Senator's statement laced with marijuana references

Hopes 'initiative can be a kumbaya moment'

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Sen. Orrin Hatch knows how to be blunt. And, yes, that is a marijuana reference.

When introducing a Medical Marijuana Research Bill, the Republican lawmaker did not shy away Wednesday from including weed puns in his statement. Eight, to be exact.

"It's high time to address research into medical marijuana," Hatch said in the statement. "Our country has experimented with a variety of state solutions without properly delving into the weeds on the effectiveness, safety, dosing, administration, and quality of medical marijuana. All the while, the federal government strains to enforce regulations that sometimes do more harm than good. To be blunt, we need to remove the administrative barriers preventing legitimate research into medical marijuana, which is why I've decided to roll out the MEDS Act."

"I urge my colleagues to join Senator Schatz and me in our joint effort to help thousands of Americans suffering from a wide-range of diseases and disorders," he added. "In a Washington at war with itself, I have high hopes that this bipartisan initiative can be a kumbaya moment for both parties."

The weed references include: "high time," "experimented," "delving into the weeds," "strains," "to be blunt," "roll out," "joint effort" and "high hopes."

According to Hatch's office, the humor was on purpose.

"Sen. Hatch has a great sense of humor," said Matt Whitlock, Hatch's spokesman. "While this is a serious bill dealing with serious issues, particularly in Utah, he felt that the best way to ensure it received the attention required for a thorough and robust debate was with a bit of good-natured humor, similar to that of his social media platforms."

This isn't the first time the Utah conservative has been creative about his word choice.

In August, his colorful comment about how members of his party "shot their wad" on their efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare made headlines. As Hatch's comment began circulating on social media, the senator shared a "valuable" lesson on Civil War jargon.

His office tweeted a link to the Oxford English Dictionary's definition of the expression, explaining that it refers to a "a plug of tow, cloth, etc., a disk of felt or cardboard, to retain the powder and shot in position in charging a gun or cartridge."

Hatch later clarified his remarks with "helpful additional context," sharing a tweet from Whitlock, who explained that this turn of phrase "was used quite often during the Civil War when Hatch was just a young senator."

Hatch also engaged in a funny Twitter exchange with Sen. Ben Sasse in July. Hatch responded to a dig from Sasse about his age by writing: "The vote-a-rama we had on the Treaty of Paris was quite the hootenanny."


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