After years of voting down almost every proposal championed by pot legalization advocates, the House made a surprising move this week, approving a measure that would prohibit the Drug Enforcement Administration from busting state-licensed medical marijuana operations.
The action in the
FOR THE RECORD
An earlier version of this post said the GOP measure regarding state-licensed medical marijuana operations was first proposed in 2012. It was first proposed in 2002. Also, the House passed the measure Friday, not Monday as earlier reported.
"Some people are suffering, and if a doctor feels he needs to prescribe something to alleviate that suffering, it is immoral for this government to get in the way," Rohrabacher said during the floor debate. "And that is what is happening." The measure passed with just one vote to spare, 219-189.
Marijuana is a political conundrum for the GOP, traditionally the stridently anti-drug, law and order party. More than half the voters in the country now live in states where medical marijuana is legal, in many cases as a result of ballot measures. The most recent poll by the Pew Research Center found most Americans think pot should be legal, a major shift from just a decade ago when voters opposed legalization by a 2-to-1 margin.
Most GOP stalwarts, of course, continue to rail against liberalization of the laws. Rep.
But in a sign of how the times are changing, he found himself challenged by a colleague from his own caucus who is also a doctor. Rep.
The rise of the t
Pro-marijuana groups have lately taken to boosting the campaigns of such Republicans, even those running against Democrats. A notable case is in the Sacramento region, where the Marijuana Policy Project recently announced it was endorsing Igor Birman, a tea partier seeking to knock out Democrat Ami Berra in a swing congressional district.
"Igor is among the growing number of Republicans with common sense views on marijuana, said a statement this week from Dan Riffle, a lobbyist with the Marijuana Policy Project.