Last week ended on a strange note for lawmakers in Virginia Beach, Virginia. Following an explosive encounter, we see a man arrested for death threat against pro-marijuana Congressman Scott Taylor.
Encounter Spins Out of Control
According to the Department of Justice, the incident occurred last Thursday when 69-year-old Wallace Grove Godwin visited the office of Virginia Congressman Scott Taylor. When a conversation about marijuana policy intensified, Godwin allegedly threatened Rep. Taylor and two of his staff members.
Official documents from the DOJ reported that Godwin said: “Scott is having an event this Saturday. I am going to get my shotgun and do something about this. I will handle this myself.”
He then reportedly pointed at two of Taylor’s staff members who were standing nearby and told them: “You two are next.”
Godwin is allegedly registered to carry concealed firearms. Given that, staffers took the threats seriously and Godwin was soon arrested.
He was charged with threatening to murder and assault a United States official. That is a felony charge that could lead to as many as 10 years in prison. However, the DOJ said that sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum. Godwin appeared in court last Friday.
A History of Confrontations
This isn’t the first time that Godwin has confronted Rep. Taylor. Apparently, marijuana policy has been a real point of tension for Godwin.
In 2017, Godwin showed up at Rep. Taylor’s private home and got into a heated fight about marijuana law. Eventually, Taylor told him to leave and Godwin did. Additionally, there was another incident very similar to last week’s in which Godwin went to Rep. Taylor’s office and started yelling at his staff members.
On top of all that, Godwin has tried taking his anti-marijuana anger directly to the top. Last year, Godwin filed a lawsuit against the federal government. In his suit, he claimed that the government was failing to enforce federal cannabis laws. The lawsuit was dismissed.
Final Hit: Man Arrested For Death Threat Against Pro-Marijuana Congressman
It seems likely that Rep. Taylor’s history with cannabis legislation is at the root of Godwin’s frequent confrontations. In particular, Godwin—who is an avid opponent of marijuana—may be frustrated that Taylor was an original co-sponsor of the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2017.
That bill included a large number of co-sponsors and included both Democrats and Republicans like Rep. Taylor.
The question of how the federal government will approach cannabis has become an increasingly hot topic in recent months. Much of the growing intensity surrounding the debate stems from actions taken by Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
In January, Sessions started the new year by rescinding an important Obama-era policy on state cannabis laws. The policy, known as the Cole Memo, directed federal agencies to take a hands-off approach when it comes to dealing with states where weed is legal. By rescinding that policy, Sessions effectively opened the door to a federal crackdown on weed-legal states.
Sessions is an outspoken opponent of cannabis. He has also recently tried to blame cannabis for the ongoing opioid crisis. His anti-weed campaign has escalated tensions between weed-legal states and the federal government, and between those who favor legalization and those who do not.
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