When Joe Rogan hosts a politician on his podcast, you should expect the topic of marijuana legalization will come up at least once. Such was the case when Rep. Dan Crenshaw (R-TX), a former NAVY Seal, joined the podcast.
“I really thought we were going to do a whole show with Joe Rogan where you weren’t going to bring up marijuana,” Crenshaw joked.
Crenshaw embodies a unique perspective as a Republican on marijuana. Though Crenshaw admitted that medical marijuana should be federally legal, he believes recreational should be left for the states to decide. He is no staunch prohibitionist, but he isn’t opening any doors for anyone either.
Crenshaw voted against legislation that would’ve protected states that have legalized cannabis from federal oversight. In addition, he hasn’t added his name as co-sponsor to any medical cannabis bills either.
Photo by Get Budding via Unsplash
“I can be convinced, but I’m not there yet,” Crenshaw said on the podcast.
“I’ll convince you right now,” Rogan responded, grinning. “Let’s spark one up.”
“I don’t like it,” Crenshaw said. “I can be convinced, but I’m not there yet,” he later continued. “I’m definitely more open to just the federal legalization of medical marijuana and all the benefits that come with that. The science backs that up pretty well. On the recreational side, I’m happy to leave that to the states.”
Crenshaw conceded that federal prohibition creates problems for states that have legalized recreational cannabis, particularly banking laws. But Crenshaw is a Republican, he explained, because he believes in “somewhat slower policymaking.” The fervor might be there to legalize now, but Crenshaw’s fine waiting.
“My issue with recreational marijuana still—and again this is not a strong opinion I have, this is not a hill I’m dying on, by any means—but if we’re going to change it, I want to understand what the point is, what the benefits are of it recreationally.” he said. “I understand the benefits medically very well. But I want to understand the recreational benefits and I want to see how this data plays out in places like California and Colorado.”
Part of what Crenshaw wants to see is whether recreational marijuana increases youth usage. That what he means by the data playing out. But in Colorado, that data has already played out. In fact, it’s been available for a couple years now. Analysis in 2016 and 2017 demonstrated no increased usage among teens. Earlier this year, a study from JAMA Pediatrics found that marijuana legalization might even discourage teens from using cannabis. So if Crenshaw is waiting for the data to play out, what data is he looking at?
“These conversations have to play out in society and we don’t always need to solve the problem right away,” Crenshaw said later in the podcast. “I think the medical conversation is the one we should be fighting for. I think the recreational side is a few steps beyond that.”