A Republican senator is suggesting an insidious government conspiracy is afoot involving legalizing marijuana and menthol cigarettes.
In a speech on Thursday, Republican Senator from North Carolina Richard Burr said he's worried the FDA's plans to ban menthol cigarettes is the first step in a plan to legalize marijuana. You're probably reading that and thinking, "Why would banning menthol cigarettes lead to marijuana legalization?" Well, Burr notes that a few years ago Canada banned cigarettes. And what did they do this year? That's right, they legalized recreational marijuana.
“This is eerily similar to Canada a few years ago when they banned menthol products,” Burr said. “How did they follow that up? This year, they legalized cannabis. Maybe that is the route we are on.”
This is a pretty weird argument to make considering the issues seem unrelated. No one in Canada was saying, "We need to ban menthol cigarettes and then we can legalize marijuana!"
Burr's argument is basically saying the FDA is trying to flex their muscle by banning menthol cigarettes so in the future, they can flex their muscle once again by legalizing marijuana without any restrictions. Burr pointed out that the cannabis industry is regulated less tightly than the tobacco industry. He noted that there are no regulations in place for what kind of paper the cannabis industry uses, labeling restrictions and other things, unlike the tobacco industry. What he failed to mention is the reason there aren't any regulations for those things is because marijuana is illegal. Why would the federal government have regulations for a drug they say is illegal?
He went on a whole rant about how the FDA better start getting regulations prepared for legal marijuana, which is again weird because marijuana is illegal. He's supposed to be arguing why cigarettes shouldn't be regulated so tightly, and his argument is essentially, "We're going to legalize marijuana without any restrictions!"
It should be noted that Burr's home state of North Carolina just happens to be the largest tobacco producing state in the country. We're sure he's simply defending cigarette companies out of the goodness of his heart though.
(h/t Marijuana Moment)