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US Rep. To Deputy Director of Drug Policy: Your 'Part of the Problem'

Rep. Earl Blumenauer grows frustrated with witnesses' "inability to answer" direct questions about the real health risks of pot.
3:00 | 02/04/14

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Transcript for US Rep. To Deputy Director of Drug Policy: Your 'Part of the Problem'
Thank you let me yield now the mr. -- -- -- Thank you again I'd really appreciate this and I've found the conversation here to be. Be very useful I think you're highlighting the wide range of issues that are on people's minds. I hope there's an -- to continue. But Charlie how many marijuana overdose. Deaths were there. In the most recent -- you have available. It did to my knowledge I don't know if their -- is this -- have specific overdose related you talked about. Naira one -- and -- so I want to I want to be clear about trying to attract you. Learn how many marijuana deaths have -- been in the last five years. So so if you're for if you're referring to overdoses. I am not sure if those numbers if you're referring event telling us that I would like to have you supply. Us. With -- Overdose deaths there were. Because I have heard from. Experts -- whose judgment I respect. But they don't know it. So that would be really important for you to provide at least to me -- to the community. What is more dangerous and addictive. Meth amphetamines and cocaine. Or marijuana. -- -- I I don't think anyone would dispute the fact that there's relative. Toxicity. -- up related to those drugs but I had -- I'm afraid to let them war what's more. Dangerous. And what is more addictive. You know the scene and -- Or marijuana. Pretty simple. I think that conversation. Minimizes the harm -- I -- -- to minimize the -- I want to know which is more. Dangerous. And addictive. You know again I go I go back as we don't know as a public health person. You know one of the things that we look at is not what's the relative risk of -- rocket of a let me just. Today I think that your equivocation right there being unable to answer something. Clearly in the tentatively when there is on -- question. Evidence that contrary is why -- young people don't believe. The propaganda why they think it's -- not. If a -- factional like you cannot answer clearly that and that is more dangerous. Than marijuana. Which every kid on the street knows. Which every parent knows. If you can answer that. -- -- -- -- -- fatally. To educate people about the dangers. I don't want -- smoking marijuana I agree with the chairman but if the deputy director. Of the office of drug policy can't answer that question. Do you expect high school kids -- take -- series. So representative I didn't mean to -- disrespect and I didn't mean to indicate that there that there is not. -- is not different degrees of toxicity associated with asks what was more dangerous you couldn't answer no I just want to say. The use -- Represent -- part of the problem. Let me go a little further as -- and that's exactly enough -- complex what kills more people tobacco or -- -- You know there's there's been a fair amount of tobacco associated -- That -- -- my challenge and the reason I'm hesitating about answering the questions as it relates to relative risk. As I think many times that conversation gets distorted and that there is no rest and others trying to track you down in -- statement s.'s library recently I don't wanna be disrespect. Let me let me suggest. That your inability. To answer. Whether -- -- -- -- marijuana. Is more dangerous. Again is part of the problem. Mr. -- documented. Very clearly. That we have been able to drop dramatically. Tobacco use. And it kills more people than marijuana if you don't know that. But we've been able to drop bat without locking people up. Without arresting I think this administration has seen three to four million people. Arrested for marijuana. -- it's been an -- Yet we've been able to drop tobacco use. Without being. Coercive. -- -- -- -- We been using act based advertising and we focused our efforts on things that matter. Rather than things that don't work. And I respectfully. Suggest. You and the department -- if that. If you're concerned that somehow people think marijuana is -- -- That part of the reason is that drop professionals. Can't. Communicate. In ways that the rest of America does so I appreciate your being here and I welcome any written follow up to my question is Iraq not trying to -- it is not very discouraged. By your ability to answer question -- So let me tell you this morning. I spent. Them -- bulk of my morning with a number of parents from across the country we're doing everything they can do to prevent. Drug use and particularly prescription drug use and many of them whose -- have died of it over -- -- And I asked them what more -- the federal government. Be doing in terms of preventing substance -- and prevention strategies -- And they told me they cannot understand. Why states are moving to medical marijuana and legal -- -- marijuana. They cannot understand because they understand from a very acute level the message that legalization sends them. And these these are so this is not. From -- bureaucrat in Washington these are from parents who struggle on a daily basis and have been devastated by addiction and their kids. And they understand. They understand in a very dramatic and real way. That legalizing marijuana since absolute wrong message to our --

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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