Barney Frank and Ron Paul's historic bill to end federal marijuana prohibition is generating a lot of excitement around the country, but in Washington D.C., it's already becoming another reminder of the arrogant drug war politics that have long obstructed the path to reform.
Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX) was quick to announce his plans to prevent this important debate from ever taking place:
The bill appears doomed on arrival, according to the Associated Press, which reported that House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith said his panel, which the proposed law is required to venture through, would not even consider it.
"Marijuana use and distribution is prohibited under federal law because it has a high potential for abuse and does not have an accepted medical use in the U.S.," said Smith, who like Paul is a Texas Republican. "The Food and Drug Administration has not approved smoked marijuana for any condition or disease."
Smith cited the theory that pot is a gateway drug, and then added the curious belief that legalizing weed would increase the coffers of drug lords.
"Decriminalizing marijuana will only lead to millions more Americans becoming addicted to drugs and greater profits for drug cartels who fund violence along the U.S.-Mexico border. Allowing states to determine their own marijuana policy flies in the face of Supreme Court precedent," Smith said. (LA Times)
That's a mouthful of madness if I ever heard one, and if my ideas about marijuana were as wildly divorced from reality as those, I wouldn't want a public hearing on the matter either. I mean, really, just imagine Lamar Smith trying to explain how Mexican smugglers would profit from Americans growing their own pot, or reminding us when exactly it was that the Supreme Court ruled that states aren't allowed to make their own laws.
Our friends at NORML have a fun PSA that sums all of this up quite nicely.