McCaskill: Not Sure If Rape Victims and War Vets with PTSD Should Get Medical Marijuana

"Well, obviously not. I do not want them to be," McCaskill answered. "But I gotta tell you, I would love to find somebody in Missouri who has been imprisoned for just smoking pot. I know in Kansas City, even a long time ago, we were not interested in the prosecutor's office in pursuing low-level pot cases."

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via

McCaskill seems to be unaware that people in Missouri are arrested all the time for small amounts of marijuana.

One can be arrested for any amount of marijuana in the state. Having fewer than 35 grams is only a misdemeanor, but one can still be arrested for it. In fact, this past weekend four Mizzou athletes were arrested and put in jail for having fewer than 35 grams of marijuana.

Missouri had about marijuana 20,000 arrests in 2011, and 91 percent of those were for possession, according to the Marijuana Policy Project. In St. Louis, black people are eighteen times more likely to be arrested than white people.

See also: Marijuana Report: St. Louis Arrests Blacks For Possession 18 Times More Often Than Whites

And these "low-level" arrests have greater impacts that just getting one's weed taken away and having to sit in a cell for a few hours. Often, people at least do time until they get bailed out, which usually depends on how much money that person has. Sometimes it can be months.

See also: Family of Man Shot to Death By St. Louis Police Say Cops Lied

In her town-hall answer, Senator McCaskill replied that, as a prosecutor in Jackson County, she didn't pursue "low-level pot cases."

Not only is that false, but she endorsed charging poor people to continue prohibitionist policies. As a prosecutor in Jackson County, McCaskill was an extreme proponent of the anti-drug sales tax, which was a regressive tax that had the greatest negative impact on poor people (because they are the ones most impacted by sales tax). Some monies went to treatment, but most of it went to increasing prosecutor salaries, increasing law-enforcement's budget and imprisoning people, including marijuana.

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National Institute of Justice

Despite the tax being unpopular, McCaskill tried hard to get people behind the anti-drug tax. According to a Harvard study that is very favorable of the senator: "in a conscious effort to draw attention to and revitalize the drug tax program, McCaskill had renamed it COMBAT, the Community-Backed Anti-Drug Tax, and developed a new logo."

Here's the rest of McCaskills' answer to Amber Iris Langston regarding using marijuana for treatment of PTSD for rape victims and war veterans:


"Now, having said that, should we legalize pot? Or should we do some kind of iteration of medical marijuana? I think we've got a great opportunity to see what happens in Colorado where they have legalized it on a state basis. I'm talking to my colleagues out there about how's it going and I'll be honest with you - they are expressing some buyer's remorse as to some of the problems that maybe weren't anticipated. So I think we should go carefully on this and ultimately I think the lead on this should be not on the federal government but on the state level. But I will say this: I think the medication involving PTSD, we are doing some oversight on that right now because one of the problems we've had in the military is PTSD has been treated by too many psychotropic and pharmacological solutions. Too many drugs have been prescribed and when somebody is really struggling with that disease, sometimes too many drugs are gonna have the opposite impact that you're really looking for and that is a holistic sense that you're safe, you can contribute and becoming dependent on some of those drugs is not the best idea, either."

McCaskill might be a Democrat, but on marijuana policy, she uses the strategy Republicans use on same-sex marriage: Instead of taking a stand and fighting for what's right on the federal level, she cops out by saying "let's leave it up to the states." She also ignores the fact that even the federal government is looking at marijuana for PTSD victims.

Coming from a prosecutor-turned-senator who gets praised for passing a military sexual-assault bill, it might seem like McCaskill would at least say what she really thinks when it comes to rape victims. But then again, she blocked a bill that would have allowed military-rape victims to get their case heard in a civilian court rather than a military tribunal, where many critics -- including New York senator Kirsten Gillibrand -- say it's difficult to get justice.

See also: Senators Claire McCaskill and Roy Blunt Co-Sponsor Military Sexual Assault Legislation

McCaskill voted against the bill and instead advocated for taking that pesky civilian court part out. The result was an easily pushed-through bill that still allowed the military full discretion over its own sex-crime allegations.

So maybe it shouldn't be too surprising McCaskill takes a "wait and see" approach when it comes to allowing rape and PTSD victims the medication of their choice: Such a stance wouldn't be so easy to pass a roomful of politicians.

Follow Ray Downs on Twitter:

E-mail him at Ray.Downs@RiverfrontTimes.com.


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