, Goodlatte was also opposed to domestic hemp farming. "I believe the threat to the government's ability to prevent the cultivation of hemp for illegal use far outweighs the economic benefits that would be created by the legalization of the production of hemp for commercial uses," he told The Roanoke Times. (His opponent in the primary, retired Air Force officer Karen Kwiatkowski, supported both industrial hemp and defunding the DOJ's medical marijuana raids.) Going back even further, Goodlatte also opposed D.C.'s medical marijuana ballot initiative, which passed in 1999. 

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  1. Looks like this is going to be some pretty entertaining theater, as many of us predicted. Pass the popcorn.

    As an added bonus, this guy is attempting to make himself one of those dinosaurs Rand Paul talked about.

    1. Dinosaurs? They are nothing but LIES FROM THE PITS OF HELL!!!!

    2. It’s not going to be entertaining at all. He will use every committee power he’s got to prevent it even being discussed.

      And the secret BHO who was supposed to emerge after Nov 6 and support easing MJ laws will be missing in inaction.

      1. The only time BHO is not missing in action is when there are funds to be raised or cadences to be teleprompted.

  2. Democrats in favor of federalism????!

    1. *Some* Democrats are in favor of weed. Federalism is just the 2am booty call they use to scratch that particular itch.

    2. Republicans opposing federalism? What a shock!

      1. Chances of a Republican giving lip service to federalism 1:4
        Chances of a Democrat giving lip service to federalism 1:100,000,000
        Chances of your child having autism 1:93

        1. Well, since a Democrat just did give lip service to federalism, I guess we’ve won the jackpot?

  3. Who gives a shit what they oppose? All that matters is how much the governors of Washington and Colorado want to uphold their own power in relation to the feds. I’m hoping it’s a lot. As soon as the first governor successfully stands up to the feds, all of a sudden they’ll all be doing it.

    1. It’s coming, Epi, but I think it will have more to do with the people suddenly discovering that they have the ability to resist tyranny at the state level, than anything to do with a governor having the balls to stand up to Goliath.

    2. Me too, but only so that Obama and DEA goons will start raiding the states and the leftards in Washington and Colorado will get a first-hand look at what happens when a government doesn’t give a fuck about local autonomy.

      1. When some of the leftytard pot smokers are hanging upside down in shackles at Gitmo, they will still be worshipping the great leader and blaming their misfortune on Bush and the Koch brothers. I mean seriously, I think most folks capable of learning, should have learned something over the last 4 years if only they were capable of learning.

      2. I eagerly await the silence on Facebook when the avid TEAM BLUE pot smokers I know who were utterly thrilled when the referendum passed have to deal with Obama’s DEA raiding a WA pot store. But I can only hope pictures of the WA State Police arresting DEA agents are involved, because then I’ll be posting some shit on Facebook for sure, and it’ll be lulz.

        1. Admit it, you’re just hoping for a firefight between dunphy and the DOJ’s drone fleet.

          1. OK, I admit it, but I do actually want dunphy to win.

            1. Well if anyone can shoot down a drone flying at 25,000 feet with a standard issue 9mm semi-auto, it’s dunphy.

              1. Do you even lift, bro?

            2. He’s just a troll, dude. Dunphy said he directed traffic with Rage Against The Machine blaring in his ears. Really? Nothing about your ears being unmuffled may be necessary for that particular job?

        2. I eagerly await the silence on Facebook when the avid TEAM BLUE pot smokers I know who were utterly thrilled when the referendum passed have to deal with Obama’s DEA raiding a WA pot store.

          You and me both. One of my friends, a Seattle native, was all ecstatic to me about this the day after. I was like yeah…just wait for the coming shitshow with the feds. He didn’t have a lot to say.

          Same guy who told me he would just hand over his wallet if he got mugged, because nothing is worth fighting over (part of an anti-gun conversation). And I was just like…rape. End of conversation.

          I’ve also been telling him for years that we’re still in recession despite his overall bullishness. On that, he’s finally coming around to my side. Stupid TEAM BLUE.

          1. Shit, if everyone was so easy to mug why would you work at any other occupation?

            1. I think a lot of peeps in no-concealed-carry places have wondered the same thing.

    3. As soon as the first governor successfully stands up to the feds

      The “successfully” part may be tricky.

      “Sorry Mr. Governor, all the federal support to fund your programs seems to have disappeared.”

  4. Studies have proven that the mind-altering effects of marijuana use have led to increased crime rates and an inability to function in society

    Yes, it certainly has increased crime rates, IOW, people arrested for posession of said substance, durrrr.

    inability to function in society produce moar revenue like a good biological revenue units, fixed it…

  5. Whoa, are we in Tianamen? Because I see a square!

  6. Where’s Tulpa to tell us all how we should have voted Republican?

    1. This is a perfect example of Tulpa’s double standard. When it comes to the economy and the budget, Republicans get the benefit of the doubt – “Yeah, Romney and the Republicans suck, but they’re not as bad as Obama and the Democrats!” But on issues like marijuana, or a potential war with Iran, Democrats don’t get this same benefit of the doubt. Tulpa buys into the “Both sides are equally bad!” line that he criticizes others so much when they use it when the topic is the economy or the budget

  7. Kwiatkowski’s running against him again in 2016.

    1. She’s not running against him in 2014?

      1. The Virginia calender doesn’t recognize that year. It has something to do w/ Mayans.

  8. But…but….the republicans are the party of small government and constitutionalism! Right?!

  9. So is there anything he said about pot that can’t be applied verbatim to alcohol?

    1. Well, there are probably a few things that he said to his brewing company campaign contributors, but those aren’t on the record.

      1. Isnt Virginia a tobacco state?

        I bet there is one hellova tangled web there.

    2. I often ask that question of drug warriors.

      I have yet to get an answer beyond “Drugs are bad, m’kay?”

    3. There’s not one single problem with pot that doesn’t apply in spades to alcohol.

      As I have said many times, and never gotten an answer to: “Any society that can tolerate alcohol can tolerate pot.”

      1. I’ve seen many, many commenters over at RedState and the like claim that alcohol is part of our “history and culture”, whereas drugs are not, and that makes booze a special exception.

        1. The Founding Fathers were brewers, not marijuana growers! Oh wait…

        2. That just means we have a history and culture that can tolerate alcohol, a more dangerous and damaging drug than pot.

          Surely that history and culture will empower us to somehow continue to function if pot is legal as well.

      2. Second hand alcohol sounds too icky for me.

  10. The geniuses over at Boing Boing are already set to blame the next wave of government boondoggles on a lack of committee chairwomen.

    1. I consider Maxine Waters, John Conyers, Jim Clyburn and Marcia Fudge to be as equally retarded as their white counterparts, so what does that make me?

      1. You’re only saying they’re equal because you’re racist!!!!

  11. Going back even further, Goodlatte also opposed D.C.’s medical marijuana ballot initiative, which passed in 1999.

    Well at least he’s qualified to receive a future Libertarian Party presidential nomination.

  12. But where’s derpfee to ask if I want to “make a prediction and back it up” since I intimated Fed “tolerance” of various states’ pot law updates might not be smooth sledding?

    Oh derrrrrrrrrpfeee?! Where arrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrre you?!

    Again, with feeling: I’ll believe it when I see it.

    1. You and me both. I hope that we have turned the corner and are rapidly moving toward nationwide legalization, but I think its foolish in the extreme to declare victory at this point.

  13. What bothers me about these “chairs” is that they won’t accept emails from those who are not “constituents.” This is bullshit. When a representative is chair of the house judiciary committee, they have much more responsibility to know the views of US citizens wherever they live.
    When Lamar Smith was chair, I had to go about finding an address in Kentucky or whatever backwards state in order to email him.

    1. Like they have email in Kentucky.

  14. Alternate ALT TEXT: “This is not a picture.”

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