A Republican House caucus recently released its “Family Policy Agenda,” which ties cannabis use to suicide and violence. Backlash against the agenda was immediate and even included criticism from members within the group.

The Republican Study Committee (RSC) released the agenda at the end of September. “American families are in trouble,” wrote the group. “Conservative policymakers must work to restore the American family.”

The document singles out cannabis legalization as one of many social policies instituted by “far-left ideologues” that are allegedly destroying the fabric of society. The RSC says cannabis legalization has led to an increase in childhood use of the drug and has been linked to health problems.

The agenda also suggests that cannabis is tied to suicide and violence. “Congress should direct the CDC to gather data and conduct studies on the health impacts of THC use during childhood and early adolescence with a special focus on deaths by suicide and those involved in violent crime to provide Congress and the public with further information about these dangers,” wrote the group.

At least two members of the 156-member committee presumably oppose the agenda’s position against cannabis legalization. Reps. Tom McClintock (R-CA) and Brian Mast (R-FL) both voted in favor of the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act in April. The bill would legalize cannabis at the federal level. Mast is a co-chair of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus.

Negotiator “Optimistic” about Griner Release.

Former New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson told reporters that he is “cautiously optimistic” that WNBA star Brittney Griner and another American detained in Russia will be released.

Richardson recently traveled to Russia to negotiate the release of Griner and former US Marine Paul Whelan. Griner was arrested by Russian officials in March for entering the country in possession of cannabis oil. She pleaded guilty and was sentenced in August to nine years in a labor camp for drug smuggling.

In an interview with CNN, Richardson was asked if he believes the two prisoners will be released from Russian custody before the end of the year. “I do think so. Now, I hate making predictions, but yes,” he answered. “All I can say is that the Biden administration is working hard on it. So am I. We coordinate, but not always agree on every tactical decision. But I’m not going to interfere in their process. I’m just giving you my assessment after two visits to Russia on behalf of American hostages.”

Booker Hopeful for Reforms in Lame Duck Session

Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) said he was “hopeful” that cannabis reforms will be passed before the end of this Congressional session.

In an interview with NPR, Booker praised President Joe Biden’s announcement to pardon federal cannabis prisoners but said more can be done. “There’s a lot of folks who understand that we have to act on the federal level to do more than the president’s done,” he said. “I’m very hopeful we can get something done.”