Reefer Madness: Bob Barr vs. Bob Barr

  Reefer Madness: Bob Barr vs. Bob Barr

Posted by CN Staff on April 05, 2007 at 11:17:05 PT
By Jordan Smith 
Source: Austin Chronicle 

Texas -- Once upon a time there was a Republican congressman named Bob Barr. He represented Georgia and had more than a few repressive and/or intrusive views on things. Take, for example, his stance on medical marijuana: After D.C. voters – constantly under the thumb of Capitol Hill on everything (that's what taxation without representation will get you) – approved a measure legalizing medi-pot for seriously ill District patients, Barr stepped up to the plate to completely thwart voter will via the so-called Barr Amendment, which sought to strip the city of all funding if officials attempted to "enact or carry out" any local initiative to legalize or reduce penalties associated with use or possession of pot (or any other drug). In essence, Barr was the Man responsible for suppressing the will of 70% of District voters – not exactly a great title to hold (not that it seemed to bother Barr, mind you).
Flash forward to March 2007: My, how times have changed. According to the Marijuana Policy Project (which, it should be noted, has railed against the Barr Amendment on more than one occasion), the nonprofit group has just hired – drumroll, please – former Rep. Bob Barr to be an MPP lobbyist. Whoa: I know, it's pretty stunning, but it would seem that Barr – who dumped the GOP last year to join the Libertarians – has had a come-to-Jesus moment, and in part, the MPP says, Barr will be lobbying to gain for D.C. residents the right to enact a medi-pot law. In other words, Barr will be lobbying against the 1998 Barr Amendment – or, as MPP's government relations guru Aaron Houston says, the amendment now referred to as "the D.C. medical marijuana amendment." Whatever you want to call it, Barr will now be lobbying against it: "I, over the years, have taken a very strong stand on drug issues," Barr told the D.C. rag The Politico last week, "but in light of the tremendous growth of government power since 9/11, it has forced me and other conservatives to go back and take a renewed look at how big and powerful we want the government to be in people's lives." Amen, brother Barr, amen. Anyway, Houston and the rest of the MPP are pretty stoked about adding Barr to their ranks, in part because he does have a reputation on Capitol Hill. Adding him is a "boon to the cause," says Houston. "It's a boon to the movement." Indeed, Houston says the news that Barr would join MPP has received a lot of attention on the hill – "Everybody," Houston says, "is talking about it." And that's usually a good thing when you're trying to get shit accomplished. In addition to lobbying against the Barr Amend … errr … the D.C. medi-pot amendment – and for medi-pot laws in general – Barr will also take on the governmental beast known as the Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign, the granddaddy of all drug-war boondoggles (not counting the drug war itself, that is). To refresh, the anti-drug ad campaign from the White House Office of the National Drug Control Policy – the beast responsible for all those trite don't-do-drugs commercials – is a multimillion-dollar loser. Problem is, you see, that the ads don't work – never have, never will. In fact, several of the ads have actually had a reverse effect, which is to say – oh irony, you cruel, sweet mistress – that they've been isolated in research as commercials that have actually prompted teens to try drugs, specifically pot. In fact, it appears the ONDCP actually knew the ads weren't working but sat on a report that pointed that out. Nonetheless, the ONDCP – home to the nation's drug czar, John Walters – continues forward with its automatonlike assurances that drugs are bad and that anti-drug commercials are good, even as congressional skepticism about the program continues to grow. Let's put it this way: You know your program has issues when normally staunch drug-war allies – like Rep. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, who last year called for Walters' ouster – begin questioning the efficacy of your strategies. (Of course that reality didn't stop President George W. Bush from calling for a 31% increase next year for the ad-campaign budget, which would give it $130 million to piss away.) Cue Barr, who Houston and MPP hope will now play a pivotal role in the increasingly popular quest to quash the anti-drug ad program: It is so "clear cut" that it's a failure, Houston says, but the fact that it continues on "demonstrates how incredibly difficult it is to kill a program in Washington." I never would've imagined saying this (and it feels weird even thinking it): Here's hoping that this union of Barr and MPP is the start of a long and beautiful friendship. Now I have to go shower. Source: Austin Chronicle (TX)Author: Jordan SmithPublished: April 6, 2007Copyright: 2007 Austin Chronicle Corp.Contact: http://www.austinchronicle.comCannabisNews -- Cannabis Archives

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Comment #9 posted by Hope on April 07, 2007 at 19:35:26 PT
And also
he's a really "high-class, (read: old money and money...there has to be money) southern gentleman".Which doesn't do a thing for me.He looks arrogant. He's not trustworthy, to me... "one of those kind" of high class (deep) southern gentlemen.well...It doesn't do a thing for me.He was a very low type in other ways to my mind...maybe I'm the one who's "arrogant" now. He was a prosecutor. He would send a medical patient...and probably prison in a heartbeat. He would "work" hard on it."Prosecutor" has become a rather ugly word to me, since I have learned that their job is not about sorting out the truth, or guilt, or innocence, or justice. It's about numbers. It's about "racking them up".
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Comment #8 posted by Hope on April 07, 2007 at 19:24:38 PT
User 123
 " make a buck."Or, to be "in office" again?I suspect he would very much like to be.This is hard. I was "so excited" when the news came out.Then I think of his face or see his picture. That name. That face. It made a mockery of the American citizen's vote. I so associate it with what I considered to be a highly treasonous act against and betrayal of the citizens of this country and their precious one vote.
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Comment #7 posted by Hope on April 07, 2007 at 19:16:33 PT
Most, if not all, Chronic readers
probably understand the term "epiphany". But, obviously, the writer didn't want to make it that simple. He's trying to be funny...and missed the mark, perhaps, a bit. Or perhaps he was trying to shock people. Reporters and writers do that pretty often. But, at least, this way, everyone, probably, knows he means "epiphany"....and just doesn't have to explain it to those who never considered, thought about, or noticed the word.
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Comment #6 posted by Hope on April 07, 2007 at 19:08:16 PT
The Chronicle has headlines like
this, "CHRONIC: Will Wynn Still Jumping Off Shit".So, no it's not your average mainstream paper...but enough people like it, and read it, and support it, that it's still rolling out a paper. One that, of course, is not quite mainstream... but still read by quite a few folks (and studiously avoided by some, I suspect. (0:)
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Comment #5 posted by Hope on April 07, 2007 at 19:01:07 PT
"kind of unprofessional"
The Austin Chronicle is an alternative paper. They give it away, if I remember correctly. Alternative papers have some good articles... as we know. The Chronicle is apparently a strong paper. It's been around for years.The Austin Statesman is the main MSM paper in Austin.
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Comment #4 posted by user123 on April 07, 2007 at 16:04:31 PT:
Seeing the Light?
While it may be noble that Barr may have finally seen the error of his ways, I suspect it's more along the lines of the personality type that would sell their own mother to make a buck!
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on April 05, 2007 at 12:59:54 PT
I agree that is wasn't professional.
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Comment #2 posted by Taylor121 on April 05, 2007 at 12:19:27 PT
An article I wrote for marijuana legalization
I wrote this not too long to argue for marijuana legalization for adults. Some have this notion that marijuana is an extremely dangerous drug that causes many deaths and irks them to believe that marijuana should be illegal. First of all, making a substance illegal doesn't solve all the problems associated with the drug. In fact, many would argue that it causes far more problems. However, before going into that, let's discuss if marijuana really is so harmful.Part I: What distinguishes marijuana from tobacco? Is marijuana really so harmful?I'm going to make a few seemingly crazy claims, but I will provide a solid study to support my claims. These claims do not mean that marijuana does not cause lung problems, just not the killers associated with tobacco smoking.1) Marijuana does not appear to cause lung cancer
Although there is one other correlation study that was smaller that shows a connection, it has never been replicated. This study is the largest, most well controlled study on lung cancer and no connection was found.2) Marijuana does not appear to cause emphysema (but does cause other lung problems). In general, marijuana is less addictive than tobacco or alcohol."In summary, although few marijuana users develop dependence, some do. But they appear to be less likely to do so than users of other drugs (including alcohol and nicotine), and marijuana dependence appears to be less severe than dependence on other drugs." [p. 98] Marijuana does not cause overdose deaths.
"No acute lethal overdoses of cannabis are known, in contrast to several of its illegal (for example, cocaine) and legal (for example, alcohol, aspirin, acetaminophen) counterparts." (9/20/03) --British Medical Journal II: Marijuana prohibition does not solve the problems associated with the drug and in fact marijuana legalization would have many benefits.1) It is currently easier for kids to get a hold of marijuana than alcohol according to CASA surveys. Regulating marijuana for adults would curb youth access to marijuana.2) Marijuana would bring in 10-14 billion dollars in savings and government revenue every year that could be used for noble purposes rather than criminal ventures. Marijuana legalization would free up law enforcement time that would normally be used to arrest an adult marijuana user.4) Marijuana legalization would free up space in jails and prisons to make room for more violent offenders.5) Marijuana legalization would increase the liberty that adult citizens have in our society.6) Marijuana legalization would separate marijuana from harder drugs thus reducing the exposure to other substances hampering the "gateway" effect.7) Marijuana's potency, purity, and type could be regulated and labeled making it even safer.8) Marijuana usage is not necessary connected with how harsh a marijuana law is. For instance, after Nevada lowered its penalties for possession of less than an ounce of marijuana from jail time to a fine, teenage usage actually went down. This does not mean marijuana decriminalization or legalization causes lower usage rates, but it does suggest that the law has little effect on usage and other factors play a more primary role. 
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Comment #1 posted by Taylor121 on April 05, 2007 at 12:07:21 PT
It's kind of unprofessional
but the article does allude to some interesting things. Apparently Barr joining the MPP really has Congress talking. Maybe it will change a few Republican minds?
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