October 1, 2019

Pot Bill Tokes the Line on Public Safety

When the alarm went off at Jennifer Hrobuchak’s work, the 22-year-old district manager didn’t think twice. She got in her car in the early morning hours and headed off to the store to investigate.

When the alarm went off at Jennifer Hrobuchak’s work, the 22-year-old district manager didn’t think twice. She got in her car in the early morning hours and headed off to the store to investigate. The new college graduate, who had hoped to have a career saving people from drugs, never saw the man run through the red light straight at her. At 82 miles per hour, he slammed Jennifer’s car across the road into a building that crushed and killed her. After seven years of telling the story, her mom, Corinne, still gets emotional. And it’s no wonder. The man who hit her was high on marijuana and walked away from the scene completely unharmed. Her daughter never walked anywhere again.

There are thousands of stories like Jennifer’s. Agonized parents like Jeffrey Veatch’s whose son died snorting heroin, only after marijuana experimentation led him there. After the unimaginable pain of losing a child, the idea that anyone would make it easier for kids to get addicted to pot is hard for any of them to fathom. And yet, last Wednesday, in the U.S. House, more than 300 members of Congress put their names behind a bill that would help legitimize a business that’s destroying and endangering lives.

It was the first ever vote on a stand-alone cannabis bill, not that the name would have told you so. The SAFE Banking Act, one of the more ridiculously named pieces of legislation in the Democratic House, would make it easier for marijuana companies to “open checking accounts and get business loans.” Pot companies argue that it would make the entire market safer, since they tend to operate on a “cash-only basis” or pay sky-high fees to the banks who are willing to work with them. Amazingly, 321 members of Congress (including 91 Republicans) fell for this logic, which encourages banks to get involved in the sale of what the federal government still considers an illegal substance.

Luke Dean Niforatos, chief of staff for Smart Approaches to Marijuana, can’t believe that the U.S. House would green-light a bill that would allow billions of dollars to flow into the pot market. Calling it the “Safe Vaping Act,” Niforatos told listeners on “Washington Watch” that this would mean “tons more money for these companies to create more marijuana, vaping oils, more marijuana vapes, which would feed into the crisis that we’re talking about right now today.

"It defies comprehension that the House would pass this,” he argued. “And now it’s in the Senate. And you have a number of senators — [even solid Christians who are]… being swayed by this argument that marijuana industry needs access to these banks. You know, they need to hear from everyone loud and clear that there’s a vaping crisis going on. The last thing we should do is allow money in to this industry that’s putting out these marijuana vapes.”

And while the Democratic House may be embracing pot, the reality, Luke explains, is that the rest of the country is having second thoughts.

“We actually had a dozen states or more reject marijuana legalization this year alone, including New York, New Jersey and Connecticut — all very progressive states with progressive governors who were totally committed to legalizing marijuana. But minority groups and family groups and other groups came out and said, ‘No thanks.’. So there’s a movement now in this country to push against this — and a lot of that is being stemmed by a number of major public health concerns we’re discovering. Maybe not many people know this, but just three weeks ago, the United States surgeon general, Dr. Jerome Adams, just released the first surgeon general’s advisory on marijuana in 40 years.”

There are probably some conservatives out there who’ve fallen for the libertarian lie that the government can do a better job regulating marijuana and protecting people if it’s legal. But the research is clear: all that’s happening in the states where pot is allowed are more arrests, more hospital visits, more suicides, more crime, more DUIs, more work-related problems — more Jennifers.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) isn’t going to be in a hurry to pass anything on the House Democrats’ radical agenda. But the pressure is building on him, even from members in his own party, to chase these dead-end solutions. Contact your senators and ask them to hold the line on the SAFE Banking Act.

Originally published here.

No-Fly for Life: Illinois Rep. Proposes Radical Travel Ban

Apparently, it’s not enough that Illinois passed one of the most shocking abortion laws in America. Now, they want to punish states who don’t.

State Representative Daniel Didech says it’s not a “boycott,” per se, but his bill outlawing travel to pro-life states could have fooled us. The idea behind his H.B. 3901 is to put the hurt on places like Alabama, Georgia, and other states where leaders listened to voters and took great strides to protect the unborn. Now, in retribution, Didech thinks Illinois employees should either be outlawed from going to those states on business — or forced to pay for it out of their own pockets.

“The purpose of the bill is to protect women who may not be able to get the health care they may need when they’re traveling on official state business,” he argues. “What these other states are doing is, to me, very dangerous. To a large extent, yes, abortion is a big part of it, but it’s not entirely about abortion,” Didech told reporters. “As a member of the legislature, I have the responsibility to protect our state employees.” Protect them how, people want to know? Didech fired back that this wasn’t about promoting abortion but protecting women. In one of the most absurd explanations ever for one of these liberal travel bans, the Buffalo Grove politician argues that a pregnant Illinois employee might miscarry in a pro-life state and not have access to health care!

Of course, that’s absolutely ridiculous, because unlike Illinois, these states actually ensure that mothers have the cutting-edge care they need — unlike the Land of Lincoln, where women are subjected to chop-shop abortions because the state doesn’t want to regulate them. Still, Didech claimed, a female worker might miscarry during travel and she “could get tangled [in an investigation] that’s outside her control.”

Since when do pro-life states investigate a woman’s miscarriage? Not one of the 12 states on Didech’s blacklist even criminalizes a woman for an abortion — let alone launches formal inquiries after a miscarriage. Yet this is all part of the messaging subterfuge of the Left. If Rep. Didech cares about protecting women, maybe he ought to start in his own backyard, where abortionists like Ulrich Klopfer are roughing up women and then carrying their babies’ bodies into Illinois to stack like trophies in his garage. This is a state that just made infanticide legal, and their liberals are complaining about the threat of pro-lifers?

Illinois has a serious human dignity problem. And the only people who are in real danger are the ones traveling to Didech’s state, where life is only safe if it’s wanted — and warehoused by a maniac if it’s not.

Originally published here.

This is a publication of the Family Research Council. Mr. Perkins is president of FRC.

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