tv Key Capitol Hill Hearings CSPAN May 9, 2014 8:00pm-10:01pm EDT
>> a house hearing on local marijuana laws. then a hearing on tracking space debris to prevent collisions in orbit. and later, congressman delaney on the highway trust fund and then a talk on employment benefits. washington, d.c. has vote today decriminalize small amounts of marijuana. the law must be approved by congress before going to the effect. a hearing was held on the proposal. this is just under two hours.
>> good morning, i would like to welcome everyone. to subcommittee is called to order. this is one of the key subcommittees of the house oversight reform committee. the title of today's hearing is mixed signals the administrations policy on marijuana. this is the third in a series of hearings that we have been c condu conducting in the subcommittee to look at the changes in the law and also some of the practices that we are seeing across the country in regards to the use and enforcement of law relating to marijuana. the order of business will start
with opening statements. myself and other members that wish to be recognized. when we finish with that we have to panelist this morning. we have the delegate from the district ms. norton who we will hear from first and then we have a panel of 1-4 witnesses that will we will hear from in the second panel. we gather today and i will start out by saying with an opening statement. in fulfilling an important responsibility of the congress and that is the investigative and oversight role of this committee. we are sent here by the people, not only to legislate and
investigate and oversight roles in the house of representative and this is a long standing committee. i am the senior member having served here longer than anyone else. it does fulfill an important role in keeping government accountable and responsible. as today's hearing relates to the district of columbia, i know there has been public pronouncements about what is the committee doing looking at the district's law. let me start out by saying first of all the district of columbia is not a state. district of columbia isn't a territory. it is federal district. it is provided for under the
constitution in a specific statue. and let me just say that the law that we are talking about -- and that is district has passed will impact not only the people of the district but the people of the united states. we have millions of people visiting us each year. it is a law that is in conflict with federal laws and i think we have an important responsibility for review it's implications. am i singling out the district of columbia for examine of impact of marijuana laws? absolutely not. we have had two hearing where we looked at the impact in colorado which has gone beyond the statute in the district and we are looking at other states.
more than 20 states have aut r authorized and changed the legal framework for marijuana for medical use so this is a, again, directed to our responsibility under the constitution and laws and particularly unique responsibility of the congress over the district and in response to its responsibility over the district of columbia. so, again, on march 4th, we did a hearing with a colorado u.s. attorney and we had found out actually on that date and i think that is the date that the washington, d.c. council voted to decriminalize the possession of marijuana. the impact is significant.
more than 20% -- can we put that slide up? more than 20% of the washington, d.c. area is federal land and it is in fact unclear as to how the washington, d.c. decriminalization will affect marijuana consumption on federal land like the mall. i am color blind but the green you see is a great deal of territory that is federal. i asked the question of staff what if i am standing on the mall which joins, i guess independence avenue with one foot on each side of the roadway, what the impact of enforcement would be and no one could tell me. there are many questions raised by the district's adoption of a
bill that reduces the penalty of a criminal offense punishable by jail time to a civil offense punishable by a $25 fine. and again, it is in conflict with some of the federal statute. we have marijuana as a scheduled 1 narcotic. we have different levels of enforcement for penalty of its use on federal property. and you can see we have a great deal in the district of columbia. that is one of the reasons we are here. i have had some people, including our witness, question our authority. let me review our authority under the constitution of the united states. you want to bring up article one section 8. it is evident to exercise the
exclusive legislation in all cases whatsoever on the district. so this stems from the constitution. the district was created by an act of congress in 1790 and subsequently we have a 1973 law that says the congress of the united states reserves the right at any time, and this is one of those times, to exercise its constitutional authority as legislator for the districts. so we do have very clear authority in that regard. and then we are hear in the house oversight reform committee that dates back to the early 1800's. the congress here wanted not only the authorize to conduct
oversight and the approperator that created the district and they wanted them conducting oversight but they wanted a third party and the house of representative committee on oversight government reform was that third party and the laws clearly rule 10 clause 1.0 this is our responsibility. with that, we will fulfill our constitutional and statutory responsibility and conduct this hearing. i am not here to debate the merits or demerits of the criminal law. we are hear to examine its impact. we are hear to examine the
enforcement questions and to examine host of questions. this isn't the last hearing. we started out with the deputy director of the whitehouse policy on drugs and we testified to a number of items in conflict with statements we have heard from the president in fact even from the president of the united states about the impact of the current marijuana that we see in the market place. it is physical impact, it is also impact on the performance and even the intelligence of individuals that sat at this table and told us reasons why we should not lesson penalties and why we should again look at what
is being done around the united states. much in conflict it to some agencies of the administration who are now in turmoil trying to figure out how they comply with changes. i will be it the district of columb columbia, colorado, or 20 other states that have passed laws. in fact, with many local and federal law enforcement agencies, and i would ask the staff, do we have a list of -- and in the district of columbia we have this pretty extensive list of enforcement agencies in the districts starting with the united states capital police, the united states secret service, supreme court police, the united states park police, even the smithsonian have police. we have a whole host here of
agencies that are charged with enforce thi enforcing the law within the district of columbia and have different sets of penalties that they must enforce and maybe in conflict with the law that has been proposed by the district for the district. so again, we have issues that relate not only to the district but to law enforcement with the other multiple agencies and have a law enforcement role in the district. we are hear, again, to look at some of these issues, to explore the implications of this new law's impact on the districts
and the millions of people that come and we hope to do it in a responsible manner. whether or not we will make any further recommendation, i am not going to pre-judge. we have not heard all of the testimony. i invited the district to send a representative from the district council and i think they chose not to do that. i am disappointed they are not sending someone who actually adopted the policy. but we do want to provide an opportunity for the representative of the district, ms. norton to testify&have her position stated on the record as we will do in just a minute. are there further members that would seek recognition? mr. cohen?
>> i want to thank you for having the hearings. i think the previous hearings from the dea and the drug zars and the deputy director that came here spoke for themselves and they speak for the need for the president to replace those people and have people that reflect the values of the america in 2014 and the values the president espoused and the value of the people where people have voted and expressed themselves. 21 states have medical marijuana and two have legal marijuana. the states are the labs of democracy. while washington, d.c. isn't a state. it is a separate jurisdiction.
and no better lab than right here while the members of the house are representatives so they can see, and be around and experience in their homes and home, how this law affects the popl poplar. 8-1 in arrest for african-americans and affects the washington, d.c. budget and takes away from other priorities of people spending on human issues. i am sure delegate norton will bring up these issues. but i am a strong supporter of the washington, d.c. having to apeople to address the issues like they did with a 10-1 vote. >> i should have asked for consent since you are not on the specific committee to participate and without objection we have granted you the ability to participate.
at this time i want to ask u uconsent for our other colleagues to hear. let me recognize the members of the subcommittee. mr. masy? mr. jordan? we will go to dr. flemming. welcome and you are recognized. >> i want to thank you for allowing me to sit in on this and other members of the committee. i would like to speak for a moment not so much specifically about the law, and the advisability of relaxing laws on marijuana. but to speak as a physician and as a father, a family physician who has been an alcohol and drug
medical director twice, someone who wrote a book about preventing addiction in children back in 2007. and what the impact of marijuana is today in america is also changing the attitudes. you know, it was back about 20 years ago, i believe, that there was identified theoreticle values of the use of medical marijuana in the case of dying cancer patients. it would give them comfort. and no one has any needs that we don't want to help patients. this turned into saying marijuana cures cancer and helps with other issues. there is nothing that marijuana treats today that can not be
prevented by other medications that are much safer. let's talk about the safety of marijuana. marijuana is an addictive substance. there is a myth it isn't. the most common diagnoses for young people admitted to rehab centers today is for marijuana addiction. there is also the discussion about marijuana being the gateway drug. i tell you what drug addicts tell me and that is every addicting substance is a gateway drug to another addicting substance. i would include alcohol and tobacco as well. any exposure of substances lead to worse addiction. what else do we know? we have learned and have many studies that confirm that the human brain doesn't mature until almost age 30. yet the average age of a child
who has first exposure to alcohol, tobacco or marijuana is around 11. and these addicting substances modify the brain and its chemical pathways and the neuro transmitters and sets the stage for addiction later in life. in fact, children who are exposed to such addicting substances prior to age 15 have a five-times greater risk of future addiction than those that are not. there is no question the rate of addiction goes up with the exposure of young people. two studies came out that had important impact. one is published in neuro science and they did mri scans of people that used marijuana once or twice a week and found profound aspects of the brain.
areas that we confirmed all along and that is a-motivation syndrome that occurs in regular marijuana users. also the incidence of diseases like schizophrenia is higher among marijuana users. heart disease, we are seeing a spike on that as well. there is also a libitarian argument saying why should government stand in the way of utalizing a substance if they chose to do so. and that makes sense. but you never hear the libitarians make the claim when i cannot get a job and support my family i will tell the government not to take care of us through the growing entit entitlement system. you cannot have it both ways. if you can do whatever you want
with your body and that is ride a motorcycle without a helmet, don't expect society and taxpayers to take care of you when you are suffering from those circumstances. so again, i want to be sure we have the facts in front of us. we are getting reports in states like colorado where marijuana has been made legal, where children in the 4th grade are now dealing the drugs. it is finding its way into food and we have a spike in poisons in emergency room where children have ingested marijuana and become ill. these are important things i want to have on the table mr. chairman and i thank you for the opportunity to join everyone today. i yield back. >> do the other members wish to make opening statements? >> with all do respect, i want to clarify the libitarian position is not to have the
government take care of you if bad luck befalls you or you make poor decisions. >> i would agree that should be the libitarian view but i interact with people because of my stance on it and i can tell you and i would say there is a faux libertarian group out there that make the claim on the bases you say but never come with the second part. i agree if you were to take a libertarian stance on this. if i chose to ride a motorcycle without a helmet or use marijuana and told the government to stay out of my life then we should demand the government doesn't provide us benefit to the charge of taxpayers to take care of that. i am saying many make the claim under the umbrella of
libertarians and that is not what it is. >> mr. chair? >> yes? >> may i ask a question? >> do you wish to yield time? >> thank you. i wonder your argument, doctor, should we outlaw alcohol so we don't have to pay for the alcoholics who can't get a job and dwi and assaults and murder when they are drunk? should we get rid of alcohol? >> great question. you know, alcohol has been an accepted part of our culture and even our religious practices for centuries. we did try even with an amendment to the constitution to prohibit the use of it and it wasn't culturally accepted. it is problematic but i would say on a medical bases that moderate amounts of ingesting
alcohol has positive effects. and there is no question it can't damage the brain, liver and other organs, but it isn't realistic given the culture acceptance of alcohol to prohibit it. the same is true of tobacco. we used it were 400 years without realizing it was a problem and in fact as recently as the 1950's doctors recommended smoking on commercials for health. and we found out after the surgeon general said it caused lung cancer. marijuana is different. the public has never accepted marijuana as a part of our culture. i know that seems to be changing but i think we can turn it back in times to prevent that from
infiltrating itself in your culture and causing severe health care problems later in life. >> i would yield back my time. not to derail the committee hearing. >> i think the gentlemen and as you can see there is a lot of debate not only along various groups but among members of congress from both sides of the aisle and within the parties themselves. and what is happening is raising many questions across the united states. both the change in the law and the district. but it does have implications. i am going to yield to ms. norton in a second. i want to provide the penalties for marijuana possession starting with federal law. 21 usc code section 844 which
has simple possession that can provide for one year of in pris prisonment or a fine of not less than $1000. the new washington, d.c. is $25 penalty, federal parkland penalties in fact are a fine or jail term up to six months. there are 26 agencies that are responsible for law enforcement. i have this joint here and this is not a real one so don't get too excited. but i am told by staff this joint, ms. norton, that the penalty is, let's see up to one
ounce or less, one ounce is 28 grams and each joint has 1 gram so over 20 joints you could be in possession of. here is the list of penalties which i am submitting to the record. i cannot submit the faux joint. >> did you roll that? >> i had staff do it. >> they have more experience. [laughter] >> but all kidding aside, they are very serious implications to what the district has taken. we want an airing of how this is going to be enforce and the implications and that is why we have federal and district officials to discuss this.
with that, i welcome our delegate and recognize her. >> i want to thank you very much chirman -- chairman mica for the -- opportunity to testify. i think you are safe with the joint because the policy isn't to enforce marijuana laws here in the district of columbia and even in the capital. mr. chairman, before i say a few words and summarize my testimony, i have to say i think it is quaint to hear a jurisdiction of 650,000 refer to as a federal district. not sense the 1973 home rule act when congress realized it was wrong to have a nation's capital where people could not governor themselves and people referred
to my district as a federal district. i recognize that the congress kept unto itself ultimate power over the nation's capital while granting the citizens the right to governor themselves and make their own local law as the same way the members of the panel in their local jurisditions have those laws made. -- jurisdictions -- mr. chairman, but withstanding that ultimate power i do note that with great pleasure this full committee on which i serve has in fact respected home rule. this is the first time that i can remember there has been a hearing in congress on a purely
local manner not withstanding the power of congress over the district of columbia. it is simply not make sense and fame toes violate local control most of the time by almost always not interceding into our local affairs as american citizens. as to the 20% of the district of columbia that is federal land, mr. chairman, six or seven states have most of their land to be federal land. and yet, we do not claim, and nor does this committee claim that presents any particular problem when the comes to the enforcement of local laws that might different from federal law. as to the location of a number of police forces here, mr.
chairman, they will be enforcing federal law under the attorney gener general's refrendum which means they will not interfere with there -- the -- local law. i must say i come as much in protest as in the usual sense of testimony because the subcommittee has singled out the district of columbia on its marijuana decriminalization as it hasn't singled out any of the other 18 jurisdictions who have similar laws. in fact the subcommittee in two prior hearings has gone out of its way -- although it was investigating exactly what it is
here: the conflict between federal and local law. to observe the sighted adherence of the 10th amendment by not calling any local officials even when it looked at colorado in particular which along with washington of course has gone much further than decriminalization but has legalized marijuana. still, no local official was called to washington to be cross examined by the national legislator about what that local official was doing in its local jurisdiction. that, too, mr. chairman is at the root of our constitution. the ultimate authority of the district of columbia came because congress devolved that authority in 1973 in its
landmark law except for a few exceptiexceptionceptio exceptions and marijuana decriminalization wasn't among them. almost 40 years ago, the first state decriminalized marijuana and that was alaska. since then, red and blue states alike have decriminalized marijuana from california, new york, mississippi, to nebraska. nothing is similar about these states except they have taken this particular step in keeping with what their local residents desired. yet the district of columbia is the only jurisdiction that has gotten a full-fledged hearing on
its local decriminalization law. nothing distinguishes this law from the 18 states except the illegit power of the national government doing what the framers would make them turn over in their graves and that is to overturn the laws of locally elected officials in their own jurisdiction and go against every american principle of local control and local affairs. this hearing is standing out because it doesn't -- it flies in the face of what my republican colleagues often
preach about devolving power back to local states and jurisdictions. this hearing does just the opposite and tries to snatch power by making the district of columbia vindicate its local power and its local policy before the state legislator. i just want to go on the record to say we will defend this city's marijuana decriminalization bill over any and every attempt to block it or change it. it will be as a courtesy a city police department official here today but the mayor of the district of columbia has informed me that he objects to this hearing and he has refused to provide as has the council any official who has had anything to do or will have
anything to do with a advising or carrying out the law in the district of columbia. i am please todd to note two mes of the subcommittee carried out the principle of local control of local affairs by voting for an amendment to prohibit local funds from being used to implement the veterans health administrative director that frobids a va provider -- forbids -- from seeking forms or guidance from a veteran participating in a marijuana program. it took me 11 years to remove a marijuana -- a medical marijuana
amendment and now today 21 states have medical marijuana. the most important reason i am hear today is to make it clear to the committee what really propelled the district to pass its own decriminalization law. even though blacks and whites in the united states use marijuana at the same rate, recent studies show that african-americans in our country are four times more likely to be arrested for mere possession. mr. chairman, it was interesting to note in your own state of florida, you are number three in the nation for marijuana
possession arrest and blacks in florida are arrested for marijuana possession at a rate four times that of whites. but here even in the progressive district of columbia where half of the population is black, we found an even worse record. african-americans were eight times more likely to be arrested for mere possession in our city and 91% of all-american -- all-american -- marijuana -- arrests were african-american. this is troubling. they have ruined the lifes of african-americans, especially young african-american men who start life surrounded by a host
of stereotypes regardless of who they are and live but just because they are black. a marijuana possession arrest particularly for these young men from low income areas will almost surely wipe out the opportunity to find a legitimate job. that leads to the underground economy, selling drugs -- who is paying that price, mr. chairman? is the black student? >> i would like if you would conclude -- six and a half minutes over what we allot. but i would like to invite the g gentlelady to come up and you will have time to submit more to the record. >> i want to say particular given the concern i will leave
the rest of my testimony but the concern a member has indicated about the use of marijuana itsself that is very illegite and the city is clear about the problem of people smoking marijuana. going out of their way to make sure decriminalization doesn't need to more smoking of marijuana. in fact, ironically decriminalization is going to start up an understanding of the risks that maybe associated with marijuana whereas we don't hear about them until decrimeinalization took hold. in a free society we must respect the liberty of americans to use such substances rather
than opposing or simply punishing use. the district of columbia has a substance abuse and treatment fund will be used and engaged in preventive actions. and i am asking that the city in any further action not be unfairly targeted. and that the members of this committee give the people who live in the district of columbia give the same respect for their local decisions as they would demand for their own members of the jurisdiction. >> i thank you and welcome you to the panel. we are going to go ahead and have the second panel seated. if we could go ahead and do that
ms. norton if you would join us here. i would say why they are doing that, let me put in a consent in the record and this relates to federal marijuana prosecutions in august of 2013. the department of justice issued a memo saying in the states that are legal they will not enforce the laws. but the department of justice listed eight areas in which they tend to focus marijuana related prosecuti prosecutions and wone of those s preventing use on federal
property. it seems the district -- the federal district court would prosecute marijuana use on federal land. this is in contrary to what you said. we are not here to negate the district's law. we are looking at the implications and the enforcement regime with 26 federal agencies responsible for enforcing different penalties. do we have the witnesses? we have the assistant chief of me metropolitan police. and we have the chief of the united states states park service. and dennis o'neill and our 4th
witness is -- i cannot pronounce that too well. director of the american civil liberties union of the national capital. if you could remain standing. we do swear in all of your witnesses. if you would raise your right hand. [swearing in witness] let the record reflect all of the witnesses answered in the afirmmitve. we try to get you to limit your testimony to five minutes. we will be glad to add additional data and information that you would like part of the record. we will start with peter who is the assistant chief of the
metropolitan police. welcome and you are recognized. >> good morning, chairman mica, ranking member connolly, members of the committee, and members of the public. i am peter newsham, assistant chief of the district of columbia metropolitan police department (mpd). i am pleased to be here today to discuss the district of columbia's recent legislation to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana. the marijuana possession decriminalization amendment act of 2014 (d.c. act 20-305) (the act), which is projected to become effective law in mid-july, amends the district of columbia's criminal code to decriminalize the possession of one ounce or less of marijuana. instead of facing a misdemeanor charge punishable by up to six months in jail, up to $1,000 fine, or both, once the act goes into effect, individuals will be subject to a $25 civil fine and mpd officers can seize any
visible marijuana. the use of marijuana on public space will remain a criminal penalty, punishable by up to 60 days in jail or a fine of up to $500. the act defines public space as: 1) any street, alley, sidewalk, park, or parking area; 2) a vehicle on any street, alley, park, or parking area; and 3) any place to which the public is invited. public attitudes about marijuana use have changed significantly in recent years, with many accepting it to be no more harmful or addictive than alcohol or tobacco. decriminalizing marijuana may help reduce the number of people with arrest records for possession of small amounts of marijuana, which may enable them to more easily find gainful employment. the act maintains criminal penalties for selling marijuana and public usage of marijuana, which is important to
ccombat drug dealing and to ensure neighborhoods' quality of life. even though the district of ccolumbia will decriminalize possession of small amounts of marijuana, we will continue to send the message, especially to our young people, of marijuana's dangers and effects - just as we do with alcohol and tobacco - to discourage them from using it. due to the district's unique status, some federal law enforcement agencies, such as the u.s. park police, have concurrent jurisdiction in the district of columbia and can enforce district or federal law anywhere in the city. although mpd officers will enforce the act, federal law enforcement agencies are not bound by the act so long as the possession or use of marijuana remains a federal criminal offense. i thank you again for the opportunity to appear before you today. i would be happy to address any questions you may have. >> thank you. we will hold the questions till the end. we will hear from the active
chief of the park police. you are recognized. >> mr. chairman and members of the subcommittee, i appreciate the opportunity to appear before you today to discuss the united states park police (uspp) response to the potential decriminalization of certain marijuana possession laws in the district of columbia. the united states park police, sgll i would rick -- i would like to submit my record. >> without objection. the united states park police, established in 1791, is the oldest uniformed federal law enforcement agency in the united states. the uspp has enjoyed a long history of partnership with the citizens of the district of columbia and the metropolitan police department. in addition to performing the normal crime prevention, investigation, and apprehension functions of
which includes the national mall, east and west potomac parks, rock creek park, anacostia park, mcpherson square, and many of the traffic circles and smaller triangle parks throughout the district. our jurisdiction is set by congressional legislation. officers of the park police are authorized to make arrest without needing proval to arrest for federal law in the park systems. pax police officers have the same powers and duties as the police officers within the district of columbia. park police enforcement is left to the sound discretion of the individual officer on the ground depending on the circumstances. if an individual is arrested for
marijuana they can be charged under dc code. it is a misdemeanor immediate the federal law with a penalty of up to six month and a fine of not more than $1,000. if on park line, they can be charneled at title 36 cfr. resulting in a misdemeanor with a stay of six months and a fine of not more than $500. finally, marijuana is a controlled substance one which the possession is a misdemeanor and in the event of a conviction the sentence is determined by the court. between 2010-2012, 55% of the park police arrest occurred on federal park land within the district of columbia. the majority of the arrest were for simple possession with a few
with the intent to distribute. we understand it will not alter the park service regulation or federal law on marijuana. we understand this act will make it a misdemeanor to smoke marijuana in a public space or park. if the act becomes law, we will work closely with the united states attorney office and district of columbia to determine our future enforcement options especially if the person is on federal land. this concludes by statement and i will be happy at a answer any questions you have. >> thank you. we will turn to david o'neill. the active assistant attorney general at the department of justice. thank you. you are recognized.
>> good afternoon chairman mica, ranking member connolly, and distinguished members of the committee. i am pleased to speak with you about the guidance that the department has issued to all united states atorneys regarding marijuana enforcement efforts and marijuana-related financial crimes. the marijuana enforcement guidance issued on august 29, 2013 (august 29th memorandum) advises federal prosecutors in the exercise of their prosecutorial discretion to focus on and continue enforcement of eight federal priorities, such as preventing sales of marijuana by criminal enterprises, preventing violence and the use of firearms in the cultivation and distribution of marijuana, preventing distribution to minors, preventing marijuana possession or use on federal -- and also the bank secrecacy act. several states have cultivated the use of marijuana for medical users. in 2012, voters in washington and colorado stb established
state systems for regular use. in 2010, district of columbia authorized medical marijuana use and it has become law. now the council has started broader regulations and it will treat washington, d.c. with every other jurisdiction in the federal law arena. we will continue to enforce drug offenses under the washington, d.c. code. for decades and across instruction federal law enforcement has targeted sophisticated drug traffics and state and local authority focus their enforcement efforts based on their state laws on local
marijuana use. we have continued to work with the local partners to target drug trafficking organizations. we will maintain strong ties among federal and state and local law enforcement. the department issued a guidance to all united states attorneys director prosecutors to fully investigate and prosecute marijuana cases. this memorandum applies to all of your federal prosecutors and guides the process against individuals who violate the state and federal interest no matter where they live or what the law in their state permits. using our discretion, the u.s. attorney officers has investigated cases involving
these case things. marijuana grows on public land, where firearms are, or organized crime going on. the department issue guidance to all federal prosecutors regarding marijuana related finance crimes. that guidance mitigates the safety concerns created by high volume cash businesses without access to banking while insuring criminal organizations don't have access to launder criminal proceeds. the unlicensed money statue and
the bank secrecy act remain. the department expects financial institutions to continue to apply appropriate risk based anti money laundering situations significant to reduce the these customers. this includes using any guidance issued. the department of justice is committed to enforcing the controlled substance act in all states and we are grateful for the dedicateded work of the agents, federal prosecutors and state and local partners in protecting our communities from the dangers of illegal drug
trafficki trafficking. our goal is to focus on the eight guidelines outlined from the department. ultimately, the achievement of that goal requires cooperation from law enforcement agencies at every level. i look forward to your questions. >> aprecappreciated your time. we will go to the program director at the american civil liberties union. welcome and you are recognized. >> thank you for this opportunity to address washington, d.c.'s poplar decision to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana. we work to protect civil liberties and civil rights in washington, d.c. to public education, legislative advocating and litigation.
in 2013, the aclu published a study in the wide spread discrepancy in the marijuana arrest rates for all 50 states and the district of columbia. the aclu of washington, d.c. issued a report focusing on racial disparties on marijuana arrest here in the district. the study found black people to be 3.7 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession nationwide but in the district of columbia black people were a staggering eight times more likely despite roughly equal usage rates among black and white population. these reports consisted of several months of police
enforcement practices in the district. there emerged that the aggressive enforcement of marijuana didn't make our communitys any safer. in the face of increasing public pressure in march of 2014, members of the washington, d.c. council passed by a margin of 10-1 the marijuana decrimalization act amendment act of 2014. prior to the passage of the act possession of marijuana was a misdemeanor punishable by six months in jail or a fine of $1,000. this law makes it a offensive with a $25 fine. 11 other states have instituted similar legislation. in 2010, the grass here, black
the 2001 and 2010 survey here which showed that based on self self-reported usage rates between black and white populations you have near equal weights. in addition, studies have consistently indicated that drug markets like american society in general reflect nation's racial and socioeconomic boundaries. for example, university students to end test cell to one another. here we have a map of of the marijuana arrests in the district of columbia. yellow points indicate the arrests of black individuals, and the bluepoints indicate arrests of white people. this lab demonstrates that the vast majority of the arrests in the district of columbia took place east of 16th street. for anyone who lives here in the district, you know that these are the neighborhoods where the overwhelming majority of black residents live, and far from the
four major universities that lie west of 16th street. when faced with the question of what to do about these disparities, the council considered several key factors in support of marijuana reform. the cost of marijuana enforcement was a huge factor. the district spends more per capita on marijuana enforcement than any of the 50 states. by conservative estimate d.c. in 2010 spent approximately $26 million on marijuana enforcement. second, focusing valuable police time and resources on marijuana enforcement reduced police ability to respond to an assault more serious crime. finally, saddling douses a primarily black men in the district of convictions for marijuana possession year after year with negative consequences for employment, education, and housing did not serve the interest of public safety and had a corrosive effect on the relationship between police and
the community. based on these factors the policy choice is clear. the council overwhelmingly decided to remove criminal penalties under d.c. law for marijuana possession. before i close, i will briefly address the issue of federal versus local marijuana enforcement. according to our data, which we obtained through avoid a request from metropolitan police department this, 93 percent of all marijuana arrests in 2010 were made by the metropolitan police department. less than 3 percent of all of the arrests in the district of columbia for marijuana-related offenses were made on federal land so. according to our estimate approximately 99 percent of all arrests were made under the deasy code. accordingly, we do not predict a significant tension between federal and local marijuana enforcement in the wake of reform. we urge this committee to respect this local and widely supported measure to address racial disparities and marijuana
enforcement in the district of columbia. thank you. >> well, thank you, each of our witnesses, for their testimony and participation. also, i fail to say at the opening, thank you again. we have had to change the schedule in this hearing at least twice. yesterday in deference to our departed members, the late mr. mr. jim over stern, mr. gordon and i and many other members were at the funeral. that is the reason, and i appreciate so much you're complying. let me start with some quick questions. okay. i stated, in fact, mr. o'neill, that the 26 law federal law enforcement agencies, you issued, and you cited the august
august 29th 2013 memo that the u.s. attorneys would not be going after some of the laws in the state's. you did cite eight exceptions, and the eighth one i have here which i put in the record was preventing marijuana possession or use on federal property. is that correct? >> chairman, i guess i would characterize it slightly differently. it was not an indication that we would not prosecute federal marijuana laws except where those exceptions or where those areas where indicated. i think what i would say is that memo indicated that those are the areas where we are going to
focus our priorities. we have instructed federal prosecutors to focus on those areas. >> and one would be preventing marijuana possession or use on federal property. >> that is correct. >> that is correct. >> that is one of our -- >> some comments that have been made about whether the department of justice has said and what they would do. we also have also looked. we call the near u.s. attorney from colorado because that is one of two states. we have 20 states that have gone and for the medical marijuana, but the penalties basically are eliminated for possession, i believe, and colorado. the other one is washington. we are not picking on the district. we are looking at the implications for federal prosecution. mr. mclean, you cited that you will be enforcing federal law on
federal property. is that correct? >> that is correct. >> as far as possession. which are you going to enforce, the district law or federal law? if i have this little old joint here, and it's just possession, what are you going to do? and i am on federal property, park service, you told me, all the area that you cover, what law are you going to enforce if this goes into effect in a few more weeks to? >> the current law over national park service land in district of columbia is titled 36 code of federal regulations. >> you will enforce the federal law in conflict, and deference to what the district has passed, right? >> that is correct. we also have available to five. >> and he would prosecute, i guess the prosecutorial agency
would either be -- well, the district has a different law, so it would end up in the federal courts, is that right? >> the u.s. attorney's office for the district of columbia has authority in the district for prosecuting cases or offenses under the d.c. code. and so to the extent it was -- an arrest was made under d.c. go that would be prosecuted in superior court. if the case was brought to us in violation of federal law, then, yes, that would be prosecuted in federal district court. >> mccain testified 55 -- was a 55% of your -- gives us exactly. i don't want to change the words marijuana possession or 55% of offenses or what was that? >> the specific, 55 percent of the arrests made for marijuana possession by the united states park police occurred on federal
park land. >> on federal park land. >> right. >> so we could have increased numbers given the disparity. i am not here to negate district law. we are here to review what the district passed, and there have been precedents for that. and i am not here to just review its implications the district. we have at least two states. we have had one hearing on one of the states, and the u.s. attorney, to see how this would be administered and executed under the law. again, and i have already put this into record, we would have federal prosecution. it would be at a higher -- we still have the issue, and i think you brought it up, chief, of this being a schedule one federal mycotic.
even though the district has, again, reduced the penalty. and you have jurisdiction on all of the non federal land. you would prosecuted under the new statute. is that correct? >> yes. that is correct. >> okay. well, again, it is not a purely local matter, particularly given the relationship between the district of columbia and, again, it is a unique status in the scheme of political enforcement jurisdictions. there is no question that there is disparity in the prosecution when it comes to blacks. our presence -- i don't know the current number, but probably have the population of the presence, state, local jails are
filled with african americans. the number of people in jail for various penalties, there is probably a larger pot -- population of african-americans in jail and prosecuted for all whole host of crimes. and that is wrong. and in many cases it is wrong that they find themselves in that situation in the beginning. i am not certain that, again, changing the penalty in the district of columbia is going to benefit that population that much. unfortunately marijuana becomes i gave way narcotics which is what we had testified, the office of national drug control policy director, the deputy director under the president of the united states who brought of some of this topic by comparing
the use of marijuana equivalents alcohol. again coming in it is not a question but our response to some of your comments. equities that need to be. appreciate each of you coming. we are trying to sort through the implications. i don't know what the administration will do on the categorization. the other recommendation, mr. mr. o'neill. >> in terms of scheduling. no. they're is a process for considering that which would begin with a position which then would be referred to the department of health and human services for a study and recommendation. we plan to bring in people from the scientific area this the was out there and review that whole process. right now with the laws changing, as you testified to, and we all see across the land, we need to see where we are going with this.
i think both of you. you are both law enforcement officers said. i think you see the problems that we are trying to sort through as a committee. >> i'm going to try to stick to the five. we do have five votes scheduled send. >> thank you, mr. chairman. just to clarify, on parkland and federal property nothing has said was meant to -- and i heard nothing that said that federal law would be any different on federal property. federal park service property, federal buildings. i joked about how you would not be arrested. yes. this is federal property. you may be in some jeopardy. but what i was pointing out is that park land and federal property is to be treated the same way here as in other parts of the united states.
isn't that true? >> that's correct. >> yes, ma'am. >> i mentioned when that chairman pointed out 20 percent of the land was federal park land of federal property, there were a number of states, nevada, utah, alaska where the entire state virtually is owned by the federal government. how do you -- does that create any particular difficulty with respect to -- for example, in alaska where they have decriminalize marijuana. as the fact that so much of alaska is federal land created a particular difficulty to enforcing federal law? >> i am not aware of any particular difficulty arising
from a high percentage of federal land in a state like alaska. as you pointed out, we are going to approach marijuana enforcement in the district of columbia just as we do in states like colorado and washington and other jurisdictions that have chosen to amend their laws in this way. >> i just want to know for the record that the federal government owns 81% of the land in nevada, 66% to new job by an 61% in alaska. mr. knew some, does the district marijuana bill changed d.c. law regarding the sale and distribution of marijuana intend .
>> what about notification of parents and guardians? if you find marijuana in the hands of you. >> they used would be -- for less than an ounce to be issued a notice of violation. again, with regards to distribution there would be an arrest will offense and paris for be notified. >> you noted that where there are a great many young people because this is a college town, east of 16th street there are almost no arrests. west of 16th street there are almost no arrests. in that map we showed high numbers. in many areas were african americans live. why do you think -- how come there are so many arrests for mere possession? how did they come about? >> well, the study that we did was add descriptive steady. we look purely at the arrests. based on anecdotal evidence,
number of different reasons that have to do with the way in which marijuana enforcement has prioritized by various agencies. and i think you can -- you can look even with the number of various law enforcement agencies here in the district from, you seem more than 93 percent of the arrests are happening to the metropolitan police department. >> i these answers are people, whenever they come, because of the snow or odor of marijuana? >> according to reports from your people in the district it was under the allegis smell of marijuana that they were being singled out or stopped. well we found in our data is that the majority of people who were actually arrested were not yet people in all. in fact a modular house made up less than 4% of actual arrests. >> i don't mean to announce,
ms. seema sadanandan. i mean young people. >> absolutely. so the pretext of odor was definitely being used, according to anecdotal evidence got to stop and initiate contact said. >> what is the reason for the low fine? >> the reason for the low fine is because the majority of the areas of the district where people were being arrested are areas with high rates of low income individuals. and the implication for a $25 fine is very different for a person who is living at or below the poverty line than, say, for example, a person who is no class or upper middle class. so the $25 fine is more likely based on the arrest patterns we see announcer be levied against someone of low-income. so we wanted a fine that was a deterrent for a engaging in possession, but it was also
manageable and realistic and did not settle someone with an additional burden which would be unrealistic for them to actually pay. >> thank you. thank you, mr. chairman. >> i think originally. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i find the racial disparity aspect of the enforcement prosecution of these laws very disturbing. but it does strike me that the answer might not be just to ignore the law when we find a problem like this. ms. seema sadanandan, did you find racial disparity in distribution of crimes as well as the session? have you looked at that? >> our report did not look specifically at distribution, but what i can say is this, you know, based on just a survey, a general survey of the number of, for example, distribution crimes in an area like district seven of the metropolitan police department which is, you know,
like the african american section of the district verses district two, we did find that in district seven, for example, there were 276 arrests for distribution in a given year. in district two there were approximately between 20 and 30 arrests. yet the yield for marijuana was much, much higher in districts to than in district seven. >> what i am trying to say, do you anticipate that there will still be arrests for intent to distribute. that really has not changed. see you anticipate a racial disparity and continuing with the enforcement of this long? >> we anticipate that there will be less arrests, but yes, the disparity will continue. just won't continue on the sale -- scale that we are seeing now. >> distribution, two of the
witnesses have testified that there is a racial disparity in application of this law. in your opinion why are blacks arrested at a higher rate than whites for marijuana? what are you doing about that? it is not up to you to set the loss. what can you do and what have you done to address that disparity? >> i don't know if i heard folks say that it was the enforcement of law that was causing the disparity. when you take a look is something like this if you're looking at a particular crime, i think other factors have to be considered before you draw any conclusions. one of the things that we looked at as an apartment because we are sensitive to the allegation. >> want to give you a chance to answer that. >> elected calls for service. you talked about the study, two
separate areas of the city, control surface areas. one was in the second district mom was in the second district. this is is one of the things we saw. the second district of predominantly white neighborhood, there were 12 drug calls for service and we had 12 marijuana arrests. and then in bsa, believe it was 602, and the cost if, predominantly black neighborhood , we had 518 calls for service and 249 marijuana arrests. the calls for service, the community, the community it calls the police to come and take enforcement action. i guess i say all that to say i don't want anybody to leave with the impression that the metropolitan police department or any law enforcement agency in the city is -- its law-enforcement tactics. we need to take a closer look at
the causes. >> thank you. mr. o'neill, who determines the prosecution of 40 that the department of justice as? >> ultimately the attorney general and the deputy attorney general. then in each of the district -- >> the attorney general who determines alternately the priorities? >> yes. the attorney general. as i said in a particular district the attorney general has discretion and not have to enforce the law based on the particular circumstances of that area. >> so have you had any direct -- i heard you say earlier that it would enforce the laws, federal property is same way you would in colorado or washington. do you -- are you going to be any more or less diligent about prosecuting arrests on federal property in states that have more lenient marijuana laws and
other states? >> no, we are -- that was really the point of the august 2014 guidance. this is the enforcement priorities of the apartment across the entire country regardless. >> so there would be no deference to state law. >> i think, you know, our enforcement of marijuana laws on federal property will be the same regardless of the applicable state law. >> recognize mr. jordan. >> one years since lois lerner went to a bar association year and disclosed the internal revenue service is starting conservative groups. four days later the train general announced after saying that this activity was outrageous and unacceptable, announce that there would be a criminal investigation. a month into the investigation we had been fbi director mahler in front of the committee.
he was asked three questions. who is the lead agent, how many agents have you assigned command at your interview any of the victims' groups. his response to those questions or i don't know, i don't know, i don't know. but he also said was i will get back with you, implying that we should, in fact, know some of that basic information. i would like to know a couple of things. we know this of boston and is involved. she has interviewed many of the witnesses because the same witnesses we have interviewed and she has told us she has been interviewing him. the attorney general has told the public integrity section is involved. is that accurate? >> the civil rights division and the criminal division of the apartment of justice were involved. >> can you tell me some of the basic information about that? the questions i asked mr. mahler almost a year ago, who, in fact, is the lead agent on this?
>> i'm sure that we can provide that. >> we have asked you seven times we have said seven different inquiries to the apartment of justice and each time they can't tell us anything. now, mr. o'neill, your assistant acting assistant agent for the criminal division. demands the public integrity. >> i oversee. >> are you involved in the investigation of starting an internal groups? >> i would disagree with the characterization. >> are you involved. >> in my involved -- i oversee the public integrity section. >> twitter.com/booktv attorney named j.p. cooney. >> i am not familiar with that name. >> he is in the public integrity section. we understand he is involved. do you know if he is the lead agent? >> i am not familiar with the name. >> can you tell me who is leading the investigation? there has to be someone in
charge. who is the point person? >> congressman, obviously this is far afield of the subject of the hearing that we are -- >> what you oversee the public integrity section and other criminal division that is involved you don't know -- this is one of the biggest cases you have. >> there are numerous career federal prosecutors on the investigation. >> can you tell me how many? >> how many prosecutors in total, i can't tell you. >> is this an important case? >> again, i would disagree with the characterization of the investigation but, yes, this is an important case. >> you don't know how many agents are involved? >> the agents would be involved from the federal bureau. >> how many attorneys from your
division. >> i can't give you a precise number. >> let me ask you -- this week, earlier this week in a bipartisan majority 26 democrats joined republicans, joined every single republican, 26 democrats said that we should have a special counsel takeover this investigation. twenty-six democrats joined with us. the statements and actions of the irs and the department of justice and the obama administration and respect have served to undermine the department of justice investigation. that was part of a room -- resolution. do you think we need a special counsel to take over this investigation? no one seems to know how many agents are involved, how many attorneys are involved, no one can tell me who is leading it. you can't tell me. do you think we need special counsel? do you agree with the 26 democrats to agree with us on that resolution?
>> i think that the attorney general, the deputy attorney general, and others in the apartment in answer that question. the answer is, no, special counsel is not -- >> you will not recognize special counsel. >> no. >> you don't think the attorney general will consider that? even know a bipartisan majority in the house of representatives said what is going, the justice apartment, not the kind investigation we want. >> again, i think that suggestion has been made. i think -- >> it wasn't a suggestion. it was a vote of the united states house of representatives with 26 democrats running republicans say what is going on at the justice department is not a real investigation when the person leading the investigation gave $600,000 to the president's campaign, even 26 democrats agree something else has to happen and someone else to be in charge. >> again, congressman, i think that the prosecution man is by
career prosecutors, the criminal division, civil-rights division, with assistance from car reagents and the fbi, treasury inspector general. >> mr. chairman, i hope the attorney general or listen to the what 26 fellow democrats in the united states house of representatives and the sale earlier this week when they voted. >> chairman, here is what is going to happen. we have less than a minute now. i am going to recess the hearing until 1215. we will try to conclude it by about 1230, 12305. we have is of a few more questions. the subcommittee will stand in recess.
[inaudible conversations] >> i will call the subcommittee back to order and thank everyone for their indulgence of being a couple minutes over. once again, i appreciate your patience in accommodating the subcommittee. we have at least one more member who wanted to ask questions, and we want to give everyone time to ask those questions. in the meantime, one of the questions that i would pose as we wait for the other members is cut off, looking at the of
effective penalties relating to marijuana that lead to an increased rate of drug driving, it is my understanding we don't really have a standard and this is something i will look at nationally to determined level of narcotic in the bloodstream. i think also that marijuana can be detected in the bloodstream for some time after its use. the whole question of driving impaired is raised. do you see any -- this is to achieve new some. do you see any problem with increased use of marijuana, again, with lowering of the
penalties and also the inability to come up with the test that would indicate the level of intoxication. >> i don't think -- i guess we are going to assume that there will be an increase unused space on the decriminalization. i guess there will not be in that -- a change in the way we currently in force. >> but we don't have a test that is administered, standard nationally or within the district for the amount of marijuana that is tolerated, do we? >> the way that a driver would be tested on the scene for law-enforcement purposes, they would be given a road test test of their ability to perform certain functions. if there are unable to perform those functions there will be an assumption that they are impaired. >> you do blood tests.
>> we can do blood tests of necessary. >> another question for another hearing because we see that issue across the united states as far as enforcement. let me yield now if i made to dr. fleming. >> once again, thank you, mr. chairman. i want to welcome my panel here today. first of all, it seems and listening to your testimony today that justification for decriminalizing marijuana is made on the basis of racial disparity. that is the only real argument that i heard. i would like to ask our to police professionals here today, can you give me just a rough estimate of the white verses non-white members among the officers in the field, the ones who would actually make arrests, both of you, if you could have any -- just a range would be fine.
>> i am not sure. how many -- >> your police officers who are in the fields you would be the ones making arrests. >> a la 60 percent is african-american. >> the majority of the officers making the arrest are african-american. >> and the list of columbia. >> yes. >> how about you. >> i don't have an approximate number breakdown by race. >> you would say it was evenly balanced perhaps. certainly well represented by both african-american and white police officers. >> we have geographic responsibility in d.c., new york city, very diverse workforce. >> so one would -- if you accept these numbers of one to four or one to eight ratios i don't doubt the overall numbers, but the implication one and version that, ms. seema sadanandan, is that the police officers are actually racially biased.
how do you explain that in the case of deasy you have a majority of officers who are actually african-american. certainly you don't think that they are racially biased against their own race. >> i think that's an excellent question. i think that what we are really seeing is a phenomenon of community-based profiling. certain communities are treated and police and a certain kind of weight, and those same strategies and tactics and not necessarily apply in other communities. with regard to drug law enforcement ducking give you a specific example. one of the reports that we heard from across african-american communities has to do with drug interdiction in its otherwise known as the jump out car. the police officers jumping out to stop and search a pedce offit to stop and search a pedestrian in which people consent. sometimes reveal small amounts of marijuana. >> you would concede that it is not a racial bias. this is not -- again, you have
the same african-american officers who are actually arresting african-americans. it sounds like what you are saying is serving communities have higher density police officers were police enforcement >> no. i would not concede that it is not a racial bias. i don't think that the race of a police officer necessarily the germans are not there is an institutional bias in which communities on the basis of race are policed. i don't think that just because a police officer's black the police officer doesn't carry implicit bias that is carried through our society across all races due to a number of different factors. >> okay. let me shift a little bit here. so what about other crimes? grand theft auto, murder, do you think that we should reduce enforcement or penalties because they are also found to have racial disparities?
would you also recommend that -- or perhaps even not sending someone who has committed murder to person simply because there is potential racial bias. >> i think that what we can say with certainty about marijuana is that the criminalization of marijuana has not had an impact -- >> but that's an answer to a different question. my question is what about other crimes? would you diminish those sentences and enforcement? >> i think we definitely need to look at whether or not our criminal-justice approach to public safety issues is, in fact, making a saver. when we measure the efficacy of those approaches when it's a look at more than just how many people we arrest. many to look at whether or not -- >> just yes or no, to you think we should diminish enforcement of penalties for those other crimes that are far more serious the may have racial disparity? >> i think that if there are racial disparities and the
approach to criminal justice is found not to be effective in we should seriously consider examining the types of approaches that we take to dealing with those public safety issues. >> okay. up to it that a sort of a yes. again, back to our police officers. do you agree that perhaps there is some racial bias or bigotry, perhaps, that leads to these to -- these rates of arrests that seem to be disparaged i would hope that people would not draw that conclusion based on an analysis that is just based on race alone. you have to look at other factors of a because in that. i brought up more of the factors we have considered which calls for service, calls the police to a particular area. more police and the area, likely to be more arrests. i think that, you know, it is definitely an issue that needs to be looked at. i think it needs to be looked at
carefully. i have worked on the metropolitan police department for almost 45 years. the folks that i work with in that agency would, you know, obviously be very upset to hear they're being accused of bias enforcement. that is one of the things we work hard to prevent. again, to reiterate the statements you have made twice, you are sene you are not purposely going into communities seeking of criminals. you are getting calls coming getting a higher density and frequency of calls. obviously your officers are responding to those calls. certainly responding and reacting to laws that are forced >> that is one of the factors, i think, that is to be looked at. >> one thing that i might also suggest in this is, i think, a gerard counselor told me back in the 80's that if you see a pure olive take a picture because that is properly the
past will -- loss one you will see, what he meant by that was nowadays when it comes to a chemical addiction it is a polypharmacy issue. you rarely see someone use just marijuana if they have an addiction problem. i'm not suggesting everyone uses marijuana users of the guards. what i am saying is that those who do use drugs frequently, those who are addicted to drugs oftentimes use many different trucks. and so it certainly would seem to me, and i would love to get your response to this. while you may find marijuana on the person of that individual, that person could have been using other drugs which could have created it dave yet generated that call. >> i think i would respond, we on the metropolitan police department enforce laws that are in place, the local laws that are in place.
to suggest that that person is using one drug or more is really not what we do. we enforce the laws are in place. of think anyone has said that there is not part to be a consequence for marijuana possession. it does change from a notice of violation for less than an ounce from an arrest situation. i think the enforcement is still there. there is still, at least the law once the to the enforcement action, and we will continue to enforce those laws. >> i yield back, mr. chairman. >> i think the gentleman. >> just to clarify, because that was, i think, and informative answer that she gave this time and before about high-primary is
you said received a large number of calls. here is where i wanted to speak about the consequence. you receive a large number of calls. before this law was passed. marijuana possession is, in fact, against the law. you have reason to believe a person is in possession of marijuana, then whether you are black or white policeman or hispanic or asian policeman, you will, in fact, enforce the law because possession of marijuana in the district of columbia as against long. so -- yes. >> i agree. i am shaking my head. yes. >> african-american policeman would not be inclined to give a pass to african americans have
this was the law of land. because they enforce the law in the same way that our white officers to be would that not be the case. >> i think that's accurate. >> of the law changes and you get the same number of calls, particularly in areas where there may be more crime than others in the officer believes that someone may possess marijuana, that same officer, black or white, or lack the opposite of how he acts today when marijuana decriminalization -- and marijuana possession is against the law. >> i think the action will be different. i don't know if it is necessarily -- >> i would ebay today. >> she would issue a notice of violation as opposed to making an arrest. and so there is still an enforcement action that would be taken. >> the person is still subject
to a 55. >> a fine. >> of fine. does not a record. the council's bill says that the odor of marijuana, the smell of marijuana is not enough. do you believe there for for mere possession of marijuana there would be a decrease in the number of people arrested? >> there will certainly be a decrease in arrests. if you're talking about situations where enforcement action is taken -- >> for mere possession of marijuana. >> right. >> and other words, these were people arrested for possession only. i can understand if you were being arrested, looking for a number of different defenses, but where the officers suspects that the person possesses marijuana only. >> the arrests most definitely will decrease, absolutely.
i think enforcement action, whether enforcement action will be taken, it is hard to say. >> yes. because there is some enforcement action that is still possible. for example, i suspect it would be more likely if the person were smoking openly buy marijuana. in that case i would expect enforcement action to be taken. is that not the case. >> there will be. yes. smoking marijuana and public, there will still be an arrest. >> i would expect that our african-american police officers would be as likely to arrest for smoking marijuana openly as some are white officers or officers of other backgrounds. >> i think that is fair to say. yes. >> thank you very much. >> well, thank you. of want to thank each of our witnesses for appearing today and for their testimony and participation as we sort through this -- some of these issues.
we are seeking answers. no decision has been made yet on whether congress will contest or overturn or attempts to overturn a district law that has been passed. it is very clearly our responsibility under the constitution and the creation of the district back in 1790, one under the home rule act of 1973 have 60 legislative days to review these laws. it may be uncommon that this is done along with this particular change in law does, as we have heard it, a fact, again, a number, in fact, 26 federal agencies in the district of columbia of our charged with responsibility of law enforcement. there are other factors.
we are trying to sort through the position of the administration, the u.s. attorney, and others that will help determine policy. we will continue this series in our next hearing. as i said, we will look get some of the other imbrications' as far as changing the status of this particular level of narcotics which is now a schedule one narcotic, which has been pointed out again in this hearing. some of the contradictions between policies as enumerated and possible changes in policy in the emirate by the president, conflicting statements by the drug enforcement agency, the office of national drug policy, 0nd cp, the office under the president of the united states. it is an important issue. it is a change of society's perception of that use and abuse
of narcotics, and we will sort through this and organized and focused manner. everyone will have an opportunity to participate. i think the gentle lady from the district for coming to participate both as a witness and also from the day yesterday. without objection the record will be left open for ten days for additional statements are questions that may be posed to the witnesses who are here today again, i think our witnesses. there being no further business is sharing is adjourned. thank you. [applause]
channel live at 7:00 a.m. eastern on c-span. >> let me be clear that i am not defending his murder. i've wanted to here. i want to five questions of why she was unaware of the inappropriate criteria for more than a year after. i want to know why she did not mention the inappropriate criteria and her letters to congress. i cannot vote to violate an individual's fifth amendment right just because i wanted to hear what she has to say. a much greater principle is the state your check. the sanctity of the fifth amendment rights for all citizens of the united states of america. i have never alleged that it goes to the president. and i have said that tea party would clearly be described as enemies or adverse to the president's policies that were
targeted by somebody you politics is what the president and to quite frankly was trying to overturn the supreme court decisions in support of the president's decision using airpower. with that, i yield back and her support. >> this weekend on c-span house debate on honing former irs official most wondering to congress for refusing to answer questions and on book tv sunday at 7:30 p.m. on c-span2. and on american history tv a look at the newly unveiled a restoration. sunday night at 930. >> the u.s. air force join
functional components command is tasked with tracking 23,000 objects in orbit around the earth including commercial satellites and space debris. the head of the command testified of a house hearing today along with officials from the federal aviation demonstration of federal communications commission. this house subcommittee hearing is an hour and 20 minutes. >> the subcommittee on space will come to order. good morning. welcome to today's hearing in titles based traffic management come out to prevent a real live gravity. they're written testimony, biography, and treatment system and disposer for today's witnesses it before i begin my opening statement let me say that the topic we are discussing is one that i know is of great interest to chairman steve plaza, and he would be a leading the discussion today if he had not been pulled away by the death of a ) this week.
i also understand you will be including a statement for the record. i would like to offer my condolences to have. >> out to rent a real live gravity. as was portrayed last year the threat of debris in key orbits around here it is unfair. the forefront of the public attention, this committee is no stranger to the topic. we will continue as us in the key questions there are two important facets what these to be done without burdening unnecessary directed by bureaucratic hurdles. the joint financial component demand for space or jfcc space
is tracking approximately 23,000 objects in orbit around the earth including 4,000 palance of which 1200 are active. the current systems available for tracking do not detect objects smaller than 4 inches in size. this means we cannot track, a speck of pain traveling and $17 are under miles-per-hour end of the self. the chinese satellite tests in 2007 demonstrated just how volatile this environment can be. this results in the largest creation of debris in history. so far almost 3,400 individual objects associated with this event have been catalogued, and the list is still growing. the decommissioned russian communications satellite and an active u.s. communications
satellite called iridium 33 created the debris field the resulted in over 2,000 pieces of debris. combine these two events and account for almost a quarter of all the objects. while tracking existing debris is obviously key to this discussion we must also focus on preventing the proliferation of these objects in the first place. there are two key agencies involved. the federal aviation administration and the federal communications commission. both of these have developed regulation specific to the creation of orbital been to of warble degree. the faa is his boss will for the mitigation of debris as it pertains to launch and reentries the national trace to the space transportation policy directed the department of transportation to execute exclusive authority over these. while this was not a change in the status quo dr. george kneele
testified before the subcommittee that his agency was ready to start a larger discussion on expansion of territory to regulate or but activity. it is unclear what specific activity the faa is asking for. congress will need to weigh the costs and benefits of the authority against the possible overregulation of us still very young industry. in 2005 the sec asserted jurisdiction to regulate. the broad mandate in the communications act of 1934 to encourage the larger and more effective use of radio. although congress has not brought of authority as seems to be some ambiguity in the nature of their mandate.
the efforts of federal agencies should be viewed within the context of a separate international and private sector efforts. the united states has the most advanced situational awareness system and the world, but tracking and cataloguing the space environment more effectively make come from key partnerships. we cannot afford to ignore these important partners. as commercial human space increases and must be sure the nation to protect the health, welfare, and safety of our government restaurants and private space flight participants. similarly, we cannot allow national security assets that used to keep our country say be threatened. the degree power by the cosmos iridium collision demonstrates the space in burma is tolerable and ever-changing.