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Mark Souder Accidentally Assists Marijuana Decrim Efforts in New Hampshire

Submitted by smorgan on
The NH House of Representatives just passed a marijuana decriminalization bill and it looks like drug warrior Rep. Mark Souder (R-IN) inadvertently played a potent role in pushing the reforms through.

Coverage from the Associated Press indicates that the obscenely harsh aid elimination penalty of the Higher Education Act, which Souder authored, played a part in persuading NH legislators to put pot policy in perspective:
Supporters argued current law costs youths who experiment with the drug all chances at receiving financial aid to attend college. They said it wasn't fair to penalize them for life for a youthful mistake.

Windham Republican Jason Bedrick said he doesn't advocate using marijuana, but that wasn't the issue.

"The question is whether a teenager making a stupid decision should face a year in prison and loss of all funding for college," said Bedrick.

Bedrick called the state's penalties "overly harsh."

"What societal interest is served by giving them a record for life?" he said. Instead of harsh penalties, society should emphasize education, he said.
Souder's brainless attempt to fight drug use by keeping students out of school has already galvanized the reform movement, inspiring the formation of Students for Sensible Drug Policy and uniting the largest coalition of public interest groups ever to oppose a federal drug law.

Souder's heartless and counterproductive law has become emblematic of the drug war's tendency to throw the baby out with bathwater, destroying young lives in the name of protecting youth. It has opened doors to the reform movement by confirming our worst stereotypes of blind drug war demagoguery and motivating public health, education, and treatment organizations to join our ranks in calling for a return to sanity.

Today his law was used effectively in a state legislature as an argument for reforming marijuana laws. Whether or not the bill passes the senate and becomes law remains to be seen, but a lesson has been learned nonetheless: the drug warriors' own cruelty has become our most viable weapon in the fight for reform. We will always gain more ground arguing that the law is harmful than by claiming the drug is safe.

Finally, before celebrating Mark Souder's gift to the reform movement, let's not forget that 200,000 students paid a terrible price so that we can now more vividly depict the fury and callousness of our drug war leaders.

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