Many canna-businessmen were disappointed their best bud in Congress, Dana Rohrabacher (R-Putin’s Bongwater), lost his re-election bid last November. “Arguably the most vocal marijuana supporter on the Republican side of the House” is how the online cannabis news source Marijuana Moments described Rohrabacher in its political obit.
While the Surfin’ Congressman had been one of four founders of the nearly 2-year-old Congressional Cannabis Caucus, California will still be represented there by incoming co-chairwoman Representative Barbara Lee (D-Oaksterdam).
Despite being as far to the left of center as Rohrabacher is to the right of it, she and her departed former colleague joined hands in seeking an end to the Afghanistan war. When then-President Barack Obama was considering escalating the quagmire in 2009, Rohrabacher rose on the House floor to say, “Sending in more U.S. combat troops is not the answer. Reaching out to the villages and tribal elders and establishing local militias—perhaps buying their goodwill, if need be—these are the things that will work.”
“I listened to his opening statement,” said Lee, who had cast the lone congressional vote in 2001 against the use of force in Afghanistan. “I could have given it.”
Months earlier, Rohrabacher broke from his party to support an unsuccessful measure Lee co-sponsored that would have required Barry to prepare an Afghanistan exit strategy.
In recently becoming the first woman and first person of color to co-chair the Congressional Cannabis Caucus, Lee called for the reform of marijuana laws that disproportionately impact Latinos and African-Americans negatively. She has sponsored numerous reform proposals in the past, including the recent Marijuana Justice Act, which would de-schedule cannabis and prevent federal agencies from spending money to enforce prohibition against those following state legalization laws.
The forced retirement of Rohrabacher, who crafted similar legislation last year, has not ended congressional support for cannabis reform in Orange County. Representative Lou Correa (D-Anaheim) earlier this month joined Louisiana Republican Clay Higgins in introducing a bill directing the Department of Veterans Affairs to study the medicinal benefits of the herb.
Even Rohrabacher’s former 48th Congressional District has been left in good, green hands. TheCannabisIndustry.org reports that freshman Representative Harley Rouda (D-Laguna Beach) “supports legalizing, taxing, and regulating marijuana production and sales for adults over 21; making marijuana legal for patients with certain medical conditions; allowing states to determine their own marijuana policies; legalizing of non-psychoactive hemp for industrial, food, and medical products; and making medical cannabis an option for veterans in the VA system.”
Enjoy Maine, Dana.
Matt Coker has been engaging, enraging and entertaining readers of newspapers, magazines and websites for decades. He spent the first 13 years of his career in journalism at daily newspapers before “graduating” to OC Weekly in 1995 as the paper’s first calendar editor. He went on to be managing editor, executive editor and is now senior staff writer.