GOP Lawmaker's Toke Joke a 'Hit' on Capitol Hill

Friday, 09 May 2014 02:47 PM

By Bill Hoffmann

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No, you weren't high if you thought you saw Rep. John Mica pull out a joint.

The Florida Republican unveiled what looked like a marijuana cigarette as he chaired a hearing into the decision by the nation's capital to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana.

But the jaw-dropping move was a stunt — and the joint not a real one, Mica told an amused audience.

"I have this joint here. Okay, don't get to excited … It's a mock one," he said.

Mica who opposes decriminalization, held what he referred to as a "faux joint, rolled by his staff, who "have more experience" with such things.

Story continues below video.



A measure decriminalizing marijuana in Washington, D.C. got final approval from its city council in March.

The law would make smoking pot a violation comparable to a parking ticket.

The bill, which passed the second of two votes with the support of 10 of the 13 city councilors, will now go to the desk of Democratic Mayor Vincent Gray, who supports the measure.

"It will have a profound impact on the people of the District of Columbia to decriminalize this marijuana," said Councilman David Grosso, adding he looks forward to the "next step" of taxing and regulating the sale of marijuana.

While marijuana is still illegal under federal law, 15 U.S. states and a handful of cities have removed the threat of arrest for possession of small amounts of the drug.

Colorado and Washington state have gone farther and legalized marijuana outright, a step that Rhode Island is also considering.

Supporters of the District's bill portrayed decriminalization as a way to cut law enforcement costs and increase fairness.

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