Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Texas Republicans rethinking marijuana prohibition

Meet the 85-Year-Old Texas Lady Pushing Republicans to Embrace Marijuana | Mother Jones - Josh Harkinson:

March 4, 2015 - "Early last year, John Baucum, the political director of a group called Republicans Against Marijuana Prohibition (RAMP), cornered Sen. Ted Cruz at a GOP event in Houston. Cruz, a former Texas prosecutor who talks the talk on states' rights, had criticized the Obama administration for declining to prosecute Colorado pot growers. Baucum wanted to point out the disconnect: 'It sounded like you were making an argument against federalism,' he recalls telling Cruz.

"Perhaps his comment got Cruz thinking, because last week, at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, DC, Cruz reversed course on pot: 'Look, I actually think this is a great embodiment of what Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis called "the laboratories of democracy,"' he told Sean Hannity during the Republican go-to event, where RAMP had a table set up. 'If the citizens of Colorado decide they want to go down that road, that's their prerogative.'

"On the heels of CPAC, state representative David Simpson, a Republican from East Texas whom RAMP had lobbied heavily, introduced a new bill that would abolish dozens of state marijuana statutes, essentially legalizing pot in the Lone Star State. 'I don't believe that when God made marijuana he made a mistake that the government needs to fix,' Simpson wrote in the Texas Tribune. 'The time has come for a thoughtful discussion of the prudence of the prohibition approach to drug abuse.'

"RAMP, launched two years ago in Texas, has 100 dues-paying members and satellite chapters in Maine and North Carolina.... 85-year-old RAMP founder Ann Lee ... never questioned Texas' draconian pot laws until her son, Richard, was paralyzed in a work-related fall. He began using pot to treat muscle spasms. 'He looked at us and said, "Mom and dad, marijuana is good for me",' she recalled. 'I didn't want to hear that, because I had fallen for all of the propaganda.'

"She founded RAMP in 2012 'to reform marijuana laws by working within the GOP'. Prohibition, she told me, 'is a very liberal philosophy, really. Look at all the things Republicans talk about: smaller government, fiscal responsibility, personal responsibility. What does prohibition do? It trumps all of them'."

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