By M.H. Cavanaugh
Christian Action League
December 12, 2014
WASHINGTON D.C. – During the mid-term elections, Alaska and Oregon passed referendums making recreational marijuana legal in those states. Voters in Washington, D.C., also passed a referendum by a 2 to 1 margin that allows adults to possess up to two ounces of pot and six plants for recreational use.
But on Tuesday night, U.S. Senate Democrats and House Republicans agreed on a deal that will fund the federal government through September of next year. The House voted on the agreement and passed it Thursday night. At the time of this report, the Senate had yet to take it up, but was expected do so quickly.
The primary purpose of the Budget bill, should it pass both chambers and be signed by the President, is meant to avoid a government shut-down. However, within the measure’s finer points is a provision barring implementation of the marijuana referendum passed by the D.C. electorate.
A press summary posted online by the House Appropriations Committee, as well as cited by the Christian Science Monitor and other sources noted that it “prohibits both federal and local funds from being used to implement a referendum legalizing recreational marijuana use in the District.”
Much of the D.C. citizenry is said to be outraged at the prospect of essentially overturning the referendum. According to the Washington Post, D.C. non-voting Congressional Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton excoriated Congressional Democrats for supporting the provision, arguing, “I certainly don’t know why Democrats would agree to block legalization while we still control the White House, we still control the Senate – and who knows they may even need Democratic votes to pass this.” Adam Eidinger, a D.C. pro-legalization activist also told the Washington Post he’s ready for some civil disobedience.
But Maryland Republican Congressman Andy Harris told the Huffington Post that he disagreed. “I am glad Congress is going to, in a bipartisan way, uphold federal law to protect our youth by preventing legalization in Washington, D.C.,” he said.
Dr. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League, said, “I feel very uncomfortable any time I hear a vote by the people has been or will be nullified by some legislative action or judicial ruling. Nevertheless, I think we have to understand this prospect was always before the voters in D.C. from the beginning. The District isn’t a state. It doesn’t have the same rights afforded it by the Constitution. What is more, the Constitution grants the federal government jurisdiction over it.”
Dr. Creech added he believes that if the Budget deal passes it would be a providential act of God’s grace protecting the people of D.C. from the scourge of marijuana legalization.
“Some want to convince us alcohol and tobacco are worse than marijuana. But its alcohol and tobacco which speak to us so clearly about why marijuana ought not to be legalized,” said Dr. Creech.
“Alcohol results in the deaths of more than 100,000 people in this country every year. That doesn’t even take into account the other forms of misery it causes. Tobacco-related deaths soar to approximately 500,000 per year. These two legal drugs are the biggest contributors to our nation’s health care costs. Both wreak havoc. What makes us have such hubris as to think we can handle the legalization of marijuana any better? Legalization of pot will not do anything to solve the drug problem. Instead it will create a host of new ones. The taxes on it will never outweigh the costs of its damage. Furthermore, marijuana’s legalization will result in huge corporate interests bad or worse than the alcohol and tobacco industries, destroying lives and hooking kids for a tsunami of pain and suffering that even threatens the survival of our culture,” argued Dr. Creech
In 2013, The Committee on Rules and Operations of the North Carolina House under the leadership of Rep. Tim Moore (Cleveland), who is now the N.C. House Speaker-Delegate, heard from a trio of marijuana legalization advocates and one opponent of the Medical Cannabis Act before nixing the bill with an unfavorable report, effectively killing it for the legislative biennium.
Not all the news about the marijuana content of the Congressional measure is good. The proposed legislation also contains language that drops much of the federal government’s opposition to marijuana legalization. It orders the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) not to arrest farmers for hemp in states that have legalized it. Furthermore, it instructs the Department of Justice (DOJ) not to seek indictments for the use or sale of medical marijuana in states where it’s been legalized.