Congress has been near paralyzed by the manner in which the Republicans have made 60 the new 50 and have filibustered virtually everything proposed by Democrats. There’s still one thing which was able to pass by unanimous consent–a bill to double the penalties for marijuana brownies. Talking Points Memo reports:
If you thought that the Republican filibuster of the tax-cutting small business bill meant that the Senate didn’t have a particularly productive day Thusday, you’d be wrong. In fact, the Senate authorized the issuance of a conservation stamp, created Polycystic Kidney Disease Awareness Week, gave a little money to the Patent and Trademark office and, oh yeah, doubled the penalties for making pot brownies. Yes, the same week that Congress significantly reduced the racially-charged crack-powder sentencing disparity, they also voted to create one between pot brownies and dime bags.
The Senate voted to pass by unanimous consent (that it, without a roll call vote) S. 258, known colloquially as the Saving Kids From Dangerous Drugs Act of 2010, introduced by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and co-sponsored by Sen. Evan Bayh (D-IN) and Charles Grassley (R-IA). While the bill is intended to keep drug dealers from cutting their product with sweets in order to make them more marketable to children, it applies to any drug mixed with with something that modifies its flavor — as making pot brownies does — if the person making the brownies “intends” to give it to someone under 18. At that point, the person making the pot brownies would be subject to twice the normal penalty of any person caught distributing weed.
Michael Whitney of Firedoglake believes that Diane Feinstein’s real goal is to stop medical marijuana. Jacob Sullum at Reason thinks this is giving Feinstein too much credit, not believing that Feinstein put that much thought into the bill she sponsored.