tv Washington This Week CSPAN November 23, 2019 5:37pm-6:22pm EST
their sins changing his residency from new york to florida. live coverage on c-span and c-span2. c-span.org ort listen on the go with the free c-span radio app. >> we are going by the director of federal policies for the marijuana policy project. looking at congressional efforts there aree marijuana, a number of legislative proposals out there, most recently passed through the judiciary committee in the house is the marijuana opportunity reinvestment and expungement act, a lot of words. what would that do? >> it's one of the few bills that the title really explains what it does. it would do schedule marijuana at the federal level, create a grants program funded by 5% excise tax to help communities
most affected by the war on drugs, and it would create expungement for those previously caught up in -- caught up and arrested. >> it has passed the judiciary committee. what is behind the push on the federal level to regulate marijuana? >> actually, the people. congress is very late to the game on this one. there has been a few champions on capitol hill but this is sort of the first time they have really listened to the voters. the marijuana policy project for 25 years now has run ballot initiatives, efforts and states to legalize marijuana for medical purposes and adult use purposes. there are 11 states that have full-blown retail marijuana, and 33 have medical. them, all but a few, have some cbd oil, low thc, sort of like hemp, medical him for
children with epilepsy. if states regulation, have approved it for full-blown legalization, and i expect more in the 2020 cycle, 33 for medical marijuana, what does the federal government need to do or what proponents -- or what would proponents need to do to move forward on legalizing marijuana? >> the problem was federal prohibition, even though most people don't get arrested at the federal level, is it causes problems for those people who are providers of the product, the medicine, or of cannabis in some form or fashion. take a colorado, for example. those folks in the business have a difficult time getting banking access. they don't get to write off their taxes. veterans can't use it. can't get it at a pharmacy. there are plenty of things the federal government get in the way of pure that doesn't necessarily mean the federal arernment arrests those who
incarcerated, but they really stand in the way of states doing what they have chosen to do. act, asafe banking measure that would prohibit a federal banking regulator from penalizing institutions for providing banking services to legitimate marijuana related business. currently, in states where it is legal for medical purposes, what are the challenges the dispensaries have? >> they have to engage in commerce mostly in cash. there was testimony at hearing hade one of the cultivators to deliver i think $3 million to the irs to pay their taxes in cash. which is one of the things that is disingenuous about congress maintaining federal prohibition. iny say no to legalization the states and yet they accept the money and appropriate it for
the various things they appropriate things for. a ribbon-cutting for a new bridge or roadway, that in part, a small part, but in part was funded by marijuana sales and taxes. it's difficult to look at a member of congress who says no on the appropriations committee and spend that money. act, thebanking problem with the banking issue, is the real money laundering is when congress takes the proceeds and buys votes. about effortsing on capitol hill and elsewhere to legalize marijuana. you are the director of federal policies for the marijuana policy project. does that mean the lead lobbyist on that? onlysically yes, i'm the
lobbyist for the marijuana policy project on capitol hill. we are bringing some other folks on board. there are plenty of other lobbyists who have come to the space because the industry is hiring lobbyists because they want to be viewed as credible and legitimate. this industry really is credible and legitimate. i always tell the industry, you need to make sure your elected officials come to see your facilities. in less than get a chance to see areregulated the states creating this industry, they don't know. they know what they saw on "the wire," but other than that, they don't know, it is everything they remember from the 1980's and 1970's. >> what is the trumpet ministrations view on legalization of marijuana? >> the president has done some things that have sent some mixed signals. when he was first elected,
advocates were really concerned because the attorney general at the time that he nominated, jeff sessions, was very much opposed to marijuana legalization, decriminalization, and he was very much a drug warrior. when he became attorney general, he repealed an understanding that the obama administration put in place that said if you do these things or you don't do these things, the federal government will largely stay out of your way. when he repealed that document, it caused great concern among the industry and advocates. the good news is, it caused congress to act. the status quo was no longer able to be maintained and congress knew it. members of the senate like cory gardner, who represents colorado, basically jumped into action from the republican side and said this has to stop. the president meanwhile has said he supports medical marijuana across all of the states, which
basically makes sense, because if you believe marijuana is medicine, you don't believe some people should get it and others not. but then you also believe they should have the right to create a retail regime based on their own wishes. >> is there a veterans push for legalization? >> yes. i believe the two ends of the spectrum that will help move this are veterans and bankers. not typical advocates like myself or people who have been doing this all along. this is not so much about marijuana, it's about the problems the drug war has created. it's created a problem for veterans with ptsd who want doctors to be able to recommend. ava doctor cannot do that. the cannabis banking bill, that's the bill we are talking about, getting senate ok looks tricky. they are expected to back the safe banking act. what are you thinking in terms
of house, senate, republican, democrat in terms of support for advancing marijuana legislation? >> marijuana legislation, there's a lot of support for passing it and very little opposition. that is the other thing. in a place like congress or any other legislative body, you have one opponent in a high place, maybe holding gavel, you will not get a bill. you need 50%civics plus one, but really you need one plus 50%. last year, republican controlled the house judiciary committee and failed to bring a bill forward. one of the arguments republicans had about the act the other day is that this was rushed through without hearing. representative can buck of colorado, he said republicans failed. they failed to act when they had a chance and now democrats are moving relatively quickly, in
terms of congress, not in terms of that this is been going on for 40 years or 80 years depending on when you start the clock. it is time we move forward now. i think there is a relatively decent chance this could actually move through the senate in some form or fashion, and even the democrat chairman acknowledged there will need to be amendment spewed >> -- amendments. host: if you support marijuana legalization -- were talking about the federal level in particular -- you have a different phone number than if you oppose. we will go first to rocky in bradenton, florida. go ahead. caller: good morning. and say it to call in fully support the legalization of marijuana at the federal level. it is an archaic law. i don't understand where it came about other than during the
rockefeller times because of the being thestry, hemp more ecologically sound alternative to wood paper. i believe there was a whole political thing that made it illegal for that reason, that is what i understood. it is at the point now, it is 2019, it has tremendous medical benefits. helps a number of people in my life. it is time. out,: if i might point rocky is from florida, and the just passed a ballot initiative in 2016 with 71% of the boat for medical marijuana. he may get an opportunity in the upcoming election to support a full-blown legal marijuana effort. host: in addition to florida, how many other states do you think will put that up for a ballot vote? guest: for adult use, probably three, plus or minus three.
for medical, another, say, three. were getting to the point where states have already run. your groupctive was in those initiatives countrywide? guest: we passed the majority of them. burlington,next to new jersey, allen is opposed to legalization. tell us why. caller: i certainly do oppose it. i have heard and been around a lot of people in my lifetime who were commonly referred to as potheads. they really are individual people that are hard to deal with. potheads are zoned out. mr. murphy, you mentioned the fact that you are a lobbyist. then you mentioned the fact that you work on behalf of something that is credited and legitimate
in terms of legalization of marijuana. is absolutelyist contradictory to the words credible and legitimate. work in a twisted way to ensure they can achieve their goals, or the goals of their employers. they are the most wealthy people in washington. lobbyists purveyed our system and ruin our system. guest: if i might just respond quickly. is it rocky? has a lobbyist working on his behalf as well in opposition. host: how long have you been involved? guest: this month is 20 years. i started as a legislator in maryland. maybe two rockies point, -- to rocky's point, i am not pro
cannabis anymore than i am probe urban -- bourbon. i don't think people should be arrested and incarcerated and have their lives ruined for sending a symbol as may making a bad decision. we can agree that using drugs is not a smart thing to do, but the funny thing is that a republican member said he did not believe -- i do not approve of marijuana, it has no redeeming societal benefit, but i believe that about a lot of things like stamp collecting. which you should not be arrested for. that is the point. the federal government has no business in this, the state should decide. your state will have an ability to decide as well. host: grant is on the support line from illinois. caller: how are you doing this morning? host: fine, thank you.
caller: i fully support this and i believe this will be a major , thee for us as a country medical aspect of it. we have been in the war on drugs for over 50 years and it has been a detriment on our country as a whole. i am a medical marijuana patient here in illinois and it has helped me. i have had two back operations and it helps me through my pain. the people who think this is a gateway drug are far from right. we have seen this is not the case in a lot of studies. the financial ability of this in each state, the tax revenue they would get, in my state we are in a very bad place for taxes. we are one of the highest taxed states in the nation and this would help us out a lot, maybe to do some infrastructure around our state, our towns.
i think this is the best thing for our country right now. host: what has been the effect on states in terms of tax revenue from the medical or full-blown legalization? guest: for example, in colorado, they passed $1 billion in tax revenue. i might point out, i don't come at this from that perspective. i believe governments waste a lot of tax money to begin with. taxing more is not my interest here. taxnterest is perhaps the revenue generated because people don't get arrested, prosecuted, incarcerated, and have their lives ruined, and unable to get gainful employment, and they generate income tax revenue. i look at it from that perspective. as a taxpayer, i don't want to fund welfare programs that could otherwise come up for people who could otherwise get gainful employment if it weren't for the fact they have a blemish on the record. host: you mentioned you were in the maryland legislature.
what is your home state's stance? guest: my home state has medical marijuana at this point. it was largely started by a gentleman named darrell putnam, that's why i am here 20 years later. a veteran was using marijuana for medical purposes with his doctor's approval, introduced to a senator. he said, i am using marijuana with a doctor's approval, do you think i'm a criminal? i was mr. law and order, i was voting to lock up everybody. when he said that to me, i said i don't believe you are. he said, the law says i'm a criminal unless you do something to change the law. you really do think i'm a criminal. that stuck with me. as a legislator, if you don't believe laws are just, you have a responsibility to change them,
and that's how i ended up here. host: let's hear from mary in wisconsin. caller: good morning. i have a question. do you have to worry about the child's brain? it doesn't stop maturing until people are 26 years old. the doctors have proven that it it may bechosis, and is a reaction to violence in children in school nowadays. i think the doctors should probably be here talking about it because it is affecting them, just like alcohol destroys lives. if they legalize marijuana, it will destroy people's lives, because it is a gateway drug. i think it is really important not to legalize it, only for medical reasons. only for medical reasons. i hope you don't have grandchildren, if once they know it will be legalize, they will try it because it is legal and i
won't get in trouble for it. guest: as a matter of fact, i do have a grandchild, i should have brought a picture, i suppose. he is eight months. my concern for my grandchild is not that he will use marijuana, because i believe based on most people go on to have productive lives. my concern is that he will have his life ruined because one indiscretion, or an attempt to satisfy curiosity. that wheno point out we talk about children, no one on capitol hill at any level is suggesting that children even as young as 18, that is not a child, but we are talking 21, should have access to this. i will also point out that the international drug caucus in the senate had a hearing and they talked about drunk driving, pregnant women using marijuana,
and the children. we agree on all of those points. congress ist the only talking about that part of the spectrum is good news. how do the recent deaths by vaping -- many reports from the cdc, it had marijuana oils apparently. how is that complicated things? guest: it made news. headlineews and the was, marijuana vaping is a problem. even illicit marijuana vaping. they proved it was bought on the black market, not on regulated markets. this goes to another issue when people talk about this isn't your grandfathers marijuana, it is laced with sentinel -- fenanyl and people are dying.
buythe more reason to retail cannabis and regulated container where you know the thc content, where came from, you know exactly where the product has been and where came from. host: in those 11 states, has been effective in getting rid of black-market or illicit sales? guest: yes and no. for people who want to do this the right way, they have another option. for people who want the lowest, cheapest, they can still continue to buy from there black-market dealer. some of those folks have changed to other things like opioids. host: here is andrew in seminole, florida, who supports legalization. seminole, florida, you are on the air. go ahead. caller: i apologize, it was muted. the problem i had was the medical marijuana in florida
will cost you upwards of $1000 or more per year before you've even begun to byproduct -- to buy product. having had a spinal injury and been in chronic pain, something up above 15 years. the point is, 50 years ago, formed the controlled substance act and put marijuana into the first category without any testing for pain release or any syndromes. that is the medical side. by legalizing it, they would move it down or off the schedule , and from there we would proceed to have testing to see
if this product can be refined, regulated, and dispensed at andtable dispensaries tested in real labs. and all economic boon of those ways and the patients have an effective alternative to opioids. host: address his points on the controlled substance act. guest: there have been studies that show that in states that have full-blown legal medical marijuana use is greatly reduced. that is one thing that sadly congress is not really focused on. opioids are a big problem. a lot of folks, veterans included, could use marijuana as an alternative. i also wants to point out two things.
we use the prescript shouldn't -- we use the word prescription wrong. you cannot be prescribed a prescription 1 -- a schedule one drug. congress puts it on schedule one, you cannot research it and determine whether it has medical value or not other than anecdotal evidence, and millions of people have found this brings them relief. they should not be arrested for it. host: the marijuana justice act of 2018 would remove marijuana from the controlled substances and automatically expunge the conviction of those who have served real-time for marijuana for use, possession, and reinvestigation through a community funds, from senator cory booker. let's take a look at the response senator booker had to wednesday's debate in atlanta about crime and about his legislation. [video clip] sen. booker: i have a lot of respect for the vice president. he was sworn into my office as a hero. this week i hear him say that we should not legalize marijuana. i thought you were high when you said it. [laughter]
let me tell you, because marijuana, marijuana in our country is already legal for privileged people. the war on drugs has been a war on black and brown people. [cheers and applause] let me just say this. with more african-americans under criminal supervision in america than all the slaves since 1850, do not roll up in the community and do not speak directly to issues that are going to relate to the liberation of children, because there are people in congress right now that their kids are smoking marijuana, while our kids are in jail or those rug drug crimes. host: bit of a clash there from wednesday. senator booker is the author of some legislation that we mentioned that would and some of those sentences. don murphy, your take? guest: i was cheering at the tv while i was watching that. i have been very disappointed
that we have had a dozen hours of debates, five debates now, this is not a topic that has really been brought up. senator booker had to make a joke to get the attention of everyone here, but he is absolutely true. vice president biden seems to be way behind the times, not just his political spectrum, but certainly within the democratic party. i do not know how he can survive this nomination process with a position on marijuana that goes back to the -- host: what is his position? guest: it is a gateway drug. and it is a gateway out of the criminal justice system, off of opioids. that has been a critical problem. i'm disappointed he does not the at that way. host: douglas in virginia, who opposes legalization. caller: thank you for taking my call. i have a question for mr. murphy. is he a paid lobbyist for marijuana? guest: yes. caller: ok. guest: do you do -- caller: do you do marijuana? guest: no. caller: why would you be a lobbyist for somebody who does
it and you don't do it? is it for the money? guest: for the same reason i would be a lobbyist for the nra, even though i do not own a firearm. i just believe in it. i would do this for nothing if i could afford it, and i will one day come down here when i retire and still do it. it is disappointing that you believe because i am paid and the l word is such a dirty word, that -- yeah. it is what it is. we all have a job that we do. i think i am doing this for the right reasons. i am a nonprofit lobbyist, for what that means, i am probably the poorest cannabis lobbyist on capitol hill. host: hagerstown, indiana. matt is on the line. good morning. caller: yes, good morning. i have had spinal surgeries and issues constantly for the last 10 years. i do not take opioids. i get them for 30 days and then i cease them.
they are horrible to get off of. but using marijuana virtually lets you be able to get through my day without the sickness that comes from taking pills. and we're not allowed to take pills anymore. doctors will not just give them out. people in indiana need state access to medical marijuana or recreational marijuana so they can help self regulate when they cannot go to doctors for their help or know what's going on. this drug is wide and vast for what it can do for certain individuals, and that includes cbd. that is mind blowing for some people. for others, it takes something different.
guest: matt, i feel your pain. i spent some time in a pain clinic for back issues and ended up with 16 shots in my back which did no good. i ended up resorting to physical therapy. i did not use marijuana, but i understand the pain you are dealing with firsthand. and indiana has two republican u.s. senators who i consider my exhibit a and b, that you can support a states rights position on marijuana and win a republican primary. senator braun just beat out two bad -- in 2018 -- and senator todd young with a great record in the house got elected in 2016. i appreciate those guys being here. they are walking endorsements for this position. host: a page in the financial times about cannabis experience. 400 ton cannabis mountain as demand forecasts go to pot.
warehouses or canada are piled high with unsold marijuana after producers overestimated demand for the drug, which was legalized a year ago across the country. cannabis inventories can't almost 400 tons at the end of august. meanwhile, the price of the drug has slumped as distributors grapple for market share. one year after canada became the first big economy to allow nationwide recreational use of cannabis, the industry has overestimated how much the pot smokers can burn through and underestimated the illegal markets ability to respond to competition. guest: it is not marijuana that is the problem, it is the illegal status that is the problem. you grow legal marijuana and push out the black market, you find that what the free market
decides -- the united states should consider that as well. host: chris, calling us from florida. good morning. caller: i have a couple things on my mind. i think the whole vaping argument is ridiculous. i wish there were more important things to talk about. on the subject of marijuana, there are vape pens with marijuana, i have tried them, they work. my criminology professor went to congress to give his expert opinion on whether or one of --whether marijuana should be legalized or not. he gave his opinion that it should not. i thought that was interesting. i might go along with that. however, whether you are for it or against it, i do not think it really matters. the cat is out of the bag. one thought i had, why not slap a 50% tax on all marijuana sold
and maybe after a decade or two, our federal deficit would be reduced significantly? guest: one problem with attacks of that size, it would allow the black market to continue. there is a price differential people will pay for regulated cannabis that they know is coming from a credible source, but a 50% tax, i do not think that would work. host: emmett calling from ohio, who supports legalization. welcome. caller: good morning and thank you for talking about cannabis today. i have been advocating for the last several years. i have a 15-year-old special-needs daughter with seizures, so once i found out about the charlotte's web cbd, i had to research it more.
for anyone who opposes legalization and ending prohibition on cannabis, i pray to god they take the time to reeducate themselves. we are a generation of information and there is so much information out there that debunks the stigma and the lies that we have been told forever. it was very hard for me to even attempt to go here with these means to help my daughter, because there is a stigma of it eating bad. for so many years i was told it was terrible, but once i got older and i see people drinking and taking pills and things like that, i thought, this is what is legal and these people who are smoking pot are happy and healthy and that is what is illegal? it made me question everything. and when i found out and did
research, i find out that here is this natural or, cannabis, that has centuries of safe, proven benefits, and is a natural herb. it is not a chemical people are concocting in their basements that is killing people and harming people, our fda approves things that are more harmful and deadly than cannabis. show me where cannabis has been detrimental to society, except by it being made prohibited and being illegal? guest: i want to thank him for her advocacy. we always talk about oh, the kids, the kids. in this case, the reason, one of the reasons we're moving in the direction we are is because of young mothers pushing strollers of sick kids to their state capitals. even in the south, where medical marijuana is not legal, cbd for kids with epilepsy is. elected officials cannot say no to mothers pushing strollers with sick kids. they just can't. if cancer patients were on capitol hill in the same way, we would have a similar position
for medical marijuana, but congratulations to kim. thank you for your work. host: what has been the viewpoint of the american medical association? guest: they have largely slow walked us. host: why? guest: it is not viewed as credible to science for the most part, legitimate science, in their view, is not there. and the research is not there because it is not allowed to be there. the only science they ever wants to do is on determining the harms of marijuana. look, i am not here to tell you that marijuana is safe in any aspect, but it is safer than the alternative and better than the alternative of radiation and chemotherapy. those are all bad for you too, but if you have cancer and your doctor says i think this might help, you should be able to use it. host: you set the science is not there.
kim mentioned the fda. how do current laws hinder the fda or cdc from doing research? guest: because marijuana is on schedule one, along with heroin, by the way. i like that marijuana is almost schedule one for this reason, because it shows how absurd the federal laws are. just to be clear, there is plenty of research, anecdotal and otherwise, that shows the benefits, but it is not the kind of research that congress will except and the fda will except. host: a call next from ohio. wyke, go ahead. caller: i want to address -- we have legal, medical marijuana in ohio, but you have to get a card, which is an exorbitant amount for some people, some people just can't afford it. like in the case of your -- you need someone to help you out to go to the dispensary, they have to pay for a card to go in with him, and you are always going to have a black market because you
are continuing the kind of shakedown. people will be able to get it cheaper elsewhere, and i was wondering if you ever think it will be available in pharmacies? what other medication is there that you have to go to a doctor and then go get a card for it, you know? none that i can think of. there has to be different approaches. host: we will get a response. guest: he is absolutely right. the history is, the way this would be done in the past, he would have to be subject to arrest and by this from a street corner dealer without any idea where it came from. it is a situation that is better than the past, but not great by any means. if the act were to pass or something at a federal level that would remove marijuana comedy schedule it or move it to a different schedule, that
marijuana would not be able to be purchased at a pharmacy with your prescription card and all of that, you would not be subject to all the issues you have to deal with now. host: and each state can set its own process, have their own cards or processes for purchasing marijuana. guest: if it became a medical issue with respect to retail, each state -- by the way, we talk about this act or any other bills, lifting bread or a prohibition is the same as legalization. it is not. states could still have an illegal market and a legal law. that would not change at this point.
i think it would change over time, but not the immediate. host: todd is calling us from o'brien, florida, opposing legalization. go ahead. caller: go back to 1988, august 11. r.j. reynolds one time was sued because they put their label -- warning, this is dangerous to your health -- the point is, treat the body like a temple. i said, ban cigarettes before you consider passing marijuana laws, and they did the act opposite. this is what they have done. a three strikes -- if you get arrested for a felony three times -- for a misdemeanor three times, it becomes a felony. what that did was caused overcrowding. this is what the drug dealers all caps on rated to do. now the fact that you have overcrowding in prisons, so they can pass these marijuana laws. this is a well thought out plan that would interrupt treat the body like a temple, along with
trying to act like you are concerned about everybody's health with r.j. reynolds and giving them money after the fact, ok? that is another problem you are happening. they also made 21 to 18 gun laws. 21-year-old drug dealers do not care if 18-year-old can carry a gun or not. trust me. guest: the same people who do not care about drug laws do not care about gun laws. i think that would make a bad tuition even worse. host: a bit of insight baseball, this is part of the overall spending bill the congress is trying to move through. this would prohibit the department of justice from using funds to prevent any american state, territory, and washington, d.c. from approving and implement in laws authorizing marijuana use, distribution, possession and cultivation. why do they think this is necessary? guest: this amendment, and it is funny,
because tom mcclintock, a man who says no deeming value, is supporting a states rights position on this. if your state says yes to marijuana, federal government will not enforce federal law within that state. if it is a retail marijuana plan, it would not force it there either. colorado and those various states, retail marijuana law would not be enforced by the federal government there either. host: do you think we will see president trump signing or congress passing and president trump signing some marijuana legislation by the end of the 116th congress? guest: i absolutely do. president trump is a populist if nothing else. he knows the american people want this. it makes sense politically for him.
he has pushed criminal justice reform, something which is republicans are not necessarily known for. he believes people should not be in jail unjustly for long periods of time for criminal acts they have committed in the past, why do you think they should go to reason for using marijuana? it is inconsistent. host: what about the white house? how often have you met with the policy advisors for the trump administration? guest: that's a bit above my pay grade. host: don murphy, we are glad to have you here. director of federal policies for the marijuana policy project. thanks again. that will do it for this morning's washington journal. -- >> c-span bosnia's washington 7 a.m. everye at day. we will discuss the impeachment
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