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"Your Government Is Lying To You (Again) About Marijuana!" NORML Charges In New Report Rebutting Drug Czar

Wednesday, 15 January 2003

"Exaggerating marijuana's potential harm only undermines the government's credibility and ability to effectively warn of the harms of truly dangerous drugs," Says NORML Head

Washington, DC: NORML unveiled a new Internet and media campaign today in response to a recent wave of federal anti-marijuana propaganda from the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.  NORML's new "Marijuana Truth" campaign seeks to counter this rhetoric with fact-based information and scientific reports to stimulate an honest public discussion about the minimal risks presented by marijuana, and the disproportionate harms associated with criminal pot prohibition.

The first salvo in this campaign is the release of NORML's most comprehensive report to date, entitled, "Your Government Is Lying To You (Again) About Marijuana: A Refutation of the Drug Czar's 'Open Letter to America's Prosecutors.'"  This report responds to a recent letter from the Drug Czar's office urging law enforcement officials to "aggressively prosecute" marijuana violators.  The letter further advocates prosecutors "tell the truth" about marijuana, and then lists more than a dozen unsubstantiated, misleading, and fallacious statements regarding cannabis - including the allegation that "no drug matches the threat posed by marijuana," and the claim that marijuana is more addictive than "alcohol, cocaine, heroin, methamphetamine, ecstasy, and all other illegal drugs combined."

NORML's report offers a scientific, point-by-point rebuttal to the Drug Czar's claims.  "We invite all who are interested in learning the truth about marijuana to read the Drug Czar's letter, and then read NORML's rebuttal, and decide for yourself who is lying about marijuana and why," NORML Executive Director Keith Stroup said.

He added: "NORML believes there is nothing to be gained by exaggerating marijuana's harmfulness.   On the contrary, by overstating marijuana's potential harm, our policy-makers and law enforcement community undermine their credibility, and their ability to effectively educate the public of the legitimate harms associated with more dangerous drugs.  We cannot any longer remain silent and permit this taxpayer-funded propaganda to occur without a challenge."

Stroup concluded: "It is time for us as a nation to allow the science, as opposed to the rhetoric, dictate our public policy regarding marijuana.  Exaggerating the dangers associated with the responsible use of marijuana results in the needless arrest of hundreds for thousands of good, productive citizens in this country, and does nothing to promote public safety."

NORML's report (along with a copy of the Drug Czar's letter) is available online in both HTML and PDF formats.  Hard copies are available upon request.

For more information, please contact NORML Executive Director Keith Stroup at (202) 483-5500.





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