Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
February 13, 2016

Leaders Just Say No to Talking About Marijuana

A day after the Department of Justice announced it would not challenge state laws legalizing marijuana, not a single top leader in Congress has weighed in on the issue — signaling, perhaps, the noxious nature of pot politics.

The DOJ guidance was heralded in press releases by some Democratic members of the Colorado and Washington delegations — the two states most directly affected by the decision not to challenge legalization laws. And Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick J. Leahy, D-Vt., and ranking member Charles E. Grassley, R-Iowa, issued statements for and against the move.

But leaders have chosen to steer clear of the volatile issue, perhaps to avoid getting caught up in the smoke. Recent polls have shown majority support for legalizing the drug and large majorities favoring legalization of medical marijuana.

The silence of Speaker John A. Boehner and other leaders didn’t surprise Colorado Democrat Jared Polis.

“I think it’s appropriate given the divisions in his conference that he didn’t opine, because his caucus is so divided,” Polis told CQ Roll Call on Friday. “Both his conference and Congress itself is divided on this issue.”

Polis continued that there was a “strong strain of states’ rights” in the Republican party, just as there was also a “strong strain” of anti-marijuana lawmakers.

But Polis took comfort in the fact that Republicans had not immediately rushed to criticize the new guidance.

“I think that’s progress,” Polis said.

  • John Allegro

    Since liberty is an abstract concept that can be difficult to understand, those with nefarious intentions tend to attack it by working to displace liberty with free government “services” and other spoils of plunder.

  • Buford2k11

    The power of the militarized police is stronger than expected…Weed was keeping them afloat in the “bad” times…the whole spin off of businesses, from police snitches to the AG’s have been corrupted by the presence of big money, big “power” over the little guy…sure there are the bad guys everywhere, but a stoner looking for a little peace and quiet doesn’t mean “in jail”…The criminals of Wall Street, the criminals of the Corporations/banks have been the real problem in this country…The absolute worst “drug” ever, is being “drunk with power”…like the GOP…

    • Jose

      The answer is to severely punish Wall Street for money laundering and then they will have to legalize it so they can stay out of prison.

      All they get now is a friendly slap on the wrist.

  • medcannabis1

    One could hope for a common sense approach from the GOP leadership…but they have proven themselves to be under the control of the corporate citizen. The prohibitionist lobby of, “law-enforcement”,private prisons, and those industries that have profiteered off of the suffering of the sick and dying over prohibiting cannabis therapy. When our good conservative fellow citizens, our friends of faith in small communities can understand that the “reefer madness” that has been fed to them all these years where simply lies…. lies that allowed the new American Slave Trade with the For-Profit Prison Industry to flourish and the legislative class has grown wealthy over the “legal bribes call campaign donations” to keep the drug laws strong so their industry can profit from mandatory sentencing laws. This is the simple reality of the cannabis issue in congress…all the hype of “we must save the children..” , ” there are no studies to support medical cannabis” are nothing more than smoke and mirrors and a continued willingness to line their own pockets over the welfare of the nation.

    Cannabis prohibition is the crime… a crime against the sick and dying
    Please take a minute to watch this document and listen to the dying pleading for understanding regarding safe cannabis therapy access…and then ask yourself how any legislator can support cannabis prohibition…

  • Socialism is Organized Evil

    Hussein Obama’s delusions are dangerous.

  • Jose

    The Feds have lost the war and now they are negotiating terms. By staying silent they avoid showing what’s in their hands.

  • Aaron Mason

    Stop wasting our tax dollars and police time on this stupid BULLSHlT, we all know marijuana is harmless. People will not forget.

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