Congressman John Mica Brings a Fake Joint to a Marijuana Hearing

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Right now, witnesses are testifying about the decriminalization of marijuana in Washington, D.C. at a hearing before the House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Government Operations. Rep. John Mica of Florida, who chairs the subcommittee, brought a prop.

Mica says his staff helped him roll the fake joint he held up during the hearing. 

"They have more experience," he quipped. The incident shows that lawmakers, even those as old as Mica (he's 71), are becoming increasingly comfortable with talking about pot. 

D.C.'s marijuana decriminalization bill, which would bring the fine for possession of an ounce or less to $25, is currently on layover on Capitol Hill. Congress has between now and July to stop the bill, passed by D.C.'s council, from becoming law. The hearing today is to determine how the D.C. law will work (or not work) with current federal law. 

At the end of last month, Mica talked to Roll Call about the upcoming hearing, which he said would be important to determining whether or not black people are currently adversely affected by the district's marijuana laws. Statistics say yes, they are, and D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton testified to that on Friday. Mica put down his joint and listened attentively. 

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.