Friday, December 14, 2012

Senate Judiciary Committee to Examine Marijuana Legalization

David Borden
Stop The Drug War

Huge news this morning: Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) has sent a letter to the drug czar about the Washington and Colorado initiatives, Benjy Sarlin at Talking Points Memo noted today:

Leahy wants information:
How does the Office of National Drug Control Policy intend to prioritize Federal resources, and what recommendations are you making to the Department of Justice and other agencies in light of the choice by citizens of Colorado and Washington to legalize personal use of small amounts of marijuana? What assurance can and will the administration give to state officials involved in the licensing of marijuana retailers that they will not face Federal criminal penalties for carrying out duties assigned to them under state law?
But it's even bigger than that. Leahy is planning committee hearings on marijuana legalization, to include consideration of legislative options, including "amend[ing] the Federal Controlled Substances Act to allow possession of up to one ounce of marijuana, at least in jurisdictions where it is legal under state law."

I am wondering just how huge this may be. Leahy has good views, but he's also a careful senator who would not care to be at odds with his fellow Democratic committee members or the president. He's also a former prosecutor who dislikes uncertainty or disorder in the law and its implementation.

On the other side of the aisle are Tea Party and other Republicans who may or may not like legalization, mostly don't want to say so if they do, but have campaigned on states' rights. One Colorado Republican, Mike Coffman, has cosponsored a recent bill to allow for state marijuana legalization, despite having voted against the Colorado initiative himself. Word is that at least a couple more Republicans are likely ready to join the group. And recent polls have found that more Americans favor letting states decide about legalization than even support legalization. Micah Cohen at the FiveThirtyEight blog noted the CBS poll found 49% of people who oppose legalization favor letting states decide.

In any case things are further along in Congress than before. The Frank-Paul bill to end federal marijuana prohibition,H.R. 2306, got a few Republicans, but the hard-line House Judiciary chair Lamar Smith (R-TX) would not allow hearings. (Smith was the only member of Congress to oppose crack sentencing reform -- our Judiciary Committee chair!) Incoming chair Bob Goodlatte (R-VA) is said to be reasonable on some issues, but not particularly positive on ours. Still, given what happened last month and what is happening now, it may just look a little too bad for Goodlatte to disallow even hearings, as Republicans struggle to redefine their profile in the wake of a tough election for them.

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Anonymous said...

Let us have our fucking cannabis already!

CBS POLL? ! ya mean CIA BS poll

CBS treats little people as shit and these fucking oath breakers as angels. It's why they still have a frequency allocation!

The reason the shit is illegal is because of a piece of paper written by fucked up oath breaking men. Change the fucking paper.

This isn't the land of the free, where ya have to worry about the taboo of cannabis is federally illegal even though your state say's it's okay.


THE 24/7/365 SURVEILLANCE, SPYING, a new law every two fucking hours. It's like you fuckers want a civil war!

You want these mixed messages, destroyed lives, and scared angry people keep this shit up. It won't be domestic terrorism does your fucking piece of shit asses in, it's right and wrong that will do you in.

Anonymous said...

Sadly we have to keep pushing here in Pennsylvania because our governor is too much of a weak-sauce politician that he doesn't even want to bring this issue up for a vote.

Anonymous said...

i would think that when colorado and washington starts a amsterdam type tourist trade, and the big bucks start comming in from all over the world, the other timmid states will have their broke lower lip hanging out, and how much of that ninty billion a year that goes to mexico stays here will look pretty good for americas broken ecconomy. just my thoughts

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