Robert Watson, a high-ranking Republican state legislator in Rhode Island, is in hot water after being charged with driving under the influence of marijuana and possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia. Drug charges alone would be bad enough for a public official, but Watson, Rhode Island’s House minority leader, is still remembered for his controversial anti-drug, anti-gay and anti-immigrant remarks.
In February, Watson said the Rhode Island legislature had their priorities right “if you are a Guatemalan gay man who likes to gamble and smokes marijuana.”
Watson was a guest on a radio show soon after the luncheon where he made the misstep, and in response to the outcry over his comments said, “I reject the suggestion that it’s insulting.” He went on to say that lawmakers were “preoccupied with a number of issues, primarily social issues,” when Watson thought they should focus on the economy.
“I apologize when appropriate and/or necessary,” Watson told the Providence Journal in February. “I identify this situation as representing neither circumstance.”
Watson was pulled over at a police checkpoint Friday, East Haven police told the Associated Press. Police noted a “strong odor of marijuana” coming from Watson’s car, and charged him with possession and driving under the influence. The lawmaker was released after he promised to appear in court, and has not yet issued a statement.
Photo courtesy of Rhode Island Legislature.