Democratic National Committee chair and U.S. Congresswoman from Florida Debbie Wasserman Schultz said on Wednesday that she opposes legalizing marijuana.
In an interview with The New York Times, Wasserman Schultz said that she does not oppose medical marijuana, but added, “I just don’t think we should legalize more mind-altering substances if we want to make it less likely that people travel down the path toward using drugs. We have had a resurgence of drug use instead of a decline. There is a huge heroin epidemic.”
New York Times reporter Ana Marie Cox then pressed the DNC chair on the connection between legally-prescribed opiate painkillers and heroin abuse, prompting Wasserman Schultz to reply, “There is a difference between opiates and marijuana.”
Speaking on the origins of her anti-pot views, Wasserman Schultz said, “They’re formed by my personal experience both as a mom and as someone who grew up really bothered by the drug culture that surrounded my childhood — not mine personally. I grew up in suburbia.”
According to The Intercept, beer, wine, and liquor industry companies are the fifth-leading donor group funding her congressional reelection effort. Contributors include the National Beer Wholesalers Association, Bacardi USA, Wine and Spirits Wholesalers of America, and Southern Wine and Spirits.
Wasserman Schultz also said that her record on criminal justice reform is “not as progressive as some of my fellow progressives.”
Philosophically, she described her approach to public service as an effort to protect citizens from themselves. “I guess I’m protective. Safety has been my top legislative priority. I’m driven by the idea that safety is really a core function of government,” she said. “I don’t think we should just let things happen to people and let them be stupid and the victims of the consequences of their actions. I think we can put enough obstacles in the path of poor decision-making.“