NOTE: The change on the Hill became quite noticeable in 2008 and this year became a near Tsunami. Reading these will help you see what I have seen. The staffers have come a long, long way since 2005.
Staffer of the year 2009: In the first minute of a presentation to the staffer of an Oklahoma Republican he stopped me to say he was a Ron Paul type Libertarian and agreed with the COP position. “Now here is how you craft the bill so Republicans can sign on to it.” He added. I began writing what he said & even more as he told me how to sell the bill using a line of reasoning based on the 9th and 10th Amendments. *
This type of conversation with Republican staffers was duplicated another 8 times this year. The tipping point in nigh.*
Staffer of the year 2008: Early this year a Senate staffer called and told me of a bill he was worried about. He explained what the bill would do. ‘What do you think, Howard? Should the Senator oppose this bill?’ Instinctively, I knew this was bad legislation, however I needed articulation.* I quickly called my mentor who gave me chapter and verse why one should oppose the bill. I called back the staffer, (& may I say sounding quite intelligent), I gave him 5 talking points why to advise the Senator to oppose the bill. He forwarded my talking points to members of the judiciary who thanked him for his articulation on the bill.
The bill, sponsored by a Democrat, died without a hearing. Developing relationships since 2005 is beginning pay off.
Staffer of the year 2007: And I quote him “Hypothetically speaking, if drugs were legalized and distributed by clinics, it’s likely that health insurers are going to demand notification when their beneficiaries access those drugs. That means those beneficiaries bills will go way up or they’ll lose coverage all together. This would likely cause another black market to be established, because folks won’t want to lose their health insurance. What do you do about that?
And to be honest, though we didn’t get into it, my personal belief is that you should just keep killing every drug dealer arrested. Eventually you’re going to run out. I’m not sure we can make a real dent in the problem under our current justice system that allows people to deal drugs with little penalty.”
Note: I did answer all his concerns but he was NOT listening.
Staffer of the year 2006: A few minutes into a meeting with a staffer, she declared that, because drug use would skyrocket with legalization, it was a no-go idea. I pointed out that Holland’s marijuana use had dropped to half of America’s after 30 years of legalization. “That’s because they all went onto to use hard drugs!” she replied, tartly.* It took all my 18 years of police-learned discipline not to burst out laughing. 3 minutes later she stated, “So, you want to sell heroin to 10 year olds!” I replied no, give heroin roughly with the same regulations and controls as whiskey. About 1 staffer in 25 reacts to my visit like this one. These people are very comfortable in their dogma* based on ignorance……
BTW, her Republican boss is on the House Judiciary Committee near the top of the seniority. No doubt her boss has the same information/attitude base as the aide. Now you have a better idea why things are so messed up.
Staffer of the year 2005: A Congressional staffer had a new one. His reason for opposing ending prohibition? ‘If we legalize marijuana, eventually the growers will want to receive a subsidy to grow it, the same as farmers receive subsidies to grow tobacco, rice, sugar etc. It will just mean one more expense for the federal government.’ Most of you don’t know it but I do have a poker face. I coolly replied, “Well, this is the first day of my second rodeo. Call me naïve but I have faith that the US Congress will never subsidize cannabis farmers.” The staffer remained unconvinced. I went on to another meeting, chuckling* all the way down the hall of the Rayburn Building.
** 9th and 10th amendments = ein Staat (Bayern Z.B) soll das Vorrecht haben ihre eigene Vorschrifte zu schreiben, nicht die Bundesriegierung in Berlin.
• Nigh = soon, bald, jetzt
• Articulation = erklären
• Tartly = scharf
• Dogma = gleich
Consider being a member of COP at $30.00 or more per year. Add your voice to those who agree that Modern Prohibition/War on Drugs is the most destructive, dysfunctional and immoral policy since slavery & Jim Crow.
Thank you, Wishing you and yours all the best in 2010.
Officer Howard Wooldridge (retired)
Drug Policy Specialist, COP – www.CitizensOpposingProhibition.org
Washington, DC 817-975-1110 Cell
Citizens Opposing Prohibition – Become a Member
PO Box 772 Buckeystown, MD 21717-0772
Modern Prohibition/The War on Drugs is the most destructive, dysfunctional & immoral domestic policy since slavery & Jim Crow.
What I would rather be doing in retirement: time w/ my horse: 2003 en route from Georgia to Oregon – 6 months in the saddle.