After a Quarter-Century, Dana introduces a decent bill: the “Respect State Marijuana Laws Act!”


As though in celebration of his twenty-fifth year in Congress, Dana Rohrabacher (R-Costa Mesa) – who first came to power in 1988 promising to only serve six years – has for the first time introduced what appears to be a decent worthwhile bill with a chance of passage – the “Respect State Marijuana Laws Act,” HR 1523.

It’s been a wry but inescapable phenomenon, that when a Republican elected official (not pointing fingers at all you nice regular folks out there who inexplicably VOTE Republican) departs from the laundry list of orthodox GOP positions, it ALWAYS seems to be due to circumstances involving themselves or their families.  We recall gay-daddies Dick Cheney and Rob Portman bucking their Party on marriage equality;  we remember Hodgkin’s victim Arlen Specter and Alzheimer widow Nancy Reagan defying the party line on stem cell research;  we think of Muslim hubby Grover Norquist schooling his comrades against Islamophobia.  Just so, our addled Dana, who can generally be counted on to depart from GOP orthodoxy on the War on Drugs, is a well-known stoner who once boasted of “doing everything but drinking the bong water.”

Okay, enough snark, almost.  When a guy’s right, a guy’s right.  And this is a bill whose time has come, and it’s starting with strong bipartisan support.  After all, Republicans are SUPPOSED to respect States’ Rights, aren’t they?  And the Democrats are led by a President who at least PROMISED when running that he would stay out of states’ marijuana decisions (his general breaking of that promise notwithstanding.) 

A friend in the medical marijuana community with a better memory than I (WAIT – how did THAT happen?) reminds me that Ron Paul and Barney Frank attempted a similar bill two years ago (which Dana supported) and it went nowhere.  But since then, as the linked article points out, the states of Washington and Colorado have voted to legalize, and popular sentiment has reached 60% in favor of the uptight Feds butting out, as the Reefer Madness generation gradually shuffles off this mortal coil leaving our civil society better off in so many ways.

Well, OUR job now – YOURS and MINE – after giving Dana props for this timely bill, is to make sure it gets the support of Loretta and Allan, Ed, John and Darrel.  Democrats should get off their “tough on law and order” high horse and think about all the minority youths’ lives wasted in this tragic useless War on Drugs.  Republicans should get off THEIR anti-drug high horse and tell the tyrannical Obama administration to butt out of what OUR state decides is right for us.  All of them should consider the undeniable medical benefits of this natural weed, as well as the huge waste of money and law enforcement resources spent in going after it. 

And if any of these five people, when you write them a letter asking them to support Dana Rohrabacher’s HR 1523, tell you that they’ve never puffed on a joint, even in their youth – as a young ice cream server, or college professor, or draft-doger, or car salesman, or car thief – you can tell them to go take a short walk on a long pier:

  • Loretta Sanchez.  12397 Lewis Street, Suite 101, Garden Grove, CA 92840.  Phone: (714) 621-0102.
  • Alan Lowenthal.  100 West Broadway, West Tower Suite 600, Long Beach CA 90802.  Phone: (562)436-3828.
  • Ed Royce.  210 W. Birch Street, Suite 201, Brea, CA 92821.  Phone:  (714) 255-0101.
  • John Campbell.  20 Pacifica, Suite 660, Irvine, CA 92618.  Phone: (949) 756-2244.
  • Darrel Issa. 1800 Thibodo Road, #310, Vista, CA 92081. Phone: 760-599-5000.

Remember, one real physical letter is worth ten phone calls, which in turn are worth … well, don’t even bother with e-mails.

About Vern Nelson

Greatest pianist/composer in Orange County, and official troubador of both Anaheim and Huntington Beach (the two ends of the Santa Ana Aquifer.) Performs regularly both solo, and with his savage-jazz quintet The Vern Nelson Problem. Reach at, or 714-235-VERN.