Sunday, April 01, 2007

US announces end to "War on Drugs"

Washington, DC

In a stunning and unprecedented move, several prominent political leaders in the US announced today that the "War on Drugs" was a mistake, and will be introducing legislation to end it.

A bipartisan group of congressional leaders joined President Bush this morning in the Rose Garden to announce an immediate end to the War on Drugs. "Hell, I blew enough [cocaine] in college to support an entire village in Columbia," said Bush. "Half of Capitol Hill smokes Marijuana," stated Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. "It's the largest cash crop in the U.S., but the people making money off of it are the cartels, tongs, and other criminal enterprises. By legalizing and taxing cannabis, we can take some of that money out of their pockets, and put it into the public coffers."

Attorney General Alberto Gonzales also noted that under the old system, it was easier for minors to obtain illegal drugs than it was for them to obtain cigarettes or alcohol. "Your average street dealer isn't exactly checking IDs," stated the embattled AG, "and CVS and Walgreen's aren't exactly engaging in shooting wars over who gets to sell on a particular street corner." Even Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Marine Gen. Peter Pace found positives in the new policy. "This will give us a much broader recruiting base," he stated. "The change in policy we are announcing here today means that millions of additional young Americans will be eligible for military service. Hopefully, this will be of great assistance in meeting our recruiting goals."

Some lobbyists and representatives of the defense industry, petroleum and petrochemical industries, and the lumber industry- who asked not to be identified by name- expressed disappointment in the wake of the announcement. "How are we going to sell IR (infrared) cameras to local law enforcement agencies if they're not going to be busting 'grow houses'?" lamented one defense lobbyist. "If we start making stuff like paper, rope, textiles, and biodiesel from hemp, what will happen to the demand for oil and lumber?" asked a petroleum lobbyist.

Perhaps most outraged were representatives of the DEA and other law enforcement agencies. "What are we gonna do?" snapped Karen Tandy, DEA Administrator. "Do they actually expect us to go after people who commit real crimes? I mean, you know- crimes with victims? We're not trained for that."

The policy change is anticipated to produce an increase in Federal tax revenue in the neighborhood of $10 billion annually, while decreasing expenditures by roughly twice that amount, according to Federal budget estimates.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

GW Students set example for rest of US

At its February 6 meeting, the Student Association Senate of The George Washington University in Washington DC passed a resolution calling on the GW administration to equalize penalties for possession of marijuana in GW Residence Halls with penalties for underage possession of alcohol.

The resolution took an unusual route to the Senate floor. Members of GW's chapter of NORML bypassed the usual methods by which legislation is introduced and collected enough signatures to introduce the resolution by petition. Normally, legislation must be introduced by a senator and is referred to a committee which must approve it prior to its being considered by the entire SA Senate.

A large number of students attended the Senate meeting, voicing pleas to the senators to set aside whatever personal feelings they had and vote in a way that accurately reflects the opinions of the students they represent. In a display of integity rarely found in politicans at any level, the Senate passed the resolution by a vote of 11-7 with one abstention. Of the seven Senators who voted against the resolution, it should be noted that three of them- Andrew Salzman (GSEHD), Michael Gettlin (SB-G), and Bryan Grackin (SB-G) are also permanent employees of the University, which raises ethical questions as to their motivations in opposing the resolution.

The resolution still must be signed by the SA President in order for it to be recognized by the University as the official opinion of the student body.

Perhaps if US citizens made as great an effort to enforce accountability among their elected officials as the members of GW's NORML chapter did, we wouldn't be stuck in Iraq. Forget that "control" of Congress shifted to the Democrats with the last election, because the lobbyists and corporations don't care which puppets the people put in their hands.

Of the 435 House members, almost every single one voted to allocate funds for US military action in Iraq. Why then, was the incumbent not reelected in only 55 races? (note: this is by my count during a scan of the election results on Wikipedia, so I may be slightly off) The argument that we can't have 535 Commanders-In-Chief doesn't hold water. Congress has the power of the purse. If the President chooses to deploy troops without funding, why shouldn't he be held accountable for that decision? Part of the duties of each of the three branches is to act as a check on the others. That responsibility is at least as important as any other function of our elected officials.

By holding the people elected to represent them accountable, these students have set an example for the entire country. Perhaps more important is the fact that the majority of SA Senators were willing to set personal opinions and politics aside and represent the wishes of the people who put them in office. If our elected officials at all levels of government had even half as much integrity as the Student Association Senators at GW, perhaps we wouldn't be wasting Federal tax dollars arresting medical marijuana users in California- freeing up money for things like Medicare, Social Security, Schools, or even (gasp!) paying down the National Debt rather than leaving it for the next generation to worry about.

It's things like this that give me hope for the future of America. Check the minutes from last night's SA Senate meeting when they are published and note how the Senators voted. Then, if you see one or two of them on a ballot in 5 or 10 years, take the integrity that they demonstrated in college into account. I, for one, would be proud to have one these brave young men and women represent me in national elected office someday.

Related Links:

GW SA Senate
National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws

Past news coverage of GW NORML
GW Hatchet: Group pushes for GW to change marijuana policy (10/27/05)
GW Hatchet: Progressive student groups oppose drug legislation (9/21/06)