Reefer and Republican Debate

  • by Allen St. Pierre, Former NORML Executive Director September 16, 2015

    At nearly the two and half hour mark in tonight’s marathon Republican debate on CNN Jake Tapper directed a question from the online audience, indicating it was very popular, to Senator Rand Paul regarding Colorado and other states having recently legalized marijuana by popular vote on binding initiatives, that if elected president of the US Governor Chris Christie recently said ‘the people of Colorado should enjoy their pot now because if elected by 2017 I’ll be going after them to shut down’, imploring Senator Paul to respond to Christie’s clear threat to state autonomy in states like Colorado (along with Alaska, Oregon and Washington too).

    Senator Paul indicated that he supports the 10th Amendment and states rights, that the drug war has racist outcomes, that rehabilitation is preferable to incarceration, expanding drug courts, indicated the war on drugs is a failure, and that individuals on the stage are hypocrites for their youthful marijuana use. Governor Jeb Bush apparently took that to mean him…where he extolled the virtues of Florida’s drug courts. Paul retorted that Bush didn’t support medical access to marijuana. Bush claimed that he did, but only the way the legislature in Florida recently passed restrictive laws (‘Not Colorado-like laws’), that he didn’t support the 2014 effort to pass medical marijuana laws via a ballot initiative and that he voted against it.

    Senator Paul drilled Bush that he didn’t really support medical marijuana or states’ rights.

    Bush claimed that if voters in Colorado wanted different marijuana laws he wouldn’t necessarily interfere.

    The next two candidates took the opportunity to try to have it both ways, first with Christie extolling New Jersey’s recently passed ‘rehabilitation over incarceration’ legislation and that the “war on drugs is largely a failure”, but, non-sensibly, then goes on to bluster and re-affirm his virulent opposition to marijuana legalization, claiming marijuana is a gateway drug (which simply is not supported by science or data). He exclaimed to Paul ‘if you want marijuana legalized, pass a law in Congress’.

    Then former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina took the unsolicited opportunity to gratuitously mention her son’s addiction and death from drug overdose (self-evidently not from marijuana), that marijuana is a gateway drug, is way more potent (‘Then when Jeb Bush smoked it”)…but, then, incongruously, she insisted that the war on drugs is a failure, prisons are overcrowded and that “what we’re doing is not working”.

    Senator Paul attacked Christie for not truly supporting the 1oth Amendment allowing states autonomy from the federal government, that, further, if president Christie would enforce federal laws against state medical cannabis patients, including children who’re recommended medical marijuana use by physicians.

    Distilled: Three of the Republican candidates indicated the war on drugs is a failure (Paul, Fiorina and Christie), one candidate (Bush) indicated that the federal government has an important role to play against drug use.

    One candidate supported medical access to marijuana and states rights (Paul); one candidate claimed to support states rights and limited access to medical marijuana (Bush); one candidate supported medical access to marijuana, but would use federal law to stop states from deviating from federal policies they no longer support (Christie) and a candidate will use the death of their child to advance inaccurate and unscientific claims–while at the same time wanting credit for identifying the problems that contributed to their son’s plight, while making no indication how if at all they’d allow states autonomy to make policy decisions independent of the centralized federal government (Fiorina).

    18 responses to “Reefer and Republican Debate”

    1. Galileo Galilei says:

      I didn’t see a mention of my favorite GOP hopeful, Dr. Benjamin Carson. There’s a lot more going on between those ears than some flamboyant showbiz combover.

      Sometimes I think I’m going overboard with this vote-pro-weed stuff, but these GOP attitudes toward marijuana do betray a striking inability to accurately assess the science behind medical and recreational use. One wonders if their grasp of other more important issues is equally weak.

      If you lean Republican, you’ve got work to do. You guys are the current main impediment to marijuana legalization. Just sayin….

    2. carey duley says:

      so once again every person on the stage puts the marijuana debate in the box of medical and recreational. not a single person talks about industrial marijuana/hemp. then you get the same talking point of how marijuana today is so much stronger and effects you more than having a beer. so we know that commit is made by someone who has never smoked marijuana. anyone who has smoked marijuana knows you can never get more impaired from marijuana than you can drinking alcohol. then you get someone who lost a child to drugs talking about gateway drugs. when their child died taking perscription drugs.

    3. Miles says:

      Rand Paul is the only Republican candidate that would have any chance of getting my vote.

      That said, the odds are that I will vote for the Democratic nominee when the time comes. As a party, the Democrats seem to be much more in line with American values and beliefs.

    4. Just An Observer says:

      Galileo, you hit the nail on the head when you said, “One wonders if their grasp of other more important issues is equally weak.” If these jamokes can’t handle the MJ issue, what chance do they have with the Middle East, Russia, China, the economy, megacorp influence and so on?

      To me they are all pretenders to the throne.

    5. RF says:

      why is it that every time someone talks about this they go right the high school and kids debate. obviously if you are under 21, you should not, and you cannot purchase it!

      they need to get it right, just like alcohol and cigarettes there are age requirements, 21 years old, or whatever the correct age is, and so should/would/does marijuana.

      pisses me off, @ age 18 the govt. can send “children” off to war and die, but as an adult you can’t make your own choices. you can smoke all the “fags” you want, loose limbs and organs, and eventually kill yourself, while making doctors and the tobacco industry giants rich btw. Or, drink yourself to death and/or kill someone else, and also making some doctor and the alcohol barons rich…

      How many times do you hear it?
      It goes on all day long
      Everyone knows everything
      And no one’s ever wrong
      Until later

      Who can you believe?
      It’s hard to play it safe
      But apart from a few good friends
      We don’t take anything on faith
      Until later
      #RUSH, Presto, Show Don’t Tell (1989)

    6. Matthew says:

      Carson is The Worst – Drugwar Offender, under a slick, Token countenance. It’s the worst disservice, for ignorant GOP’ers to embrace his abhorrant affront, because they want a black.

    7. Julian says:

      Thanks for the update Allen; I couldn’t even watch the debates now that they’ve morphed into laundering campaign donations through reality tv.
      Paul would have my vote if he agreed to use tax revenue from legally regulated cannabis on public education.
      I can’t believe I have to vote for the Democratic socialist, Sanders.

    8. Steve Kasian says:

      @Matthew: REALLY?? Apparently you’ve been smoking too much crack (as weed doesn’t make you that mindless). What exactly is a “Drugwar Offender” anyways?

    9. Raven says:

      Galileo Galilei

      You are not far off from your assesment. However, let’s keep in mind who really contols the federal government. Call them “The Donor Class,” or the Corporate ruling classs, or the Pharma/Police Union/Industrial Prisons tha Class, these are the groups that control Our current US government. We are living under an oligarchy that Vladamir Putin would envy.

    10. The aparent outsider says:

      You hit the nail on the head my friend. Wtf are these republicans thinking nominating this group on aparently very simply minded individuals.

      “Gateway theory” seriously, so how does the racial disparities play into this theroy????.

      And fiorinas loss of a child is sad but maybe just maybe if she was at home more instead of focusing on her career at HP. Her child may not have chosen to take their life with…HERION….not marijuana. But some how marijuana is to blame.

      What a shame. To bad America has had enough of this type of propaganda and see right through the BS!!!