Barbara Lee In, Nancy Pelosi Out of Pot Bill

By Chris Roberts
|  Thursday, Jun 23, 2011  |  Updated 1:44 PM PDT
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Marijuana Cupcake Anyone?

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Rep. Nancy Pelosi of San Francisco isn't getting behind a marijuana legalization bill, like her Democratic colleagues in Fremont and Oakland.

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Barbara Lee is all in. Nancy Pelosi is all but entirely out.

The marijuana legalization bill to be introduced in Congress by Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) and Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX) is of great interest to the Bay Area, where the country's legal cannabis movement began, and where federal law enforcement would be thrown out of the marijuana enforcement game once and for all if the bill becomes law.

Bay Area members of Congress are getting on board: Rep. Barbara Lee of Oakland and Rep. Pete Stark of Fremont have both signed onto the marijuana legalization bill as co-sponsors. But the heaviest hitter of all, former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic Minority Leader, appears to be taking a pass.

Pelosi "rarely co-sponsors legislation," her spokesman told SF Weekly on Wednesday. Asked if Pelosi would be joining her Bay Area colleagues in supporting the Paul-Frank marijuana bill, Pelosi's people did not reply.

Lee will support the bill, expected to be introduced on Thursday, "because I believe it is time to turn the page from this failed drug war," she told the Oakland Tribune.

"The human cost of the failed drug war has been enormous -- egregious racial disparities, shattered families, poverty, public health crises, prohibition-related violence, and the erosion of civil liberties," Lee said, according to the newspaper. "And of course the cost in dollars and cents has been staggering as well -- over a trillion dollars spent to incarcerate tens of millions of young people."

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