Alarming News

March 29, 2007

Wait. What?

Bob Barr, who as a Georgia congressman authored a successful amendment that blocked D.C. from implementing a medical marijuana initiative, has switched sides and become a lobbyist for the Marijuana Policy Project.

Lest you think it was a financial decision, Barr says:

“I, over the years, have taken a very strong stand on drug issues, but in light of the tremendous growth of government power since 9/11, it has forced me and other conservatives to go back and take a renewed look at how big and powerful we want the government to be in people’s lives,” Barr said.

In November of 1998, DC voters overwhelmingly approved D.C. Initiative 59, a measure that legalized marijuana for medical treatment. Barr’s amendment prevented the wishes of DC residents from being realized. This is antithetical to the small government he claims to prefer. Blaming his change of heart on medical marijuana use on the “growth of government power” is tasteless–and nonsensical in light of his previous embrace of big government intrusion.

Posted by Karol at 03:25 AM |
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Bob Barr jumped the shark politically when he chose to get involved with the Libertarian Party.

Posted by: Jacob at March 29, 2007 at 6:57 am

Isn’t DC governed by Congress? The DC Metro government is unconstition so it can enact any law anyway.

Posted by: Anh at March 29, 2007 at 11:28 am

This is off-topic but, the whole medical MJ thing is kind of silly. There’s no place to grow it in DC (unless you plant it on The Mall), and I can’t imagine that the feds would let them ship it in.

Posted by: David at March 29, 2007 at 12:25 pm

Why is this a suprise ? Barr is doing the same thing a lot of Republicans have. They talk about small government when out of office and then support big government once they are in power. I think the history of the American government under President Bush, Speaker Hassert and Leaders Lott and Frist remains more than ample proof of this.

Posted by: Von Bek at March 29, 2007 at 12:28 pm

“There’s no place to grow it in DC (unless you plant it on The Mall), and I can’t imagine that the feds would let them ship it in.”
– People can grow it themselves. And the feds do grow their own, as well. Or is “G-13″ just a street legend? I think George Washington had some success growing hemp at Mount Vernon, and Thomas Jefferson at Monticello.
Also: Why is it “tasteless” or “nonsensical” for someone to realize the error of his past ways. So long as he’s on the right path now, why critique?

Posted by: FunkyPundit at March 29, 2007 at 1:07 pm

Also: Why is it “tasteless” or “nonsensical” for someone to realize the error of his past ways. So long as he’s on the right path now, why critique?
He’s flipped from someone that was using big government intrusion to stop medical marijuana use to someone who supports medical marijuana and pretends it’s on the basis of small government. I just don’t buy that his conversion has anything to do with government growth after 9/11 and I think it’s gross to include it in his spiel.

Posted by: Karol at March 29, 2007 at 1:31 pm

Had I written this post, perhaps I would have requested Barr denounce his 1997 amendment. Perhaps that would prove his philosophical evolution is not being faked, and can be welcomed.

Posted by: FunkyPundit at March 29, 2007 at 1:50 pm

Karol, if you don’t think it had anything to do with big-government growth in the wake of the Patriot Act/Military Commissions Act, etc., to what do you attribute his flip?
I went to the debate with Barr and Ethan Nadelmann at the Smith Family Foundation last month, and his conversion seemed heartfelt. Granted, he is a career politician, so lying probably comes as naturally as breathing. But I just don’t see any percentage in this for him. Certainly he’s not getting rich as a lobbyist for MPP; if anything, he’s burning his bridges with the religious right, where he might have made a decent living on the speaker circuit.

Posted by: Jim Lesczynski at March 29, 2007 at 3:52 pm

I first met Bob Barr in 2005 at the Foundation for Economic Education. The second time was at the recent marijuana “debate” (what was there to debate, though?). Both times he impressed me as a conservative who awakens to libertarianism: values are important to people, but when you consider *who* gets to decides on values and the inherent dangers of a government with the power to enforce them, you’re better off with a government strictly limited to enforcing life, liberty and property. Then people have the freedom to live their own values, so long as they harm no others.
There’s a big difference between Barr’s change of thinking and Kerry’s flip-flopping. Barr supported marijuana drug laws, but a very long time ago. As late as 2001, he still had not realized the dangers of big government, for he voted for the Patriot Act. Still, in years since, he came to regret his vote, and he’s reconsidered his stance on drugs. Though he personally is against marijuana, he believes the greater danger is what government tries to do about it. Radley Balko’s blog at is a great place to read about police raids gone bad.
At our first meeting, I asked Barr if he thought GWB was the evil proto-tyrant that some accuse him of being. He told me at our first meeting that he thinks GWB is a likeable man, a good man, though misguided with respect to the Constitution and freedom. At our second, I asked if he still had the same opinion, considering the warrantless wiretapping and everything else that had surfaced since. He said he “would not be so charitable” now with describing GWB, and stopped there.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at March 30, 2007 at 3:09 pm

The same political hacks that want to make the use of so called medical marjiuana legal want to ban guns i mean they should have hung that THIMOTHY LEARY idiot

Posted by: golden phoenix at April 2, 2007 at 11:19 am
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