By Keith Mansur
Oregon Cannabis Connection
August 2, 2017 – Tom Cornyn (R), the senior U.S. Senator from Texas, made a very unpopular tweet on Tuesday following the announcement by New Jersey Senator Cory Booker (D) that he was introducing a bill to remove marijuana completely from the Controlled Substances Act. The bill would effectively remove the federal penalties on cannabis.
He was prompted by a reporter to clarify his position after mentioning Senator Booker’s Marijuana Justice Act on his own Twitter feed. Cornyn’s response to the reporter, who asked if his tweet was an endorsement of the bill, was just two words … “Big mistake.”
Followers on Twitter were quick to take the conservative senator to task for his brief reply, with many calling Cornyn the “big mistake” and others questioning his motivations, including suggestions that he is a racist for supporting the current federal laws on marijuana.
Texas is one of the few states left with draconian punishments for even small amounts of cannabis. Senator Cornyn has been a longtime opponent of cannabis, including medical cannabis laws. He opposes the CARERS Act which was reintroduced in June by Booker and his colleagues Kirsten Gillibrand (D–NY) and Rand Paul (R–KY). The bill would provide protections for states that have chosen to end or reduce cannabis penalties and has support from both sides of the aisle, including Lindsay Graham (R-SC)
That bill still remains idle in the Senate, but Cornyn and other conservative senators on the judiciary committee made it clear they did not support that bill either. Cornyn said he thought the topic was “more dangerous” than reformers say.
“I don’t think we need to go there,” Sen. Cornyn said of the CARERS Act. “This is a more dangerous topic than what a lot of the advocates acknowledge.”
He has previously made it clear that he believes easing marijuana laws would have an effect on people’s attitudes surrounding other illegal drugs. He stated in 2011 that it is a slippery slope “where a similar attitude would be embraced with regards to other illegal drugs and dangerous substances.”
His stance puts him at odds with shooting-star representative and Tea Party Republican Trey Gowdy of Texas, who has come out in favor of re-scheduling marijuana from Schedule I to Schedule III. Gowdy is the chairman of the House of representatives Oversight Committee and recently admonished the White House Drug Czar Richard Baum during a committee hearing.
Cornyn is currently the Majority Whip in the U.S. Senate, which makes him second only to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in leadership. Before his election to the U.S. Senate in 2002, he was the Texas Attorney General and also served on the Texas Supreme Court from 1991 to 1997.
His “big mistake” tweet did not have a single supportive comment of the 72 that were posted on Wednesday morning. As Texans start to become increasingly restless over the ridiculous laws on cannabis in their state, could Cornyn’s attitudes change? If they don’t, hopefully Texans have the wherewithal to toss him from office, but that is not likely in the Lone Star state where reefer madness still apparently dominates the mindset of politicians and conservative leaders.
Watch Senator Cory Bookers announcement below:
— Fortune (@FortuneMagazine) August 1, 2017