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Meet Congress’ New Teeny Tiny Anti-Marijuana Caucus

  • by Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director July 19, 2009

    During a time of immense cannabis law reforms and major shifts in public opinion in favor of such, emerges now a throwback to the dark ages of America’s war on some drugs from the 1980s: The Congressional Anti-Cannabis Caucus.norml_remember_prohibition_

    Escaping any real media attention last week was the formulation of a new anti-marijuana caucus in the House of Representatives. As reported in Roll Call on July 13, a press conference was held with former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert (R-IL), Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) and Darrell Issa (R-CA) that seeks to re-commit the Congress to the status quo of ‘fighting a war on drugs’.

    The photograph displayed on Roll Call (which is a subscription publication) of the press conference prominently featured an anti-medical marijuana prop (made from a shoe box).

    Heard on the Hill: Issa clutched a prop, a box that represented a shipment of medical marijuana. On the box was the handwritten phrase “Medical Rx” and a drawing of a pot leaf. …

    The newly formed House Drug Task Force elected ardent anti-cannabis congressman John Mica (R-FL), who, according to the Deseret News,  complained that the Obama administration “seeks to shut the war on drugs down.” And that, “the record to date is dismal with the demotion of Drug Czar’s office to a sub-Cabinet position, the announced support for needle exchange programs, the decriminalization of illegal narcotics and other measures that would weaken current national anti-drug efforts.”

    Deseret News reports that the task force–which currently only has Republican members–has four core initiatives: stopping drug use before it starts through education and community action; healing drug users; disrupting the narcotics market; and stringent narcotics enforcement.

    In other words, this ‘new’ anti-cannabis caucus would like to continue wasting taxpayers’ money, keep twisting the Constitution into knots, and continue killing innocent bystanders and drug users–while at the same time–hypocritically supporting government regulatory schemes that allows for the production, sale and taxation of more dangerous and addictive drugs such as tobacco, alcohol and pharmaceuticals products.

    The members of this new anti-cannabis caucus in the Congress are: Dan Burton (R-IN), Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), Darrell Issa (R-CA), Jim Jordan (R-OH), John Mica (R-FL), Aaron Schock (R-IL), Mark Souder (R-IN) and Michael Turner (R-OH).

    What? No Mark Kirk (R-IL)?

    Two relevant points: 1) As this so-called ‘House task force’ is only populated with Republicans, it is hardly a ‘House’ task force, and 2) back in the overzealous ‘anti-drug’ 1980s, there was a large, powerful and bi-partisan ‘Select House Subcommittee On Narcotics’, chaired by uber-powerful Charles Rangel (D-NY), and strongly supported by the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC). This committee dubiously helped champion the creation of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, Partnership for a Drug-America campaign, DARE program in public schools, civil forfeiture laws, mandatory minimum sentencing, mass drug testing in the workplace, etc…..

    Where is the CBC and Way and Means Committee Chairman Charlie Rangel these days on the so-called war on drugs?

    In general, Rep. Rangel and the CBC (headed by Rep. Barbara Lee, D-CA, of Oakland) no longer support ‘warring on drugs’ as much as they embrace the effective public health doctrine of ‘harm reduction’.

    78 Responses to “Meet Congress’ New Teeny Tiny Anti-Marijuana Caucus”

    1. Bryce says:

      This is either a sign that time is REALLY running out on these guys, and to which they are willing to embarrass themselves by trying to band together as a bunch of holy warriors, or that they are just throwing it in our face that as long as they are alive (because once youre in politics, you pretty much stay there till youre old as dirt) they will make DAMN sure that prohibition will never end. I hope dirt gets dug up on these assholes who try to decide whats best for YOU.

      My level of frustration on this topic has lead me to depart from commenting on these news blogs, because I fear that my emotions will promt me to do something stupid (Or profound, whichever side youre looking at it).

      Ashes to Ashes
      Gas cans to matches.

    2. Lucas_R says:

      This is so great. You just don’t understand how great this is. The media really ought to have another round of legalization discussion with these guys in the spotlight. Chaffetz, The D-news? Freakin awesome. Is the LDS community in Utah really the only group left in America that eats this stuff up?

    3. Larry says:

      You mean, Meet the all new WHITE congressional group who are opposed to Mexicans who live and a Free Black Community.

      Racism by any other name is still racism.

    4. R.O.E. says:

      Well…let keep the pressure on til the teeny tiny caucus is microscopic and then keep it that way. We wil have to keep the fight going after it is legal. these type of people will not give up.

    5. JAY says:

      This year alot of progress has been made, but this war is not over. There are still die hard anti-pot pols trying to get pot back in the box. But the cat is out of the bag.When the lies start coming out of their mouths, hold their feet to the fire with truth!

    6. Anonymous says:

      Prohibitionists…Prohibiyionists…Prohibitionists

      It’s been my 71 years of experience that, and correct me if I’m wrong, when you tell a human being NO! what you get in return is a big fat “FUCK YOU.” Words like “DON’T…STOP IT…YOU CAN’T…FORGET IT” causes the American Spirit to reply…”WATCH ME ASSHOLE.”

      PROHIBITONISTS of any and all kinds have plagued this country, and the world since their creation. They are NOT going to go away…EVER. So!…it’s our RESPONSIBILITY as free Americans to put the bad genie
      back in the bottle, put the lid back on, and put it its place. If NOT, we only have ourselves to blame.

    7. HARM REDUCTION, great point only politicians are seeking votes NOT Harm Reduction.

    8. Nelson P. says:

      Hey Republicans…

      What part of your self-procliamed “LIMITED GOVERNMENT”
      political ideology does this fall under ?!?!

      Guess it only applies to policies which protect your wealth, guns, religion, lies, and close-mindedness. Meanwhile, shoving your not-so-moral fist down our throats in a very unlimited way.

      I have been a registered Republican for over 20 years and have finally jumped ship. The Republican bastardization of “conservative” ideology is unbelievable. What happened…? Just a bunch of mean-ass, old, racist kooks.

      The saddest and most frustrating part is that the more sensible members of congress just keep backing down in fear to them. Somehow, they forgot that we voted for them to FIGHT for us, not throw us to the wolves.

    9. Matt says:

      *****TO DEFEAT THIS CAUCUS BEFORE IT STARTS WE MUST DO THE FOLLOWING*****

      1- Find out key issues in their home disticts (NOT MARIJUANA).

      2- Start posting INTELLIGENT THOUGHT OUT reasons why their arguments are flawed (NOT ON MARIJUANA).

      3- Start writing irrational and emotional (anonymous) letters and posts in FAVOR of their idea (known as “trolling” on the internet, this idea was actually first put into practice by Dr. Timothy Leary).

      4- To reiterate- don’t make it about marijuana, just make it about why each of them is bad for their district… they get kicked out, and we’re down 4 enemies without even connecting it to our cause.

      Simple politics.

    10. thomas says:

      Speaking of mexicans, LEGALIZE it, put mexican gangs out of business! Then, we solve our imigration problem giving the aliens jobs as marijuana farmers!

    11. Da Revolution says:

      #59 you are right!

    12. CKDK29 says:

      Those guys will get laughed at in congress if they oppose an the majority support Ron Paul,Barney Franks bill.Somewhere theres a list ive seen

    13. Anonymous says:

      57 Rick Seymore, Tennessee Activist

      There are two things that are done deals.

      1. Medicinal Use in California.
      2. Harm Reduction as the foundation for the Amercan Policy.

      Now! Everything else is unpredictable.

    14. llLOU says:

      Reader comments
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      lou | 3:00 p.m. July 20, 2009
      The winds of change are blowing across this country, and we will have to drag our sorry ass politicians along with us. The “War on Drugs” is a war against choice, what some choose to consume should not be a matter for the Government to decide, especially a Government that makes revenue from the top two health risks ever. Decriminalize Cannabis ,continue to go after the drug cartels , but for god sake don’t try to tell me that I should go to prison for consuming what I am consuming right now….
      So let these little asshat politicians ramble on about protecting the children,blah blah blah, protect your own damn children leave mine the hell alone. The winds of change are here, NOW, let Chaffetz and his little friends piss in the wind if they choose to, I intend to stay UPwind from them.

    15. R.O.E. says:

      Nelson P. @#58:

      Repubilcan…democrate…libitarian…independant? What the hell ? Its all the same. Its a lable to hide behind. I wondered for long time what party I can trust..guess what I came up with….NONE! If I am any label…I”M AN AMERICAN! Screw all this other 3-4 party shit. I am ..American. Anyone else think we should start THE AMERICAN PARTY?

    16. Anonymous says:

      65 R.O.E Start a grass roots American Party…I do!

      I would like to register as a member of the
      “INDIVIDUALST PARTY.” I am an Individualist. No law can be scared to me but that of my nature. Good and bad are but names readily transferable to that or this; the only right is what is after my Constitution; the only wrong is what is against it.

      An Individualist is to carry him or her “self” in the presence of all opposition as if everything were titular and ephemeral but he or she. I am ashamed to think how easily we capitulate to badges and names, to large societies, and dead institutions.

      If the single Individualist plant him or her “self” indomitably on his or her instincts, and there abide, the huge world will come round to him or her.

    17. Anonymous says:

      P.S. to 66……….”I AM AN INDIVIDUALIST.”

      RESOLVED, that the Individualist Party stands for, and delivers individual freedom, free thought, and the ability to act on those thoughts and beliefs. Should I find that I am the sole member of my party…I will consider my party complete, and its platform undivided.

      RESOLVED, that I hereby pledge my allegiance to individualism, and should I become a traitor to the cause to which I pledge my allegiance, may my right hand wither on the arm that I raise.

      When one individualist loses his or her individual freedom, each and every individualist loses theirs. Individual freedom is the bedrock for freedom for all, for without it, when it is denied, when it is withheld, do we not become a controlled mass?

      PEOPLE WHO WILL SACRAFICE FREEDOM FOR ORDER…WILL RECEIVE NEITHER.

      As you do your liberty…guard your four freedoms with your life.
      THE FREEDOM OF WORSHIP
      THE FREEDOM OF SPEECH
      FREEDOM FROM WANT
      THE FREEDOM FROM FEAR

    18. TKDietz says:

      Cherokee Fred Jesus said:

      “As a group the war on drugs benefits mainly lawyers and judges, that were lawyers before becoming judges. The politicians are all lawyers and they all protect themselves. The good old boy network is alive and well. It is time for the majority to tell these lawyers that seem to control everything. We are tired of the feeding of the poor and helpless…”

      I’m a lawyer and I have to tell you I’m 100% for legalization as are many other lawyers I know. If you were to go to a National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers meeting what you would hear from speakers talking about marijuana prohibition is how stupid it is and how we really need to change these laws. Do you think criminal defense lawyers are getting rich on marijuana cases? For most of us these cases are only a tiny percentage of our business. I’ve handled thousands of pounds worth of pot cases, but that was mostly when I was a public defender handling drug mule cases. Salaried public defenders get most drug cases and they’d just as soon not be getting them because they have more work than they can handle to begin with.

      Judges and prosecutors are largely against legalization, but not because they make money from these cases. They are salaried government employees with large caseloads. Prosecutors are caught up in nailing as many people as they can and they don’t want anything to be legalized, nor do they ever want penalties for anything reduced because that makes it more likely people will try their cases and makes it harder for them to really stick it to people in plea agreements.

      Judges tend to be prosecutors in black robes. Most were prosecutors before they became criminal court judges. Both judges and prosecutors just see the worst case scenarios when it comes to marijuana. They don’t see all the responsible use by decent people because these people rarely get caught and they are discreet about their use, especially in front of cops, prosecutors and judges. Cops, judges and prosecutors see the hardcore criminals who happen to get caught with pot too. They see all the hard drug addicts and hard drug dealers who happen to get caught with pot too. They only see pot in associatoin with bad things and most all of them see pot as a very bad thing and they’ll always be against legalization.

      There are some prosecutors offices that do make money from marijuana. Some take in a lot of asset forfeiture money related to marijuana that really helps their budgets. That would have to influence their attitudes on legalization. But, most prosecutors offices make little to none from these forfeitures, and by and large they have the same attitudes toward legalization as prosecutors whose offices bring in significant asset forfeiture money from marijuana cases. So, it’s not likely that money is behind their opposition to legalization. We wouldn’t be firing any prosecutors or judges if we legalized pot. They’d just have more time to focus on more important things.

      Why do politicians oppose marijuana so much? Some are prosecutor types who want to control the masses and tell everybody how to live their lives. Many probably oppose it because they genuinely believe it’s bad and harmful for society and that we’d have a huge increase in use if it became legal. Many see it as part of the “culture war” and they think if it was legal everyone would smoke it and become immoral hippies and this country would go to Hell in a hand basket.

      There are a lot of politicians though that deep down aren’t really opposed to legalization. Probably quite a few are actually for it, but they won’t dare come out and say so because they believe that would be political suicide. So they just parrot the party line on marijuana. As support for marijuana grows and we start seeing consistent support for legalization by a strong majority, a lot of these chicken shit politicians will come around and start trying to gain political advantage by coming out for legalization.

    19. Joel: The other Joel says:

      The Anti-Cannabis Caucus is a hate group that is fueled by the propaganda of fear and hate in order to get federal money. Instead of playing the political game of “Pro-” and “Anti-”, just isolate those Anti-Cannabis creeps and vote them out of office.
      The Anti-Cannabis Caucus would waste away federal money while “Legalizers” would help increase money for the States.

    20. Wild Bill says:

      Too many of these politicians still believe what there parents used to preach to them and Im sure they say the same thing “money does’t grow on trees” Well open your eyes sure looks like it grows there to me

    21. Mark Godfrey says:

      Comments are fine here, but we’re all on the same page already.

      Go post your comments (gently!) on the website referenced in the article:

      Deseret News

      http://www.deseretnews.com/article
      /1,5143,705315896,00.html

    22. Mark Godfrey Says:
      July 21st, 2009 at 10:34 pm

      Comments are fine here,
      but we’re all on the same page already.

      Go post your comments (gently!) on the website referenced in the article:

      Deseret News

      RE:
      - A FUNCTIONAL hyperlink to
      article-comments page…
      Only THEN are we all on the same page…

      COMMENTS
      Chaffetz joins drug task force

    23. Stillinthecloset says:

      here is what I just posted on the Deseret News:

      I used to work for a company that provided payphone access to prisoners of jails. I did this work for over 4 years and visited over 70 facilities nationwide.
      I have a question for Mr.Chaffetz:
      If in an environment completely controlled, observed and regulated by force if necessary drugs were readily and I assume still are available for a price.
      How in the world in a free nation do you plan on LEGISLATING control of a weed?
      How many more citizens will be classified as ‘Felons’ stripped of citizens rights before you consider the war won?

      Our company made obscene profits with no worry about economic pressure, all at the expense of the “families” with loved ones incarcerated?
      All I want is the right to be left alone if I am not harming anyone… I guess that is not considered American anymore.
      I also see facts mean nothing in this argument, it is just too profitable to keep locking up/ collecting the proceeds from the jail machine.
      We build more jails than schools… is that a good plan Mr.Chaffetz? You must believe so. Your actions declare it.

    24. I find it truly unfathomable that a group of Republicans are even allowed to take that initiative:

      Deseret News reports that the task force–which urrently only has Republican members–has four core initiatives: stopping drug use before it starts through education and community action; healing drug users; disrupting the narcotics market; and stringent narcotics enforcement.

      I mean, isn’t that basically saying we’re Republicans…just one’s who care more than other Republicans about marijuana. Their initiative sounds like basically what the Republican stance HAS been, they just started a little club to waste more taxpayer money organizing. This is nothing new, they don’t seem to be doing anything that wasn’t already being done (anti-drug education – D.A.R.E and frying eggs , healing drug users – methadone clinics , disrupting the narcotics market – we’ve all seen videos of the DEA destroying someone’s life AKA disrupting the market, stringent narcotics enfocement – well, the way they “street value” their drugs, you go away for life for having sandwich bags and an ounce so, id say that was stringent…)

      So what exactly are they doing at these meetings? Recanting old tales of when their friends performed unspeakable acts under the influence of marijuana….perhaps over a gin & tonic? Now, ALCOHOL….THAT may deserve a caucus…

    25. Yoda says:

      These people have NO COMPASSION for the SICK………..
      I have CANCER…..and cannibis helps me through it….
      don’t let these devils dictate your life…….
      If you live somewhere this MEDICINE , YES , MEDICINE NOT DRUG is not legal then MOVE to a state where it is.
      sometimes a fresh start is just what we need…..
      These IDIOTS NEED to be SCHOOLED ON THIS SUBJECT OF CANNIBIS AND ITS POSITIVE EFFECTS………….
      ALL THE WAY FROM SEED…TO PLANT( GIVING OFF OXYGEN )..
      TO CULTIVATION AND CONSUMED……..
      UNTIL ONE OF THERE OWN GET SICK WILL THEY REALIZE THE IMPORTANCE OF THIS MEDICINE CALLED “CANNIBIS”……..

    26. joe says:

      I KNOW IT SHOULD JUST BE LEGALIZED ( PERIOD )

      I WANT A MED MARIJUANA CARD BUT WONT GET ONE AND I TRULY DESERVE ONE.

      WHY NOT ? OK ILL TELL YOU ~ THERE WILL NEVER BE A POT CLUB TO BUY FROM IN MERCED COUNTY CA.( THEY WERE OUTLAWED IN ADVANCE BY THE CITY COUNCIL )

      AND THEN THEY WANT $225.00 DOLLARS A YEAR EVERY YEAR JUST TO HAVE A CARD. DMV AINT EVEN THAT BAD. ! !

      AFTER VISITING THE HEALTH DEPT AND PLENTY OF DOCTORS NOTES AND SIGNATURES AND PROBING YOUR WHOLE LIFE.
      AND GETTING ALL KINDS OF PERSONAL AND HOUSEHOLD MEMBERS NAMES ALSO .CMON !

      I MEAN HONESTLY FOR WHAT ? IF YOU GET BUSTED WITH AN OUNCE OR LESS ILLEGALLY ITS ONLY A $ 100.00 DOLLAR FINE. WHY GO THROUGH THE COALS OF HELL !

      THESE DAM MONKEYS AINT MY DADDY AND IM GONNA DO WHAT I NEED TO DO THATS ALL THERE IS TO IT.

      I HAVE FOR OVER 30 YEARS AND WILL STILL WHEN HELL FREEZES OVER.

      WHERE THE REAL INDICA LATELY ANYWAY ?

      IT,S BEEN REAL AND IT,S JUST HOW I FEEL. !

    27. Anonymous says:

      76 Joe…Oh Ya! Merced!

      Well…you saw what us San Diegans did, and good old Merced was right with San Diego before they got thrown out of the U.S. Supreme Court. If Merced doesn’t have a collective, form one. It’s a county issue not a city issue.

    28. j davis says:

      I went to extremist Jim Jordan’s website and under health care he says he supports getting government bureaucrats out of health care. Guess that doesn’t include thuggish DEA agents who are now interfering in everyone’s health care especially chronic pain patients. The hypocrisy of the right never ceases to astound me!!

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