I read this article on Iowa Starting Line this week and was kind of fascinated about how out of step Chuck Grassley is with Iowans. While marijuana is but one issue, it is rather typical of Grassley being about 50 years behind the populace. Really makes you wonder why we elect him.
Admiral Michael Franken’s proposals seem to be refreshing and in touch with what Iowans think. Franken’s view toward recreational marijuana is a very level, rational view. From the article:
“I view the medicinal use of marijuana and the recreational use, controlled much like we do with alcohol, to be absolutely fine and well overdue,” Franken told reporters on Iowa Press in June. “And we should have the federal statutes put in place where money, revenue generated by taxing THC is used for interstate commerce just like it would for anything else.”
None of the fear generated by decades of drug policies that linked marijuana to a downward spiral to harder drugs and more degenerate lifestyles. While Franken doesn’t mention it, recreational marijuana is finding markets in many states without the predicted spiral into harder drugs and degenerate lifestyles.
In contrast, here is the 1970 view from Chuck Grassley (from the same article):
“I am in support of medicinal marijuana, but not on a willy-nilly basis,” he told Starting Line at a town hall in early September. Grassley clarified that means the medical marijuana should go through the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for safety and efficacy checks.
“I want to be very careful that it’s got quality,” he said. “And in regards to recreational marijuana, I do not support it at this point because I gotta have proof that it doesn’t lead to higher, harder drugs.”
His opposition goes back years.
“Marijuana is illegal because it is dangerous. When you smoke marijuana, or use any other drug, it negatively affects your brain. It changes the way you think, your ability to learn, and how well you can remember,” he said in 2020 in response to someone reaching out to his office. “It can also lead to addiction and has been linked to later abuse of other drugs in long-term studies done by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. For these reasons, I have opposed legislation that would legalize or otherwise expand the marijuana industry.”
In 2016, Grassley said in a Senate hearing: “Our country is in the middle of an epidemic of addiction focused on heroin and prescription opioids. And just last year, the Centers for Disease Control found that people who are addicted to marijuana are three times more likely to be addicted to heroin. So if the Obama Administration is serious about addressing this epidemic, it should stop burying its head in the sand about what’s happening to its enforcement priorities on recreational marijuana.”
Almost feels like it was cut right out of that 1930’s propaganda scare movie “Reefer Madness.” To refresh your memory of that classic, here is a colorized version from YouTube (1 hr 8 min):
If Grassley were really serious about drugs that lead to harder drugs and health consequences that we all bear the costs of he would attack alcohol and tobacco. Probably most reading this column and most likely every Iowan has a friend or relative whose life has been affected by alcohol and tobacco.
Marijuana is just one issue to illustrate the differences between Mike Franken – a leader who stood up to power when he thought they were wrong – and Grassley, someone who puts party before country. Heck, Grassley wouldn’t even stand up to Donald Trump after Trump led a coup against our government.
Iowans can simply not trust Grassley’s judgment anymore. Not only is he stuck in a world 50+ years old, he also puts party before country in his considerations.
BTW, the Iowa House Democrats held a press conference in which they also came out in support of legalized marijuana:
Iowa House Democrats named increasing public school funding, protecting abortion and legalizing marijuana as goals for the upcoming legislative session Wednesday.
The legislative leaders of Iowa’s minority party unveiled their “people over politics” agenda at the Iowa State Capitol. The plan has four components: lowering costs of living, legalizing adult use of marijuana, protecting access to abortion and investing in public schools. While Democrats have rallied behind those policies for years, the four points come as the nation faces changing laws and rising inflation.