Iowa's No. 7 ‘worst legislator’ says he will work harder to be No. 1

Calls pro-marijuana group's distinction a 'badge of honor'

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March 28, 2014 | 6:52 pm

An Iowa lawmaker is proud to have been included in the Marijuana Policy Project’s “Worst State Legislators of 2013.”

“I will wear this as a badge of honor,” Rep. Clel Baudler, R-Greenfield, said Friday.

“And I’ll try a lot harder to become No. 1 next year,” Baudler added. “No. 7 is down the list. I want to be No. 1 with these people.”

Baudler and seven other state legislators were selected based on their efforts to maintain or expand laws prohibiting the legal use of marijuana. Baudler made the list for his opposition to a bill to allow Iowans with serious illnesses to use medical marijuana if their doctors recommend it. Although an Iowa Poll found 58 percent of Iowans support such a law, Baudler said it would be the “top one or two or three stupidest bills” to pass the Legislature in more than 50 years.

“Unfortunately, there are still many elected officials in this country who cannot let go of their antiquated beliefs about marijuana,” said Mason Tvert of the Marijuana Policy Project. “These are just the most outrageous examples.”

Baudler doesn’t think his opposition to “this legalization of people getting high” is outrageous at all.

The retired Iowa State Patrol trooper puts it in the same category as lawmakers lowering the legal drinking age to 18 during the Vietnam War.

“I can’t imagine how a group of 51 (House members) and 26 (senators) and the governor could pass that legislation and sign it without thinking of the ramifications,” he said. “That has got to always be the No. 1 stupidest.

“I covered a multitude of car accidents with multiple victims during that time,” he said. “We killed a helluva lot of more people on the highways than in Vietnam during that period.”

Baudler, chairman of the House Public safety Committee, doesn’t expect proposals to relax restrictions on marijuana use to get any further in the legislative process next year than in the past.

“Well, if they do, I’ll work harder to be No. 1,” he said.

The Marijuana Policy Project is the nation’s largest marijuana policy organization. For more, visit http://www.marijuanapolicy.org.

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