MCViewPoint

Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

All Hail Democrats – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on December 8, 2020

So, what is it that the Democrats did that we should applaud?

On December 4, Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill (H.R.3884) to decriminalize marijuana that “removes marijuana from the list of scheduled substances under the Controlled Substances Act and eliminates criminal penalties for an individual who manufactures, distributes, or possesses marijuana.”

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2020/12/laurence-m-vance/all-hail-democrats/

By Laurence M. Vance

My title is not a misprint. And neither have I lost my mind and joined the Democratic Party. I wouldn’t join the Democratic Party any more than I would join the Republicans Party.

I am an equal opportunity critic. Sometimes I criticize Democrats, progressives, and the Democratic Party; and sometimes I criticize Republicans, conservatives, and the Republican Party. I rarely have anything good to say about either of these groups. However, when they do something good (which is not often), I applaud them. Like when Obama and the Democrats cut the Social Security tax rate from 6.2 to 4.2 percent for 2011 and 2012.  And like when the Republicans all united and voted against Obamacare in 2010 (but not since then).

I am often accused of being a Democrat or a liberal (or worse) when I write about the hypocrisy and the evils of Republicans and the Republican Party. Lest there be any misunderstand, let me restate what I have written in the past about the evils of the Democratic Party: COSORI Air Fryer Max X… Best Price: $73.08 Buy New $119.99 (as of 06:27 EST – Details)

It is the party of liberalism, progressivism, collectivism, socialism, paternalism, statism, abortion on demand (at taxpayer expense for low-income women), the transgender movement, feminism, social justice warriors, economic egalitarianism, larger and more intrusive government, organized labor, increased government regulation of the economy and society, public education, government-mandated employee benefits, environmentalism, climate change, green energy, universal healthcare, an ever-increasing minimum wage, anti-discrimination laws, affirmative action, government-funded child care, healthcare and education as constitutional rights, more welfare with fewer work requirements, higher taxes on “the rich,” income-transfer programs, defunding the police, wealth-redistribution schemes, and every alternative lifestyle known to man.

And now I can add lockdowns and mask mandates (which some Republicans support as well, but that is a subject for another article).

So, what is it that the Democrats did that we should applaud?

On December 4, Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill (H.R.3884) to decriminalize marijuana that “removes marijuana from the list of scheduled substances under the Controlled Substances Act and eliminates criminal penalties for an individual who manufactures, distributes, or possesses marijuana.”

I say that Democrats passed the bill because the vote was 228-164, with 222 Democrats in favor and only 6 opposed. Five Republicans supported the bill: Representatives Matt Gaetz and Brian Mast of Florida, Tom McClintock of California, Denver Riggleman of Virginia, and Don Young of Alaska; but 158 of them voted against it. Thirty-eight representatives did not vote. This was the first time in history that a full chamber of Congress has taken up the issue of decriminalizing marijuana. The bill now goes to the Senate, which is controlled by the Republicans, where it has zero chance of passage.

(The members of the United Nations Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) actually just voted to reschedule marijuana, backing a World Health Organization (WHO) proposal.)

I mentioned recently that this bill had been languishing in the House for over a year. To reiterate, the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act of 2019: Utopia Kitchen Glass F… Best Price: $25.11 Buy New $27.99 (as of 06:27 EST – Details)

  • replaces statutory references to marijuana and marihuana with cannabis,
  • requires the Bureau of Labor Statistics to regularly publish demographic data on cannabis business owners and employees,
  • establishes a trust fund to support various programs and services for individuals and businesses in communities impacted by the war on drugs,
  • imposes a 5% tax on cannabis products and requires revenues to be deposited into the trust fund,
  • makes Small Business Administration loans and services available to entities that are cannabis-related legitimate businesses or service providers,
  • prohibits the denial of federal public benefits to a person on the basis of certain cannabis-related conduct or convictions,
  • prohibits the denial of benefits and protections under immigration laws on the basis of a cannabis-related event (e.g., conduct or a conviction), and
  • establishes a process to expunge convictions and conduct sentencing review hearings related to federal cannabis offenses.

Is this a perfect bill? Of course not. But when has Congress ever passed a perfect bill? Congress rarely passes a good bill, and usually passes terrible bills. Did Democrats pass the bill because of the 5 percent tax it imposes? Perhaps some did. Would they have voted for the bill if the tax provision was not in it? I don’t see why not.

Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan tried to quash the tax provision, as he said on Twitter: “Speaker Pelosi refuses to allow votes on amendments to the House’s cannabis bill, including my amendment to strike new federal taxes/regulation that harm the goal of leaving cannabis policy to the states. Legislating is about ideas, deliberation, and compromise. Let us legislate.” I presume that this is why neither he nor the great Rep. Thomas Massie (R-KY) voted for the bill, and I respect them for that (and believe me, I have absolutely no respect for 99% of all current and former members of Congress, Ron Paul, Walter Jones, and John Duncan being notable exceptions).

But back in 1933, when the Twenty-first Amendment to repeal Prohibition was being considered, the state conventions that ratified the amendment wisely chose the inevitability of federal taxes and regulations on alcohol over the existing federal prohibition of alcohol.

So, what does this bill mean and what does it not mean?

It does mean that marijuana is effectively legal on the federal level. Stainless Steel Knife … Buy New $49.99 (as of 06:27 EST – Details)

It does not mean that other drugs are legal on the federal level.

It does not mean that the federal war on drugs is over.

It does not mean that the federal drug czar will be fired.

It does not mean that a single employee of the DEA will apply for unemployment.

It does not mean that the federal government will not regulate marijuana.

It does not mean that all Americans can now light up and get stoned.

And it does not mean that marijuana is now legal in every state.

As a result of the November election, there are now thirty-five states where the medical use of marijuana is legal and fifteen states where the recreational use of marijuana is legal (both are legal in the District of Columbia). This means that there are fifteen states where marijuana use for any reason is still illegal and thirty-five states where marijuana is only permitted for medical use. That is still a lot of places in the United States where one can be arrested, fined, and imprisoned for growing, using, buying, selling, or possessing marijuana.

As long as Republicans have their way, the federal war on marijuana will continue. Almost to a man (and woman), they are resolute drug warriors who want to lock people in cages for possessing too much of a plant that the government doesn’t approve of.

The Democratic Party is so evil that I can’t ever imagine myself praising Democrats again. But when it comes to marijuana on the federal level, they are on the right track while Republicans aren’t even at the train station.

The Best of Laurence M. Vance Laurence M. Vance [send him mail] writes from central Florida. He is the author of The War on Drugs Is a War on Freedom; War, Christianity, and the State: Essays on the Follies of Christian Militarism; War, Empire, and the Military: Essays on the Follies of War and U.S. Foreign Policy; King James, His Bible, and Its Translators, and many other books. His newest books are Free Trade or Protectionism? and The Free Society.

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