Region 1 members, as you may know, occasionally the LNC votes on public policy resolutions. The threshold for public policy resolutions is as follows from our National Bylaws:
The National Committee may adopt public policy resolutions by a 3⁄4 vote with previous notice or by unanimous consent without previous notice.
So it is a fairly high threshold. I wish to share with you my perspective on some areas of disagreement on the LNC.
Members of the LNC have differing views on whether or not we should be adopting many public policy resolutions at all, particularly on items that are clear in our Platform. My position is that often, when there are points of controversy, current news or happenings (such as the breaking news that the current administration – as signaled by its appointment of Sessions- will crack down on marijuana and the states – such as Colorado – that have exercised their privilege to legalize), or potential confusion, that merely having things in our Platform is not enough. Many of the same members will in another context talk about how platforms are not terribly important and are only of interest to political wonks. I find this contradictory and see a place for both, and that is how I vote.
Another perspective is that this is a “waste of the committee’s time.” I also disagree with this. The non-officers are very busy in their own states, but overall, we do not do that much between meetings as a requirements, and frankly, this is what we signed up for. With the privilege and the honour comes time commitments and duties.
Presently we have a resolution on de-scheduling marijuana before the LNC and the above disputes erupted as they do each time there is a public policy resolution. This resolution was proposed by me at the request of the Alaska affiliate (a member affiliate of Region 1). Colorado, Hawaii, and Montana have thus far written to give their support of my introduction. I would like to get a sense of the support in the region for this resolution being passed by the LNC. Here is the wording:
Co-Sponsors: Harlos, Demarest, Starchild, Redpath
WHEREAS the current federal classification of cannabis under the Controlled Substances Act as a Schedule 1 drug having no medicinal value is an inaccurate classification at odds with the findings of the National Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Medicine and those of many other researchers; and
WHEREAS this dishonest classification is an impediment both to useful academic research, and to realizing the economic benefits that legalization offers; and
WHEREAS cannabis is a drug with few harmful effects and zero documented fatalities which is even safer when not forced into the black market, where labeling, testing, and quality control are less prevalent; and
WHEREAS drug prohibition in the United States has been an unmitigated failure, with a third of Americans self-reporting having used cannabis despite strict penalties against its sale, manufacture and use, and over $1 trillion of taxpayer money in a futile effort to enforce drug laws, including those pertaining to cannabis; and
WHEREAS the black markets created by these unconstitutional statutes have led to increased violence both in the United States and in other countries such as Mexico where cannabis and other drugs are produced for the U.S. market; and
WHEREAS millions and millions of peaceful Americans have been arrested, imprisoned, fined, or otherwise needlessly criminalized and stigmatized, potentially for life, because of their use of cannabis, and the 2 million Drug War prisoners currently behind bars in the United States have given this country the highest documented incarceration rate of any nation on Earth, accounting for a reported 25% the world’s prisoners; and
WHEREAS drug prohibition has been the major driver of the practice of asset forfeiture, in which over $13 billion has been seized by law enforcement across the country, often from people who have not been convicted of, or sometimes even charged with, any crime; and
WHEREAS this gross violation of legal due process, has incentivized the arbitrary and often discriminatory arrest of U.S. residents in what has come to be known as “policing for profit” ; and
WHEREAS unconstitutional statutes attempting to control what people choose to put into their own bodies constitute a vast and dangerous government intervention into people’s personal lives violating the cherished American values of individual freedom and choice; and
WHEREAS polls now show that most Americans support legalizing cannabis for both medical and recreational use, and voters in multiple states have voted accordingly;
NOW THEREFORE be it resolved that the Libertarian National Committee supports the immediate full legalization and federal de-scheduling of cannabis and industrial hemp products, as a much-needed first step toward ending the destructive “War on Drugs” entirely, in accord with the Libertarian Party’s platform.
So I ask Region 1 members to take this quick poll to give me a sense of your support or not for this resolution and whether or not you think such resolutions are a waste of LNC time. You can read the LNC votes discussion for background (though there was another resolution on activists being detained in Cuba that formed an additional part of the background and will be the subject of an additional update email).
As always, I would love to hear from you on any issue of concern.