An Oregon Democrat seemingly wanted to slam his head into his desk during questioning of the White House deputy director of National Drug Control Policy this Tuesday.
Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) asked Michael Botticelli, the drug czar’s chief deputy, a pretty simple and straightforward question: site the number of marijuana overdoses reported in the previous five years.
“To my knowledge, I don’t know if there’s been instances of specific overdose-related deaths,” Botticelli said.
Blumenauer then asked another simple question: Is marijuana more dangerous and addictive than methamphetamine or cocaine?
“I don’t think that anyone would dispute the fact that there’s relative toxicity related to those drugs,” said Botticelli, clearly trying to dodge the question.
Visibly frustrated but remaining relatively calm, Blumenauer asked Botticelli the question again.
“I think the conversation minimizes the harm,” Botticelli said, causing the Oregon Democratic congressman to slightly lose his cool.
“I’m not trying to minimize the harm,” Blumenauer said. “I just want to know what’s more dangerous and addictive. You don’t know?”
The deputy director continued with his sidestepping, making a concerted effort to avoid answering Blumenauer’s simple yet obvious question. The congressman ripped into him again:
“Let me just say that your equivocation right there, being unable to answer something clearly and definitively when there is unquestioned evidence to the contrary, is why young people don’t believe the propaganda, why they think it’s benign,” Blumenauer said.
He continued tearing into the White House official:
“If a professional like you can’t answer clearly that meth is more dangerous than marijuana — which every kid on the street knows, which every parent knows — if you can’t answer that, maybe that’s why we’re failing to educate people about the dangers. I don’t want kids smoking marijuana; I agree with [the previous questioner]. But if the deputy director of the office of drug policy can’t answer that question, how do you expect high school kids to take you seriously?”
Watch the entire exchange in the video below: