Leading US Senators Convene Anti-Marijuana Hearing

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

Invited participants at today’s hearing included an advisory board member for a national anti-marijuana organization and the Nebraska Attorney General who sought to overturn Colorado’s marijuana regulation laws by filing a lawsuit with the Supreme Court. Clearly, Senator Grassley and co-chair, Senator Feinstein (D-CA) did not gather lawmakers to discuss how to move marijuana policy reform forward, but backwards.

Senator Grassley’s hearing appeared, by and large, to be an effort to try and shame the Department of Justice into taking action to overturn the regulatory laws of states that are presently regulating marijuana production and sale. 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.

There was, however, one highlight for marijuana reformers during today’s hearing. When witness Benjamin B. Wagner, U.S. Attorney of the Eastern District of California, Sacramento, California was asked by Sen. Grassley as to why the Department of Justice isn’t challenging adult use marijuana state laws, he responded: “The decision to intervene would not be solely based on data. If we took out regulation of the market and just left decriminalization, it may leave a more chaotic system than it is now.”

By contrast, arguably the hearing’s lowlight came from Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL), who spoke longingly of about the decade of ‘Just Say No’ and claimed, “[G]ood people don’t smoke marijuana.”

The hearing’s tone, while predictable, is nonetheless disappointing. That is 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.

If you live in Iowa, you can contact Senator Grassley and urge him to hold hearings on the CARERS Act here. If you don’t live in Iowa, you can urge your own elected officials to support the CARERS Act here.

To view an archived video of today’s Congressional hearing, please visit: http://www.drugcaucus.senate.gov/hearings.

55 thoughts

  1. Sen Sessions, I am a disabled veteran. You are saying that I I am not a good person.

    1. Yes brother, he is trying to justify why he is a bad person. Blaming smoking herb for his missteps is the only thing keeping him sane!

  2. How is it they (Sen. Grassley & company) have the audacity to continue pursuing this when a majority of the population of just the USA want it legalized. Do they not hear about all of the polls and recommendations in favor of legalization or are they turning a deaf ear!?!

    It really boils my blood that this continues, against the WILL OF THE PEOPLE!

    Somehow or another they have gotten WAY too much power, and the corruption to go with it!

    1. Ditto. It’s the US political system that is broken. Until Americans understand we now live in an oligarchy, not a democracy, these trends will continue and get more insane. Americans in general no longer wish to be or value being educated. So heartbreaking…this is not the country I thought I grew up in.

    2. None of the politicians of today are for we the people. Being from Iowa. Grasslet will not get my vote in the next election…

  3. Grassley is a senile old man (as are most of the Senators) that couldn’t see his dick in his hand, much the handwriting on the wall as far as legalization. The only this jerk off is in favor today is pureed peas and peaches, and ethanol for his backward state. Fuck him!!

  4. Why is it the most ignorant are always the chairman of these committees? And to disregard his constituency to promote his own personal agenda, should be a felony.

  5. Please everyone in Iowa vote out Grassley! Send him a message that you won’t put up with his crap.

  6. We need to vote you senile people out of office. You have heard what the American people want.
    More states have legalized weed. You need to do their will.

  7. Is there any way to get a counter hearing started? One with the facts actually presented faithfully and without obstruction?

  8. This may be well meant, but it is the ssme stupid thinking that started the War on Drugs.

  9. I am from Iowa and I will be voting all Democrat this year.

    It’s time for Iowa to chuck Chuck. Time for this old fart to retire. Not only should he be voted out for his prohibition position, but also gambling on a Supreme Court vacancy.

    What if Hillary or Bernie is the next president? Do you think they’ll select a conservative justice?

    1. Wait a minute now brother! Feinstein is a Democrat from Cali! Its not a party thing its a freedom and evidence thing!

  10. Stoners mind their own business. White, ignorant, cracker-ass senators from Alabama and Iowa are the ones who enjoy fucking up other people’s lives.

    Exactly who’s “good people” here, and who ain’t?

    I say, let’s just say “No” to ignorant, white cracker-ass senators. They’re very bad for your health!

  11. What is it going to take for our Federal government to finally act and amend the Controlled Substance Act? True change must occur from the “top down” to finally end the “war on weed”! I commend the state’s that are trying to make change occur from the “bottom up” but when state law(s) directly and blatantly conflict with federal ones “Federal Supremacy” rules and will always be the law of the land! So when state law(s) puts individuals and organizations heads on the potential prosecution chopping block without any protection, we are ALL at risk of ten years to life in federal prison! Just the facts and the truth folks, I know because I’m in the middle of it all everyday.

    Sincerely Concerened ??

  12. Old white men from a bygone era. Their time will be up, by vote or otherwise. I hope the next generation appreciates all the hard work of this generation.

  13. “…Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL), who spoke longingly of about the decade of ‘Just Say No’ and claimed, “Good people don’t smoke marijuana.”

    We don’t need these stubborn, self-deluded old men to tell us about morality.

  14. This group of Senators, especially that Grassley fellow, represent everything that is wrong with our so-called leaders! What a bunch of pathetic ignorant losers! I wish I could push a button and just make them all die!

    Out of all of them, Benjamin B. Wagner, U.S. Attorney of the Eastern District of California, Sacramento, California is the only person with some bit of common sense and compassion.

  15. We all know that senetors are good people that are only looking to protect us from ourselves. These honest individuals have no alternative interests and honestly care only for us. Said no voter ever

  16. wasn’t this guy voted in? just vote him out if he won’t do his job, What the majority of voters have asked. Not his own ideas.

  17. Ah, so all the evil minions of prohibition have gathered in the dark dawn of defiance of the inevitable sunrise of legalization?
    Extinction burst tantrum. Vote them out.

  18. LOL!!! Let them say that. The only ones they’re fooling is the good Stoner who actually is a good person but is feeling so good they would get offended by that. THEY are the bad people. Their “goodness” is all an act the entire time! Cannabis is a safe, effective drug with 10s of dozens of good uses, very few if any bad effects. Some people have a bad trip? The answer: Cheetos. What else? Tolerance? Different strains! Ummm… Uhhh? The good effects are too many to mention. It could fill a book. Just because people would rather fill a bong than their stomach with alcohol concerns some big-money interests, – Budweiser! They’ll say or do anything they can to “try” and keep us in the 1950s, when they were born. We need to fight their puny tactics and just fight them as much as possible to the Very end of the failed drug war on our United States Citizens!!! In 4 states we HAVE won! The dam (drug war) IS bursting! Yes we CAN! Yes we CANnabis!! Yes we WILL! May God shed light for you crusaders for good! Keep on fighting!

  19. this from the party that wants to reduce the size of government and get government out of people’s personal lives? I think it says something about what they’re truly about..privatized prisons, drug testing, pharmacueticals…

    1. Thank you for remembering drug testing oin that list! Everyone is up in arms with the surveillance state, the failed drug war, and money in politics, but for some reason drug testing, the place where those issues converge, never gets so much as a mention.

      Marijuana is the lifeblood of the drug testing industry. 98% of all positive tests are for mj, without mj their efficacy rate plummets, and they can no longer maintains the illusion that they are protecting the country. Some of the biggest most prominent contributers, both monetary and otherwise, to prohibition laws are drug testing companies. And like everything the drug war has given us, drug testing not only fails to prevent drug use in schools and workplaces, it actually makes the problem worse and encourages transition from harmless pot to more harder substances. Drug testing should be illegal.

      Thank you again for remembering this fraudulent industry in your list of drug war profiteers!


  20. I am proud to be from Alabama ,Please do not think al of us here are as ignorant/stupid as Sen. Sessions.
    Most of us here would like to stop putting people in jail for cannabis because most are good people….unlike these elected servants like the senator who has been in gov. a long time ,so he must be a crook…birds of a feather you know

  21. @ Mark,

    IMO, Hillary, like Obama, would probably nominate a “corporate moderate” while Bernie would in fact nominate an actual liberal.

    It’s amazing in this day and age that Republican politicos, meanwhile, still hold fast to their outdated cold-war thinking. The demographics in this country are changing, and people like Grassley (and even the Dem Feinstein) are too entrenched to realize it. Change is happening for the better, and despite the efforts of these dinosaurs.

    1. I believe some of them are protecting their legacy. Some prohibitionists, in government and out of it, have dedicated their lives to the goal of “a drug free world-‘we can do it! (At any and all cost)”, and now that the drug war has been exposed as the racist ball of freedom-eroding lies it always was and they are losing the majority will (or as in the case of med mj, have lost it), they are going to do anything they can to reverse the trend. The more their efforts fail, the harder they’ll try and the more they’ll double down on their old failed methods. I believe its called ” the extinction burst”.

  22. I am an Alabama resident. Senator sessions…. Yeah. I’m not surprised he said such. He is greatly supported by law enforcement and he’s so old. I’m old too, but not ignorant. Check out his environmental voting record. Good people DO smoke marijuana. Bad people try to hurt them because they don’t understand or are paid to not understand.

  23. The real question is what are these legislators not doing enough to protect the American people from big pharma and the the 40 opiate related deaths a day? States attempting to meet pain control management needs through controlled cannabis use have significantly lower opiate death rates. Those without the discernment or compassion to consider others needs over their own sense of propriety may well statistically die prematurely . Thinning the herd. Compassion for them as affection is never a waste. Let these legislators hear, ring out people. Compromise on your freedom and someone will be more than happy to use it for their gain while we gaze longingly at it’s form fading from sight. They do and if we tolerate the behavior we are as much the problem and get what we deserve. The mandate is clear for change while the ” resistance is futile’ opposition is building it’s counterattack or wave of resistance. This is the face of manifest destiny types that will need to adjust to reality or be forcibly removed. The only real moral absolute is that there are no moral absolutes. We cannot define within a reasonable tolerance our physical absolutes much less completely subjective bits of “useful morality”. Their resistance hurts people. Greed kills. Peace

  24. Can Norml publish the names of the elected officials who attended and endorsed the propaganda resulting from this meeting? This was way beyond just ignorance and was a willful attempt to lie to the American public and continue the immoral, if not illegal prohibition of cannabis.
    After names are published, look for the ties to big Pharma and the “for profit” law enforcement and prison industry.
    Finally, get out and vote these self serving evil doers out of office.

    [Paul Armentano responds: The entire hearing is archived online here: http://www.drugcaucus.senate.gov/content/department-justice-adequately-protecting-public-impact-state-recreational-marijuana.%5D

    1. Here, here that list and story need real mainstream meaningful coverage. Vote out all incumbents. Give em a peaceful message they cannot ignore. Good for the majority of people to be on same page and flexing political will.

  25. “Good” Jeff Sessions wants to take our country back to the ’50s…the 1650s.

    1. You got that right. Sessions and his ilk would undoubtedly have felt very comfortable conducting trials during the Inquisition.

      Sessions is just another soft-spoken monster, like Orrin Hatch, in the tradition of Heinrich Himmler.

  26. What would you expect from conservatives who have a gift for being on the wrong side of EVERY issue? Grassley and the rest of his corporate whore republicans represent everything that is wrong with this country and hopefully after the next election republican conservatism will only be a really bad memory…

  27. Prohibitionists have profited from their efforts for too long. Their efforts have destroyed many lives while they line their pockets and revel in the destruction of families and communities. Someday it would be judicial to seek recourse for their anti cannabis efforts and their blatant disrespect for patients and their healthcare providers.

    1. I agree. The behavior of prohibitionists is and always has been downright criminal, and as unlikely as it is, I would love to see them put on trial and then be made to occupy the jail cells their victims have been forced into for eighty years. Death is too good for anyone who supports the drug war. I want them to see their life’s work destroyed, see everything they ever believed in or fought for regarded as evil, and see their names go down as some of history’s worst villians–starting with that pos Anslinger all the way to that monster arpaio. I want them to suffer.

  28. Why don’t these leaders do some research to learn the history of the criminalization of marijuana and to determine the benefits outweigh the risks. The laws for medical marijuana use are in desperate need of interpretation. Just lost my job because I tested positive.

    1. That my friend, is abnormal. Not being flipped nor insensitive, time to move to where you may not have to worry as much and work for these guys. I’m sure they could use the help of a believer. Whole families moved for the well being of their sons and daughters. Just saying.

    2. Drug testing needs to be made illegal. It not only doesn’t reduce drug use in schools or workplaces, it actually increases and encourages hard drug use. As for idiots who claim they don’t use and so have nothing to fear–that is bull. Testing see s claim 190% accuracy, but independent studies and reviews of their services show a 10% to 30% false positive rate. Which means that 10-30% of all people who lose a job or go back to prison for testing positive are innocent. There are few regulations,and those are rarely enforced. Cross contamination and cross reactivity remain a huge problem. You could take a cough med or sleeping pill, piss in a cup the next day, and lose your job despite not being a user.

      I always like to ask “if drug testing is so accurate, how come positive pre hire tests are not immediately turned in to the cops? If its 100% accurate, then you have there absolute proof that someone was using!”. The answer, of course, is that if they did that, their abyssmal actual accuracy would be exposed with all the lawsuits that would result from all the non users who got arrested, the non using public would see how non users have plenty to fear from drug testing, and their dangerous fraud would be visible to the world.

    3. Not to mention the use of drug testing to screen wemployees ands potential hires for conditions they are not allowed to ask about. In 1988, the WA police collected urine samples from all employees in a precinct wide drug screening effort, but it came out that they actually were screening the female employees for pregnancy. In an industry with no regulation , enforcement, or oversight, do you really think this hasn’t continued to happen? In fact, I would say this is why insurance companies insist that clients drug tests employees regularly. Its a great way to screen out people with expensive conditions that would be inconvenient to your bottom line.

      Drug testing actually lowers workplace safety in real terms. Drug testing can artificially inflate workplace safety records by disincentivizing accident reporting, which results on a far less safe environment in reality as hazards go unreported, and many users and non users who soldier on with unreported and untreated injuries that could in themselves be a hazard.

      This is something that needs to be emphasized to non users who think they are safer on a drug tested company: the fact that in a drug tested company you are more likely to be working with drug users–esp hard drug users–and more likely to lose your job or get injured than you are in a non drug tested company. Drug testing endangers everyone, users and non users alike.

    4. enddrugtesting.blogspot.com

      I’ve been collecting links and info that tell the untold story of drug testing at enddrugtesting.blogspot.com. I started that when I noticed how little there was about drug testing at anti drug war sites–other than advice about how to pass pone if youre a user, which I am not. The drug testing industry has dominated this conversation through witch hunt tactics for thirty years now, so most of what you find is “hooray for piss tests, they keep us all safe!” Or at best, “piss tests are just a fact of life, deal with it”, and both views always assume drug testing is accurate and necessary four our protection, without a single iota of evidence that tbgeir assumption is true. And finding info on the other side of the drug testing issue is difficult. So I combined everything I could fish up over the years in one place for a quick day reference hub. Hope you find it helpful!

    1. NO, you’re not!! And not a communist either (“Reefer Madness” genre reference). Thank you for you service.

      “Most marijuana smokers are Negroes, Hispanics, jazz musicians, and entertainers. Their satanic music is driven by marijuana, and marijuana smoking by white women makes them want to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers, and others. It is a drug that causes insanity, criminality, and death — the most violence-causing drug in the history of mankind.” Harry J. Anslinger { Federal Bureau of Narcotics commissioner until 1962 }

      WoW……Just Saying

  29. I see all these comments and have to wonder if the average person understands the federal level. These people don’t care about citizens of their district, state or country. I’m a federal worker. I work with two star Generals, three star Admirals, Senior Executive Services members (SES), heads of military departments and every one of these people don’t have your interest in mind. You’re not even a thought. They all have there own agendas for their own advancement. If a junior holds the keys to the castle, the upper bribes the junior with advancements. Many oversights are not incentivize. What’s to ensure a committees, government, a person is doing the right thing? I see this every day and it’s abnormal. As the writer above placed it correctly, this guy has no idea. And he doesn’t want to as long as it pushes him along to be the king of the next castle being built. I had a two star tell me just last week that he can make me if I listen to him. Remember folks, total power corrupts completely. We are ALL at fault. A little dot connecting in the larger pool of the puzzles. What does Harry Jacob Anslinger, the Du Pont family and money have in common? What makes this event any different? One thing, most America can go to those states where you can enjoy your freedom of participation. I can’t. That’s abnormal. Food for thought.

  30. We know all about “conservative values”: hating big government, unless it enriches you; working for the few over the many; hating big government, except when deciding “moral” issues; casting judgement on others, then secretly indulging in the same or worse transgressions.

    Conservatives often like to think of their values as resembling something out of Andy’s Mayberry, when too often they actually resemble something out of George Wallace’s Alabama.

  31. Grassley is living in stone age mentality . He’s an embarrassment to many Iowans . as is Gov. Branstad in Iowa. Will need them to both croak for Iowans to ever get to enjoy benefits of medical or recreational marijuana without being labeled a criminal.

  32. Do not re-elected them back in office again. Show them that we hold their future of politics if they don’t want to listen to us. We vote them in and if they are not with us, then elect someone that won’t screw us.

  33. I can’t wait until all the old white men are phased out of office.
    Just say no… what a joke.

  34. Politicians are like prostitutes….offer them enough money, and they will take any position you want.

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