Dickinson College Debate On Cannabis Legalization Now Online

My recent debate with Cumberland County District Attorney David Freed at Dickinson College on September 4 in now online for viewing. Public debates at places such as colleges and universities are crucial in educating the public about alternatives to cannabis prohibition. Interested individuals and parties that would like to establish a NORML chapter or sponsor a debate between NORML and a proponent of cannabis prohibition are encouraged to contact NORML.


0 thoughts

  1. Freed dodges multiple direct questions in relation to violence, science, and the like being associated to cannabis use. Allen just presented the facts.

  2. I enjoyed the debate. Very valid points and very interesting questions. Now if we could only get people talking about these things around Florida or Alabama. Out of all the places I’ve been (which aren’t many), I think if anyone is more against cannabis than anyone it would have to be people in the “Bible Belt”, aka south Alabama. Hope to see more of these debates in the near future.

  3. I love how they admit in the beginning that they don’t even test anymore because “No one ever passed”. So enforcement by their own admission is a complete failure!

  4. I actually listened to this debate when it first went up on the Dickinson College website. Allen did more than a great job, and I must say I was impressed with David Freed’s restraint, as he stated several times that he “thinks private conduct in one’s own home should remain private.” I think he knew not to go crazy with lies before an educated audience so he didn’t come off looking like the typical flat-earth, kill-em-all drug warrior. That said, I was rolling on the floor when he tried to say a recent murder was the result of a drunk guy smoking cannabis…
    Still, it would have been interesting to see the gloves come off a little bit further!

  5. NORML Executive easily won that debate. The opponent to legalization was clearly at a loss for words sometimes. I hope we win this.

  6. Dave Freed is an interesting guy and unlike most drug warriors, he seems to have a brain, and yet while Allen was talking actual facts and numbers, Mr. Freed just seems to reply with oh, thats not the case. When Allen said 90% of Glaucoma patients respond fine to conventional meds but 10% dont and would embrace medical cannabis, Freed says well there are other conventional meds for glaucoma, completely ignoring the 10% of sufferers (2.4 million) who those treatments do not work on.

  7. It felt to me that Mr. Freed only had one argument and he was just constantly rewording it. “Potential for abuse and violence”.
    Stellar debate!

  8. Just found it on youtube. I noticed that Mr. Freed largely argued from personal experience and his own town’s legal sytsem, while Mr. St Pierre argued from a statistical and fact-based standpoint. A lot of Mr. Freed’s arguements were rendered largely invalid because the premises were used the converse fallacy of accident: They took an exception or a single instance and generalized it to an entire situation, as seen with the two tragic murders. Mr. Freed argues from a personal standpoint, but fails to realize that his examples cannot be generalized to the population, but rather the specific instances in which he saw the problem. Just because these two people were killed with cannabis in their system does not mean that cannabis caused it (a correlation-causation fallacy in and of itself). This was further testified to by the young man who stood up and claimed that he knew one of the murderers to be a deeply disturbed and violent person. It’s quite clear that cannabis wasn’t responsible for the murder. The person was. A lot of Freed’s testimony doesn’t stand up because it’s supported by subjective opinion, rather than scientific studies and data.
    Here’s the debate on youtube. Note to NORML: You might want to link to this in the blog.

  9. It was nice to see that DA Freed was actually a human being unlike most hysterical drug warriors. That being said, our most glaring victory was during the Q&A portion when the woman basically asked point blank: “How is alcohol legal while marijuana isn’t?”, and he stammered and stuttered until finally tip-toeing around the question. For me, this argument often boils down to this hypocracy.

  10. Excellent job Allen way to lend credibility to your argument by telling both sides (regarding its abuse, and admit to the looseness of the laws in California). Also can you provide the link to the Nixon tapes? I’ve seen the transcripts but nothing is as beautiful as Nixon audio. If only George W. had kept such tapes.
    Keep it up and we love you hear in Indiana we need to strengthen the NORML branch here in Indiana. Hopefully the MMJ Laws pass up north in Michigan.

  11. The DA seemed to be speechless at some points. Great job Allen. Maybe more debates like this in Pennsylvania will help get the ball rolling for PA marijuana law reform. Thanks for letting there be a video available for us to watch. I wanted to come see the debate live, but unfortunately i was unable to make the trip to Dickenson.

  12. Congrats to Mr. St. Pierre for an intelligent presentation, and I must say that regarding Cumberland County DA David Freed, although I disagree with him about most of what he says, i.e. ‘Gateway theory,’ no difference between marijuana use and abuse ,blah, blah, blah and have heard most of his arguments before, I must commend both speakers for the rational tone of the debate.
    In my opinion this kind of thoughtful and rational volleying of arguments in a semi-friendly manner is what is sorely lacking in all forms of media today and is in itself a first step toward the end of prohibition.

  13. Freed’s next statement:
    It has also come to our attention that “Male-ness” kills up to half of the population in any given country. That is, if you’re born a male, you’re more than likely to die.

  14. I’m a firm believer that almost anything can be solved through education. That being said, and since we are now in the internet age, it should not take much longer until debates like this educate the majority on this subject.

  15. I’d like to see a discussion of marijuana, not so much as a “gateway drug,” but rather as a “gateway offense.” In other words, the marijuana offense (more specifically, possession of marijuana) as a means by which law enforcement, the courts and corrections pull a citizen into the system for the first time, and then keep that citizen in the system via ancillary or subsequent offenses, such as failure to comply with the punishment for the original marijuana offense.
    I’d also like to see a discussion of the importance of the illegality of marijuana to employment in law enforcement, the courts and corrections. I became aware of the possibility of such a relationship some years ago while reviewing FBI documents from the 1930s, which showed that the FBI began displaying an interest in marijuana immediately after the end of liquor prohibition.

  16. Great job Allen. You didnt studder once spoke very clearly on all of our behalf. I wish cannibus wasnt always linked to murder and violence when it induces calm and rational thinking but oh well. As far as potential for abuse you can abuse anything from alcohol to aspirin to pot but the pot wont kill you from over dosing.

  17. It seems to me from this debate law enforcement is aware of the lack of harm surrounding marijuana. It is time we focus our resources on debating congressmen and senators. The true problem behind our movement is that not all of those affected by prohibition are coming out of the closet. I am not talking about the people surrounding NORML like you and I. If we had 800,000 people arrested for pot we should have at least 1,000,000 people contacting there elected representatives and that is a very low number. The question is how can we get to those people that don’t realize they will not be harmed if they come out of the closet? If you all are not aware just this week main street stood up to Bush by calling there elected officials and demanded that they vote no to the Wall Street bale out. Think about the power of our voice if all that agree on the issue to end prohibition stud up and said STOP ARRESTING US! We could end this thing virtually over night.

  18. will mccain say no to a pot bill?
    What if he wins?
    if he wins we have to wait at least 4 more years. for the law to CHANGE.(mabey)
    obama will say yes to a pot bill.

  19. I give Freed no credit.
    He may have tried to looked like a human being, but that just makes him worse. The war on drugs is immoral Freed is a scumbag profiting off the destruction of people’s lives. Where his victims are humiliated,impoverished,and permanently made second class citizens or worse he lives well.
    Make no mistake if a law were passed that said it was ok to murder some group of people and take their money & property he would be right there loading them in ovens, but not before he yanked any gold filling they might have.

  20. I’d like to thank all involved with this debate–including Mr. Freed. Although most (or all) of us here see him in an adversarial light, it’s clear that Freed is intelligent and does his job to the best of his ability. That said, his job in enforcing the law is at odds with the mounting evidence that cannabis does not do the harmful things that the “drug warriors” say it does.
    Thank you, Allen, for knocking this out of the park.

  21. Why does America outlaw GOD’s medicine ?
    In God we Trust ?
    Who believes in not telling the truth?
    And what part of the truth does the US govt not understand?
    Lets start telling the truth on everything

  22. It’s time we all fight for our rights. How can we win the war on drugs? Well, we can start by bankrupting the government agencies that are trying to take this right from us. The first thing we need to do is grow as much marijuana in the wild as we can, even if not for profit but to cause these agencies to spend until they are broke trying to eradicate the natural plant. From this idea we will think of other ways of doing the same. They allow our children to get hooked on tobacco and alcohol because they profit on it but knowing they will never profit on marijuana unless it is illegal. Let’s take back our freedom and fight smart without violence.

  23. McCain & Obama’s positions on medical Marijuana are exactly identical!!!
    Neither will keep their word.So if you are going to vote on this issue your waisting your time voting for either of them.
    The libertarian’s are the only ones offering help.

  24. I can now only say this: check out (google) and look at this. (zeitgeist the movie) have an open mind and open your eyes to the truth (they) dont want you to belive. peace. ALBERT

  25. frontman
    I had been doing that for years when ever
    I had plants I couldn’t use I’d put them out in the woods and forget about them. Your Idea is even better!

  26. I agree with (mark watcher) is says on just about all of the US currency “I GOD WE TRUST” looks like our government is a little two faced.. the trust GOD on all of the money and most other things .. But GOD made that little weed and they don’t like it.. Sounds a little two faced to me!!

  27. Mr. Freed, a seemingly reasonable guy, appeared to be at a loss for an argument for the entire debate. If you stripped all the BS away, it really seemed like he wanted to agree with NORML. Debates on marijuana policy always interest me as there is no logical argument in support of prohibition laws.

  28. Stop putting your faith in politicians. Stop conforming! Forget McCain and Obama. They are only representing those they speak for because that is their job. Forget the drama! The civil rights movement was strong because it was CIVIL rights; the PEOPLE. Here we have the perfect product; it’s safer than any other narcotic known to man, and its totally natural. We don’t need them! We need NORML! We need debates like this! We need discussions at the dinner table! We need events and meetings across america debating marijuana as a community without looking at it in a baked haze; this is serious. This is the end of the crony chokehold that the drug corporations have on america. WE DON’T NEED THEM!

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