While Democrats across Washington spent yesterday brandishing their #Resistance credentials in response to the Trump Administration’s war on legal weed, Republican Congressman Dave Reichert had this to say:
“Rescinding the Cole memo directs all U.S. attorneys to follow well established principles on which cases to pursue,” said Reichert. “It's also an important opportunity for us to pause and reflect on the use of marijuana and the harmful effects it has on American on youth.”
That statement comes from KING 5's roundup of responses from local elected officials to yesterday's news that Attorney General Jeff Sessions is repealing Obama-era guidance that helped protect states with legal weed. That guidance, known as the Cole Memo, outlined enforcement priorities for the feds, including keeping pot out of the hands of minors and drug traffickers. States enacted policies to prevent those issues and went ahead with legalization with little federal intervention. Now, Sessions has rescinded that guidance.
The problem with Reichert's statement? There is no compelling evidence so far that cannabis legalization has had "harmful effects" on "American youth."
It's true that some research does show that pot use can hurt the teen brain. But legalization of the drug is not increasing use among kids.
Here in Washington, a September 2017 report from the state legislature's think tank found that use among middle school and high school students has stayed steady or fallen slightly since legalization.
That data comes from the state's Healthy Youth Survey, conducted every other year with a representative sample of students in grades 6, 8, 10, and 12.
And what about Colorado, the other state to legalize in 2012 and open stores in 2014? Same results. Data from a similar survey, the Healthy Kids Colorado Survey, found that use of marijuana among middle school and high school students did not increase in the years following legalization.
National survey data shows the same trend all across the country. While cannabis use has increased among adults (a trend that began before legalization), it's down among teens.
Every time Reichert takes a party line vote that hurts his constituents or introduces needless legislation or does anything at all, we’ll add it to the list.
• In December, Reichert voted for the Republican tax bill.
• In July, Reichert didn't respond to an invitation from his constituents to hold a town hall, so Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal stepped in and did the job for him.
• In May he voted against the latest version of Trumpcare, but only after it became clear the Republicans in the U.S. House had the votes to pass it
• On March 9, he voted for the GOP plan to repeal and replace Obamacare.
• A week later, after a Congressional Budget Office analysis found the plan could leave 24 million people across the country without insurance by 2026, he defended it.
• Before that, Reichert made misleading statements about threats posed by his own constituents.
• Recently, he voted for the SCRUB act, which creates a regulatory committee to identify and eliminate regulations that don’t directly increase the GDP. The committee’s goals align with White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon’s plan to “deconstruct the administrative state,” but the irony of commissioning a regulatory agency to cut back on regulations is lost on no one, especially not tax payers who are being charged $30 million for the favor.
• Reichert twice voted against forcing Trump to show Congress his tax returns (once in committee and once in a roll call vote), which may illuminate conflicts of interest and business ties with Russia.
• Reichert was the only Washington Republican who voted to gut the Office of Congressional Ethics.
• In 2014, he proposed a bill that would ban welfare recipients from using benefits to buy weed, despite the fact that such purchases were already illegal.
• In 2010, he voted to maintain “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.”
• That same year, Reichert suffered significant brain trauma when a tree branch fell on his head. The resulting hand-sized blood clot that formed in his brain went untreated for two months.
• In their 2006