Legalizing Pot?

Dang, but there’s always a Tennessee connection, isn’t there? Rep. Steve Cohen has signed on to this lovely piece of bipartisan legislation:

First-Ever Marijuana Legalization Bill Introduced in U.S. Congress

WASHINGTON, DC — The first-ever Congressional bill to let states legalize marijuana will be introduced in the U.S. House by a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers on Thursday, and a group of police and judges who fought on the front lines of the failed “war on drugs” is announcing its support.

[…]

The bill, sponsored by Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) and Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX), would essentially end the federal government’s bullying of states when it comes to marijuana policy reform. Initial co-sponsors include Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN), Rep. John Conyers (D-MI), Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO).

Does this stand a chance of seeing the light of day? Normally I’d say, “answer doubtful,” but with the House dominated by Tea Party Republicans and Progressive Democrats, you never know.

Aw, who am I kidding. This will probably go nowhere but it would be nice to be proved wrong on this one.

(h/t, John Cole at Balloon Juice)

21 Comments

Filed under marijuana

21 responses to “Legalizing Pot?

  1. Mike G

    Teatards seem more like sanctimonious moralizing authoritarian types when it comes to lawnorder. They loves their corporations and no-knock raids on brown people.
    Even though some of them occasionally utter libertarian rhetoric it seems limited to I-wanna-pay-less-taxes economic issues. I’d guess they are more socially conservative than their non-teatard predecessors.

    • Jim

      Mike – this would be a great chance for conservatives. You could legalize pot and then tax the shit out of it like tobacco. It would still be cheaper than buying it illegally on the streets and conservatives would not have to worry about paying the tax unless they are stupid enough to smoke pot.

      • For once I actually agree with JIm. Legalize pot, tax the shit out of it, treat it like alcohol: you can’t operate a still without a license, right? So only licensed growers can cultivate it. Put a 21-and-older limit on it if people are worried about “the children.”

        I actually think that the need for tax revenue will be the one thing pushing for pot’s legalization.

      • Jim

        You also get the benifit of reduced spending on the courts, police, and jails for arresting, prosecuting, and holding current pot smokers. Savings and extra revenue a win all around.

      • Jim. baby. Is feature, not bug.

        We kick the illegal immigrants out of the country and get our cheap labor from the probation rolls and prisons.

        It’s supposed to work this way. People in jail can’t vote, can’t make trouble, but they CAN provide our privatized prison industry with a ready excuse for their existance and they CAN be our source of cheap labor our economy depends on.

      • Min

        I’m all for it, but CCA would never let that happen. They need repressive drug laws to keep filling up all those private prisons, and they’re willing to throw the money at pols to keep the status quo.

  2. Proud Socialist

    Don’t bogart that joint, my friend
    Pass it over to me
    Don’t bogart that joint, my friend
    Pass it over to me

  3. this would be a great chance for conservatives.

    I don’t see any conservatives listed as sponsoring that legislation. No, Rand Paul doesn’t count as conservative, unless conservative=lunatic.

    Yes, it WOULD be a great chance, but where is the conservative who would take it?

  4. Not another liberal totalitarian who wants to balance the budget taxing marijuana! What we need is a Johnny Appleseed of herb who will help to provide seed for everyone. Once it’s legal, you can send out seeds to ten friends. Otherwise, pretty soon only the big cooperatives and eventually corporations will have any access to good seed. They’ll start controlling it like Monsanto so that everybody will have to pay and pay to obtain a plant that God gave us for free.

  5. Yes, FJ, but we will all be too baked to care that much.

  6. Jim

    I am not familiar with pot seeds, but doesn’t the stuff grow almost like a weed? I remember my uncle telling me about pulling pot plants out of the cracks in the sidewalk near his church in Chicago. He assumed people putting out joints and dropping them on the sidewalk led to the plants growing there.

    • Yes, cannabis is a weed, it’s called “ditch weed” and you see it growing by the side of the road all over the midwest .. Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, you name it. But while it looks the same, it is not the same. You cannot get high off of the stuff that grows by the side of the road. You can try but you’d be smoking pounds of it for hours on end before you felt anything.

      I am not that well versed on the taxonomy of wild cannabis and where it came from. I think it’s fairly ubiquitous, grows all over the world. I think the notion that pot seeds from stoners’ discarded joints has led to ditch weed is a little silly. I think at one time we had industrial hemp cultivation in this country and that is far more likely to have led to its feral propagation.

      • Whatever happened to good old-fashioned Nashville gulley weed?

        Cannabis either originated in India or possibly
        Africa. Most likely the incredible weed that is grown in California and Oregon today had it’s origins in seeds from Thai sticks purchased between 1973 and 1979. In the old days you could just get seeds in your bag of weed. A lot of people grew weed from Mexican or Colombian seeds. The genetics matter a great deal in the overall quality. Just try to get some weed with seeds in it nowadays. You’ll see what I’m talking about.

  7. There have been worse ideas floated, but without stringent regulation and oversight it’s a concept that can’t happen.

    Which is too damned bad, because it probably SHOULD happen. Potheads don’t care who they pay (and many don’t even care how much they pay to whomever they pay), so legalize it and tax the everliving hell out of it.

    Then maybe we can start growing hemp large-scale and give small business entrepreneurs a much-needed new outlet.

  8. And here’s another reason why pot will never be legalized, or at least not any time soon:

    Report: Private Prisons Love Mass Incarceration, And Want Politicians To Love It Too

  9. “so legalize it and tax the everliving hell out of it.”

    Or legalize it and tax it just like cigarettes and alcohol which actually KILL people, a LOT of people.

    Oncology wards are not full of people suffering from cancers caused by smoking pot. Detox centers are not full of people going cold turkey from smoking pot.

    A friend’s son was busted, twice in about a year, for simple possession. His uncle, a local cop, was lecturing the kid’s dad about “gateway drugs” and his dad said, “Gateway drugs are sugar, caffeine, tobacco and alcohol.” and told his brother-in-law to cut the bullshit.

    • No. Legalize it and tax the everliving hell out of it. What’s an ounce of the proverbial “good stuff” cost nowadays – about $350 or so?

      Yeah, I’m cool with pumping that price tag another $150 and making it legal to buy for anyone over 21. And most stoners would be cool with that, too. Why?

      Because it’s fuckin’ legal, maaaaan. Hippies don’t care who they pay or how much they pay, so long as A) they can afford it, B) they aren’t going to get in trouble for it, and C) there’s a regular supply of it.

      There’s no reason NOT to tax the everliving hell out of it, frankly. It’s about the highest-percentage shot Tennesseans have at making some coin, filling the tax coffers and doing it all without paupering ourselves with higher tax rates or new taxes like a state income tax (which NEVER works, by the by).

      • Little Mouse (Not)

        State income tax never works? I’ve lived in Massachusetts (progressive income tax), Virginia (regressive income tax), and Florida (no income tax, super-regressive sales/property taxes). Guess which state(s) had better infrastructure? Guess which state was most pleasant to live in? Guess which state had the lightest tax burden for a poor student? Guess which state(s) were most miserable, stressful, and unpleasant to live in?

        Three guesses and the first two don’t count.

      • @ LittleMouse RE: comment –

        Seeing as I’ve been to all three, Florida’s far and away the choice for better infrastructure, though Virginia’s likely cheaper all-around for the “poor student” given their commitment to secondary education.

        Massachusetts is just a clusterfuck.

  10. Oncology wards are not full of people suffering from cancers caused by smoking pot.

    Yeah but c’mon. I mean, I don’t care what you smoke, it’s not healthy to smoke, period. If people smoked pot to the same degree they smoke tobacco I imagine you’d see health repercussions.

    But you know this is where I agree with the libertarian types. I feel the same way about pot as I do prostitution. Legalize it, tax it, regulate it, get over it. I imagine over time as people realize legalizing the demon weed does not, in fact, lead to stoner nation, some of the more draconian restrictions/taxes will be done away with.

  11. Little Mouse (Not)

    Not only is it unhealthy to smoke, I’ll be darned if I’m going to put up with people smoking weed in public. But in private? Don’t fugging care. Yeah, tax the hell out of it if that’s what it takes. Maybe that will stem the flow of Mexican bloodweed, since licit trade generally crushes illicit due to higher costs of doing business. (Counterexample: diamonds. Though I’d love to see some serious investigation into that market, which is controlled by a cartel. Many people I know will only buy used or synthetic diamonds.)