Tenn. Lawmaker Applauded by Pro-Pot Activists
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Tenn. Lawmaker Applauded by Pro-Pot Activists
Posted by CN Staff on January 14, 2010 at 07:22:17 PT
By Ben Evans, Associated Press Writer 
Source: Associated Press
Washington, D.C. -- Tennessee Rep. Steve Cohen acknowledged feeling a little lonely as he addressed a crowd of self-described pot smokers just off Capitol Hill. After all, sharing a stage with Cheech and Chong and calling for loosening drug laws isn't usually in the campaign playbook of a sitting congressman.Cohen, a two-term Democrat from Memphis, didn't seem to care Wednesday night as he headlined the pro-legalization Marijuana Policy Project's 15th annual gala, where the famed stoner comedy duo of Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong won a lifetime "trailblazer" award for helping push marijuana use into the mainstream.
"Most of my colleagues didn't want to be here and aren't here. Maybe that says something about my political judgment," Cohen joked to a few hundred people at the $250-per-plate dinner, where sponsors displayed pot "vaporizers" and hemp clothing.A longtime advocate for legalizing medical marijuana for people with chronic illnesses, Cohen also argues that the government is wasting billions of dollars and wrecking people's lives by cracking down on petty drug offenses.He said his own campaign polls have shown nearly 3-1 support for medical marijuana."And that's in Memphis, Tenn.," he said. "This is an issue that's important. It's a freedom issue. It's an intelligence issue. ... I'm proud to be here."Cohen threw in some marketing advice for the crowd, which also heard from former Republican Gov. Gary Johnson of New Mexico and actor Larry Hagman."If you renamed marijuana something like Jack Daniel's or Jim Beam, it'd be a lot more popular," Cohen said. "You need to get a good name for it."His suggestions were well-received - Cohen got nearly as loud an ovation as Cheech and Chong.Thirteen states have legalized medical marijuana, and New Jersey is poised to become the 14th after the state's legislature passed a bill this week.The Marijuana Policy Project is the chief lobbying arm of the legalization movement.Source: Associated Press (Wire)Author: Ben Evans, Associated Press Writer Published: January 14, 2010Copyright: 2010 The Associated PressURL:  -- Cannabis  Archives
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Comment #4 posted by Hope on January 15, 2010 at 08:08:52 PT
Comment 2 Paint with Light
That's so distressing.Maybe this time we will get it done right, completely, and thoroughly.No more killing. No more arrests. No more prison and jail. No more handcuffs. No more cruelty. No more prohibitionist's jihads.
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Comment #3 posted by Paint with light on January 15, 2010 at 00:02:22 PT
"You need a good name for it"
We have one.It is C-A-N-N-A-B-I-S, cannabis.You may not have heard of it, but you will.It encompasses history and all the uses of the plant.Not just recreational or medical.Changing to cannabis and always adding hemp to the discussion may be another advantage we haven't used as well as we will.Of course this was an MPP event.Not a CPP.That is a drug testers job.I do agree with him in that the name has a lot of baggage(in origin as well as lies about the effects).I think he was also saying that if it was an alcohol product there wouldn't be a problem.I am a big fan of Rep Cohen and appreciate his decade long or longer battle for our cause.He has proposed several changes in the laws during his time in politics.Legal like Jack Daniels or Jim Beam.With a cooler name.
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Comment #2 posted by Paint with light on January 14, 2010 at 22:41:09 PT
My rural district in Tennessee plus.
Every year my state representative sends out a check box survey on current political matters.Last year's survey included a question that asked if you were for legal medical marijuana.The response was 84% in favor.There have been at various times strong movements to change the laws in Tennessee.In the early 70's Vanderbilt University Gym hosted the Freaks Vs Fuzz basketball game. The local "drug dealers"(many actually were, most had been busted), played the Metro vice squad and narcs. The head of vice at that time was really named "Stoner". He was the coach. The coach of the Freaks was a guy who ran one of the wilder clubs and well known score spot. The cheerleader for the fuzz were local ladies of the evening. At halftime the Freak cheerleaders brought out a fifteen foot joint(fake) paraded it around the court and pretended to inhale.This was at Vanderbilt University. I have pictures.In the mid seventies there was a benefit in Nashville for Normal headlined by Kris Kristopherson. Several other artists appeared. I remember they brought out the map that showed had many states had decriminalized at that point. Tennessee was considering a decriminalization approach.I have pictures.Carter was in and we were all feeling good.Then we know what happened during Carter's term.Kevin we forgive, but can't forget.The brain washing by Ronnie Raygunz and Nancy "no" began next.During the early 90's we got another movement started. We brought Jack Herer to Memphis for an outdoor day long rally.I have pictures(and a copy of The "Emporer Wears No Clothes", signed with a nice message to me to teach the facts in his book to the people).Then within a month The president of our chapter's wife threatened to leave and take his kids(over our movement), two other main leaders were suddenly busted, and the chapter kinda fell apart.Now here we are almost twenty years later.I'm finally feeling good about the movement again.Legal like alcohol.   
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Comment #1 posted by Sam Adams on January 14, 2010 at 08:33:22 PT
>> Tennessee Rep. Steve Cohen acknowledged feeling a little lonely as he addressed a crowd of self-described pot smokers just off Capitol Hill. He wouldn't be "lonely" in this state, 65% of us agree with him.Perhaps he'd be lonely at a meeting of the AP editorial board??
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