According to Ryan J. Reilly at HuffPo, high-profile Republican Congressman Dana Rohrbacher (R-Calif.) urged his fellow Republicans to revisit their anti-marijuana leanings, even going so far as to endorse the possibility of state-approved recreational marijuana:
“My message to my fellow Republicans is: Wake up and see where the American people are, but also see what the fundamental principles are in this debate. The fundamental principles are individual liberty, which Republicans have always talked about, limited government, which Republicans have always talked about, the doctor-patient relationship, which of course we’ve been stressing a lot about lately, and of course states’ rights and the 10th Amendment,” he said.
“I’m very proud that 50 of us finally got the message that making sure that people have the right, or at least the states have a right, to make the determination on this particular issue is more consistent with our philosophy of letting the states make the criminal justice decisions that our founding fathers had in mind,” Rohrabacher said. “It is counterproductive to the welfare of the people of this country to have our limited resources … going to put in jail someone who’s smoking a weed in their backyard or something like that.”
In light of the election polling we’ve seen in places like Florida and Oregon, support like this from the Republican party could be crucial in 2016 when other states are expected to bring marijuana reform to the polls again, especially if it would require only a shift in thinking from a small number of Republican voters.
It’s also significant in that it reflects the sort of thinking that informs my own opinion of marijuana. It might not be for everyone, but it’s at least the state’s choice, if not a question of individual liberty. And that position ought to carry the day, especially if further study dispels the notion that marijuana is properly classified as a Schedule I substance.