Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Raymond P. Shafer (1917-2006)

[posted by Callimachus]

Here's the kind of Republican we used to grow in Pennsylvania. Raymond P. Shafer, a star athlete and World War II hero, forced the state to modernize its constitution and take up fiscal obligations for public education and social programs. The resultant tax hike proposal cost him his political career but not his independent streak.

President Nixon appointed Shafer chairman of the National Commission on Marijuana and Drug Abuse in 1971, around the time Shafer was named chairman and chief executive officer of Teleprompter Corp.

The Shafer Commission, as it was known, in 1972 recommended that state and federal governments decriminalize the personal use of marijuana but continue to declare it an illegal substance.

"We feel that placed in proper perspective with other social problems, citizens should not be criminalized or jailed merely for private possession or use," Shafer said.

But Nixon rejected the report, saying he would not follow any recommendation to legalize marijuana.

Eventually, the modern GOP leadership will catch up with him.