Open Thread

Work and out-of-town visitors have kept me busy, but there’s still a lot going on…

bullet image Why Congress Might Legalize Marijuana This Time by Rep. Earl Blumenauer in Salon

“It’s just come to a head,” he told Salon Thursday afternoon. “This is largely going to be resolved in the next five years.”

Blumenauer, along with Colorado Democratic Rep. Jared Polis, introduced legislation this week to make the federal government treat cannabis like alcohol and let states decide whether to keep it illegal. And they think they have a real chance of getting somewhere this time. [...]

“I think we are in a position now to have a group of members of Congress who are able to spend a little more time and energy in a focused way on this. I think we’ve got a little bit more running room; I think our coalition is broader, and we’ve got people who have not normally been involved in this,” he added, pointing to more conservative members from Colorado who now care about marijuana after the state legalized it in the fall.

On top of his and Polis’ bills (which tax marijuana and end the federal prohibition on it, respectively), he said he anticipates “about a dozen” different pieces of legislation dealing with drug policy reform moving forward. With “a number of folks” already working together in an informal working group, he explained, “We’ve got more people working more systematically.” He declined to elaborate on other members, saying they would be making public statements in the coming months. [...]

The long-term goal, however, is to get the federal government to end the prohibition on marijuana and leave it to states to regulate the drug, just as Congress did when the prohibition on alcohol ended, something that two-thirds of Americans seem to support. “I honestly think that in their heart of hearts, most members of Congress would support that,” Blumenauer said.

I’m not going to get carried away with optimism — after all, I’ve been following the attempts by Hinchey et al since 2003, but still, this sounds good.

bullet image The slow death of the 4th Amendment at Daily Kos.

A lot of really old news to us, but still good to see progressives getting the message.

bullet image U.S. Representative Massie
Introduces Industrial Hemp Bill
in Kentucky — with 28 original co-sponsors!

“Industrial hemp is a sustainable crop and could be a great economic opportunity for Kentucky farmers,” said Rep. Massie. “My wife and I are raising our children on the tobacco and cattle farm where my wife grew up. Tobacco is no longer a viable crop for many of us in Kentucky and we understand how hard it is for a family farm to turn a profit. Industrial hemp will give small farmers another opportunity to succeed.”

bullet image Who Will Legalize Pot Next? in The Nation.

Increasingly, people realize that the country’s exorbitantly expensive, excessively harsh prison system has been more costly than it has been successful at making us safe. The question is whether Congress and the White House will recognize this and use their powers to expedite, rather than impede, change.

bullet image Discovery Channel debuts new prohibition-porn series.

Exclusive: New Discovery Channel series ‘Pot Cops’ chronicles marijuana crackdown”

“Pot Cops” will give audiences an unprecedented look at what it takes to conquer growers who are running a large weed farm in the Redwoods and shooting at local children on a reservation, as well as a bizarre, slow-speed chase of a stoned grower and investigations into parents who may be putting their own children at risk while hiding a huge grow somewhere in the surrounding hills.
But what Musson anticipates viewers will be most surprised to learn more about is the heavily-debated “medical marijuana” issue, and he claims that in his decade-long career as a law enforcement officer, he can “count on one hand the amount of legal growers” he has encountered.

Note the scare quotes around “medical marijuana” and the one-sided perspective.

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