Politics Washington Dems Roll Out Red Carpet for the Feds
posted by July 26 at 12:07 PMon
By a vote of 262 to 165, the House of Representatives killed an amendment last night that would have prevented the federal government from arresting authorized patients in the 12 states where medical marijuana is legal. Of Washington’s nine representatives,
only three four supported it: Democrats Baird, Inslee, McDermott and Smith.
What is perplexing is that Representatives Dicks,
Smith and Larsen, who voted against, are also Democrats. Do they know their state has a medical marijuana law? Or that 82 percent of Washington voters (and probably more in their Dem districts) support medical marijuana? Who knows—they obviously don’t give a shit because they don’t have to. Their own progressive constituents tend to respond to our onerous drug policy and efforts to correct it in one of two ways. Some claim votes like these indicate federal Democrats are out of touch with their districts on this issue so we need to elect third-party candidates; I don’t. (I only vote for candidates who can realistically win.) Others whine that this issue is a low priority and even though they really want our drug policies to change they don’t think it will ever happen… meow, meow, meow. What progressives are actually saying is, “Go ahead. Vote to maintain backward drug policy; we won’t hold it against you.”
Democrats need to stick it to their representatives to vote for better drug laws—funding treatment on demand, providing needle exchanges to stop spread of disease, protecting sick people who smoke pot during chemo—because these issues are not election losers. Locally and nationally, super-majority support exists among voters for medical marijuana. And to those who say that they’re waiting for drug laws to be changed at the federal level can sober up by looking at this vote. Dozens of successfully implemented local drug reform measures have passed in the last decade, proving that the state level is where there is hope to heal America’s ailing drug laws. Until mainstream progressives get a spine on drug law reform, federal votes like this one, pushed by several high-level drug policy reform organizations, will send a confusing message that state medical marijuana laws have been negated and perpetuate the misconception that bad policy will forever remain.
UPDATE: I just called Dicks’, Smith’s, and Larsen’s D.C. offices to ask why the Congressmen opposed the amendment. Surprisingly, an aide for Rep. Smith claims, “That was an accidental vote.” He had reportedly misheard the language, she said, and has changed his Nay to a Yea. “I walked it down and put the vote in its proper place this morning,” she told me. The record above has been fixed accordingly. Dicks’ office punted me off to an aide who didn’t take my call. And a spokesperson for Larsen’s office said she would “check with Rick” and get back to me. Also, further analysis on the vote by Lee Rosenberg over at Horse’s Ass.