Congress’ Continued Disconnect on Marijuana Prohibition

  • by Allen St. Pierre, Former NORML Executive Director March 7, 2013

    Among the many hundreds of public policy concerns that Americans care and act upon, what are the top policy concerns in Congress for which citizens search?

    -Military spending?
    -Reproduction Rights?
    -National Deficit?
    -Drones Used In Domestic Law Enforcement?

    None of these supposedly political hot button topics were at the top of a newly created list by Thomas (the online interface the public has with Congressional legislation, run by the Library of Congress).

    According to the March 6 print edition of The Hill, the new marijuana legalization legislation introduced by Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) was the second most popular legislation that citizens have searched on in the previous week (second only to the white hot issue of pending gun control legislation).

    Gun, pot bills attract the most attention online
    By Bob Cusack

    It’s a Top 10 list that will never make David Letterman’s show, but it reveals that people are very interested in guns and marijuana. A relatively new feature on the Library of Congress THOMAS site is a Top 10 list of bills searched on Congress’s official website.

    Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s (D-Calif.) measure to ban assault weapons has the top spot with Rep. Earl Blumenauer’s (D-Ore.) bill to allow states to legalize medical marijuana in second place.

    However, despite the popularity for marijuana law reform in America, will the leaders in the House allow even a subcommittee hearing on the Blumenauer bill (or the near half dozen other marijuana law reform bills—which range from legalization to banking regulation reform to decriminalization to sentencing reform to industrial hemp)?

    Aren’t elected officials supposed to listen, deliberate and respond to public advocacy—long festering public advocacy, in the case for cannabis law reform going back almost forty-five years—rather than be silent and oppositional?

    Who do they work for? Who pays their salaries? Who is ‘wise’ enough to both elect them to power and also want substantive cannabis law reforms? Why disrespect citizens’ concerns in a democracy?

    The phenomena of ‘malevolent neglect’ specific to cannabis law reform is not of course unique to the legislative branch as President Obama has laughed off basically the number one asked question at his so-called electronic town meetings from the beginning of his presidency.

    The empirical data (all measurable from public surveys to citizen vote totals to public interest with reform legislation to Internet traffic on reform vs. prohibitionist webpages) is clear and elected officials—from all political parties—are rue to ignore it: Ending cannabis prohibition is a major political concern for Americans.

    88 responses to “Congress’ Continued Disconnect on Marijuana Prohibition”

    1. Cap'n Howdy says:

      I see something akin to the political upheaval in Libya on the horizon. And it ain’t gonna be pretty….

    2. Cat Cassie says:

      What more can we do? We did our part here in Colorado by voting to legalize small amounts for recreation. A lot of people here are afraid they are going to just step on us. I hope Holder and Obama remember “We The People” when they make up their mind what to do about it.

    3. Closetsmoker says:

      Unfortunately it is the probable demise for this legislation to die in committee…….

    4. Z-man says:

      I feel if our elected officials push the issue of legalizing Marijuana aside we the people should take there actions into consideration. Keeping track of who is with us and who is not. Voting them out of office will help with the relaying message American’s think it’s time for change. Making our voices heard in the next Representative election I feel, is paramount to the reform/legalization of Marijuana. Make your voices heard in the polls an lets stop the prohibition of Marijuana.

    5. Patrick says:

      Well, hey, at least the site finally got an update.

    6. phil says:

      1 of the founding principals of america was a congress and laws the citizens backed

    7. Bob Z says:

      Right on Z-man. I think you should focus on federally. We need the media to ask the politicians their position on marijuana. Anyone pro wins hand down!

    8. In our advanced society that’s how tricky politicians ignore
      the populace . But throughout time that’s how revolutions
      begin. It’s becoming the heck with mariuna and all it’s properties this is about Standard Liberty.
      So even wise people that don’t care about prohibition
      will get onboard with the cause of Democracy ..

    9. Had Enough BS says:

      Ending cannabis prohibition FIX A 1937 Greedy Screw-Up and save millions of lives around the world. My father died at 52 from liver cancer. An to find out now that my government held the this plant away from him as they still do today from so many is just Genocide. And every day the body count goes up. God Bless America! Vietnam Vet!

    10. Deborah Dills says:

      This is a “duh” moment in history and the DOJ really has no choice but to listen to the states like Washington (mine) Colorado, and others that are following soon. The people have woken up and realize this war on drugs in inhuman and out of touch with what the real deal is on this plant. Every time I see the Feds and DEA out flying around in helicopters, dressed up in fatigues like they are fighting a real war, I just say outloud-they look stupid and their actions are stupid and what a total waste of taxpayer money. If these people just read about our country before the war on drugs, they would see that folks smoked pot and grew hemp-including George Washington. If they read the Bible-they would see that Cannibis was a plant that ancient civilizations knew the amazing effects/properties it has. And all it boils down to is that Big Pharm, the police and justice system have to lose is their jobs and profits from legalization/decriminalization of marijuana.