Is Nancy Pelosi Too Powerful for Pot?

Categories: Marijuana
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Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi -- who, despite no longer being House Speaker, is arguably still the most powerful resident of San Francisco -- is a very busy politician. Just this week, the highest-ranking woman in American political history commented on everything from the Chinese Yuan to abortion policy, and found time to speak in favor of the Occupy Wall Street protest, while deflecting scrutiny for irregularly reporting one of her husband's real estate investments.

Yet it appears Pelosi, who has represented San Francisco in Congress since 1987, no longer has time for medical marijuana. For three sessions in Congress, Pelosi was a regular co-sponsor of medical marijuana bills, records show, but quit her public support once she assumed Democratic leadership positions.

And this week, as even Republicans have joined cannabis advocates in decrying the Justice Department's new, improved, and relentless crackdown on state-legal weed, Pelosi has been conspicuously silent on this issue, while opining on others including an off-color remark by Massachusetts' Scott Brown.

So where's Nancy been on this key constituent issue? A silent supporter, at best.

Co-sponsoring legislation, especially when said legislation has no chance of being heard in committee, has little impact. Yet it was a sign of support Pelosi sought fit to show in the 105th, 106th, and 107th Congresses, when she signed on as a co-sponsor to three versions of Rep. Barney Frank's (D-Mass.) Medical Use of Marijuana Act. Yet Pelosi's name is absent from the fourth version, introduced when she became House Whip.

When asked to explain this apparent wavering, a Washington, D.C.-based spokesman for Pelosi offered up the following. "As a member of democratic leadership, Leader Pelosi does not typically co-sponsor legislation," deputy press secretary Carlos Sanchez wrote in an e-mail. "However, Leader Pelosi has long supported legislation giving individual states the discretion to allow medical use of marijuana. Her position on this issue has not changed."

If that's true, then how does Pelosi view the actions in her district of U.S. Attorney for Northern California Melinda Haag, who sent letters to three city and state-legal dispensaries in Pelosi's district, giving them 45 days to shut their doors or forfeit their properties and have operators thrown in jail for 40 years? Heck, even a Republican -- Southern California's Dana Rohrabacher -- found time to blast the Justice Department for "wast[ing] scarce federal resources."
 
Who knows? Sanchez did not respond to an e-mail seeking comment, and Pelosi has not said anything publicly on the matter.

Of course, Pelosi is in the Right's political crosshairs constantly, and would do well to reduce liabilities where ever she can. And a former Washington, D.C. lobbyist said that when Pelosi's staff was asked to get the minority leader to support the current rescheduling bill, they said she "supports the issue ... but is focused on winning back the House."

But what good is silent support? "We are deeply concerned about Leader Pelosi's wavering co-sponsorship of the medical marijuana rescheduling bill, especially in light of the voluminous body of evidence indicating the medical benefits of marijuana," the San Francisco chapter of Americans for Safe Access said in a statement.

"If she believes that science must dictate public policy, then leadership on that issue ought to begin by co-sponsoring legislation to decriminalize thousands of medical marijuana patients living in her district, across California, and the jurisdictions that have adopted these laws."
 
Or at least say one way or the other if she's okay with Washington lawyers shutting down law-abiding businesses.

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12 comments
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sfsoma
sfsoma

Pelosi is a particularly egregious example of out of touch politicians.  The muli-millionaires who are so proud of representing the middle class are not helping this middle class person.  Pelosi is in Congress for her personal enrichment just like the rest.

W D Franklin
W D Franklin

It's not just Nancy, it's the whole Obama administration! I work in the industry & seesome many people that are in NEED ofCannabis. If United States govermentcan state that cannabis has no medical benefits, when we all know that's a lie.I like many others believe nothing fromthe polical parties.

JohnDoey
JohnDoey

We need a separation of business and government. We need nonprofit elections. It is absurd what is going on.

billy godwin
billy godwin

Aloha! Like many political mainstreamers,Ms. Nancy plays the game according to the old, tired (COYOTE) rules. What she may not realize, like so many others do not, that direct action , grass-roots style Democracy is coming whether both of these has-been, washed-up, used to be political parties like it or not. They had better wake up and get a clue that Dinosaurs do die and go extinct. Witness the failed U. S. Drug policies that enable many beaureaucratic functionary types to justify their existence at taxpayer's expense and to the citizen's detriment. The Arabs have had their Spring; the Europeans their Summer; now it,s time for an American Fall. And fall it will if these political dinosaurs stay at the helm with their bankrupt ideologies. www.Americans Elect is looking in a completely new Democratic direction with direct as opposed to indirect representational Democracy. Aloha and Occupy Honolulu!

rsteeb
rsteeb

Pelosi needs to step up and defend her constituents and our State's sovereignty.  [Feinstein is a waste of time.]  We are not going to back down.

Sickofthestatusquo
Sickofthestatusquo

Nancy is a useless tool and has been in office too long

rsteeb
rsteeb

Zero for two.  Bummer.  Eh?

gabriel314
gabriel314

It's not that Pelosi's too powerful, it's that she's unprincipled.

richardhg
richardhg

The Federal Government is only relevant in time of war. If there isn't one, they have to start one. The best way is to go to war with the people.

It starts out with bad Federal laws, which stay on the books long after they have been shown to be utterly evil. The Federal Government departments that are set up to enforce these bad laws become ever more unhinged, because they realize that their jobs are all at stake if the law changes.

By the time the dust settles, and the public becomes so enraged that the politicians have to redress the issue, tens of thousands of people have been trampled underfoot, and a vast criminal network has evolved.

The US experience with Prohibition is a great example. In 1926, Fiorella LaGuardia testified before the US Senate, showing how the loss of taxation to the Federal and State Governments had become the funding for organized crime and the source of funds for the corruption of politicians and police. America has never recovered from this entrenchment of organized crime and the resulting corruption. http://prohibition.osu.edu/con...

So now we have a Federal crack-down in California on medical marijuana that is applauded by the drug cartels, because the people who will get closed down are the small-time medical growers who make up their competition. The beneficiaries will be those people who are recreational users, and those in medical need will be back to buying their medicine from shady dealers on street corners while compromised police officers look the other way.

American justice? Just us, baby, just us!

Jim Hudgens
Jim Hudgens

Why do they forget they are there to represent us, not themseves and their interests . .thumbs down

Patrick Connors
Patrick Connors

If Ms. Pelosi had the nerve to conduct a Town Hall meeting in her district with the constituents that have elected her repeatedly a zillion times, she might find that she is in the political crosshairs of the Left as well as the right.

But she refuses to engage us.

#OccupyPelosi

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