Talkin’ Liberty is the segment of Liberty Nation Radio where Tim Donner and Scott D. Cosenza focus on a few of the week’s stories affecting our liberty that deserve a little more attention or may have been overlooked in part or whole. This is from latest episode where we discuss Chuck Schumer’s new support for marijuana decriminalization. You can listen to the show here.
Tim: The good news and the bad news to start this off is that I’m going to have you detail a bill which you clearly would support but, at the same time, I’m going to ask you to say something complementary about Chuck Schumer because-
Scott: Strange days, indeed.
Tim: Strange days, indeed. But the conflict that we faced for some time since several states, five or six of them now led by Colorado, Oregon, Washington, whatever, have legalized, fully legalized marijuana for sale, for possession, for purchase while the rest of the country has a mix of medical marijuana laws, some states have no legal marijuana rights at all. But it’s still a federal crime to even possess marijuana but,
Scott: One joint. One leaf. One anything.
Tim: … The aforementioned Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is introducing a bill that would decriminalize marijuana at the federal level across the nation.
Scott: Well, the important thread from that I think is the Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, and so this is not some outlier senator which have in the past tried to get this through. This is the minority leader of the US Senate who may well be the majority leader of the US Senate. If we’re having this conversation in a year, we’ll see about that but in either case,
Tim: I doubt it.
Scott: … It’s a very important … Well, whether you doubt that the Democrats may get the leadership or the majority in the Senate, the fact that he is their leader and has put fort this legislation, it makes it all that much more important and so it’s a very big bill. Now, the bill itself has not been introduced as of press time. The devil in these things is always in the details before we can say … I certainly will not praise the senator until I read the bill and approve of it maybe not in its entirety but in its majority. There could be provisions in there that are odious to liberty minded people whether it’d be funding of treatment to some huge bill for the taxpayers, for instance, or some other provisions. We don’t know yet. We do know that according to Senator Schumer’s statements and the statements of Mr. House’s press person, that the bill will be introduced and the big announcement was that he now favors legalization. I think it’s probably just a craven political stance for Mr. Schumer I’m guessing, but in any case, we’ll take the win for liberty. If fewer people could be locked up for possessing a plant or selling it or farming it, Tim, I think that this is a great boon for liberty in the country.
Tim: Well, many people do the right things for the wrong reasons. That’s what politics is all about. Some people do the wrong things for the right reason, et cetera. But it seems to me this is going to be instructive in terms of the reaction of the Senate writ large to this bill both Republicans and Democrats … I mean, to some extent, what Schumer is doing, like most politicians, is sticking his finger in the air and taking the pulse and see which way the wind is blowing. This is clearly indicative that the wind is blowing heavily in the direction-
Scott: There’s a lot more money to be made in freedom in this regard than prohibition. The politicians are now figuring that out, that the neo teetotalers and the law enforcement and the prosecutor unions and their checks are just not measuring up. We see this in Colorado, in Washington, in California. The checks from the producers and the sellers, the free market as one, are eclipsing those.
Tim: It’s amazing how roaring tax revenues can tend to guide policy prescriptions.
Scott: I’m referring to campaign contributions and PACs and everything else.
Tim: Well, that as well. Of course.
Scott: That is where-
Tim: We would be remiss though if we didn’t mention Cory Gardner, the senator from Colorado, and his efforts to harmonize, shall we say, federal law with state law where they’re in conflict about the issue of weed.
Scott: I don’t know if I would necessarily go that far to say harmonize. But we had a system in this country pursuant to what was called the Cole Memorandum, something that was issued under the Obama Justice Department that said if people were not violating their own state laws with marijuana, then the federal government wouldn’t prosecute them.
Jeff Sessions who has been shockingly prohibitionist in his policies for marijuana … I mean, marijuana was never that high on the enforcement ladder or radar screen of the federal Justice Department compared to the harder drugs. But Jeff Sessions just has this … Marijuana for him, it’s a personal issue apparently. His prohibitionism animates him. He revoked that memorandum and basically told his US attorneys to go forth and prosecute marijuana cases regardless of the stance of state law.
Colorado, as we know, has legal marijuana and their senator fought hard for them directly with Donald Trump. He blocked all judicial department nominees since that memorandum was revoked and made a deal directly with Trump and the news reports indicate that Sessions was cut out of the discussion entirely…
Tim: Well, isn’t it entirely impractical, if nothing else, for the federal government to be trying to enforce federal law in a state where the train has left the station a long time ago? From a practical standpoint and the investment of man hours, it doesn’t make any sense for the federal government to be prosecuting marijuana crimes, does it?
Scott: It is practical for a prosecutor to have everything in the world be illegal so that when he picks the person out that he wants to charge with crimes, he can just go down a list and add them or-
Tim: But there’s only so much manpower that you can devote.
Scott: Oh, yes. It’s a triage operation to be sure. They haven’t devoted many resources to it. But the point is if you own a dispensary in Colorado, should you be … You have to be worried you’ve got the sword of Damocles hanging over your head that any day they can come and take you away just like you were a murderer or somebody scamming someone and you’re just selling weed in Colorado which your neighbors think is fine. In fact, better than fine, you’re providing a valuable service just like a butcher or a baker.
Tim: And providing valuable tax revenues for the government, of course.
Scott: There you go. Exorbitant tax revenues.