Marijuana: Tom Tancredo will puff a joint to settle a bet, but says people shouldn't smoke pot
Update: Yesterday, we shared a video in which ex-Congressman and former gubernatorial candidate Tom Tancredo promised to smoke marijuana with a comedian trying to finance a documentary about the passage of Amendment 64; see our previous coverage and the clip below. Since then, we've heard from Tancredo, who confirms that he will indeed light up -- but he'll only take one puff while sharing comments meant to discourage pot smoking.
As we've noted, Tancredo was virtually the only high-profile Republican politician to speak out in favor of Amendment 64, not due to his fondness for marijuana (he's never tried it), but because he sees the government telling people what they should and shouldn't ingest as antithetical to his conservative values.
During the course of the campaign, Tancredo granted an interview to Adam Hartle, a stand-up comic. At the end of their chat, Tancredo recalls, "We made a bet -- and even though I was supporting 64, I bet that it was going to go down. He said, 'I don't think it is.' And then he said, 'If it passes, will you smoke a joint with me?' And I said, 'Sure,' not thinking it was going to pass. But it did."
As such, Tancredo says, "I'll pay off the bet" next time Hartle is in Colorado; he lives in Florida. But as he explained to Hartle, he'll only do so under specific circumstances.
"I will not promote it, because I don't think people should smoke," he notes. "So I'll only take one puff, and I'm going to say, 'I don't think this is something you should do.' If you want to do it and you're an adult, you should have every right to do it. But it's not a benign substance; it's not something you can say, 'There's no possible harmful effect.' So I'm not going to be pushing it."
Does Tancredo believe that marijuana is less harmful than alcohol, as the Amendment 64 campaign repeatedly stressed? "From what I've seen, yes," he allows. "I know that no one has ever died from an overdose of marijuana. But other harmful effects are probably there, and I don't want to be in the position of making a commercial for marijuana."
What if Tancredo actually enjoys that puff? He isn't willing to go there. "I never thought this was going to turn into a news story," he concedes. "It was probably stupid of me not to think it might, but I never did -- I never thought about the details." Nonetheless, he goes on, "I don't intend for this to be a Tom Tancredo lab-rat experiment, where people watch me for twenty minutes to see if my eyes dilate or whatever it is they do. I'm going to take a puff and make a statement and that's it. I don't want to welch on my bet, but I don't intend to sit there for however long and be filmed getting high."
Hartle, for his part, has posted a statement on his website about the bet. It reads:
Everyone is making a big deal about Congressman Tancredo and I legally smoking marijuana together soon. This is no different than if in 1933, Franklin D. Roosevelt sat down and had a drink with an advocate of ending prohibition the first time. As an independent, I have a lot of friends that are Democrats and Republicans, and personally I wish all politicians would sit down with the peace pipe together, in their free time, learn how to get along and do what's best for the American people -- not what's best for re-election or special interests groups. 15,000 people die each year in cartel violence, and over 800,000 non-violent Americans get a criminal record for simply recreating with a natural plant that's never killed anyone and is healthier than alcohol. I encourage everyone to learn more about the failure of marijuana prohibition and look forward to sitting down with my friend Tom and burnin' one down for peace :)Regarding Hartle's IndieGoGo page, which seeks donations for the completion of his A64 movie, it hasn't experienced a financial windfall since the Tancredo connection broke. Yesterday, $601 had been pledged toward a goal of $40,000. At this writing, the total stands at $687, with 57 days to go.
Continue for our previous coverage of Tom Tancredo's joint promise, including the video.