Marijuana: Ron Paul co-sponsoring bill asking feds to back off on Amendment 64

by Michael Roberts, Denver WestWord  |  published on November 21, 2012


Last week, Representative Diana DeGette announced the introduction of a bill asking the federal government to respect the marijuana policies in Washington and Colorado after voters in each state passed pot-law-reform acts, including Amendment 64. Since then, however, the list of legislators co-sponsoring the measure has grown, and among those signing on is Representative Ron Paul, arguably Congress’ best-known opponent of the War on Drugs.

The co-sponsors of the so-called Respect States’ and Citizens’ Rights Act were originally listed as representatives Earl Blumenauer (Oregon), Steve Cohen (Tennessee) and Sam Farr (California), plus DeGette and two other reps from Colorado — Jared Polis, a longtime advocate of drug-law reform (click to see his memorable joust with the DEA’s Michele Leonhart) and Mike Coffman, a Republican who publicly opposed the passage of Amendment 64.

In a statement explaining why he supported DeGette’s legislation, Coffman said, “I voted against Amendment 64, and I strongly oppose the legalization of marijuana, but I also have an obligation to respect the will of the voters given the passage of this initiative, and so I feel obligated to support this legislation.”
Now, according to a source at DeGette’s office, three more notables have joined the legislation as co-sponsors: representatives Barbara Lee (California), Barney Frank (Massachusetts) and Paul, a Texan whose run for the presidency in 2012 revved up an enormous cult following whose size and passion bedeviled ultimate Republican nominee Mitt Romney all the way to the GOP convention.

Both Frank and Paul have had their names on proposals to legalize marijuana in the past. But Paul’s participation, in particular, certainly raises the profile of DeGette’s bill, since he has talked about the need to junk the current system long before it was fashionable. As evidence, cast an eye toward this 2007 interview with ABC’s John Stossel.

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