Senator Claire McCaskill might be Missourians' "liberal" voice in Washington D.C., but when it comes to reforming marijuana laws, the Democrat lawmaker is quite the conservative.
On Monday, McCaskill attended a town hall in Columbia where she fielded questions on a wide array of issues, including jobs, the economy, Ukraine, and of course there was some guy asking about Benghazi.
But among the main concerns of McCaskill's constituents was the cannabis question.
The first question was about industrial hemp, which came from Linda Yelvington, a cannabis activist in Potosi, who asked the senator if Missouri farmers should be able to grow hemp "so that they can compete in the global economy and so American manufacturers do not have to import foreign sources from China? Should cannabis and hemp be rescheduled?"
McCaskill said she would consider the idea of legalizing industrial hemp, as long as it meant teens weren't getting high off of it .
"I think we need to look at hemp as an agricultural product obviously and there needs to be some thoughtful way of making sure, because most hemp grown is industrial hemp, it's not the kind you hope your 14-year-old isn't smoking," McCaskill said as marijuana reformers no doubt had to fight a desire to scream out about how it's impossible to get high off hemp.
She continued: "So it is probably, I think, a good idea to look at, we're always at ways. Frankly, our agriculture is our lifesaver in Missouri because we have a positive trade balance because of how much we export. If hemp can be another one, I'm certainly open to it."
Yelvington wasn't very happy with the answer. In an email to Daily RFT after the town hall, she explains why.
"I was pleased Senator McCaskill was aware that hemp would be good for the agricultural economy in Missouri, but I thought her answer somewhat evasive," Yelvington says. "As we are the only developed nation that prohibits the growing of hemp I would have liked her to talk about why she is not fighting for the farmers of Missouri to be able to do so, or to say she would begin fighting for it. She did not address the rescheduling problem that has to be fixed at the federal level."
Later during the town hall, McCaskill was asked about the real question of everybody's mind: straight-up legalization.
An audience member told McCaskill that Missourians are starting to favor legalization and then asked the senator: "What will you do at the federal level to legalize marijuana?"
Click on the next page to see McCaskill's answer...
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