Your Government Is Lying To You (Again) About Marijuana - An Updated Refutation of the Drug Czar's "Open Letter to America's Prosecutors"
In 2003, NORML published a comprehensive report entitled, "Your Government Is Lying To You (Again) About Marijuana: A Refutation Of The Drug Czar's 'Open Letter To America's Prosecutors.'"
NORML's report publicly addresses an ‘open letter' to America's prosecutors (dated November 1, 2002) from the White House's Scott Burns, Deputy Director for State and Local Affairs for the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP). In the letter, Burns insisted, "Nationwide, no drug matches the threat posed by marijuana," and urged law enforcement officials to "aggressively prosecute" marijuana violators. The ONDCP's letter, filled with half-truths and outright lies regarding marijuana's alleged dangers, purposely misrepresented the available research in an attempt to justify federal and state policies that result in the arrest of more than 650,000 Americans annually on minor marijuana possession charges.
Since then, the White House's anti-marijuana propaganda campaign has continued to take on an increasingly alarmist and extremist tone, arguably crossing over any reasonable line of probity. The Bush Administration's latest rhetoric does not qualify as mere exaggeration; they are flat-out lying to the American public about marijuana.
As a result, NORML has updated and greatly expanded our 2003 report. Like our initial paper, the "2005 NORML Truth Report" relies on the federal government's own science, data, and statistics to rebut the Drug Czar's lies and propaganda.
NORML believes there is nothing to be gained by exaggerating claims of marijuana's harms. On the contrary, by overstating marijuana's potential risk, America's policy-makers and law enforcement community undermine their credibility and ability to effectively educate the public of the legitimate harms associated with more dangerous drugs. In addition, exaggerating the dangers associated with the responsible use of marijuana results in the needless arrest of hundreds of thousands of good, productive citizens each year in this country. We cannot remain silent and permit this taxpayer-funded propaganda to occur without a challenge, and we encourage all concerned citizens to refer to this report for the truth and science regarding marijuana and marijuana policy.
It's time to begin an honest public education campaign about the minimal risks presented by marijuana. Let's allow science, not rhetoric, to dictate America's public policy regarding marijuana. As you will see, the facts speak for themselves.
Allen St. Pierre
July 21, 2005
This updated report is written, once again, by NORML Senior Policy Analyst Paul Armentano with research provided by NORML Intern Paul Varnado (Duke University).