It’s a sign of the times deep in the heart of Texas. A prominent pro-legalization congressman is taking on a fellow House member with an old-school political weapon: Billboards.
Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-Oregon) will be paying to place billboards in Texas in an effort to unseat Congressman Pete Sessions (R-Texas), who also is the chair of the House Rules Committee.
According to reporter Tom Angell at Marijuana Moment, Blumenauer spoke at a cannabis industry event earlier this week and said:
“I’ve been working to try and give you a better Congress. One of the other things we are doing is not just helping friends, but to help people who are against us find something else to do with their time.”
As Angell notes in his report, Sessions is a longtime drug warrior. Earlier this year, Sessions blocked a bill that would have allowed the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to provide veterans with medical marijuana. On average, 22 veterans commit suicide each day and the death rate from opioid overdoses among V.A. patients is nearly double the national average. “It’s essential that veterans be allowed to access this as a treatment if it’s legal in their state,” Blumenauer said.
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“We’re going to be putting up some billboards in Pete Sessions’ district. It’s going to feature a veteran and ask the question why Pete Sessions doesn’t want him to have access to his medicine,” Blumenauer said. “We’re going to make the point that there are consequences. This is not a free vote. People are going to take a position one way or another. And if they are going to be part of an effort to deny people access to medicine that can be transformational … this is going to be part of the political landscape this year.”
Blumenauer said the coast of the billboards will come from a political action committee, called the Cannabis Fund. The PAC will also fund other candidates who want to reform marijuana laws. “I don’t care where they are, who they are, what the district is,” he said. “There is part of the agenda that you care about that they ought to be able to support.