The Republican Party is at a divide about what to do about legalized marijuana. On one side, there's the anti-legalization crowd who support Attorney General Jeff Session's desires to crack down on cannabis even in states where its legal. On the other side, there's the more libertarian Republicans who think the government should stay out of it. And while these two sides have tried to avoid confrontation, one congressman is calling out fellow conservatives on the issue.
Republican Dana Rohrabacher is a congressman from California who supports medical marijuana. Rohrabacher was one of the people who created an amendment that prohibited the federal government from using its resources to prosecute marijuana cases in state's where it was legal. In recent months, Sessions has called on Congress to overturn the amendment and allow him to do exactly that.
Rohrabacher has continued to support the amendment and recently published an op-ed in The Washington Post in which he called for his fellow Republicans to push back against Sessions' plan. He makes several arguments that he believes should appeal to conservatives. He points out that the Republican party has historically supported states' rights over federal intervention. He notes the increasing medical evidence that marijuana isn't just not dangerous, but possibly beneficial to people who use it. And he also talks about how economic theory says that legalizing marijuana is simply logical.
Perhaps the best point Rohrabacher makes is about how the vast majority of Americans (around 80 percent) support medical marijuana, yet Republicans continue to push back against it. He says, "Most Americans know this. The political class, not surprisingly, lags behind them."
At some point the Republican party will realize they're on the side opposed to the majority of Americans and begin to change their opinion on marijuana. Until then, more conservatives like Rohrabacher will need to continue the fight inside their own party to protect the laws already in place.