Chuck Schumer, Marijuana Federalist

MSNBCMSNBCToday on MSNBC, Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said that states should be free to try different approaches to marijuana and that the results of those "experiments" will help inform federal policy:

Chuck Todd: Do you see it as inevitable that recreational use is going to be legal in all 50 states in your lifetime?

Chuck Schumer: You know, it's a tough issue. We talk about the comparison to alcohol, and obviously alcohol is legal, and I'm hardly a prohibitionist. But it does a lot of damage.

And so the view I have—and I'm a little cautious on this—is let’s see how the state experiments work. We now have the states as laboratories, different states at different levels. Colorado and Washington sort of opened the door. The governor's [medical marijuana] proposal in New York, much more cautious. I'd be a little cautious here at the federal level and see the laboratories of the states, see their outcomes before we make a decision.

Todd: But you believe that the federal government should let the states do this, because they could crack down and say no.

Schumer: Well, I think having the states experiment is a good idea.

This is pretty similar to what President Obama has said: that it's useful for states to function as laboratories of democracy in this particular area. That view is rather different from Texas Gov. Rick Perry's position, which is that federalism is not just a good idea; it's the law. Obama and Schumer probably both are more sympathetic to marijuana legalization than Perry, who says it's not right for Texas. But a principled federalism is a more reliable protector of state policy experimentation, since it does not depend on the whims of the president or Congress. 

You can watch Schumer's comments here, starting around the 10:40 mark.

[Thanks to Tom Angell for the tip.]

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  • Doctor Whom||

    The doctrine of enumerated powers isn't just a good idea; once upon a time, it was the law. Also, it's good to see Schumer being marginally less evil than he usually is.

  • Paul.||

    I don't trust him. There's something up his sleeve. If you think he's going to budge one inch on the broad concept of federalism, you've got another thing coming.

  • wareagle||

    Yup. "Letting the states experiment" sounds quasi-Orwellian, like "we'll let states do a few things and if we don't like those things, we'll crush those states."

  • MJGreen||

    He only said it was an experiment. The purpose of the experiment is to devise better ways to suppress the devil weed, and gain more power and money from it.

  • Pelosi's Rabbit||

    Stopped clock.

  • Ayn Random Variation||

    "...and so the view I have—and I'm a little cautious on this—is let’s see how the state experiments work. We now have the states as laboratories,....."

    Hmm, this is a novel idea. I wish someone had thought of this a couple hundred years ago.

  • Bee Tagger||

    My read on Schumer is that he's still saying the federal government will have the final say. They're just not going to be as rash with their decision-making as normal.

  • Paul.||

    Absolutely. Schumer doesn't believe in federalism. He believes in the Iron Fist. If it requires that a few states let their labor smoke a little weed behind the barbed wire to keep them from rioting... so be it.

  • Bee Tagger||

    So, Schumer's take on the "states as laboratories" concept isn't that the states act as laboratories for other states to observe. It's that they act as laboratories for the federal government to observe.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    Yeah, Chucky is all about freedom of self ownership.

    Either way, Senator Chuck Schumer, who can grandstand with the best of them, apparently got handed that article and saw an opportunity to publicly demand that something must be done about Silk Road. It seems clear from his remarks that Senator Schumer has never heard of TOR:
    "Literally, it allows buyers and users to sell illegal drugs online, including heroin, cocaine, and meth, and users do sell by hiding their identities through a program that makes them virtually untraceable," Schumer said at a news conference Sunday. "It's a certifiable one-stop shop for illegal drugs that represents the most brazen attempt to peddle drugs online that we have ever seen. It's more brazen than anything else by lightyears.

    http://www.techdirt.com/articl.....ring.shtml

  • Ted S.||

    You know, it's a tough issue. We talk about the comparison to alcohol, and obviously alcohol is legal, and I'm hardly a prohibitionist.

    The makers and consumers of Four Loko say Chuck Schumer can go fuck himself.

  • ||

    In my experience, neither Chuck is worth listening to on any topic of significance.

  • Hyperion||

    Chuck Schumer: You know, it's a tough issue.

    No, it isn't Moobs, it's just that you're a retard.

    the federal government should let the states do this, because they could crack down and say no.

    No, they can't. And if they could, they would have. They are scared shitless to even try it.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    Schumer: You know, it's a tough issue. We talk about the comparison to alcohol, and obviously alcohol is legal, and I'm hardly a prohibitionist. But it does a lot of damage.

    Four Loko says hi, Schmuck Schumer.

    What would be Schmuck's answer if the 18th Amendment were still in force?

  • Aresen||

    If Chuck Schumer got stoned, would he go full fascist or would he mellow out?

  • Hyperion||

    He'll be the same old fascist, only his man boobies will be bigger from all the munchies snackin.

  • larry hammond||

    Full fascist. Getting stoned doesn't change your base personality. It will just reveal his most base statist fantasies. Frightening.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    Four Loko says hi, Schmuck Schumer.

    This, over and over again. I don't believe that fuckstick for a second.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Schumer is hoping New York experiments with free male breast reduction surgery. And THAT is as substantial a comment I will make on anything that comes out of Chuck Schumer's pie hole.

  • Jerry on the boat||

    Mr Schumer, we needed the 18th amendment

  • Jerry on the boat||

    ...to prohibit alcohol. Why does federal law intruse on marijuana use?

  • SIV||

    Obama and Schumer probably both are more sympathetic to marijuana legalization than Perry,

    Based on what?

    Schumer has some sort of legislative and public speaking record, what did he ever say, write, propose or vote on to give you the idea he is sympathetic to marijuana legalization?

  • Hyperion||

    Neither Obama nor Schumer are sympathetic about anything that does not directly affect them personally.

    These are sociopaths we are talking about here, not some benevolent servants of the greater good.

  • SIV||

    I seem to recall Chuck as a big drug warrior. He wrote and introduced a ban on synthetic drugs recently. I can see Obama as "more sympathetic" to legalized marijuana than Rick Perry but what evidence is their for Schumer? The "D" beside his name?

  • Agile Cyborg||

    "But it does a lot of damage."

    Criminalizing it is far more damaging.

  • Outlaw||

    I like how he's all for letting states experiment with marijuana but wants to ban guns everywhere.

  • Wintermute||

    First thing he's said I like, so to be fair, I should now admit he was a member of my class at Harvard. (I didn't know him, however.)

  • Juice||

    Schumer wants DOJ to fund tracking devices for autistic kids

    He just wants to label pot smokers as autistic so he can put tracking collars on them.

  • GILMORE||

    Federalist my ass.

    He's a fucking statist pig who wants to punt on a question where he is afraid of either contradicting the president or seeming to be on the wrong side of a populist issue.

  • Number 2||

    Or desperately trying to distract attention from Obamacare and people not being able to keep their health care plans.

  • ||

    "With Obama and the end of the wars, #SOTU deals less and less with military/veterans topics"

    SUGGESTED TAGS:
    #worthlessnoninsight
    #braindeadmoron
    #cnnthoughtthatbullshitwasshareworthy

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