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Senator Pat Roberts: Marijuana Legalization Is A State’s Right


pat roberts kansas marijuanaIt wasn’t that long ago that politicians, especially federal politicians, would never come out publicly in support of marijuana reform. I always argued that Republicans should get on board with marijuana policy, if for any reason because they are supposed to be the party that champions state’s rights, which absolutely includes marijuana policy. I wasn’t asking Republicans to come out and campaign for marijuana legalization (although it would be nice if they did), but they should absolutely support the idea that if state voters approve something, the federal government shouldn’t be able to block it.

In a sign of the times, Republican Senator Pat Roberts has essentially stated that he agrees with me. Per the Huffington Post:

Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kansas), who is locked in a tough re-election battle, said Saturday that states should be free to legalize marijuana.

During a debate with independent rival Greg Orman, Roberts was asked for his position on marijuana legalization.

“That’s not a federal issue,” Roberts said. “That’s a state issue. If you want to get a Rocky Mountain high, go west. That should be for the Kansas legislature and the governor to decide, not federally.”

This is a very big deal in the political world. To explain why, I offer up this quote from Tom Angell from the Marijuana Majority:

“When a conservative Republican senator from Kansas tells the feds to let states legalize marijuana in the middle of a tight race for reelection, it’s pretty clear that the days when politicians thought they needed to be as ‘tough’ on drugs as possible in order to get elected are over. But Sen. Roberts needs to do more than just talk about change. At the very least he should team up with Sens. Cory Booker & Rand Paul on their effort to stop federal interference with state medical marijuana laws.”


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Johnny Green


  1. not to be a pest
    but where in the constitution does it say that the cannabis community has to move west?

  2. the legality of the cannabis community is a constitutional and human right
    i do not see how anyone gets the notion that it is lawful to vote away the constitutional rights of the cannabis community – ever

  3. Do more than just preach Mr senator speak openly about commitments. Make it part of your campaign you would get elected. No one will believe in you untill you do more press for legalization if you speak true.

  4. Well put. Yes this phony’s a pander bear and from what I’ve heard, not a nice one at that. Beware of hard right Republicans coming out for legalization. He only wants to use this as a ruse in order to garner votes. Once this is accomplished this guy would see most likely have no problem watching some poor soul shipped off to one of his States private run night-mares.

  5. This is a smoke screen that some republicans are using with an eye on keeping “The lid on it” at the state level in the states that the republicans have control of. If rights had been controlled at the state level we would all be fu~ked. I will not be fooled by this wolf in sheep clothing.

  6. In the free West Coast States the people get to decide if they want legal Cannabis via signature referendums. Not a high and mighty politically expedient Republican suddenly caught in a very tight race with an Independent he hadn’t anticipated. Roberts also said nothing about medical marijuana for his own sick constituents in Sam Brownback Land.

  7. He’s in a safe position because it’s highly unlikely that conservative Kansas will make any significant changes any time soon. Maybe it’s because he thinks–and using the term loosely in his case–that the Feds are more likely to act, so states rights in Kansas is a better way to continue prohibition. More likely he’s running scared because he’s in real danger this election and he’s desperate for votes any way he can find them; we should all hope that strategy backfires.

    You might recall that Jed Bush made similar remarks in Florida. And the same objective comes from that flurry of CBD bills passed this year, to fend off any meaningful reform. I smell a big stinking rat.

  8. It’s “not a federal issue”? So long as cannabis remains a schedule 1 controlled substance under federal law, it IS a federal issue. He conveniently did not state his position on changing federal law to allow states to legalize cannabis, so while his remarks are welcome, I really see his vagueness on this matter as a way of dodging the question.

  9. It’s a political position of fence straddling. He appears to support marijuana. while in a later date if looks better to be against he can say no he never express support. He just stated an opinion off hand and not his personal stance.

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