The Hill: NORML vs. ONDCP (Round Two)

In what is passing for one of the first public debates ever between the government’s ‘anti-drug’ office (Office of National Drug Control Policy, aka ONDCP) and the world’s most famous pro-cannabis reform organization (NORML), check out my rebuttal to the ONDCP’s attempts to discredit the nearly 40 year effort to end cannabis prohibition.
To date, this unofficial debate between NORML and ONDCP has been one of the most popular public discussions ever at The Hill’s blog, which informs their editors (as well as other major publications’ and broadcast editors) that the issue of cannabis law reform is of great public concern and ripe for ongoing public policy debates about the future of cannabis prohibition.
Preview: In advance of you reading, and hopefully weighing in on The Hill’s blog, rather than engage in what I describe as the ‘flash card’ game–where every misapplication of science or anti-pot myth needs to be addressed–in my reply to the ONDCP’s rebuttal of NORML’s pro-reform advocacy efforts I try to focus on the larger issues at hand regarding personal freedom, autonomy, the proper role of the government in the private lives of it’s citizens and the obvious juxtaposition of the legal ‘drug’ industries (alcohol, tobacco and pharmaceuticals) to the failed 70-year old prohibition of cannabis.

0 thoughts

  1. This is awesome! Thanks NORML and Allen St. Pierre. We did a review of this over at http://www.akdope.org and encourage the dialog to continue. There is no better case for contributing to / joining NORML than the type of advocacy that appears in The Hill this month!!

  2. About the US seal pictured, are those hemp leaves in the eagles right claw? Also ,is it true that the ONDCP charter is scheduled to sunset on Sept.30,2010?

  3. After reading this article, it’s very clear that lots of public support in any form would be critical to achieving the desired results. I’m an avid Ron Paul supporter and one thing I noticed through his campaign was the phenomenally fast build up of on-line supporters, (despite the media bias.)
    Why not put together a campaign aimed at getting the message out to the people who use cannabis but don’t follow law reform? And I know there’s a lot of them. Ron Paul’s campaign reached millions of people, thousands of them–before Dr. Paul–probably didn’t even pay attention to politics (I didn’t.) So what made it go so well?
    I can’t really say for sure; But, I do know some things that were tried to gain support. One was the money bomb, advertising a specific day (through blogs, youtube, word of mouth — anywhere people can casually find the information — could donate to support the cause.
    In this particular situation it’s not so much a need for donations as it is a need for a petition like statement made and supported by thousands of people.
    An idea to attract people would be to advertise a youtube contest were people create there own short video exclaiming the need for legal herb, pick the top 3 to present to the ONDCP backed by the total number of participants and signed supporters. Show them the immediate support of the people.
    I guess my basic thought is just get things fired up a bit. Use common internet mediums like Youtube, myspace, etc… to excite and attract perspective supporters. Maybe create an online poll and have current supporters spread it around related blogs and forums. Freedom is a powerful message right now, and the people are starting to observe our government more closely. Changing the marijuana laws in this country would send a very positive message to many who feel very downhearted about the current state of our nation.
    As always I’ll do what I can to help. hopefully my input is useful to someone

  4. This is not just about the right to get high.
    This is about the Right (capital ‘R’ intentional) to do something our public servants condemn as too risky.
    The Controlled Substances Act (CSA) undeniably shows that certain recreational drug use is found by our public servants to be bad, solely because it has a “potential for abuse”.
    While evidence shows that marijuana is abused by some, and there are questionable studies ‘suggesting’ that marijuana ‘may’ cause harm, I challenge anyone to provide ‘irrefutable’ evidence proving an instance of marijuana use automatically causes ‘any’ harm (i.e. that marijuana use automatically constitutes abuse).
    Failure to provide that appropriate degree of evidence is failure to prove that marijuana use automatically violates another American’s Rights, denying the authority for our public servants to defy our Creator-given, unalienable Right to Liberty by banning its use.
    The U.S. Declaration of Independence, the essence of our nation born in violent sacrifice against government abuse, an essence separating our nation from any other in that Liberty is naturally-given, not government-given, supports our public servants only in securing our Rights, not defying them.
    No individual or group (e.g. government, public majority) can justly defy an American’s Rights.
    Do we really want to allow our public servants to continue to defy Liberty on the sole basis that something is too risky to them?
    Think of all of the high risk activities in our personal and professional lives (and the heavy damage from people exercising such risks). High risk yields high rewards at times for our nation, and who are any of you to tell me that drug use has no reward? You are entitled to your opinion, but not entitled to wield it against my Rights.
    Does the CSA undeniably confirm that our public servants have effectively found a way to change Creator-given to government-given, defeating the true Liberty so many Americans have sacrificed (and continue to sacrifice) their lives to secure? If so, isn’t that a front-burner issue?
    There are better ways to deal with abuse in society than Liberty-defying, all-out bans. Just ask the NIDA about the “strong correlation between stress and substance abuse”, noting there has never been a prominent ‘war’ on unhealthy stress.
    Our nation is born on opposition against government abuse.
    Our nation can only survive on opposition against government abuse.
    May our public servants promptly fix the errant shift of our nation from its strong foundation.
    Failing to do that sends the wrong message to children, and anyone else now through posterity.

  5. McCain’s VP pick Sarah Palin is an admitted former pot smoker. From Achorage Daily News “Palin said she has smoked marijuana — remember, it was legal under state law, she said, even if illegal under U.S. law — but says she didn’t like it and doesn’t smoke it now.
    ‘I can’t claim a Bill Clinton and say that I never inhaled.’
    I guess marijuana really ruined her life. Yet another successful pot smoker.

  6. I find it funny that the ONDCP hides behind a computer screen to distribute its propaganda. It’s quite funny that they won’t publicly debate us. What do they have to lose? (Besides their credibility and funding). If they really are right, then they should be able to crush us. but, they’re not, and that’s why they won’t debate publicly: They’re just too damn scared.

  7. I have heard folks argue against medical cannabis by saying that “better treatments already exist.” Isn’t that an admission that marijuana is a treatment? Shouldn’t folks who say this sort of thing be pressed into advocating the rescheduling of marijuana since they are basically admitting that it has medical value? Seriously, even if they consider it a weak substitute for various prescription drugs, aren’t they saying that it’s good, but there is something better?
    If what they claim is true, and “better treatment methods already exist”, then maybe chicken soup should be schedule I. I mean, chicken soup has been used as a natural remedy for ages, but they have fancy store bought drugs these days. The evidence that chicken soup has any theraputic properties is mostly anecdotal, but brother, if you tried my mother’s chicken soup one time, you would be hooked. We’re talking HIGH potential for abuse. If they really wanted to be consistent and reschedule chicken soup, they would have to rename it Sopadepollo first, and they’d have to make a movie just to stir public opinion. But if the ONDCP set their mind and their money to it, I’m sure they could pull it off.
    So anyways, you get the picture. The idea that Lortab somehow makes aspirin obsolete is confounding. I don’t believe that the “better treatments exist” argument holds much water. If somebody really does want to stick to that argument, then he must logically advocate rescheduling cannabis since he admits it has medical value, however inferior he considers it to be.
    This is the sort of predicament that prohibition folk find themselves in quite often. It’s an obvious dodge that one uses to deflect a question that he’s afraid might not get him re-elected… or hired… or whatever.
    Maybe that’s why the ONDCP published a handbook on holding your own in a drug legalization debate with Step 1 being: “Don’t get into a drug legalization debate.”

  8. WTF! I wrote a nice piece, but it won’t attach to the comment section! I then pasted the article I previously wrote into the comments section, and it said that the post already existed…and that is not the case 🙁

  9. Very well put great ideas, Matt. I also would like to suggest AM-Talk Radio with some very liberal marijuana advocates to just tear apart every piece of crap that comes out of the NODCP.

  10. Hello, In my opinion Medical Marijuana should be made avalible for the suffering.
    Most Americans do not realize that this is a MONEY Game.
    In 1981 when I was a very young man with not even a speeding ticket I was handed a 10 year sentence to the Indiana Department of Corrections.Or also called the department of Corruptions, where people learn more, Further more I did not even get the marijuana, my passed away wife did from someone she knew.
    This State Police informant had hair to his waist and came in posing as a friends fiance and they wanted to know if we knew where they could get any herb.
    Like I said, my passed away wife knew a person and got them an ounce. The problem was I was the one who handed it to him and took his money.
    When I went to court there was 2 seats left open. It just so happened that the prosecutor’s wife was a school teacher and they was showing the class how drug dealers was dealt with. I knew the minute I walked in I was a target.
    There is NO rehabilatation in a prison for drugs. Not any that really work. I do not believe a person who makes a mistake one time needs to get a 10 year sentence like I did. And then I had a 7 year probation period on top of getting out.
    Our government has known for years that marijuana has a medical value but will not admit it. They refuse to be honest with the public.
    What should be made illegal is booze, it is what kills people and causes many wrecks that kill innocent people, not marijuana.
    I believe a person should be able to use it medically if needed. Most people dont know that George Bush took marijuana pills for years for his eyesight but it was never mentioned. Why is it ok for the big wigs and not the poor people?
    I believe this year the government will have to change some things on medical marijuana. There are just to many diseases that has been proven it works for. If it didnt then why has the big pharma put a patent on it?
    I feel if it saves lives it should be made medically legal for the needy people and not sent to a prison and forced to work for 50 cents a day while they make untold amounts from inmates.
    I say if it is made legal it will stop alot of big drug cartels from doing buisness and stop alot of crime. I think it is time the government catches up with the times. Stop jailing people for marijuana and stop forcing treatment upon them. Then they try to make it look like the person wanted treatment when he never asked for it but was forced to do it.
    I say it is time for a change. Over 70% of Americans feel it is ok for medical use so why is their voice not heard? Make medical marijuana for the people who need it and stop jailing them.

  11. Kudos to Mr. St. Pierre for the well articulated facts and professional presentation
    The government has made a fatal mistake, they’ve decided to engage in discussion.
    Fallacious arguments tend to fall apart when put up against well reasoned, non-emotional, fact based challenge.
    Keep up the good work!

  12. The War on Drugs was started for racist reasons and now enslaves us for profits. This War on US is illegal and I feel our representatives should be prosecuted for putting us in jail and stealing our rights as Americans. Don’t believe me believe the lies and propaganda our leaders feed you using your own tax money? Go to the WWW and read a little the truth is there for all to see or write me hood1@hoodstuff.com I will try to help. Due to my home being violated I have dedicated my life to ending the War against US and our rights as Americans. The corporations pay OUR representatives big money to protect there profits that is we are sacrificed (jailed) and our rights taken away.

  13. The best way to stop the War on Drugs is to stop the flow of money from corporations to our so called leaders. Stop PAC money (bribe money) that is paid to protect profits of the giant companies. They do not care that lives are ruined and good people are put into jail to be raped they only care about profits. GEO corp. states profits by the number of good non-violent Americans they can put in there private jail (for 45K a head). Go to the WWW read it is easy to see through the lies our leaders feed us daily to ensure the corporate money keeps flowing. They should be put in jail for perpetuating this myth on us and stripping our God given rights as Americans!!

  14. Apparently they are not allowing more than 25 comments…I wonder if they are trying to manipulate the perception of the article…

  15. I do not understand anyone that is not able to see the connection.
    This month McCain voted to give EXXON (the one with record profits due to gouging us) 13.5 billion of our hard earned money. While they (EXXON) contributed 1.4 million to his (McCain’s) campaign.
    The same applies to the War on Drugs the major drug companies (the so called legal drugs that generate billions in profits)also the Liquor industry they contribute millions. To both republicans and democrats in the house and senate. So our representatives vote to keep this weed anyone could grow and solve many of the worlds ills illegal.
    We now have a president and vice president candidates that admit to having used marijuana but they did not get arrested and have there lives ruined by the War on US they were lucky. But they could have, perhaps they will have some compassion on the ones that were not lucky. Those of us that enjoy a smoke and defy the laws that are stupid and put in place for the wrong reason. As well I feel they are illegal and deprive us our freedom of choice as Americans. If they (the candidates for our highest offices) did the same as you and I and tried marijuana and choose not to smoke (for political reasons) should we as Americans not have the same right without fear of having our lives ruined and put in jail??? Or on the other hand if they are admitted marijuana users should they not be put in jail for there CRIME to pay the debt they owe to society? They are admitted criminals even in Alaska it was against FED law. You cannot have it both ways LEGALIZE, REGULATE, TAX take the money saved and pay for universal health care for all!! Help the people not put them in jail for being Americans free Americans!

  16. I to would like Cannabis to be legalized, the problem remains.When Cannabis is legal what about the other end of the”drugwar”? Prohibition?
    END PROHIBITION w/harm reduction the goal.
    Thats the other side of the “drug war”.
    They are both bogus.
    peace

  17. “Apparently they are not allowing more than 25 comments…I wonder if they are trying to manipulate the perception of the article…”
    I noticed the same thing, it might have more to do with server space, I mean, we were pushing 100 comments on the other two articles. But, it is odd that they don’t allow more

  18. I am so very tired of this, Barney Frank has made public announcements about how he is going to introduce the Bill,people who are respected have admitted it should be changed from its current scheduling. This is all fine and good…but give me a break, Jack Herer has published a multitude of articles and the attack is pointed the wrong direction.
    Politicians are well known for their deceit, and abuse of the american way, still they stall and make token gestures towards legalization.It is illegal for all the wrong reasons to start with, its been handled with kid gloves long enough.
    The voters, the public is the villain here, or at least the vast majority won’t come out of the closet, they all want someone else to run the risk, someone else to do their dirty work. They are lying to us regarding most issues, they being the government, but society is comfortable, with cars, homes,and their toys. So they won’t come out and say, yes I smoke pot, and I have for years. Where do they think it all goes, everyday you hear of another bust,who is smoking this pot? There are tons distributed in the United States alone every year. If you are so afraid to risk your safe lifestyle, then don’t complain.
    I am a small time elected official, and involved with the courts, prosecutors, and judges. If everyone who smokes would just stand up(and yes I have), it would be legal tommorrow. Easy Rider, the movie coined a phrase,”Don’t Bogart that joint my Friend”,starting today if your too good to pick up your tired butt and join the struggle, then don’t complain when I do Bogart that joint cause your no friend of mine, and if you won’t fight for your rights you deserve no rights!!
    so sit there and watch me fire one up, I will not share if you won’t share in the efforts of the few.
    Politicians will always be a problem, our system is flawed, but the fact that some college grad is afraid to risk his comfortable way of life then that same person will get none of my stash, they can watch me.
    The silent majority is the problem here and in most other areas of our dysfunctional society, wake up America if you don’t want it bad enough to expose yourself, you don’t want it. In the future, I won’t smoke with or around the parasites that want to benefit from the struggles of the few.
    Heathen Devil Weed, my aunt Fannie.

  19. I am really tired of my rights being violated. I do believe that I have the right to pursue happiness. How is that possible when it is regulated by this wonderful nation we live in. I do my best informing people of NORML and how they can make a difference, the NORML podcasts, and all the other information NORMLS web site has to offer. I encourage everyone to spread the news about NORML. We are on a great start to expressiong how silly it is for alcohol to be legal and marijuana not. I thank NORML, for the great reprenstation, my fellow bloggers for voicing their opinion. Lets continue in gathering more voices and fighting hard daily for this cause.

  20. I am retired and 60 years old.I have been violated by this so called War on Drugs. I dedicate my life to ending this War on US. I read every day of the thousands of lives this war destroys every year. I see the billions thrown away 100 billion yearly of our money not counting the money spent in other countries. Plus the estimated 50 billion lost tax income estimated if marijuana were made legal. I see our representatives ignore the 71% of us that say end this War on US stop enslaving us to preserve corporate profits! This drug was made illegal because it was said to make white women have sex with blacks and our racist forefathers could not have that! Now our so called leaders are addicted to the power and money the war brings to them and many corporate CEOs. We as free Americans are enslaved our property taken away and sacrificed to feed the machine. I say it is time for all Americans stand up and take back control of our country and money and demand our representatives represent our interest as they are sworn to do.

  21. Freedom of speech is at risk another one of our freedoms is in jeopardy. Many people I know enjoy marijuana but they live in fear of our government putting them in jail. They have jobs and work hard they choose not to use liquor because of its serious health consequences and addiction. But they are afraid to speak out to voice the fact that this should be there choice! But our so called representatives keep telling us no you do not have the right to choose! We will choose for you and we choose the one that pays us to make your decision. Liquor not marijuana is what we dictate you must use. So freedom of choice has already been taken away. How many more rights will we allow them to strip from us before we stand and say enough?

  22. Yes, the ONDCP with its “dot org” status as if to suggest it is just a goodly “grass roots” charity movement ought to be top of the list for budget cuts in the coming years. Since we as a nation are going to be facing huge infrastructure-crippling deficits for at least the next decade at the Federal and State level, I can’t think of a government-sponsored program more well suited to get the axe than the ONDCP — I mean really now — come on people!!! Let’s trim the fat for crissakes!!

  23. the hemp plant that marijuana comes from may also be helpful to make paper so we don’t have to cut down anymore trees and so the trees can grow and we can get our air cleaned out

  24. THE FACTS:
    1.Marijuana is not addictive! Liquor is addictive.
    2.You cannot overdose on Marijuana! Liquor it will kill you.
    3.Marijuana can be grown like a weed It helps many. Liquor is controlled by a few and prices are kept high.
    4.Our leaders keep Marijuana illegal for greed. The liquor PAC pays our representatives to keep it that way.
    5.We are enslaved daily to ensure corporate profits.
    6.Our so called leaders sacrifice us to insure the flow of PAC money to them.
    7.Marijuana has almost no adverse health effects Liquor will kill you.
    8. Our representatives will tell any lie to justify Marijuana being illegal.
    9.Even in states where the majority of people have voted it legal Our FEDS will still arrest you under there law that overrides the peoples vote!!
    10.100 billion of our money is wasted every year plus the projected 50 billion lost in tax revenue if made legal that is 150 billion each year. Enough to fund universal health care and have 80 billion left over.
    11. The war on drugs is illegal it strips our rights as free Americans!
    STOP THE WAR ON US NOW!!
    STILL BELIEVE THE LIES LET ME HELP EMAIL ME hood1@hoodstuff.com I can suggest sites where you can learn the truth don’t be a sheep think for yourself!

  25. As I have said I am a retired male 60 years old I do not advocate anyone use drugs.But I fight this war on us ever day. Because I feel the pain of the millions in jail for nothing more than exercising there right to choose for themselves and they should be released. Our so called leaders should end this war started for racist reasons!
    I NEED HELP PLEASE EXPLAIN THIS ONE FOR ME:
    LEGAL DRUGS=
    I sit and and watch TV they push the so called legal drugs all day. Then I hear lawyers saying join our law suit against the so called legal drug makers because there drugs harm and kill you. The so called legal drugs are addictive, stronger, and kill an estimated 100,000 a year based on federal numbers. This is all legal.Yet our leaders wine and dine the Legal Drug companies and favor them with laws that help them sell more at higher prices. They buy Methadone to give to heroin addicts even though it has been proven Methadone is worse for them (other countries have recognized this FACT and have switched to giving heroin again to protect there citizens.) Our country still gives Methadone to protect the profits of the major drug maker.
    ILLEGAL DRUGS=
    Marijuana has never killed anyone the vast majority that use the herb say it is not addictive (our lying leaders say it is) It is used and enjoyed by millions of Americans they want it. States have had votes and made it legal. But the FEDS still arrest us and put us in jail in those states and override the popular vote!
    100 billion is spent yearly to keep this herb illegal and an estimated 50 billion is lost in tax revenue. This would pay for universal health care for all and have 80 billion left over. Yet our so called representatives keep supporting the legal drug makers (the ones that contribute millions to keep MJ illegal)
    THE QUESTION I NEED HELP WITH IS. WHY? COULD IT BE THE SO CALLED LEGAL DRUG MAKERS CANNOT MAKE BILLIONS FROM A WEED ANYONE CAN GROW? THEY CONTRIBUTE MILLIONS TO OUR SO CALLED LEADERS TO KEEP IT ILLEGAL BECAUSE THEY WOULD LOSE PROFITS? SIMPLE AIN’T IT? LET ME KNOW IF YOU CAN COME UP WITH ANOTHER REASON WHY IT IS ILLEGAL hood1@hoodstuff.com

  26. Most people know that the “drug czar”, — the director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) — is an advocate for the government’s position regarding the drug war. But not everyone knows that he and his office are mandated to tell lies as part of their Congressional authorization.
    According to Title VII Office of National Drug Control Policy Reauthorization Act of 1998: H11225:
    Responsibilities. –The Director– […]
    (12) shall ensure that no Federal funds appropriated to the Office of National Drug Control Policy shall be expended for any study or contract relating to the legalization (for a medical use or any other use) of a substance listed in schedule I of section 202 of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 812) and take such actions as necessary to oppose any attempt to legalize the use of a substance (in any form) that–is listed in schedule I of section 202 of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 812); and
    has not been approved for use for medical purposes by the Food and Drug Administration;
    For example, the issue of medical marijuana. If the government finds that marijuana has “currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States” or “accepted safety for use of the drug under medical supervision,” then by law, marijuana cannot remain in Schedule 1 of the Controlled Substances Act, which would immediately legalize it for medical purposes.
    But by law, the drug czar must oppose any attempt to legalize the use of cannabis (in any form). Therefore, despite the fact that there is extensive evidence of medical marijuana’s safety and effectiveness (including the fact that even the federal government supplies it to patients), and clearly the drug czar would know about all this information, he is required by law to lie about it. The job description also means that since he must oppose any attempt to legalize, he has no choice but declare that the drug war is working, that legalization would fail, etc., regardless of any scientific facts.
    This is particularly disturbing because on Tuesday, July 15, the Bush Administration’s second-in-command of national drug policy, Scott Burns, visited Humboldt County as part of a California tour to condemn the state of the illegal cannabis industry. Burns, deputy director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) met with county officials, participated in a sweep of grow houses in Eureka and points south, then came to Arcata. He spread so much misinformation during his visit, including in this interview. This “misleading information” creates undue fear in Congress, the media, and the American populus. It’s extremely difficult to make progress on scientific and medical grounds regarding cannabis when the White House pays official to supply “misleading information”.
    On April 2, 2003, Congressman Ron Paul wrote a letter to the United States General Accounting Office (GAO) asking for an investigation into ONDCP lobbying activities and their dissemination of “misleading information” (a polite euphemism for “lying”)
    The GAO responded (pdf):
    Finally, apart from considerations of whether any particular law has been violated, you have asked whether the Deputy Director’s letter disseminated misleading information in connection with statements relating to the debate over legalization of marijuana. […] ONDCP is specifically charged with the responsibility for “taking such actions as necessary to oppose any attempt to legalize the use” of certain controlled substances such as marijuana — a responsibility which logically could include the making of advocacy statements in opposition to legalization efforts. The Deputy Director’s statements about marijuana are thus within the statutory role assigned to ONDCP. Given this role, we do not see a need to examine the accuracy of the Deputy Director’s individual statements in detail.
    Translation: Since “lying” is in the job description of the ONDCP, there’s no point in bothering to see whether they’re telling the truth. Keep in mind that this requirement to avoid the truth if it interferes with the mission of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy is not limited to the current drug czar, John Walters and Scott Burns. The next drug czar, even if appointed by a President who tepidly supports certain reform measures, will be constrained by the same job description defined by Congress.””
    This was taken from stopthedrugwars.com and con be verified through this ONDCP government website: http://www.whitehousedrugpolicy.gov/about/98reauthorization.html
    The ONDCP is required to OPPOSE any legalization efforts of cannabis for ANY purpose including medical, so don’t take what they say as truth. They are allowed to LIE about science and statistics if it prevents legalization of cannabis

  27. Over 900 people have been killed in homicides related to the drug trade in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico. This has presented a serious concern about border security. El Paso might be next in this drug battle. Unfortunately, our laws allow this to happen. Let me explain.
    When the United States passed an Amendment banning liquor, it gave up all control over the substance. People still wanted their hooch, and gangsters were ready to provide it. Many people were killed because alcohol was illegal. Some died from the violence associated with bootlegging. Others died from improperly made alcohol.
    Now, we have the same problem. Smoking cannabis is a choice that people make. It is no different than choosing to drink (except it is safer than drinking). Yet, we continue to keep it illegal at the expense of death and destruction of good citizens. Gangs now have incredible power and lots of money. The reward for dealing is incredible. The drug cartels make millions of easy money. However, if you decriminalize or legalize cannabis, you regain that control. Now, we can go after the drug cartels instead of incarcerating some guy who happens to have an ounce of cannabis for personal use. Economically, it makes no sense for the drug cartels to continue the illegal drug trade. The risks began to outweigh the reward. Those who continue become easier to get and prosecute.
    This Drug war is nothing but a sham to arrest good citizens and continue a police state. Too much money is being made by private prison corporations because of minor drug offenders. We need change, and we need to show compassion to users of hard drugs. Cannabis is not a hard drug, but a choice people make. Whether it be for personal enjoyment or for medical purposes, it is a choice. A better choice than drinking alcohol or smoking tobacco in my honest opinion (and in what studies show). De-criminalize or legalize. Treat the hard drugs for what they are: social problems, spiritual problems, and medical problems. Open room in prison for real criminals, like rapist and murderers (people who actually hurt others).

  28. It is 12 PM I sit in my living room with the TV in the background. I try and think of something that will stop this War set upon us by our country. I point out the economics, lives ruined, illegality, waste, the filling of the jails, loss of our freedom, Nazi like response, even the cops at LEAP say Drug Abuse is Bad. The War on Drugs is Worse! I feel we cannot gain control of our country using reason and truth. It is time to march and demand our rights be returned and the day of Punish and Enslave are over.

  29. Excellent point Herbilicious! Knowing my rebuttal to the ONDCP was running a tad long, I didn’t include what really is a fundamental point to the anti-democratic component built right into the the Drug Czar’s mission statement.
    Want to hazard a guess who helped create such nefarious language and championed the creation of the ONDCP?
    Answer: Democratic Vice-Presidential candidate Senator Joseph Biden!
    Thanks for your input and support,
    -Allen
    NORML
    Most people know that the “drug czar”, — the director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) — is an advocate for the government’s position regarding the drug war. But not everyone knows that he and his office are mandated to tell lies as part of their Congressional authorization.
    According to Title VII Office of National Drug Control Policy Reauthorization Act of 1998: H11225:
    Responsibilities. –The Director– […]
    (12) shall ensure that no Federal funds appropriated to the Office of National Drug Control Policy shall be expended for any study or contract relating to the legalization (for a medical use or any other use) of a substance listed in schedule I of section 202 of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 812) and take such actions as necessary to oppose any attempt to legalize the use of a substance (in any form) that–is listed in schedule I of section 202 of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 812); and
    has not been approved for use for medical purposes by the Food and Drug Administration;
    For example, the issue of medical marijuana. If the government finds that marijuana has “currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States” or “accepted safety for use of the drug under medical supervision,” then by law, marijuana cannot remain in Schedule 1 of the Controlled Substances Act, which would immediately legalize it for medical purposes.
    But by law, the drug czar must oppose any attempt to legalize the use of cannabis (in any form). Therefore, despite the fact that there is extensive evidence of medical marijuana’s safety and effectiveness (including the fact that even the federal government supplies it to patients), and clearly the drug czar would know about all this information, he is required by law to lie about it. The job description also means that since he must oppose any attempt to legalize, he has no choice but declare that the drug war is working, that legalization would fail, etc., regardless of any scientific facts.

  30. I have been using cannabis for over 30 years on a daily basis. My IQ is just as high, my homeschooled daughter is on the honor role and plays golf, my criminal and driving records are clean, etc., etc. Nobody’s ever died from it. Internal combustion engines were run on hemp oil the first 30 years. The fiber makes the best rope, clothing and paper. It’s VERY renewable. Our forefathers believed in it and used it in many ways. I could go on for days why it is a MAJOR asset for mankind and the environment. I have yet, in 30 years, to hear ONE bad thing about it (besides the fact that ignorant and corrupt politicians have caused it to be a black-market gold mine). Stand up folks! We all KNOW that it’s worth is a million times more than it’s faults (if there are any). In a world full of chemicals and ‘altered’ food, this is one NATURAL thing that can actually help. Please pressure Congress (who drink like fish and take prescription drugs) to wake up and change the laws!

  31. Our jails and prisons are overcrowded with people that were arrested for “drug offenses.” Many of those incarcerated were found guilty of marijuana offenses and face heavy sentences. Yet, I used to have a boss that was caught manufacturing and selling meth and who was in possession of assault weapons. He received PROBATION. Meth is one of the most awful drugs; it eats your body from the inside out. Yet he got probation. Marijuana has been attributed to ZERO deaths…at least I can’t find any recorded deaths…EVER. When will the government finally open their eyes and see that even alcohol, which is legal for adult consumption, creates a larger problem and leads to criminal behavior (drunk driving, reckless behavior, deaths, motor vehicle accidents, domestic abuse, the list goes on) and that marijuana does not create criminal behaviors?
    The marijuana laws as they currently sit CREATE CRIMINALS. People that use marijuana, in my experience, would rather stay at home or carry on in a peaceful manner. By using prohibition to “combat” marijuana, criminals are being made of otherwise law-abiding people.
    I live in a college town…I see the effects of drinking everyday…drunken college kids vandalising nearly everything, peeing outdoors-often on people’s cars, park benches, sidewalks, being loud and disturbing the peace, and getting in their cars to drive-which creates a hazard to the public at large. The use of cannabis does NOT create this type of behavior. Most of the users of cannabis that I know are peaceful people who have clean records.
    The other issue I feel is important is that cannabis users have roadblocks to being successful in the form of drug tests. I know well educated college graduates that cannot get better employment because they could not pass a urinalysis because they use marijuana. I find urinalysis to be against my (and others’) right to privacy. What you do on your own time is none of an employers’ business. If you come to work high/drunk/under the obvious influence, then yes, I can see a drug test as necessary. But if you use responsibly on your own time, it’s really none of their business.
    Thank you for reading,
    Molly Wonser

  32. i think it is so dumb that pot is still illegal that it isn’t funney. you have one off the worrse drugs ever known to man kind (that being alchol) legal and one off the lease worse drugs illegal. something is very wrong here. the people should be able too smoke pot if they want to do so. they can go out and drink and drive and get as many dwi’s or dui’s as they want and still get behind the wheel off a car and drive. they also can go home or stay at home and get drunk and bet up the girl friend or the other way around and nothing is done to the person the is doing this, to put it short they have it back wards pot legal alchol illegeal. dave s.

  33. If the government considers marijuana to be so dangerous–despite the fact that there is no record of it ever killing a single human being in its centuries long use, as opposed to the millions killed each year by the combination of alcohol and tobacco, which are also drugs which DO harm others, as opposed to marijuana–and we all know and recognize that the principle psychoactive ingredient in marijuana is T.H.C, then why do they allow the pharmaceutical companies to manufacture dronabinol (trade name Marinol) which is 100% pure T.H.C, and is a Schedule 3 drug! A Schedule 3 drug is described as “a drug which has medicinal benefits and a low potential for abuse.”
    It can be called in by a doctor over the phone!
    Yet natural marijuana, put here on Earth by God, or Nature, or–as Thomas Jefferson liked to say, “Nature’s God”–is a Schedule one substance, and the government claims, under this Scheduling that it has “no medical benefits, and a HIGH potential for abuse!”
    How can the same exact chemical have “many medical uses and a low potential for abuse when put in a pill and manufactured by Big Pharma, when the natural plant, containing the exact same chemical, has “no medical benefits, and a high potential for abuse?”
    And the argument that “it’s because of the other toxins in the smoke,”doesn’t hold water, since marijuana can be cooked and eaten, or inhaled through vaprization, which eliminates all the toxic smoke–like that found in legal tobacco (so it’s really a non-issue anyway)–and burns at a temperature that only releases the beneficial cannabinoids–one of which, G.B.H, actually moderates the psychoactivity of T.H.C and these cannabinoids have many beneficial medicinal properties only found in whole, natural cannabis, and which interact with the human body’s own endocannabinoid system.
    The fact is, there are NOT superior drugs for many of the ailments marijuana can treat. It’s the best medicine for narrow glaucoma, it can’t be beat for reducing nausea and helping to stimulate the appetite after chemotherapy and aids treatments. and new evidenc has shown that it kills cancer cells in a number of types of cancer–prostate, breats, and brain cancer, to name a few. It has also recently been shown to be a useful tool in creating antibiotics to treat organisms that have become immune to known antibiotics.
    These are serious diseases, and funding should be given abundantly to researh these new uses, which could be groundbreaking.
    But anyone with intelligence knows that pot’s prohibition has nothing at all to do with health. Big Pharma is able to get away with selling pure THC as a
    Schedule 3 drug because they have dozens of lobbyists and pour millions into the campaign coffers of our politicians.
    Marijuana’s prohibition has nothing to do with science or health. If those were truly the government’s concerns, they would outlaw alcohol, which is one of the most dangerous drugs known to man, which not only hurts the person consuming it, but often kills others who happen to get in the way of the drunk’s reackless driving, or set off his or her temper. Tobacco kills almost half of the people who use it, and second hand smoke affects the health of others, they say–although I find that to bea bit of a strech. We always worry about the wrong things. People get more lung damage from just breathing in the air in a new bathroom that has a new shower curtain. That new shower curtain smell is made by the release of toxic chemicals released from the PVC content of the curtain.
    Another thing: terrorism. Sure, it exists, and it’s horrible. But if you discount our illegal, pre-emptive invasions ofiraq and Afganistan (which fly in the face of the Principles established at Nuremberg when dealing with the Germans, and the laws of the U.N. Charter, which we most drafted; our invasions of those two countries met neither Articles 7 or 52 under legal reasons to engage in war. Anyway, if you discount the deaths that have occurred to these invasions, more people die, in the U.S. alone, than die from ALL of international terrorism COMBINED!
    The government, mainly the neo-cons and “blue-dog” democrats, have allowed the fear-mongering of the GOPS, who never miss an opportunity to bring up 9/11, to get to them, and have passed draconian laws which are in direct conflict with our Constitution and which have eviserated the first 10 amendments of the Constituion, the Bill of Rights, the document which lays out our Civil Liberties and Rights as American citizens.
    The so-called “Patriot” Act that was passed-the first one-was actually not the Bill that Congress had read and debated. Just hours before the vote on the Bill, members of the White House replaced the vetted Bill with a “secret” White-House version, that not one member of Congress had read.
    Yet they passed the Bill anyway. One of the provisions of this now Law (just to give you an idea of how un-Constitutional and draconian it is)allows Federal agents to break into and enter any American citizen’s home, search and seize whatever they want, and never even tell the owner(s)/tenant(s) that they were there!
    How does this law co-exist with the 4th amendment?
    I’ll tell you how: in no way. It doesn’t. These laws have eviserated the Billof Rights,IMO, this surrender of our most basic rights is the greatest act of cowardice and surrender to terrorism we could possibly commit! Far, far, far greater a surrender than withdrawing our troops from an illegal, immoral, bankrupting war on a country that never attacked us, never had W.M.D.s and was never a threat to us or to our allies. It has always been about 2 things :carbon resources (oil and natural gas) and U.S. Imperial Expansion.
    Another big reason pot has been kept illegal is due to the lobbying efforts of the alcohol industry, the pharmaceutical industry, the for-profit prison industry, and the pressure from all the people who make their livings from destroying the lives of people who decide to choose a safer and alternative form of relation, one that doesn’t cause a massive hangover the next morning. And most of the poeple whose lives they destroy are usually destroyed for mere possession. It is also a form of continuing rascism, as African Americans have a much higher rate of incarceration, despite statistics that show whites smoke just as much, or even more, cannabis than African Americans.One reason a lot of people don’t recognize is that America is the only industrialized nation in the world that doesn’t grow hemp. Hemp does not contain T.H.C.–or only in such minute quantities, that one could smoke a bale of it and still not get high. Yet, in America, hemp and pot are considered the same thing. Hemp can be used to make over a 1000 different products, many of them that usually require oil to make..it would also be a powerful biodiesal, and one that doesn’t affect the food chain. So, you also have the oil companies wanting hemp (or, in the U.S., pot)kept illegal, as well as textile industries, as hemp also makes great clothes, and of course rope.
    Here’s another interesting fact: a few years back, a law was either pased, or attempting to be passed, to make government employees, State and federal, take random drug tests. Well, a group of them got together, fought it, (I think it went all the way to a Supreme Court)and won, with the Judge finding that random drug tests,without probable cause, violates our 4th amendments rights.
    Yet, the Federal government continues to strongly encourage private businesses (which are not bound by the law, for some reason;I guess you only have 4th amendment rights if you’re a government employee)to screen employees for drugs. They used to–and probably still do–offer tax incentives for those who do this, become a “drug free workplace.”
    Now, I don’t think people should use drugs at work, but the test for pot doesn’t even test for THC, it tests for its metabolite, which can stay in one’s urine for up to a month from a single use, especially in people who don’t drink a lot of water, or are overweight, as this metabolite is stored in fat cells.
    So, a person could smoke half a joint on a Friday night after work, and test positive 2 weeks later, even though they haven’t smoked any since! Drug testing is another big industry that wants pot kept illegal.
    So, it’s not about health, or logic, or any of that. it’s about politics, money, and the domination of corporate special interests.
    Mussolini once said: “Fascism should really be called ‘Corporatism,’ because it is the perfect merger
    between Corporation(s) and State”– (the government)-words in brackets are mine, there for clarification.

  34. Sorry about the typos! I guess I should have proofread it more carefully. Hopefully, everyone can overlook this, and where there are mistakes, discern the meaning, which is what is important, and move onward.
    Thanks!
    Sincerely,
    Alan.

  35. People need to recall that it was Joe Biden (Obama’s chosen running mate) who was the author of the bill that created the ONDCP. None of the so-called “viable” or “electable” candidates will do ANYTHING to change the status quo of the second prohibition, not for marijuana, not for any other “illicit” drug. Ron Paul is the only one who would have done anything, don’t pin your hopes on Bob Barr either, look at his record in congress and you will see he was one of the worst offenders in making the prohibition more harmful to society. I, for one, do not believe he has actually changed his mind on the subject, I think, like most politician, he will do and say ANYTHING to get in office, even to lying about his “turnaround” on the drug war issue. We are not going to end prohibition by counting on elected officials or candidates for elected positions, they are mostly liars and thieves (with VERY few exceptions, like Ron Paul).
    You should also know that just one state having declared marijuana medically useful should have ended the fed gov’s claim that it is not recognized as medically useful:
    “The DEA [should be] under fire for not re-scheduling Cannabis out of schedule I, where it has been illegally kept, ever since 1996 when the state of California accepted cannabis as a legitimate medicine with “accepted medical use in the U.S.” The law does not require all states to find “Accepted Medical Use” only one, however 12 other states have agreed with California that Marijuana has “Accepted Medical Use.” All these states allow marijuana use, possession and cultivation at home. Because Marijuana has “Accepted Medical use in the U.S,” according to the express terms of PP (8)(b)(1)(A)-(C), marijuana can not legally be listed in schedule I. 21 CFR P. 1308.11 i.e. Schedule I.”
    And also that since 2003, the fed gov holds the patent on cannabinoids for medical use. Talk about hypocrisy:
    “your government currently holds U.S. Patent # 6,630,507 claiming: ‘Cannabinoids have been found to have antioxidant properties… cannabinoids are found to have particular applications as neuroprotectants… limiting neurological damage following… stroke and trauma… or in treatment of neurodegenerative diseases… such as Alzheimer’s… Parkinson’s… and HIV dementia’.”
    We need to broadcast this information far and wide so as to embarrass the federal government, publicly, over their war on marijuana.

  36. Bareny FRank Perfectly EXplains WHat the Goverenment has Done to Society today:
    “The federal government’s misguided prohibition of marijuana is a war on young people,”. “Because of this failed public policy we have alienated an entire generation to believe that the police and the federal government are instruments of their oppression rather than their protection.”-Barney Frank
    That is the true state of our society and is what will turn americas youth Against us, Because of Lies and Corruption are government puts out.
    Legalize it , Because something as simple and harmless as marijuana being illegal will turn us away from you GOVT

  37. I work with veteran’s at a very large VA hospital. All VA’s are affiliated with the local medical school and are teaching facilities for the nation’s supply of physicians, therapists, nurses and all other medical professionals that are in short supply.
    All vets that I have spoken with about the subject are either currently using marijuana for their pain, anxiety, etc. or are open to the idea to help them defray the cost of medicines, the side effects of pharmeceuticals, the cost of gas to travel to the VA to pick up ‘free’ prescriptions, etc.
    The sole affect of not only legalizing, but distribution of marijuana for vets and their physicians to use at they see fit would be an economic boom to this country akin to a drop of $100 a barrel in oil prices.
    This does not include the reduction of taxes in, attorney fees, prosecutors fees, judges fees, incarceration fees to prosecute marijuana law offenders.
    NORML keep on rollin!!!!!!!!!

  38. Please add my name to the growing list of supporters for the legalization of marijuana. I have written to Congress and the Senate in support of passing H.R.5843. I have gotten the canned party line response, as expected.
    It’s an election year and I for one, will not vote to re-elect any of my state’s current representatives because they all spout the lies and propaganda dictated by the special interest groups: AMA, BIG Pharmeceutical companies, liquor lobby and DEA. There is just no sane argument for keeping marijuana illegal. The only insanity is in keeping the current law-makers employed by your state.
    Vote for almost anyone other than the current legislature and perhaps, before they’re bought off too, the laws can be changed. If things aren’t changed for the better, and soon, there may be a massive migration by American Citizens to other countries with more liberties available to us than we currently have here – in the supposedly free United States of America.

  39. Save 400,000 lives each year! Work to pass a law that demands that cigarette makers must substitute cannabis for tobacco in their product or face prosecution.

  40. I am puzzled as to why a prominent argument against cannabis seems to be that “many people just smoke it to get high”. How many “non-criminal” offenses are pleasureful yet bear a certain amount of risk? For instance food. Many people just eat it because they are hungry and like food. High fructose corn syrup, partially hydrogenated oils, trans-fats, msg – the list goes on- are added to make food taste better but have a list of harmful “side-effects” such as weight-gain, heart-disease, diabetes and stroke.
    Are our congressmen and women, law-enforcement agents, senators and other legislative bodies committed to eating only those foods that are used for fuel and not pleasure? Should any foods that bring pleasure without nutritional value be banned because “many people eat them only because they taste good”?

  41. Wow there is so much useful information here. You would think that our gov. would read and wake up on this issue. Are they waiting for a revolution? Can this be done? I am willing to go to the White House and voice my opinion and I even might put a bag of good stuff in the Vice Presidents car and then call the police and let them know he is holding. Boy would that be a laugh. Would we be talking ” Cover UP” But the gov. is based on so much covering up this and that. And instead of leading us they are trashing the good Ole USA. They (gov) does not follow what the people want. To me we should have a revolution. We need to JUST SAY NO TO THEM and the man made laws that they have in acted to control us “The People” How many of you would be willing to go to the White House or to your local State capital and just light one up. Can you get masses to join you? Can we perform this all on one day? They could not arrest all of us at one time. They would have to say we have a voice. I have been smoking since I was 15, I am well respected in my neighbor hood. I work 40 hrs for someone else that controls my income, I have a fairly nice house, I encourage my children to join NORML and to send emails to their local Representative (Which is Randy Forbes) he will not even consider the thought of decrimalzation of MJ. this is sad when you elect a person (yes I vote) and then that person uses his power and avoids the people that put him in position. I say lets all JUST SAY NO to our government (State & Federal) When will the revolution begin? When will the True Americans (yes I am talking lower & Middle class) speak up and help change this crummy system that was put in place many years ago and make a major change. Quit taking our jobs away. Quit reducing the way to make a living in the USA (quit sending our work and our future out of the USA) At least if we legalized MJ we would be creating a product that can be manufactured and sold to the USA and maybe some exporting so we can bring money back into the USA instead of sending our jobs to other countries.

  42. I want to make one more comment aboutthe harmful effects that are caused by the campaign to demonize marijuana.
    Awhile back..oh, I think it’s been about half a year ago, that I read about this, our “Drug Czar” came out with the statement that “Marijuana was the most dangerous drug of all, more dangerous than heroin.”
    Now, you can imagine a teen seeing or hearing this, as part of the never-ending anti-marijuana propaganda effort, which all studies have shown actually increase the probability that minors will experiment with cannabis, and storing this nugget of disinformation away.
    Then, let’s say, a year later, the minor tries marijuana a few times, and finds that it doesn’t make him violent, schizophrenic, or act completely retarded, or do any of the things he’s been told through these anti-marijuana propaganda ads.
    Then, let’s say, next time he goes to his drug dealer–who wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for prohibition–and the dealer offers him a real good deal on some heroin, and does his drug-dealer spin about how cool heroin is. At first, the minor is reluctant, because he’s heard from some older friends, that while pot wasn’t that bad a thing–although they said he was too young to be smoking–that cocaine and heroin, drugs about which you almost never see the same kind of anti-drug ads, were very dangerous.
    But then that ad that said marijuana was far more dangerous than heroin pops back into his mind. He figures his friends are probably just saying that because they saw the same ad, but, unlike him, didn’t see that if they had lied about the affects of marijuana, and marijuana was supposedly worse than heroin, then heroin must be safe.
    Because there’s no education about heroin, like how much one should do as a first time user–because people believe that “would be sending the wrong message,” they always say–usually while sipping an alcoholic beverage or a cup of coffee, both drugs–the kid doesn’t know what he’s doing, and does entirely too much. By the time morning rolls around, he has been dead for hours.
    Now, who is truly responsible for thiskid’s death? I would say the “Drug Czar” bears as much responsibility as the drug dealer!
    Legalization and regulation would remove a lot of drug dealers from our streets. It would make it harder for minors to get marijuana, as drug dealers don’t card, but these minors wouldn’t even be allowed in a store that sold legal cannabis to responsible adults.
    The same kind of laws would apply to marijuana that do to alcohol–no doing it while working, driving, etc. And there is a test that will determine if a person is currently intoxicated on marijuana and not just positive from something he did a week or month ago–a blood test, in which a specific smount within the blood would indicate intoxication, and cause the arrest of that person for D.W.I. These test are reliable, as THC stay within the blood in a concentration that can easily establish a threshold limit.
    Also, the mere fact that marijuana is legal will dter a lot of minors from trying it, merely by removing the taboo, as well as the commercials. Thesurest way to get a teen to do something is to make it taboo, mysterious, and absolutely prohibited.
    What works much better is educational campaigns like those directed at tabacco from “Truth.”
    Just as some people can drink responsibly, and others abuse it, the same is true with marijuana. Except that abuse of marijuana is a lot less likely to cause serious problems, like inciting violence; also, most people who are “high” realize they are impaired, and do not wish to drive, as opposed toalcohol, which often gives peoplethe impression that they are actually better drivers when drunk! Alcohol also incites violence in many, and suicidal depression in others.
    The worse consequence of smoking marijuana is arrest. As Jimmy Carter once said, the punishment should not be worse than use of the substance.
    The people that end up in substance abuse centers for pot are there because they have been forced to attend (I would say 98% of them are there unwillingly)
    in order to avoid jail, or as part of their parole.
    Alcohol and tobacco are both psychologically AND physically addictive, and it’s this last element that
    makes it so difficult for people to stop. They say cigarettes are almost as adictive as heroin. I think that’s an overstatement, but they are certainly highly addictive and very difficult to stop.
    Alcoholics wake up in the morning shaking so bad they can barely poor the shot of whiskey they need to stop that shaking. Yet, as dangerous as this drug is,
    the government and the people decided that prohibition was worse, that it caused more problems.
    Why is that same argument not true for a drug that is not physically addictive? I smoked marijuana for years, and when I quit, the only problem I experienced was difficulty sleeping for a few days. I took some melatonin, which is what one’s brain produces to induce sleep, until I could sleep fine without it within a week. Other than that, I suffered no ill effects. My I.Q. had not dropped. In fact, I actually scored two points higher.
    I’m not saying marijuana is for everyone. People with mental problems should seek the advice of a mental health expert–a psychiatrist, not a psychologist, as psychiatrists are trained almost as extensively as M.D.s in internal medicine, pharmaceuticals, etc, as well as the psychological training they receive, before ever taking any kind of substance with psychoactive properties. People prone to abuse should avoid using marijuana, except when recommended by a doctor. Sometimes, marijuana can be used to help treat addiction to cigarettes and/or alcohol, and I’m sure, if more research were allowed, we would find a multitude of applications for cannabis–but that’s something Big Pharma and other Corporations don’t want.
    Nevertheless, it’s what the people want, and legislature in a democracy is supposed to reflect that,
    not the special interests of a few corporations that are afraid they’ll only make 4 million a year if marijuana were legalized, instead of the 5 million they usually make.
    Marijuana consumers are no longer a fringe minority. Now, both liberals and conservatives smoke it; doctors, lawyers, architects, engineers, computer analyists, bankers, Chefs, etc, etc. smoke it.Between 70 and 80 percent of Americans support either legalization or decriminalization, with no criminal record, or loss of grants, unemployment benefits, or other taxpayer funded programs. Most of us would happily agree not to grow our own, too–it could even be kept illegal, or only legal with a license tht was nearly impossible to aquire. I think most Americans, if they could go to a store and purchase quality marijuana for a reasonable price(and it would be very cheap to grown..tobacco companies, instead of protestingit, should encorage legalization, and they could take over growing it and rolling it) would be happy with that, and would never risk any criminal penalties for dealing outside the regulated system. Most cannabis smokers are law-abiding, tax-paying citizens, and smoking marijuana is the only illegal activity in which they engage. They continue to do it despite the risks because it does have a very stress-relieving property, does not cause hangovers, does not cause one to become mentally incompetent, as does alcohol after a cretain point, and causes a delightful increase in one’s perceptions, with sounds, colors, and textures becoming more vivid; and it also releases one’s creativity and humor from its often stress-bound captiviy. Also, it just doesn’t seem like smoking the flowers/buds of a natural plant should be illegal. The
    government should have no say over what we put in our bodies as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else.
    Legalization and regulation of marijuana would also, of course, generate enormous tax revenues so we could start re-working our infrastructure to support electric cars and alternative energies, without raising taxes. Planting hemp and marijuana in large quantities would eat up a lot of carbon dioxide while releasing fresh air.
    It’s a win-win. And finally, itwouldn’t really hurt the alcohol or oil industry. We need to save oil formore important things. People who like beer, like beer, and people who like pot like pot, and just because it were legalized,would not cause anyone that didn’t like it before to start liking it now. It would allow cops to focus on real crimes, like rape, murder, and police brutality! And truly harmful drugs, like methamphetamine.
    But even with the worst of drugs, unless theuser has committed crimes, which they will have to face the music for, they should be handled like alcoholics–people in the grip of a disease, and should be treated by the health department, not the ciminal justice system. That only turns them into true criminals.
    So, it’s a win-win. But all of us who smoke,or have smoked, or simply beieve in the right to be able to smoke, need to speak out! If we all spoke out, they
    would have to listen, because we number in the millions!

  43. I am a person that takes roughly 30 pills a night. I am Bi-polar…I would rather smoke weed and laugh and eat than take pills that make me sick and affect my ulcers to the point that they bleed. I go on a med for one thing then have to go on anouther med to control what that med does to MY BODY and so on and so on. It never ends for me. Missouri is the ONLY state that has nothing set. And I can say that Missouri is really cracking down. There have been more raids on pot smokers than on Meth labs. What is the deal with that?
    The people in high places that have no real rules need to come down off thier high horses and let the PEOPLE speak for what THEY want…Thats what OUR Government is SUPPOSED to be there for anyway…FOR THE PEOPLE BY THE PEOPLE! Well listen up guys the PEOPLE are SPEAKING so HEAR US!!!! We elect YOU remeber? Stop letting the Big drug companies make the money and let US decide if we want to us a LESSER drug such as Marijuana to control our symptoms…I would rather keep my liver and the rest of my internal organs and smoke a little weed than take these pills that involve mood swings,physical reactions,emotional roller coaster and the rest of the works. I stand behind NORML and everything they are trying to do. Thank You NORML and all those involved in trying to help the rest of US have a voice.

  44. It should be obvious to the ONDCP, as well as OUR ELECTED REPRESENTATIVES in the government, that what they are seeing is revolution. The patriots of this country are screaming for freedom. Our rights have been stripped from us and we don’t like it. Our REPRESENTATIVES should wake up and realize that they are employed as OUR REPRESENTATIVES because they were elected to REPRESENT their constituencies, we, the people of the United States of America. If 71% of the people of the United States of America say: “decriminalize drugs”, then what are the REPRESENTATIVES doing? Who are they REPRESENTING? From what I see – Not the people who elected them, not the people of the United States of America.
    The war on drugs has become a war on the American people. We are 5% of the world’s population, yet 1/4 of the world’s prison population is in the land of the free – The United States of America. 1 in 100 American adults are in prison in the U.S. The United States government has turned America into a country of criminals. It may be that only a fraction of inmates are in prison for drugs alone, but I will bet that the mass majority are in for an action that was directly related to illegal drugs. Whoever it is that does this kind of survey should survey the prison population and see what the results are.
    Illegal drugs creates a black market. The black market creates what we are seeing all over the world – the rise of the Drug Cartels. I do not see how the U.S. government officials can not see that the policy is the cause of the problem. By keeping drugs illegal the government fuels the black market. Whether its marijuana, cocaine or heroin, if people want it, they will find a way to get it. AND somebody will find a way to sell it to them. The only way to clean up this mess is to decriminalize drugs. Let me or my neighbor or my brother or my aunt or my mother or my grandfather, or whomever, choose for ourselves what we put into our bodies. Our constitution guarantees us the right to the pursuit of happiness, however we choose to pursue it. The U.S. government is in violation of our rights.
    I think everyone who has ever been cited, arrested, imprisoned, or violated in any way by The War on Drugs should join forces and file a class action suit against the federal government for violation of their constitutional rights. People, like David Ertel, who found himself in prison for 10 years because he was “set-up”.
    David, if no one else apologizes to you for the disgraceful abuse that you received at the hands of the our government, even though I am not in the position to do so, as an American citizen, please accept my apology, not only for your suffering and loss of your obviously beloved wife, but also for not speaking out sooner.

  45. Awesome guys..
    Also, anyone in the Orlando area, there will be “The Great Marijuana Debate” in a Heads vs Feds political thrashing with Kris Krane from SSDP taking on Kevin Sabet from the DEA. The event is on Wednesday September 24 at 7:00pm. Keep the debates alive!

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