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

  • by Erik Altieri, NORML Executive 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. Chris you are right to a point. They do not open a can at the school. They do smoke at the schools. Also, having been a substitute teacher I have seen teachers having had a drink before going to work and that is at work places also. This however is rare. My concern is this; the children that live with this. Those inhaling second hand smoke or even let them smoke because some people do let their kids have a drink. I have seen people’s attitude change and not all is the carefree I do not care about anything attitude which is what alcohol gives also. Depending on the amount like alcohol depends on the affect. No one sees the correlation between alcohol and marijuana. However, I have and I see the same excuses to make marijuana legal as alcohol. We are comparing apples with apples. Just that one is green in color and one is red.
      I have a brother that started with marijuana. After two years his personiality changed. He would start stealing from mom. Became rude and disrespectful to her. He is not the only one I have seen this change in. Then it was not enough and decided to try LSD, then to other drugs. He developed an antisocial personality disorder. So where do we draw the line is the question? When will we decide we are tearing down society and destroying other people’s lives with our selfishness?

    2. Melissa says:

      I am so happy to see there is some movement towards sanity in my state. Our political base has such a strangle-hold of fear on most people; the ones that are not afraid believe their voice does not matter so this is indeed a point of hope for legalization.

      Just a side note. I do not get get high so please do not say it is because I want to smoke it. That is MY choice- I support others right to get high and that is their CHOICE.

      I hope this is start of a shift back to personal liberty which is the entire reason Texas was pioneered in the first place!

    3. […] Marijuana Law Reform Supporter Dethrones Eight-Term Incumbent in El Paso Primary Just last month, 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 […] […]

    4. Just An Observer says:

      Too bad we taxpayers are on the hook for the defeated incumbent’s retirement bennies.

    5. USMJP says:

      From: usmjp@aceweb.com [usmjp@aceweb.com]
      Sent: 5/30/2012 10:07:17 AM http://usmjp.com

      Subject: U.S. MARIJUANA PARTY in the news ON THE BALLOT IN VT
      UNITED STATES MARIJUANA PARTY ON BALLOT IN VERMONT
      May 30th, 8:39short excerpt from vtdigger.com…

      http://vtdigger.org/2012/05/29/trail-tidbits-early-birds-file-illuzzi-moves-from-mulling-ag-race-to-auditor-senate-races-in-chittenden-county-heat-up/

      by Taylor Dobbs | May 29, 2012

      No new candidates can
      enter a race after June 14.

      Five candidates filed petitions on Tuesday:

      Attorney General William Sorrell,
      Cris Ericson
      (running for the United States Marijuana Party
      for both U.S. Senate and governor),
      H. Brook Paige,
      a Republican for U.S. Senate,
      Peta Lindsay from the
      Socialism & Liberation Party
      entered a petition for president.

      Randy Brock, a Republican state senator, submitted
      1,028 signatures for his gubernatorial run.

      Gov. Peter Shumlin has insisted for months
      that he won’t begin
      his re-election bid until after Labor Day,
      and he has been loathe to acknowledge
      that he has spent any money
      or hired campaign staff.

    6. juggy says:

      Check out the article by Clarence Page in the Chicago Tribune. He mentions NORML and shares their opinion about Obama. It’s good to see something on the cannabis front in such a major publication.

    7. robert d says:

      this is so stupid. i, like many, hope and pray for texas to use their little hick brains and legalize the harmless uber-beneficial plant, however el paso is one city in a big state filled with closed minded bible beaters. i dont see it happening especially with perry running the show in austin. sorry im an optimist but a realist first.

    8. Gene Greathouse says:

      Two things the Republican electorate has discovered: 1) if you don’t like the politicians throw them out 2) the way to do that is vote. Democrats, on the other hand, are just plain chickenshit.

    9. Adrian Everett says:

      I openly encourage 1 term that’s it. The state congress people should only get 1 term and 4 years and when that congress persons time is up they are out. Then you elect another fresh person in and once that one is up you vote in another fresh one. You repeat this cycle every 4 years and soon the message is laid plain and simple. You got 4 years to get your ass in gear and then your out of here.

    10. Tlc says:

      @ Robert D….our “little hick brains,” “closed minded bible beaters.” Really? Stereotype much? You apparently have no idea how wrong you are, I bet you hate Willie Nelson (see how stupid that kind of thing sounds).
      Look, we don’t get to initiate what gets on the ballots here…gotta wait until our congressmen roll the ball. Obviously some try (hear of Ron Paul), and we try to vote in more that are for personal freedoms…but your comments are just plain stupid…try to focus on the politicians and not the people, we are all in this boat together.

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