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GOP Senator Says Marijuana Is A ‘Gateway Drug,’ And Legalization Is A ‘Pro-Criminal, Anti-American’ Policy



A Republican senator says marijuana is a “gateway drug,” and Democrats’ moves to legalize it reflect “pro-criminal, anti-American policies” that will “stimulate more crime on American streets.” He also argued that cannabis banking legislation “facilitates an entire infrastructure and an ecosystem for more drug usage in America.”

Sen. Bill Hagerty (R-TN) said during an interview on Thursday that he’s opposed to both comprehensive legalization legislation such as the bill Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) and 17 other Democrats reintroduced this week, as well as modest reform like the Secure and Fair Enforcement Regulation (SAFER) Banking Act.

“What the Joe Biden administration—what Leader Schumer—is trying to do is basically stimulate more crime on American streets,” Hagerty said. “Here we have Chuck Schumer basically lowering the barriers for gateway drugs like marijuana, and it’s going to damage society, and this is exactly what Democrats have been pushing. This is not good for America.”

He added that the push for cannabis legalization is an attempt to “incentivize more drug usage in America.”

Asked for his thoughts on the SAFER Banking Act to simply protect financial institutions that work with state-licensed marijuana businesses, the senator said it “facilitates an entire infrastructure, an ecosystem, for more drug usage in America.”

“We need to be constraining drug usage, not encouraging it,” he said.

Hagerty said that Democrats’ marijuana reform efforts are “completely political,” designed to shore up support from a “small fragment” of voters who care about cannabis policy ahead of the November election.

“What they’re trying to do is cobble together a very disparate group of people to vote for Joe Biden,” he said. “Nobody likes his overall policies. If you look at American sentiment, everyone says that America is moving in the wrong direction. But what they’re trying to do is pick off minor issues like this—encouraging drug abuse, frankly. It’s obscene that this would be happening.”

“But this is Chuck Schumer’s perspective on basically putting another sliver of the Biden fragmented population together to vote for him. It’s a shame,” he continued. “Democrats are willing to do anything to maintain power here in Washington.”

Fox News reporter Tyler Olson pointed out that even certain red states such as Montana have moved forward with marijuana legalization regardless of federal prohibition and asked the senator if he thought it would make sense to have some kind of regulatory framework to account for that.

“I don’t think we should be doing anything to facilitate an ecosystem of drug abuse,” he said. “That’s precisely what’s going on.”

Despite his firm opposition, Hagerty and other GOP senators inadvertently made the case for marijuana legalization last year while warning that a proposed ban on menthol cigarettes could empower international criminal organizations to take advantage of an illicit market that would emerge.

The prospect of passing a legalization bill such as the measure Schumer filed this week are slim in the divided Congress.

But some lawmakers do believe that the Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) decision to move forward with marijuana rescheduling could bolster the chances of advancing other cannabis reforms such as the SAFER Banking Act this Congress.

Schumer signaled this week that he’s not giving up hope on attaching the marijuana banking bill to must-pass aviation legislation. But Republican leaders in both chambers continue to represent roadblocks for the reform.

Former Biden Cabinet Member Is ‘Concerned’ About Marijuana Legalization

Photo courtesy of Chris Wallis // Side Pocket Images.

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