“Libertarian” Rand Paul Supports Bill Forcing Federal Government to Arrest Marijuana Users
Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) claims to be a libertarian, but when it comes to big government intruding into states’ ability to regulate marijuana use, he’s all for it.
Paul supports legislation passed March 12 by the Republican-controlled House of Representatives called the Enforce the Law Act. The bill would allow Congress to sue the president for failing to faithfully execute laws.
“We write laws and he is just deciding willy-nilly if he likes it he enforces it, if he doesn’t, he won’t enforce it, and we really think he needs to be chastened, rebuked, and told that he needs to obey the constitution,” Paul said.
Paul has previously supported states’ rights to legalize marijuana, but didn’t comment on the proposed law’s effect on pot legislation. On March 24, 2013, he told Fox News, “The main thing I’ve said is not to legalize them [marijuana and synthetic recreational drugs] but not to incarcerate people for extended periods of time.”
One of those who introduced the bill in the house, Representative Bob Goodlatte (R-Virginia), submitted a committee report citing President Barack Obama’s failure to enforce federal marijuana laws as an example of federal overreach. The bill also targets the enforcement of immigration and healthcare laws.
In 2013, the Justice Department announced it would not challenge states’ marijuana laws with the caveat that “the Department's guidance in this memorandum rests on its expectation that states and local governments that have enacted laws authorizing marijuana-related conduct will implement strong and effective regulatory and enforcement systems that will address the threat those state laws could pose to public safety, public health and other law enforcement interests.”
The president’s position on the enforcement of marijuana laws is supported by some in Congress. “It doesn't seem right to me to continue to waste our limited resources punishing people for doing something when it's legal under state law, the majority of Americans want it to be legal, and much more dangerous drugs like heroin are making a comeback,” Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Oregon) told The Huffington Post.
Medical marijuana is legal in 20 states and the District of Columbia, and Colorado and Washington have legalized recreational use of the drug. However, marijuana is still classified by the federal government as a Schedule I drug, having no medical use, along with heroin and other substances.
The bill passed the house with 228 Republican votes and five Democratic votes. There were 181 Democrats voting against the bill. Paul is unlikely to get a chance to vote on the bill, which probably will not come up in the Democratic-controlled Senate. President Obama has said he would veto the bill if it were to reach his desk.
To Learn More:
Rand Paul Backs Bill that could Lead to Crack Down on States where Voters Legalized Weed (by Eric W. Dolan, Raw Story)
House Republicans Want To Sue The President For Not Arresting People For Marijuana (by Matt Ferner, Huffington Post)
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