Rep. Cohen: I think the next effort's going to be an effort to amend the criminal justice appropriations bill, and to restrict the DEA from enforcing laws concerning marijuana in states where it's been legalized and/or legalized for recreational or "medical" marijuana. We've had that issue come up many times in the past. Maurice Hinchey's been a leader on it in the past. When I first came into Congress, he was the leader. But I think that there's going to be a vote on that coming up sometime this summer, and I think that'll be the next major vote. New York Times, March seventh, 2012, Pat Robertson says marijuana should be legal.
TheStreet: What about this, I don't know if you saw the story that I published yesterday noting that both you and Congressman Blumenauer, videos on YouTube.
Rep. Cohen: Noticed it? I Tweeted it. You favorited the Tweet. Do you control your own Tweet site?
TheStreet: I do, but I didn't realize that, no, that's very odd. I did not notice that you Tweeted it.
Rep. Cohen: I re-Tweeted it.
TheStreet: Right, okay. So, yes, a colleague of mine Tweeted that, and I favorited that, but I didn't realize that you had re-Tweeted that. Excellent.
Rep. Cohen: There used to be a dessert at a restaurant in Nashville called Sexier Than Robert Redford, and it was that dark chocolate was more dark chocolate and whipped chocolate and blah blah blah. So, when I saw that, my first thought was sexier than rock and roll or sex, or better than sex and rock and roll. My first thought was that chocolate cake is sexier than Robert Redford.
TheStreet: Well, I would take chocolate cake over Robert Redford.
Rep. Cohen: In a New York second, yeah.
TheStreet: Have you noticed this on your own, that you get more attention perhaps, national or even an international audience advocating for liberalization of our marijuana laws, more so than discussing other, or advocating for other issues?
Rep. Cohen: Unquestionably. There's a lot of people out there that are in favor of, who smoke marijuana, and people who, I think most of the people that really get involved in looking at the videos and Tweeting and commenting and activists smoke marijuana. And there are a lot of people out there that do, and it's the maybe their number one issue. There's certainly a lot more people who have been exposed to it and seen that it's not harmful. They see people who smoke marijuana who are heads of businesses that are type "A"s that it doesn't affect. And you go to a concert, and there are lots of people smoking marijuana, and a lot of the people are in seats in the front row that cost $300 to $500, so they're not exactly slackers.
TheStreet: Right, right. Do you see signs of other-your spokesman was saying this is nonetheless an issue that you have been focused on for, I think he said 20 years.
Rep. Cohen: More than that. When I was a police attorney in Memphis in the 70s, I drew up the first misdemeanor citation in lieu of arrest law, which I then proceeded to give to an ally in the state legislature who passed it. And then I drew the policies, the instructions to implement it. It had the Memphis police department back in 1977 or 78 giving citations in lieu of arrest for marijuana possession. That's pretty long before stop and frisk in New York, 35 years ago, and as a legislator, I was the only senator not to vote--we had a medical marijuana law in Tennessee before I was elected to the Senate, and then it was repealed--and I was the only member of the general assembly not to vote to repeal it. That was in about 1990, and I've been trying to pass bills that allow the legislature to change the schedule of the marijuana, and you name it. So, I'm not Johnny-Come-Lately.
TheStreet: Have you nonetheless seen other politicians gravitating toward this issue because it seems to be such a popular one?