December 5, 2022

THE NO POT PARTY: Republicans take a hit at marijuana legalization

THE NO POT PARTY: Republicans take a hit at marijuana legalization

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At a hearing held by a House subcommittee, legislators and witnesses shared thoughts on marijuana decriminalization and legalization, with Republicans weighing in to give drastically overdramatized descriptions of the plant, declaring it far too powerful to allow Americans to access, conflating it with fentanyl, and even comparing marijuana legalization to slavery. This is all despite the successful legalization of the herb in multiple states across the country without the cataclysmic results these GOP fear-mongers are warning of.

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Representative Pete Sessions (R-TX), for example, weighed in to note that the CDC had reported over 100k drug overdose deaths in a 12-month period, although he failed to mention that the CDC also offers stats on what drugs these overdoses can be attributed to — and that it’s not marijuana. He went on to conflate marijuana with fentanyl, declare that it causes crime and mental illness, declaring it addictive, and worrying that people are forced “to live their lives, not only with marijuana, but with these dangerous potencies.”

If that wasn’t enough, Sessions further decided to compare marijuana to slavery, saying that advocates for both industries — that is, both the people advocating for the right to choose what one puts in one’s own body and the people who advocated for the right to own other people’s bodies as property — are all about making money. One of the witnesses called to the hearing, Mayor Randall Woodfin of Birmingham Alabama, later called him out for this, speaking to Chairman Jamie Raskin to make sure his objection, that comparing slavery and marijuana is offensive, was noted on the record.

Sessions wasn’t the only Republican to warn of the dangers of super-potent weed. Representative Clay Higgins (R-LA), too, used his time to say that “even the limited use of modern super-high THC marijuana” is a bad idea, claiming that marijuana today is thousands of times more powerful than in the 70s.

Higgins declared:

“It’s just not your grandfather’s weed anymore.”

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Higgins clearly could easily get a job in the marketing department of a major cannabis company with that slogan.

Despite that, Higgins said that he is an advocate for individuals to make their own medical decisions (it should perhaps be noted that he also describes himself as pro-life) and that he would support legislation that would make medical marijuana available for veterans.

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“There are clearly potential benefits of medical marijuana for veterans…we’re not talking about young Americans in college that wanna experiment and party — I completely discourage that. We’re talking about mature veteran men and women who have some form of service-related condition that they need to treat.”

CDC stats here list overdose rates over the past two years, showing significant increases in deaths due to fentanyl, with rates of other substances — meth, cocaine, and prescription drugs — also on the rise. Marijuana doesn’t even make the list.

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[Stats via CDC Press Release]
That’s because the rate of death by cannabis poisoning is infinitesimally small, exceeded by death by Tylenol, which you don’t see anyone clamoring to ban.

Republicans just can’t let go of their outmoded attitudes towards marijuana as “the devil’s harvest” or “jazz cabbage.” With the majority of Americans — 78% — believing that cannabis should be legal for medical or recreational use, these GOP outliers are far from the American mainstream.

The full hearing can be viewed through the House Oversight Committee, here.

Steph Bazzle covers politics and theocracy, always aiming for a world free from extremism and authoritarianism. Follow Steph on Twitter @imjustasteph.

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