Some folks are rethinking our controversial drug laws. But while polls show more than a quarter of Americans now favor decriminalizing marijuana, not one of the 535 folks who represent us in Congress agrees. At least, no one has introduced meaningful legislation or come forward to champion this cause. And while initiatives in various states are legalizing marijuana for medical purposes and moving away from incarceration, federal penalties for drug offenses continue to get more and more draconian.
I don’t mean to comment here on the merits of our nation’s drug policies, or lack thereof. All I’m saying is that, yet again, we aren’t being well represented because our political system has been monopolized by career politicians. The system is stagnant because careerists are unwilling to take political risks for what they believe in.
New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson is pushing for changes in the drug laws even though he knows it is not an immediately popular stand. He tells Rolling Stone magazine that he’s living proof of the virtues of term limits: “Would I have brought this issue out if I thought I could be elected to a third term?” he asks. “I don’t know. In the first term, I talked about the failure of the Drug War and that arresting people isn’t going to work. But it wasn’t until the second term that I made a conscious decision to turn up the volume and search out some solutions.”
Quite a telling admission. And whether or not you agree with Governor Johnson on the drug issue, surely there’s something wrong when our representatives run from important issues and play it safe.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.