Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) is one of the most respected conservatives in Congress today and much of that comes from his willingness to speak candidly and directly even in tough situations. The most recent example of his ability to cut through all of the confusion and misinformation that comes with most issues in Washington, D.C., Gowdy took on the federal government’s ridiculous drug policies and a national drug policy director who didn’t seem to know anything about the national drug policy.
Namely, the federal drug guidelines that say marijuana is a “worse” drug than cocaine or meth. Currently, marijuana is a “schedule 1” drug that the government says has no known medical purpose. Meanwhile, cocaine and meth are both “schedule 2” narcotics.
Gowdy argues that the government could reevaluate the scheduling guidelines without signaling that they plan to legalize marijuana.
“You can schedule something and still not have it scheduled as a one. So you can consult powers that be, whoever in the administration you need to consult with, to at least explore whether or not it is scheduled correctly, without being perceived as advocating for legalization.”
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Gowdy’s comments came during a House Oversight Committee meeting that featured the acting White House Drug Policy Office Director Richard Baum. While other, more liberal, members of the committee may be in favor of decriminalizing or legalizing marijuana, Gowdy made it clear that this was not his intent. He simply could not understand how the federal government could pretend that marijuana was a more dangerous product than other obviously more harmful narcotics.
Trey Gowdy: I don’t understand why [marijuana is classified by the federal government] as a Schedule One [illegal narcotic, with no medical value]. We treat it as if it is an inherently dangerous substance for which there is no medicinal value.
It takes a tractor-trailer full of marijuana to even trigger a mandatory minimum under our drug laws. So is there any appetite for researching whether or not it should remain a Schedule One drug?
Richard Baum: Congressman, the administration doesn’t have a position on that. I’m happy to dialogue with your office. Let me just say we strongly support research on medical use of marijuana, and if there are obstacles we see that prevent good research, we want to address those obstacles. Because there are component elements of marijuana that could be put through the FDA process and turned into medicines that could help people in this country, we want to do that. There is potential to support —
Trey Gowdy: Just so everyone is clear, methamphetamine is scheduled what?
Richard Baum: I believe it is schedule two.
Trey Gowdy: Cocaine base is scheduled what?
Richard Baum: Uh, two.
Trey Gowdy: So [cocaine and methamphetamine] are scheduled lower than marijuana, and again, you can schedule something and still not have it scheduled as a one. So you can consult powers that be, whoever in the administration you need to consult with, to at least explore whether or not it is scheduled correctly, without being perceived as advocating for legalization.