congress marijuana sanjay gupta weed
Ending Marijuana Prohibition

Congress Moving To Block DC Marijuana Legalization Vote

congress marijuana sanjay gupta weedWhile I was sitting in my cubicle today I read some very disturbing news. It appears that Congress may be planning to block Washington D.C.’s marijuana legalization initiative that was approved by voters in November. I have seen various reports, some of which say Congress may block it altogether, some reports say that possession and cultivation will be allowed, and some say that since there hasn’t been any language released yet, that there is still hope that the initiative will be allowed to be implemented in the same form that it was approved. It’s worth noting that the initiative didn’t have taxing and sales provisions in its original form, because Congress is in charge of that.

Marijuana legalization didn’t just win on Election Day in D.C., it won by a landslide. If Congress doesn’t respect the will of the voters, it would be a trampling of democracy on a level I’ve never seen before in initiative politics. The rumors out of Washington D.C. brought swift reactions from activist organizations. It’s something that I’ll definitely be monitoring from my cubicle on social media throughout the day. Below is a reaction that was sent to me by my friends at Law Enforcement Against Prohibition:

The Washington Post is reporting that Congressional efforts may undermine DC home rule and block Initiative 71, despite 70% of District voters casting ballots in favor of the new law. If Congress approves the initiative, adults in DC would legally be able to cultivate and possess marijuana. But some Congressmembers, realizing their colleagues wouldn’t support blocking the initiative directly, undermining home rule and the will of a majority of Americans, have instead included language blocking the measure in the spending bill, which can limit the federal funds DC receives.

“Those who fight sensible marijuana reform risk losing a tremendous amount of political support, even within their own party,” said Major Neill Franklin (Ret.) executive director of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. “But those who encourage these new policy changes that are already being demanded by a majority of Americans, will be vindicated as pioneers of intelligent public safety improvements. If democracy still matters to our leaders, they have to listen to the voters.”

Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) is concerned that blocking marijuana legalization will continue to promote a public safety nightmare of increased gang violence, police militarization and the fueling of dangerous underground markets. Decriminalization does not go far enough because marijuana is still not regulated by any measure of quality of safety standards and drug dealers don’t ask for IDs, making the drug far more dangerous and easier for children to obtain.

Law Enforcement Against Prohibition is a 501(c)3 nonprofit of law enforcement officials who want to end the war on drugs.

And from the Drug Policy Alliance:

Media sources are reporting that members of Congress are negotiating provisions to a government funding bill that would block the nation’s capital in its efforts to legalize marijuana. Initiative 71 passed on Nov. 4, with 70% of voters approving the measure to legalize small amounts of marijuana for personal use. The language has been included in a must-pass funding bill that Congress will likely vote on later this week.

“Democratic leadership made it clear they would stand with voters on this crucial racial justice issue, and push back against Republican opposition to the D.C. law,” said Michael Collins, Policy Manager at Drug Policy Alliance’s Office of National Affairs. “Democrats have always made claims of supporting D.C. home rule now is their chance to stand with 70% of voters in the District who voted for marijuana reform,” Collins said.

The campaign for Initiative 71 was based squarely on ending racially-biased enforcement of marijuana laws, following a 2013 ACLU report that showed that African Americans were eight times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession than whites, despite use rates being the same across races.

A number of civil rights and other advocacy groups such as the Drug Policy Alliance, D.C. Vote, and the D.C. branches of the ACLU, NAACP, and the National Organization of Women have signed on to an open letter encouraging democratic leadership to protect the will of D.C. voters in the budget negotiations process. “As you conclude negotiations over the FY15 Financial Services and General Government appropriations bill, we urge you to reject all efforts to include undemocratic restrictions on DC’s rights,” the letter said.

Democrats are rumored to be cutting a deal with Republicans where they can save face by claiming that they protected D.C.’s marijuana decriminalization law from elimination, even if they failed to protect legalization. The decriminalization law, passed by the D.C. City Council earlier this year, replaced prosecution with a civil penalty of $25 for possession. But giving up legalization in budget negotiations to protect the decriminalization law is a pyrrhic victory. The D.C. decriminalization law still means that police can stop people of color and harass them, as 77% of tickets written by police for marijuana offenses were given in communities of color. Legalization ends this process completely, while simultaneously eliminating the dangerous illicit market.

“In light of recent events in Ferguson and New York, it is particularly disturbing that Congress would choose to overturn the will of the voters in a majority black city,” said Dr. Malik Burnett, Policy Manager at Drug Policy Alliance and Vice-Chair of the D.C. Cannabis Campaign, which was responsible for the passage of Initiative 71. “D.C. voters chose to reform their marijuana laws, which have a direct impact on how communities of color interact with police. Congress is poised to undermine that.”

Cramming language that blocks D.C.’s marijuana initiative into a must-pass funding bill was a strategy deliberately chosen by Hal Roger (R-KY), Chair of the House Appropriations Committee, and Andy Harris (R-MD), the amendment’s sponsor. “It was clear from five marijuana reform wins on the House floor this summer that Harris and Rogers didn’t have the votes to block this by holding a vote in the House and Senate,” Collins said. “The Republican Party is split on the issue of marijuana reform, and most know that this issue is only headed in one direction – Harris and Rogers are on the wrong side of history.”  While Democrats like Congresswoman Norton (D-D.C.) have been strong champions on this issue, Democratic leadership appear ready to cede to the demands of Hal Rogers.

This development is especially appalling given that last month’s election appeared to solidify drug policy reform’s place as a mainstream political issue – not just in D.C. but throughout the United States. Voters across the country accelerated the unprecedented momentum to legalize marijuana and end the wider drug war, with marijuana legalization measures passing in Oregon, Alaska and Washington, D.C., and with groundbreaking criminal justice reforms passing in California and New Jersey.  Polls over the past few years have consistently found that a clear majority of Americans support marijuana legalization and other drug policy reforms.

And from the Cannabis Industry Association:

The National Cannabis Industry Association (NCIA) today responded to reports that an upcoming Congressional budget deal may include a provision blocking the creation of regulations for Washington, D.C.’s marijuana legalization initiative, which passed on Election Day with more than 2-1 support from voters.

“D.C. voters overwhelmingly chose to take a smarter and safer approach to marijuana policy by allowing for the creation of a responsible, regulated system for production and sales,” said NCIA executive director Aaron Smith.

“Apparently, Congress is not interested in being smart, or safe, or democratic.

“Dictatorially blocking D.C.’s ability to create a regulatory system for already-decriminalized marijuana isn’t just a violation of the voters’ clearly stated will. It would rob the city of the chance to mandate responsible selling practices, monitor for safe products, and benefit from a powerful economic engine.

“This is a move that would manage to be both cynical and stupid, not to mention deeply out of touch with the majority of American voters, who want the federal government to butt out of local marijuana policy choices.”

  • Doc Deadhead

    If the politicians can do this horrible injustice to the will of the very people that just voted their butts in then what’s next?

    Maybe a president that doesn’t feel he needs to step down? Martial law if we throw a fit about it?

    This has to stop right now, flagrant abuse of power without accountability will destroy a democracy.

    • Randall

      Unfortunately these politicians are doing this to people that did not get a chance to vote for or against them, that is why they don’t give two shits about what they think… The citizens in DC do not have a voting member in Congress, but Congress has total control over their local government. This is very unjust but sadly very legal.

      • Jetdoc

        Tell that to Eleanor Holmes Norton. She said they’d get the fight of their lives if they tried to dismantle the initiative! That bitch is MEAN so…

        • Did you just call EHN a bitch, you liar? You do know that your so-called proof that a majority of Republicans favor legalization was bullshit? Or did bother to read my explanation of how you got that wrong?

          What, exactly, should EHN and the Dems do to “fight” this? Attack the Republicans on the floor of the US HOUSE?

          You do know who holds the majority in the US HOUSE?

          Tell me… EXACTLY… what should the Democrats do? Win elections so they can out vote your precious GOP?

          • I’m still waiting for the Eleanor Holmes Norton fight. When does it start?

          • I’d bet she can kick Jetdoc’s ass.

          • Figures she would show up at the wrong fight and accomplish nothing.

            BTW my former Rabbi runs a dispensary in DC.

          • what should the Democrats do? Win elections

            They did a great job this past November.

            BTW no election required to reschedule. When do you think Obama will be doing that?

          • Yeah, a whole bunch of stoners stayed home. What a shock. I saw one story where they asked a bunch of people in CO if they’d go vote (Udall is a real civil libertarian, BTW), and they all said, hey, we got legal weed, that’s all I wanted to vote for…. Same all over the country. But, if you noticed, the progressives mostly won, while the blue dogs lost. So long, blue dogs, and thanks for all the Republican Light Bullshit.

            When do you think Willard “What’s Hemp” Romney would have rescheduled? How about President “Bomb Bomb Bomb” McCain?

            But it’s interesting when shown that over 90% of House Democrats vote the right way, while a small minority of Republicans do, your answer is not to say, hey, let’s elect more of those Congressional Progressive Caucus types who will reform marijuana laws if they get control. No, you’re answer is to ignore the GOP run House and now the GOP Senate and say, “Well, naneena, what about Obama?”

            http://press.princeton.edu/titles/7929.html

            > …bullshitters seek to convey a certain impression of themselves without being concerned about whether anything at all is true. They quietly change the rules governing their end of the conversation so that claims about truth and falsity are irrelevant. Frankfurt concludes that although bullshit can take many innocent forms, excessive indulgence in it can eventually undermine the practitioner’s capacity to tell the truth in a way that lying does not. Liars at least acknowledge that it matters what is true. By virtue of this, Frankfurt writes, bullshit is a greater enemy of the truth than lies are.

          • David

            Colorado’s full Republicans. Just take a look at the Colorado’s new Senator. He thinks a Zygot is a person that should be afforded full Constitutional protections.You have to travel further West to find true progressives living along the Blue Wall stretching from Canada to Mexico.

          • Don’t tell me how bad the Rs are. I know and excoriate them regularly. I voted Libertarian in the last Presidential.

            So when is Obama going to reschedule?

            Cannabis cures cancer. Cancer kills 586,000 Americans every year. Every Prohibitionist is complicit in mass murder.

            How many more dead should Obama be allowed before we put the pressure on him?

          • David

            As I try to keep reminding folks, only 1/3 of eligible Americans voted in November. The President still has almost two years in office. PATIENCE is a virtue.

          • One person dies every minute of cancer. How much virtue is there in that? So far Obama has about 3 million dead in his virtue account. How much more does he deserve?

            Cannabis cures cancer. Cancer kills 586,000 Americans every year. Every Prohibitionist is complicit in mass murder.

      • No, the Republicans are doing this to people. Not all politicians are Republicans. Just the majority.

        • David

          A majority until 2016 not a majority of voter’s now as only 1/3 voted in November.

      • David

        Thank American delusional deification of “The Founders” for not seeking change in over approximately 250 years.

    • It’s not “politicians.” It’s Republicans. This crap got stuffed in a MUST PASS spending bill by Republicans. Democrats didn’t want this in there, and they’re powerless to get it out because they are the minority party in the house.

    • David

      Please clarity. You’re referring to the Republican kooks in Congress, not the President correct ? The definition of crazy is doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result like the Republican House trying to repeal the ACA over 50 times.

  • Dan Bontio

    No respect for democracy, nor even any respect for common sense.

    These useless troglodytes have got to go… so frustrating.

  • wowFAD

    What kills me about this political jockeying the most is the sheer pettiness of it all. Democrats *know* their base will never “punish” them at the ballot because, even if they sell out DC’s voters, Democrats are “still better than Republicans.” Yes, as long as we tolerate the DNC holding their definition of “progress” at a steady 0.17 mph, lining up like circus seals to clap for the pittance of policy change they’ve been ever-so kind to allow us, there will never be legalization at the national level.

    Likewise, Andy Harris and Hal Rogers are supremely confident that they’ll face zero consequences from their respective constituencies because they’re both “still better than Democrats.”

    Democrat and Republican lawmakers have a very sweet deal — all they have to do is keep the bar low, hype up their base with empty rhetoric, and work out the backroom deals between each other on the sly. Lo and behold, the United States Congress has more millionaires seated to “represent” us, now, than at any other point in history. And all they both have to do (Democrats and Republicans in office) is throw out the occasional bone to keep the voters squabbling like selfish little kids. That way, issues like cannabis law reform, marriage equality, reproductive rights, the environment, etc. are reduced to a series of meaningless, empty talking-points: just words bereft of feeling to be used as ammunition against the OTHER side.

    While we keep fighting amongst ourselves, we keep electing the SAME people. Congress has worse issues with recidivism than the prison system. We have two opposing sides who both think the solution is for more people to join THEIR side… …because that’s worked so well. And we have a huge, apathetic, non-voting populous who wants nothing to do with the pettiness of politics because they feel “my vote doesn’t count anyway.”

    All three groups have been swindled — all three groups have been convinced they do not have CHOICES.

    4k people wrote in “Charles Darwin” when Paul Broun ran unopposed in 2012, after his dingbat evolution comments. Over 50% of the voters in Alaska identified as Independent in a midterm election in which they legalized recreational cannabis. These are pangs of Democracy fighting to resurface amongst partisan bickering. The US Congress has been stagnant for far too long, and there will be more pangs of Democracy popping up, everywhere. Congress needs to decide, right now, if they’re going to be smart and go with it, or if they’re going to stand in the way. I don’t suggest standing in the way — America doesn’t politely walk around people who stand in the way.

    • The swindle is “Our version of fascism is better than their version”. And all we get is more fascism.

      We have to shrink the power of government. Because at least with business you can boycott them. You can sue them.

      • Wrong again. The GOP is monolithic. The Democrats are not.

        70% of Democrats voted against renewing the Patriot Act, only 14% of Republicans did.

        “We have to shrink the power of government.”

        OK, let’s start with the Patriot Act. Who you gunna vote for?

        • Yeah. Sure. What ever.

          Dana Rohrabacher ring a bell?

          I’m starting with cannabis. How’s Obama coming on rescheduling?

          • Yeah, Roherbacher rings a bell. I used to live in So Cal.

            And I SAID: 14% of Republicans. Good for them. Not even close to the 70% mark from Democrats.

            Also, if you want to start with cannabis, then why not vote for the cannabis reformers?

            > 91% of Dems voted for keeping the DEA out of medicinal programs, only 22% of Republicans did.

            > 94% of Democrats voted to keep the feds out of pot banking, only 20% of Republicans did.

            Obama is progressive on some issues, like gay marriage, sentencing reform, and a whole lot of other things. Not so much on this issue, much to my chagrin. A hell of a lot better than Willard “What’s Hemp?” Romney, though, eh? Who’d you vote for?

            See, we don’t get to elect REAL progressives for president. Too many people who won’t, for reasons they usually won’t admit on this blog, vote for the people most likely to reschedule.

          • David

            California Republicans remind me of how Conservatives in Switzerland think, to a point, closer to liberals State side

          • Well, you named one who is more liberal on marijuana. California Republicans have plenty of extreme conservatives. The guy who just took Buck McKeon’s old seat, for example.

          • David

            Yep, agreed, there are indeed plenty of extreme Republican’s in my neighbor to the South. I have family living in Switzerland. Their Conservatives really are closer to liberal Democrat’s politically. It’s odd to watch it coming from America. The Swiss/ Suisse do get shit done though. They don’t hate nor despise their government like around 35%- 40% of Americans do. It’s a mutually beneficial arrangement which seems to work out well for them.

          • Well if Prohibition isn’t enough to make you hate government nothing is.

            Cannabis cures cancer. Cancer kills 586,000 Americans every year. Every Prohibitionist is complicit in mass murder.

            So when is mass murderer Obama going to stop the slaughter? He likes killing people?

            They are ALL scum. With very few exceptions.

          • So when is 100% of the President going to reschedule? He has science on his side. Or doesn’t he follow it?

          • David

            Big picture he’s to busy trying to get the right-wing kooks to sign off on a funding bill to worry about that right now. This funding bill has federal state mmj law protections in it. Including help for veterans suffering from PTSD. That’s important too. Hopefully later.

      • David

        The Nazi’s tried substituting their government for business’. It didn’t work out very well.

    • Denny

      Your comments about Republicans are absurd and a perfect example of why there’s such a huge political divide in the country.
      The Dems, and I’ve voted as an Independent for 15 years, consistently attempt to lure their local base using a handful of give-aways.
      You may want to re-check the most recent election results–the Dems did, in fact, bail and punish them at the polls.

      • wowFAD

        Just so we’re both on the same page, which political party are you grabbing ankle for, exactly? The butt-hurt from both parties is identical, so really, I can’t tell. But I’m sure I’m wrong and whatever political party has manipulated your sensibilities is 100% right.

        Yup, it’s definitely the ______’s fault the country is screwed up. It’s certainly because the ______’s refuse to work with the ______’s. The ______’s need to wake up!!!

        Just go ahead and fill in whichever arbitrary labels you want.

        • Who put this shit in this bill, you disingenuous fuck?

          • wowFAD

            Yup — owned.

          • You really like this southern thing about owning people, huh? You like torture too?

          • wowFAD

            Not people. Just you. What’s funny is that I never asked for it. You keep following me around like a puppy I fed, once. And you keep coming back to humiliate yourself, over and over and over.

          • Do you ever not lie? I only comment here when the story is worth commenting on… I’m sure there are plenty of times when you spew your Glibertarian Bullshit (nice job getting Skeletor elected, BTW) and I never say a word….

            But let me know if you want to get back on the subject I whipped your ass with.

          • wowFAD

            LOL — calling Democrats spineless cowards is an accurate description. Watching you scamper around, apologizing for them is just too entertaining to pass up. Nice job getting NOBODY elected in 2014, BTW.

          • House members are elected every 2 years. Just now, every one of the 212 Democrats who just got reelected to the House this year voted against this POS spending bill and the Republican bullshit in it.

            Every. Last. One. Of. Them.

            Seems it’s your GOP buddies who are spineless. You know, like Jetdoc, who lied about Republicans supporting legalization, and who you continue to defend.

            He won’t even admit he was wrong. At least you had the balls to do that when I proved you wrong.

          • wowFAD

            That’s amazing when you consider there are only 201 Democrats in the House. Perhaps you should check your math before you pull a muscle patting them on the back, Scott. But ya, wow, I can’t tell you how impressed I am that 201 D’s stood united — exactly how would that vote have turned out differently had they stayed home, today? Right — riiiight…. It would have been exactly the same.

            Their nay-votes didn’t matter, and shockingly, you’re anxious to give them each a high-five for putting up zero fight on this issue. So anxious, in fact, that you dreamed up 11 non-existent Democrats to kowtow.

          • OK, I was posting fast and didn’t mention that the no votes included a few Republicans.

            If those 201 Democrats, plus those Republicans had stayed home, they wouldn’t have had a quorum (218 is required for a quorum, I think).

            That would have been a good plan!

            Of course, the larger point that you probably intentionally ignore is that if there were more Democrats in the House, this wouldn’t have passed. All we would have to do to stop this, then, is elect more “spineless” Democrats to vote no on this Republican piece of shit.

            Apparently, other issues are more important to SOME PEOPLE, so we have your buddies in the GOP running the US House.

            How’s that working out for you?

          • BTW, points you ignored…

            ” Nice job getting NOBODY elected in 2014, BTW.”

            201 Democrats elected in 2014 to the US House. Democratic Senators elected, like Al Franken.

            You’re so eager to bullshit about Democrats that you almost threw your shoulder out trying to pat the GOP on the back. You know, the GOP that put this shit in the bill to begin with?

            Oh, and the spineless cowards thing… Seems like if they were spineless, they’d have given Boehner some yes votes.

            Oh, and the Jetdoc thing… I see you’ve stopped defending his bullshit. You know, how a majority of Republicans DO NOT support legalization?

          • David

            Thumbs up on the Gilbertarian call out!

          • Yeah. We don’t need their support. More Government! As if Prohibition wasn’t already too much.

          • According to you:

            91% of Dems voted for keeping the DEA out of medicinal programs, only 22% of Republicans did.

            So the Republicans put it in the bill and let the Democrats vote for it. Why would they do that?

          • That statistic is from an old vote. As for the new vote, which we’ve yet to take I see… shutdown looming, well, they put it in because they know they’ll get the votes from their side, with the handful of pot hating Democrats (Schultz), to pass it if it comes down to this issue.

            But Harris (R-MD) put this in because he knows there’s a bunch of other issues in there, like not costing the US taxpayers billions of dollars because of the shut down. There’s also the GOP’s loosening of campaign finance laws, or what’s left of them.

            So, THIS is a big complicated bill, not one of those simple bills where they’re voting on one single pot related issue.

          • David

            It also offers federal medical marijuana protection for states with existing mmj laws and help for military veterans with PTSD symptoms.

          • So when is President O going to reschedule?

          • David

            The 2016 Presidential primaries.. The Republicans look to run on an anti-cannabis legalization platform. Listen to Chris Christie President of the GOP National Governor’s Association.

          • I think you are correct on that. I also think it is the stupidest move they could make bar none. It is as if they can’t read the election results.

            I’d like to see a few more states legalize in 2015. Is there anything in the works?

        • The swindle is “Our version of fascism is better than their version”. And all we get is more fascism.

          • The swindle is your bullshit…

            Here let’s try this answer again. Last time, your answer was, yeah, sure, whatever…

            > 70% of Democrats voted against renewing the Patriot Act, only 14% of Republicans did.

            So, you want less fascism? Which party gives you the best odd of getting less fascism?

            How about theocracy?

          • So why hasn’t the President rescheduled cannabis? That would end a considerable amount of prohibition today. .

          • David

            and climate change deniers from The Republican Party anti-science Wing

          • The climate stopped changing 15, 17, or 26 years ago depending on how you count. What is worse is that the climate is not tracking the models.

            I’m predicting a fall in temperatures that will be noticeable in 5 years or less. We are preparing for the wrong disaster. Growing crops under ice is difficult.

          • guest

            Hey I just ate fresh lettuce I picked from my “garden under ice” and I’m in Pennsylvania. It can be done.

          • Under how many feet of ice?

      • Punish them for what? This?

        91% of Dems voted for keeping the DEA out of medicinal programs, only 22% of Republicans did.

        94% of Democrats voted to keep the feds out of pot banking, only 20% of Republicans did.

        Hey, if the GOP was as good at voting the right way on weed issues, we’d have no problem, HUH?

        What you might want to re-check is the fact that this is the GOP’s doing. Not the Democrats. Given the chance to vote on this issues separately, I’d bet more than 90% of Democrats would vote the right way again. Like they always do.

        This, however, is a spending bill. Don’t pass it, government shuts down. Putting this crap in there is the Republican’s fault. And yet, all I hear is people bitching about the Democrats.

        Pitiful.

        • Putting this crap in there is the Republican’s fault.

          So the Republicans put it in the bill and let Democrats vote for it?

          ================

          What I think is that you have to do a better job of convincing Republican voters. How is that coming?

          The Prohibitionists are involved in mass murder. The Reagan – Bush administration tried to suppress the finding that cannabis is effective against cancer. You can look it up. Of course the Democrats did nothing when they had a chance.

          Cannabis cures cancer. Cancer kills 586,000 Americans every year. Every Prohibitionist is complicit in mass murder.

          Pass it on.

          • Has mass murderer Obama changed his mind on rescheduling?

          • Mass murderer? OK… did you vote for Bush? Do you know how many people were killed or maimed in Iraq? Over a million.

            Less evil is better than more evil.

            But please, tell me… who was the non-mass murderer who had a chance of getting elected President of the US Military Industrial Complex?

            And did Bush change his mind on rescheduling? No, I see it’s still schedule one… Hmmm…

          • Well I’m only counting the dead. 500,000+ a year. That is 3 million dead on Obama’s watch so far. And he can reschedule with a stroke of a pen.

          • By some studies, the dead in Iraq are over a million thanks to Bush and Cheney. Did you vote for them?

            And, again, where’s the scientific proof that cannabis cures cancer? If you’re going to accuse people of mass murder, you should have at least SOME facts to back it up.

            How many people do booze and alcohol kill every year? Are we mass murderers for repealing alcohol prohibition?

          • David

            The only US President that truly qualifies as a “mass murderer” would be Andrew Jackson. I respectfully recommend reading some American history. That said, any Wartime President has casualties, yet shouldn’t be considered a mass murderer.

          • So you don’t think letting 500,000 Americans a year die for lack of medicine is mass murder?

            Well that IS a novel approach.

          • I asked you to provide scientific proof for your assertion that marijuana cures cancer. You have yet to do so.

          • I always find it interesting what people choose to ignore in these conversations… See my reply below.

          • “What I think is that you have to do a better job of convincing Republican voters. ”

            I think that’s precisely what cost the Democrats the Senate. Blue dogs tried to convince GOP voters to vote for them, they lost.

            Progressives got their base out by sticking to progressive principles, they won.

            So you’re wrong again. What Democrats need to do is get out there and be proud of trying to end the drug war, proud of wanting to invest in infrastructure and education, proud of taxing rich people fairly, proud of cutting defense and security spending, proud of being civil libertarians.

            I have seen evidence that cannabis might help prevent cancer. I’ve seen nothing scientific to show that it actually cures it.

            So, got a link? You know, to an actual science paper?

            “Of course the Democrats did nothing when they had a chance.”

            This kind of bullshit cracks me up.

            The Democrats had 60 Senators for about 3 weeks. That included a lot of blue dogs, like Landrieu, Joe Manchin, etc… And they passed a very important bill that regulates health insurance and insured millions of previously uninsured people. You might not like it, but people who aren’t getting kicked off their policy for lifetime caps do. People who have their kids on their policy until age 26 do. People who can’t be denied coverage for a pre-existing condition do.

            Seriously, you have this child-like view of DC and the political process.

          • OK. They had a lock for three weeks. Ending Prohibition wasn’t important enough for them? We were way down on their list. The insurance companies were higher up.

          • OK, you left out the part about the 60 Democratic Senators consisting of some pretty Republican-like Democrats who don’t want to reschedule. Manchin, Landrieu, et al… So, it wasn’t that it wasn’t important to some of them, it’s that it was important to the conservatives ones NOT to do it.

            The Democrats have been weeding the anti-pot blue dogs out of the party. The Republicans are getting more conservative.

            But I wonder… what is your problem with voting for Democrats? You’d rather vote for Glibertarians than progressives? Why? What issues are more important to you than weed?

          • Ah, here’s my first answer to a question you keep saying I didn’t answer…

      • David

        Do you actually believe that a majority of American’s want what barely 1/3 of eligible voter’s shoved down their collective throat’s last November? Historically, Democrats don’t vote during November mid-term elections. That’s because unlike other Western Democracies, which make citizen voter participation easy, modern America via the Republican party want to make voting as difficult as possible. Some exceptions however, do exist. In my own state for example (and a half dozen others), I need only lick a stamp and drop my ballot in the mailbox. So why not expand voting by mail, prepare for future online voting, provide an election holiday, or, declare a voter weekend etc. ? It’s not rocket science. Other countries do it. That’s because logical solutions such as these are what Republican’s fear most. If voting were made easier, allowed to expand on a larger scale, Republicans know they’d never win another election. This clearly evidenced by the Republican party’s laughingly blatant attempts at voter suppression, prior to November’s election.That said, we all have choices. I suppose being a self proclaimed “Independent” being one of them. However, an “Independent” to me, conjures up an image of confused, befuddled, hand-wringing, fence-sitter’s, too frightened or self-possessed to hold firm positions on principles, they hold dear, at least until the smokes cleared and the outcome’s already in the bag. I’m just thankful I never had to sit next to an “Independent” in a foxhole.

        • Some Democracies make voting mandatory.

          • David

            Yes. In Australia. It has one of the highest voting participation percentages in the world.

          • 22 countries where voting is mandatory

            http://www.pbs.org/newshour/rundown/22-countries-voting-mandatory/

            > 22 nations around the world make voting mandatory for its citizens

          • David

            Didn’t know there were that many. I’d prefer a holiday myself. Anyway, thanks for the info.

  • Nathaniel

    More proof that some of Congress is not interested in the democratic process. It is quite evident that there are vested interests in keeping marijuana illegal or the will of the people would be acknowledged and respected.
    It just goes to show the constituencies of the members attempting to block the initiative that the Congressmen/women are anti-American.
    There is nothing more sacred than the public doing all the legal leg-work, getting something they want on a ballot, and finding out if what those grass rooters are fighting for is what the rest of the public wants.
    Congress should be ashamed of themselves.

  • stellarvoyager

    Since voters who live outside their districts can’t punish these politicians directly, I call on all cannabis law reformers to organize boycotts of these districts. Any businesses that are based in Andy Harris’s district or Hal Roger’s district, boycott ’em. If you’re driving through, just stop to take a dump and drop off your trash. Boycott businesses that contribute to these politicians as well. Keep up the pressure until they are voted out of office, or they back down. It is time to fight back ruthlessly against this bullying, and make these assholes pay a dear price for defying us.

    One day, our clout will grow, and maybe even become as large as that of the NRA or the oil industry. Mess with us, and we will see to it that your political career will be finished.

    • skoallio

      Vote them out in the next primary. Like the NRA does when they dont get their way. Then the politicians would listen.

      • Now there’s the answer. Vote for pro-reform, pro-legalization candidates or the closest thing to that you can get. In almost every case, that will mean not voting for Republicans. In most cases, it will mean voting for Democrats.

        And certain people commenting at this site just can’t bring themselves to do that. Must have other issues they think are more important–issues that make them want to vote for authoritarians for some reason….

        • So when is our beloved President going to reschedule? Isn’t he tired of the arbitrary authoritarian depredations on his beloved America?

          • Did the President promise to reschedule? No.

            Has he done more good on this issue than expected? Yes.

            Has he done more than any Republican that ran would have? By far.

            So, what’s your complaint? That we don’t elect progressive populist Presidents in this country because we have a lot of hippie punchers and the electoral college gives them even more power.

    • Michael Eric Rock

      This is the best response on this whole forum Thank You, If we cant vote em out, a revolution will happen, and it’s starting already, they are just too blind to see it. Once they are in office we become peons. I’m sick of it. I’m ready to join in on the revolution.

  • “Look, we understood we couldn’t make it illegal to be young or poor or black in the United States, but we could criminalize their common pleasure. We understood that drugs were not the health problem we were making them out to be, but it was such a perfect issue…that we couldn’t resist it.” – John Ehrlichman, White House counsel to President Nixon on the rationale for the War on Drugs.

    Until we treat cannabis like tomatoes people will still get killed over it. Eric Garner.

  • From what I read legalization is in. Regulation, taxation, and sales is out. Excellent. Grow it and give it away. No taxation means no Eric Garners. Excellent.

    The Republicans are actually doing us a favor.

    Until we treat cannabis like tomatoes people will still get killed over it. Eric Garner.

    • Denny

      The Dems are doing us a favor as well by consistently supporting reclassification during brief TV news clips, and then doing the exact opposite when the opportunity arises to come through on their promises. They’re politicians, so we shouldn’t be surprised that whatever they say will instantly be retracted under the guise of saying it was taken out of context if it happens to meet some resistance at their next fund raiser…

      • The swindle is “Our version of fascism is better than their version”. And all we get is more fascism.

        I think the Dems know how the reclassification court case is going to turn out. No need to vote.

    • David

      Republicans never do anyone favors, that is unless they have portfolio’s worth Millions/Billions.

  • xxx

    When all coward cops have to do is bash in the door of a sleeping stoner at 4am, shoot his dog, terrorize his family, beat him senseless and drag him off to jail, whereby facilitating the seizure of his money, his home and his vehicle without even the slightest risk to their over-militarized, jackboot selves, they are going to hold onto this simple way of doing business like grim death. The fight has just begun.

  • johndenton46

    You know what we’d have when the following states also legalize: California, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, Idaho, Wyoming, Montana: A doughnut hole: Utah. All the cops could hang out there.

    • Johnny Bloomington

      and Missouri!

  • Republicans are waiting for the weather to turn violently cold to diminish riots in DC.

    • Dom

      And if that doesn’t work they’ll fire up the HAARP weapons and drag a hurricane (ie. Sandy) up the East Coast to drive them out.

  • I see I’m having comments get put into the corral. Whatever.

    This headline is wrong. It’s not “congress” doing this. It’s Republicans. It’s very simple. The GOP, which has the majority in the HOUSE, can put this crap in a must pass spending bill that the Democrats are powerless to stop.

    I would like every single person criticizing the Democrats for what the Republicans did to explain to me EXACTLY what the Democrats can do to stop this?

    • Randall

      This is a little bit more complicated than you think. The HOUSE didn’t put this the bill. This bill was created as a result of long negotiations between a conference of committee members from both parties from both the House and Senate. This rider to interfere with legalization in DC was pushed by 2 or three powerful Republicans in this committee. The fact is, even with their majority, the Republicans could not have passed this in the House as a separate issue, because 20% or so house Republicans do not agree with their leadership on its anti-marijuana stance.

      I am a liberal Democrat, and I agree that voting for more liberal candidates would be good for marijuana reform, but you are wrong saying that the Democrats deserve no blame for this. The Democrats cannot do anything to stop this rider now, but they could have fought against it during the negotiations. Instead, they sold us out and decided that some other issue was more important than marijuana reform in DC.

      • I read that he added the rider after the negotiations. Don’t remember where, but that’s usually how riders work–hence the name. So, it’s actually pretty simple. He knew he had a damn good chance of getting the whole thing through with Democratic votes, since Boehner can’t control his caucus and Democrats don’t want to get blamed for being the childish, shut down the government, cost tax payers billion party.

        Now, however, I see that these Republicans have added so much crap that progressives don’t like that the Democrats might not be able to come up with enough votes for Boehner. In fact, in one Democrats session, a whole bunch of progressive walked out and refused to vote for the bill.

        Bless their hearts. If only we had more like that up there…

        ” they could have fought against it during the negotiations”

        They did. They lost. They just don’t have enough power. It’s funny, too, because before we lost the House in 2010, the half of all the chairs in House committees were CPC members.

        ” Instead, they sold us out and decided that some other issue was more important than marijuana reform in DC”

        Not yet they haven’t. And, yes, they probably do believe that they shouldn’t shut down the government over this one issue. Considering that there are other ways around it–as mentioned here, fine, don’t regulate, just let it be legal and free–they’re probably right. Govt shutdowns are really expensive, and voters don’t like it unless the GOP does it, and then they just forget.

        I think there’s a small chance that the GOP has, once again, overplayed their hand, and that the campaign finance stuff, the DC weed thing, and some other crap the GOP has stuffed in this is just TOO much for the CPC, and they’re going to withhold their vote. Nancy might be able to get 30 or 40 Dem votes. Maybe. But it’s looking like the whole thing might just fall through.

        The PredictIt market on a shutdown shot up from pennies to 12 cents a share today (pays a dollar if you win).

  • The vote just squeaked by 214-212 WITH NO DEMOCRATS VOTING YES…

    http://www.vox.com/2014/12/11/7377177/cromnibus-rule-passes

    Not one House Democrat voted for this POS.

  • Uncle Arthur

    I thought that based on DC Home Rule 1973 that only a vote can be overturned if there was a compelling national interest. Mr. Harris hasn’t shown any compelling national interest that would be at stake, he’s just doing this because he can. And when asked about overturning the will of the DC voters, he responded in a sociopathic way by telling the people in DC that they can move. Lacking empathy is not a strength, Mr. Harris, it’s a spiritual sickness.

    • Dan Bontio

      These cowards did not overturn the law… they simply said, “You can’t have any money to implement your law.”

      It’s a political game. By removing funding, they effectively eliminate the law itself… without officially overturning it.

      Our country’s political system is sick, sick, sick… and getting worse, not better. It used to be that funding the government was just an automatic vote that everyone approved. Now, it’s a political football with dozens of sneaky “riders” stuck in at the last minute. (Since the spending bill is essentially a “must-pass” law, all these horrible riders get enacted as law along with it.)

      A despicable, crying shame.