Marijuana Legalization: 4/20 is a Perfect Time to Support the Marijuana Justice League
This is it, everybody, it's the week of April 20, better known as 4/20, and any self-respecting millennial (or adaptive baby boomer) should know what that means: people who smoke weed are going to … well, smoke weed. But in a move that shows increasing political favor for marijuana reform, U.S. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.), has introduced the "Respect State Marijuana Laws Act of 2013."
The bill is one of many that aims to cease federal enforcement of state marijuana laws, citing a Pew Research poll which stated 60% of Americans are against federal intervention in state affairs. On board for the bill's introduction is a healthy bipartisan combo of congressmen, which looks promising in today's partisan, culturally-divided House.
In fact, Rohrabacher stands as a beacon of marijuana support in the GOP, a party well known for its (misguided) disdain for marijuana rights. He's also got Michigan's Justin Amash and Alaska's Don Young in the roster of Republican representatives who seek change in the drug war. Hey, if a libertarian and a casual racist is what it takes to convince Republicans that weed is okay, Rohrabacher's got my blessing.
Earl Blumenauer (D-Or.he), Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) and Jared Polis, (D-Colo.) comprise the Democratic support of the bill. Polis has carried numerous battles against marijuana prohibition, most notably last June, when he directly questioned head of the DEA Michele Leonhart in regards to marijuana's overzealous scheduling (in particular, how the DEA views it as dangerous as heroin).
Polis and Blumenauer also worked on a bill which aims to regulate marijuana like alcohol a few months back, the first of many moves to shift legislature toward marijuana reform in 2013.
Together, they are the Marijuana Justice League, a legislatorial alliance with a diverse set of allegiances and skills which stands to introduce comprehensive lawmaking in the marijuana debate. Boy, these guys need a comic series.
But for every hero, there has to be a villain. A coalition of Republican congressmen accused President Obama of not being tough enough on drugs (never mind Obama's historically large drug arrest record). Rep. Andrew Harris (R-Md.), the leading representative in this cause, is now pushing for Colorado and Washington's marijuana regulation laws to be reversed.
Harris, it seems, is still stuck in the "gateway drug" argument, one which, in contrast to Jared Polis' questioning, received open ears from Michele Leonhart and even a justification of the DEA's stance on legal marijuana states. She cited that each state only has 45 DEA agents who, in turn, rely heavily on local law enforcement. Considering police departments in both Colorado and Washington have already stopped enforcing marijuana crimes (because of a curious political phenomenon known as public elections), even the head of the DEA couldn't deny that federal agents are have their work cut out for them. But Leonhart warns that, make no mistake, "[They are] still enforcing federal law."
This year is already proving to be an uphill struggle for marijuana supporters. However, the argument for marijuana as a victimless crime (or even more logically, not a crime at all) is gaining fast traction with millennials and the voices in Congress who represent them. These voices are now shouting back at a status quo that was wrongly implemented and has brought about a system which is falling apart at the seams.
So, this 4/20, remember the congressmen that fight for the cause of holidays (can I call it that?) such as this one. This national debate is only going to intensify in the coming months, so now is the time to show support for marijuana reform.
Unless you agree with Rep. Harris and the DEA. In which case … really?