Pelosi Talks Medical Pot
Hard to believe that the entire Democratic National Convention could go by without even one speaker paying lip service to the devastating folly that is America’s war on (some) drugs, but as NORML podcaster Russ Belville reports in his latest blog post here, the subject of marijuana law reform has been all but “invisible” in Denver.
Fortunately, thousands of Digg.com users posed the following question to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi live on CNN: “As a taxable resource, what stops marijuana from being legalized, for medical or recreational purposes, throughout the country?”
(The question comes four and a half minutes into the video.)
Pelosi’s response is candid yet disappointing. While acknowledging that scientific research clearly supports the medical use of cannabis, Pelosi acknowledges that most of Congress — including many otherwise ‘progressive’ members of the influential Congressional Black Caucus — “just isn’t there yet. … There just isn’t enough support for it.”
Of course, anyone who has followed this issue knows that the Speaker’s Congressional assessment is painfully accurate.
That said, I find myself a bit incredulous when Pelosi says: “We have important work to do outside the Congress in order for us to have success inside the Congress for [the] use of medical marijuana. … [W]e need peoples’ help to be in touch with their members of Congress to say why this should be the case.”
While I agree that it’s both important and necessary for constituents to contact their elected officials, I’m disappointed that Ms. Pelosi still believes that the ‘heavy-lifting’ needed to successfully move this issue forward federally must be engaged in outside, not inside Congress.
Pardon me, but here in the real world (outside of the Washington Beltway) public voteafter public vote illustrates that the overwhelming majority of registered voters back the legalization of medical pot, and national poll after national poll consistently shows that upwards of 70 percent of the electorate support a patient’s right to use cannabis legally.
Here in the real world, numerous health and medical organizations such as the American Public Health Association and the American College of Physicians have passed resolutions urging Congress reschedule marijuana so that a physician may prescribe it, and scientific papers indicating that cannabis can inhibit diseases ranging from multiple sclerosis to cancer to MRSA are being published virtually every week.
Given this reality, I humbly submit that those of us who work ‘outside’ the so-called ‘hallowed halls’ of Congress have done our part. It’s now time for our federally elected officials, in particular Speaker Pelosi and Democratic Presidential Nominee Obama, to pledge to do theirs. August 28, 2008