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February 28, 2017

Congressman Tom Garrett seeks to legalize marijuana

Virginia is more than capable of handling its own marijuana policy, as are states such as Colorado or California.
— Rep. Tom Garrett
The congressman who represents most of Fauquier County on Monday introduced legislation that would decriminalize marijuana possession nationwide.

“I have long believed justice that isn’t blind, isn't justice,” freshman Rep. Tom Garrett (R-Va./5th) said of his bill. “Statistics indicate that minor narcotics crimes disproportionately hurt areas of lower socio-economic status and what I find most troubling is that we continue to keep laws on the books that we do not enforce.

“Virginia is more than capable of handling its own marijuana policy, as are states such as Colorado or California.”

If approved, Mr. Garrett’s proposed legislation, the “Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2017” would take substances off the federal controlled substances list and treat it like alcohol and tobacco.

Originally introduced by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) in 2015, the bill “fulfills a responsibility to create a level playing field across the country,” according to Mr. Garrett, who took office in January.

But, new Attorney General Jeff Sessions, a fellow Republican, said he will take a hard line against marijuana, even though seven states and the District of Columbia have legalized recreational use. Twenty-eight states have decriminalized “pot.”

Of the legislation, Mr. Garrett said: “This step allows states to determine appropriate medicinal use and allows for industrial hemp growth, something that will provide a major economic boost to agricultural development in Southside Virginia. In the coming weeks, I anticipate introducing legislation aimed at growing the hemp industry in Virginia, something that is long overdue."

During his confirmation as the nation’s top law enforcement officer, then-Sen. Sessions pointed out that if legislators did not like this approach, they should change the laws accordingly, the congressman noted.

Mr. Garrett said he anticipates bipartisan support as his legislation makes its way to the appropriate committees in Congressman.

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) serves as the legislation’s lead original cosponsor.
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Jim Griffin · March 8, 2017 at 10:52 am
Rover:

Not about legalization. It is about states making decisions without federal intervention save for those examples that cross state lines.

No one supports intoxicated driving of any kind, shape or form, so your argument is a red herring. It will never be legal to drive intoxicated.

As regards Rep Garrett let's hope we expect all conservatives to support personal freedom and states' rights. Read the poll results here on Fauquier Now: Overwhelming support for Garrett.
Rover 530 · March 7, 2017 at 10:07 pm
Republicans who voted for Rep. Garrett are probably wishing they could take a "mulligan" and do over their votes. I don't recall Garrett talking about this when he was running. Maybe he did. The use of marijuana for medical purposes is well documented and should be controlled by medical practitioners. I hope if Congress legalizes the free and open use of marijuana that they authorize high federal taxes and allow the states to levy high taxes to pay for all the death and damage done by potheads who become emboldened to toke up and drive without fear of penalty.
Jim Griffin · March 1, 2017 at 12:35 pm
Agreed with TF (no relation!) and so I note this is not a legalization proposal Garrett has made. It simply permits states to handle the matter without Federal interference.

Likewise, no endorsement of marijuana here, simply the freedom for someone of age to make their own decisions (and where the substance in question is not *physically* addictive, although alcohol certainly fails such a test).
TFGriffin · March 1, 2017 at 11:35 am
Take it one step at a time. It should be available by medical prescription to treat serious illnesses where its use has been shown to be beneficial, at least for some people. You also have to allow those clinical studies of such usage, however. The FDA is too conservative in not permitting the latter type of studies, for marijuana and some other promising herbs.
citizen observer · February 28, 2017 at 4:21 pm
About time! At the very least it needs to be removed from the Class I narcotics list. It is nowhere near opiates, crack, meth, etc. It should be like alcohol after the Prohibition and left up to each state to do as they so desire.
Brownruss24 · February 28, 2017 at 2:29 pm
Excellent! This is a step in the right direction to end the current conflict between Federal and State law. This issue needs to be left to the states to determine.
Jim Griffin · February 28, 2017 at 1:00 pm
Thank you, Mr. Garrett, for taking a stance against hypocrisy, embracing a nationwide trend that can bring more cash crops to our Virginia farms. Results elsewhere show there are benefits to be gained here, which include re-focusing law enforcement priorities.
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