Knapp: End war on marijuana
Thursday, March 9, 2017
Jeff Sessions doesn't "think America is going to be a better place when more people of all ages and particularly young people start smoking pot."
He's worried about the possibility of "marijuana being sold at every corner grocery store." Because, you see, "good people don't smoke marijuana."
A majority of U.S. states, 28, have modified their laws to recognize the medical benefits of cannabis over the last two decades. More recently, voters in eight of those states, representing 25 percent of the population of the United States, have chosen to substantially legalize recreational use as well, and a solid majority of voters in the other states support the idea of doing likewise.
The writing is on the wall: The war on marijuana is ending, and freedom won. Sessions can't undo that any more than the Ku Klux Klan was able to undo Appomattox.
Unfortunately, as the newly confirmed Attorney General of the United States, he does enjoy a great deal of Klan-like power to continue terrorizing the millions victimized by his side during its 80-year war on a benign and useful plant.
It's time for Congress to take away that power.
In an ideal world, doing so would entail the repeal of all federal narcotics laws and the elimination of the Drug Enforcement Agency and Office of National Drug Control Policy.
Realistically those developments are probably decades away, but there's a bare minimum baseline of acceptable congressional response to the will of the people and the prerogatives of the states:
First, Congress must remove marijuana from the DEA's "scheduling" of drugs under the Controlled Substance Act.
Secondly, Congress must use its power of the purse to de-fund, prohibit and, if necessary, punish any future DEA/ONDCP enforcement or propaganda activity relating to marijuana.
And there's no time like the present: The new president claimed on the campaign trail to respect the states' decisions on the matter, and he's also calling for cuts of "waste, fraud and abuse" from federal discretionary spending. The war on marijuana clearly answers to all three descriptions.
Four U.S. representatives — Dana Rohrabacher, R-Calif., Don Young, R-Ark., Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., and Jared Polis, D-Colo., launched a "Cannabis Caucus" in mid-February to begin the urgent task of winding down the failed federal war on marijuana. That's four out of 435. If your representative hasn't joined the caucus yet, maybe you should call his or her district office and ask why.
Thomas L. Knapp is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism. He lives and works in north central Florida.