During a discussion over Michigan Governor Rick Snyder’s Friday signing of a bill mandating drug testing for public assistance recipients, a Fox News host hailed the compulsory tests as a way to “help out” pot users.
Speaking with former “Drug Czar” John P. Walters and Drug Policy Alliance spokesperson Sharda Sekaran, host Charles Payne claimed that, despite the cost of the program, “If someone is on drugs, the likelihood of them ever getting off of these sort of social programs is diminished significantly, so why isn’t this a good idea?”
Sekaran pointed out that “people who are recipients of public assistance, or poor people, are no more likely to use drugs than any other portion of the population.”
“This is unfairly targeting people who are already vulnerable in Michigan,” she said, adding that what people in the state need are jobs to help lift them off the welfare rolls, and that Governor Rick Snyder “should be focusing on that and his economy instead of sifting through the urine of his constituents.”
The former drug czar under President George W. Bush told Payne “Who is going to employ somebody who is addicted?” before saying the programs exist to get people into “treatment,” ignoring the potential loss of food assistance and government services benefits to their families.
Addressing the treatment programs welfare recipients would be compelled to enter, Payne called them “somewhat inviting.”
“I don’t see where that is necessarily unfair to someone who is on public assistance,” Payne said. “In fact, it feels like an extra hand trying to help them out of the situation.”
Sekaran explained that what drug tests often look for is marijuana use.
“It’s not going to find people who need help. It’s actually going to find people who are recreationally — or for medical reasons — potentially using marijuana which is something the majority of people in America think that should be legal,” she explained. “It’s now legal in some states and we have medical marijuana available in twenty-two states.”
Payne dismissed her argument, laughing and saying, “I think we’re starting to layer this on with additional areas,” before giving the last word to Walters on marijuana usage.
“She’s kind of living in the last century,” Walters said dismissively. “The vast majority of people who need drug treatment are dependent on marijuana despite the public attitude change. It’s the single biggest cause of treatment need, and nobody who is addicted is going to get on with their lives and help their family.”
Watch the video below from Fox News: