Arizona Eagletarian

Arizona Eagletarian

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Can the GOP claim ignorance about the Marijuana issue? UPDATED 11:45pm 2-5-14

They can't say we didn't warn them... so many times and on so many issues.

We warned them about HB2305 and they didn't believe us. But now they do, even though they still think they have the upper hand on Voter Suppression.

I wish I had more energy right now (I'm recovering from H1N1 flu) to get myself going on this issue, but for now I give you House Bill 2558.  Assistant Minority Leader Ruben Gallego (D-LD27/Phoenix) joined with 12 additional sponsors -- all fellow Democrats -- to call for regulating and taxing marijuana for personal use in Arizona.


This 10-minute clip from a recent Congressional hearing gets to the heart of this matter.

Deputy Drug Czar Michael Botticelli put a lot of effort into squirming out of answering the very specific, very poignant questions from Congressman Gerry Connolly (D-Virginia).

Just after two minutes into the clip, the subject was established as being PUBLIC HEALTH. At the 8:40 mark, Connolly gets into how possession and use of mimimal amounts of marijuana filled up our prisons and the effect of drug policy has been that we treat marijuana users no differently than those who have committed violent crimes.

THIS, from my perspective, is the bottom line in the very real, very timely issue of marijuana legalization. I don't use marijuana. I don't smoke anything. Right now I'm on oxygen, 24/7 as a result of the H1N1 flu. I have year-round respiratory allergies. The LAST thing I want to do is smoke ANYTHING.

But I recognize the debate on this issue is central to civil liberties and genuine freedom in our country. The insidious militarization of local law enforcement throughout the country over the last 40 or so years has been justified almost entirely by the War on Drugs.

This must stop.

As has been shown in Colorado already, legalization has been an tremendous boost for the economy overall and for government financial management, as tax revenue climbs. Law enforcement costs cannot help but fall, or at least refocus on genuine public safety.

Arizona must get in on the leading edge of this pressing national public policy trend. It can do so by passing HB2558 or, if that doesn't happen, the PEOPLE of Arizona will put the Safer Arizona initiative on the ballot and change public policy and Arizona law anyway.

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