Marijuana

Tulsi Gabbard Pitches Pot Legalization Bill as Criminal Justice Reform Issue

"Millions of people have been arrested for the possession or use of marijuana. Many can't afford bail-further punishing those who are poor," says Gabbard.

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Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call/Newscom

Legalizing marijuana is really a criminal justice issue that will stop ruining lives over non-violent offenses, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) argued Thursday as she unveiled a pair of bills to legalize weed and let researchers study the drug.

"Millions of people have been arrested for the possession or use of marijuana. Many can't afford bail—further punishing those who are poor—and become mired in our hopelessly back-logged court system that punishes non-violent offenders with felonies and years behind bars," Gabbard, a 2020 presidential candidate, said during a press conference outside the capitol. "Others have faced lost opportunities and life-long stigma that follows them with a criminal record."

Gabbard and Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska) are cosponsoring the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act, which would take marijuana off the federal government's list of controlled substances and, importantly, would step aside to allow states to regulate marijuana as they see fit. The two lawmakers also introduced the Marijuana Data Collection Act, which authorizes the study of legal recreational and medical marijuana programs in various states, with the intention of analyzing how legalization impacts state revenues, public health, criminal justice, and other key issues.

"This legislation is effective in its simplicity," says Erik Altieri, executive director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, a national nonprofit that advocates for marijuana legalization. "The Ending Federal Prohibition Act is about acknowledging political, scientific, and economic reality. Marijuana legalization is here to stay and it is time that federal policy reflect that."

More than 73 million Americans—about 20 percent of the country's population—live in the 10 states where recreational marijuana is legal. Many more live in the 33 states with medical marijuana programs.

Unlike some of the other members of Congress seeking the Democratic nomination in 2020, Gabbard's support for ending marijuana prohibition isn't an awkward political evolution conveniently timed to appeal to Democratic voters—and, indeed, all Americans—who are increasingly in favor of legalization. She introduced a similar bill to de-schedule marijuana at the federal level in 2017, and it became the first marijuana legalization bill in U.S. history to have bipartisan support. Despite that, it did not receive a vote in the House.

Time will tell whether this year's bill faces a different fate, but already its chances seem better. The Democratic takeover of the House in last year's elections is one good sign, but a more important one might have been the defeat of former House Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions (R-Texas), who for years blocked marijuana bills. He lost to Rep. Colin Allred (D-Texas), who made marijuana a major issue in his successful campaign against the longtime incumbent.

In the Senate, fellow presidential hopeful Cory Booker (D-N.J.) has introduced a bill removing marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act and expunging the records of anyone with federal convictions for marijuana use or possession. Sens. Kamala Harris (D–Calif.), Bernie Sanders (I–Vt.), Elizabeth Warren (D–Mass.), and Kirsten Gillibrand (D–N.Y.) have all signed on as cosponsors of the bill—which is notable in part because all four are also running for president.

As Reason's Scott Shackford pointed out last week, the 2016 Democratic Party platform called merely for removing marijuana as a Schedule I drug—a classification that includes heroin and LSD—and that provision was only included after a convention battle led by Sanders' supporters.

Now, it seems almost inevitable that the Democratic nominee in 2020 will become the first major party presidential candidate to openly call for the legalization of marijuana—unless, of course, Gabbard's or Booker's bill is already passed into law before then.

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  1. Glad to see some progress made on this issue on the federal level.

    1. Tulsi is a breath of fresh air on a lot of topics (just ignore the some of her other beliefs)

      1. Yep. I might actually vote for her in the primary. I never voted for a Democrat before. It will feel weird.

        1. Start working at home with Google! It’s by-far the best job I’ve had. Last Wednesday I got a brand new BMW since getting a check for $6474 this – 4 weeks past. I began this 8-months ago and immediately was bringing home at least $77 per hour. I work through this link, go to tech tab for work detail.
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      2. How is she on climate change? Anyone who subscribes to any part of the deranged AOC green nightmare is unfit to be president.

    2. Talking about it is not “some progress”, or at least nothing significant. It doesn’t take much to impress you (and others) and that is partly why the laws are in their current state.

      1. Actually, there’s been a lot of progress and it always starts with talk. Pot is legal in a lot of states, and voters support its legalization. While I don’t support Gabbard because of her big government positions, the mere fact that politicians are taking this stand is a vast improvement over the times when none of them would even talk about it. There’s a lot of pressure from pot businesses to get the feds to remove it from the list of illegal drugs and at least leave it to the states, though preferably get the feds out of making drugs illegal.

      2. Actually, there’s been a lot of progress and it always starts with talk. Pot is legal in a lot of states, and voters support its legalization. While I don’t support Gabbard because of her big government positions, the mere fact that politicians are taking this stand is a vast improvement over the times when none of them would even talk about it. There’s a lot of pressure from pot businesses to get the feds to remove it from the list of illegal drugs and at least leave it to the states, though preferably get the feds out of making drugs illegal.

  2. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) and Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska)

    Yeah, thanks freak states. We’ll let you know when we need some oil or macadamia nuts. Until then why don’t you let the real states worry about the grownup stuff ‘kay?

    1. I lol’ed

  3. I am so ready for us to no longer ruin american lives in the pursuit of violence.

  4. Reason is all in for Tulsi, we get it. Pot, Mexicans, Buttsex. It’s all there.

    1. Hawt.

    2. Yew fergitted thick-crust pizza!!!!

      1. Leave casseroles out of this.

        1. Don’t insult casseroles like that.

  5. Tulsi has her finger on the pulsi.

    1. Or up some Mexican’s butt, according to Jake W.

      1. That’s one way of checking someone’s pulse (so I’ve heard).

      2. The Mexicans are all gay in Reason Libertopia.

  6. Best case scenario is Tulsi elbows Bernie out of the picture as the new face of kooky progressivism and then loses fair and square without the weird little Bernie cult amassing small pluralities in primary votes.

    1. Who are you supporting?

      1. Hat Stand (D) or Potted Plant (D), whoever seems more electable.

        Twist my arm and I’m for Warren. Woulda been for Klobuchar if not for the psychotic stuff.

        1. At least it isn’t Harris I guess, though Warren would probably be the second least palatable to me.

          1. She gets bonus points from me because we’re both Oklahomans. Harris will have to overcome some progressive purity tests, but she seems more like a good AG to me at this point.

            1. And YOU complain about Republican tribalism?!?!

            2. You want the shady, cop-protecting, law-and-order, AG who is pretending she was progressive?

              1. I don’t really care. As either president or AG she will tow the progressive lion as much as she can, same as any other candidate. Policy is made by the party as influenced by the electorate. People obsess way too much over a person’s past actions and current beliefs. People should focus on getting the congressional majorities they want instead.

                And name me any prosecutor who wasn’t kind of on the side of the prosecution.

                1. Obsessing over a person’s past actions and beliefs is only OK when they aren’t on your team.

                  Noted.

                  Obvious troll is obvious.

                  1. As long as they will sign the bills that a Congress I’m amenable to passes. And they all will. It’s one party vs. another. You know that as well as I do.

                    One of those parties is led by a fat, orange, corrupt moron.

                    1. I wouldn’t call Pelosi “fat”, her tits maybe…

            3. Poor Tony is gonna have a rough 6 more years of Trump, just like Reason staff.

        2. Warren remains in my top 3, but I still have Harris as number 1.

          1. If you’re going to spend so much time doing performance art, why not become a street mime and get paid?

            1. Shhhhhh!

            2. If’n ye had to be either a strip mine or a street mime, which would ye be, and WHY?!?!

              Me, for one, I’d rather be a hammer than a nail, rather be a forest than a street…

              1. If I had a hammer, I’d hammer in the morning, I’d hammer in the evening, all over this land. I’d hammer out danger, I’d hammer out a warning, I’d hammer out love between all of my brothers, all over this land.

                1. Your motives are good, if’n what ye say is true… I must respect that!

                  Carry on!!!

      2. Tony supports whoever will kill the most brown people, of course.

        1. Of course, he’s a progressive. The progressive has always been a warmonger from its first incarnation in the 20th Century to today. Reducing wars abroad reduces government and no progressive wants to reduce their God.

          1. Cocaine is bad for you.

            1. don’t blame the coke.

              1. Don’t blame it on the sunshine

    2. In what world is Tulsi kooky?

      1. I don’t know much ab out her except that she’s young and endorsed by Putin. At this point, while I have the luxury, I’m not considering anyone who’s not a senator, governor, cabinet member, or multi-term House member.

        1. “endorsed by Putin”

          You know you’re not smart, right?

          1. Absolute stupidity masquerading as a legitimate criticism

            1. I wanna like Tony, because he can be funny and seems to be arguing in good faith most of the time, but man, he makes it so hard.

              1. I feel the same. I do like that I can argue with him without it devolving into ad-hominems, but yeaaaaaaah

                1. I do like Tony.
                  If you can figure out how to separate the person from the religious-psychotic hive mind, in perception, it’s a lot easier.
                  It doesn’t make him less frustrating on some levels, but that frustration is instructive.

                  1. Sociopaths are indeed capable of displaying char, when it suits them. Look at Bill Clinton. Much harder for psychopaths though. That’s why Hillary is so unlikable. She can’t even properly fake emotions, and she has to restrain the rage and envy that fill the hole in what would be her soul.

                    Except she doesn’t have one.

        2. endorsed by Putin

          Evidence? Outside of that goofy NBC piece? Besides, how is that endorsement?

          She’s a Hindu, she surfs, she’s largely non-interventionist, she’s pro pot, she’s actually worked and been places (military) rather than just jump straight into politics with no clue about life, the world, and everything. She seems by far the best that team blue could offer, but no thanks.

          1. I’m for anyone but Bernie, really.

            1. As long as they got the D, right? Tony can’t live without the D.

              1. Of course. It’s not my job to make the Rs put forward someone who’s not a gargantuanly corrupt and incompetent clown.

          2. I’m fine with pro pot. I’m more concerned about her becoming Pol Pot.

  7. This is great but unless it is coupled with a corresponding reduction in funding, they will just find something else to criminalize, and lives will continue to be ruined. And shifting the money to ‘health’ or ‘mental health’ or ‘treatment’ or other such nonsense will not help either. All of these programs inevitably backfire and kill people. To put it differently, if you really want to help people, just reduce funding for government overall. Yes it’s really that simple.

  8. The highest priority for patriotic Americans should be freeing our government from Russian control. And Tulsi Gabbard is Putin’s favorite Democrat. Her libertarian-friendly stance on marijuana doesn’t nearly compensate for that.

    #LibertariansAgainstGabbard

    1. I’m starting to think you’re not a parody, but Nick Sarwark who, to be fair, is a parody of a man

      1. Come on, be nice to BUCS. It’s not his fault he is such an absolute unit.

    2. Yarp. She’s the new face of the fever dream, sort of like how Captain Marvel is the new, identity conscious face of big budget Marvel movies, with old cis-het white shitlords Tony Stark and Steve Rogers getting shitcanned in the forthcoming ‘Endgame’ in favor of more intersectionally acceptable characters.

      1. The on,y thing I value Brie Larson for is her terrific rack. I would put that chick to good and regular use.

        1. You can google the naked selfie pics of her. She really is quite remarkable, event though was terrible miscast for Captain Marvel and seems like a rather misandrist type of gal.

  9. So we need the Democrats to flip the Senate and the presidency to make this happen.

    1. I think there’s a chance Trump would sign it. Can’t say the same about it getting through the Senate though.

      1. Trump doesn’t want to anger his base, which is mostly fundamentalist, low IQ folk who are against any drugs that are Satan’s tool against them.

    2. This would pass the Senate and there would be a fair chance that Trump signed it. Trump overruled Sessions when he wanted to go after states that legalized marijuana, like Holder did in Obama’s first term.

      1. You think it would pass the Senate? Do you think Mitch would even bring it to a vote?

        1. That’s a fair point. Yeah, that might complicate things, unless a sizable amount of his caucus forces a vote. You’re right. I forgot about Cocaine Mitch

    3. Trump promised to legalize weed. He can push for it to be removed from being a federally listed schedule 1 narcotic. I think it was one of the reasons he got pissed at Sessions, though he vented most of his rage because of Session’s recusing himself from the Russia investigation. Legalizing, or at least not being obstructionist, is an easy crowd pleaser. Vacating federal marijuana convictions would also save money on pointless jail sentences. Let’s hope the Orange man wises up and pushes this through. It is totally possible, and would greatly raise his chances of re-election, though that thought makes me sad. However, since half of the Democrat Presidential hopefuls have started to steer hard left, I am realizing I will be dismayed at whomever is behind the wheel in 2020.

  10. waiting for legal weed is 80 years’ deep in stupid …

  11. I’m still waiting to see who the Libertarians nominate – who will get my vote unless it’s another cop-wannabe.

  12. I find Tulsi perplexing, in that she’s so right on a few issues, like this and being consistently opposed to stupid pointless wars. But so very wrong on other stuff like Health Care.
    But at least she’s right on *something* and actually seems like a pleasant person instead of a mouthy old hag like Elizabeth Warren or a scummy prosecutor like Harris.

  13. I’m glad there’s a growing movement to legalize marijuana, and I won’t protest amnesty for people caught up in the Drug War. I guess this is how the process works. Libertarians fight for decades to overturn a silly law, then the politicians who kept the law on the books for years become heroes by finally deciding to overturn their law and forgive the law breakers who never hurt anyone in the first place. We’ll jinx it if we publicly grumble about who gets the credit for improvements, but I hope good people notice our consistent support for freedom and join the LP.

    1. Yeah man gotcha!!!

      http://www.bloomberg.com/news/…..er-pot-use

      The narc-pigs have noticed that a free market Dude (free market when it works for him at least) has thumbed his nose at Government Almighty!!! So Government Almighty turns right around and hangs “evil greedy capitalist” right out to dry!!!

      Fucking Government Almighty bastards will do ANYTHING to distract away the attention from the taxpayers and voters, away from the facts that SLS (Space Let’s-all-get-fat-and-happy- at the Government Almighty feeding trough System) is milking the SHIT out of the taxpayers, while SpaceX has a MUCH better solution in the works!

      SpaceX wants to eat their lunch… Best that they (Government Almighty) can do, is accuse Elon Musk of being a pot-smoking infidel!

  14. Now, it seems almost inevitable that the Democratic nominee in 2020 will become the first major party presidential candidate to openly call for the legalization of marijuana?unless, of course, Gabbard’s or Booker’s bill is already passed into law some study shows pot causes autism and Alzheimer’s before then.

    1. There are studies showing it increases the chance of Schizophrenia affecting young people. I still think it should be legalized, but that will be wagged all around.

      1. They could find that & much worse, & it still wouldn’t stop the momentum toward state legaliz’n, because the laws were never about safety. Now that sts. want to scarf up those taxes, they wouldn’t care if it turned out cannabis was causing millions of early deaths disguised as from other causes.

  15. If the Republicans were smart (fat chance) they would remove cannabis from the drug schedule and thereby take this issue away from the Dems for 2020.

    Won’t happen.

    1. just before I saw the receipt that said $7527 , I accept that my mom in-law woz like actualey making money in there spare time from there pretty old laptop. . there aunt had bean doing this for less than twentey months and at present cleared the depts on there appartment and bourt a great new Citro?n 2CV . look here…….
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      ???????? http://xurl.es/Bizweek

  16. Jut repeal the unconstitutional controlled substances act, you cowards.

  17. Stay at home mom Kelly Richards from New York after resigning from her full time job managed to average from $6000-$8000 a month from freelancing at home… This is how she done it

    ???????????? http://www.Net440.com

  18. Nice Post

  19. Now what’s needed is legislation to expunge the criminal records of anyone arrested for pot use or sale.

  20. Here, here… I’ll smoke a joint to that !!!

  21. Start working at home with Google! It’s by-far the best job I’ve had. Last Wednesday I got a brand new BMW since getting a check for $6474 this – 4 weeks past. I began this 8-months ago and immediately was bringing home at least $77 per hour. I work through this link, go to tech tab for work detail.
    >>>>>>>>>> http://www.GeoSalary.com

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