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Sen. Fetterman: Biden admin. making “a mistake" by exempting military from marijuana possession pardons
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Sen. Fetterman: Biden admin. making “a mistake" by exempting military from marijuana possession pardons

Ep. 8 — Sen. John Fetterman (2-29-2024)
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Transcript

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Sen. John Fetterman chatting with reporters on his way to vote on the Senate floor. Photo: Matt Laslo

Who?

Sen. John Fetterman (D-PA)

Ask a Pol asked:

“At the end of last year, Biden announced he was gonna pardon people for small amounts of marijuana possession. Just today — or yesterday — he announced that he’s not going to extend that to the military. Do you think he should extend that to the military?”

Source: US Army Clarifies That Biden’s Marijuana Pardons Don’t Apply To Military Personnel; Ben Adlin, Marijuana Moment

Key Fetterman: 

“I would think that’s a mistake,” Fetterman exclusively tells Ask a Pol. “Weed is no different than alcohol. Well, the only difference is, is one's legal and one isn’t. One can ruin your career and another one, you can walk into a store and buy it and drink as much of it as you can and then show up in [the] morning and that's not going to endanger your career.”

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Paging Biden: “I would urge him to reconsider that”

“I don't agree with it, and I would urge him to reconsider that. I don't think it's helpful,” Fetterman says. “If you're willing to serve our nation in the military, to be penalized by using a substance that is statistically much safer than other legal kinds of things, and now I don’t really understand the logic, truthfully, on that.”

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LISTEN: Laslo & Fetterman

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Below find a rough transcript of Ask a Pol’s exclusive interview with Sen. John Fetterman (D-PA), slightly edited for clarity.

(partial) TRANSCRIPT: Sen. John Fetterman

Matt Laslo: “I wanted to ask you, at the end of last year, Biden announced he was gonna pardon people for small amounts of marijuana possession. Just today — or yesterday — he announced that he’s not going to extend that to the military. Do you think he should extend that to the military?”

John Fetterman: “I would think that’s a mistake.”

ML: “Yeah?”

JF: “I think marijuana — weed is no different than alcohol. Well, the only difference is, is one's legal and one isn’t. One can ruin your career and another one, you can walk into a store and buy it and drink as much of it as you can and then show up in [the] morning and that's not going to endanger your career.”

ML: “Do you think Biden's behind on this? It's like he takes one step?”

JF: “I don't know. I don't agree with it, and I would urge him to reconsider that. I don't think it's helpful. If you're willing to serve our nation in the military, to be penalized by using a substance that is statistically much safer than other legal kinds of things, and now I don’t really understand the logic, truthfully, on that.”

ML: “Cause it’s so popular throughout your state?”

JF: “Well, it's also perfectly legal in a lot of states, as well, too. So it's — I mean, it doesn't, of course, diminish my enthusiasm for Joe Biden. And we're not going to agree on every single issue, but this doesn't happen to be one that I do agree.”

ML: “Do you ever use it these days? I do. I use it for pain.”

JF: “No, no, I really don't use it. But that doesn't — I don't use tobacco at all, but that should be legal. I don't drink very free frequently, but it should all be legal. So it's the same kind of substance that it should be pure, safe and legal, and allowing adults to partake, because that's their right.”

ML: “With our fentanyl and overdose crisis, do we need to have a broader conversation about the war on drugs?”

JF: “Of course, as well, too. There are drugs that are dangerous that shouldn't be in a conversation of legalizing it, but in terms of a conversation of, how do we address addiction and, you know, what's a path for somebody that is in the throes of addiction can be brought back to being a better parent or a public — just, I mean, it destroys lives, and it often ends life. So it clearly what's being done now isn't working. So you know, I'm making it part of a conversation, I think we should be able to do that.”

ML: “As always, preciate you, sir.”

Matt Laslo’s covered drug policy for Playboy, Rolling Stone, VICE News Tonight, Daily Beast, VICE News, etc. He’s also a new media prof. & the founder of Ask a Pol — a new, people-powered press corps.

Ask a Pol — asking your lawmakers your questions at your US Capitol. @AskaPol_drugs

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Ask a Pol
Ask a Pol, drugs
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