Former Georgia Rep. Barr lobbies for marijuana group

March 29, 2007

Associated Press, Fox News

As a Republican, former Georgia congressman Bob Barr spent years fighting efforts to soften the nation's drug laws, including blocking a 1998 referendum in which nearly 70 percent of Washington, D-C, voters approved medical marijuana use.

Now, as a Libertarian and a lobbyist, he's changing sides.

Earlier this month, Barr signed on as a lobbyist for the Marijuana Policy Project, where his duties will include pushing for repeal of his own "Barr amendment," which enraged medical-marijuana supporters as a gratuitous federal intrusion into local affairs in the nation's capital.

According to the group's director of government relations, Aaron Houston, Barr also will be working to persuade his former colleagues to adopt broader medical-marijuana legislation and to get the federal government to stop airing what critics say are misleading and ineffective anti-drug ads that link dope-smoking to terrorism and violence.

Houston said, "We're working together pretty closely right now. He brings a great deal of credibility and a lot of gravitas to the cause ... We hope he serves as an example to some of his former colleagues, particularly on the G-O-P side of the aisle."

A spokeswoman for Barr said he was not available for comment today.

Barr, a former federal prosecutor, served eight years as a Republican congressman representing an Atlanta-area district before losing his seat after redistricting in 2002

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