Marijuana Ballot Initiatives

Republican Congressmen Call on Obama to Stop Legal Pot in Colorado and Washington

The fight over legal marijuana finally comes to D.C.


hbimedialibrary / photo on flickr

Three Republican House members called today for President Obama and the Department of Justice to stop Washington state and Colorado from implementing tax-and-regulate schemes for marijuana, which voters approved in November.

"I don't see the DOJ suing these states for passing laws that are illegal under federal law," said Rep. Andrew Harris (R-MD.). "I don't see the administration going to the state of Washington or Colorado and saying, 'We will see you in federal court because the federal law preempts the state law and you have passed a law in clear contradiction to federal law.'"

Reps. Frank Wolf (R-Va.) and Jo Bonner (R-Ala.) echoed Harris during today's appropriations hearing with DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart (you can read her full remarks here). The exchange marks the first time members of Congress have openly called for the Obama administration to intervene in Colorado and Washington. Until today, the only members of Congress who had addressed marijuana legalization did so while introducing legislation that would repeal federal marijuana prohibition and create a federal tax-and-regulate framework.

Harris led the anti-pot charge, arguing that the Obama administration's failure to prosecute marijuana offenders–a claim contradicted by Obama's record of cracking down on more medical marijuana dispensaries than Bush ever did–was leading teenagers to experiment with harder drugs. 

"We have watched states preempt federal government on marijuana. We have decided not to change that at the federal law, and we to not enforce federal law on marijuana. You know as well as I do why these pill parties are happening. They're getting these pills out of their parents' medicine cabinets. What are their parents going to say, These are medicine for me, but bad for you?"

Leonhart denied that her agency had been called off. 

"My agents are still out in those two states enforcing federal law," Leonhart said in response to a claim from Harris that the Obama administration had decided "to not enforce federal law on marijuana."

"People say, 'What happened? What's changed since November? And I say, 'Nothing,'" Leonhart told Harris. "We're still enforcing federal law." The real problem, she said, is that with only 45 DEA agents in each state, the DEA is heavily reliant on cooperation from local law enforcement groups. and those groups have been told by voters that they need to focus on serious crimes. 

Wolf, who anticipates that legalization amendments will be tacked on to the appropriations bill, asked Leonhart what she would say to parents, legislators, and governors who were perhaps considering supporting marijuana legalization. "You can tell them the latest study says a marijuana user who starts at 13 and smokes into their 20s experiences an 8 percent drop in IQ," Leonhart said, blatantly misquoting a single recent study that alleges an 8 point drop.

"Is it a gateway drug? Is there a connection?" Wolf asked.

"There is absolutely a connection," Leonhart said.

At that point, a visibly shocked Wolf said, "I think the Dr. Harris is right. I think the Attorney General is really going to have to speak out on this. He cannot pull a Pontius Pilate, and wash his hands."

"It may require the president of the united states to speak out," Wolf added. "He's a good family man. He has a wonderful family. This has been a fascinating hearing. It really may require the president to address the nation. He has tremendous moral authority."

Wolf then announced his plans to introduce a prison reform bill, named after Watergate burglar-turned-prison minister Chuck Colson, that would require every incarcerated drug offender to attend drug treatment, as well as require every inmate to work.

Work gives them "dignity," Wolf said, before suggesting that making license plates, or–better yet–DEA uniforms, would provide inmates with valuable skills for reentry.

Note: I was transcribing as the hearing happened. Quotes may not be perfect.

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  1. Fuck off, slaver!

    1. I was coming here to say this exact thing. Short and to the point. Thank you Jack.

    2. fuck these old cunts

    3. Work gives them “dignity,”

      Yeesh. Sort of a Arbeit Mach Frei kind of statement.

    4. leaving aside ignorant elderly republicans and questionable studies…given that the median IQ is supposed to be 100, is it really that much of a blatant misrepresentation to conflate an 8 point drop in IQ with an 8% drop in IQ?

      1. Especially when so many marijuana users are below the mean when they start toking. 8% is an understatement.

  2. Dear Reps. Harris, Wolf, and Bonner. Go fuck yourselves.

    1. Sincerely,

      John Q. Fuck Off

  3. Stories like this on a Friday, Reason? Actually, I’m okay with that. At least on Friday night I can drink heavily so I don’t have to continuously be angry.

    I hope that Reps. Harris, Wolf and Bonner get painful injuries or illnesses and are unable to treat their pain due to their own idiotic policies. Or I would, if laws actually applied to our government betters.

  4. “We have watched states preempt federal government on marijuana.’


    Oh, and what Jack said.

  5. What a statist douchebag. Get lost, you old fossil!

  6. They kind of sound like idiots.

  7. Holder was going to do something, but Dunphy called him up and talked tough. And that was that.

  8. Oh, and BIOSHOCK!

  9. we’re in favor of small govt, unless it means people do things we do not approve of.*

    *right-wing statist derp

  10. Note: I was transcribing as the hearing happened. Quotes may not be perfect.

    Oh, Riggs. You are a perfecty-werfecty transcriber! What could be more perfect than,

    “You know as well as I do why these pill parties are happening.”

    or “Work gives them “dignity,” Wolf said”

    (Arbeit, mit fries, please!)


    Weren’t republicans supposed to be like, the ‘states’ rights’ crew?

    I really think someone has failed to update a number of politicians on reality since the 1980s.

    They’re still trotting out early-drug-war talking points, “this is your brain on X”-blah-blah, ‘Gateway’ allusions (Weed is the Vietnam of drugs = unimportant on its own, but potentially the start of a domino effect)… and I genuinely enjoy the tremendous fear these guys have of people *potentially being more stupid than they already are*, as though their very careers didn’t actually depend on a hideously bone-dumb constituency

    And did they bring up Mexicans?? They should have. Mexicans are almost as terrifying as weed. There’s a connection there. Weed, crime, Mexicans. God forbid they legalize weed… cause then, well… Mexicans. Just think about it!

  11. “We have watched states preempt federal government on marijuana. We have decided not to change that at the federal law, and we to not enforce federal law on marijuana. You know as well as I do why these pill parties are happening. They’re getting these pills out of their parents’ medicine cabinets. What are their parents going to say, These are medicine for me, but bad for you?”

    Setting aside the transcription errors, that is still pretty incoherent. Where does the pill party thing come from? Does he think pot is a pill?

    1. Because MJ is legal under the laws of CO and WA, teens in PA, FL etc. are having “pill parties” with their parents oxy’s.

      I’m amazed no one has made this connection in the past.

      1. so rainbow parties are gateway behavior?

    2. Does he think pot is a pill?

      As my aunt used to say to us young hooligans, that is, my cousins and I, ‘what’s wrong with your eyes? Have you boys been smoking drugs and doing pot again?’

      1. “Are you on the pot?”

        1. Quit smoking that wacky tobakky!

    3. Have you ever seen one of these things? Once they get started Congressmen just keep going, one non sequitur after another.

      1. my Alzheimer’s-suffering mom does the same thing.

    4. Does he think pot is a pill?

      No, no…it’s RU47, the abortion pill, now available without a prescription, parental consent or any oversight of teens. See going light on pot prosecutions means more sex, abortion pills and, well, children at risk (well, the non hispanic, non black ones that matter anyway).

      1. Sorry, RU-486 is completely different from Plan B and not available over the counter for anyone.

        1. Plan B is a gateway…if pot continues to be legal, it’s only a matter of time until RU486 is aborting an entire generation of conservative republicans.

          1. *Note to nmtsoat: yes, of course you are right.

  12. He cannot pull a Pontius Pilate, and wash his hands.

    Are you the King of the Doobs?

    1. INRI…

      Iesus Nazarenus Reefer Iudaeorum?

      1. My god, my god, why have you bogarted saving me?

      2. No wonder it took Jesus 3 days to wake up.

  13. Rep. Andrew Harris (R-MD.)

    Is Maryland just hell bent on becoming the worst state in the union? Can we just nuke the place, and then dump all our trash there?

    1. Is Maryland just hell bent on becoming the worst state in the union?

      Yes. It’s a contest between MD, NY, NJ, and a few other looney eastern states for the title of dumbest commie state.

      But can you wait until I move first? Then I’ll help you rid the world of this scourge, as long as you agree DC goes with it?

      1. “as long as you agree DC goes with it?”

        I have long argued with British and Canadian soldiers that they owe us another DC burning. So far, no luck.

    2. 1. Yes.
      2. Yes.
      3. Yes.

    3. Its the only way to be sure.

  14. How do you make an administration with a terribly draconian record on a policy look good? Give him a Republican opposition to tell you they will be even worse.

    GOP, you are your own worst enemy and always will be. If the Antichrist came back and swore vengence on you, you would, instead of taking him on, flail yourself in ways that would make an army of demons gasp in shock and awe.

    1. ya, maybe this is the best way to make O do the right thing.

      Although I just fell for the Cuba thing, so I’m back to always expecting the worst from anybody.

    2. GOP, you are your own worst enemy

      Yes, Rand and Amash should give these geezers giant wedgies with their depends, and send them out to pasture to graze, not to be seen or heard publicly, ever again.

  15. “We have watched states preempt federal government on marijuana.”

    That’s pure ignorance of how our government works.

    1. The people WHO LIVE IN Colorado and Washington, have decided they want MJ to be legal.

      We, in DC, will force you to comply with our rules, because…you know…freedom.

      The fucking arrogance is unbelievable.

  16. “Pontius Pilate”

    Really? That’s about as bad as a Godwin.

    “Then Pilate said, ‘like, what is truth, really?’ and he did puff on his joint.”

  17. The more you tighten your grip, Senator Wolf, the more states will slip through your fingers.

    1. He’s not a Senator. Our Senators are Tim Kaine and Mark Warner. One is a closet leftist just itching for the chance to cash in his whole career of faux moderation. The other is a cronyist shitstain who claims mad business acumen because he was involved in dealing telecom licenses.

      1. In MD, it’s just cronyism all the way down.

        That’s why we’re now busy installing cameras to watch the cameras, that watch the cameras, that are watching the traffic signal cameras.

      2. So what you’re saying is that they’re the same person?

  18. “People say, ‘What happened? What’s changed since November? And I say, ‘Nothing,'” Leonhart told Harris. “We’re still enforcing federal law.”

    “I am the law.”

    If her boss (you know the one I mean) wasn’t such a pathetic hen-pecked shitgobbler, he’d send a couple of federal marshal over to help her clean out her desk.


  19. What are their parents going to say, These are medicine for me, but bad for you?”

    Set aside the pill party non sequitur, that is actually exactly what parents should say about prescription meds. Because it’s true. Oh wait, I guess the congressman would prefere parents spew some nonsense, so the kids finds out later he’s been lied to.

    1. We need to ban antibiotics.

      For the childrunz.

  20. God, I fucking hate republicans.

    1. I hate carpetbagging fuckheads from Philadelphia in particular.

      1. Does that apply to Massachusetts (Romney)too?

    2. Did Glenn Beck tell you to say that?


    3. I have been reading The Myth of the Robber Barons by Burt Folsom and have come to the conclusion that most government politicians have simply existed to fuck anything good up. They have constantly slowed technological progression and the progression of wealth production. It makes me want to go full an-cap sometimes.

      1. Go ahead go full an-cap, you’ll feel better.

  21. as long as you agree DC goes with it?

    I INSIST, Sirrah.

  22. Federal law pre-empts state law? Does the 9th amendment actually exist?

    1. It’s like 100 years old and stuff. No one reads it.

      1. Does the 9th amendment actually exist?

        What, at this point, does it matter?

  23. Funny, didn’t they make the opposite argument when it comes to AZ immigration law and Obamacare?

    1. Almost like they are unprincipled or something?

    2. Nonono, in AZ they were mad that the Feds weren’t enforcing Federal law so they wanted to allow the state to do it.

      This time they’re mad that the state wont enforce Federal law so they want to force the state to do it.

  24. gah — I campaigned for wolf once. a long time ago.

    1. This is all your fault.

      1. sorry.

        1. Too late. You are banish-ed.

  25. Harris, Wolf, and Bonner: Fellas…..if you dont like the job, just resign. The House of Reps is not Hotel California. There is no need to commit political suicide.

    Nah, I am just kidding!

    Seppuku IS required of you, but stop screwing around and do it for real, live, on TV.

    1. I’d contribute for the rice paper for their death haikus – and spring for a bottle of sake for them to get their courage up.

  26. “Work gives them “dignity,” Wolf said” Isn’t that pretty much the same shit that was said in Auschwitz “Work makes one free”

    Unfucking believable

    1. No. Very believable. Besides, those dipshits probably never did a day of work in their lives so they don’t know what it means.

  27. Washington state and Colorado from implementing tax-and-regulate schemes for marijuana, which voters approved in November

    I too, am against the Tax-and-regulate schemes here in Washington. Tthe idea that two people could engage in a mutually agreed-upon sales transaction involving pot, and no government institution inserts itself in the middle of that transaction is, admittedly a radical thought.

  28. What seriously p*sses me off about this is that Republicanism is SUPPOSED to be about small gov’t & states rights! WTH are these idiots thinking?!!!
    Furthermore, there is overwhelming evidence at this point in the game, that shows pot is not a danger. At least not one even close to the that of alcohol that currently one can buy at any store given he’s over the age of 21. NOBODY HAS EVER DIED FROM A WEED OVERDOSE, GENTLEMEN!
    The Republicans have a MAJOR PROBLEM with RINO infestation which is why we cannot trust them nor can we get the rest of the world to trust them.
    If we had a majority of true believing, conservative “right wing nut jobs” (as the left loves to call them), I can guarantee the treasonous Democrats would never win another election. But we must have a dominate number of NON RINOS that actually back up what they claim to believe with their actions to ever save the party! They also need to teach liberty to the indoctrinated masses because nobody is telling them what conservatism is other than the liberals & their schools that let everyone know it means ‘old, rich, white, evil men’. Then these guys go & back it up with action. WTG GOP.
    Time for us to get these asshats out of there & replace them with real conservatives!! Do whatever you have to at your state level to support conservatives so we can get a hold of this out of control, elitist ruling class we find ourselves dealing with, PLEASE!

  29. Goddamnit Mike, why must you write articles that ignite a white-hot, blinding rage? I almost feel like I’m losing my own reasoning faculties, I don’t even want to debate, just Shut. The. Fuck. Up. you fucking statist pieces of shit.

  30. Rep. Andrew Harris R-MD),Reps. Frank Wolf (R-Va.) and Jo Bonner (R-Ala.)

    Does anyone smell BIGPHARMA?

  31. There is a dude that knows what time it is.

  32. Yea the no nanny state republicans, the less government the better republicans, that is unless it’s something we don’t like.

  33. “Blatantly misquoting?” Not really, since average IQ is 100 points saying that 8 points is 8 percent isn’t so far off, but the study itself has come under some criticism.

  34. Vote him out.

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