High Times

Posted April 18, 2005 at 6:52pm

If you see California Democratic Reps. Linda Sanchez and Sam Farr laughing and munching away on the House floor May 5, this could be the reason: They’re both participating in the Marijuana Policy Project’s 10th anniversary gala the night before.

Farr, whose district is home to a medical marijuana co-op sanctioned under California state law, will receive the MPP’s Legislative Leadership Award. Sanchez will present an award to television talk show host Montel Williams, who uses medicinal grass to treat multiple sclerosis.

Farr jokes that lots of his colleagues have “razzed” him about the MPP award, coming up to him saying things like, “Hey, Farr, I hear you’re getting HIGH honors.” But the Congressman is much too invested in advancing medical marijuana use to be reduced to such sophomoric horsing around.

“I am grateful for MPP’s recognition and frankly, there’s nothing humorous about being in constant pain,” Farr told HOH. “If marijuana, under controlled circumstances, provides a medical relief no other drug can, then it is the compassionate thing to do and I’m proud to be a part of that effort.”

The Marijuana Policy Project, which believes the “greatest harm associated with marijuana is imprisonment,” will hold its gala May 4 at the Washington Court Hotel. Regular tickets are $250 a piece; VIP tickets are $500, which include a “special VIP reception” (wink, wink) and “preferred seating.”

Strange Plane Fellows. Sen. Sam Brownback (R-Kan.), who sponsors legislation to stop potty mouths and other atrocities like the Janet Jackson fiasco at the Super Bowl, made a new friend on a recent plane ride to Boston. A guy who should be his nemesis — Erik Huey, an entertainment lawyer and a leading lobbyist against Brownback’s Broadcast Decency Enforcement Act.

Brownback and Huey were on the same flight from Washington, D.C., to Boston last Friday, each on their way to speak on different panels at Harvard. “We had a nice chat about whether celebrities were good activists or not,” Huey said, adding, “Sen. Brownback thought they could be.”

Huey, who represents the Creative Coalition, was on his way to speak at Harvard Law School’s Committee on Sports and Entertainment Law. Brownback told Huey he was on his way to Harvard to speak about bioethics and “chimeras” (as if everyone knows what a chimera is).

Brownback had no time to explain his concerns about the creation of chimeras — a term of art for laboratory animals that have been injected with human brain cells for scientific study of diseases. Brownback describes chimeras as “part human and part animal.” He has a bill to outlaw certain types of chimeras, which, as he said in a recent “Dear Colleague” letter, violate the “unique dignity” of humans.

Back to Brownback and Huey, will these two enemies put aside their differences over decency and join forces to save the human race from chimeras? The Senator’s spokesman, Aaron Groote, gave little hint. But he joked, “I hear they had a very nice conversation and that the Senator thought [Huey] was a decent guy.”

Decent? Huey? “A decent guy who’s known as Mr. Indecency around the office,” Huey shot back.

Circle the Living Statesman. Unless you’re a prototype of the U.S. education system, you may recognize two old rivals roaming the halls of Capitol Hill today arm in arm. No, not President Bush and Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.). Not former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole (R-Kan.) and former President Bill Clinton. But Thomas Jefferson and John Adams.

Actually, these one-time rivals and former presidents will be portrayed by “historic interpreters” from Colonial Williamsburg, those geeky characters who walk around in 18th-century garb.

The Colonial Williamsburg Foundation is sending Jefferson and Adams to the Hill to protest the Bush administration’s No Child Left Behind Act, which the organization says has forsaken history in the American education system.

“We believe that an unintended consequence of the No Child Left Behind Act has been to squeeze history out of the classroom, and we do so at our own peril,” says William White, director of educational program development at the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.

The Jefferson and Adams characters will join real-life Sens. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.), Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.).

Yes, it’ll be hard to tell which ones are in character!

Please send your hot tips, juicy gossip or comments to hoh@rollcall.com.