U.S.: Senate Hearing Reminds Americans That 'Good People Don't Smoke Marijuana'
By Steve Elliott
Tuesday's hearing of the Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control was light on actual facts and fully of heavy-handed rhetoric. At one point -- and I'm unfortunately serious in reporting this -- Senator Jeff Sessions (R-Alabama) said "this drug is dangerous, you cannot play with it, it is not funny, it's not something to laugh about ... good people don't smoke marijuana."
This seems to be a new low even for the dim-witted Sessions, who says stuff his constituents back in the Heart of Dixie really should be embarrassed about -- in 2014, he said providing healthcare to veterans is an "entitlement" we "can't afford" -- but who knows; they keep electing his dumb ass.
The hearing, hosted by Senators Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Dianne Feinstein (D-California) was ostensibly held to investigate whether the Department of Justice has been enforcing federal marijuana laws harshly enough. What these yahoos did was bring forth a parade of anti-marijuana witnesses, not bothering to counter their testimony with anyone who actually knew what they were talking about.
"The Department of Justice decided to all but abandon the enforcement of federal law relating to the possession, cultivation, and distribution of marijuana," Sen. Grassley gravely pronounced.
The witnesses called to testify, according to the Drug Policy Alliance, made it a "sham hearing" and a "one-sided prohibitionist party."
Liberal Democratic Feinstein and conservative Republican Grassley may not agree on much, but they're both clueless enough to agree that marijuana is a menace. They called a number of speakers who are known for fighting cannabis law reform efforts at the state and federal level.
Among those called to testify were Benjamin B. Wagner, U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of California, who has prosecuted low-level marijuana offenses; Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson, whose idiotic lawsuit against Colorado's marijuana legalization was unceremoniously tossed out by the U.S. Supreme Court; and Kathryn Wells, a Coplorado pediatrician who serves on the advisory board of the hopeless numb-skulled "Smart Approaches to marijuana," considered the "leading" anti-legalization group.
"The diversion of marijuana into my state has been fierce," Atty. Gen. Peterson claimed at the hearing. "We know that young people in Nebraska are getting the drugs."
Official federal data belie Peterson's claims. Monthly marijuana use declined between 20123 and 2014 among Nebraska high school students, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Teen marijuana use in the two states that legalized recreational cannabis during that period, Colorado and Washington, showed that teen marijuana use remained unchanged.
The only other speaker besides these extremists was a guy from the Government Accountability Office who gave a rundown on the federal response to states which have legalized cannabis. Besides the GAO testimony, the hearing focused almost exclusively on the supposed "harms" caused by relaxing the marijuana laws.
The latest national polls show support for cannabis legalization at an all-time high of 61 percent, showing just how out of touch Senators Grassley and Feinstein are with the American people.
"An honest evaluation of marijuana legalization would include the undeniable benefits of legalization like the massive drop in marijuana arrests, the billions in taxes, and the transition from an underground market to a regulated one," said Deputy Director Michael Collins of the Drug Policy Alliance. "A more even-handed hearing would also address the destructive harms of marijuana prohibition."