This evening on KCTS Connects, Washington Congressman Dave Reichert (R-8) will be asked about medical marijuana—and the following very interesting conversation will unfold:

HOST ENRIQUE CERNA: I've gotta ask you this partly because it's become a bit of a debate in this town. The Seattle Times proposed legalization of marijuana. There's a bill in the state legislature. Former U.S. attorney John McKay has come out in favor of that legislation. Gil Kerlikowske, former Seattle Police Chief, obviously now that he's the White House Drug Czar is not in favor of that. You're a former sheriff. But states are looking to this because of the possibility of revenue, but also the culture is sort of changing. Where do you come down?

REP. DAVE REICHERT: Well, you know, as an old cop, you're never gonna hear me say 'legalize marijuana.' But I'll tell you this, I do recognize the medical benefit and it's only come to me recently that I recognize that. My mother is currently going through pancreatic cancer —

CERNA: I'm sorry to hear that.

REICHERT: Yeah, and you know, the survival rate there is 2 percent. But one of the medications that she takes is cannabis combined with some other medicine, but it's in a pill form that has some effect on her digestive system that gives her some relief. So... you know, she was skeptical at first too because she has three sons that are in law enforcement.


REICHERT: So we were all going, 'oh, okay... well, let's see how this works.' It provided her relief and so we've all come to recognize that there may be some medicinal uses for marijuana. But to legalize marijuana and for people to, in my opinion, to smoke it... I have just seen too many start out and they—you know, I know there's an argument, "No, it's not an entry drug"—I unfortunately have seen too much of that in my past career where it indeed has led to young people entering into another drug world. And I really don't want to see that happen, it's devastating and rips families and lives apart."

So: A pretty strong Republican push for the current effort in the state legislature to clarify Washington's medical marijuana laws—even if it does come paired with some old-fashioned, D.A.R.E.-style stuff about marijuana as a terrible, horrible, no-good gateway drug.