Pubdate: Fri, 30 Mar 2007
Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution (GA)
Copyright: 2007 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Author: Gerry Smith, Cox News Service
Cited: Marijuana Policy Project
Bookmark: (Marijuana - Medicinal)
Bookmark: (Decrim/Legalization)


Washington -- Bob Barr, a former Georgia Republican congressman and 
anti-drug crusader, has become a lobbyist for the Marijuana Policy Project.

The switch marks the latest chapter in the surprising evolution of 
the four-term lawmaker from Georgia's 7th District since he lost his 
seat in 2002.

Once termed "the worst drug warrior" on Capitol Hill by the 
Libertarian Party, Barr joined the Libertarians last year because, he 
said, of the GOP's move "toward big government and disregard toward 
privacy and civil liberties."

Barr's move puts him in the unusual position of lobbying to overturn 
a law he sponsored.

In 1999, Congress passed a spending bill for the District of Columbia 
that included the so-called "Barr Amendment," which blocked the 
District from allowing medical marijuana use even though 69 percent 
of voters had approved a measure to legalize it.

Barr declined to comment for this story, but told the Politico 
publication that "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."

Aaron Houston, the project's government relations director, said 
Barr, a former U.S. attorney, will bring "gravitas and credibility" 
to the project's lobbying operations, particularly among Republicans.

But Rep. Mark Souder (R-Ind.), who once stood by Barr in his 
opposition to legalizing medicinal marijuana, said he was dismayed. 
"It is personally disappointing to watch him change from prosecuting 
drug dealers to defending usage of their product," Souder said. 
- ---
MAP posted-by: Richard Lake