Rep. Mica holds (another) hearing on being stoned


Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.) at a 2012 hearing. (J. Scott Applewhite/AP)

The congressman who brought a joint to a hearing, and injected weed jokes into speeches long before legalizing marijuana became mainstream, Rep. John Mica (R-Fla.) is holding his final House Oversight subcommittee hearing before August recess on what else? Being stoned.

Mica uses the phrase “smoking the funny weed” to dismiss ideas he finds ridiculous (he also has a recurring joke about “sitting on our assets”), and in his role as chairman of Oversight’s government operations subcommittee has held almost monthly hearings about marijuana this year. He skipped April. (No 4/20 hearing?)

On Thursday, riffing off an old John Candy movie, Mica will chair a hearing titled: “Planes, Trains and Automobiles: Operating While Stoned.”(Kids, do not smoke and fly.)

Despite Mica’s pretty evident fascination with the drug, he is no supporter. But he’s long been up for a healthy debate about it. In fact, in 1999, he held a hearing on pot legalization — the first one since 1988, according to The New York Times coverage of that Clinton-era hearing.

“He is one of the most obsessive drug warriors in Congress,” said Tom Angell, chairman of Marijuana Majority. “It’s kind of a mystery to me why he cares so much about this issue.”

At previous hearings, Mica has referred to marijuana as a “gateway drug” and has criticized the Obama administration’s decision to turn a blind eye in states where it’s legal.

But Mica may want to check in with his constituents on the issue. A Quinnipiac University poll released Monday of Florida voters found a majority — 55 to 41 percent — support allowing people to “possess small amounts of marijuana for personal use.” And those coveted millennial voters? They support it 72 to 25 percent.

Colby Itkowitz is a national reporter for In The Loop.
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Colby Itkowitz · July 28