Also of note,the reporter then follows up to ask if his amendment would also ban discussion of medical marijuana by the commission, and the senator says "yes."
The best part just might be where Sen. Grassley tells the reporter that, "you want everything on the table." Yeah, except for sensible policy options like legalization, right?
Read on, and enjoy...
QUESTION: I hear there was an amendment to a bill tomorrow that would legally prevent some of the government's top advisers from -- according to some of the memos we've seen -- even discussing the idea of legalizing or decriminalizing drugs.The good thing is that Sen. Grassley seems to indicate that he is going to withdraw his amendment, but let's not take that for granted; please contact your senators right now and tell them to oppose censorship if they have to vote on this.
Can you talk a little bit about that? I understand that you pulled that amendment, but, nonetheless, I wanted to ask you what your intent is with that.
GRASSLEY: Well, my intent on that amendment isn't any different than any other amendments that are coming up. The Congress is setting up a commission to study certain things. And the commission is a -- is an arm of Congress, because Congress doesn't have time to review some of these laws.
And -- and -- and the point is, for them to do what we tell them to do. And one of the things that I was anticipating telling them not to do is to -- to recommend or study the legalization of drugs.
Their -- their program would be what we tell it it is. And one of the reasons that maybe there's -- there are several amendments that I floated around. And I probably only anticipated offering two or three of them anyway. You always circulate more amendments than you want to offer because you want everything on the table because once the agenda goes out, then it's too late to put something on the table without unanimous consent.
So -- and this isn't one of them.
But, getting back to what I started to say -- I got -- digressed there a little bit on explaining how the system works -- and that is that one of the things I think is going to come up is whether or not this commission on making recommendations has to have a simple majority or a super majority or maybe even by consensus. And the extent to which you get a larger percentage, particularly if it's consensus recommendations, you're probably going to get more reasonable and -- recommendations, and probably a narrower set of recommendations.
Actually, this is similar to, for instance, you probably don't remember this, but I was involved in rewriting the bankruptcy laws. Well, we set up a commission in the early 1990s, or maybe it was mid 1990s. They studied for two or three years and made recommendations. And -- and that was the basis for our legislation.
And so, this commission that Webb is suggesting would be a -- a basis for possible legislation in the future.
QUESTION: Would your amendment have even stopped the discussion of legalized marijuana for medical purposes?
GRASSLEY: I think that would not -- let's see. Yes, the extent to which it would be decriminalization, the answer is yes.
QUESTION: OK. OK.
QUESTION: OK. Thank you. Thank you, Senator.
GRASSLEY: Yes, you bet.
Audio of the senator defending his censorship amendment can be found here.