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Marijuana Legalizaiton Advocates Hound Rep. Lamar Smith

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lamar smith federal marijuana prohibitionThey call Congress’ stance ‘Reefer Madness,’ but decriminalization bill appears doomed.

By Gary Martin

WASHINGTON – Worried that marijuana decriminalization dreams could go up in smoke, advocates are targeting a Texas congressman who has vowed to kill a bill that would remove pot from the federal list of controlled substances.

U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, said his panel will not take up the bipartisan legislation, which would effectively kill it for lack of action.

“Instead of encouraging the use of marijuana, we should strengthen enforcement of federal drug laws to protect Americans from the devastating effects of drug use,” said Smith, R-San Antonio.

Smith’s stance has prompted a backlash organized by the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Legalization.

NORML has launched a letter and telephone campaign that swamped Smith with more than 9,000 messages and calls and forced him to take down his Facebook page.

The sheer number of the responses does not surprise NORML, but the group is under no illusion that it will see the legislation passed any time soon.

“This Congress is a ‘Reefer Madness’ Congress,” said Allen St. Pierre, NORML executive director, referring to the 1936 morality film that portrayed users of the herb descending into mental illness.

NormlStill, St. Pierre said changing public attitudes on cannabis use and its acceptance in some parts of the country should at least require Congress to hold a hearing on the merits of the legislation. The authors say the bill is no half-baked idea.

The Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act was filed by Rep. Ron Paul, the Texas congressman seeking the Republican presidential nomination, and Rep. Barney Frank of Massachusetts, the ranking Democrat on the House Financial Services Committee.

Paul, who has a national libertarian following, and Frank, one of the most liberal members of Congress, say the bill is a reasoned approach to getting the federal government out of the regulation of marijuana.

Under the bill, HR 2306, marijuana would be removed from the federal list of controlled substances, ending federal enforcement and allowing each state to address how it could be used and distributed.

NORML is airing announcements about the bill on its web site and YouTube, urging people to contact Smith and other members of Congress.

Willie NelsonIn one, country music icon Willie Nelson, a Texan and a board member of NORML, pleads that current drug laws need to be changed to match public attitudes.

With his hit “On the Road Again” playing in the background, Nelson says 850,000 citizens will be arrested this year on cannabis-related charges: “That’s another marijuana smoker busted every 35 seconds.”

Advocates of pot use note that 14 states have passed decriminalization laws, and 16 states and the District of Columbia permit the use of marijuana for medical purposes.

Texas is not one of those states, and it is not likely to be one soon, said Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas and a former state attorney general and state Supreme Court justice.

“I would be surprised if it has much in the way of public support, which would be the biggest obstacle, since I doubt the members of the Texas Legislature would take this matter up and pass it,” Cornyn said.

There is no companion legislation in the Senate, but Cornyn, a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said he would join Smith and House colleagues in opposing similar measures.

Cornyn said he worries that decriminalization, medical usage and removing marijuana laws from federal enforcement is a slippery slope “where a similar attitude would be embraced with regards to other illegal drugs and dangerous substances.”

The Obama administration also opposes decriminalization of marijuana, according to the Office of National Drug Control Policy.

Marijuana use is harmful and should be discouraged, according to the White House drug czar, and legalization would lower the price and increase usage.

St. Pierre said it is likely to take another decade for Congress to catch up to public attitudes and develop a more relaxed attitude on marijuana use, but he predicted federal decriminalization would come eventually.

“The states are really driving this,” St. Pierre said.

Read more: http://www.mysanantonio.com/news/politics/article/Pot-advocates-hound-Rep-Smith-1453392.php

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26 Comments

  1. What’s amazing to me is how these people who tout all their business smarts, can consistently be so stupid. The total disregard of others rights to freedom by these politicians, makes me wonder why I spent 30 years of my life in the military defending a Constitution that they have totally abandon. I believe that Thomas Paine would have likened them to the kings of the world. For goodness sakes Congessman, do your do diligence and study up on a topic before you try making laws that effect those who have. Before it is all over, your going to be really embarassed.

  2. It’s times like these where I wish America was a direct democracy instead of a republic. 100 million Americans have smoked it, 40 million continue to do so on a regular basis, and with a flood of misinformation about cannabis pouring into every crevice and crack, it’s getting harder for those of us who would like to see this benign and peaceful substance get legalized.

    Lamar Smith, you are a bane to our society. Soon enough it will be legalized, and maybe then you will see how these sticky green flowers make for a more relaxed, cheerful and hungry society.

  3. the legalization of pot would neither increase the number of users or lower its prices. on the contrary. people who really want to use it would use it regardless of its legal status. as far as the cost, were pot legal,it would be more strictly controlled it would be taxed(bringing more revenue to the government) and would be put under greater quality-control scrutiny…less health issues,, less cheating and a better quality product. not to mention, it would force organized crime to go legitamite or get out of the business altogether.

  4. Avoid BIG PHARMA & start Hydrogen Peroxide today… It can alleviate most of the issues that you take pills for… Don’t believe me… go to the Google machine.

  5. I do not understand how people with any type of common sense would have a negative opinion about mj? If they “really” did some research on the topic, and studied the information, you would have to be brain dead, to not see the real motive to keeping mj illegal. It isn’t rocket science.It is about $$$money & greed. This GOD GIVEN plant has taken a “BAD RAP” for years, because of power, greed, and money. People are FINALLY seeing how they have been “duped” into believing all the negative propaganda regarding this wonderful miracle plant. I have seen the great things it has done for people with Cerebral Palsy, MS, Cancer, Aids, and the list goes on…and yes, total relaxation, with no side effects, hangover, headache or nausea. I can not take Prescription meds without getting nausea and vomiting. This “War on Drugs” ( THE PEOPLE) needs to finally come to an end! We need to embrace this plant and all it’s potential, and end this Prohibition! Get Innocents out of the prisons, and get the police back to putting the “REAL” criminals in storage! Soon even the “dummies” will smarten up an realize! Hurry, the WORLD is waiting!

  6. “St. Pierre said it is likely to take another decade for Congress to catch up to public attitudes and develop a more relaxed attitude on marijuana use, but he predicted federal decriminalization would come eventually.”

    That’s the spirit!

  7. Kaphen DePriest on

    Smith is a tyrant. He is the kind of politician that makes me sick.

    Does he actually think throwing people in jail is a good solution?

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