Saturday, March 31, 2007

DFL Rep. Larry Hosch enables pot bill to pass committee

By Chuck Darrell

When it came time to be counted, Rep. Larry Hosch, DFL Dist 19A, passed, and enabled the smoked medical marijuana bill to clear the Health Care and Human Services Finance Committee this morning.

In a rare Saturday morning session the measure passed by a narrow 7-6 vote. Hoschs' vote would have killed the bill. Voting "yes" were DFL Representatives Cy Thao 65A, Thomas Huntley 7A, Paul Thiessen 63A, Erin Murphy 64A, Tina Liebling 30A, Diane Loefler 59A and Neva Walker 61B.

Opposition included DFL Rep. Julie Bunn 56A, who joined GOP Representatives Laura Brod 25A, Bruce Anderson 19A, Steve Gottwalt 15A, Sondra Erickson 16A, and Matt Dean 52A. Lead GOP Representative Jim Abeler and Joyce Peppin 32A were not present.

Hosch, who skipped the last hearing says he doesn't know where he stands on the bill. Minor amendments to the bill have caused him to reconsider his original opposition. However, no amount of tinkering will address the harm suffered by countless individuals - either directly or indirectly - due to pot.

Marijuana linked to murder in Chaska and Anoka

For example, in December, Chaska native, Grant Everson was convicted in the murder of his mother. According to the Star Tribune, "Grant Everson is convicted of plotting with his friend, Joel Beckrich, 21, to slit Tom and Nancy Everson's throats with box cutters as they slept and use the insurance payout to open a coffee chop and sell marijuana in Amsterdam, the Netherlands."

"The prosecution argued that Grant primarily wanted revenge on his parents for being too hard on him about work and school; he was earning a 0.0 grade-point average, and recently dropped out of technical school, wasn't working and spent a lot of time smoking marijuana and playing video games with friends, including Beckrich," the Star Tribune reported.

In Anoka County Jason Gonsioroski recently pleaded guilty to his daughter's death due to scalding, says the Pioneer Press. Gonsioroski portrayed himself as a "pot-smoking stay at home dad."

According to Lisa Sweetingham of Court TV, in California, In a fit of rage, 16 year old Scott Dyleski bludgeoned to death his 52 year old neighbor. Why? Because Dyleski and a friend had devised a plot to steal credit card numbers from his neighbor and buy marijuana-growing equipment online. The friend was to research the hydroponics equipment needed, while Dyleski would steal his neighbors credit information.

"During trial, prosecutor Hal Jewett theorized that Dyleski killed his neighbor in a case of rage and mistaken identity," says Sweetingham.

Clearly, bad public policy hurts women and children: a mother, daughter, and innocent neighbor all dead in pot related crimes.

Maybe it's time we demonstrated some compassion for these people as well.