The U.S. House of Representatives has actually done something . . . something good. I’ll let that sink in for a minute. On Thursday night the House of Representatives passed a bill that prevents the DEA from raiding state-legal marijuana dispensaries. According to the Daily Beast,
Just after midnight, the vote won with 219 ayes, including an unexpected 49 Republicans and 170 Democrats. It’s the first time Congress has approved a major marijuana law reform, which shows the changing tide of marijuana policy in the United States—and suggests a new day is rising in the war on drugs. A similar measure failed in Congress six previous times, receiving the most votes (165) in 2007. But with data showing three out of four Americans now approve of medical marijuana, the issue gained momentum in the months leading up to the vote.
Maybe we’re getting somewhere. Proponents of marijuana reform can be found on both sides of the aisle; progressive democrats, small government republicans, and libertarians may all have different reasons for their support, but who cares.
Most now share the belief that public health problems are simply not amenable to law enforcement solutions. Read Froma Harrop’s recent column in the Providence Journal, “Use marijuana legalization to fight heroin addiction,” and her interview with retired Cincinnati police Capt. Howard Rahtz — from Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) of which I am a member — who suggests that taxes on legal pot could be used to expand drug treatment for heroin addicts — people who are now dying at a shocking rate and need help. And who could possibly argue that public safety is enhanced by putting recreational pot smokers and heroin addicts in prison.