MPP Joins Colorado Congressman in Calling for New Marijuana Strategy (Updated)

The U.S. House of Representatives is expected to pass a resolution today declaring illegal marijuana cultivation on federal lands to be an “unacceptable threat to the safety of law enforcement and the public,” and calling upon the nation’s drug czar “to work in conjunction with Federal and State agencies to develop a comprehensive and coordinated strategy to permanently dismantle Mexican drug trafficking organizations operating on Federal lands.”

Speaking on the House floor yesterday, Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) agreed with the goals of H. Res. 1540, but said the only way to accomplish such objectives would be to eliminate “the failed policy of prohibition with regard to marijuana and replac[e] it with regulation.”

“I have no doubt that marijuana plantations, as the resolution states, pose a threat to the environmental health of Federal lands, that drug traffickers spray unregulated chemicals, pesticides, and fertilizers, but I submit that the best way to address that is to incorporate this into a meaningful and enforceable agricultural policy for the country with regard to the regulatory structure for the production of marijuana,” said Polis, whose home state of Colorado has emerged as a national leader in the regulation of medical marijuana. “… As long as [marijuana] remains illegal and as long as there is a market demand, the production will be driven underground. No matter how much we throw at enforcement, it will continue to be a threat not only to our Federal lands, but to our border security and to our safety within our country.”

Steve Fox, director of government relations for the Marijuana Policy Project, today joined Rep. Polis in endorsing the underlying rationale of the resolution and suggesting that accomplishing the goals detailed in legislation will require an entirely new strategy by the federal government.

“Passage of this resolution will send a clear message to the drug czar and others that our current strategies for combating illegal marijuana production are not working and that a new direction is needed,” Fox said. “There are two choices here: continue the failed prohibitionist policies that encourage Mexican drug cartels to keep growing marijuana on federal lands, or embrace a new path that would acknowledge the reality that marijuana is not going away, but its production and sale can be sensibly regulated in order to reduce the harm caused by its illicit production on federal lands.”

UPDATE: The bill passed overwhelmingly yesterday, with the only “no” votes being cast by Reps. Polis, Barney Frank, Dennis Kucinich and Ron Paul.

Shasta County Sheriff Tom Bosenko — who, as we’ve discussed in a previous post, receives hundreds of thousands of federal dollars annually to pursue eradication efforts — told the Redding Record-Searchlight that the vote “sends a very clear message that Congress recognizes the impact and the problems with illegal marijuana growing and dangers on public lands.”

But unless Congress and the drug czar’s office agree to consider regulating marijuana in order to shut down its illicit production, there’s little chance all this chest-thumping will lead to any new, more effective strategies. In the perceptive words of Scott Morgan, “If you don’t want Mexican gangsters growing marijuana in the woods, then it’s time to allow people who aren’t Mexican gangsters to grow marijuana somewhere that isn’t the woods.”

32 thoughts on “MPP Joins Colorado Congressman in Calling for New Marijuana Strategy (Updated)”

  1. The Drug Czar is just going to make it worse, and he will do a heck of a job wasting tax payers money on providing a political show for himself and his agency.

  2. I just watched cnbc’s marijuana usa and i must say caliornia may have lost the battle, but we have not lost the war to legalize!

  3. Kentucky spends $800 per hour of tax payers dollars to eradicate a plant that they themselves are spreading every time they fly in with those 3 Tommahawk choppers they are so proud of and machetee’s they weild, by speading the seeds of the plant.

    Talk about job security and creating a need for enforcement out of fear.

    Stop wasting tax dollars on something the tax payers want legalized. this is insanity!

  4. Wow, Barny Frank and Ron Paul cast the same vote against this measure? When was the last time that happened?

  5. I share the amazement of DrStrangepork at the votes against this by Barney Frank, Dennis Kucinich and Ron Paul. Barney introduced a bill last year to remove federal penalties for personal use, didn’t he? and Ron Paul and Kucinich were on board with that. Why on earth would they oppose this bill?

  6. Donno: The resolution might seem like a step forward, but it proposes no real solutions, no real funding, or no real change of direction. As you pointed out, those four members of Congress have been champions of marijuana policy reform, and — without speaking for them — it’s fairly obvious that they opposed this bill because it represents more of the same failed, prohibitionist logic that has driven costly eradication programs for years.

    As Rep. Polis himself said, the real solution is to regulate marijuana. But few other members of Congress are willing to say that publicly.

  7. Well as the “Drug Czar” always seems to make things seem more positive than what really is, his attack will probably come out saying well, “we have seized and burned tons of MJ with all our efforts…blah…blah…blah.” when in reallity sure they burned and siezed all this MJ contraband but what the Czar is leaving out is what has been damaged, and what they have not yet found or beat, meaning the legal patients who use MJ they are not supposed to touch, but spending all they spend on something that has not been won NOR come close to winning banning MJ.

  8. To bad Barny Frank, Dennis Kucinich and Ron Paul got suckered by the drug czar, must think they’ll loose their jobs !!!!

  9. I do not see us taking the money out of it so it will be of no interest to the criminal element.In fact It sort of looks like a lot of money is being made on it including what all the state is getting in taxes fees etc.For us to take the money out of it I believe we will have to just put it back like it was before it was made illegal the first time.Give it back its simple useful herb status .It was and still is a very useful plant and a good medicine used for thousands of years as a medicine .The laws restricting its use should all be abolished .It should not be regulated, no taxes involved.It needs to be fuel, fiber, food and medicine for the salt .Give it back to the people and let them work with it as an alternative to environmental disasters.
    No offence to the government who keeps it illegal but How dare you keep illegal humanities only option for simple natural sustainability and only let us have poisonous chemicals , toxic slush and crude oil? .We watch in horrific disbelief as the crude oil contaminates our waterways and wonder how much damage was done to our Eco system this time.We cringe with ever chemical spill as we watch them flow into our rivers .We wonder whats happening with all the nuclear waste and where it will all go and how it will effect us.We loose our children to wars fought for big oil and profit ..Yea thats right were not all stupid .Things are pretty obvious to us.Yet we can not seem to reason with people who do not also see all these environmental disasters happening .Honestly I see no other way around this pharma chemical energy monopoly as long as the cannabis hemp plants are illegal .I suppose if the government can not see the forest for all the cut down trees They need to think about what this planet is going to look like once our kids all take over ..what are we leaving them to clean up.if theres any thing left of it.
    ?I wonder how many people would be willing to grow their own fuel for there cars ,machinery and heating costs ?and how much pollution this would prevent.We need to stop thinking about how we will clean up the messes we make and stop making the messes all together.by using a natural clean renewable resource like the hemp and cannabis plant.

  10. The way the first paragraph is worded clearly states that there will be no marijuana cultivation on federal lands .I think this applies to every one ?right?not just the mexicans??

  11. I wondered if this means private land and or state land ..??Is all land with in the us federal land including privately owned land?

  12. There is a small but important event that is close to happening here in the good ol’ U S of A. We as a country are going broke. I know we already are but the thing is our ability to print and borrow money is coming to an end.All those politicians that give big paybacks to the folks who got them elected and re-elected will no longer be able to do so. You see our ability to pay the interest on the debt is coming to an end. So the deal is who can afford prisons for folks who smoke an herb if WE CAN’T AFFORD SCHOOL,FOOD, POLICE,ELECTRICITY,ETC.,ETC., ETC.You think I am being paranoid but I can assure I am not,our nation as we know it is soon coming to an end.We will be getting out of the war business because we can’t afford it,ditto for the DEA,the most ridiculous waste of money I can imagine.Plus a whole slew of other Federal jobs which are for the most part,pay back positions to there friends and their wives. Our Federal Go’t,the nations number 1 employer,Good Work if You Can get It and you can get it if your friends with the right people or have paid your just dues in campaign contributions. That is how our country works and it won’t change unless we have term limits,fat chance of that happening.
    And how about this Leonhart,she does even want people getting pain medication while in severe pain or dying of cancer.She is really scary but this is the person that Obama chose to do his dirty work and hide behind when the Feds come after all those states that have medmar reforms in place. Yea we live in strange times but that too will change when we can no longer afford our righteous morality in politics.

  13. To Mike Meno,
    The bill has no bite, but it does create platform for discussion. Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) has opend that conversation. Any attention to this bill in the media will get people talking and utilizing critical thinking skills.

  14. Well if they are going to take the hemp planted , why don’t they put it to good use and use it for fiber or fuel oil or food ?This is all the farmers will do with hemp any way.Its all real crazy to waste it. frankly that it is even illegal in the first place is crazy.May be the people should consider and plan some response because the gov must not really care that crude oil and chemical pharma will be too expensive for us to use.Crude oil and chemical pharma are the reason this country is broke to begin with.If a company has a monopoly on a product such as energy or pharma they can charge any thing they want for it , the alternatives were made illegal so they could charge what they want.

  15. No wonder this country is going broke .it is because our natural affordable alternatives to fuel and medicine and fiber have been made illegal.we have no other choice than to pay un affordable prices for pharma and crude oil.Too many people have done enough for crude oil its not worth dieing over sorry but when there are alternatives for fuel I don’t think any one should be dieing for the big profits of crude oil especially our kids .

  16. spray unregulated chemicals, pesticides, and fertilizers,????
    I don’t think hemp needs any of these things to begin with ,not supporting the bad guys ,but its a pretty resistant plant and dose more good to the environment than bad. But it dose not need chemicals on it.my fear is .. that the government will spray herbicides on it thou.and this is real dangerous .No one should use chemicals on it from either side of the law not even to be used as fiber.No one wants chemical residue on their paper or cloth.

  17. I agree with you Topher. There are so many ways that the decriminilazation of marijuana will save money (enforcement, taxes, border safety, just to name a few), that it will be impossible for the government (and more importantly the average American citizen) to not get past this stigma againest marijuana and make it legal. H.RES. 1540, the subject of this article, will do nothing to solve our problem. Financially or otherwise.

  18. This move is a step backwards to me it just repeats what we already know to be true.From the looks of it ,it is obvious the industries who made it illegal are pushing to keep it illegal.This is a sad day when the people no longer run their government but the government runs the people.I am guessing that way more than half the people want it to be legal but they simply just do not vote and or are afraid to speak out on the topic for fear of arrest or suspicion.The enforcers have become like Nazis in their determined approach to this harmless little herb that is such a threat to them .

  19. I agree that it needs to be legalized and regulated. People are gonna smoke it no matter what the NAZI’s (DEA) do and it is time to give the American people more freedoms and legalize this plant. This plant, if legalized, would produce untold numbers of jobs and raise tax revenue for the indebted government. Many products can be made with this plant and it would provide much needed jobs. Hey, Pres. Obama, are you listening? We need jobs out here in rural America. Legalize it already!

  20. “unacceptable threat to the safety of law enforcement and the public”–

    interesting language. Threat to safety of law enforcement jobs?

    1. I appreciate Sandy’s reminder that hemp is good for the environment (without the fertiliers, pesticides etc.) The worldwide answer to deforestation in fact is to use hemp as precursor crop for plantings of aggressive invasive illegal alien heroic superspecies like eucalyptus, ailanthus, cottonwood, chinese elm, buckthorn etc. (Remember those pictures of ten foot high hemp plants three inches apart in “Hemp for Victory”? Now slogan: Hemp for Big Trees.)

    2. The real threat of hemp is to Big 2WackGo. The megasabotage raids and threats thereof are designed to boost the purchaser price of cannabis, on street or in dispensary, so that it will remain excessive in comparison with $igarette tobacckgo– which pols and bureaucrats want children to buy instead of cannabis because the $corporations (nominally their customers) pay $30-bil. a year in taxes to fed/state/county/local govts. , and no one really helieves this money will be replaced by collecting taxes from diehard libertarians raising their own riefer. Also because the same corps send such nice well-dressed good-looking law-buy-ists to schmooze with Congressional members and staffs — look up Boehner with his Fish (R. J. Reynolds) and Gates (Philip Morris)– what do you think those guys tell John about marijuana?

    A possible “conciliatory” answer would be to let

  21. Wasn’t there a drop in support for alcohol right before prohibition ended? Maybe I’m wrong, but I hope not for the case of marijuana. We’ll just have to let them play their games, and one day they will catch up to their constituents. Rather we’ll just replace them! :)

  22. i dont know what they mean by a unregulated chemical as a fertilizer, pesticide, or whatever. they arent using something new. its more than likely acombination of american made chemicals like malathion or sevin and miracle grow. aren’t those regulated and deemed safe for farming? do farmers collect all they’re runoff water for recycling and to protect local water supplies because of unsafe chems? i live in delaware and the epa monitors this and fines farmers all the time but mostly for over use of chicken shit which has too nitrates

  23. I’m sure if it were legal, taxed, and regulated that these cartels would be growing on public land. Nearly half of the populace believes Cannabis should be legally taxed and regulated … Why the dinosaurs in government fail to see the ineffectiveness of their prohibitionist agenda is beyond me. It is just beyond me. Where is the representation for the will of the people who want to see this drug war end? No one in government stands up for those 46% or so of the populace who want to see this war on cannabis come to and end. The politicians only cater to the powerful lobbying groups such as the prison industrial complex, big pharma, big tobacco, big alcohol, and the big drug enforcement lobby …

  24. The cannabis plant doesn’t need any weed control I don’t think.Cannabis is a weed and it is its own ground cover .Not much eats it,so its pretty much pesticide free as well.Cannabis would probably make a great pesticide standing alone.What I found interesting was that its roots absorb toxins in the soil and turn it into something else not toxic .The roots turns radio active toxins in the soil into non toxic substances.One would think any government would value such a wondrous plant that can do this.The leaves that fall off the plant, feed and enrich the soil by adding nutrients to it It is quiet a remarkable plant .How many plants do we have that can turn toxic waste into not toxic something else?We should plant huge crops in places contaminated with toxins and see if it will clean the soil up .
    http://extension.oregonstate.edu/catalog/html/sb/sb681/#History:
    Feasibility of Industrial Hemp Production in the United States Pacific Northwest
    A history of the hemp industry in Kentucky By James F. Hopkins
    http://books.google.com/books?id=Cd1LhZs_ZlgC&pg=PR15&lpg=PR15&dq=hemp+industry+before+1900

  25. For now view this idea as speculation..its just a thought ,based on survival and refusal to let our planet be destroyed by big business monopolies,who want to control the planet’s energy chemical and health industries .
    I wonder what would happen if we just planted so much of it, it could never all be eradicated…If half the population was in jail the country would go broke pretty fast .maybe then they would come to understand that we are the people being governed by our selves and this is our way of demanding the right to do so.hills of beans ,I can see it now lolol,the johnny apple seed of cannabis reform….lolol..Maybe not, too many of us would be arrested which might just be another way to continue the war on drugs . legalize,and turn those jails in to mini malls where people can earn a living instead of wasting their life and energy in jail .

  26. Cant we just demand of our government to re evaluate and re-schedule cannabis?Its pretty obvious to any one whose ever tried it that it is not at all like heroin, nor coke, nor even the cough medicine or alcohol that are freely available and legal to use .

  27. That wonderful book, “Marijuana, the First 10,000 Years”, makes much of an observation, that hemp and alcohol elements of society do not mix. Or perhaps it would be more accurate to say that the more aggressive, more competitive, and alas, mentally dulled, alcohol believers in our society, must have consumers who are dependent upon them for goods and services, materialism, for their upward drive. Whereas, anyone and all those who, for any number of reasons, are involved with marijauna, will not be aggressively upwardly mobile, not competitive, and not much of a consumer. So it is not ideal customers who would use marijuana. The alcohol dealers and their community of related businesses, simply will not, have never, and will not, allow a culture to prosper that prefers hemp, therefore, they make it illegal. What comments do folks have on this? Can the cultures coexist now in the US? Will the US be able to financially afford prohibition? Maybe we have reached the population burden so large that consumerism cannot grow enough, therefore a hemp society becomes more successful as made up of gentle, frugal, healthy, and caring people :-)

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