Former Trump Acting Lawyer Basic Joins Cannabis Business As Legal Advisor

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The second highest ranking Democrat in the U.S. Residence of Representatives wrote on Monday that he remains wary of supporting the legalization of marijuana simply because he believes it is a gateway to “harder, extremely damaging drugs.”

In the letter from Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD), which was shared with Marijuana Moment by a constituent of the congressman, the prime Democrat cited his record of embracing far more modest cannabis reform proposals but stopped brief of pledging to back adult-use legalization.

“I help the legalization of healthcare marijuana, as I am conscious that it does have an ameliorating impact on discomfort and other situations that could be helpful for individuals,” he stated, adding that he voted in favor of an amendment to defend healthcare cannabis states from federal interference. Hoyer far more not too long ago cast a vote for a measure that extends that protection to all legal marijuana states, even though his letter does not mention it.

He also stated he was in favor of Maryland’s selection to decriminalize marijuana possession in 2014, “as I do think that there are as well numerous non-violent offenders suffering in prison from a criminal conviction more than possession.”

When Baltimore Mayor Kurt Schmoke (D) 1st floated the notion of legalizing drugs as a indicates to curb drug-connected violence and other concerns connected to prohibition in the late 1980s, Hoyer wrote that he was was “initially amenable” to cannabis legalization.

But in the decades due to the fact, he’s backpedalled—apparently so substantially so that he’s supplying an argument against legalization in 2019 that even staunch prohibitionists have begun to distance themselves from.

“I nevertheless have issues on this immediately after speaking to men and women who deal with drug abuse and rehabilitation concerns and especially immediately after mastering of the drug’s damaging consequences as a threshold drug that leads to the use of tougher, extremely damaging drugs,” Hoyer wrote, working with option language to describe the broadly criticized gateway drug theory.

Proof does not bear out the gateway theory, as it ignores the truth that marijuana is the most broadly utilized illicit substance and would thus logically be one particular of the 1st drugs that a individual makes use of in numerous situations. It also conflates causation with correlation, as the similar principle could be utilized to argue that any frequently utilized drug like nicotine or alcohol leads men and women to use substances like heroin or cocaine.

What’s far more, a developing physique of investigation has demonstrated that for some men and women, cannabis serves as an offramp, utilized as an option to addictive prescription medicines and illicit drugs.

“Rep. Hoyer is displaying himself to be a relic of a bygone era who is far out of touch with the majority of Americans on marijuana policy,” Erik Altieri, executive director of NORML, told Marijuana Moment. “Marijuana legalization and regulation has been confirmed, in the genuine planet not in Hoyer’s imaginary one particular, to lead to a reduce in youth use and to support men and women struggling with opioid addiction.”

“By sticking to the extended debunked myth of marijuana as a gateway drug, Hoyer is denying actual science and failing his constituents by advancing speaking points straight from the Reefer Madness era,” Altieri stated. “It is time he joined the rest of us on the suitable side of history or for his district to obtain new representation.”

Soon after Marijuana Moment initially published this story, Mckayla Wilkes, who is operating against Hoyer in a main challenge for his congressional seat, criticized the incumbent in a tweet in which she stated her help for legalizing cannabis and expunging previous convictions.

 

Hoyer produced comparable remarks final year, acknowledging that voters are largely in favor of legalization and that it “probably tends to make sense” but stating that he’s “not so positive that it is not a gateway drug to working with other drugs.”

Robert Capecchi, the constituent who wrote to Hoyer about legalization, told Marijuana Moment that he although he does not dislike the congressman and voted for him, “it’s extremely disappointing to see opposition to cannabis policy reform—beyond accommodating healthcare cannabis laws—based on the debunked ‘gate-way theory,’ specifically from one particular of the most senior members of Democratic Leadership.”

“I sincerely hope that Rep. Hoyer and other members of the Residence Democratic Leadership group take a web page from their Judiciary Chair and begin taking the require to reform our failed federal marijuana laws with the seriousness it deserves,” Capecchi wrote, referencing legislation Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) introduced final month to federally deschedule cannabis.

Other Democratic leaders in Congress such as Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and Residence Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) are also on board with reform plans, with the pair possessing introduced companion bills to get rid of cannabis from the Controlled Substances Act in Could.

“This is not about use men and women use and will continue to use cannabis regardless of federal law,” Capecchi stated. “It’s about security, it is about equity, it is about compassion, and it is about accountable regulation and precise education.”

At a time when many cannabis legalization bills are becoming filed and a majority of Democratic presidential candidates are vocally supporting broad reform, it is uncommon to see a celebration leader openly peddle what most take into account an outdated and inaccurate theory, even if that position is couched in significantly less familiar language (i.e. “threshold” versus “gateway”).

But it is not totally unheard of, as Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD), chairman of the Residence Oversight and Reform Committee, similarly subscribes to the gateway drug theory and didn’t shy away from saying so through an look on C-SPAN final year.

Study Hoyer’s letter beneath: 

August 26, 2019

Dear Mr. Capecchi,

Thank you for your letter relating to the legalization of marijuana. I appreciate your taking the time to make me conscious of your issues on this significant matter.

I help the legalization of healthcare marijuana, as I am conscious that it does have an ameliorating impact on discomfort and other situations that could be helpful for individuals. In the previous, I have voted for an amendment in the Commerce Justice and Science appropriations bill that would stop the Federal Government from impeding on Maryland’s capability to implement its healthcare marijuana laws. I also supported the selection produced by Governor O’Malley and the Maryland Basic Assembly in 2014 to decriminalize the possession of smaller amounts of marijuana in Maryland as I do think that there are as well numerous non-violent offenders suffering in prison from a criminal conviction more than possession.

As you could know, I was initially amenable to the notion of the legalization of marijuana when Kurt Schmoke was Mayor of Baltimore and advocating for drug decriminalization. Even so, in the 30 years due to the fact, I nevertheless have issues on this immediately after speaking to men and women who deal with drug abuse and rehabilitation concerns and especially immediately after mastering of the drug’s damaging consequences as a threshold drug that leads to the use of tougher, extremely damaging drugs.

Really should legislation relating to the legalization of marijuana come ahead of the complete Residence of Representatives, please be assured that I will hold your thoughts in thoughts.

Thank you once again for sharing your thoughts with me. I encourage you to take a look at my internet site at www.hoyer.home.gov. Whilst there, you can sign up for the Hoyer Herald, access my voting record, and get facts about significant public concerns. If I can be of additional help, please do not hesitate to get in touch with me.

With kindest regards, I am

Sincerely yours,

Steny H. Hoyer

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This story was updated to involve comment from Wilkes.

Image element courtesy of Tim Evanson.

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