Republicans Feud Over Drug-Reform Legislation

Republicans Feud Over Drug-Reform Legislation
Posted by FoM on February 06, 2002 at 08:32:12 PT
By Jonathan McDonald, The New Mexican
Source: Santa Fe New Mexican 
A blustery exchange this week between Republican lawmakers on opposite sides of the drug-reform debate highlights the schism the issue has created among GOP legislators.Rep. Ron Godbey, R-Cedar Crest, argued with fellow Republican Reps. Joe Thompson of Albuquerque and Dan Foley of Roswell at Monday's House Judiciary Committee meeting. During the exchange, Thompson asked newspapers to print that Godbey had admitted he wasn't aware of any bills before the Legislature this year that would decriminalize drugs other than marijuana.
Godbey on Tuesday refused to acknowledge Thompson's take on his statements because the current drug-reform legislation "is part of an incremental attempt to legalize drugs one step at a time."The bills aimed at allowing the use of prescription marijuana for medical purposes (SB8) and removing criminal sanctions for the possession of small amounts of pot (HB25) "would not legalize heroin and cocaine - just toking marijuana ... but (reform advocates will) be back next year," Godbey said.A fierce opponent of drug reform, Godbey also said a third drug-reform bill (SB331) making treatment instead of incarceration mandatory for first-time nonviolent offenders "is a subtle way to legalize heroin and cocaine" because it removes the sanction of jail time for users of those drugs.Still, Thompson said Godbey's comments are the first time one of the drug-reform opponents has admitted nothing before the Legislature this year would actually legalize drugs such as cocaine and heroin.Rep. Gail Beam, D-Albuquerque, stepped into the GOP fray, stating she and Godbey "agree to disagree" on the issue of drug reform.But Beam questioned Godbey about radio ads paid for by Protect New Mexico, a group opposed to the drug-reform bills. In the ads, a narrator hints the Legislature is trying to legalize heroin."It lowers the quality of the debate that citizens of this state are entitled to" by lumping allegations of heroin legalization into the mix, Thompson said."What do people have to fear from the truth?" asked Beam.Godbey said he isn't a member of Protect New Mexico and hasn't heard the ads, much less had anything to do with producing them."I will take a blood oath," Godbey said. "I will take a polygraph. ... I had nothing to do with those ads."This week, a group called Improve New Mexico - which is part of the Lindesmith Center, a drug-reform group that has been a driving force in the effort to liberalize drug laws - began a radio ad campaign in an effort to counter Protect New Mexico.A commercial heard on KKOB-AM radio features two women talking about "scare tactics" used by anti-drug reform proponents. The actors in the ad deny anyone is trying to legalize hard drugs.Katharyn Huffman, director of Lindesmith's New Mexico office, said the ads were purposely similar to Protect New Mexico's because the organization is trying to "clear up misinformation" she said was in the other group's ads.Steve Terrell contributed to this report. Source: Santa Fe New Mexican (NM)Author: Jonathan McDonald, The New MexicanPublished: February 06, 2002 Copyright: 2002 The Santa Fe New MexicanContact: letters sfnewmexican.comWebsite: Articles & Web Sites:The Drug Policy Alliance New Mexico Should Pass Marijuana Bills Debate Heats Up Contradiction Rethink Supporting Drug Bills 
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Comment #2 posted by Nuevo Mexican on February 06, 2002 at 10:46:35 PT
The heat is on!!!
Go Improve New Mexico!!!!!! Counter Protect New Mexicos' misleading ads!!!!! Touche'!
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Comment #1 posted by p4me on February 06, 2002 at 09:56:17 PT
it is time to talk
The ads have begun for the elections in North Carolina. Elizabeth Dole is running for Senator now that Jesse Helms has retired. Normally I would have voted for her except she would just try to push the pendulum to the right and it needs to start swinging back to center. So now is the time to raise the question on drug law reform. These elections come only once every two years and this year 36 governors will have elections. I am waiting for the ads that say "My mom needs marijuana for her back" and then another says "My grandmother needs marijuana for her eyes." And then the AIDS patient that says I need marijuana for my appetite. I need marijuana for my nerve pain. I need marijuana for my nauasea. I need marijuana to survive with some dignity." If the political ads in the nine states with MMJ laws hitting the nail on the head, I just wonder what kind of America this really is.I hope that the young people begin a campaign to bring one seed back from the countries they travel to. There is someone looking for that seed. If the young people were looking for something that needs changing it is surely the absurd marijuana laws and the inhumane MMJ Schedule One Lie.
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