Sen. Orrin Hatch Introduces Pot Research Bill With Punny Masterpiece

By Keri Blakinger 09/18/17

While the senator is against recreational use, he does acknowledge that cannabis may provide medicinal benefits. 

Orrin Hatch

With a pun-packed pot press release, 83-year-old Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch set Washington media abuzz Wednesday when announcing his newly proposed medical marijuana measure.

“It’s high time to address research into medical marijuana,” the Mormon legislator said. “Our country has experimented with a variety of state solutions without properly delving into the weeds on the effectiveness, safety, dosing, administration, and quality of medical marijuana.”

Hardy-har-har, senator. 

The bill, co-authored by Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), would ease the research registration process, make pot more easily available for studies, prevent the creation of new pot-specific protocol reviews and require Attorney General Jeff Sessions to boost the national marijuana quota. 

As the conservative senator rolled out his announcement, the chronic puns continued.

“The federal government strains to enforce regulations that sometimes do more harm than good,” said the senator. “To be blunt, we need to remove the administrative barriers preventing legitimate research into medical marijuana, which is why I’ve decided to roll out the MEDS Act,” he continued.

“I urge my colleagues to join Senator Schatz and me in our joint effort to help thousands of Americans suffering from a wide-range of diseases and disorders. In a Washington at war with itself, I have high hopes that this bipartisan initiative can be a kumbaya moment for both parties.”

The same act—the Marijuana Effective Drug Study Act—was introduced to the Senate in 2016 by Hatch’s Hawaiian co-author. This time, Sens. Cory Gardner, Chris Coons and Thom Tillis are all on board as co-sponsors.

But even though there’s bipartisan support for the pursuit of dope discoveries, there’s still some disagreement about the whacky tobacky. On the Senate floor, Hatch clarified that he’s still against recreational pot use.

“Now all puns aside, it will surprise no one that I am strongly against the use of recreational marijuana. I worry, however, that in our zeal to enforce the law, we too often blind ourselves to the medicinal benefits of natural substances like cannabis,” Hatch said.

“We would be remiss if we threw out the baby with the bathwater.”

It would be almost as bad as throwing out the clips with the ashtray.

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Keri Blakinger is a former drug user and current reporter living in Texas. She covers breaking news for the Houston Chronicle and previously worked for the New York Daily News and the Ithaca Times. She has written about drugs and criminal justice for the Washington Post, Salon, Quartz and more. She loves dogs and is not impressed by rodeo food. Find Keri on LinkedIn and Twitter.