GOP 2016 Contenders Push To Decriminalize Marijuana

This isn’t so much about legalization, but decriminalization

(Washington Times) Republicans eyeing the White House in 2016 are pushing their party to change its stance and accept a softening of federal marijuana laws — a dramatic shift from the GOP’s most recent contenders who railed against the drug and questioned its medicinal value.

Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky has arguably been the most vocal on the subject, saying the federal government should leave the issue entirely to the states. Texas Gov. Rick Perry also argues that marijuana’s legal status should be a state issue, and he points to drug courts in his state that he said have helped move Texas toward decriminalization.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, meanwhile, has vowed to scrap the “failed war on drugs” altogether — more than four decades after President Nixon, a Republican, set it into motion by naming drug abuse as “public enemy No. 1 in the United States.”

Paul’s stance is no surprise, being more of a Libertarian, and certainly understanding the Constitution regarding State’s rights. Perry is a little bit more surprising, what with his “compassionate conservative” and social conservative leanings, though his is also a big State’s Rights guy. Christie, there is no surprise, he is for all intense purposes a Democrat, or at least an old-school Democrat. Much of his opposition to the criminalization of pot is due to having to incarcerate and waste time on pot offenses.

Perry, it should be noted, is not in favor of legalization, but understands that it is his job to look towards policies that reduce the load on the criminal courts.

Will this be a big issue during 2016? Doubtful. But, it would set up an interesting issue if either Paul or Perry won the White House. Both of them are big law and order guys. Pot is considered a Schedule I drug at the federal level. Would they work to get it removed from that classification, or simply ignore what the States are doing?

This could be an interesting issue to soft-pedal to the younger crowd.

Crossed at Right Wing News.

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8 Responses to “GOP 2016 Contenders Push To Decriminalize Marijuana”

  1. Trish Mac says:

    Good for them. I would like to see it decriminalized. And I am not entirely sure they shouldn’t legalize it.
    What I don’t get, is how they’ve been talking about legalizing pot since I was in high school, and probably before then in less public circles. They have had some 40 or 50 years to figure out how this should be implemented, and how it will effect our youth and honestly, the effects on the motivation of adults.
    They should have figured out how you detect if someone was or is driving under the influence of pot, since it takes weeks to leave you system, and probably longer if you are a chronic smoker! If you have an accident driving while DUM, you should be treated the very same way as a DUI would. I do not believe they’ve been able to determine how this will play out in CO & WA, let alone nationwide.
    Then we have the problem of industries (and any business whose policy does not allow drinking on the job- the majority I’d say) that don’t allow drinking for safety concerns first, and who do drug tests to assure that the employees are not doing either while on the job. Think professional drivers- bus, truck, cabs, airplanes, etc. And high risk jobs like factory workers, refinery workers, car manufacturers. I know of someone who smoked while on vacation, stopped smoking, went back to his job and was randomly tested (came up positive) and subsequently fired. He told them he’d smoked while off the site, on his own time, but it didn’t matter one bit. Policies are for everyone.
    Anyway, if they want to eventually legalize it, I would say, know what you are doing first. I blame those who are pushing for these laws (not sure if a pun was intended or not) for not being more on top of these important things.

  2. Missing_Springy_Gumballs says:

    Gov. Chris Christie, meanwhile, has vowed to scrap the “failed war on drugs” altogether

    So, he wants to see the DEA disbanded as well as all the anti-drug programs? Didn’t see a big blue-state Repub being anti-drug laws.

    Perry is a softer Repub than Bush was. Perry also wants in-state tuition for illegals but yet still forcing legal visa holders to pay out-of-state tuition.

    I am not for the decriminalization of mind-altering drugs, but I do agree that if our gov’t is going to allow states to control marijuana (as they are illegally doing now), then it needs to be officially allowed to be a state’s rights decision.

    I won’t vote for anyone who wants to allow people to smoke and be stoned in public as this affects everyone else’s safety. Right now, our laws keep the people doing it in their homes.

  3. david7134 says:

    I don’t think they should stop with marijuana. Get rid of our failed regulation system. It does not work. We are stuck on stupid.

    Those that abuse drugs do you no harm (yes, I am aware of the auto argument, which is poor). But what does all of us harm are the laws and regulations that we live under.

  4. Missing_Springy_Gumballs says:

    Hey David,
    you and i both know each other’s viewpoints on drug use.

    But let me ask you a friendly question that I just thought of. If we do go the libertarian route and remove most federal (and maybe state) restrictions on drugs, then I imagine that you’d be ok with the businesses still having their own drug policies?

    Without some form of governmental control over “drugs in the streets”, would you be ok with a business having random drug testing and blood testing?

    We do seem to be going that direction with pre-employment screenings and some federal positions require random drug screening. My last fed job did.

    But, would removing gov’t control lead to an increasing private sector control? And would that be ok?

    For me, as a purely libertarian thought, it makes sense.

  5. david7134 says:

    What does a drug screen mean? That you took a drug at some point, like for your back in spasm? The purpose of drug screens is mostly insurance related. But, you are right in that the issue is going to have to be addressed as business is having a tough time hiring young people with the drug screens as they are. I think that one should be evaluated on the basis of impairment, not what is in their urine or blood. Remember, you go to the ER with a problem on Saturday, get a shot, it will be in your system Monday.

  6. Missing_Springy_Gumballs says:

    Well, I think doctor visits and OTC drugs would be exempt. I think what we are discussing here is the harder drugs like marijuana, cocaine, meth, etc.

    I for one am pissed that people and gov’ts are all for freedealing marijuana, but are really cracking down hard on hydrocodone (like we’re meth dealers)

  7. david7134 says:

    Actually, it is those using codeine products that are victims in this. Many of the young people are stealing the drugs or buying them on the street and thus get a positive urine. The people who are middle aged and up are having to use the product for chronic pain. Those do lose their jobs or can not be employed (I know for certain the VA will not hire if you have the product onboard). This is about 75% insurance related as it is a good screen to knock out those with pre-existing conditions. In the VA case it is all political.

  8. Missing_Springy_Gumballs says:

    Agreed David.
    My buddy, marine tank gunner, shot in the leg. ruined his leg. Leg reconstructed, but now his knee and back are going bad because of it. His leg is 1 inch shorter than should be.

    The vA charges him more (with his military insurance) for his theraputic shoes than a private company does. The VA refuses to give him any pain meds. He has to find them on the street.

    I can get hydro’s easier than he can. But, even for me, who had spinal surgery and still has back issues in addition, i have to use my hydro’s sparingly and kill my liver for now. Tylenol usage is way too high, as is ibuprofen. But, that’s healthier than using hydro’s right????

    But, I was mainly asking about the current illegal drugs and do you think private companies would start ramping up their anti-drug scans should the feds and states become more hands off?

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