WATCH: Marijuana in the Halls of Congress

  • by Justin Strekal, NORML Political Director July 19, 2017

    Yesterday, NORML moderated a Facebook Congressional Conversation on marijuana law reform with Representatives Earl Blumenauer, Tom Garrett, Beto O’Rourke, and Justin Amash.

    We discussed a wide range of issues including the needless burden of the federal driver’s license suspension mandate, access to medical marijuana, racial injustice, and pending bipartisan legislation to remove cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act.


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    The ongoing enforcement of cannabis prohibition financially burdens taxpayers, encroaches upon civil liberties, engenders disrespect for the law, impedes legitimate scientific research into the plant’s medicinal properties, and disproportionately impacts communities of color. Only when lawmakers speak honestly about the effects of prohibition and the senseless burdens it imposes on our communities will we be able to win substantial reform.

    “At a time when 29 states and the District of Columbia have made the decision to regulate the sale and use of marijuana, we should rethink how the federal government approaches this drug. Our current approach to marijuana prevents legitimate medical use, fills our prisons with nonviolent offenders and continues to fuel drug violence,” said Representative Beto O’Rourke in a statement promoting the event.

    In our continued effort to educate the lawmakers and the public, events like this will be able to open the eyes of those who have willfully ignored the issue.

    NORML chapters throughout the country are working to advance legalization in state legislatures and, with your support, National NORML will continue to up the pressure in Washington, DC.

    Click here to share the video through your networks and support efforts like this in the future. 


    31 responses to “WATCH: Marijuana in the Halls of Congress”

    1. Julian says:

      I saw the video yesterday and yet I still
      Got excited like there was going to be some video of Executive Director of Texas NORML Jax Finkle toking it up with our Congressman. CLEARLY that cant happen on Federal grounds in Representative Tom Garrett’s office no less! (But please let me live with the fantasy that they all went to some private property in D.C. and got good n stoned. Nothing kinky, just a NORML conversation over food and beer while passing a joint. Ah… classic…)

      I was very impressed with Representative Tom Garrett, R-VA. May not agree with his stance against recreational but boy do we need this man’s wisdom for medical in the Republican halls of Congress.

      And Beto… Beto, Beto Betito… You are going to shake up the Texas Senate’s office. The campaign against the villanous, treasonous Ted Cruz has begun in earnest.
      Let’s crowdfund him!!

    2. Gene says:

      if marijuana is illegal it will alway be easier for kids to get it, so if people want to get it away from kids be able to buy it then make it legal and legal like alcohol

    3. Michael Hall says:

      The trump administration officials just had a secret meeting. They discussed problems associated with recreational marijuana with Colorado Springs Cheif of police and other official.

      • Matt says:

        saw this too, Michael, thank you. I have posted a link in a post on this comment section in my “Secret Meeting” comment. I have to admit it is very worrisome, and I was highly annoyed with the mayor saying that, basically, it is none of the public’s, we the People’s, business. I….found him on Twitter. He is a former prosecutor and AG, I believe, now the mayor. While he did not outright attack legalization, he is against it, I believe, made a comment on the DOD and the military culture of the area…..I was very irritated when he basically said the public does not need to know about the meeting details….it’s disgusting. The Feds need to stay out of Colorado if they intend to interfere….

        maybe they were just discussing the black market…certain “cases,” or maybe they are trying to figure out a way to attack legalization and the impacts, who knows….I did tweet him that a crackdown will fail, not stop us, and will only EXPAND the black market they apparently were discussing. Of course, I kept my brief tweets appropriate and legal. A disturbing meeting, to be certain, and, as the Cannabis Coaliation exec./leader says in the article (who we ought to be working with, frankly, all legalization groups need to unite at this point), we need to find out the details of these “secret” meetings. The Feds need to leave Colorado and legalization alone. Thanks, Michael Hall, this secret meeting story should not be missed by any of us activists.

    4. Matt says:

      I will DEF. be back on this one as soon as I watch the video, but big, BIG news tonight, MSNBC, CNN, even Fox….Trump is not happy with AG Sessions at ALL about the recusal He might be resigning soon! It might happen, it is all over the news tonight! Trump is apparently ALSO not happy with the Dep. AG, either! Maybe they will both be canned! This could be a miracle waiting to happen. I will be watching this video and will be back to comment, but this was huge breaking news, Sessions might resign soon, and his Dep. AG.

      Also…prayers for John Mccain….partisanship does not matter. Prayers for full recovery for this American hero and his family, a great man, and a patriot. Back later to comment on the video once I watch it.

      • Matt says:

        Trump slammed Sessions on tape in the NYT interview. Said he would not have hired Sessions, accused him of lying to the Senate on the Russia issue.

        To make matters even BETTER, has anyone else noticed Sessions has been practically COMPLETELY silent on marijuana? He is so distracted by all this,


        I don’t think there will be a crackdown after all! This could be a miracle!

    5. Julian says:

      The President wants to fire Jeff Sessions;


      And Senator McCain, who threw the vote on killing medicaid while he underwent surgery, has malignant brain cancer. Glioblastoma diagnoses 18 months to live with chemo. That time can be prolonged with cobsumption of cannabis, but Insys Therapuetics effectively blocked legalization of marijuana in Arizona to sell their synthetic fentanyl poison to cancer patients.
      Could Senator McCain get an mmj card in Arizona? Could the Cannabis Caucus reach out to the Senator in his time of need?

      • Julian says:


        • mexweed says:

          Well, a small point here, maybe let’s keep NOOH Name of our Herb away from words like “consumption”, that sounds like an oldfashioned name for tobacckolosis.

          Reduce bwdflouwer “consumption” to 25 mg per vapetoke, increase number of safe rational users to more than 50% of pop*.

          *Oops, sorry, ululation.

          • Blake says:

            Mexweed, you are seriously as annoying as a recurring hemmorhoid. Legalize it!-but only use a flew drawtube 25mg one hitter because I like it and it is awesome! Do you realize how annoying it would be if everyone constantly posted a “reminder” to smoke exactly how they do. We get it, you vape and this conserves weed for you. Some (alot) of people vape and think ” WTF did I waste that money on the stupid vaporizer for, I could have bought a freaking ounce, a bong and 20 brand new glass bowls plus 10,000 rolling papers with that.”

    6. dave says:

      We, in America have a huge health care issue happening right now. The Federal Government must include releasing Cannabis from Federal control to help reduce future health care costs for all Americans. As we all know, cannabis has hundreds of proven medical uses and cannabis is a green plant which is a non-toxic seed bearing herb that will not harm humans. As the Affordable Care Act gets reformed, Cannabis must be available to all Americans as part of the upcoming medical reforms.?

      • Jamie Collidge says:

        . I have more opinions about the psychiatric and medical communities. Get rid of the law firms suing doctors. give back the freedom AND responsibility for taking care of one’s health to the individual person. the information is always out there for me (as well as anyone else) to research to see benefits and dangers of taking any particular medication that the doctor may prescribe. so let ME be responsible for the decision to take a drug OK! why does the doctor have that responsibility in the first place. I am an adult. it should be my decision. then there would not be any need for suing anyone. also there are way too many regulations on the medical community, GET the cost of medical care down. simple. that is where it starts. see from the bottom up one might say.

    7. dave says:

      We, in America have a huge health care issue happening right now. The Federal Government must include releasing Cannabis from Federal control to help reduce future health care costs for all Americans. As we all know, cannabis has hundreds of proven medical uses and cannabis is a green plant which is a non-toxic seed bearing herb that will not harm humans. As the Affordable Care Act gets reformed, Cannabis must be available to all Americans as part of the upcoming medical reforms.?

      • mexweed says:

        Important point about future health care costs! the 2014 Surgeon General Report estimated $135-BIL. yearly “Medical Care” “cost to the U.S. economy” from “$moking-related illness” (which everyone knows at least 95% means the H-ot B-urning O-verdose M-onoxide Paperpuffin’ 700-mg $iggerette format).
        1. Replace tobacckgo with cannabis– and/or other herbs (some are listed in the Wikiversity “Smoking: Cessation” article)
        2. Replace $moking with vaping (or at least mostly, as with cheap DIY semivaporizer (flexdrawtube oneheater).
        3. Replace 700-mg-per-lightup $ig format with 25-mg tokes of previously Sifted herb in a quarter-inch or 5.5-mg inner diameter screened crater (such as a socket wrench with the drawtube stuffed in its square rear endhole, see free wiki article “Make-Pipes-From-Everyday-Objects” . Go to the article, sign in, edit, improve, add better pictures etc.).

        • Pete says:

          Not a good idea to be roping tobacco into this, you are displaying the same prejudice against that and smoking in general as the prohibitionists have against cannabis, let not just jump on to another mistake,…. just leave the cigarettes alone, outlaw them , and yes, there will be problems, we do NOT need the nicotine addicts all ripped from their vice, talk about chaos! Just leave the cigarettes alone, back away buddy. This is a site for cannabis anyway.

          • mexweed says:

            The hot burning overdose monoxide paperpuffin nicotine tobacckgo $iggerette “industry” paid legislators over the years to “rope” cannabis into this prohibition mess, but No, I don’t support banning $igs, just make enough billion flexdrawtube oneheaters that every one of the 1.2 billion “addicts” can learn the Suck Slow Vape Toke technique and substitute 25-mg servings of their chosen herb for the present 700-mg-per-lightup scam.
            Look up NPR’s July 25 “Morning Edition” coverage on the $iggerette tax issue where they mentioned that some wage-earners are spending 30% of their income on $iggerettes– and correspondingly apply for taxpayer-funded foodstamps more than other folks do. Ganja to the re$cue!

      • Mark Mitcham says:

        @ dave,
        Republicans are not trying to “reform” Obamacare, they are trying to butcher it for blood money.

    8. Matt says:

      Secret meeting? Maybe not too ominous but still disturbing….I think the DEA and DOJ are very, very hesitant because they might actually not know what to with legalization because we are so big now and the popularity is off the charts. They are stuck and they know it. Sessions was right about one thing…resources are lacking and he knows it. Thank goodness, too, because had it just been Colorado and Washington still we would be in deep trouble. I think they are stuck, they know a crackdown is at least on the verge now of being impossible….if only California shops were up and running we would be unstoppable, but perhaps we are. But I promise my next post will be on this video, lol, want to enjoy it. Back later on that, here is the link to the “secret” meeting the DEA just held in Colorado. Also, Sessions was there recently too, but he said nothing about legalization.

      Probably because he knows he can’t win. No one can stop us now, including the DEA.


      • Matt says:

        correction, Sessions was in Nevada recently, lol. But next post on the video, can’t wait to watch.

    9. Matt says:

      OK, well, I have finally watched the video, and must say this was a wonderful and insightful panel! The NORML moderator did a wonderful job organizing and presenting not only the Reps. but the questions from the livestream, I wish I had been there (I am still trying to reestablish a new FB password, FB is tricky about security and I have not accessed it since Jan.). I was very, very impressed with the steadfast answers and dedication from all the Reps! 🙂 I will certainly be paying extremely close attention to Rep. Amash from my own home state here in MI. I LOVED what Rep. Blumenthal had to say, and I liked how he described our government’s view on marijuana as “schizo…” he is exactly right, as sad as it is.

      I agree with Julian about Rep. Garrett. I was very, very impressed and proud of him for speaking up in favor of medical marijuana. Even though I….well, I was a little shaken by his comments on Sessions and against recreational, but I am so proud he is willing to put aside differences and stand with us as a team. Also, Rep. O’Rourke was so right….party DOES NOT MATTER on this issue, not only on medical, but, really, on recreational. Hold on….let me continue in the reply….

      • Matt says:

        My posts are again becoming excessive (sorry, mods, I will try to condense my future posts on these articles, just have so much to say, lol).

        I was very, very impressed with these meeting. NORML, PLEASE do more of these livestreams, even if I am temporarily locked out of my own FB page I will be coming to the site/blog and still watching them. Nice to see almost 40K views on this one. This was a wonderful presentation. These are great men, and great Reps, putting aside those differences for the common and just cause of legalization. Thank you so much for this, I will be watching it again! Thanks again to the moderator, she did a great job!

        We activists are incrediably progressive, intelligent people. Not only on the issue of marijuana legalization, by LGBTQ rights, the environment, freedom of self-expression, freedom from government intrusion or the government dictating morality or how we should live our lives.

        I do not think….and I hesitate here…that Sessions is going to crackdown. Nevada alone is just another huge headache for the DEA and they know it….they know it is pointless, and it will look TERRIBLE for them if they start raids. Sessions is knocking over a few outlier pillars like the forfeiture nonsense and the Cole review. In less than a week, I believe he wants a report from all the states on marijuana, remember that? Still

        • Matt says:

          the DEA knows this thing is just too big, and I actually think Nevada starting sales may have all but sunk them. One more state opening shops and they are finished. One minor article I just had to post below…I receive many email updates. This irritaing one out of Kentucky, where legalization is a long way off (and remember that poor weather reporter story). NORML…thank you SO MUCH for this wonderful panel…PLEASE do this again in the future with more Reps, other offcials! Great job, and thank you, gentlemen. To legalization, to our progressive, educated, intelligent young people, to a GREATER future.

          The Kentucky piece, another area of the country/group of states we need to start working on, Tenn, others:


          • Blake says:

            The DEA’s mandate is to keep drugs illegal no matter what. They will never just bend over and accept legalization as long as they have $1 left to fight it. The only way to get to them is to cut off their funding. Even most narc’s wont show up if they aren’t getting paid. Congress could do this, and it (DEA)is a very unpopular agency. Disband the DEA and start from scratch with new drug policy.

    10. Martin Kuntz Jr. says: