[crscore]Jared Polis[/crscore], the Colorado Democrat who raised eyebrows this month by suggesting students merely accused of sexual assault deserve to be expelled, has apparently found something more deserving of fairness and leniency: Colorado’s kombucha tea industry.
Kombucha tea stands out from other teas because it requires fermentation to make, meaning the drink usually has a small amount of alcohol in it. While this amount is minimal, it can sometimes drift above 0.5 percent, which triggers a host of federal regulations and potential fines. That has left kombucha producers in constant fear of a federal government crackdown that could put them out of business.
Now, Polis says he’s fed up with this unjust reality.
In a letter sent last week to the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, Polis blasts overly firm federal oversight that he says could unjustly ruin kombucha makers’ livelihoods. According to Polis, most overly-alcoholic kombuchas are accidental and minor and don’t warrant the fines and other punishments they provoke from the government.
“Eight spoiled kombuchas are roughly the equivalent of one beer, but that doesn’t mean we should regulate it like we do alcohol — it makes absolutely no sense,” Polis said in his letter. “The TTB should provide some common-sense clarity and relief for the kombucha firms in Colorado and across the country.”
Polis’s urgent defense of kombucha makers may be perfectly justified, but his call for leniency and due process is ironic given his totally different response to the issue of campus sexual assault just days before he sent his letter. During a hearing on the issue of campus sexual assault, Polis expressed the attitude that it was perfectly fine to deliberately expel innocent students from their colleges in the name of fighting sexual assault.
“If I was running [a private university], I might say, ‘Well, you know even if there’s a 20 to 30 percent chance that it happened, I would want to remove this individual,’ Polis said at the hearing. “I mean, if there’s 10 people who have been accused, and under a reasonable likelihood standard maybe one or two did it, it seems better to get rid of all 10 people.” (RELATED: Polis: Expel All Students Accused Of Sexual Assault)
Polis has since partly walked back his statement, saying he didn’t support expelling the innocent but still approved of using a low standard of evidence for adjudicating sexual assault claims. Practically speaking, though, Polis is still calling for the innocent to be punished, since lower standards of evidence inevitably mean convicting people on less than certain evidence. Under the preponderance of evidence standard that Polis supports, for instance, even a coin flip chance of guilt would warrant expulsion.
Polis’s support for campus tribunals has prompted a withering critique from the district attorney of Boulder, home of the University of Colorado and the main city in Polis’ district. The attorney, Stan Garnett, blasted Polis’s preferred approach as a “shadow” adjudication system that destroyed due process while also hurting victims as well.
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