Congressman McClintock said that many of his party colleagues do not approve of weed — he doesn't either. The difference is, he doesn't put his personal beliefs before the good of the country.
"I've never used it. We raised our kids successfully never to go near the stuff. I don't recommend it," he said, "but we have got to grip with the fact that prohibition laws have created far more problems than they've solved."
"They've created a violent, underground economy. Ruined the lives of millions of young people who've had a conviction in the possession in college that follows them throughout their lives. It just does not work."
Prohibition laws, he insisted, do not keep illegal substances out of the hands of young people; he pointed to one anecdote of giving two high schoolers $20 and telling one to get pot and the other to get booze: the one with the pot will always come back first.
"They all know where to get it. The dealers got no problem selling it to them," he argued. "The kid I send to go buy booze, he goes from one liquor store to another, gets carded, and gets kicked out."
"If you want to keep marijuana out of the hands of young people — and we should — the best way to do it is to legalize it and regulate it as we do elsewhere."
McClintock admitted his party is sending out mixed messages by pushing for criminal justice reform under President Trump, but not legalizing weed, which so many people have been incarcerated for.
"I think there's a certain inconsistency there," he conceded. "A Republican should stand for freedom. That's where we've always stood, and the closer we fune to those principals the better we've done. The better the country has done."
The Congressman agrees there is a certain contradiction when Republicans cite "guns don't kill people — people do" when entrusting citizens with firearms, yet they won't trust them with marijuana.
"It's a decision that every person has to make for themselves," he agreed. "I've got enough trouble running my own life without trying to run everyone else's."
He succinctly summarized his argument for the legalization of weed: "Radish farmers don't kill each other over territory."
In last Friday's vote, the House passed legislation to federally legalize it; only five Republicans voted for, including McClintock, Denver Riggleman of Virginia, Don Young of Alaska, Brian Mast of Florida, and the bill's co-sponsor, Matt Gaetz.
Six Democrats meanwhile voted against, including Cheri Bustos and Dan Lipinski of Illinois, Henry Cuellar of Texas, Conor Lamb of Pennsylvania, Chris Pappas of New Hampshire and Collin Peterson of Minnesota, per CNN.
While the bill passed in the Democrat-controlled House, it has little hope of surviving in the Republican led Senate.