US Rep. at Hearing: 'People Don't Smoke Marijuana and Beat Up Their Wives'

Rep. Steve Cohen asks Dep. Director of Drug Control Policy to explain US's equal treatment of pot and heroin.
3:00 | 02/04/14

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Transcript for US Rep. at Hearing: 'People Don't Smoke Marijuana and Beat Up Their Wives'
About it -- Your hands or -- Adams on schedule one. But it is outta. -- -- -- -- To have marijuana in the same level. -- -- Ask. The late Philip Seymour Hoffman if you -- Nobody dies from marijuana. Back from -- one. -- every second that we and in this country. Trying to enforce marijuana laws. Is -- second that were not enforcing or one laws. And air one and -- are the two drugs that are ravaging our country. And every death. Including mr. Hoffman's. Is partly the responsibility. Of the federal government drug forties or not putting total emphasis on the drugs that -- That cause people to be addicted to steal to support their habit. And heroin and half is where all of your priority should be. And it's not just mr. Hoffman. A brilliant actor 46 years of age -- first went to prescription drugs and then came back to herald. That's our two major issues like yes I had young young friend son of a girl I dated -- out of here overdose about two years ago. I went to a party in Memphis recently. Not Vermont -- the governor spent his entire state of the state our dress talking about the ravages that they're winning his state but Memphis Tennessee. We're or women -- take my age. Now maybe fifteen years younger -- to lose perspective. Talked about heroin being a great problem among their children. And in the -- this community and about another young man who -- appear. Here what is getting into the arms of young people. And when we put marijuana on the same level as air when an LSD and -- crack cocaine. We are telling young people not to listen to be adults about the ravages and the problems. And they don't listen because they know you're wrong. As has mr. mica said we know a lot of young people smoke marijuana they shouldn't. Young people should be in young people. The most precious commodity in the world -- -- Young people got lots of time. Mr. Mike and I don't have that much more time -- just the realities. When you're young and George being young. By Ian ball take it easy just do what kids think -- and you shouldn't be doing drugs but they are. And we need -- -- work. That we keep them alive we need to educate. But our efforts ought to be toward math and -- -- That's war effort should be and it should be schedule one. Anybody that goes to jail for marijuana. Is a crime. When Oprah possession -- taken their liberties away so waste of money it's a waste a resource -- -- a crime committed our government. There is a cultural lag. In this country in this congress is a leader -- All due respect. He should be -- scientist. I understand the parents who were read because -- -- child out of an overdose they didn't overdose on marijuana. You're -- -- them rather in the scientists. Mr. Bob Kelly. It may go back to a few good in the movie Jack Nicholson. You can't handle the truth. The truth is that -- war failed. Your direction on marijuana is a failure. Get. Dealing and saving kids from heroin overdoses my young 22 year old friend out of a heroin overdose. -- smoke marijuana probably the first thing he did but that's not why he smoked heroin. Art shouted out maybe he did it because he heard people like you saying and they're all bad or Alter it deal with the truth and -- Well maybe marijuana -- and Julia here when does -- does their different. And it tell you deal with the truth the kids are gonna -- -- at all. Now he talked about alcohol. And may you may -- -- this. Cirrhosis of the liver. Pretty serious thing. -- against Al says that women people don't smoke marijuana and beat up their wives and girlfriends. They get -- sometimes -- beat up their wives and girlfriends and I know you get your statistics. The debate your statistics in it into your statistics about the amount of people who had marijuana in her system -- -- -- fatal accidents. I would submit it probably -- other drugs in their system. By cocaine -- crack in addition of the marijuana or they had alcohol and marijuana wasn't the cause that's what I understand that people spoke marijuana. -- they drive slower they look out for the cops. -- they don't drop -- and wild like people do on alcohol. And caused deaths. Eight reads that so many more people's -- marijuana and now the cause they're not listen -- made it two in the other Brooks to. But also shows that the drug -- and failure -- and a series -- Op -- Slinger started the quarter and Slinger is dumped an idea where he never will he issue it could teach your great grandfather. He started this war in the thirties and he was tuned out to -- did it to get. The American public that problems sometimes I think we still got with Hispanics and Mexicans confident in this country. And it was a war on Hispanics and African Americans that's when they made marijuana illegal was in the thirties and it was all directed at. Those people. And Latinos are just as much discriminated against his African Americans in disparate arrests. It's still continues this today it's eighty odd years and -- started this and it's at the fact that we spent -- -- time arresting people is sinful. You've talked about. Overall effects of marijuana. Again. You can't name one person has died from an overdose or want to change. That. Right and you say to -- -- the facts. Do you know people possibly. Heard of people who smoke marijuana. Who are corporate giants. Run banks right major corporations. You know about these people. -- urban or else an equal number of people I know a substantial number of people who also have gone on to develop significant disorders. Who have smoked. Again one in nine people who tried marijuana. Develop a dependency and we know that particularly those kids who use it earlier in there -- music should music ever. An age eighteen people shouldn't be arrested -- Made it should be 21. But it should use it that's that we all agree. But the fact is. We need to put our prop forty -- -- went in -- What percent if your budget. Goes towards heroin addiction so I don't think we necessarily -- our budget our demand reduction budget. Based on drugs again our our prevention efforts are focused on preventing drug use. Mobile -- a mistake when people back from here winning great numbers that the Vermont governor spends his entire -- the state on on here when use. That at an end we don't. Distinguished. Try to save people's lives that's million people over at the corner store it's not that get money to -- doughnut that your -- It's -- there are one because -- -- It causes people. What percent if your budget. Goes towards heroin addiction so I don't think we necessarily -- -- our budget our demand reduction budget. Based on drugs again. Our our prevention efforts are focused on preventing. Drug use of mold in not a mistake when people back from here winning great numbers that the Vermont governor spends his entire stated the state on on here when use. That at an end we don't. Distinguished. Try to -- people's lives. That's when in people over at the corner store it's not that get money to abide doughnut picture hat to -- -- -- -- -- It causes people -- up our. Office in 2011 I think acknowledged that burgeoning prescription drugs and -- epidemic happening United States. In 2011 we released a plan. That looks at dealing with prescription drug it is an opiate issues let me -- -- about to run out may have the means one thing act responded -- when he eleven. Without your I guess your predecessor. Your your locked Kerlikowske. Kerlikowske is actually the current director is he said back -- That that there was no particular they haven't found any medical use. To date -- the FDA is to miss -- not count smoke marijuana to be safe or effective medicine for any edition. North any medical associate human -- smoke marijuana for widespread medical use. Think that medical associations have but are you aware -- fact the people he smoked marijuana to get him through cancer treatment archer. -- and it's never -- office's position to either or arrest people -- been using medical. I think it's important for us and again reports that FDA is not here. You know that it's FDA process that ultimately determines that scientific efficacy of but couldn't try to influence that -- party your job. But he was -- -- kept -- cancer so he was. Smoked marijuana in only his mother said the only thing that makes oral smile -- It's pretty good so so our role in this is to -- FDA's scientific process to determine. That's our influence role is to rely on this I you know I would also a statement on it and fortunate and I think I would ask the chairman. To invite doctor normal -- who's that director of attached -- drug abuse. Because that's where our policy and are signs -- derived from. We are assigned based office policy based office and I think if you listen to doctor bulk up who is not involved in the political discussion. Aka. Substance -- and marijuana she will lay out for you the scientific evidence let me ask you if you or prohibited outlaw. From using any funds to study one legalization for medicinal purposes the other reason you're the only office of that and federal apartment -- restricted not quite. You're part oppose -- scheduling of the schedule one substances rescheduling marijuana that have been approved for medical purposes. Aren't -- troubled by these strikes and don't you think -- your expertise should be allowed to be used to study science and contribute to a positive loves them classification of drugs it's. So I'm not familiar congress but that. Language in -- reauthorization and I'm actually not. I don't know the background of that would you support legislation to allow you to participate in to voice your opinion that the -- science -- the basis for your determination well -- or what I would do is support that federal agencies have the ability to do so with -- -- about law should that restriction not be lifted. Again I think we'd have to subsequent conversation in terms mean you think he should be muzzled. I think that it's important that that our office not. Involve itself. In terms of give him legislation given activities that believe that that was the action is a sport that language that the office not involved itself. In in -- -- the totality that broke the world you need to participate and if you realize that medical marijuana as twenty states Japan can help people with it with cancer with nausea. With those may -- glaucoma. Mean Montel Williams as some some benefits from a lots of people do that -- should be able to participate and set our drug -- write your job should be to have a sane drug policy. Not to be muzzled and handcuffed. Her from again mice implanted happy doing gauging public conversation is that that has not handcuffed. Other offices and other federal agencies who were tasked with networks invest in 1971. Congress created commission was headed by governor shape for Pennsylvania study that -- -- -- policy. That commission came -- in favor decriminalization. It wasn't put in place that was 1971 would you support a new commission to study federal marijuana policy. I haven't seen that legislation -- after the congress would use -- concept. I'm again I think we'd be happy to have a conversation in terms of what that might look. Thank you sir you back the fountain.

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

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