Polis: If Louisianans Can Smoke Crayfish, Coloradans Should Be Able to Smoke Pot!

Jared Polis in mid-rant, to the amusement of a spectator on the House floor. Videos and more below.
Jared Polis in mid-rant, to the amusement of a spectator on the House floor. Videos and more below.
C-SPAN via IJReview

Earlier this month, we told you about the narrow defeat of an amendment co-sponsored by Colorado Representative Jared Polis that would have protected recreational marijuana businesses from possible federal prosecution.

Why revisit the subject? Due to Polis's inspired rant in defense of the measure, which pivoted on his comparison between smoking pot and smoking crayfish.

No, we're not kidding.

The subject was prompted by remarks from Representative John Fleming of Louisiana, who opposed to measure in ways that Polis clearly regarded as insulting to his home state.

"I say to my friend, the gentleman from Louisiana, I'm actually from Colorado, and I don't recognize the Colorado you're talking about," Polis maintained when he got his chance to speak. "I come from the Colorado where underage marijuana use is down since legalization. I come from the Colorado where we have driven criminal cartels that seek to prey on our children out of business. I'm from the Colorado where our violent crime rates are down and where we regulate dispensaries and make sure they're not [near] schools — and rather than have a corner street dealer who doesn't care if they're selling to a fourteen-year-old, we've moved that away and regulated it away to make sure that minors don't have access to marijuana. That's the Colorado that I'm from. I welcome you to come visit."

If this invitation seemed polite, what followed was decidedly less so.

Representative John Fleming of Louisiana.
Representative John Fleming of Louisiana.
C-SPAN via YouTube

"You know what?" Polis continued. "I don't have to convince you. I don't have to convince the State of Louisiana that they should do anything, and I just wish you would leave my sovreign State of Colorado alone. Let our people and our state government decide what we want to do with regard to marijuana rather than a federal agent going around trying to arrest people from doing activities that are fully legal under state law. That's all I ask."

At that point, things got considerably fishier.

"I'm not going to send federal troops into Louisiana to arrest people from whatever you do down there — smoking crayfish?" he wondered. "Want me to ban that and send federal troops down there? I'll bet smoking crayfish ain't good for you. I don't know. What if it's fried? It might clog your arteries, huh? Bet that's not good for you. Want me to send federal troops down there? Do you want me to send federal troops to Louisiana to stop people from eating crayfish?"

Before Fleming could respond, the person in charge of moderating the discussion interrupted long enough to remind Polis that he was supposed to be addressing the chair, not an individual member. So Polis asked the chair to pose the question to Fleming, who jumped in to say, "If the gentleman is yielding to me, I would point out that the Colorado he describes does not exist."

Polis begged to differ. "I am from Colorado," he stressed. "I know Colorado inside and out. And we have been tremendously successful at reducing the abuse of marijuana among minors. But again, it shouldn't be up to us to convince him, because I don't have to eat their darned crayfish! I don't want it! I don't want it! So get the federal law-enforcement apparatus to leave our state alone."

Inspired by this impassioned invective, the folks at IJReview created a series of Vines from footage of Polis. Here's the first....

...and the second....

...and a third that has a good beat, and you can dance to it.

Still, it's hard to top the original. See the entire exchange below. Fleming begins speaking at around the three-minute mark, while Polis takes the podium at approximately 5:20.

Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.

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