Why Are Top Political Leaders From Both Parties So Out-Of-Touch With The Public’s Demand For Marijuana Law Reform?

It is hard to imagine liberal House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and conservative Minority Leader John Boehner as soul mates on any discernible level, however, on the issue of marijuana law reform, for entirely different reasons, they’re two peas in a pod.
Shortly after the conclusion of this summer’s Democratic National Convention in Denver, NORML’s Deputy Director Paul Armentano posted a blog highlighting House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) comments exhorting the public to take the lead on communicating with their elected policymakers regarding any desired major marijuana law reforms in the upcoming 111th Congress.
With that call to action in the minds of many, American voters elected Democrats into workable majorities in both chambers and elected Barack ‘Change’ Obama—while voters in both Massachusetts and Michigan voted in strong favor for ‘change’ regarding their states’ antiquated marijuana laws—when given the chance and medium to express their viewpoint regarding what other ‘changes’ are on the American peoples’ minds, since the mid 1990s and despite strong, bias media opposition, marijuana law reform has emerged as a major policy change sought by the American public.
House Speaker Pelosi supports medical access to marijuana. That is not in question. However, it is not known whether she publicly endorses decriminalizing marijuana, but, as a longtime representative in the House from San Francisco, she likely supports California laws regarding marijuana, notably the state’s long time decriminalization laws for personal, adult use.
Does she have the power to move medical marijuana through the Congress? Yes, likely she does. Is she going to expend the kind of political capital needed so early in the 111th Congress and this ‘New Dealish’ presidency to accomplish this? I don’t believe so.
Well now, to make matters worse, we have the Republican Minority Leader, John Boehner (R-OH), appearing last Friday afternoon on CNN’s Newsticker, in a Digg-sponsored ‘Question and Answer’, not surprisingly, the #1 question put forward by CNN/Diggers was of course about…marijuana!
Mr. Boehner’s reply on the marijuana prohibition question (which appears at the 3:15 mark of the 22 minute video) is tortured on two levels:
Boehner’s deference to law enforcement and medical trade associations rather than to his constituents’ views, the Constitution, science, free market values and personal responsibility is, in a word, unfortunate:
While rattling off DEA-like talking points against marijuana, Rep. Boehner seems to remember mid-rant against marijuana that he 1) often claims to be a libertarian who favors limited taxation, controlling government spending, and maximizing entrepreneurialism and personal freedoms, 2) supports the 9th and 10th Amendments, which largely articulate states’ rights to make their own constitutional laws.
Too bad Boehner has consistently voted against the Hinchey-Rohrabacher Amendment, a spending amendment in Congress that sought to check federal law enforcement’s ability to spend tax dollars harassing state compliant medical marijuana cooperative and dispensaries, and, in effect, recognizing states’ ability to craft greater legal protections for medical cannabis patients and their providers.
After watching Boehner’s verbal gymnastics and political CYA, I could have used a naturally occurring anti-emetic, if you know what I mean!
A Congressional Cannabis Conundrum
The most powerful legislator in the United States, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi supports medical access to marijuana, but will not soon likely do anything to solve this long festering public health-law enforcement quandary, and the most powerful Republican legislator in the country is a chain-smoking, libertarian-talking prohibitionist.

The general public who support marijuana law reform (which is about 75% for both decriminalization and medical access) and many members from the working media inquire with NORML daily, ‘Why does marijuana prohibition continue despite its obvious failings?
Regrettably, one need only point to this single, but poignant example, demonstrated by this Pelosi-Boehner cannabis conundrum: Leaders who will not lead.*
*Even when they very likely know better and the American people (common sense, economics and decency) demand it!

0 thoughts

  1. Hey Dylan, pot ain’t legal in Sweden.
    In fact in Sweden the authorities can demand your urine with no probable cause and jail you for testing dirty.
    Maybe you’re thinking of Switzerland? Legalization almost passed there with over 40% support in the legislature.
    My Swiss friend told me years ago that it is legal to grow and sell hemp there as “air fresheners.” All you do is break open the plastic air freshener and there’s buds inside.
    In fact I think they may have more retail locations there than in the Netherlands which has been reducing the number of shops for years. However the Swiss are only selling their air fresheners to citizens to keep it on the D/L and not piss off other countries.
    Nice people the Swiss. No one fucks with them cause every adult male Swiss citizen has a sniper rifle stashed in their house and military training to kill from 1000 meters away.

  2. Look them all dead in the eyes and say, with a firm voice…
    “No, you are wrong.”
    Walk away after that. Doubt leads to research, guilt, and a realization that, “What they want, is not what WE want, not what WE need.”
    Perception is the largest weapon we have against a politician. They don’t care about facts, they care about image. Show them that they are wrong, that the image they have is not favorable, that it is US who controls what they look like, not the mirror in their pocket.

  3. how are we the greatest nation on this earth if we imprison non violent offenders for growing and possesion for many years but let rapists and murderers out before their sentence is up. disgusting.

  4. wsjames, write back and give that schmuck a wake up call. Let him know his job has NOTHING to do with what “he” supports. His job is to represent and if he does not represent you tell him you’ll find someone else who does to replace him/her.
    Vote like a Beast, you’re right. Decriminalization is a trap and it’s not the answer we should accept to “pacify” us. It still allows criminals to control the cannabis trade and makes criminals of those who would grow for personal use. While it would free up most of the $10 billion+ we spend a year just on marijuana arrests it would deny our economy of a $113 billion dollar industry and some $30 billion in tax revenue each year.
    Legalization is the ONLY answer.
    BUT…I have to tell you you really have no right to complain at all. There was a time when I was afraid to do anything but “preach to the choir” too but thats been part of our problem all these years. You say people HAVE been standing up and telling lawmakers what we want for years but the fact is too many of us have remained silent. They don’t listen because the voice has been too timid to be heard over the din. We need everyone who supports this to GET OFF THEIR ASS AND DO SOMETHING. It been attitudes like yours (and mine until recently) that have helped lawmakers to keep the status quo.
    weed farmer (Chris S.) bro I commend you for sending a letter to the Speaker of the House but dude…please get the facts straight.
    Amsterdam is NOT a country it’s a city in the Netherlands where marijuana is tolerated (it’s NOT legal, matter of fact marijuana is not legal in ANY country on earth…just a fact for all you people that think it IS legal somewhere.) Also the #1 killer in America is tobacco NOT alcohol. Alcohol is not even CLOSE.
    It helps our case very little if we come off sounding like “stupid stoners”.
    Sign the petition supporting legalization! 62,000 signatures and counting. We need to get that number WAY up. 20-25 million people a year admit to smoking pot to the national survey on drug use and health and they suggest the actual number could be as high as 40 million users in the U.S. each year. Tell your friends, tell your dealer, tell your mom. We need as much support as we can get. (might have to explain it all to mom but hey…she’s a reasonable person right? ~.^)

  5. The old saying is ‘ Follow the Money ” The Love of Money is at the root of Prohibition, Mark my words.

  6. I am a proponent of medical marijuana for mentally ill persons I am seeking to amend the state of michigan medical marijuana laws to include such disposition
    Im paul jensen bx 4372 ann arbor mi 48106 Please help

  7. Were going to win this so called Drug War no matter what the non smokers say. Cops are cowards that hide behind badges and laws. Most are over weight slobs anyway. If you can’t be anything else in life you can always be in law enforcement. The ones I know are idiots anyway, just like the people against reform.

  8. Potheads need to put the bong down(not for long,of course)…..but long enuff 2 get off our ass’s and vote/protest/boycott…..something; dammit!! For 2 long now I,myself have been just a sideline stoner. Well, fukk that. I’m Boycotting KELLOGG and U should too. I hate to say this; BUT, stoners need 2 take it a step further– I vow not to purchase alcoholic beverage products until Reefer is legalized. I am NOT going to give money to an industry that is against and lobby’s to keep BUD illegal. STONERS assemble!!!!
    If U are a stoner…and are truly HEAD-icated; then join my “vow” and STAND UP against an Industry that would have us stand down. Wanna join me and become part of the HEAD-icated: go to myspace. Look up display name “theSHRoOMROoM” and ask for buddy invite; so that you can post Ur pledge. Be mindful, however….this ain’t no new year’s resolution. If U post a comment stating U will not drink booze…then I expect U, my fellow stoner, to hold 2 it!!!

  9. Land of the free? What a joke.
    Home of the brave? Yea, no doubt about that.
    Obama needs to hear our collective voice and change this prohibition on a federal level allowing states to clear the way for legislation to pass without fear of federal reprisal.
    End the failed policy of prohibition now.

  10. Im completely confident it will be decriminalized and medically accessable soon. Even if its not 75% of the public will still smoke anyway lol.
    I know im not the only one stoned who read this article and did not sit and laugh at John Boehner. Seriously his name cant be pronouned any other way than “boner” and his parents were just assholes first naming him John. His buddies have to call him dick boner. Imagine his middle name being flap or flapping? Dick Flapping Boner. ^^ I can hear your amusement.

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