Thirty-two of America’s 50 state legislatures have Republican majorities, and the party of President Trump has at least a split stake in deciding what laws are made and unmade in six more states.
Having Republicans in charge of American lawmaking doesn’t mean the end for drug-policy reform, far from it. Marijuana legalization and medical cannabis are winning in red states, where lawmakers—Republicans, even—have introduced bills to reduce penalties, allow access to marijuana oil and otherwise prove that ending cannabis prohibition is a bipartisan issue.
But then there’s Jason Rapert.
The Arkansas state senator is a Republican. No harm there; most voters in deep, deep red Arkansas are Republicans—and they just voted to allow medical marijuana in November. However, what the voters want isn’t sitting well with Jason Rapert, who is following the lead of other state lawmakers around the country—including Democrats—and finding ways to undermine voter-approved, voter-desired changes to the current unpopular and failed approach to marijuana.
One idea Rapert’s hit upon is to outlaw marijuana smoking.
Medical cannabis could be had in Arkansas, just only as an oil or a topical. Rapert explained his logic to the local Fox affiliate: Smoking (tobacco) is bad, so therefore smoking cannabis must be bad—just as bad as cigarette smoking, in fact. Let’s forget for a second all the evidence to the contrary and remember that this would be consistent with New York State, which also mandates medical marijuana can’t be in flower form. Dumb and unnecessary, but understandable—and something you can work with, at least for a while.
What you can’t work with is Rapert’s other plan.
Last Thursday, he introduced a bill that would delay Arkansas’s medical marijuana program until it became consistent with federal law. In other words, no medical marijuana in Arkansas until the federal government legalizes medical marijuana. A neat trick, and one that in both intention and effect is a big “fuck you” to the 53.66 percent of Arkansans who voted to allow legal medical weed.
As THV11 reported, Rapert is so concerned about weed that he’s willing to break from hallowed conservative values and prop up Big Government in order to keep it away from his constituents.
“When I took office I swore an oath to uphold the laws of the United States and the state of Arkansas. I do not intend to break my oath,” Rapert said in a statement. “We should have no laws at all if they are not going to be respected.”
This is a dishonest cop-out, as a glance at Rapert’s record with respecting several established American laws shows.
This is the same Jason Rapert who has so much respect for the laws of the land that he’s tried multiple times to undo Roe v. Wade (a law of the United States), reinstate bans on gay marriage (which would violate the Constitution)—and, just for a little dose of big crazy, once suggested that we win the war on ISIS by dropping nuclear weapons on the “barbarians.”
Oh, and Donald Trump’s recent ban on immigrants from seven, mostly Muslim, countries, a policy in such flagrant violation of everything America stands for that a court temporarily blocked part of it on Saturday, and the White House caved after two days of protests and allowed green card holders into the country?
Law-loving and law-respecting Jason Rapert loves it.
— Sen. Jason Rapert (@jasonrapert) January 29, 2017
But what shot does the ingenious and nefarious plan of Jason Rapert, terrible person, to block the will of his constituents have? If his legislative record is any indication, it has no chance.
From THV-11: “Since 2013, Rapert has either sponsored or voted on a couple of proposed bills in the Arkansas legislature that have attempted to limit abortions in Arkansas. Each time, a court or judge ruled that the law was unconstitutional.”
In other words, Jason Rapert likes to push legislation that violates the most basic law of the land, and loses every time. Luckily for Arkansas medical marijuana, Rapert is also a terrible lawmaker.
Let’s hope that track record of success continues with his most recent brain fart.
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