Chronicle AM: New CBS Pot Poll, CO Drug Defelonization Passes House, More... (4/19/19)

A new CBS poll has record support for marijuana legalization, Vermont's governor throws up an obstacle to the tax and regulate bill, the US immigration agency says using marijuana or even working in the state-legal industry makes immigrants "morally unfit" to become citizens, and more.

Marijuana is all over the news today. (Creative Commons)
Marijuana Policy

New CBS Poll Has Support for Legalization at All-Time High. The latest annual CBS news poll on attitudes toward marijuana legalization has support at 65% -- an all-time high for the poll. Most respondents also viewed marijuana as less dangerous than alcohol. Legalization is now favored even by Republicans (56%), and the only age group to not have majority support for legalization -- people 65 and older -- is now evenly split with support at 49%.

Federal Bill Would Let People Use Marijuana in Public Housing in Legal States. Rep. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) has filed the Marijuana in Federally Assisted Housing Parity Act, which would allow people who use marijuana in compliance with state laws to live in public housing. Current federal law prohibits people using federally illegal drugs from being admitted to public housing and allows their eviction if caught. The Norton bill is not yet available on the congressional web site.

Montana 2020 Legalization Initiative Planned. A new group calling itself Coalition406 has announced plans to create a 2020 ballot initiative to legalize marijuana in Big Sky Country. The latest polling has support for legalization at 51%. "Coalition406 will sponsor a statewide listening tour over the coming weeks to discuss preliminary thoughts for a November 2020 initiative to hear from real Montanans on this issue," said Coalition406 campaign manager Ted Dick, a former executive director of the Montana Democratic Party.

Vermont Governor Won't Support Regulated Marijuana Without Saliva Testing for Drivers. Gov. Phil Scott (R) said for the first time Thursday that he would not sign legislation to tax and regulate marijuana unless it had a provision that would allow saliva testing of motorists. The tests are opposed by many civil rights and liberties groups, but the House Judiciary Committee that same day reviewed a draft proposal for language around saliva testing that could be inserted in SB 54, the tax and regulate bill that has already passed the Senate.

Wisconsin Legalization Bill Filed. For the fourth time, Rep. Melissa Sargent (D-Madison) has filed a marijuana legalization bill. The bill would set up a system of taxed and regulated marijuana commerce as well as a process for expungement of old marijuana convictions. "Far too many lives and communities have been damaged by out of date and backwards cannabis policies, and we must take this important and necessary step towards rectifying these damages," Sargent said in a press release. "The simple truth is, the most dangerous thing about marijuana in Wisconsin is that it is illegal." A January Marquette University poll has support for legalization at 59%, but the Republican-controlled legislature does not favor the proposal.

Medical Marijuana

Texas Medical Marijuana Expansion Bill Heads to House Floor. A bill that would add over a dozen conditions that would qualify for medical marijuana, HR 1365, is heading for a House floor vote after passing its last committee hurdle on Wednesday. The bill would add cancer, autism, post-traumatic stress disorder, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, Huntington's disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, Tourette syndrome, Crohn's, ulcerative colitis, muscular dystrophy and multiple sclerosis to the list of qualifying conditions.

Drug Treatment

Pennsylvania Bill Would Bar Addiction Centers from Requiring Positive Drug Tests Before Treatment. State Rep. Jack Rader (R-Monroe County) has cosponsored a bill that would ban addiction treatment centers from requiring people to test positive for opioids or other drugs in order to get admitted for care. Rader said he cosponsored the bill after a constituent told him her son had applied for drug treatment but had been required to test positive for opioids in order to begin treatment. He had gotten off opioids while waiting for treatment, but then used some to qualify for treatment and instead overdosed and died. The measure is HB 1024.

Immigration Policy

Using State-Legal Marijuana or Working in the Industry Makes Immigrants Morally Unfit to Be US Citizens, Federal Agency Rules. In a rules clarification Friday, US Citizenship and Immigration Services held that using marijuana or working in the industry even in states where it is legal violates the requirement that immigrants demonstrate five years of "good moral character" before applying for citizenship. In a memo detailing the ruling, USCIS said that "violation of federal controlled substance law, including for marijuana, established by a conviction or admission, is generally a bar to establishing [good moral character] for naturalization even where the conduct would not be a violation of state law." That includes working in the state-legal marijuana and medical marijuana industries. There is an exception for one-time possession of less than an ounce.

Sentencing Policy

Colorado House Approves Bipartisan Bill to Lower Penalties for Drug Possession Offenses. The House on Thursday approved HB 19-1263, which would defelonize drug possession in the state. The measure passed the House on a 40-25 vote and now heads to the Senate.

Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
Looking for the easiest way to join the anti-drug war movement? You've found it!
Dain Bramage's picture

Reefer Madness Racism alive and well in Trumpland

"In a rules clarification Friday, US Citizenship and Immigration Services held that using marijuana or working in the industry even in states where it is legal violates the requirement that immigrants demonstrate five years of 'good moral character' before applying for citizenship."

Republicans will never legalize marijuana.  And, evidently, they will always be racist white trash.

Fuck 'em all.  Vote Democratic!!

Dain Bramage's picture

Legalize marijuana to protect refugees from USCIS!

Look at it like this: let's legalize marijuana to protect South American drugwar asylum seekers from Trump and his racist cult devotees!

Mass incarceration in the US has been dubbed "the new Jim Crow;" marijuana prohibition and the prejudices associated with that policy have long been the bread-and-butter of that agenda.

Facts, from Drug Policy Alliance:

  • Research shows that prosecutors are twice as likely to pursue a mandatory minimum sentence for black people as for white people charged with the same offense. Among people who received a mandatory minimum sentence in 2011, 38% were Latino and 31% were black.
  • Black people and Native Americans are more likely to be killed by law enforcement than other racial or ethnic groups. They are often stereotyped as being violent or addicted to alcohol and other drugs. Experts believe that stigma and racism may play a major role in police-community interactions.

Legalizing marijuana may not cure the rot in the white supremacist cop's violent heart. But, it does remove one big wicked cudgel from his fist.

It's much the same dynamic for immigrants; the distinction between brown and black is largely lost on a white supremacist Republican.

Dain Bramage's picture

On this Four-Twenty Eve, let us assess our path foward...

Ever since Trump was fake-elected in 2016 by colluding with the Russians and their attacks on our free American elections, I have become alarmed by what I have perceived to be a "business-as-usual" attitude by the marijuana legalization community; by "business as usual" I mean taking a good-faith, bipartisan or multi-partisan approach to marijuana legalization.

We should act in good faith, of course; but we must recognize that we are in a new environment, or risk losing everything we have gained in recent years, as state after state has legalized either recreational marijuana and/or medical marijuana (to use the political terms for the plant.)  We must not let success go to "the head!"  A steely-eyed look at our current political environment is in order.

The marijuana legalization community has long and rightfully taken pride, and strength, in the fact that support for marijuana legalization is high, and ascending, across all major U.S. political parties, at least among the citizenry.

But as I have said before, we need to climb out of our political silos for a few minutes, and smell the fascism.

Let me get right to the point: Trump is a Putin operative and a fascist autocrat; this has existential consequences for the future of marijuana legalization.

I assert: the marijuana legalization community must categorically reject Trump, and the Republican party which aids and abets him, regardless of the political cost, on the grounds that Trump is a fascist, and that marijuana legalization and fascism are mutually exclusive agendas.  The success of marijuana legalization efforts (local ballot initiatives, Congressional lobbying, etc.) hinge on the existence of a functioning democracy; but a functioning democracy is precisely and specifically precluded by fascism.

The evidence for the premise that Trump is a Putin operative and a fascist autocrat is overwhelming and undeniable, right-wing propaganda notwithstanding.  And, it seems self-evident that a fascist, totalitarian police state, modeled after any of the banana republic dictatorships Trump so admires and envies, can mean only bad things for the cause of marijuana legalization, whether that be on a state or a federal level.

Thus, the conclusion is inescapable: we must categorically reject Trump and his supporters, at any cost.

Vote Democratic in 2020!  Register now!!

https://www.vote.org

Dain Bramage's picture

Grading politicians on marijuana policy

NORML, MPP, and other worthy drug policy reform organizations, will often provide as a service to voters, a "grade" (A, B, C, D, or F) given to politicians and office-holders, based on both the public statements they may have made on the issue of marijuana legalization, and any actual marijuana legalization legislation they may have been involved with.

In 2020, assessing the "grade" of any given political candidate must include consideration of the question of whether said candidate is actively or passively aiding and abetting Russian interference in American elections -- past, present, or future.  Any such candidate shall receive an automatic "F."

Why?  Because fascism represents an existential threat to the cause of marijuana legalization, the two being mutually exclusive agendas.

This automatically assigns an "F" to all Trump supporters, which is a set that includes nearly all Republicans.  Trump, obviously, gets an "F minus."

We cannot afford to live in denial.  Those of us old enough to remember a time when legalization was but a distant dream, can also recall the insidious nature of Reefer Madness propaganda, which was routinely passed off by our past authority figures as absolute fact; we should be wise enough to recognize that Trump's universe of so-called "alternative facts" are no better than Reefer Madness.

One factor in grading a presidential candidate who is also sitting president is to evaluate their choice for "top cop" -- that is, the United States Attorney General.  By that measure alone, given the actions and views of Sessions, Whitaker, and Barr, Trump must receive a failing grade.

(And, may I remind you, Trump publicly advocates for the death penalty for drug dealers?  Oh, snap!!)

But, back the truck up a minute!!

Yes, AG Barr is corrupt, and engaging in a cover up -- slow walking and whitewashing the Mueller report on behalf of Trump, who himself is engaging in a cover up by attempting to shut down the Mueller investigation, among many other rotten things...

But back the truck up again!

BOTH cover ups are designed to bury the truth about Russian involvement in both the Trump campaign and the American elections inclusive.

I do hate to be a bother, but could you please back the truck up just one more time?  

Because here's the thing: According to our own intelligence services, Russia is still at it.  Right fucking now.  And Trump is totally cool with that!!

It's hard to think of any plausible possibility other than the one in which Trump is a Putin operative.  Which is borne out, by the way, by empirical evidence.

I would call that a big "F minus."

Wouldn't you?

Dain Bramage's picture

Stupidity Can Get You Killed

An excerpt from the writings of Dave Denison at The Baffler, and a bit of historical perspective on "the abominations of Congress," and a Republican named Earl Landgrebe from the Second Congressional District in Indiana:

The House had voted earlier that year [1974] 410–4 to authorize the Judiciary Committee to start impeachment hearings. Rep. Landgrebe was among the four dissenting voters. He was loyal to Nixon all the way to the end: the day before Nixon resigned Landgrebe made himself famous by telling a reporter, “Don’t confuse me with the facts. I’ve got a closed mind. I will not vote for impeachment. I’m going to stick with my president even if he and I have to be taken out of this building and shot.” That was the year the magazine New Times named Landgrebe to their “Ten Dumbest Congressmen” list.

To be young in America, in every generation, is to become at least vaguely aware that an incompetent and malignant Congress is not entirely funny. These people can get you killed. It was a clear and present danger when neither party was able to put a stop to the Vietnam War, and again when Congress authorized George W. Bush & Co. in 2002 to launch an invasion of Iraq. And it’s true today, as any high school student knows who walks through metal detectors and endures “active shooter” drills at school: Congress, despite its constant protestations, has a long record of negligence when it comes to meaningful national security—especially for young and marginalized people.

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <i> <blockquote> <p> <address> <pre> <h1> <h2> <h3> <h4> <h5> <h6> <br> <b>

More information about formatting options

CAPTCHA
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.

Drug War Issues

Criminal JusticeAsset Forfeiture, Collateral Sanctions (College Aid, Drug Taxes, Housing, Welfare), Court Rulings, Drug Courts, Due Process, Felony Disenfranchisement, Incarceration, Policing (2011 Drug War Killings, 2012 Drug War Killings, 2013 Drug War Killings, 2014 Drug War Killings, 2015 Drug War Killings, 2016 Drug War Killings, 2017 Drug War Killings, Arrests, Eradication, Informants, Interdiction, Lowest Priority Policies, Police Corruption, Police Raids, Profiling, Search and Seizure, SWAT/Paramilitarization, Task Forces, Undercover Work), Probation or Parole, Prosecution, Reentry/Rehabilitation, Sentencing (Alternatives to Incarceration, Clemency and Pardon, Crack/Powder Cocaine Disparity, Death Penalty, Decriminalization, Defelonization, Drug Free Zones, Mandatory Minimums, Rockefeller Drug Laws, Sentencing Guidelines)CultureArt, Celebrities, Counter-Culture, Music, Poetry/Literature, Television, TheaterDrug UseParaphernalia, ViolenceIntersecting IssuesCollateral Sanctions (College Aid, Drug Taxes, Housing, Welfare), Violence, Border, Budgets/Taxes/Economics, Business, Civil Rights, Driving, Economics, Education (College Aid), Employment, Environment, Families, Free Speech, Gun Policy, Human Rights, Immigration, Militarization, Money Laundering, Pregnancy, Privacy (Search and Seizure, Drug Testing), Race, Religion, Science, Sports, Women's IssuesMarijuana PolicyGateway Theory, Hemp, Marijuana -- Personal Use, Marijuana Industry, Medical MarijuanaMedicineMedical Marijuana, Science of Drugs, Under-treatment of PainPublic HealthAddiction, Addiction Treatment (Science of Drugs), Drug Education, Drug Prevention, Drug-Related AIDS/HIV or Hepatitis C, Harm Reduction (Methadone & Other Opiate Maintenance, Needle Exchange, Overdose Prevention, Pill Testing, Safer Injection Sites)Source and Transit CountriesAndean Drug War, Coca, Hashish, Mexican Drug War, Opium ProductionSpecific DrugsAlcohol, Ayahuasca, Cocaine (Crack Cocaine), Ecstasy, Heroin, Ibogaine, ketamine, Khat, Kratom, Marijuana (Gateway Theory, Marijuana -- Personal Use, Medical Marijuana, Hashish), Methamphetamine, New Synthetic Drugs (Synthetic Cannabinoids, Synthetic Stimulants), Nicotine, Prescription Opiates (Fentanyl, Oxycontin), Psilocybin / Magic Mushrooms, Psychedelics (LSD, Mescaline, Peyote, Salvia Divinorum)YouthGrade School, Post-Secondary School, Raves, Secondary School