House Republicans, supposedly the vanguard of small government and personal liberty, have delivered a message to America.
They told Washington, DC residents, who voted overwhelmingly to legalize marijuana, that if they don’t approve of language inserted in a “must-pass” spending bill to squash the popular referendum, they can move somewhere else, maybe Colorado or Washington State.
“That’s the way the Constitution was written,” Rep. Andy Harris of Maryland said in an interview Wednesday. “If they don’t like that oversight, move outside of the federal district to one of the 50 states that is not covered by the jurisdiction of Congress as a whole.”
An earlier attempt to block the decriminalization of marijuana in the District of Columbia was backed by House Speaker John Boehner and other Republicans.
Harris, who is described as a hardliner opposed to both medical and recreational use of marijuana, is responsible for the language included in a massive congressional spending bill that went before the House Appropriations Committee. Harris crafted the language to prevent enactment of Initiative 71, which 65 percent of local voters approved.
Harris and fellow Republicans in the House believe the government should dictate the medical and recreational decisions of Americans.
According to incoming Oversight and Government Reform Chairman Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah),”smoking marijuana is a health danger, not a cure, and therefore remains a harmful and dangerous drug for people of all ages.”
Anti-marijuana Republicans are using the argument that legalizing marijuana for adult use will endanger children. Harris believes legalization would make things “even worse for D.C.’s teenagers and young adults.”
A study released by the Cato Institute in October, however, contradicts the argument used by Harris and other anti-marijuana advocates. It cites statistics showing that legalization of medical marijuana “was associated with a small reduction in the rate of marijuana use among 12- through 17-year-olds,” not an increase as Harris and others argue.
A number of Republicans disagree with Harris’ heavy-handed approach.
“I believe in more local autonomy on that,” said Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul. “I think Colorado, the District, most localities should be able to make that decision for themselves.”
Harris and his fellow Republicans are in favor of continuing a disastrous and vastly expensive drug war.
“It is drug warriors who are harmful,” writes Laurence M. Vance. “They are harmful to individual liberty, the free market, private property, personal responsibility, a free society — and the American taxpayer who is forced to foot the bill for the drug war.”