Ad Watch: Ose exaggerates Birman’s drug stance

Doug Ose has released a campaign mailer that questions why his Republican rival Igor Birman is throwing mud and claims Birman supports legalizing drugs. The candidates are vying in Tuesday’s primary to advance to a likely matchup with Democratic Rep. Ami Bera to represent the suburban Sacramento district.

Following is text of the portion of the ad criticizing Birman and analysis by Christopher Cadelago of The Bee Capitol Bureau.

MAILER: Negative campaigner Igor Birman: Hiding from his record of supporting the legalization of drugs. How can a conservative believe in decriminalizing drugs?

(The mailer includes quotes from three news agencies and a photograph of a woman who appears to be smoking an unidentified illegal substance. It also quotes Don Troutman, of Clean and Sober Living, and Kevin Mickelson, president of the Sacramento County Deputy Sheriffs’ Association.)

“Igor Birman is the wrong choice for Congress,” Mickelson is quoted as saying. “His support for the legalization of drugs is proof that he lacks the right principles to lead. Drugs ruin our community, hurt our schools, and wreck our families.”

On June 3rd, reject Igor Birman.

ANALYSIS: Birman takes a decidedly libertarian stance when it comes to legalizing drugs such as marijuana. He has said he believes the federal government should respect the decisions of states on the matter. But the mailer distorts his position by taking his support for states’ rights and interpreting that to mean he stands with states that opt to legalize pot.

Birman has consistently said he does not believe California should join Washington and Colorado in legalizing marijuana for recreational purposes.

The mailer also confuses the issue by including an NBC News headline describing “the startling rise in heroin use.” He does not support legalizing heroin.

Birman has said, however, that he considers federal enforcement of pot, including in states that decriminalized the drug for medicinal purposes, to be “heavy-handed.” He is supported by groups that want to end the federal prohibition of marijuana.

In a statement announcing the backing of the Marijuana Policy Project PAC, which wants to eliminate penalties for the drug and overwhelmingly has supported Democrats, Birman pledged to join “liberty-minded Republicans” to protect states’ rights to determine their own marijuana laws. He wants to “end the era of marijuana policy being dictated to us from Washington.”

“It’s time to get government out of the doctor-patient relationship and end the era of marijuana policy being dictated to us from Washington,” he said.