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tv   Key Capitol Hill Hearings  CSPAN  June 27, 2014 12:00pm-2:01pm EDT

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a recent story takes a look at sales. $14 million in january. $22 million in april. talk about those figures and what is expected as far as revenue for the state. guest: i think the state revenue projections are still off. it is almost impossible to know by the end of the year -- you cannot extrapolate. you cannot say we have four months of tax data, so we multiply that by three, and that's how many sales in taxes we will have at the end of the year because every month, more and more stores are coming online. more and more people are coming to colorado, realizing that there is recreational marijuana for sale here.
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i think that the growth can be exponential. we see some months where it goes up by 15% or 20% in sales. april is a big month because there was a big 4/20 smoke out. on april 20, every year, people come and smoke marijuana in public. it is a huge sales day. it is like christmas for marijuana. the lines outside are huge. april may have been a spike. there are four months of tax data in this program. we cannot draw a trend -- we know that every month it is getting bigger. host: as far as public smoking, does the new law address that at all? guest: yes. it is in the constitution that you cannot smoke in public. that is the one thing that is difficult for people who are new. they come to colorado to smoke marijuana. that may be the most surprising aspects for them. this is not an amsterdam type of environment here.
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there are smoke clubs where you can buy marijuana and sit down and smoke it. in denver, the king of marijuana in colorado -- with 89 recreational dispensaries, 200 medical dispensaries. the smoke clubs are banned. people buy their marijuana and walk out of the shop. now what do they do it? they probably smoke it in their hotel or on the down low. on the street or in a park. all of that is against the law. cops say it is the lowest priority. they will not handcuff people for smoking marijuana, but it is still against the law. you could be fined up to $1000 for smoking in public. that may be part of the reason that people are drawn to edible. you come in from out-of-state and see an incredible selection of edible brownies and candies, cakes, cookies --
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peanut butter cups. the options are endless. people are likely drawn to the edibles. that can be a different experience for people who are not accustomed to edibles. we are saying issues of people who are not aware of how powerful edible marijuana can be. host: a new york times columnist wrote about her experience with edible marijuana and taking it and the effect that had. you probably heard about that. guest: yeah. it is unfair that people have been mocking her for that. it is not an atypical experience. when you eat marijuana, it can take so long to have an effect on you. people will feel like it is not happening, so that you more. once it is in your system, you cannot get it back out. when you smoke marijuana, the feeling is almost instant. you can kind of regulate it before you get too far or too
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high. with edibles, you put that in your system and it has to work its way out. i think she is not completely -- she gets mocked for not paying attention to directions, but it is easy not to. even if you're a seasoned marijuana smoker, your reaction to the edible marijuana may be different than if you smoked it. you may feel overconfident that you can handle large doses. i think it takes time for people to learn this new market. we do not hear a lot of problems with medical edibles. we are hearing problems from people from out of state. they eat the whole cookie and have issues. host: we will talk about these issues. ben markus will talk about colorado's experience and answer questions on it. there are three lines set aside regionally. our first call of the morning
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comes from d.j. from chesapeake, virginia. caller: good morning. i am working on the efforts in virginia for medical legalization. i have worked across the country as a veteran for post-traumatic stress and i worked with mike elliott. that is something they tried to add to colorado's red card program. i want to address a few issues. the fact that you do not see increased use in adolescents with legalization. you see a reduction in traffic fatalities.
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the university of colorado at denver analyzed fatalities nationwide between 1990 and 2009. they saw the traffic fatalities in males 20 to 29 went down, resulting in fewer deaths. it also reduced the suicide rate. my question for ben would be, do you think that colorado is doing is going too far as the way of regulations go? it seems like they're almost relating some areas completely out of the program, as opposed to allowing for a lot of freedom with marijuana. host: you have to understand the marijuana is not the typical product. you have to be very careful that the federal government feels comfortable with the system in colorado. yes, some people may look at this market and say it is not a free-market system. you have hundreds of pages of regulation. but, this is a substance that is still against federal law. the federal government is concerned about the movement of this product out of state and into kids' hands. it is extremely highly
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regulated. it is for a reason. you are citing a traffic study. it goes up to 2009. in 2009 is when it became widely spread. that study does not encompass one of the most important time periods, when you have the medical marijuana as it exists today, which is store fronts where people can easily buy it. people should start citing after 2009. that is when you have recreational marijuana like we have today. host: bill is up next. bill is from florida. go ahead please. caller: i have a question for you. medical marijuana will be on the ballot here in november. how much money from these taxes
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is going back into researching for the medical purposes or doing research as to what is recreational? whether it is harmful or not? guest: that is a great question. and the governor's budget, there is millions of dollars for research into medical marijuana properties. this is not from tax money, but from red card registrations. when you register to become a patient with the state, you have to pay a small fee. they did not quite know what to do with all that money. so, they directed some of that toward research for things like epilepsy and post-traumatic stress disorder. the state is not going to add additional ailments for medical use until there are studies. it is kind of a catch 22, for people who suffer from ptsd and are adamant that marijuana helps them, they cannot get that added to the medical ailment list.
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the state is now taking some money and this opportunity with legal recreational marijuana to study the drug's properties and get some good research. there is $7 million or so, which is not enough. it is not similar to the pharmaceutical budget. you don't have the goldplated and double-blind studies. you can at least get started to find out some of the medical science. it is anecdotal. that is not enough for doctors to feel comfortable prescribing it. especially with ptsd. too much marijuana can create psychosis. we do not know yet. whether it is safe or sorry, this grant has not been handed out yet. host: for the recreational tax -- where does that money go? guest: it goes into the general fund. the governor's budget as money set aside for youth education.
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it goes for paying the inspectors. and it goes to paying for background checks. so, they're very concerned about where the tax revenue is going. so much planning is pegged to that. it is hard to know. you cannot look to another state and say that is how they did it. so, there is kind of a cautious approach, waiting to see with the full realization of this market is. host: asbury park, new jersey. this is ben markus. caller: i just have two quick questions and i need ben to answer these before i hang up. first, out of the 89 storeowners that sell recreational marijuana -- i know a lot of them end up going to jail. how many black owners today have you met? i appreciate it.
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guest: i have to admit, i do not think i have met a black owner. i have not met them all. there are 500 medical stores, i have only met a small handful. host: what has been the police and law enforcement involvement? guest: it seems to be pretty much the same as it was with medical. there is a good relationship there with the dispensaries that are doing the right things. they have the security cameras that they are required by the state. they make sure they are not selling to minors. they keep their nose clean. where you see interaction with police and dispensaries, it is typically robberies and burglaries. the word is out that these are all cash businesses. they do not have all cash accounts. the drug is still against federal law. almost every bank is regulated by the government. they do not have access to those accounts.
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they also have cash on hand. this may be the perception that people have. that is where you see police being concerned about dispensaries. these burglaries and targets for criminals. host: as far as washington is concerned, what would have to change to allow recreational stores to have a banking option? guest: well, i think it may be a question that congress can solve. the fact that medical marijuana is a scheduled one. it is a narcotic that is completely illegal in the eyes of the federal government. only congress can make that change. in the last legislative session in colorado, in an attempt to deal with this, they created a co-op system. businesses can come together and capitalize the financial institution and use banking from that. that comes from the federal reserve and it is not likely the
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federal reserve will approve a co-op. but, the reason a co-op was passed is that it forces the hand of the federal government. if the federal reserve says no, then people can go back to congress and say look, we have tried everything we can to set a big account for these businesses. you need to do something at the federal level to make this happen. it is a safety issue. it is an auditing issue. if you do not have receipts, if you're not tracking cash -- from a safety and security standpoint, not driving around the city was $60,000 in cash to pay the electric bill for your lease payment. that is not a way to do business. it is an ancient way to do business. to move that much cash around the city -- the banking issue is the number one issue that needs to be solved for this industry.
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host: off of twitter, jen asks about growing your own. is that legal? guest: it is legal. you can have six plants per person, i believe. they have to be in an enclosed unlocked state. you cannot just throw it in a garden unless you have a greenhouse operation to cover it up. there are restrictions on growing marijuana on your own. i know that many people want to do that. the vast majority will use the dispensary system. you may be able to distill your own whiskey. it is so much easier to go to the liquor store and buy the stuff off the shelves. there are certainly people who are growing at on their own. i have to believe that that market is relatively small. growing marijuana is not an easy operation. you have to obtain seeds. it is hard to replicate the kind
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of scientific grow operations at we see here in denver. these climate control operations. there are different strains that do different things. it is really hard to replicate what you can get in a dispensary. my guess is that the home ground operations will be a pretty small market. host: if i were in colorado and over 21, what are the rules for me? how much can i buy in a day? guest: on your person, you can have one ounce or less. that is constitutionally mandated. when you go to a store, you can't buy a full ounce at a time. you can buy a quarter ounce at a time. if you wanted to come to colorado and buy marijuana and go back to kansas to sell it,
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they want to make it difficult to accumulate a lot. you would have to go from store to store to accumulate enough to make it worth it. people who are out-of-state are restricted you how much they can buy. a quarter ounce of marijuana is still a lot for one person to have. it is not like they're limiting how much you can smoke by a lot. they're just making sure that you cannot collect enough to go home and deal it. host: washington, dave is up next. guest: good morning. you do a great job. i just want to give three points. first, i had ptsd as a child. i did not realize that. pot became the drug that helped me get through the growing up process. as i grew older, i did not need to smoke it all the time. the next thing is the free market.
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i was in favor of legalizing marijuana if you allow people who have in the business to go ahead and pay the fine and become part of the free market. the way that they are doing it does not allow people to get into the market. this has been a problem for years. i agree with them. i am laid off of work right now because i tested positive. i smoke it responsibly. this takes care of my anxiety. i do not have nightmares. now i am laid off. employers get this power over you. there is a paradox in this economy. the free-market is not getting
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to be allowed. the employers have control. host: your state is about to be one that allows for work regional sales. how will that change after this goes into effect? caller: it will not change. i had this conversation with the company that i work for. it is his position that they do not want people on drugs there. people can come in smelling like alcohol. i am nervous. host: go ahead, ben. guest: i think that that is a big issue. the state has given employers the opportunity to continue their policies. if an employer tests for marijuana, they can still do that. there are also court cases making their way through the
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system. they use it for an actual ailment. previously, you could not have it in your system. they regularly tested and that did not change. i know that that is a problem for some people. that is not going to change anytime soon. if your employer does not allow you to smoke, you probably should not still. host: as far as washington state, how does it differ from colorado in the approach it takes? guest: i think that one of the biggest misconceptions about recreational marijuana and colorado is that this is a whole new system. there were 500 dispensaries in the state of colorado. in denver alone, there were 200. that is the biggest difference between colorado and any other state.
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we have a highly regulated medical marijuana system. they were able to take a lot of what worked in the medical model and simply copy it over. there are a few key differences. i know that washington had dispensaries as well. not licensed at the state and local level. the medical dispensaries that existed -- the owners went through background checks. we did not have all of the inspectors that were needed. there were problems with that. there was a take control of the medical market. that is why some people say that the federal government did not step in and say do not pass recreational marijuana in colorado and washington. colorado had done a good job of regulating the medical market. that is the biggest difference. colorado had a lot of experience with this industry already. there was a good idea of how many stores that there were.
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it is not very opaque here in colorado. you do not have the same rules. washington looked at colorado. that is why you see colorado moving a lot quicker than washington. they are starting sales now. that is because the state has become familiar with these operations and had these rules in place already. host: the federal government has not changed its position on marijuana. does that make it a concern for those who operate in colorado, especially on the retail side? whether the federal government should change its mind? guest: i think that is a really good question. people who are in the medical market are benefiting from a certain halo effect. you are supplying medicine to people who need it.
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a lot of people were faking ailments to get into the system. there are also many people who do need it. to treat symptoms from aids and cancer and pain. some of those patients -- do not want to shut down medicine. you maybe don't see a rush of businesses switching from medicals to recreational because some want that halo effect. some owners got into this because dad had cancer and marijuana helped him. they really believe in the medical mission of it. it has not always been about making as much money as they can and selling as much marijuana as possible. it is about really helping people. there is a dichotomy in industry between making money and helping people. i think that is a great point. with government intervention, you are moving into that recreational market. it seems unlikely that they would move into medical. if something goes wrong, it seems unlikely at this point,
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six months into sales. businesses probably have a better chance of avoiding medical intervention. as long as they pay attention to the rules and regulations of the state. host: here is ron from california. caller: yeah. in genesis, second verse, it says all men shall eat and partake of plants with seeds. i do not think you want to overrule god. it is a plant. i do not think the government has a right to regulate plants. as long as it is a plant i can grow, i do not care what the government says. they are regulating everything. they just want to tax it. it is not about use, it is about tax. government, shove it. host: ben markus, it is not
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about use, it is about tax. guest: that is an interesting argument that the government should not be involved. part of the reason that passed overwhelmingly is that conservative voters in colorado tend to skew libertarian. stay out of my business. even a famous firebrand from colorado, a conservative, supported recreational marijuana. people should be allowed to have personal responsibility. on the flip side of this, the government is involved in all levels of this business. they know every detail of the finances and background. they know how many plants are being grown. it is one of the most highly regulated industries on the planet. you have a dichotomy of people who supported trade, people should be free to make their own choices. you also have a highly regulated
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market. you have to have it both ways. it is such a sensitive drug to be dealing. host: what about hickenlooper's law, before it was passed? guest: he did send out a statement saying that colorado is known for many great things. marijuana should not be one of them. he was attacked immediately for that. he made his fortune in brewpubs. and in alcohol. he is saying that marijuana should not be allowed. hickenlooper did not want colorado to be the first. he did not want them to be the shining city upon the hill for marijuana. he put the attention and the
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focus on the state. probably not the best thing for business recruitment. did not seem to have heard that at all. when i talk to his chief business recruiter, he said it has not come up at all. they may joke about it, but it has not been a big problem. that is some of the concern. is colorado the amsterdam of the united states? host: did he include those who were opposed from the beginning? guest: to his credit, he did not want it. when it passed, he signed it into law, as required. a task force of 20 some odd people from the industry and advocacy groups and on enforcement -- he had a diverse group of people work on a set of laws, looking at what works for medical and what would work for recreational.
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they spent six months working on regulation and laws. they passed a very detailed, comprehensive bill. even though he did not support it at the time, he did throw his weight behind making sure what did pass had good rules and regulations behind it. host: next call is north carolina. this is william, go ahead. caller: how are you doing? can you hear me? my thing was, the only reason that marijuana is illegal to start with is due to oppression. we have somehow split into the opposite of what this country was intended to be. the reason why is from the bar association. i mean, you look at the law, violations and punishments -- then you look at someone smoking a joint and the punishments and stuff. how do you justify that?
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host: let me say -- if you are caught with marijuana in your possession or caught smoking, what are the legal ramifications? guest: not a lot of trouble. it depends how much marijuana you have. if you have less than an ounce, that is legal. you cannot smoke in public. if you're caught the third time smoking in city parks or the mall -- your offense can bring a fine of up to $1000. the police department has said that this will be the lowest priority for them. you would have to be pretty blatant, smoking in front of an officer, to get in trouble. i walked around the city yesterday and saw three or four people smoking openly in public. so, it is happening. people are smoking out there. most people use pens that do not
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put off a lot of odor. some people smoke a joint right there. it is certainly more permissive after legalization then it was before. host: from twitter, how much money has marijuana tourism brought to colorado? guest: i do not think anybody really knows the answer to that question yet. local recreational sales this year top $200 million in april. we have data for 22 million dollars in recreational sales. just looking at recreational sales alone, a lot of those people are from out-of-state. the people who are in colorado who wanted to get marijuana already have their source, and at her have a medical card or know somebody who gets them marijuana so they are not going to dispensaries. when i walk into a dispensary downtown, i hear from people
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from connecticut, from new jersey, from germany, from all over the country. tourism is that a big deal. they were filling up before it kicked off. people want to have their conventions here. it is clear that there are people coming here because of recreational marijuana, we just don't know what those numbers are yet. host: calvin and charlotte, north carolina, go ahead. caller: good morning. all, i have been smoking since the late 60's. as far as people saying that -- that it leads to other drugs, is a bit ridiculous. i was wanting to know if you were inclined to grow your own,
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do they sell clothing, do they sell the seeds? while you are at it, what about patches? i quit smoking cigarettes 20 something years ago with patches. in the last segment, there was a chat about the smoking is not good for your lungs. i would agree and i would just as soon put a patch on. host: ben markus? variety ofe are a different options if you went to avoid smoke. there are tinctures, edibles. host: has anybody determine if this experiment is a success and what determines if colorado is successful in the world of
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recreational marijuana? guest: i think there are a few measures of success. can you keep marijuana out of the hands of people under the age of 21? in a recent audit of stores, where law enforcement went in and tried to buy underage people -- none of the stores sold to people who were underage and those operations. they may have done it elsewhere. at least when the government was looking, they were not doing it. the other measure is diversion out-of-state. they do not want lots of plants going to montana and wyoming and other places with very strict marijuana laws. the federal government will be watching colorado to make sure that they keep track of the plants and know where they are at and where they are going. so, keeping tabs on this industry will be the number one measure of success. host: ben markus of colorado
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public radio is joining us to talk about the experience with recreational marijuana. you can find his writing on the website. thank you. guest: thank you. host: joining us now from denver, colorado is michael elliott from the marijuana industry group. he serves as executive director. good morning, sir. guest: thank you for having me. host: tell me about your organization. who you represent? guest: we are a trade association of the licensed marijuana businesses here. we are colorado centric. we formed in 2010. there was a period where we had marijuana businesses, but no licensing or regulation. it was seen as being out of control. our group formed at that time. we pull our resources together and hired a number of lobbyists to go to the state capital. instead of banning businesses, which a lot of folks wanted to do, we push to allow some localities like cities and counties to ban businesses if
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they wanted, but allow others to opt in to a state and local licensing framework. in 2010, at that time, we created this new licensing and regulatory framework. we are still working with that today. for the businesses you are present, what does the passage of this amendment do for your companies? how does it change? all of the folks that have opened up for recreational sales now were originally medical marijuana businesses. many of them have converted over to the recreational sales. some of them have not been allowed to. the city of denver decided to opt in for medical sales and recreational sales. colorado springs, which is the second biggest city, they're going forward with medical sales, but they have banned recreational. aurora is doing the inverse.
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they are in the process of allowing recreational sales. it depends on what locality or and. many of the folks in my group are open for medical and recreational. host: one of the measures of success would be involving keeping tabs on organizations that sell recreational marijuana. is that right in your opinion? what kind of monitoring is going on because of the passage of the new law? we have about 500 pages of marijuana law and regulation here in colorado. it is a huge framework. i comes with state and local licensing. when it comes to owners, they have background checks and felony restrictions and financial disclosures. the whole idea is locking the black market out. when it comes to security, there's mandatory surveillance and limited access areas. there are a number of safety protections, like mandatory
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testing, labeling, packaging. one of the biggest aspect of the program is there is a sales tracking mechanism that comes complete with required rfid tags that track every one of the plants. is that theea here state of colorado, through the marijuana enforcement division, they are able to track all of the legal marijuana that is tied to these businesses and make sure that they are being grown legally and sold legally. basically, everything is accounted for and transparent. host: the law says that you have to be over 21 to purchase recreational marijuana. how do your businesses make that happen? so the businesses are doing id checks the same way that many liquor stores are. as we heard in the news recently, there were compliance checks. the marijuana enforcement had underage people going into these
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businesses in trying to buy marijuana. we had 100% compliance rate, which is better than liquor is doing now. that makes a lot of sense. these businesses have a license. they have a license that is valuable to them and they do not want to lose. they have every incentive to comply with these rules had to be good players. i guess i would make the argument that the black market here is that they do not have that incentive. the black market praise off of kids. they sell at a legally, so they do not care if you're 21 are not. we're setting up a situation where we are in colorado controlling the sale of marijuana. i would argue that the sale of marijuana is out of control in most of the country and most of the world. host: you say that, but there's a gentleman who wrote about colorado's experience in the new york times. he says that in colorado's
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northern plains, a fourth grader showed up on the playground with some of his grandmother's marijuana. one of the students returned the favor by bringing in a marijuana edible that he had swiped from his grandmother. there are a couple of deaths that have been attributed to edible products. when you hear the stories -- they are anecdotal. does it still show concern about the type of drugs being introduced in the market? well, being introduced into the market, i inc. that is certainly not the way i would say it. marijuana is not being introduced anywhere here. marijuana has been sold widely. it has been available for decades now. we started the war on marijuana back in 1970 and 1971 with richard nixon. what do we have for to show for it? set $1.5 trillion. the united states has the highest incarceration rate in
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the world. marijuana is universally available, particularly in our schools. people sitting at home likely sell marijuana within their middle school or high school. that is a common scenario here. marijuana is not new in our communities. what we're seeing is that our current marijuana policies have been a complete failure. most everyone agrees to that. the issue has been, what is better than this? i think what colorado is showing is that we are actually able to find a way out. i would argue with you today and i would go into more detail -- this program is improving public safety. it is improving the economy and tax revenue. it is also improving our basic civil liberties. we can go into more detail about that as we go along. people who will say that it is because now we have recreational marijuana?
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i suppose you heard that argument too. guest: i think that that argument does not make a lot of sense. i went to colorado middle school. when i was in middle school, that was the first time i saw marijuana. a kid had it. this is not a new story. that being said, i will articulate the fact that preventing underage uses a top priority for the industry. certainly for the governor's office. the industry is here as a partner on this going forward. this last november, proposition aa was on the ballot here. it increased sales on marijuana here. -- taxes on the sales of marijuana here. we ended up supporting the taxes. we did so because we wanted there to be money to do public education and prevention campaigns to find ways to keep marijuana out of schools and to do a better job controlling
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this. and basically making our laws work. host: michael elliott is joining us from denver this morning, as we talk about colorado's experience. you can ask him questions about his group, the people he represents, and how business is done. michael host: what is the most common question that you get from the people that you represent? people iom the represent, it is not so much one common question. much worry and compliance. have about 500 pages of state marijuana law. it is relatively new. we have been developing it over
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the last four years. there are many different aspects of the regulatory program being introduced as we speak. we will have new testing roles and new rules on concentrate on the city of denver. if you have not finalized her medical marijuana license, you will lose it completely. so, we are still seeing the parts of this program are coming into being right now. and, with 500 pages, we can argue for weeks about what one sentence of those 500 pages actually means. making sure the people are doing things right in their co mpliance. and also not unnecessarily wasting money. guest: one more question. you talk about regulations on the state level. what about washington? this activity here affect what you do there?
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guest: absolutely. my group has been focused on colorado and my group -- we did not support amendment 54. we were neutral on it and stay out of it altogether. we have been colorado centric, trying to make this program work. that is what i see my job as being, making colorado's program work. there's only so much we can do in colorado. heartbreaking loss -- our ban king laws, these are federal banking laws. they're disrupting the relationships here in colorado and causing tremendous public safety issues. also, transparency issues. it is really difficult to audit a marijuana business that does not have a bank account. we are also dealing with tax issues. marijuana is still a schedule one controlled substance.
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it is still in the category of most dangerous drugs in the world according to the government. there is no medical value to marijuana whatsoever. so, all of those kids with epilepsy who have been getting attention, who have been coming to colorado from across the country -- the federal government must think they are all lying. it is an absurd situation. i guess it kind of feels like so ny federal government entities have their head in the sand about this whole thing. particularly with banking, it is causing public safety issues here. the federal government has not been willing to take more action and solve this problem. host: our first call comes from new york. go ahead, eric. in the context, the continuation of what you just said about your upcoming roles change -- particularly related to testing.
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i wonder if you have any awareness of drug testing, a class-action lawsuit that is taking across the country? in new york. it relates to the message. the case is entitled landon b. kroll. there's going to be an adjustment in how marijuana is mr.ted by employers, as markus had addressed. it will be legalized by the state, but possibly barred by employers. what might you know about issues relating to the liability? elliott? guest: so, to clarify, the testing rules that are being impermanent in colorado right now are obligations that the marijuana businesses have to ensure public safety to their customers. first of all, they are having to
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test for potency. that is already required. the piece that is coming out is turned to launch on july 1. it is about testing for harmful contaminants. mold, mildew, residual solvents. there's more on that list. er's question about drug testing for employers and employees and this whole issue about driving an impaired is a really tricky issue. many people have wanted -- we are all trying to regulate marijuana like alcohol. but with drug testing, it becomes more tricky. i am an attorney, not a scientist. i will play the little i know. without alcohol, it is the amount that is in your blood, and they is paid at the same time. when you are no longer in your
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blood, it is no longer your body. when you're done being impaired with marijuana, it is still in your body. if you do a drug test and get a positive result, the person may no longer be impaired. that is what is so frustrating for employees. there's a feeling that they will be fired from their job for something that they did a week time, on thieir personal when they were not being a problem in the workplace. i know that employers have a frustration of wanting to make sure that their employees are safe at the workplace. had we get around drug testing of marijuana? it seems like we may need another way of assessing and protecting our workplaces. host: say somebody gets pulled over. is there a test? so, the way it is basically handled --
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i spend a lot of time talking to law-enforcement. it is not my specialty. my basic understanding is that if an officer believes you are impaired, they will likely start off with a breathalyzer test come looking for alcohol. if you pass that, but they still think you are impaired, you can be arrested and taken down to a lab where you would have blood drawn. we start getting into the core system and the real tricky pc or is -- inyou have seven nanograms your blood, what does that mean? caller:
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caller: i have a question for you, today marijuana is $300 to $400 an ounce. war on because of the drugs. i will go to the store and buy alcohol. all over the country, where marijuana and all other drugs are illegal, minors are selling it. i do not buy my alcohol from a minor, i go to the store. buy my alcohol from a i do nt minor, i go to the store. minors are controlling the drug trade just like other people. when i want to ask you here is to mow when i am worried about moneys and factories and everything else, marijuana is probably the top, number one green energy that america can produce and reproduce every year . the first diesel motor was made to run off of hemp diesel.
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we could start running it in our refineries and our trucks. it is a multitrillion dollar turnaround for this country. being that colorado is a step ahead of everyone else, i hope you can take this and look into it. get into the energy, not just looking in people feeling good, but there is a thousand sources what to do with marijuana and is not just to smoke. host: thank you. michael, go ahead. colorado is implementing
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the third part of the program. it is new and we will have to wait and see how it goes. caller agree with the that hemp is a pretty amazing agricultural item our declaration of independence was written on hemp paper. so many things have been made out of hemp. couple of years ago, i would not have believed it. it did not make any sense to me. clothing and food items and so many other items and certainly energy -- there is actually a house being a hemp made here in colorado. it sure seems like there is a lot of economic opportunities revitalizing the economy and gaining jobs and alternative seemsof energy that it rather ridiculous that, for the last 80 years, we decided not to play with it.
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the previous guest told us about the new tax on recreational marijuana, about 30% or so. do you think that is too high? caller: it is tough to know whether it is too high or not. i think we found an interesting balance and if there were to go forward. my group supported the extra taxes on us because we wanted to make this program work. it is kind of a balancing act. if the cost of marijuana is too much, it is an incentive for the black market to sell and keep selling. we obviously want to put them out of business and the lockout the criminal element and replace it with small business owners that are accountable and transparent. i will tell you that the tax rather -- tax revenue has. been a nice benefit to this program. . in the first four months, the state received about $20 million, a little bit less than
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that. where we are now is probably closer to $30 million. every local government has their local tax, sales taxes and excise taxes on top of that. spending programs are money here in colorado is first and foremost to make sure that the licensing and regulatory the marijuana enforcement division, has all the money they need to license the business and enforcing marijuana code, to do underage compliance checks, to make sure there are sale tracking programs working properly, and marijuana is not illegally being diverted out of business is out-of-state. there is education and prevention efforts. a certain portion of the touch of a has been for constructing new schools. chuck from indiana. your next.
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ahead.go caller: good morning, how are you doing? i have a question about indiana and the laws in indiana. i have been dealing with some doctors and surgeries and they put mail quite a few pain medications. i have to use the black market to provide my own personal marijuana. so when i go to the doctors and i talk to them, they are astounded by my healing. 12 weeks ahead of time. i expressed to them how i accomplish this and they are astounded. in terms of the medical side of it, why is it that our big have aeutical companies lot to do with blocking this and not allowing this to go through?
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so marijuana has been a schedule one controlled substance it's about 1970. being schedule one, it is on the list of the most interest roads in the world that the federal government says has no medical value whatsoever. i think the federal government would deny that you're getting any benefit from using medical marijuana, which is a absurd and ridiculous place. we have the internet now. we have television. people are seeing this day in and day out that this is working for people. i think why it is so frustrating and is a valid critique is that we certainly need more research. we need to spend more time studying this and why it works and why it works for some people and not for others. but you are in the state of indiana. i believe you do not have a medical marijuana program. prosecuted fore marijuana possession, you would
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not be able to tell them you're using it for medical reasons. that means severe penalties possibly imprisonment. i am not an expert on indiana law. but you could be facing very harsh penalties because i think nd is a head-in-the-sa mentality. your story is very common. when we are dealing with a situation where accidental deaths from prescription drug overdoses, that is now the leading cause of accidental death in the united states. it just overtook traffic fatalities as the leading cause of accidental death in the united states. one hasmarijuana, no ever overdosed and died from it and people have done a lot of benefit from it. but we are in a situation where we we are people that we are pushing people these pharmaceuticals and this is not a critique of pharmaceuticals because there is a lot going on there that is great and it is
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controlled. take a plant and turn it into a pill can be a very tricky thing. thatis it about marijuana is medical -- is it the thc or another can have annoyed -- or another canabinoid? the federal government said that marijuana had known medicinal value anymore so let's not look into this anymore. i can hear the frustration in your voice. our laws are not reflecting reality anymore and they certainly need to be updated. will studyda says it marijuana and see if it has medicinal purposes. guest: i saw that in the news and i guess i am a bit skeptical. the fda has studied this before and has come back a few times saying that marijuana has no medical value. , foruana schedule one
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second year, where do you think cocaine is? cocaine is scheduled two. the federal government thinks that cocaine is safer than marijuana. how many people out there think that? nobody thinks that. you can overdose on cocaine and i. they are complete -- and die. they're completely different drugs by any objective standard. and cigarettes, where our cigarettes? they kill half a million people a year in the united states. they are not even on the schedule and neither is on call. i guess what -- neither is alcohol. i guess what i get frustrated about is that this appears to be based on science when it is the worst politics you can think about and people are being thrown in jail because of this
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head-in-the-sand mentality. i got pulled over with my buddies and i had the mistake of having a large amount of marijuana on me. i spent eight years in prison over pot and wisconsin taxpayers pay $50,000 a year to occur straight any individual in the prison system. they spent almost $400,000 to incarcerate me for pot. medical marijuana has some good uses. not to mention the fact that the irs is making so much money in government taxed in colorado which i actually just got to -- got done visiting. i don't see how government can
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justify the fact that bringing that into play and then we could see detroit out of bankruptcy. host: mr. elliott. >> "washington journal" live every day on c-span at seven :00 a.m. eastern. we leave this to take you live to the national press club. longtime congressman john michigan is there. talking about congress and bipartisanship. he has been in the u.s. house since 1955 and is now the longest serving member of congress. one of event such as this while fostering a free press worldwide. for more information about the press club, please visit on behalf of our members worldwide, i would like to welcome our speaker and those of
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you attending today's event. our head table includes guests of our speaker as working journalists who are club members. i would like to welcome our c-span and public radio audiences. you can follow the action on lunch. using the # npc we will have a question-and-answer period. now it's time to introduce our head table guests. i would like each of you to stand briefly as your name is announced. from your right, aaron kessler, automotive writer, "new york times." schultz, washington correspondent for the "detroit news." former head of legislative counsel and guests of the
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speaker. managing editor, "washington post." richard franson, former house energy counsel who handled environmental matters. skipping over to our speaker for a moment, the washington bureau chief of "the buffalo news." npc present.ast a bloomberg news white house correspondent, 2013 national press club president. ela, thank you very much. consuela washington, retired house energy and commerce committee counsel who handled financial matters. david shepardson, "detroit washington correspondent. congressional reporter for bloomberg news. hillllcall heard on the
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columnist. [applause] when our guests today took a seat representing michigan in the u.s. house, it was the same openede first mcdonald's in coca-cola was first sold in cans in addition to bottles. and you $.23 a gallon, could buy a car from the motor city from only $1900. john dingell took office in 1955 during president eisenhower's administration. he served alongside 11 presidents and is not only the longest serving member of the house now, he's the longest-serving member ever. he announced in february that he his retire at the end of 29th full term. only 29, he
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succeeded his father in the congressional district. is the heart of the big three in auto country. he's hoping that the dingell dynasty continues with his wife abby and former gm lobbyist eating elected in november to succeed him. -- being elected in november to succeed him. democratas ranking until he was ousted in 2008. he is known for his quick questions. he earned a nickname, "the stature andhis style wielding the chairman's gavel. the committee has wide ranging jurisdiction. on cleanthored laws air, endangered species, and health insurance, including shepherding through the affordable care act. in spite of passing
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environmental legislation, dingell has a reputation as an ally of the auto industry and its main union that has led them to fight attempts to strengthen environmental regulations for cars. congress since he was a child at his father's knee and serving as a house page in the 1940's. we invited him to the press club to give a farewell speech. mr. dingell said he's not done working or governing yet. he's here today to speak to us about when congress worked. please help me give a warm national press club welcome to congressman john dingell for his seventh appearance at a national press club luncheon since march 7, 1975. [applause]
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>> thank you for your very gracious introduction. thank you all, my friends, for your kindness and such a gracious and gentle welcome. i hope that when this is finished you will feel the same way. [laughter] i want to thank the press club for inviting me and allowing me to bring so many of my friends here today. thatparticularly pleased my colleague jim moran is here today. [applause] stand up, jim. we are very proud of you. [applause]
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it has been a particular honor and privilege for me to serve with you. model for anyrole and all. andso want to welcome recognize so many of my dear friends and former members of my staff who are here today. i ask that all of you who ever worked on behalf of the people of southeast michigan are with me on the energy and commerce committee, will you please stand and be recognized. [applause] there is a strange thing about my association with my staff.
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i picked not only the most extraordinary people, but also some of the finest and most loyal people who ever drew a breath. i am proud of you all, and i'm grateful that you would be here today, and grateful that you would be my friends. i have served in the house for nearly 60 years. i have seen many things, good and bad, and much change. i have had the privilege of watching washington change from to atle town in the woods major city of international proportions. i have had the privilege of serving with, not under, and not from11 presidents eisenhower to obama.
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i have had the privilege of casting 25,000 votes. i have served alongside more than 2400 colleagues. the chamber of the house of representatives to witness some 51 state of the union speeches from all of the 11 presidents with whom i have served. in my service, i have been able to author and passed landmark legislation that help protect inshore civilt, rights for all, and help our middle class to grow and prosper. i'm proud of what i have been able to do. i was thinking as i made my mind aswhether i was going to run to whether i should stay and serve, and when the lovely
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deborah and i sit to talk about these things, we look to see, and we have completed those things which my dad set out to do when he was here. we have also been able to move forward to complete all of the goals which i had when i started out here. i want to make it clear, this is not to brag about my accomplishments. it is simply to show that there congress could and did work. and when congress passed major legislation and earned bipartisan support to move the nation forward. business was done with hard fighting, but also with goodwill and mutual respect. i did not do these things by myself. no man and no woman could.
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colleagues whoh were more interested in seeing this nation grow than seeing it falter. people who were willing and able to put partisan labels on the shelf and work for a greater and ofmon good were the hallmark those congresses. in those days, that was how it was. in these days, i often remind my the verys of definition of the word congress. it means coming together. it means a body which has come together. a part of the historic understandings that this country had when we had a congress which worked. sadly, however, it has not been doing much coming together lately.
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i imagine that you have observed this also. this is not a congress that is working, but it could be. frankly, it should be. bills signedsaw 57 into law by the president. that is 57 total. we created as many laws as there of [indiscernible] perhaps that is the way we should name that congress. do not get me wrong. getting things done does take time. i remember years ago i brought up a set of bipartisan clean air amendments. it passed the house with a vote of 401-21. took the housek
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to complete this effort. folks came up to me afterwards the name ofw in common sense did you manage to pass that bill inches 13 hours? -- in just 13 hours? i looked at them and said, it took me 13 hours to get a bill that both sides agreed to on the floor. but it took me 13 years to do the work that made that possible. that tells you how hard legislation is to do, and my former staff here, most of you news men and women, and my good friend jim moran can testify to of the process of compromise, of getting legislation with goodwill. thingsthe interesting about congress is the change.
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it has become into too many instances a money chase. it has become in too many where it an instance is the goal of members to have the name of a committee on their letterhead, which draws and attracts attention and support politically. it is unfortunate that this is so. the congress is an important national trust. it is something where we have a duty to the people to do what is necessary in the broad public interest. case thaty, it is the we do not see that occurring on many instances in the congress. the committees are to large, and should be shrunk. the subcommittees are too large. , orrve on one committee
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served on one committee. in theber of members subcommittees exceeded the number of members on the full committee when i went on there. it can go on and on. it has gotten so big as to be incapable of carrying out its responsibilities. other forces are making things go badly. the supreme court decision in the citizens united case has allowed unlimited, anonymous money to flow into our political system. we have a court that has taken the most literal approach to so many of these important that the consequences are beginning to have a very serious effect on not only
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democracy, but the trust of people in their government. there areo note that god-awful cases rattling around at the supreme court that are almost certain to do more harm. any layman reading the citizens united decision will assume that this was in no way written by a group of intelligent individuals. [laughter] [applause] remotely aware of what is going on in our current political structure. the decision flies in the face of so much of what our representative government was founded upon. allowing people and corporate interest groups and others to
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spend on unlimited amount of unidentified money has enabled certain individuals to sling any and all elections, whether they are congressional, federal, whether theiror votes about the creation of some kind of local entity or resolution of local question. why we have seen the rise of the super pac's. people are now dipping their hot hands into any kind of election. willing under the sun that help them get what it is they want. rarely arely and having goals which
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are in line with those of the general public. history well shows that there is a very selfish gain that is , and that our government has largely been put up for sale. we have also had many in congress that wish to do nothing more than shrink the size and scope of the federal government. this without taking into account the families, veterans, active-duty military, the countless others who rely on this government and on our nation. these people forget there are more than 300 million americans
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who are living in one of the most dangerous times in american history. colleaguesrepublican now find they must sign a grover norquist pledge when they run for congress, saying that they will carry out his goal to down to a sizent where we can drown it in the bathtub. these are his words, not my words. pledge andorquist similar litmus tests, these .uandaries are only made worse we see state legislators draw -- state legislatures draw
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congressional lines with little interest in fair representation. about any blink of consideration for any part of the voting rights act, which is again under attack. in theerate simply interest in the making of majorities for one political party. and for achieving one particular set of views. we see members focused only on winning primaries, not about the public interest, and not about real discussion of the concerns that members have or that citizens have. the pledges are signed.
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they attempt to become the ideological image of what their primary electorate sees her ,olitical party is or should be with a work product that equals their goals and facilitates their wishes. now, there is also no incentive to stick one's neck out and compromise. that many onnoted both sides can only run further on the narrow and partisan fringes. usimple analysis will tell that this does not help our democracy. i wouldaid before that be scared to bring up the 10 commandments for a vote in the congress. i'm not sure they would pass. i'm almost certain that they would have a vast number of
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amendments laid upon them. unfortunately, i still am compelled to stand on the validity of that concern. have a now know that we congress that has decidedly begun running policies and legislative rarities out of the speaker's office -- priorities out of the speaker's office. the congress was built over a long period of time to achieve particular goals by seeing to it that every member and everybody in the chamber and everybody outside the chamber represented by people in the chamber would have a right to be heard, and would have the right to be able to see to it that the congress functioned in a way that heard
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and attended to the fears and the hopes and the dreams and the concerns of every american. and so, getting back with gingrich in delay -- that's a funny word, isn't it, delay. that weup with the idea would facilitate it by allowing to run theone entity congress of the united states. and so now we have seen a clear effort by both republicans and by their democratic successors, and now the republicans again, to ultimately usurp the committee process. started, there were a handful of members on each committee. three to nine members on each subcommittee. three to nine.
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the interesting thing was some of the most complex and difficult questions would be dealt with in the committee, where members would come together, they would hear the testimony, they would run everybody out of the room, remove their coats, and one of my colleagues used to say, fight like hell for however long it took. the result was we had committees that knew and understood legislation. they could explain it and defend it. they had the trust of their colleagues. today there are committees with nearly 100 members on them. each member just five minutes, multiply that out and see how much opportunity there is for real and intelligent
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discussion of the important issues of the day. at any time there is an important meeting, each member gets minutes and maybe seconds to address their interests or ask their questions. do you think the chances are for intelligence debate of important national questions and imported national concerns? concerns?nt national we see new members who come in, and they had right to the floor to make some of those great big wonderful speeches before they even know where the restrooms are. they come into washington on and monday or tuesday and their
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first question is on which plane they can return home. facilitate going to a significant national debate or intelligent discussion of the legislative business? we hear from the members, i am against this and i'm against that. do we ever hear much about what they are for? more importantly, the question on what are they willing to make a compromise. compromise is an honorable word. continueg to try to pushing it at you during my remaining time in the congress. and so we are to ask these new members, what are you for? what are you going to compromise on? and what are you going to try to achieve, to see to it that we
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come up with a program in government that gives us a resolution of the difficult controversies and difficult national questions of the day? i am sad to leave the congress. i love the congress. i am delighted that my wife is running for the congress. i think she's smarter and decent and certainly much prettier than i am. [laughter] will observe that my sadness is ameliorated by the poisonous atmosphere that we see in american politics today. so while i am troubled by the many hurdles this congress faces in refocusing its efforts on the important matters at hand, i am comforted to know that they can only improve. so when the dictionary defines the word congress as coming together, it also defines the
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very way we can emerge from this current mess. foremost, it will take willingness to live up to the definition of the word. compromise is not a dirty word and not an evil thing. conciliation is not a bad idea. corporation is not an unspeakable act. the sooner that congress realizes this and american citizens realize this and they begin impressing this view on their candidates, the better the situation is going to get. then the congress can begin to focus its work more on the public interest. but it also is going to take an american people who are willing to and interested in seeing to
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it that the congress works. it also is going to begin to require a control on expenditures of money. first race iran, i spent 19,000. spent $19,000. recently, i had a serious fight with an incumbent inleague and i had to spend that race $3 million. he spent $6 million. changese some needed were people understand that their congress is not something that should be traded, or should not be traded on the commodity exchanges. the congress is something which and it is us all,
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something which has been achieved only at great lead shed, great loss of life, great work, and huge, hard the wisdom of men and women far smarter than any that we see running around right now. interestingly enough, those men were not people who had prodigious education. understoodeople who by hard study of the wisdom of persons earlier in the history of this world. do is to haveo the american people dictate that which must be done. i am proud that i have been able to be a part of the body, and truly a child of the institution. to keep this nation and
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all my colleagues in my thoughts and prayers. often in myy more prayers that in my thoughts. [laughter] in any event, thank you for what you do. thank you for the great power which you wield with your pan and yourtypewriter ability to communicate thoughts, including the wonderful computers. and thank you for your leadership and what you are doing. good,perately need and people who, are determined to see to it that this oldest institution of its kind in the world continues to be the greatest gift of all.
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when i go to bed at night and when i get up in the morning, i thank the good lord for the gifts which he has given to me. making me a citizen of the shortlytates some 87 or 88 years. the opportunity to be an american, having more real good things and more money, but more freedom and opportunity than any person in the world before. so, thank you. and god bless us all. importantly, god bless the united states of america. thank you. [applause]
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>> thank you, congressman thing will, for being with us today and delivering a speech in introducing be tradition of a question-and-answer session. the first question is, what has changed in congress the most since you first visited capitol hill while your father was a member of the house from 1933 to 1955? quote,ously, the reforms, which have opened the place up. and which have denied us the ability to really talk about the concerns which we have. second, the size of the committee. third, the un-workability.
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the lack of capacity of the members to carry out their function because of the size of the committees, the size of the subcommittees, and the harsh fact that nobody trusts the committee. have an entity which was called the tuesday through thursday club. this was the crowd which showed up on tuesday and got the hell out of washington on thursday. that's not the way the government should run. government should be a full-time business where we seek to serve the nation and see to it that its business is well-connected. this is not washington, and the wheress is not a place
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everybody comes to have a good time. this is a place where the most important of the nation's business is supposed to be addressed. there are other things that i can mention to you which i'm and all all recognize, of you could come forward with your own wise and necessary additions to my comments. congress ever see returning to a more bipartisan way of days gone by? what would make that happen? >> two things. one, some kind of a national event which forced the members and the leadership to do that. war, something like that. beyond that, there are other
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things that could do that. one would be some kind of a national calamity. or perhaps something else which would be almost unique, and that would be a wiping out of almost by seeing membership to it that the voters through us all the hell out of washington out ofw us all the hell washington and installed their own people in our place. that would be a fair summary of some of the things that might be helpful. deserve any of the blame for the partisan divide in congress? >> of course. [laughter] everybody deserves it. democrats and republicans deserve it. around, you will find that the news media, the
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citizens large, the all have their faults in this and their reason for feeling guilty about this. and see what the listenership of the president's state of the union message is on tv. you will observe one thing. it is usually timed to fall after and instead of super bowl or something of that kind. i will not tell you that the super bowl is not important and not good to watch or listen to or not exciting. tell you that to from the standpoint of the nation's well-being, it's not important. do is to getve to
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the american people to say, we want you to do something. and when you have a town meeting, what are you going to do about compromising this matter into something where the citizenry can accept it? one of the strengths i had as committee chairman was that i always would see to it that i got the left and the right to compromise together on legislation. was that welt passed an enormously difficult oftentimes after huge fights, but we passed it. we passed it with very large votes. that is still doable. it requires leadership, and people be elected in the congress. some less than kind
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things to say about the supreme court. [laughter] >> i thought they were quite kind. [laughter] as a matter of fact, i thought they were not only deserved, but truthfully, if they had listened, perhaps it would have been helpful. >> what do you think motivated their citizens united decision? >> money. almost thet that entire court was selected on the basis of ideology and not legal training or anything. i probably shouldn't say any more. [laughter] kindr i have been overly to the supreme court. i should stay in that particular
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mode and vein. what has been the lowest point in your congressional career? >> oh, boy. i saw my world come down around my ears when i had to get a divorce, get the custody of the kids, and raise four kids alone. it,k god i was able to do with a help of a sister who will find a lord waiting for her in heaven. and i was able to do that in a that made my kids solid, successful citizens. it was tough. that time we were having
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a huge battle over energy prices , something we regularly do, but where thewhich administration was putting out publications and trying to, quote, shove it to dingell. i was in the midst of this dogfight about whether they were orng to shove it to dingell whether i would survive. by a narrow margin, i did. those were very difficult days. carrying on, what has been the biggest highlight of your time in congress? know, i answer this this way.
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every day is a blessing. morning, iup in the look and see and there is a little green underfoot, and i say thank you, lord. importantly, the highlights, the single one i or ther was obamacare wonderful bill that we got through took care of health care for all our people. finally we there were a lot of other bills we did too that were more important. standpointislative that was probably the one thing that was most important. >> why does congress need members like you who stay for many years as part of the institution?
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>> they learned the business. a lot of people think you walk through that door and all of a sudden you are expert. you're not. you have a lot of people who never learn where the hell their office is or anything. lot of people who frankly never learned how to get along or don't know the names of notr colleagues, or are becausecompromise congress is essentially a necessarily compromise. it is getting along with your colleagues. it is knowing what it is that they need and what they want, what they've got to have. guy. ago i got a little everyone said, that's awful.
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gross is a decent man and if i can get a reasonable relationship with him and a reasonable friendship, we will run the committee. and we will run it well. we wrote more conservation legislation that has been done since. it was a tremendous period. another guy. god rest his soul, he's gone. i still think warmly of him great -- him. bud, a lot of people said, he has a terrible sense of humor. but he was a wonderful guy. underneath that, you would find out what a wonderful fellow he was. he says, dingell, my wife is
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filing for divorce. and she is going to name you as a correspondent. [laughter] we are spending more time together, you and i, that he was with his wife. hell from his right wing crackpots, and i would have a few crackpots of my own. [indiscernible] we did it because we had trust. and we had friendship. i solved a bunch of real strikes because i had trust and and got the secretaries of transportation up. i said, you don't know me from adam, and i don't know you.
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work together. our words have to be good. we have to trust each other. and we did. strikes we solved in 48 hours. the other we solved in 18. damned if i did not find that they took jurisdiction of railroads away from the commerce committee. nobody knew we had done anything. a lot of this is like that. to know how important the human relationship is between members in the congress. if you have that, you have almost everything. if you don't, you have nothing. one of the criticisms often
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made of politics in the united states is that it is corrupted by money. during your six decades in the house, you have amassed a net worth of between 2.8 and $7.6 million according to analysis of personal finance disclosures, making you the 71st richest member in the chamber. how do you account for that wealth, and did a lifetime in washington help you get rich, if that is a true portrayal? >> i ain't rich. second, i live very frugally. i am very careful about how i spend money. as is deborah. we have lived in the same house in for genia -- in virginia for 30 years, almost 40 years.
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the average american, if he uses his good sense, can do something like that to. >> how have relations between the members of press and congress changed over the course of the past 58 years? >> they are about the same. [laughter] it is kind of interesting now. there used to be a guy on the committee, i could always tell if the media was going to be there because he would show up. tip thatwas always a things were pretty important.
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the business of the house has been a little bit corrupted, not a lot, but a little, because it's interesting to note -- it's that thatg to note relationship with the media is one which generally scarce the members of the house. -- scares the members of the house. members -- ande do this on c-span or something like that -- and watch. he's not talking to his colleagues. he has is i on the television up eye on thes his
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television up there. all of a sudden you get a guy who is making a big speech to the television, which is quite different than it would be were speech to his somebody with whom he was having a real discussion of important issues. just to return to one point, i have done pretty well because i learned something. is, how one can take and use the compound interest rule to benefit himself.
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one of the reasons you know that is because [indiscernible] truthful. sure it is it does keep me and the system organized. of every start congress, you have always introduced a bill establishing a national health care system. we don't have that, but we do have obamacare. how is obamacare working, in your estimation? it's a little bit like asking how is this child going to do in this presidential race, is that child, -- if that child, boy or girl, does in his or her race
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for the presidency. i happen to think very well. this is the biggest single undertaking of this kind ever done by this nation. social security was something like maybe 50 million. this is more like 350 million. people who areby working with their government. who arene by people working with insurance companies. all of these things have got to be done by everybody pitching in. not get a nickel for
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they sulked. wasrepublicans' complaint they were not heard. we would invite them and they would not come. questions about doing as well, given the circumstances, as it could. going a little further than that, if you look, almost every american is covered. long-standing the complaints of the american citizens about how they were treated have been largely addressed. citizens are able now to know they are not going to cancel their policy when they go into the operating room on the gurney. know thatlso going to there's not going to be any pre-existing conditions barring
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them. the number of recipients benefits is almost 100%. what?nce gets can't have this. it is not going to do the good for you that he wants. we will give you the same policy for 160. he said, wow. so then he went into the market and they looked at him and they say, this is costing you too much for your wage. he winds up paying about $68. same policy. have not heard a squawk from him. all you hear from the republicans yelling their heads off is that it ain't working.
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companies are not satisfied, they are finding that to -- if got to pay they exceed the cap of 85%, depending on size of the facility -- a lot of people got that. i guess they are busy with other, more important things. of republicans, republicans point to the irs scandal, the v.a. scandal, and iraq, and say president obama is incompetent. but how do you think he compares to other presidents you have served with? >> well, he did not get us into the iraq war, did he? and he wasn't involved in watergate.
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he has run a pretty honest administration. let's take first the v.a. v.a.f the reasons that the has a problem is he has got to take care of 100 million vets, and he's got to see it that he not only takes care of them, but that he sees to it that they get the care they are supposed to. that is against the skinflint congress that had a cut of $10 that ther 10% republicans were prepared to give. i don't have any real problems with that. a lot of these people in the ,.a. are getting their benefits
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and a fair number of these guys are waiting because they are not qualified to go in at this particular time. these are non-service-connected guys. service connected guys are not [indiscernible] what was the other one? >> i think we have covered everything as we are nearing the end of our hour. run out ofwant to here with my tail between my legs. to address what these no good republicans say. -- i wouldin a while kind of like to praise them, if i could find me an instance. [laughter] the thought you covered three. the v.a., irs scandal, and iraq. >> we are giving gigantic amounts of money under the
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fatcats thated to are trying to by the government. so the irs is looking at them. guys that are doing this are a crowd which would steal a red-hot stove and then go back and get the smoke. [laughter] >> ladies and gentlemen, we are almost out of time. before asking the last question, we have a couple of housekeeping matters to take care of. i would like to remind you about our upcoming events and speakers. july 17th, anthony foxx, secretary of the department of transportation. july 22, dr. thomas frieden, director of centers for disease control will address concerns and key health issues. july 30 one, goodluck jonathan, president of nigeria.
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, president of the republic of congo, will discuss peace, security and stability in the central african region. next i would like to present congressman dingell with the traditional national press club mug. here is another one we are honored to give to you. our traditional last question. given your reputation as one of the toughest questioners in congress, what advice do you have for reporters asking members questions as you experienced today? >> know the answer before you ask the question. [laughter] [applause] >> thank you, congressman dingell. thank you all for coming.
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press club national staff, including the journalism institute and broadcast center for organizing today's event. we are adjourned. [applause] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute] [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2014] >> a reminder that you missed any of the event you can watch it anytime in our video library at some political news coming out of mississippi today. mark me feel, a mississippi tea party leader and lawyer facing charges in connection with taking photos of senator thad cochran's wife at her nursing home has died of apparent suicide. weeks agon arrested after those photos of the senator's


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