I live in the glorious state of Michigan. It’s the home of Kellogg’s Cereal, Ford Pick-Up Trucks, Motown, and currently one of only 14 states that have legalized Medical Marijuana. Known as “Proposal 1” on the 2008 ballot, this proposal would make it legal for “medical marijuana to be cultivated, possessed, and used by individuals who apply for and receive a state ID issued on the basis of one of an enumerated list of chronic medical conditions.” I was 20 years old and it was my first time ever being allowed to vote in a Presidential election. I already knew I was voting for Obama, but once I heard about Prop 1, my desire to vote became even stronger. (You may already know this about me but, I am a massive supporter of legalizing marijuana on a medical and recreational basis)
I was ecstatic when the prop passed with a 63% majority of the vote. I thought to myself, “Wow, maybe this government will finally see all the good marijuana has to offer”. I don’t really have a lot of faith in the government(Iraq is a clusterfuck, the country is run by religious nut jobs, and it took FEMA 3 days to get water to the Super Dome), but I was happy to see us moving in the right direction.
While surfing the web a few months ago, a came across what I believe is one of the most important bills in the history of marijuana. H.R. 2943, The Personal Use of Marijuana by Responsible Adults Act of 2009. While on the Marijuana Policy Project’s website, they offered an opportunity to e-mail your congressman, in support of the bill. I jumped at the chance. Here is exactly what I sent my state congressman, Mike Rogers:
Subject: Please support the Personal Use of Marijuana by Responsible Adults Act of 2009Dear Congressman Mike Rogers, I am writing today to ask that you support H.R. 2943, the Personal Use of Marijuana by Responsible Adults Act of 2009.
Introduced by Congressman Barney Frank (D-Mass.), H.R. 2943 aims to reduce the number of non-violent prisoners and free up law enforcement resources by eliminating federal criminal penalties for possession of up to 3.5 ounces of marijuana, and the not-for-profit transfer of an ounce of marijuana.
For 70 years, our punitive marijuana laws have failed to curb marijuana use. Today, more than 800,000 arrests are made for marijuana offenses every year. 89% of these arrests are for possession, not sale or manufacture. Despite U.S enforcement efforts, our marijuana use rates are the highest of any nation surveyed by the World Health Organization, according to its most recent reports.
Congressman Frank’s legislation is a step in the right direction. By eliminating federal criminal penalties for possession, this bill will send a message to the states that the federal government is leading the way in freeing up law enforcement resources that are better spent fighting violent crime.
Would you please cosponsor and support H.R. 2943? I will greatly appreciate your support.Sincerely, (My Name) (My Address)
About a week later, on July 22nd 2009, Michigan Congressman Mike Rogers responded to my e-mail. (Read the part in bold if nothing else)Dear Mr. (My Last Name): Thank you for contacting me regarding your support for the legalization of marijuana. I appreciate you sharing your thoughts on this issue with me. As you may know, the Personal Use of Marijuana by Responsible Adults Act, (H.R. 2943) was introduced by Representative Barney Frank on May 18, 2009. This legislation would eliminate most Federal penalties for possession of marijuana for personal use. The bill has been referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary as well as the House Committee on Energy Commerce, on which I serve. Although I can appreciate your arguments, this is an issue on which we disagree. As a former FBI Special Agent, I have witnessed first hand the dangerous effects of drug use, especially among our young people. Furthermore, drugs coming across our borders from countries like Mexico and Columbia fuel criminal, and potentially terrorist, activities. Our federal drug laws play an important role in the safety and security of the American people, and I believe that the legalization of marijuana would be a step backward. Again, thank you for your correspondence. Although we may not agree on this issue, I am sure there are many more that we do agree upon. If you have further questions or concerns about this or any other issue, please do not hesitate to contact my office. (He then signed his letter with a picture of his signature. (really classy) I won’t post it here because it’s probably copy-written or something.)
So did everyone read that right? He believes that legalizing marijuana would be a step backward?? In my opinion, criminalizing a plant that grows naturally out of the ground that also has numerous medical applications and is a safer substance than alcohol is a massive step backward.
All the arguments he makes against the legalization of marijuana are utterly ridiculous. He said he has (and I quote), “…witnessed first hand the dangerous effects of drug use, especially among our young people”. If Mike is concerned about young people abusing drugs, then the logical thing to do is Legalize And Regulate Them. Have you ever tried buying beer when you’re under 21? It is very difficult because the government has laws controlling alcohol from the brewery to the liquor store. Last time I checked, drug dealers don’t ask for any ID. Also, alcohol prohibition caused a rise in youth alcohol abuse. Also, do you know how many people died during prohibition because the booze was laced or made improperly? A lot. As in 10,000 people. And as long as marijuana isn’t laced with dangerous drugs, it’s far safer than alcohol.
His other hilariously stupid argument was (and I quote), “…drugs coming across our borders from countries like Mexico and Columbia fuel criminal, and potentially terrorist, activities.” Hey Mike, want to know how to stop funding criminals and terrorists through drug money? Legalize The Drugs. Again, I bring up alcohol prohibition. If marijuana was legalized and taxed, then the government would be making money and not the criminals and terrorists. All the government has to do is have all the marijuana sold in the U.S. follow the same FDA guidelines that everything else follows.
Now I’m not saying Congressman Rogers is a bad guy. He responded in a timely fashion and was extremely nice. He was also the primary co-sponsor on the Respect For Fallen Heroes Act which banned protests near military funerals, mostly committed by crazy religious nutjobs. I only wish I could change his mind and have him see that the legalization of marijuana is not something to fear. We could stop our young people from getting involved with marijuana (I do believe that 21 should be the age to legally buy) by having our government control its cultivation and sale. We could generate billions in tax revenue to help our struggling economy, and would take away even more in drug money from the criminals. (I won’t even go into prison over-population because of non-violent drug offenders clogging up the jails, and leading to the early release of rapists and other violent inmates. Oh wait, I just did.)
It’s also sad knowing that I can’t use my real name, or post a real picture of myself on this site because of these beliefs. I could go to jail and I’m not willing to take that risk. Congressman Mike Rogers has likely never tried marijuana, but I bet if he did, he would see that it’s just a safe, medically useful plant with very little dangers to anyone who uses it. Given the choice between living on a block with 1,000 pot heads or living on a block with only 1 meth addict, I’d choose the pot heads every time and I don’t think anyone would disagree. Everyone says marijuana is dangerous, and I would have to agree with them, but only because of the severe legal consequences.
In closing, if you want to e-mail your state congressman, click this link, then click the “support personal use” link, input your information, and let your voice be heard. If this Congressman’s marijuana viewpoints are seen by all as truthful and legitimate, then I for one don’t wanna live in Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood. (Sorry I couldn’t resist making that joke.)
*I will send a copy of this post to Congressman Mike Rogers and let you know if he responds*
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