NORML’s Chris Goldstein debates medical marijuana on CBS


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As a longtime media observer, I’m beginning to see a shift in the way mainstream media are covering the medical marijuana issue. Back in the day, these sort of talking-head segments used to feature the host in-studio with the official-looking spokesperson for prohibition getting the opening and closing questions and being allowed by the host to dominate the discussion. The guest representing the reform position is then brought in for conflict and balance, but usually in a remote shot. The sober and serious prohib would be given open-ended questions and allowed to speak at length to make the point. The marginalized reformer would be given leading questions on some inane fallacy about “legalization” and then be forced to defend themselves against the implied frivolity of their position.

In this interview, the roles are reversed. Chris Goldstein comes off as the sober and serious one in-studio, with the host hanging on his every word and eager to give him opportunity to advance the agenda. The fellow from Heritage Foundation comes off as the fringe defender of an unwelcome position, with the host’s leading questions that could almost be completed with “tell us why you believe that nonsense?”

It’s getting to the point where mainstream media organizations are having difficulty booking guests to take an anti-medical marijuana position. Even those they find can only bring themselves to criticize the smoking of cannabis and even they are being rebutted by interviewers who are increasingly aware of vaporization, tinctures, and edibles.

This is how NORML is working to end adult marijuana prohibition – by winning the hearts and minds of the American people through honest education about cannabis and through responsible intelligent spokespeople appearing in local and national news media. Chris Goldstein is but one of the hundreds of activists in our nationwide chapter network who are making a difference by stepping up to be the face and voice of the responsible adult cannabis consumer… won’t you join us?

72 thoughts

  1. According to Rasmussen:

    Election 2012: Barack Obama 42%, Ron Paul 41%

    Pit maverick Republican Congressman Ron Paul against President Obama in a hypothetical 2012 election match-up, and the race is – virtually dead even.

    A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey of likely voters finds Obama with 42% support and Paul with 41% of the vote. Eleven percent (11%) prefer some other candidate, and six percent (6%) are undecided. Read more…

    Is Ron Paul STILL not viable NORML? Ron Paul wants to end the drug war… Obama is full of rhetoric.

    [Editor’s note: Ron Paul viable for president? Hardly. 1) He is too old. 2) Of course there will be no Obama vs. Paul for the 2012 presidential race because Ron Paul can’t win the GOP nomination…because the GOP is self-evidently not libertarian.

    How did Paul do in the 2008 GOP primaries, or in his previous runs for president? He resoundingly lost…just like he will in 2012 when the GOP nominates the likes of a Republican social conservative like Romney, Perry, Pawlenty, Patacki, Huckabee, etc…not a libertarian loner like Paul.

    Ron Paul sycophants are just going to have to keep dreaming of a libertarian champion catching fire from a non-libertarian electorate, because that champion is not going to be Ron Paul.]

  2. What a weasel this flat-earther is. Our side is finally getting the better image it deserves. As far as this joke on the video goes – in the words of Buggs Bunny, “What a maroon!”

  3. Is this heritage guy a hard core democrat or what? Wants to make all these rules just to protect you. Trying to tell me he knows better about my health/life than I do???
    We *have* to protect everybody against everything because they can’t handle it themselves. If you let them control this part of your life, how much longer do you think it will be before they want control over more?

  4. wow that guy against marijuana scares me, to think people are that dumb and brain washed that there willing to ignore any scientific evidence just because they dont agree, FUCK THAT GUY!@ legalize it

  5. I love that this guy talks about Cali cutting down on cigarettes & transfats but legalizing weed and he says “it doesn’t make sense”

    It’s only nonsensical if you absolutely REFUSE to see the positive.

  6. This is an excellent discussion by CBS. It seems when the anti marijuana advocates talk they bring up unrelated drugs. How can the Heritage Foundation person say in one breath that marijuana is great for end-of-life and in the next compare marijuana with steroids?

    If/when marijuana is made legal; usage will go up because people will ADMIT to using. How much will the ACTUAL user base grow is unknown. I am willing to bet actual new users will grow at first but will eventually shrink as the newness wares off.

    I would hope forward thinking states will look at taxing marijuana fairly and use the tax money for drug rehabilitation centers and education on moderation of any and all addictive medicines. However, I think states are looking at taxing marijuana as a way to balance budgets instead.

    Good job NORML for all of the work that you are doing behind the scenes. Keep up the good work!

  7. they need to just make a new rule, medical pot is via edible, tincture of vaporizing…honestly I cant call the smoking of cannabis a medical act because of what it does to you.

    dump smoking…and those that complain about the price of a vaporizor…please, you can get one now for the price of a cheap bong

  8. edible/tincture/vaporizing….

    hammer that home as the medical way, and they have no argument other than what age to allow, and with that I say make it 21 to start then people can see how harmless it is.

  9. Very good interview indeed. The guy against legalization and medical use is so full of crock, If you are willing to use marijuana recreationally, than of course you’ll probably try another drug, but I doubt that other drug will be heroin or methamphetamine, more like psychedelics and some of the over-prescribed painkillers that, hopefully, will start being less prevalent when there is a safe, natural drug that can take it’s place. Also if you want to talk about gate way drugs, why not talk about alcohol? It’s one thing to be wrong, but to simply ignore facts to advance your agenda is simply dishonest.

  10. I don’t understand how the prohibition advocate believes use by children would rise when federally regulated. Derrr. Ask any teenager if they find it easier to get alcohol or weed. No dealer checks I.D

  11. Great job on the interview, hopefully the word will get out much easier in these next few years.

  12. I think you guys are doing a great job, but there are a few ways you can DO BETTER in these interviews.

    You already know what all of the opposition’s talking points are, so your opening statements should be geared to make anyone who makes those points look like they have no credibility.

    The 5 lies you KNOW they will tell:
    1 Medical marijuana isn’t “really” for the sick.
    2 Legalization will put it easier for kids to get
    3 The gateway theory
    4 the schizo theory
    5 the “driving impaired” argument

    You obviously know the “good guys” talking points (our sides talking points), so I won’t rehash them– but you need to stop letting the opposition voice this rhetoric and then thinking you can offer a rebuttal. Hit them FIRST with the truth and keep them off balance.

    When you say (as you guys often do in these videos) that we need to treat marijuana like alcohol, you should be the first ones to bring up DUI and state that we legislate the behavior, not the intoxication and that OUR SIDE SUPPORTS DUI LAWS.

    Anyway, you obviously don’t need me to tell you guys what to say but you seem very willing to let them make these absurd statements and then “calmly offer rebuttal” when in fact you need to get in there FIRST and take their arguments away from them.

  13. It’s obvious the dude didn’t do his homework and still looks at propaganda of the 60’s!

  14. Heritage Foundation is getting paid by the pharma industry. Both Pharma & Alcohol industry don’t want legalization.

  15. I found out what one thinks is one thing, what he says is another so he won’t loose his job or funding.

  16. Thank you, NORML editors, for telling the public like it is. Ron Paul, at the very best, is trying to rot the system from the inside. Republicans will view him as a virus until something gives.

    (The virus will either get cured or permanently “infect” the Republicans; the latter being good for all sane people)

    Republicans will put forth another lying, inhumane, socially retarded monster vs. Obama in 2012.

    So, once again it’ll be “monster vs. monster” for the right to lick the boots of the corrupt 112th Congress.

  17. in regards to Zoltan #7

    “dump smoking…and those that complain about the price of a vaporizor…please, you can get one now for the price of a cheap bong”

    I wish it were that easy, sir. A vaporizer that won’t totally waste my already too expensive medical weed costs me over 400 bucks. I can get a cheap bong for 20 bucks. If they really want to help with health risks they could be providing us with good vaporizers :/

    I can’t afford the risk of wasted product. My budget doesn’t allow it. The poor and struggling folks out there often sacrifice health for low cost/convenience.

  18. Many of us have our hope and support behind Ron Paul, but you continually say it is a waste of time. If not Paul, then who NORML?? Who should we be supporting? NORML should either come out with a list of pot-friendly politicians or fully back a single candidate that everyone can get behind.

    [Editor’s note: Who should cannabis law reformers support for president? As NORML has not endorsed a presidential candidate since 1976 (Carter supported cannabis law reform as GA Governor, presidential primary candidate and President) unfortunately there are no members of Congress running for president other than Rep. Paul that supports ending cannabis prohibition. If a politically viable national candidate for president–regardless of party affiliation–publicly supports cannabis legalization, NORML will highlight and possibly endorse them.

    Former New Mexico Governor Gary Johnson (who is personally wealthy), like Paul a Republican who leans strongly libertarian, is contemplating a run at the 2021 presidential election–the question is will he run as Republican or on a third party ticket like the Libertarian Party, Tea Party, etc…? If he does, he would emerge as the most supportive presidential candidate immediately as he is a longtime NORML supporter and keynote speaker at the 2001 national conference in Washington, DC.]

  19. i think darlin should shut up all together. cause his facts are wrong . anyways, i read the first comment about ron paul in 2012. he sooooo has my vote if he goes through with legalizing marijuana. if half of America wants it to be legal then it should show through votes. im not one for politics but i hope he runs and wins . please legalize .

  20. Pallative and curative effects of marijuana, especially for MS? (Chris Goldstein, time index 1:03-1:25)

    That’s a bunch of bad dope.

    Fact 1: THC does not cure anything – it triggers a dopamine response stimulating the cannabanoid receptors in the brain and CNS. Fact 2: Every puff of THC results in whatever THC is absorbed staying in the body anywhere from 8-10 days assuming normal hepatic function. Which means if you puff alot, you get alot of THC and its metabolites hanging around your body, for 8-10 days.

    Now if that is okay with you, let’s take a look at the toxicity of THC: 4+ percent increase of risk of heart attack; interfearing with the development and retention of short term memory; suppresses the formation of antibodies, the production of cytokine, leukocyte migration, natural killer-cell activity, and decreases resistance to infection from bacterial and viral infection (ie. removes the nice healthy God given biological defenses in your body, making you more likely to get sicker than a non-MJ user from the common cold).

    Finally, every “puff” of MJ smoke puts 50 to 75 percent more carcinogenic hydrocarbons in your lungs than tobacco smoke. I hope you don’t inhale too deeply – or is that a moot point..

    C’est la vie. Enjoy the degeneration.

    [Paul Armentano responds: Your ignorance of this subject is staggering. The scientific discussion regarding the disease altering effects of cannabinoids for various dieases, such as MS, has been ongoing now for nearly a decade:

    “Cannabinoids may not only offer symptom control but may also slow the neurodegenerative disease progression that ultimately leads to the accumulation of disability.” (Baker et al., 2008, Current Pharmaceutical Design)

    Rog et al., 2007, Clinical Therapeutics: patients over a 2-year period reported requiring fewer daily doses of Sativex and reported lower median pain scores the longer they took the drug

    Wade et al., 2006, Multiple Sclerosis: 167 patients reported long-term use of Sativex (mean duration: 434 days) relieved MS-associatd pain, spasticity, and incontinence without requiring subjects to increase their dose

    Killestein et al., 2003, Journal of Neuroimmunology: administration of oral THC boosted immune function in MS patients; “These results suggest pro-inflammatory disease modifying potential of cannabinoids [for] multiple sclerosis”

    “Cannabis may also slow the neurodegenerative processes that ultimately lead to chronic disability in multiple sclerosis and probably other diseases.” (Pryce et al., 2003, Brain)

  21. The “free exercise thereof” clause is already an “inalienable religious right” in the Constitution, the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, and the International Declaration of Human Rights. Government has simply countered that with “prior competing governmental interests.” If the purpose or effect of a law is to impede the observance of one or all religions or is to discriminate invidiously between religions, that law is “constitutionally invalid.” Therefore, Genesists impose a “conscience clause,” insert a “severence clause”, and demand/mandate impunity in a free and unencombered way of life guaranteed us in the Constitution. Genesists demand/mandate that our Constitutional right be restored, that our free exercise of religion be protected, and compelling governmental interests be abrogated and declared “constitutionall invalid, voidable, and severed.”

    Therefore, it is with conviction; from the soul, deep rooted belief, sted-fast faith, [certainty], that it is the noble and determined [objective] of the Gnesist Faith to [organize and unite] its adherents throughout the world. The inspiration and incentive of our indivisable mindset and relentless agenda is, and will for-ever-more be “the certainty of religious freedom.”

    We will not give the government the option of “divide and conquer.” Here’s as simple as it gets…”UNITED WE STAND…DIVIDED WE FALL.” Stand with us as one constantly.

    Manford Mantis

  22. Ha, I read comment #1 and as soon as I saw the editor’s reaction to the words Ron Paul I knew it was Russ Belville posting the blog.

    What about Gary Johnson? You feelin’ a little Gary Johnson 2012, Russ?

  23. Goldstein was the only one who actually cited his source, the other guy was just giving subjective spin

  24. This was fun to be part of, as I had just lit a bowl to celebrate life after stroke! Attitudes seem to be swinging towartds pot as not the demon weed. Thanks norml!

  25. This brian Darling dude is a stupid. Talking about when California legalizes marijuana we will have to pay in more taxes for the people that become drug dependent. That would be a hell of alot cheaper than than trying to fight a lost cause of a war on drugs and all the violence that comes with it across our boarders. I would love for people to stop just thinking about people smoking it and think more about the big picture of all the money they can make and save for our country. Go Green

    John Dahl

  26. Aside from the adults not wanting kids to comsume cannabis, ultimately it results in a poor use of time, which can destroy dreams. but there is no danger to children compared to the shitty food they’re fed by adults. and that argument need never be brought back. What about the fact half of all cannabis consumed in the US comes from mexico.. back to what i said at meeting in napa a few months back… Lets protect the children by educating them and teaching them the good honest truth. I am now 21 and i am still appalled by how much ive been lied to in my growing up years

  27. HEY GUYS…
    SOMEONE NEEDS TO MAKE A NOTE…

    THE PROHIBITIONIST ACTUALLY AGREED ABOUT MEDICAL MARIJUANA…3 YEARS AGO HE SAID NO NO NO…NOW HE IS SAYING…WELL MAYBE TO THOSE IN NEED….WHAT ABOUT IN ANOHTER 3 YEARS?????

    LEGALIZE

  28. Off topic: I wish that interviewer were my doctor!

    Great discussion – Goldstein did an excellent job of calmly and clearly discussing FACTS while the other guy was peddling in myths, unproved assumptions and distraction (bringing up other drugs).

    I have to agree with the author that the media narrative is beginning to change. There are still hurdles to climb and many myths to overcome but we are making progress.

    I still believe the public is way ahead of the curve on this partly thanks to the internet. Many people – even people well past their 60’s – now have internet access and can simply do their own research. Especially when their own bodies begin to ache and break down with age. They don’t want to be addicted to opiates and simply want to have quality of life. Their kids and grandkids seemingly are already on board given the poll numbers dispersed by age group. Keep on educating the masses NORML people! Each and everyone of us can make a difference in our own communities and help reach a greater social shift on cannabis policy.

  29. Prohibitionists have little in the way of truth. There is no such thing as a “Gateway” drug. Smoking Cannabis is of little concern in most cases…it’s not the same as tobacco! By far the most significant side effect of Marijuana is a sense of calm and well being, and to keep it illegal is 100% disingenuous, capricious and makes no sense in either terms of social or financial impact.

  30. Goldstein did a great job. As for the heritage guy (i dont give a fuck what his name is) you are the worst “debater” in history! haha way to stay on top of things NORML!

  31. Does he really think that buying marijuana under a government woyuld lead to buying cocaine. Buying weed from illegal Street dealers with guns will sell you cocaine and everything else!! OPEN YOUR EYES!!!!

  32. I have just heard enough from this Heritage guy.
    He belongs with those who thinks the earth is the center of the universe,with those who thinks the sun revolves around the earth, with those who thinks the earth is flat,with those ,the likes of Dr.James Watson not to name him, who believes blacks are less intelligent than whites,with those who believes in spontaneous generation, with those who don’t believe in Darwinism….with all those whose time is yesterday…NORML let us hear from people who believes in the future..now !

  33. I was going to comment on the video, but damn editor. I get that Brian is the **** in your shortcake, but every week I see lots of comments I think are inane and political. Yet every time Brian so much as says “Go Ron Paul” you have a multiple paragraph meltdown. How about a little comity here, please?

    [Editor’s note: No meltdown, just checking a vexing and time-wasting political delusion.]

  34. He didn’t even get to respond to the bullshit increased teen-use myth. Notice how he didn’t even bother coming in like the NORML guy, you can tell he’s all about the money.

  35. THE HERITAGE FOUNDATION? Now is that really a “think tank”… is that true? I don’t know much about his organization but I’d bet money somehow their making money off keeping cannabis illegal. NOBODY is that stupid naturally. JFC!

    Chris my man, fantastic job!

  36. that heritage foundation guy was just a lier, everything he said was a lie, what ticks me off is we didnt have the time 2 properly expose him for the lying peice of crap he is, i hope no one at home thought what that guy said was true, for all our sakes, this is rediculous, the only reason weed isnt legal is because of certain ppl losing money propoganda and just plain old fashion stubborn old ppl set in their ways, alchohal kills tobacco kills, for gods sake asperin kills, but marijuana does not, umm, why isnt this stuff legal??

  37. I was laughing once he said weed would be easier to obtain as a child/teen if legalized. I remember about a year ago when I was in highschool and you could get weed anytime you wanted without any trouble because the dealer didnt care what age you were. On the contrary, you had to know a 21 year old to get alcohol.

  38. hay how about this he talks about children smoking more weed when it is legal……..he is right, I am a child well almost 18 and last week end I got drunk and blew chunks all over the bench infront of my local right aid. I will never drink hard booze again because I almost got killed by this nasty stuff, gin mixed with vodka eww. when I drink my body tells me it is bad and I will listen to it. but anyway the reason for the true story is people are not doing more drugz they are switching to less dangerous drugz……. it is less dangerous because my state passed question #2 GOOO massachusetts. this froma rational republican=)

  39. 38 george
    dont be a fool just cuz you threw up dosent mean you almost died. second just use cannabis in small infrequent amounts its better for you than the boooze which negatively effects every single part of your body, while providing minimal benefit.

  40. The Heritage Foundation sounds more like the New World Order Foundation. Just another Marijuana Prohibitionist talkin through his ass just trying to hang onto his job. It almost reminds me of that Federal Agency the DEA (DEAD END ATROCITIES). Money talks, bullshit walks and the 21ST CENTURY INQUISITORS keep on going creating UNICORNS. The Federal Government can live in fantasy land with their bullshit laws, but what happened to the power of the people and the social injustices created by MARIJUANA PROHIBITION.

  41. Oh the gateway theory… the prohibitionists just can’t let that one go. Must get them a lot of support or something.

    The parallels between the problems brought by alcohol prohibition and those of marijuana prohibition are a strong talking point for us to persuade people on the edge to leave the dark side and align themselves with legalization. Chris did an awesome job, but why did he not take the opportunity the host gave him to stress this point?

  42. It is ironic that Heritage would have George Washington thrown in prison, as he grew marijuana. They are jokes. Why is NORML taking a stance against Ron Paul, What is it that you hope to accomplish by doing so?

    I guess blatant hypocrisy is possible in all organizations.

    [Editor’s note: NORML is non-partisan and does not oppose Ron Paul. He has received NORML PAC money, praise from the organization, etc…

    What is objectionable is the promotion of Paul, from the same commentator over-and-over-again for months, as a viable national candidate for president, when he has never been, is not and will never be.

    So why waste money, time and energy promoting a delusional and unattainable dream of electing to President an ‘unpopular’ national political figure (unpopular as defined as a candidate who is a loner/maverick within their own caucus and can’t win presidential primaries), who’ll be too old in 2012 anyways to be an effective President, to distract reformers from supporting and electing, from whatever political party, a more viable national candidate?]

  43. I still like what you get for a website description when you google HF:

    “A conservative think tank that is at the forefront of the pro-globalization perspective.”

    That should speak volumes to many that dont follow stuff on the hill.

    Also one thing of note in the rebuttal was that he didn’t say “If” california votes for it, but “when” … Perhaps borderline out of context, but it doesn’t follow the conversation thread for it to be excluded from relevance.

    Just food for thought.

  44. This is all nice, but in 2012 if the left does not put a serious voter responce to the radical right, you can kiss the progress to date down the drain… The republican radicals have already stated they will put a full court press in the advance of the War on Drugs and repeal all medical marijuana laws nationwide…
    So unless there is a serious movement to stop the PALIN crowd… kiss you bud goodby…

  45. I’m surprised that Dr. Ashton or Chris didn’t slam the coffin lid on the Heritage Foundation guy when he mentioned that we have enough problems with the legal drugs: tobacco, alcohol, prescription and over the counter drugs. They should have asked the $420 million questions: When tobacco and alcohol kill hundreds of thousands of people per year, why not prohibit tobacco and alcohol? Why not have even tighter controls on prescription drugs and put the aspirin, tylenol and cough medicine behind the pharmacy counter like they do with pseudoephedrine?

    As for the Heritage Foundation, I appreciate the oxymoron about it being a [social] conservative think tank. But when I Googled “Heritage Foundation”, Under the link to the website it says “A conservative think tank that is at the forefront of the pro-globalization perspective”.

    Pro-Globalization? A global social conservative government? Pretty creepy.

  46. SO funny to watch. I think #15 said it best.

    I wonder from which parts of the country these Ron Paul comments are coming from. I’m sure the attitudes and perceptions held of him are much different, region to region. For the sad state of Michigan’s economy, the congressman’s view of monetary policy makes a lot of sense to the people of this great state; of course I don’t speak for everyone..just an observation.

  47. This is all nice, but in 2012 if the left does not put a serious voter response to the radical right, you can kiss the progress to date down the drain… The republican radicals have already stated they will put a full court press in the advance of the War on Drugs and repeal all medical marijuana laws nationwide…
    So unless there is a serious movement to stop the PALIN crowd… kiss you bud goodbye…

  48. That was a great interview. Keep it up guys. It’s good to have some intelligent people representing our cause.

  49. In my opinion Mr. Draling sounds like he’s a broken record, they keep using the same ‘ol shit against cannabis but to look at reality people r smoking pot now and none of tht shit is going on ALL PEOPLE AGAINST CANNABIS NEED TO PULL THEIR HEAD OUTTA THEIR ASS….an we cannabis consumers would love to vote out who is needed. We will win even if it gets dirty.

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