4 of the Dumbest Things Republicans Ever Said About Marijuana

Republicans say the darnedest things about marijuana. It's as if the devil's weed were so powerful that merely trying to talk about it renders them senseless. Although some of them are coming around on medical marijuana and even allowing the states to legalize it if they want to, old Reefer Madness attitudes still run deep in the party. Here are four sets of remarks from the last few days that show how far the party has to go when it comes to talking sense about sinse:


John Kasich and the Incoherence Problem. The Ohio governor was the only GOP candidate at this week's debate to be directly asked about marijuana policy, and boy, did he make a hash out his response. Here is his response in its numbing entirety:

"Sending mixed signals to kids about drugs is a disaster," he said. "Drugs is one of the greatest scourge in this country, and I spent five years of my administration working with my team to do a whole sort of things to try to rein in the problem of overdoses, and it goes on and on. We could do a whole show on that."

I think that means he doesn't support marijuana legalization, but I'm not sure because he didn't actually say anything about marijuana. And I won't even mention his struggles with basic grammar.

But he does deserve to be taken to task for his "what about the kids?" schtick. Does he mean that adults shouldn't be able to things kids shouldn't? Does he mean adults should be jailed for smoking pot to prevent kids from smoking pot? Who knows? It seems doubtful that even he does.

And if he wants to talk about overdoses in the context of a question about marijuana, it seems like it would be worthwhile to note that there is no such thing as a fatal marijuana overdose.

Mike Huckabee and the Kim Davis/Marijuana Legalization Equivalency. Yes, that's right: The former Arkansas governor resorted to some severely fuzzy logic when, during an interview with the Des Moines CBS affiliate, he described conservative angst over the plight of the Kentucky county clerk who refused to grant gay marriage licenses and contrasted that with the Obama administration's hands-off approach to pot legalization in the states.

"Let me ask you this," Huckabee posed the question. "How come it's that liberals are OK with not keeping the federal law when it comes to the marijuana laws and it's OK for the states to ignore it, but if it comes to a county clerk in Kentucky who doesn't believe that she can abide by a federal court ruling, not even a law, then she goes to jail? Do you see where conservatives sometimes their heads explode because they say, 'Boy, there's one set of rules for people on the left and a total different set of rules for people on the right'?"

The problem with Huckabee's formulation is that there is nothing in the Constitution that forbids states from legalizing marijuana, but there is something in the Constitution—the 14th Amendment, as interpreted by the Supreme Court—that forbids people like Kim Davis from discriminating against gay people. Equivalency fail.

The Phoenix Prosecutor and the Marijuana/Drug Cartel Equivalency. Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery isn't running for the presidency, but his remarks about the Southwest Cannabis Conference and Expo show that he is ready for the Republican big leagues when it comes to marijuana-inspired stupidity.

On Wednesday, Montgomery said there was no difference between the conference, which focused on medical marijuana, which is legal in Arizona, and drug cartels getting together to discuss how best to smuggle and sale heroin and cocaine.

"Why is it any different for marijuana in this regard than if we had cartel members in town for their annual cartel convention?" he mused. "This federal administration's inability or unwillingness to enforce laws is creating these ridiculous scenarios."

No, Mr. Montgomery, you're the one creating ridiculous scenarios, such as comparing legal medical marijuana users, producers, and vendors to murderous foreign criminal drug trafficking organizations.

Like Huckabee above, Montgomery appears more peeved at a federal government that actually heeds the will of its constituents on marijuana policy than he is about marijuana itself. But his comparison of medical marijuana people with the Zetas or the Sinaloa Cartel is just heinous.

The Michigan Prosecutor and "Not Your Father's Marijuana." Charlevoix County Prosecutor Allen Telgenhof is concerned, very concerned that his state might legalize marijuana. He's so concerned he blogs about it. There's much to unpack in even a single of his blog posts, but in his latest, he worries about the kids, he worries about people with "general diseases" using marijuana, and he unwraps a hoary old chestnut about pot potency:

"Simply put, this is not the marijuana Jeb Bush and Bill Clinton smoked forty or fifty years ago. It is more dangerous and the push for profits leads manufacturers to race to get the highest THC levels, making it even more of a danger," Telgenhof wrote in his blog.

It is true that high-grade marijuana is indeed stronger than it used to be, with THC levels in some strains exceeding 20% compared to the 5% or so in Mexican brick weed forty years ago. What is entirely unproven is that "it is more dangerous." It's certainly not going to kill you, and people smoking high-end pot simply adjust to higher THC levels by smoking less to obtain the same high. Assuming that people will smoke OG Kush the same way and in the same amount that they would smoke Mexican brick weed is like assuming that people drink tequila in the same fashion and same quantity as they drink beer. It is way past time to put this loser of argument to bed. 

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