Arguing weed isn't more unhealthy than fried crayfish, Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) blasted Rep. John Fleming's (R-LA) call to enforce -- with troops if necessary -- federal marijuana laws in states that have legalized the plant's consumption, the Denver Post reports.
In a floor debate that lasted until the wee hours of the morning, members of the U.S. House of Representatives discussed legislation last week to prevent the federal government from enforcing prohibition laws in states that have legalized marijuana. Fleming argues Congress has the authority -- and should retain to the authority -- to enforce marijuana prohibition on Colorado soil, and with U.S. armed forces, if necessary.
Jared Polis (D-CO), champion of his state, challenges Fleming for threatening the democratic will of his constituents with a military invasion.
"You know what?" Polis asks Fleming during their June 3 showdown on the House floor. "I don't have to convince you. I don't have to convince the state of Louisiana that they should do anything. And I just wish that you would leave my sovereign state of Colorado alone. Let our people and our state government decide what we want to do with regard to marijuana rather than federal agents going around trying to arrest people for doing activities that are fully legal under state law. That’s all I ask."
Polis supposes that Fleming would be outraged if federal authorities decided to impose martial law on the state of Louisiana to protect its residents from the negative health effects of fatty foods.
"I’m not going to send federal troops into Louisiana to arrest people from whatever you do down there, smoking crayfish. You want me to ban that and send federal troops down there? I bet maybe smoking crayfish ain’t good for you. What if it’s fried? Might clog your arteries, huh? Bet that's not good for you. Want me to send federal troops down there?... Do you want me to send federal troops to Louisiana to stop you from eating fried crayfish?"
The chairman reminds Polis that all remarks should be directed to him, and not other members of Congress. Behind Polis, a young staffer in a suit is attempting to conceal laughter.
"Mr. Chairman," Polis announces, "I'd like to inquire of the gentleman from Louisiana if he wants us to send federal troops to Louisiana to stop them from eating fried crayfish."
"The gentleman may yield," the chairman allows.
"If the gentleman is yielding to me," Fleming says. "I would point out the Colorado he describes does not exist."
"Reclaiming my time!" Polis exclaims. Behind him, the staffer, laughing harder now, has his head in his hands.
Polis is indignant: "I am from Colorado. I know Colorado inside and out... but again, it shouldn't be up to us to convince him. Just as I don't have to eat their darn fried crayfish. I don't want it! I don't want it! So get the federal law enforcement apparatus to leave our state alone. That's all this amendment does!"
Fleming counters that "we're learning a lot of lessons" from Colorado. "One is the way that marijuana is now getting into baked goods, gummi bears," he says. Fleming cites unnamed media reports and studies showing "increasing problems in Colorado, not decreasing problems."
Polis tells the chair Fleming is using factual inaccuracies he would like the opportunity to challenge. Polis asks that Fleming yield the floor.
"I'm sorry but I can't yield," Fleming says. The chairman says yielding to Polis is fine with him. "I do not yield," Fleming concludes.
Watch Polis and Fleming argue about marijuana legalization, the possibility of martial law, and the consumption of fried crayfish on the House floor: