More lawmakers are toking — er, signing — up their names to become co-sponsors of a bill that would legalize marijuana for medicinal purposes at a federal level.
Veteran Democrat Barbara Boxer, the longest-serving woman in Congress, added her name to a list of co-sponsors of the bill, according to Roll Call.
“Senator Boxer is a strong supporter of California’s medical marijuana law and she believes that patients, doctors and caregivers in states like California should be able to follow state law without fear of federal prosecution,” Zachary Coile, Boxer’s communications director, said in a statement to The Washington Post.
The bill was rolled out on March 10 by Sens. Cory Booker (D-New Jersey), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-New York), and Rand Paul (R-Kentucky). It would reschedule marijuana from a Schedule I to a Schedule II drug to recognize its legitimate medical uses.
Since the release of the bill, Republican Sen. Dean Heller (Nevada) has also signed on. In a statement that hints at the conservative reasoning behind supporting the bill, Heller said it was “time for the federal government to stop impeding the doctor-patient relationship.”
Indeed, 23 states have legalized marijuana for some medical purposes, and more could soon follow suit. But there still might be weed whackers in Washington who prevent action on the bill this year. That includes Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), the chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which will have jurisdiction over the bill.
“It’s a matter of what are our priorities,” Grassley told Roll Call when asked if he would schedule a hearing on the bill.
Maine tribes looking at selling pot to boost health, business
Three Native American tribes in Maine are weighing legalizing marijuana on their lands, according to The Portland Press Herald. And at least one of those tribes is thinking about selling marijuana commercially.
The Justice Department announced late last year that it would permit Native American tribes to legalize and regulate marijuana on its lands, provided they abide by similar guidelines as states that have chosen to legalize the substance.
The option has proved intriguing for Native American tribes — especially on an economic front. According to a recent study from the Pew Research Center, more than one in four people who identify as Native American or Alaska Natives live in poverty. One tribe visited by President Barack Obama last year had a poverty rate that tripled the national average.
“We are looking from a health perspective as well as an economic perspective into the potential. We are gathering information about it,” said Rep. Henry John Bear, who represents the Maliseet tribe in the Maine Legislature, according to the Press Herald. “We have tribal members who are very interested in pursuing this. I have been approached by these members to get information.”
Bill de Blasio makes superb dad pot joke
De Blasio was featured in a video Thursday promoting the Inner Circle, an event where he tells jokes a crowd of politicos and political reporters to help raise money for charity. The video also features a “professional” de Blasio “impersonator.”
When the real de Blasio asks his impersonator, “What about the whole marijuana thing?” — as if to say, how are you going to address it at the event — the impersonator thinks he means something totally different.
“Oh, totally, yeah. I’ve got 25 grams in my bag outside if you want to go spark it to the dome,” the impersonator says.
“No, no, no!” de Blasio says. “I mean, what are you going to say about it?”
“Ohhh. Right, right, right, right, right,” the impersonator responds. “I will say … that … I just ran out.”
It starts around the 1:45 mark in the video:
Brett LoGiurato is the senior national political correspondent at Fusion, where he covers all things 2016. He'll give you everything you need to know about politics, with a healthy side of puns.