US: Leading Senators Convene Anti-Marijuana Meeting

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Members of the Senate Caucus on International Narcotics Control, lead by Senate Judiciary Chairman, Chuck Grassley (R-IA) gathered today for a hearing titled, “Is the Department of Justice Adequately Protecting the Public from the Impact of State Recreational Marijuana Legalization?”

Senator Grassley and co-chairman Senator Feinstein (D-CA) conducted the meeting with the apparent purpose of moving marijuana law reform backwards instead of forwards.

The hearing appeared to be an effort to shame the Department of Justice into taking steps toward overturning the marijuana laws in states have legalized the adult sale and use of marijuana.

Comments and contributions were mostly negative. Senator Jeff Sessions reminisced about the good old days of the 'Just Say No' decade and made the statement, "Good people don't smoke marijuana."

The panelists presented a laundry list of purported dangers that they claimed to be the result of changes in marijuana laws, such as supposed spikes in teenage use and traffic collisions.

One highlight of the hearing today was witness Benjamin B. Wagner' reply to Sen. Grassley when asked why the Department of Justice is not challenging adult use marijuana state laws. “The decision to intervene would not be solely based on data," he answered. "If we took out regulation of the market and just left decriminalization, it may leave a more chaotic system than it is now.”

The hearing's tone is disappointing because the CARERS Act, bipartisan legislation to strengthen statewide medical marijuana protections, is pending before the US Judiciary Committee, chaired by Sen. Grassley. To date, the senator has pledged not to hear the bill, despite the fact that medical marijuana legalization is supported by 80 percent of his own constituents and an estimated 78 percent of voters nationwide.