Robert Watson’s Original Political Encounter With Medical Marijuana

Republican Minority Leader Robert Watson was one of the House sponsors of Rhode Island’s medical marijuana law passed in 2005 (H6052). Rep. Watson’s name is listed as second sponsor on both the original bill and the as-amended bill that passed the RI House with his vote on June 22 of the 2005 session.
However, he then voted against the veto override that eventually made the bill into law (it had been vetoed by Republican Governor Donald Carcieri). The switch is recognizable to Rhode Island political-watchers as part of the enduring mystery of the leadership of Bob Watson.
And now prepare watch progressives turn on a dime, away from the hypocrisy argument to “he was just sponsoring a law to benefit himself” argument…
UPDATE:
A second medical marijuana bill, this one with a Senate number (S0710), also made its way through the RI legislature in 2005. Again, Rep. Watson voted for the original bill (June 24, 2005) but against making it into law over the Governor’s veto.

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Swazool
Swazool
10 years ago

Funny thing is, yesterday I thought that Watson was a pot head, nothing wrong with that.
Now, after hearing his excuse of pancreatic flare ups, I think he has a drinking problem. Everyone knows what causes problems with the pancreas! And the guy did say he had 2 beers, if you are so afraid of the horrific pain why not skip drinking all together? It is the drinking that causes the pain.
Come on now, this guy is in a hole and keeps digging, and the lemming RINOs in the GA just nod and support him.
This GA we have is a comedy of errors.

Patrick
Patrick
10 years ago

The part that I often find comedic is when they’ve “lawyered up” and come up with their story 24-48 hours later. If what he’s saying now is the truth, then why isn’t that in the police report. You get pulled over with drug accessories, they start questioning you, you explain to the cop what it’s for, that goes into the report. Nothing like that gets mentioned until today, four full days later. Interesting.
And of course he’s under no requirement to do so, but is he willing to waive his HIPAA rights with his doctor to explain this pancreatitis? Or release medical reports of this condition? Granted that it’s also irrelevant since he admitted he doesn’t have an official medicinal use permit.
Just legalize the stuff and be done with all this silliness.

jparis
jparis
10 years ago

Glad we have a thread now. Not particularly interested in turning on a dime — I was always concerned about the DUI, not the possession.
Sounds like this dude is master of the flip-flop though. What kind of voting record is that if you aren’t trying to just confuse your constituents?
You aren’t kidding about “enduring mystery”.

jparis
jparis
10 years ago

Sorry for the double post, but wanted to respond to Justin from the other thread:
“Look, politicians are human, and I’m more concerned with the wisdom of the policies that they support than with their ability to resist human temptations.”
Here we actually agree — but that’s what I’m getting at on drug policy in general. These are the people who can decide whether or not something they themselves use is a taxable regulatable substance. I think we should hold them to the coals on ending “The Drug War” (saving taxpayers money), and have them get honest with themselves with where we are at as a society… as fallible humans.
As public figures, it actually sucks that we use examples of their lives. I am not a fan of the celebrity-watching society in politics or entertainment. I just dunno that we’d have grabbed your attention with “some kid from College X got arrested for possession and DUI yesterday.” Do you think so?
“I don’t think Watson’s political career should be ended by this incident, so it would be a bit premature for me to speculate about who should replace him.”
Point made and taken. He’s not even guilty of anything yet. And he’ll probably come out of this just fine — but I’ll agree with Bruce on RIFuture who wishes everyone were afforded the same process, or perhaps none at all save for the DUI.

Tim
Tim
10 years ago

Andrew, the problem with Bob Watson is that he’s been either a state Senator or Rep for twenty years.
Twenty years!
He’s not a Republican nor is he a reformer. He’s a card carrying member of the Statehouse party (aka the good old boy network) so there really should not be any mystery regarding his “leadership”. Watson has sat in that den of inequity for twenty years.
He’s part of the furniture up there and couldn’t lead his way out of a paper bag.

michael
michael
10 years ago

I’m dusting myself off after getting back into the chair I just fell out of when I realized I agree with Tim.
As for Rep. Watson, I like his image even less after his explanation, and think I wouldn’t like the person very much either.

Monique
Editor
10 years ago

It’s been almost comical to listen to the criticism of Bob Watson that has been expressed, usually with far more volume than coherence, for the last couple of days on the radio – 80% of fact-free.
Watson may well be open to criticism with regard to this incident. But it is not on the basis of either his voting record or his (yup, still funny) comment a couple of months ago about potentially misplaced priorities at the General Assembly.

michael
michael
10 years ago

“It’s been almost comical to listen to the criticism of Bob Watson that has been expressed, usually with far more volume than coherence, for the last couple of days on the radio – 80% of fact-free.”
Replace “Bob Watson” with “public sector employees” and welcome to my world.

bella
bella
10 years ago

Watson is probably as entrenched in the General Assembly as anyone in the state -the Dems usually don’t even run an opponent against him.
If any of his constituents are here, I’d love to hear their views on him back home.

BobN
BobN
10 years ago

Michael, it only appears to be “80% fact-free” to you because you are unwilling to look at the facts. Keep up your fantasy of the heroic union movement defending workers from the evil capitalists. The leaders of the Left need people like you to be their drones. If you faced the facts and thought for yourself for a minute, they would lose all their power. And that prospect terrifies them.

michael
michael
10 years ago

Bob, I don’t care if unions defend workers from evil capitalists. I work for the government. The IAFF and Local 799 have worked for me, and have my full support. This crazy notion that I need a union because I’m somehow less of, or weaker than is nonsense.

BobN
BobN
10 years ago

I never said that about you. I am saying that you are willfully blind to the intimidation tactics, corruption, and thuggery of the union leaders and their lackeys.
Again, I am not anti-union. I am anti-union monopoly.

michael
michael
10 years ago

Unfortunately, Bob,I’m also willfully blind to the intimidation tactics, corruption, and thuggery of the people who run the country, as are most of the people who live here. Nothing is perfect, all I can do is live my life as honestly as I can or spend the rest of it in a futile battle against “the man.”

Max Diesel
Max Diesel
10 years ago

“Glad we have a thread now.”
Boy I’m glad AR could help you out jparis but I don’t recall having been given that opportunity on RIFuture when Cicilline’s shenanigans exploded on every media outlet in Rhode Island. Without making excuses for Mr. Watson (because there is none), Cicilline’s acts and omissions affected a much larger portion of society than Watson’s but yet RI Future maintained ‘radio silence.’

Patrick
Patrick
10 years ago

Tim wrote:
“He’s a card carrying member of the Statehouse party (aka the good old boy network)”
Need proof of this? Watson’s lawyer is Tim Williamson.
‘nuf ced

Monique
Editor
10 years ago

“Cicilline’s acts and omissions affected a much larger portion of society than Watson’s”
Indeed, let’s not lose sight of that. A great many people will pay the price for David Cicilline’s official misdeeds; no one, other than Bob himself, will have to do so for Watson’s personal misjudgement.

Dan
Dan
10 years ago

Max – The radio silence over at RIFuture regarding Cicillini isn’t necessarily out of embarrassment or willful ignorance. That blog has degenerated so far this year that they probably just don’t have the contributers anymore. Bruce Reilly does his prisoner rights schtick, Pat Crowley is their professional union shill, and other than that, it’s just a bunch of angry college revolutionaries railing against Wall Street with cellphone text message-like posts now.

jparis
jparis
10 years ago

@Max Diesel: “Boy I’m glad AR could help you out jparis but I don’t recall having been given that opportunity on RIFuture when Cicilline’s shenanigans exploded on every media outlet in Rhode Island.”
I don’t have editorial rights at RIFuture. Sometimes, if I ask nicely, I am allowed to post stuff that ends up on the front page after a while.
That said, I’d welcome a composed thread detailing the *issues* at hand with Rep. Cicilline there, because I think there is an issue of politics and policy directly interfering with each other that bears exploring. Sully’s flame-baiting doesn’t count.
@Dan: Gee thanks man. I’m at least quite a few years out of college, heh.
Though I will agree that RIFuture doesn’t have nearly the level of activity over here at AR these days, and that’s something I’d like to see change… cohesive leadership is something progressives have generally been far behind you guys on.

BobN
BobN
10 years ago

I wonder if the “double standard” is that Watson was singled out for unusually harsh treatment not because he is a legislator, but because he is a Republican.
I wonder whom the Connecticut FOP endorses and who gets their campaign contributions?
We heard how those who have the “right” political connections benefit in the story revealed earlier this week on Buddy’s show about a dirtbag who assaulted a cop being personally sprung by Chief Shinybadge over the objections of his officers.

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