Tags: Immigration | Marijuana | booker | durbin | pelosi | warren

No Backbone in DC Swamp for Consistency on Pot, Immigration

No Backbone in DC Swamp for Consistency on Pot, Immigration

By Monday, 08 January 2018 02:03 PM Current | Bio | Archive

Flouting federal immigration laws by so-called sanctuary cities and the state of California is not the first effort to thumb noses at federal law.

The movement to legalize recreational and so-called  medical marijuana (cannabis) is spreading like a destructive California wildfire and has outpaced the sanctuary city movement — so far. Keep in mind that under federal law, marijuana is considered an illegal Schedule I drug — like heroin and LSD.

In sanctuary cities, it's permissible for local officials to defy federal immigration laws and protect illegal immigrants who have committed crimes. In states that have legalized pot in some form, it's permitted although illegal under federal law.

We now have two federal laws which some state and local politicians feel they are not obligated to follow and, in the case of pot, have state laws contradicting federal ones.

In a March of 2017 article in this space, I said that "Democratic officials in sanctuary cities openly defying federal immigration laws remind me of those Democratic segregationist governors in the south who challenged and disobeyed federal civil rights laws." Their argument — state’s rights!

That’s the same argument being used by those defending their right to legalize pot.

As usual, the Obama administration took the easy way out and by executive fiat instructed U.S. Attorneys not to prosecute pot offenses in states where it was legal under state law.

Now pot advocates and many Republican and Democrat politicians are upset with Attorney General Jeff Sessions because he has rescinded the Obama directive.

They don’t mention that Gov. Chris Christie, R-N.J. Chairman of the president’s commission on opioids, said that the current push for marijuana legalization could further fuel the opioid epidemic.

In a letter released with the commission’s final report in November, Christie said that there was a "lack of sophisticated outcome data on dose, potency, and abuse potential for marijuana which mirrors the lack of data in the 1990’s and early 2000 when opioid prescribing multiplied leading to the current epidemic."

He concluded, "The Commission urges that the same mistake is not made with the uninformed rush to put another drug legally on the market in the midst of an overdose epidemic."

We don’t hear much about those comments in the pot legalization debat.

In the case of sanctuary cities, the consequences to the public of defiance of federal law are very real. Just ask he families of Kate Steinle, Jamiel Shaw II and other relatives of people killed by illegal immigrants. As Immigration Customs Enforcement (ICE) Acting Director Thomas Holman recently said: “More citizens are going to die because of these policies.”

And what about the consequences of the legalization of marijuana? Not many want to discuss the drawbacks of what has happened in those states that have defied the federal law and legalized pot.

As many of us who fought against the legalization of medical marijuana in Florida argued, there are many negative consequences which pot proponents don’t want to discuss.

An excellent Jan. 5 editorial in The Wall Street Journal makes it very clear that legalization of pot brings its own set of harmful consequences.

For example:

  • Colorado has the highest rate of first-time youth marijuana use in the country. Alaska and Oregon ranked third and seventh after legalization of pot in 2014

  • The Colorado crime rate has increased 11 times faster than in other large cities since legalization; and, cannabis use among young people has increased by 65 percent 

  • Drugged driving fatalities doubled in Washington, D.C. following legalization

  • Positive drug tests for marijuana in 2016 increased at more than double the rate in Colorado and Washington, D.C. as nationwide

  • Mexican cartels have moved into Alaska

Instead of taking note of the negatives of pot legalization at a time when many in Congress have been expressing concern and dismay over the opioid epidemic, many members of the U.S. House and Senate quickly objected to Sessions’ move.

Most noteworthy were four senators from the states referenced above — Cory Gardner, R-Colo, whose state rakes in half a billion in pot tax revenue, Lisa Murkowski, R-Alaska, Ron Wyden, D-Ore., and Patty Murray, D-Wash. Of course, Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., joined the chorus since his state is on the way to legalizing recreational pot.

Not to be left out of the attack on Sessions were House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., as well as the usual weak and boring 2020 Democratic wannabees: Sens. Corey Booker, D-N. J., Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., Kamala Harris, D.Calif., and Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.

Instead of "taking the cop-out of blaming the Attorney General for his actions, the editorial said congressional "legalizers," should, "have the courage of their convictions and try to decriminalize pot nationwide."

Let’s see how many of them sponsor and/or join in legislation to have marijuana taken off of the Schedule 1 drug list. As the Journal said, let Gardner and Harris "persuade their colleagues that what’s good for Colorado and California, is good for the country." That applies to all of them.

The same could be said of those members of Congress who support and represent sanctuary cities such as Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Sens. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., Dick Durban, D-Ill., and Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif.

Why don’t they have the courage to offer legislation barring local law enforcement authorities from asking the immigration status of arrestees or cooperating with ICE detainer requests for illegal immigrants who have committed crimes?

Until they do, as to sanctuary cities and pot, they are all hypocrites.

Clarence V. McKee is president of McKee Communications, Inc., a government, political, and media relations consulting firm in Florida. He held several positions in the Reagan administration as well as in the Reagan presidential campaigns. He is a former co-owner of WTVT-TV in Tampa and former president of the Florida Association of Broadcasters. Read more of his reports — Go Here Now.

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In sanctuary cities, it's permissible for local officials to defy federal immigration laws and protect illegal immigrants who have committed crimes. In states that have legalized pot in some form, it's permitted although illegal under federal law.
booker, durbin, pelosi, warren
Monday, 08 January 2018 02:03 PM
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