It was an historic day for marijuana in Congress. In a 228–164 vote, the House passed the MORE Act, which removes marijuana from the federal Controlled Substances Act.
That didn’t stop Republicans who opposed the MORE Act from opening up the catalog of Reefer Madness’s Greatest Hits.
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH)
We begin with Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio, casting aspersions on the priorities of the Democratic leadership in bringing up the MORE Act for a vote before any coronavirus relief has been passed.
But I do understand from reports, Gym, that numerous young men came up to you with tales of being sexually abused while you were a wrestling coach at their university. How do we know you weren’t ignoring calls for marijuana legalization like you ignored the rape of young men under your supervision?
Marijuana legalization is more popular than any of the politicians in the House arguing about it, as Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz points out.
Rep. Andy Biggs (R-AZ)
Well, a pesky little thing like “facts” have never stopped prohibitionists. Take this flat-out denial of reality from Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona.
Arizona’s Prop 207 passed with 60 percent of the vote.
Rep. Andy Biggs barely won his last election with 59 percent of the vote. Barely won his last election.
Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R-MO)
Next up, Rep. Vicky Hartzler of Missouri.
It most certainly does not legalize marijuana across the United States. Taking marijuana out of the federal Schedule I simply means there is no federal law on marijuana. States like Missouri would still have a criminal penalty on the books that treats non-medical possession of less than 35 grams of marijuana as a misdemeanor punishable by up to 1 year incarceration and a $2,000 fine. The Show-Me State will still treat the cultivation of so much as a cannabis seedling as a felony punishable by 4 years in prison and a $10,000 fine.
Won’t somebody please think of the children?!
Passing the MORE Act just means that marijuana legalization happens at the state level. There is not a single one of the fifteen states that have legalized marijuana that allows children to access marijuana. The people selling marijuana to kids are in the unregulated market that prohibition has not only failed to stop, but actually incentivized to produce a more potent product and recruit less-punishable children to distribute it.
In Oregon, we marijuana retailers pass underaged ID stings at a higher rate than alcohol sellers. The regulations against marketing to youth are so strict here that I cannot place one of those dancing windsocks you see at car dealerships, because it would be too enticing to children.
Now she’s upset about the feds not banning pot shop locations that, as far as my memory serves, no existing legal marijuana state would allow. Again, this is an issue that is now left to the states, thirty-five of which don’t allow a pot shop within 1,000’ of anything.
You can peruse the research of Dr. Carl Hart for the complete debunk of this nonsense. Suffice to say that anything you do that is pleasurable activates the pleasure center receptors in the brain. With that logic, teenage masturbation is the gateway to drug abuse.
Note the phrasing “linked to.” That’s because science cannot show a causal relationship between these things. Do pot smokers get depressed — or do depressed people smoke pot? Did pot use make somebody schizophrenic — or do schizophrenics seek out pot?
Marijuana’s not good for people with certain histories of mental illness. But that’s a small minority of people akin to those who have severe peanut allergies. That doesn’t mean we lock up anybody we catch with a Snickers bar. That marijuana may have some harms, slight as they may be, argues for its proper inspection and regulation, not leaving up to Jimmy the weed dealer who never checks IDs.
Rep. Gregory Murphy (R-NC)
Rep. Gregory Murphy of North Carolina is also upset about the feds not doing what the legal states are already doing.
And neither does the federal prohibition of marijuana, as teenagers from the past eight decades will tell you. But state regulation of marijuana does take a substantial part of the marijuana market and place it into secure, video-recorded buildings where ID’s are checked at multiple points.
It’s doing precisely the opposite of that by allowing states, not the feds, to dictate marijuana policy.”
It’s doing precisely the opposite of that by allowing states to regulate law-abiding, non-violent businesses to grow and distribute marijuana instead of outlaws, gangs, and cartels.
It’s doing precisely the opposite of that by allowing states to steal the business from criminal organizations, gangs, or cartels.
It sure says something about your failure to scare people about marijuana that you have to bring up other drugs.
Ah, what album of Reefer Madness’s Greatest Hits would be complete without the #1 smash, “The Gateway Drug.” I’ll turn this one over to the gentlewoman from Texas, Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee.
It’s true! Just because every member of the Hell’s Angels started out riding tricycles as a kid, it doesn’t mean giving your kid a tricycle for Christmas inexorably leads him to motorcycle gangs, or that banning a tricycle for your kid will stop him.
Rep. Debbie Lesko (R-AZ)
Rep. Debbie Lesko from Arizona trots out another bit of cannabigotry.
It sure is a good thing, then, that none of the fifteen states that have legalized marijuana allow workers to smoke pot at the workplace. This “research” that purports workplace harm from marijuana use relies on junk science. One reviewer noted that claims of lost workplace productivity from marijuana users were “so bad that it’s dishonest,” because “the entire difference in household income between a brain surgeon who drinks martinis and a ditch digger who smokes marijuana was attributed to marijuana smoking.”
As for suggestions about links to about excessive absenteeism, workplace accidents and worker compensation claims? That came from a 1972 speech given by an unidentified speaker to executives at the Firestone Tire & Rubber Co. that was since passed down through corporate culture. The National Academy of Sciences, on the other hand, concluded after reviewing real evidence that “The data … do not provide clear evidence of the deleterious effects of drugs other than alcohol on safety and other job performance indicators.”
Rep. Dan Bishop (R-NC)
Let’s see, we’ve heard “What About the Children?!”, “Marijuana—The Gateway Drug”, and “A Hit to the Workplace.” What do you suppose they’ll do for the encore? Oh, I know! It’s Rep. Dan Bishop from North Carolina with the hit, “Stoned Mayhem on the Freeways!”
Consider this: Since 2015 in the United States the number of fatal crash drivers who were married to same-sex partners exploded. Because that’s legal now.
See, Washington and other states are reporting the tests for THC in the blood of someone killed in a car crash, and all that tells us is that the driver killed is a pot smoker—not that she was smoking pot or under the influence of pot.
When we look at the Fatality Analysis Reporting System’s tracking of fatality rates per 100 million miles driven in Washington State, we find that it has tracked with and is consistently below the US national average.
In Vermont, in 2010, the fatality rate was 0.98 per 100 million miles driven. In 2018, the latest data available, it is down to 0.93.
And yet, we not only have no will to repeal marijuana legalization, but we also just legalized medicinal mushrooms and decriminalized all drugs. You’d think with all carnage and mayhem, that wouldn’t be the case, huh?
In fact, law enforcement lacks a reliable roadside test for any drug except alcohol. Most drugs flush from one’s system quickly, so you miss the people actually high on them in the time it takes to arrest and test them. Most drugs have differing effects on people based on a host of factors, which makes it impossible to say a particular measurement guarantees someone’s impairment. Alcohol is unique among drugs in that it always affects everybody in the same way based on body weight. It’s the only drug we can reliably test for, and yet nobody argues that’s why we need to criminally prohibit OxyContin, Lunesta, and Xanax.
Oh, we actually have that. It’s called “none, zero, zilch, nada, bupkis.” Marijuana is non-toxic.
Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL)
You know, maybe my message doesn’t get through to some because I’m a flaming hippie progressive. Let’s have the only Republican co-sponsor of the MORE Act, a man with whom I have no respect for and nothing in common with politically except this, Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz.
Where have I heard that before? Oh, yes, from comedian Bill Hicks in the 1990s:
Enjoy the Reefer Madness’s Greatest Hits while they last, folks. These dinosaurs are going the way of the Big Band, doo-wop groups, and disco.