MPP released a video last week listing the country’s “Worst State Legislators of 2013″ on marijuana policy issues. The seven state representatives and one state senator were selected based on their legislative efforts to maintain or expand marijuana prohibition policies, as well as statements they made, during the 2013 legislative sessions. Watch the video countdown below.
The video counts down the MPP’s top eight marijuana policy offenders, alongside some direct quotes that are questionable, to say the least.
Take, for instance, Rep. Darryl Rouson (D-St. Petersburg), who called bongs and pipes “utensils of death;” Rep. Luke Malek (R-Coeur d’Alene) who called medical marijuana a “farcical predatory scheme;” and Rep. David Howard (R-Park City) — whose home state of Montana has been battling a crippling meth epidemic — who called marijuana a “poison” and “the most dangerous drug there is.”
The list also garnered some local media attention in Colorado, where the #1 worst legislator of 2013, Sen. John Morse (D), is facing a highly talked-about recall election, and in Iowa, where the #7 worst legislator, Rep. Clel Baudler (R), bragged about being listed.
Ron Paul may have achieved something of a victory by coming in third in the Iowa caucus yesterday, which is something few political wonks could have imagined a couple of months ago. Still, something should be said for the fact that he maintained his firm stance against the drug war after being narrowly beaten by candidates who are absolutely against marijuana reform.
In an early morning interview, Paul renewed his call to end federal interference in state marijuana laws and repeatedly called the drug war a failure. He even went so far as to call it a worse failure than alcohol prohibition! And according to Paul, his performance at the Iowa caucus proves that many Americans agree with him and are fed up.
And then we have Newt Gingrich. Earlier today at a press conference in New Hampshire, an SSDP member asked the candidate how he felt about states’ rights and how the Founding Fathers would have felt about growing marijuana. Continue reading →
Early this morning on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon,” presidential candidate Michelle Bachmann walked onto the stage to be interviewed. As she entered, Fallon’s house band and hip-hop icons The Roots played the beginning of a song by the legendary band Fishbone. While I won’t repeat the title of the song here, it seems to suggest that the Roots … do not think she is a truthful person.
Back in 2009, the Minnesota Legislature passed a medical marijuana bill that was immediately vetoed by then-governor Tim Pawlenty. At the time, Bachmann was a U.S. Congresswoman. One would assume that she was paying attention to the important issues within her state during this period, especially one as contentious as medical marijuana. Continue reading →
Last week was a busy one for medical marijuana reform efforts in Oregon.
First, the signature drive to put an initiative on the November ballot that would add medical marijuana dispensaries to the state’s existing law is coming to a close. With more than 74,000 signatures already verified, it is highly likely that this initiative will appear before the voters this year.
In other news, the Oregon Court of Appeals ruled that medical marijuana patients applying for a concealed-carry handgun license could not be denied based on their status as a “drug user.” While legal to use with a doctor’s recommendation in Oregon, marijuana is still considered an illegal drug under federal law. According to the federal Gun Control Act, marijuana use can be justification to prevent a person from carrying a concealed firearm. According to the Court of Appeals, however, state and local law enforcement personnel are required to follow state law, which does not explicitly prevent medical marijuana patients from obtaining the license.
Finally, with another groundbreaking move by a public entity, the Oregon Board of Pharmacy has voted to reschedule marijuana as a Schedule II drug. While this will have little effect on medical marijuana in the state, it carries a symbolic importance in the greater national campaign to remove marijuana from the overly restrictive Schedule I. In February, the Iowa Board of Pharmacy recommended the same change, but Oregon appears to be the first state to actually enact it. Marijuana still remains a Schedule I drug on the federal level.
With all these moves to legitimize marijuana going on, it seems like things are looking up for Oregon patients. Make sure to keep your eye on Oregon in coming months to see if the dispensary initiative qualifies and if voters approve it in November.
Great news from the great state of Iowa: Today the state’s Board of Pharmacy voted 6-0 to recommend to lawmakers that the state reclassify marijuana as a Schedule II drug and create a task force to study the possible implementation of medical marijuana in the state.
This recommendation puts Iowa one step closer to enacting a medical marijuana law, as its own officials have now definitively recognized marijuana as a medicine. The Iowa House and Senate are each considering bills that would protect from arrest chronically ill patients who use marijuana to alleviate their conditions, but the bills missed deadlines that would have allowed them to be enacted this year. Fortunately, this recommendation from the Board of Pharmacy will put increased pressure on lawmakers to pass a law in the next session.
A Des Moines Register poll released yesterday found that 64% of Iowans support patients’ use of medical marijuana with a doctor’s recommendation.
Keep checking MPP’s blog and our Iowa state page for the latest developments.