Firebrand conservative U.S. Senator and 2016 presidential hopeful Ted Cruz is not a fan of legal weed, he told Fox News host Sean Hannity at the Conservative Political Action Conference held in a suburb of Washington today, but he celebrated Colorado legalization as a laudable example of states’ rights and experimental democracy.
“Look, I actually think this is a great embodiment of what Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis called the ‘laboratories of democracy.’ If the citizens of Colorado decide they want to go down that road, that’s their prerogative. I don’t agree with it, but that’s their right.”
Cruz couldn’t resist prefacing the serious portion of his answer with dope jokes, leading Hannity through an impromptu, stiff routine that had the conservative audience guffawing.
“Well, I was told Colorado provided the brownies here today,” he said, pausing for effect.
“Uh-oh, I just ate them,” said Hannity.
“Look, your viewership is going to go up 20 percent.”
“It’s going to go up a lot.”
“The ‘Magical Mystery Hannity Hour.'”
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Mason Tvert, spokesman in Denver at the Marijuana Policy Project, forwards comments by Don Murphy, the project’s federal policies analyst and also a former Republican state legislator from Maryland. He says it’s time for Republicans to embrace marijuana policy reform.
“[This] is, at its heart, a conservative issue. This is a matter of Federalism, the 10th Amendment, and state autonomy, which are core conservative priorities. Marijuana prohibition is a failed federal government policy, and rolling it back should be on the agenda of every principled Republican lawmaker. It’s encouraging to see so many Republican presidential hopefuls have embraced the position that the federal government has no business interfering in state marijuana laws.
“Licensed, state-legal marijuana businesses are being denied banking and other basic financial services because marijuana remains illegal under federal law. They are needlessly being forced to operate on an all-cash basis, creating public safety concerns that could easily be avoided. We hope to work with Sen. Cruz and his Republican colleagues in Congress to develop legislative solutions to the problems created by federal marijuana prohibition. We need to guarantee states have the freedom to adopt and implement the policies that work best for them.”
Cruz’s comments came in a brief question-and-answer session with Hannity after Cruz delivered a speech on how Republicans can win back the presidency in 2016. He blasted likely Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton as a corrupted creature of Washington and contrasted Washington’s interests with the interests of the people. He said Republicans had to run a populist campaign, one that sets out a program to “bring back the miracle of America” by rebuilding the coalition of “conservatives and libertarians and evangelicals and women and young people and hispanics and Reagan Democrats” that swept Reagan into office in 1980 and has proved increasingly fractured in recent years.
CPAC draws thousands of hardcore conservative voters from across the country and this year marks the unofficial kickoff of the presidential campaigns to win their votes. Cruz has become a favorite at the event.