Congress’ Continued Disconnect on Marijuana Prohibition

Among the many hundreds of public policy concerns that Americans care and act upon, what are the top policy concerns in Congress for which citizens search?

-Military spending?
-Reproduction Rights?
-National Deficit?
-Drones Used In Domestic Law Enforcement?

None of these supposedly political hot button topics were at the top of a newly created list by Thomas (the online interface the public has with Congressional legislation, run by the Library of Congress).

According to the March 6 print edition of The Hill, the new marijuana legalization legislation introduced by Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) was the second most popular legislation that citizens have searched on in the previous week (second only to the white hot issue of pending gun control legislation).

Gun, pot bills attract the most attention online
By Bob Cusack

It’s a Top 10 list that will never make David Letterman’s show, but it reveals that people are very interested in guns and marijuana. A relatively new feature on the Library of Congress THOMAS site is a Top 10 list of bills searched on Congress’s official website.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s (D-Calif.) measure to ban assault weapons has the top spot with Rep. Earl Blumenauer’s (D-Ore.) bill to allow states to legalize medical marijuana in second place.

However, despite the popularity for marijuana law reform in America, will the leaders in the House allow even a subcommittee hearing on the Blumenauer bill (or the near half dozen other marijuana law reform bills—which range from legalization to banking regulation reform to decriminalization to sentencing reform to industrial hemp)?

Aren’t elected officials supposed to listen, deliberate and respond to public advocacy—long festering public advocacy, in the case for cannabis law reform going back almost forty-five years—rather than be silent and oppositional?

Who do they work for? Who pays their salaries? Who is ‘wise’ enough to both elect them to power and also want substantive cannabis law reforms? Why disrespect citizens’ concerns in a democracy?

The phenomena of ‘malevolent neglect’ specific to cannabis law reform is not of course unique to the legislative branch as President Obama has laughed off basically the number one asked question at his so-called electronic town meetings from the beginning of his presidency.

The empirical data (all measurable from public surveys to citizen vote totals to public interest with reform legislation to Internet traffic on reform vs. prohibitionist webpages) is clear and elected officials—from all political parties—are rue to ignore it: Ending cannabis prohibition is a major political concern for Americans.

88 thoughts

  1. Its a matter of will people really prove responsibility with this plant if legalized. I believe they would…its a matter of not letting anything get in the way of that.

  2. The power is ultimately in our hands. If we sit by and do nothing, we can ultimately expect nothing. We must write/call our representatives and let them know what changes we desire. And we must hold them accountable for their response on election day.

  3. Good article, Allen and great discussion too. We have the word “democracy” in writing in our constitution which is a binding contract.

  4. congress, if you forgot its we the people and we the people will remember you come election time

  5. The thing that concerns me about this is the lack of Direct Democracy. There are so many politicians, on both sides of the isle who could make themselves a name as true representatives of the American people by acting on an issue. Showing leadership in a democratic nation means being responsive to the will of the people. This is actually more important than elections, as it indicates the strength of the relationship between the people and their leaders. As a person who suffers from nerve pain I hope someone takes the lead and makes a real change on Capital Hill as far as this issue is concerned. Keep up the great work Allen!

  6. Corrupt monopolistic big business lobbyists are the final barrier blocking marijuana legalization.

  7. We are at the precipes to reform the controled substance act. The presidents home state of Hawaii has decriminalized small posessions. Senate minority leader Mitch McConnel has protected his seat by passing the hemp bill through the senate. Now we all watch Congress who has passed %11 of any legislation for the last two years. Its time to finally reform the unconstitutional Controled Substance Act. For American heritage, prosperity and freedom, let it be done.

    [Paul Armentano responds: To clarify: Hawaii’s pending deciminalization measure recently (SB 472) passed the Senate, but remains awaiting House action<>. Senate Bill 359, the Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2013, has been introduced in the US Senate by a bi-partisan coalition of lawmakers, including Senate Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY). But to date the Senate has not yet taken action on it<>.]

  8. Larry King once asked a panel of sheriffs if only either alcohol or Marijuana were able to be legalized, which they would choose. EVERY ONE OF THEM SAID MARIJUANA. WHY? Because it has been proven to NOT be addictive; NOT have any major side effects; IS BENEFICIAL medically for many serious health issues (MS, Fibromyagia, Glaucoma, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Rhumatoid Arthritis, and many others); DOES RELIEVE stress; HELPS with sleep disorders; HELPS with eating disorders; and this is only a few of the many benefits that have been SCIENTIFICALLY FOUND. The ONLY reason they are keeping it from the people is because of the PHARMACEUTICAL GIANTS who FUND THE POLITICIANS. Lobbyists NEED TO BE REMOVED from Washington. TELL you government representatives that they need to start listening to the will of the people, NOT THE MONEY FROM PHARMACEUTICAL COMPANIES.

  9. I sometimes take my steps back just to see how things really work or are being layed out and on cannabis for the what is the biggest problem with it.

    We know there is a market for , we’ve named it” the black market”
    The DEA says it shouldnt be allowed because it has “NO” medical values, yet we have 18 states with medical value.
    One of the biggest fears of the anti-cannabis groups ,that i have ever read about is, “if it becomes legal then more drivers are going to be killed because people will use cannabis and then go drive”, this is probably the most 1937ish answer they have came up with so far, because people drive with weed in there system everyday.
    Just look around , a cannabis user doesnt have the face of a killer , or a lower income family, no it the faces we see and trust everyday.

    I live in illinois and we cant even get our sides (politics) together to get medical cannabis wrote in. For years our reps have worked hard to get it brought to the table and the opposition works even harder to keep it from having a chance. I am no lawyer but every time i read the “Illinois hb 1” also know as the The Compassionate Use of Medical Cannabis Pilot Program Act. I just wish they would call it by its real name
    “political cannabis”
    The bill has no compassion when they say what medical conditions are covered. This isnt up to the Dr’s until a politician says so, now how is that medical cannabis?” its still proof that prohibition is still regulated by racism. I do understand the need for governmental control, but then there is a point when if “we the people” are not causing problems, which we never have, then why would you put such a harmless plant or vegtable or drug or however many more names cannabis can be called , on such a harmful list like the “CSA”
    I mean its to the end of the yellow brick road for “we the people” we can see be hind the curtain.

    Listen parents, cannabis consumers are your neighbors , your everyday pass you on the street kinda people, they also are your everyday proffesional poeple like some of your Dr’s, and some of your elected offical, and maybe some of your board member who hold “high” positions in our communities. were not out to sell or distribute cannabis on the playground, because were parents to, and not ignorent ones that are going to put anyone in harms way.
    Cannabis consumers , pot smokers , stoners , these are just names and relate to other words like medical patient, relaxing at home, responible recluse. all cannabis consummers are not the poster child for everything bad that has been mocked about us.

    In 1970 American sailed her bigest shiped named ” Napoleon ”
    meaning he thought he could take and close off cannabis and all it sources and it was the begining of the end for him and his power.
    Those who do not learn from the past will repete it.
    we cannot fix every problem, but we dont have to make problems up either, we already have enough of them to go around.
    take cannabis off the CSA. its like having your underwear on the out side.
    How is it were smart enough to put somone into space but we cant figure out how to regulate a plant.
    if it’s that hard to do then maybe take some tips from the “Black market”since it has been raided beaten up and stompt into the ground and yet manages to pick its self back up and go right back to the top. maybe our budget people could learn a few things by its created enemies.
    enough from me
    as always
    thanks for reading

  10. Don’t worry people. We have to make them pass the law. We have to fight tyrany on the front line. No more subjugation! If they don’t want to listen, We have to make them listen. What is that going to cost. our time, money, and exposure Don’t be afraid our goal is in sight. It is just like I thought We have to fight harder,talk to people get them on the NORML Web site. Get them to send letters out to our elected officials.

    Also, and more importantly we have to support NORML, which means recognizing how much NORML has done for us. Pledging an amount of a for a monthly donation. I donate $20 per month. That is not very much, only .66 cents a day Please, Pledge an amount you can afford and be proud you are really helping NORML help us.

  11. I hope this is the federal government’s attempt to stonewalling us. The numbers are in our favor the war is not over. We are reaching the climatic scenario,we have many battle’s to win and thank God for NORML. On the front-line of our war on tyranny and subjugation. We will conquer our adversaries. You better believe what I am telling you.

  12. What we need is a database to compile the opinions of ALL politicians opinions so that we can vote accordingly. If they fail to submit (in written form) their opinions we vote them out by default. This way there is a public record of these opinions so in the event they have lied (this never happens) they can be held accountable in a public forum

  13. they poison us with gmo and give us salmonella, e coli etc through the sloppy fda, get guncrazy unto the nra but wont allow us to heal ourselves with a plant that has never harmed anyone…or anything. weed doesnt kill people, govt handles that efficiently enough.

  14. @Andrew
    That is an excellent idea. Compile all of the statements current politicians have made regarding this issue, have them alphabetically set up per state (separate house and senate), add contact links to each rep, etc etc.
    Any chance to give the public easy access to their reps/senators’ actual opinion on the matter may move abolition of prohibition further, faster. I highly approve.

  15. The next time you get pandered to by Partisan Sound Bites, whether for “Change”, Family Values”, or whatever, remember this year. The Government WILL find new ways to pick your pockets, they WILL work for whoever has the most influential money, and they WILL ignore the will of “We The People”…period.

    Now, is everybody up to speed, now?

    Good…it’s STILL time to drain the swamp!” (Ever hear of recall petitions?)

  16. People need to start getting together and organize town meetings and remind those in office why they are in office.We also need to start getting together and spread the truth about cannabis.A cheap way to do this would be to print off some factual articles about cannabis’s healing properties,and distribute them to people who are against cannabis.The cancer clinics or any clinic for that matter is a good place to start.If we all band together nationwide and get the message out there we will have our right to spark one up in no time.

  17. I’m going to start scouring the web for every bit of info i can find- every suit and their state, what they’ve gotten paid from BIGPHARM lobbyists (mine got $675k last year alone)-, statements they’ve made, whether any have had their own legal trouble with dui or other crime, what their future standpoint is on marijuana, when they are up for re-relection, and list those who will be running against them and what their policies are. I’m currently setting up a G Drive and SlideRocket on Chrome Apps, SlideBooklet App for making brochures and other leaflet handouts- These are all capable of many users contributing to the information, so if anyone would like to join me and help get this going, I’d love to- I’d been considering a private site to do so but it would be tough getting all the info by myself- if we all joined a group in the Circles we could get it done a lot faster and all have much greatness to contribute as a whole… I suffer from a brain tumor and fibromyalgia and chronic pain- my health was so much better when I could smoke, but I moved to a different state and have already written to my Representatives, the one who was paid the $675k by the RX lobbyists told me there was no way he would ever consider it because the government lists it as a dangerous schedule 1 drug so there would not even be a reason to discuss the matter with him any longer. I am going to tell him marijuana and heroin being in the same class is like saying milk and paint thinner have the same nutritional value… it is ridiculous that lies told in the 30’s by a selfish greedy little man still hold us back today. we have come so far- yet not hardly at all… I will post more info on the collaboration i’m creating if anyone would care to help…

  18. I’m waiting for cannabis prohibition to be disconnected from its funding. The public will have bigger fish to fry than bitch about the feds de-funding any kind of cannabis law enforcement. You can’t even assign a case number. No money means no money, not even for a case number, not even for a piece of scrap paper. Nada!

    Barry, call off your federal dawgz!

  19. @Juliet

    I would be very interested in helping you out with your project. Perhaps we could take certain states to avoid overlap of garnered information. is my email if you would like to get in contact with me.

  20. Passing something, anything at a federal level is a step in the right direction. But will they?
    I think the Feds are waiting to see if more states legalize, before they make certain decisions. I believe they are beginning to realize, this is something, which is not going away. I won’t be fast here to judge, that the Government will (Just Say No) to a plan to change laws. They do, the more people who want the laws changed, the more problems they will have with them. They will eventually have to deal with change of law, even if they do not wish to deal with this issue. I believe this (War On Drugs) will be ended in just a couple years. WA and CO are soon moving forward further with their laws. It’s going to be neat to see who does it next.
    This is our time people, we are beginning to win. Keep up the fight though, as it’s not over yet. 😉

  21. i HAVE HAD THEREE DIFFERENT TYPES OF CANCER, the meds they give makes you want to die, here in the US we cut, posion, an burn, Very hard to go thru, I coluld not eat or keep meds down, until i was given Cannabis, Please go to Cannabis Science an get educated, Pleas take the yime an chek the reasrech, Sincerily yours Teresa Santana. Jackson ,MI 49201

  22. It is not big pharma who is killing the legalization efforts. ask yourself; who stands to lose the most by legalization?
    the C A R T E L S !
    it’s as though no one has noticed. wtf?

  23. I have been posting all over the internet & twitter, that the time has come for a march of at least 1 million people on Washington D.C. this 4/20 to lite 1 million blunts at once & send a smoke signal that cannot be ignored….. I have not been able to muster more than 850 followers on twitter. We have no one but ourselves to blame for our politicians not taking us seriously… We won’t organize in large enough numbers or in large enough fashion to make a difference, and there may be as many as 40 million pot users in America !! It’s time to show elected officials that we won’t take this unconstitutional prohibition any longer, but what do we do ? Sit at home and whine to each other… Where are the leaders of NORML ? They should be behind organizing a TRUE march for civil & human rights the likes of which were last done in the 60’s.

  24. 2/3 or 66% of states, that is, thirty-three states need to pass similar measures to tip this over, beyond federal control.

    Not even the federal income tax was ratified by the necessary number of states, ever. In fact, there is no law requiring anyone to pay an apportionate income tax. This is because the taxes we pay are at most, absorbed into paying in the interest on debt owed to the Federal Reserve Board, which is not a government entity, but a banking cartel.

    Wait. We pay income taxes on threat of audit and imprisonment when there is no law that requires us to do so, yet consumes 3 months of labor out of our year…and just to pay the the surface of the debt created by the federal reserve (wealthy non-governmental entities) that dictate the money supply. The monetary system is a system of debt that makes us all into wage slaves. The guarantor of interest payments on the debt owed is called the federal income tax. Again, with no law to actually enforce payment, yet people are tried and imprisoned regularly for refusal to pay for…nothing.

    When 33 states pass cannabis legalization, it will have fostered more support than the income tax which was never ratified by the required number of states.

    In addition, others have mentioned that Cannabis sativa, was written specifically into law as a schedule I drug, yet C. indica was not, though they are distinct species.

    These stupid arbitrary laws written and imposed on our government by the invisible money powers are garbage.

    Eat the wealthy

  25. the website lists payments made to state reps by pharmaceutical lobbyists. it also has a lot of other interesting info, focused on making transparency a reality.

  26. “… a march of at least 1 million people on Washington D.C. this 4/20 to lite 1 million blunts at once & send a smoke signal that cannot be ignored…”–@scott blow 3/12, 8:41 pm

    Hey scott, don’t blow it. What are we fighting for? “Blunts” rolled in a cigar skin contain ad(d)ictive nicotine, a sneaky way to get youngsters– who were looking for a way to try cannabis– hooked on $igarette tobacco, with late-life medical expenses (bonanza for Big pHARMa), 40% chance of premature death etc.

    Don’t send a “smoke signal” (full of carbon monoxide, PAH’s and 4221 other combustion toxins that make you dopy which they’ll blame on the cannabis), go on line and READ ABOUT VAPORIZERS, also Did You Know you can vaporize with a one-hitter? Check out “How to Make S**** Pipes from Everyday Objects” for a diagram of the crater-head of a long-stemmed single toke utensil you can make yourself out of $2.38 worth of parts or less.

    Campaign with your (handworkerly) hands! Marching feet is old hat, crowds all sound alike and no one is interested in the dog and pony show of “rallies” any more, but as soon as we have made and distributed worldwide the first 8 billion or so one-hitters and HBOM (hot burning overdose monoxide) “smoking” methods are obsolete, alert progressive cannabis vapers will win a Know Well Prize.

  27. Yo ! mexweed ,

    great handle, maybe you are interested in ending prohibition so the senseless killing of thousands of people in Mexico will be reduced to a mere trickle of it’s present insanity ? When was the last time 1 million people gathered anywhere in America at once for our cause that deserves freedom ?

    NEVER ! blunts , joints, vaporizers , bongs, take your pick! That is what freedom is all about !

    You want to talk about harmful substances ? When was the last time you read the warning label on the gas pump you are standing next to ?


    Maybe that’s all the people in congress consider us to be ! LAB ANIMALS !

    I don’t see anyone out screaming to make gasoline illegal !!! How did the marching work out for the African American crowd during the 50’s & 60’s ? Thanks to the courage of leaders such as M.L.K., voting rights were won 100 years after the signing of the Emancipation Proclamation !! WE DON’T HAVE ANOTHER 100 YEARS TO WAIT FOR SOMEONE TO BRING AN END TO THIS SENSELESS WAR ON THE PEOPLE … GOOD LUCK WITH WHAT YOU ARE DOING, WHATEVER IT IS , I, FOR ONE, HOPE IT WORKS …

  28. mexweed, you are correct in all of your statements but I just need to comment that smoking herbs out of glass pipes creates a miniscule amount of pollution and health risk, according to latest studies. The reason I bring this up is that for once in a while smokers getting a vaporizer might not be worth the money, as the good ones are fairly costly. As for me, I do try, as a medical user, to vaporize most of the time, both for the sake of my health and the planet’s health.

  29. I think the gov’t could tax it just like cigarettes and regulate its use if they could do that properly they would make trillions of dollars from the millions that smoke and if the DEA really does want the cartel down like they say the best way is to make their main source of income outdated outregulated and legal now what bitches jus add a 6% tax on a pack of 20 prerolled joints and bam ppl come in and everyone wants a cig right after their pot its a two for 1 thing nobody is gonna deny that and for people that like blunts sell prerolled cigars

  30. @anton,

    Thanks for comment, and the long-hidden fact is vaporizing with a one-hitter requires only

    a. Be patient enough to hold the flame far enough below the opening that only 385F hot air touches the herb for the first 19 seconds steady sucking;

    b. A long flexible drawtube (“hookah-hose” without hookah) makes it possible to hold the craterhead and your vapelighting procedure far enough from eyes to do it accurately;

    c. A screen in the crater permits you to use grindsifted herb– uniform particles small enough that nutrient vaporizes out readily;

    d. After your toke breathe 30 Warm Wet W’s in and out of a Breathbonnet (plastic or paper lunchbag or equiv.) in honour of the Dawgwagner, YES YOU CAN ingest additional cannabinoid on the rebreath.

    Just avoid the panic IAGAS (I-
    Aint-Gettin-Any-Syndrome) which causes the typical “smoker rush” to get the herb burning right away instead of waiting confidently for the vapors which true to tell don’t have that telltale burning taste but take my word for it you’ll be getting the Creative Paranoia you paid for.

    So don’t feel guilty about not buying the $600 Volcano or even $200 models, just master the art of onehitterizing.

  31. I think Norml should take a stand like the NRA does, rate the individual politicians and get our readers to vote accordingly. I think we are finding our politicians flat footed with this issue. They are going to ignore this issue if they can. It is hard to believe they want consultants on how to market weed. VOTE AGGRESSIVELY AGAINST POLITICIANS WHO ARE FOR PROHIBITION. DO NOT JUST RANT!

  32. Mexweed, now I got you. Dude, you’re going thru lighters at such a high rate, you may as well buy a real vaporizer! You’ll save a lot of money man. I love my Arizer, it works so good, it is a dream machine. It will put the vapor into a bag for you and since you can control it so well you only have to use half of you do when you burn.

    You can literally fill one bag after another and pass them out, like at a party. The person can rebreath a couple times and toss it out. You get more herb per hit like this than hitting a bong since none of the active ingredients are being burned up. And there is so much vapor, you’ll want to rebreath a couple of times before releasing it. Also, trying to pass a bag just doesn’t work so good.

  33. 22 million americans smoke pot according to the latest documentary I saw.6,000 kids a day are trying it for the first time. In 2005,my son tried pot for the first time and repeated to me the same comment I made in 1975 the first time I got high.”The government is lying about pot”.As an honest parent who refuses to perpetuate the lies I had to agree with him. This is only the beginning of distrust of our government.Its time to stop intruding into our right to the pursuit of happiness in this arena.If any of our representatives have the balls to stand up and speak the truth there is a chance that the growing distrust of government could be turned around ,at least at the state level. Imagine that John Lennon!!RIP

  34. What about spiritual issues? Where is our freedom of religion? I know a number of people who use marijuana for spiritual development. Those “in power” have no right to tell me or anyone else how to develop our connection with spirit, or God, especially when done in the privacy of our own homes. It was one of the main reasons people sailed from England. Perhaps the states with reformed laws will find people “sailing” to their shores and states like Wisconsin will find people leaving for a freer existence.

  35. I invented the smoke trapper it is a FILTER FOR THE BURNING END and in public we use it all the time..Can you Please spread the word that this is what smoking in public has been waiting for a long long time perhaps forever.It is cpornstarcxh and cotton ad very light and shaped like a tube or a cloud to ensure best sucking…This is the law everything else is legal…

  36. For the people who fight pain every day, I couldn’t belive the sheriff in florida taking the Ladies medication (that’s right I said medication) my god if was her docter I would be amazed at how well she doing on medical mariquana she has been able to get rid of nine of her ten (doctor perscribed meds) if that’s not a miricle in medicine then what is! Being a lab rat for big pharm, yes doc the free trips for someone health nice. I’m not saying all meds are bad because their clearly their not. But no longer is marijuana ( In the dark ) so please bring into the light! And let us all benifit from it. If its done with love, compassion and openess to the truth all the truth and nothing but the truth! So please leglize mariquana for the people. It means jobs , money for our communitys , taxs for schools, hospitals not mention the lives it will change for people who so desperately need it for pain relief , legally and safely. Thank you for your ( yes ) vote. God Bless

  37. I think the drug lobbyists pay very well to keep these positicians from voting the will of the people in this matter, the drug lobbyists, and the for profit prisons, this is and always has been a racket, and they’re going to do it despite your vote, they’ll just rig the election to win anyways, look at Pennsylvania look at other states. If folks would bring to their attention more the fact it might produce a surplus in taxes instead of a recess on their state funding due to paying for the prisons, it might get done

  38. I don’t think it’s even the lobbyists that are the problem even though people are quick to blame them. They are called lobbyists because these people “hang out” in the lobby of govt office bldgs, waiting for their influence target.

    But these people don’t act on their own. They are paid shills, paid by the individuals who want changes and laws altered to suit them. The lobbyists don’t get anything but a flat-rate salary for “contributing” and bribing their way to influence the decisions of elected officials who depend on more money to remain in office, as *career politicians.* They can’t and won’t do anything else and they vote to give themselves raises and vote down any suggestion of TERM LIMITS. Elected officials don’t become more effective with time and experience, they become more jaded and greedy, learning how to manipulate the system better to suit their needs.

    Elected officials. Most are lawyers. Most desire greatly to remain in office forever as perpetual incumbents. While in office, they change the laws to suit themselves, for their benefit, when they leave “public service” and go back to law, where they’ve adjusted and changed the laws to suit themselves. Most return to law practice after scandals, extra-marital, bribery, sexting little boys, or just plain corruption.

    Lobbyists are not some evil predators who corrupt politicians who are naive, innocent victims. The politicians love the lobbyists, they are the same if not worse. Although that may be a generalization since I know there are some officials who cannot be bought out or would sell their integrity, but it’s true for the vast majority.

    Career politicians are the scum of the society. The lobbyists just encourage them, they don’t create the scum.

Leave a Reply