About the GOP
In the first Republican Party Platform from June 18, 1856 it says, “This Convention of Delegates, assembled in pursuance of a call addressed to the people of the United States, without regard to past political differences or divisions, who are in favor of restoring the action of the Federal Government to the principles of Washington and Jefferson.”
Interestingly enough, both of these founding fathers grew hemp on their plantations. There are also reports that these men enjoyed smoking the sweet hemp in their pipes. Thomas Jefferson is said to have procured precious hempseed, smuggled from China, while visiting Turkey as the envoy to France. At the time, it was a capital offense to export these hempseeds from China.
According to the United States Census of 1850, there were over 8,000 hemp plantations (over 2,000 acres) growing cannabis. This did not include the many smaller farms and millions of families that were growing hemp.
If you study the history of the drug war, you will find a system of ignorance, bigotry and manipulation of public opinion for political gains. Much of this manipulation was accomplished by antagonizing racial biases. Lies and propaganda were spread about the effects of marijuana on Hispanics and African-Americans and their danger to society.
The Republican Party was founded on the preservation of the Bill of Rights and individual freedom. Unfortunately, modern day Republicans have not shown the same commitment to civil rights and individual freedom by being complicit in the War on Drugs. In fact, the Republicans have expanded the Drug War as much as the Democrats in an effort to see who can be the “toughest” on crime.
A new generation of Republican leaders is emerging. Senators such as Rand Paul of Kentucky, Ted Cruz of Texas, Mike Lee of Utah and others have addressed the failure of our current drug policy. Senator Paul has been an outspoken critic of federal mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines and has introduced a bill to legalize industrial hemp.
Many Republican voters are concerned about the marijuana issue, even if some fear talking about the issue in public. These men and women believe a compassionate conservative approach to marijuana policy is much better than the current system of mass-incarceration. Polling shows that a majority of Americans support legalized marijuana that is regulated similar to alcohol. In Texas, a majority of Republicans support the elimination of arrest and jail time associated with a marijuana arrest. Instead, they would prefer a civil penalty not to exceed $100 for possession of one ounce or less of marijuana.
At least 23 states have passed legislation dealing with medical marijuana, decriminalization, or legalization. Over the next six years, many other states are expected to follow the lead of Colorado and Washington which recently legalized marijuana and setup a regulated system to ensure safety from seed to sale. This sensible approach has created massive economic activity and will generate large tax revenues for these states. Access to marijuana is also safer for adults and more difficult for children.