Earlier this afternoon, the U.S. House voted 228-164 in favor of a bill to legalize marijuana at the federal level, “the first time either body of Congress has backed marijuana legalization.” In addition:
The Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment, and Expungement (MORE) Act would expunge records for people with prior federal marijuana convictions. It would also impose a tax on marijuana products, which would fund new programs intended to support “individuals and businesses in communities impacted by the war on drugs.”
As you can see, only five Republicans voted for this bill. One of those was Rep. Denver Riggleman (R-VA05), who since his defeat by far-right extremist Bob Good in the Republicans’ bizarre convention this past June has been speaking out forcefully against what he calls the “manic fringes” of the Republican Party, while repeatedly pointing out that Joe Biden won the election and that Republicans should respect and acknowledge the results. Now, Riggleman – whose decision to preside over a same-sex marriage helped spur the challenge from (and defeat by) “biblical conservative” Bob Good – seems to be letting his inner libertarian out a bit more. Better late than never?
As for the rest of Virginia’s Republicans in the Congressional delegation, they all did what you’d expect them to do, which is to vote “nay” on this badly needed piece of legislation. In this case – as is so often the case with Republicans – it’s both bad policy AND bad politics, given that marijuana legalization is supported by 68% of Americans, with even conservatives about evenly split (49%-50%) on the issue. Of course, Reps. Rob Wittman (R-VA01), Ben Cline (R-VA06) and Morgan Griffith (R-VA09) have demonstrated repeatedly that they don’t care about what’s right or what’s the American public wants them to do. Still, it would be nice if voters remembered stuff like this and made these people pay a price, politically, for a change…
P.S. Of course, this will never pass the U.S. Senate unless Democrats are in charge, so let’s do whatever we can to help win the two Georgia special elections in a few weeks!