If Republicans want to avoid losing control of the House – and possibly more – a few weeks from now, they will need more than just Republican votes.
But how to get those critical votes to cross over?
Perhaps by touting a principled idea that crosses party lines: Glasnost with regard to the war on some drugs – particularly marijuana.
More than two-thirds of the states (both red and blue) have already decriminalized small-scale possession and use by adults; a majority of these have passed laws legalizing medical marijuana – and many have passed or on the verge of ending the failed – and very expensive – Pot Cold War entirely by approving recreational marijuana laws and treating pot the same as beer and alcohol.
Democrats have traditionally favored these policies – but a majority of GOP voters now do as well.
Especially GOP voters under the age of 60 – who are the future of the party. These younger voters support more personal freedom – and less central control emanating from Washington. They feel much the same way about the war on pot as those on the left tend to feel about wars, generally.
But the take home point is that regardless of party affiliation, opposition to decriminalization is a loser at the ballot box.
Which is why a story which bubbled up about a week ago about an effort within the Trump White House to put the kibosh on pot Glasnost ought to be concerning to Republicans outside the White House who are running for election or hoping for re-election a few weeks from now.
Buzzfeed reporter Dominic Holden sussed out something called the Marijuana Policy Coordination Committee – which is busily working on data acquisition for a public-relations juggernaut whose goal is to convince the public that jump-starting the war on some drugs is a good idea.
According to Holden’s story, the Drug Enforcement Administration and no fewer than 14 federal agencies have been ordered to provide data which supports a hard-line anti-pot stance, such as “negative trends” associated with marijuana decriminalization and “threats” posed by marijuana as such – in order to buttress the committee’s belief that “ . . .prevailing (generally positive) marijuana narrative in the U.S. is one-sided, and inaccurate.”
Interestingly, says Holden, the committee is itself seeking only“one-sided” data – anything which can be used to portray marijuana in a negative light, regardless of what the data show.
The genesis of the committee is unknown – only that it exists and (presumably) exists because someone high-up conjured it into existence.
If President Trump authorized it, it goes against his many previous public statements – both on the campaign trail and after his 2016 victory – in favor of at least leaving it to the states to decide for themselves how best to handle the issue. He’s certainly never donned shield and magic helmet to go after individual marijuana users. In fact, he has repeatedly expressed sympathy for people who use marijuana for necessary medicinal reasons, such as pain abatement, glaucoma treatment and as an appetite stimulant (cancer patients) and doesn’t appear to particularly care whether adults take a puff, so long as they do it without it causing problems for anyone else.
Trump may not be a Libertarian but on the pot question, he at least seems to lean that way.
So it seems likely that the committee is the creature of Trump’s very-much-estranged (and very much out-of-touch) attorney general, Jeff Sessions – who behaves like the real-life equivalent of General “Buck” Turgidson from the Cold War classic movie, Dr. Strangelove when it comes to prosecuting the war on some drugs.
Sessions is clearly infuriated by state-by-state decriminalization; he has publicly threatened to federally prosecute marijuana “crimes” in states where there are no longer criminal statutes forbidding small-scale use and possession – using the federal Controlled Substances Act as his billy stick.
So far, the only thing which has kept Sessions on his leash is a funding rider (credit Dana Rohrabacher of CA) to which prohibits the use of DOJ funding for that purpose – something which infuriates Tiny Jeff all the more.
But Sessions’ obsession with the war on some drugs presents a real problem for the president – and Republicans, generally. Two-third of the country favors Pot Glasnost to one degree or another – and that includes more than four out of five Trump voters as well as an overwhelming majority of registered Democratic and independent voters. (See here for an interesting Liberty Government Affairs/Gravis Marketing poll of registered voters on this and related topics).
There seems to be bipartisan agreement that – at the very least – arresting and caging people who’ve not actually harmed anyone else – merely for possessing or using marijuana – makes about as much sense as arresting and caging people merely for buying and drinking beer.
It’s an issue Republicans can ride to victory this November – if only by not alienating Democrats and Independents who might otherwise be persuaded to support them.
I’m about two miles from seven recreational marijuana dispensaries, most of which are also licensed for medical pot too (the only difference is that the medicinal stuff is taxed differently (or not at all) and quite a bargain from what I understand). Expanding out to about a 10 mile radius and there’s another three or four. Many of the vehicles in the parking lot have Utah plates since Parachute is the first town on I-70 east that opened up for pot stores. Business is booming here in the Far Out West. Parachute has a fancy new Christmas display at the rest stop and the old Chamber of Commerce office got a makeover this summer. Up in New Castle there’s a crop of hemp being grown right next to I-70, you can smell it as you go by. Smells like money.
Like most things I think the legalization of silly weed wasn’t what most people expected when they voted for it. I imagine lots of people just thought it was going to be something that if a cop caught you with a dime bag he’d just ignore it and you’d be on your way. Instead we got an industry and commercial business that didn’t exist before. The industry is aiming for the 20% or so of the population who wants to be high all the time, so the THC levels are skyrocketing. They learned from the tobacco industry I guess. I also think the “Pottersville” aspect is appealing. Certainly more exciting than tired old Bedford Falls for sure. I mean, Parachute was a dead town after Encanna closed their west slope office. Now there are several restaurants, and the motels and gas stations seem to be a little busier too. Sure some of that is gas field workers but I’ll bet the weekend crowd is looking to get high.
Part of the problem of legalizing pot, is to FULLY legalize it. Colorado has legalized it, sort of, but it highly taxed, and getting a license to sell it, well, it ain’t easy and not cheap.
So most people still buy it from street dealers like before, its much cheaper (due to not being taxed and high overhead) and that is still highly illegal. So police are still wasting their time busting unlicensed dealers and buyers………
The same was with the end of prohibition on alcohol. The end of prohibition was used for government control, revenue collection, and of course cronyism. It took a long time for that to break down and in some states it hardly has.
Huxley’s perverted Brave New World that we now call “reality” needs its Soma.
Why stop at pot? I am for legalizing Crack, heroin and meth too. Let the weak minded degenerates indulge their ignoble pleasures, as Ernest Renan said would be the fate of democracies. Let them indulge until their hearts stop, with the caveat being a full observance of our Second Amendment right, the penultimate Human Right – of self defense should their ignoble pleasuring infringe upon the rest of our safety.
Let’s throw down the gauntlet, starve the drug cartels of their revenue, oh – and the police cartels – and make it all legal. The average life expectancy of a heroin addict in Amsterdam where it is legal, was 18 months. 18 months from the first hit to the last and society is freed from them forever instead of “treating” them, arresting them and saving them with a Narcan ™ shot.
Excellent arguments for legalizing drugs. Apparently the same thing is happening with opioids. Apparently there is an Opioid epidemic, with overdoses increasing every year. Maybe the problem will correct itself over time, as the users die out. Or maybe since these are legal drugs, they’ll start giving them to children as supplements, to keep the demand.
I’m reminded of the uncle from The Good Earth who constantly mooched off Wang Lung and was a constant PITA until Wang Lung got him addicted to opium. Interesting that drug use is generally not tolerated in China with extremely “they are not taking him anywhere” style punishment given the history of the country.
I’m not against anyone doing whatever they think they can handle. But I’m also very much in favor of trying to help people get over their addictions. It’s called being a human being. But we’re so far down the road now I don’t think there’s much chance of turning back. And even if decriminalization started tomorrow Uncle would find a way to f*** it all up.
I am not sure if you have had any experiences with junkies as I have had. 95% of all the junkies I knew never went clean. There were only two heavy drug users that I knew that ever stopped using and became decent people. The rest sap everything they can from anyone stupid enough to help them. They never go clean, they may say they will and are – but no. I vividly recall a despicable relative swearing how she didn’t do drugs anymore – as she chugged a beer to wash down a Klonopin, a Valium and a Fioricet while smoking a joint.
They become rabid animals that poison everything they come in contact with and everyone they manage to get near.
You can’t “be human” to the inhuman. They survive on others naiveté and kindness, when Darwinism must be allowed to function.
I’m with you, Thoughtcriminal- for not just the reasons that you mention, but because we can not have freedom unless a man is free to make his own choices, be they good or bad; right or wrong. As long as he does not commit physical aggression against someone else, there is no moral justification for interfering with him.
If they can somehow make an argument which gives them the power to “regulate” drugs, and even use violence, kidnapping and theft against those who transgress their “regulations”, then they can do the same for anything else- be it food or anything else- with the only “justification” for doing so being that they pulled an idea out of their ass and got a few others to agree upon it and enforce it.
Women have the right to kill their unborn child, which is also just as much the property of the man who did the deed with her- but yet people do not have the right to do with their own bodies as they choose, even though their choices do not deprive anyone else of their rights?
In many places in Central and South America, you don’;t even need a prescription from a doctor when you go to a pharmacy- you merely tell the pharmacist what you want, and he gets it and sells it to you. It’s your responsibility as to what you do with it. As a result, people get their medicines; do not have to always go to a doctor if they can’t afford it; and the meds are cheap. No ID; no prescription, nothing…and prescription drug problems are MUCH rarer there- unlike here, where my 93 year-old mother has to wait till she’s just about out of sleeping pills, and i have to make an extra unnecessary trip to town (34 miles round-trip) because they’re afraid that someone somewhere might be using the pills to get high!