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Marijuana Law Reform Supporter Dethrones Eight-Term Incumbent in El Paso Primary

  • by Erik Altieri, NORML Communications Director May 30, 2012

    In early May, Ellen Rosenblum rode to a landslide victory in the Oregon Democratic Attorney General Primary with marijuana law reform being a central plank in her platform. It looks like it has happened again, this time in the Lone Star state.

    In the Democratic primary for the House seat representing El Paso, eight-term incumbent Silvestre Reyes faced an unexpected challenger in Beto O’Rourke, who formerly served on the El Paso city council. The race garnered media attention, largely focusing on O’Rourke’s support for marijuana legalization.

    O’Rourke had been vocal in his critique of the drug war, telling the Huffington Post in April that, “you have 10,000 people killed in the most brutal fashion in Ciudad Juarez in the last 10 years, without a single word from the congressman about what we can do to change the dynamic and stop the bloodshed.” He also stated that, “it is clear to me that what we’re doing is a failure.”

    During his second term on the city council, O’Rourke championed a resolution that urged the re-examination of the drug war and went on to author a book on the subject.

    Beto’s support of marijuana law reform became the focus of attacks from his opponent, Reyes, in the final days of the campaign. Reyes lambasted O’Rourke’s position as soft on crime stating that “my opponent seems to think that recreational use of marijuana is okay with him, and that’s the group he hangs around with — but it’s not for me, it’s not for my grandkids.”

    Reyes feared ending prohibition would lead to widespread use around schools and children. “I don’t want to live in a community where people think that it’s okay to light up a joint and parade around elementary schools and junior highs,” he said.

    Despite these attempts to turn O’Rourke’s rational support for the reform of marijuana policy into a political liability, the voters decided otherwise. Last night, O’Rourke claimed victory, with 50.4% of the vote. Silvestre Reyes, despite the advantage of holding the office for eight terms, only received 44.4%.

    Let’s hope this is just another in an ongoing wave of pro-reform candidates being elected into office, replacing those who employ tired drug war rhetoric to continue the costly failure that is cannabis prohibition. The people want it. If the politicians aren’t willing to take a stand and change the policy, it is time we start changing the politicians.

    65 Responses to “Marijuana Law Reform Supporter Dethrones Eight-Term Incumbent in El Paso Primary”

    1. David says:

      Yaaaaaay!!!!

    2. Maxim says:

      Newsflash Reyes:

      People have been smoking joints in middle and junior high before, during, and certainly will after you were even in office. Silence your outdated, unwarranted believes in cannabis and welcome to 2012.

    3. rollie says:

      @karen
      After reading your post, and also taking into effect that your claims on the negative impact of cannabis, have in fact been proven false in numerous studies, I would like to make one simple statement. Go troll some other message board. We have no need or desire to read any more right wing propaganda. Hell even the DEA released a pamphlet in 1995 titled “marijuana facts for teens” that stated “most marijuana users do not go on to use other drugs” thus blowing the gateway theory out of the water. Even those who .propagated this and gave fuel to your falsified views dropped the ball when they released that. As others have said already, you need to research before posting blindly.

    4. Debbie says:

      Well, Lets see…I have never seen anyone get violent smoking pot but have seen my share of alcohol users be violent at the drop of a word or if someone looks at the drinker from across the room..Go figure that one out. They should legalize pot and criminalize alcohol use in all its forms. Sell it like alcohol or cigs with same laws. Alcohol does damage to ones body and brain and never heard of pot doing that!!! LEGALIZATION is the only road to take sooner or later it will be!!

    5. Joel: the other Joel says:

      I’m glad I kept the list of the May 9th 2012 Roll Call 238 of the Rohrabacher California Amendment were 262 congress members have voted no. Now I can cross out Silvestre Reyes on the list.

    6. Bob says:

      OK folks its time to make a stand.

      The only thing that can get things done is money and votes. Most of us have voting rights, some have money. If ya have some money to spare – contribute to Normal or a like organization and/or email this message to your elected officials and stand firm. Also send to like minded friends and family:

      To the President, Members of the US Congress, State and local elected officials:

      Criminal marijuana prohibition is a failure. Over 20 million Americans have been arrested for marijuana offenses since 1965 with over 800,000 arrests in 2010 and each year the number increases. The problem is getting worse – not because of the benign plant, but because of the obsolete laws. The time has come to amend criminal prohibition and replace it with a system of legalization, taxation, regulation, and education.

      I can no longer vote for elected officials that support the the current laws. I have decided not to vote for any politician that does not publicly support the removal of all penalties for the private possession and endorse responsible use of marijuana by adults, including cultivation for personal use, and casual nonprofit transfers of small amounts.

      Signed

      Voting Citizen
      & Member of the Movement

    7. Jeremy P says:

      “eight-term incumbent Silvestre Reyes”

      No one, in my opinion, should even be allowed to serve eight terms! Clearly, anyone who has been serving (and that word is very questionable in the case of Reyes) for that long is a huge part of the problem. I am very happy to see Reyes go and hope he stays gone!

    8. bob searcy says:

      indiana lost 3 squareheaded legislators this year. sen bray, rep foley and fucking lugar. retire and make love to your money you phoney phucks..

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    11. Fireweed says:

      Yeah, just what I always want to do when I get my hands on a joint; light it up and parade around a elementary school. Woo-hoo! Party Down!!

    12. Fireweed says:

      I think Bob got it right. Popularity for legalization has reached the tipping point. With me, environmental issues come first, even over legalizing pot (which is why Ron Paul doesn’t get my support) but most pro-reform candidates are also pro-environmental probably too. But if every voter drew that kind of legalize-pot-or-not-my-vote hard line prohibition would be turned on its head coast to coast by November. Smoke the vote!!!

    13. [...] other candidates take note, as we saw earlier this year in Oregon and Texas, the majority of Americans are ready to see an end to our seven decade failure that is cannabis [...]

    14. pat says:

      IM not for the left or the right I vote on the person not the party . we got to watch what thay say to get the vote hussain OB lied about cannabis to get the vote then hem and Erick holder his right hand man has don more to shut down medical cannabis than any other president.

    15. [...] other candidates take note, as we saw earlier this year in Oregon and Texas, the majority of Americans are ready to see an end to our seven decade failure that is cannabis [...]

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