House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi has more pro-marijuana position than the Libertarian-Republican Sen. Rand Paul.
On Fox News Sunday, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) called for lighter penalties for marijuana offenses but is opposed to legalization. Paul said, “The main thing I’ve said is not to legalize them but not to incarcerate people for extended periods of time. So, I’m working with Senator Leahy. We have a bill on mandatory minimums…I don’t want to encourage people to do it. I think even marijuana is a bad thing to do. I think it takes away your incentive to work and show up and do the things that you should be doing. I don’t think it’s a good idea. I don’t want to promote that but I also don’t want to put people in jail who make the mistake.”
Compare Sen. Paul’s answer to what Nancy Pelosi told The Denver Post about her position on legalization, “I support the leadership of Jared Polis, who has been a leader on this issue as well as other members..I understand some of the Republican members support the law now that is passed, even if they didn’t before. But in any case, to answer your question, what is my position regarding the states that have medical marijuana or recreational marijuana as the law of their states: I think that has to be respected. I think tax and regulate. In order to do that, there has to be a level of respect for the fact, that if you are going to have recreational marijuana, someone is in business to do that and they have to have tax treatment in order for them to function as a business.”
Let me make this clear, the Democrat has taken the state’s rights position that Republicans like Rand Paul are always claiming to embrace. The Libertarian Republican who claims to be protecting individual freedom doesn’t want Americans to have the freedom to smoke marijuana without risking criminal prosecution.
The reason why Pelosi is stuck with limiting her policy actions to supporting the state movement to legalize/decriminalize marijuana is because the Republican Party at all levels of government opposes legalization. Republicans are still ideologically fighting the War on Drugs. This is why Rand Paul has placed his national political ambitions ahead of embracing a true position of freedom on the issue of legalization.
As long as Republicans continue to insist on courting their base by looking “tough on drugs,” Pelosi’s position is a the most currently politically viable option. It is ironic that Rand Paul claims to want government out of our lives, but refuses to support a movement that would literally get government out of millions of lives.
The national consensus is moving towards marijuana legalization, and the Republican position is out of touch with the times.
Anyone who supports Rand Paul based on the belief that he is in favor of legalization is barking up the wrong tree. The Republican position on marijuana is one of the reasons why so many voters refuse to support them.
When it comes to marijuana, Democrats have become the party of freedom, while Republicans like Rand Paul wag their fingers and tells us to “ just say no.”
Mr. Easley is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association