Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.) brought a fake marijuana cigarette to a congressional hearing on Friday, and admitted to laughter that he didn’t even roll the fake joint himself.
“Don’t get too excited out there, some of you. This is not a real one, it’s a mock one,” he said at a House Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee hearing as he waved the fake joint in the air.
When a fellow subcommittee member asked if he rolled it himself, Mica said, “No, I had staff do it. They have more experience.”
Mica was chairing a hearing on the “mixed signals” the Obama administration is sending on marijuana policy. The hearing was one in a series of three the subcommittee has held as many states are trying to legalize medical marijuana, and as some are trying to get the federal government to decriminalize pot.
He noted that the District of Columbia, for example, has made a move toward decriminalizing small amounts of pot. He noted that DC’s plan is to decriminalize pot under one ounce, but said that could effectively decriminalize people in possession of about 20 joints.
Washington DC is a special case because it comes under the jurisdiction of Congress, and because parts of the District are subject to different branches of law enforcement.
Peter Newsham, assistant Chief of Police, said Washington DC plans to impose smaller fines if they see any visible marijuana, but said using marijuana in the District can still lead to up to 60 days in jail or a fine of up to $500.
The subcommittee also heard from a U.S. Park Police witness who said officers have discretion on how to handle marijuana possession on federal parkland.