Republicans slowly embracing marijuana

Posted Jun 1, 2014 by Jessie McMullen
For years the U.S. House has been turning down proposals dealing with marijuana but this week that all changed when the House approved a new measure.
File photo: A grouping of marijuana buds.
File photo: A grouping of marijuana buds.
The House made a surprising move this week by approving a proposal that would prohibit the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) from busting state-licensed medical marijuana vendors.
This new approval reflects a shift on the view of marijuana in the Republican-dominated House. There were 49 Republicans from the House that supported the bill, a dozen more GOP votes than when the idea was first proposed in 2002.
Republican, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher co-sponsered the proposal, which passed 219-189 with just a single vote to spare.
“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 debate. “And that is what is happening.”
A recent poll done by Pew Research Center showed that a majority of Americans believe that marijuana should be legal, a major shift in opinion from just a decade ago when American's opposed the legalization of marijuana, 2-to-1.
Legalization of marijuana has been a grey area for the GOP. The Republican party is traditionally known as the anti-drug party.
This new shift in the House is a small one; the GOP loyal continue to fulminate against the liberalization of the laws. Look at Rep. Andy Harris, a physician, who declared that marijuana is a sham.
"Real medicine is not two joints a day, not a brownie here, a biscuit there. That is not modern medicine," said Harris during the floor debate.
Harris found himself being debated by his former Republican representatives. Republican Rep. Paul Brown spoke in favor of the bill.
“It has very valid medical uses under direction of a doctor,” Brown said. “It is actually less dangerous than some narcotics prescribed by doctors all over the country.”
Pro-marijuna groups have taken to helping with campaigns of Republicans. One example was recently in Sacramento when the Marijuana Policy Project announced they were endorsing Igor Birman, a tea partier looking to defeat Democrat Ami Berra in a swing congressional district.
“Igor is among the growing number of Republicans with common sense views on marijuana," said Dan Riffle, a lobbyist with the Marijuana Policy Project, in a statement this week.
The proposal, which prohibits the Justice Department and the DEA of using their funds to hinder state medical marijuana laws, is now headed to the Senate.