Confirmed: Marijuana Legalization To Be Discussed Today On ABC News

NORML has been invited to appear this afternoon (Monday, May 17) to participate in a debate, ‘Should Marijuana Be Legalized?’, on the digital channel ABC News Now, which is also broadcast online.

[Editor’s note: Archived video of the debate is now available free online here.]

The discussion will air live from 12:30PM-1PM (eastern) with portions possibly re-broadcast tonight on ABC’s Nightline.

Check local cable programming re ABC’s digital channels or go online here.

149 thoughts

  1. Allen, you missed an opportunity to point out that you’re not a hypocrite for wanting pot to be legal but not meth or heroin, et al. Brian was attempting to nullify your argument that he, as a user of tobacco and alcohol, is a hypocrite for not accepting that pot should be legal:

    What you needed to point out is that his position is inconsistent in that he is a user of drugs more dangerous than the one he doesn’t accept should be legal, but your position is consistent because you are a user of a drug that is less harmful than the ones you don’t want to see legalized (and less harmful than many already legal). In short, one can draw a line without being a hypocrite as long as one is consistent.

    I know its difficult in those circumstances and you did a great job — just a line of argumentation to consider for the future. Very well argued all round!

  2. Thank you so much Allen. Thank you for interrupting the lame anti marijuana guy whose thoughts are controlled by lies and propaganda.
    I could tell from the minute the guy opened his mouth that he was not prepared to speak the truth OR even really understood the truth.

    Thank you for continuing to speak up and out.

  3. Just watched the videos. Excellent job Allen! I simply couldn’t stomach Mr. Darling’s erroneous blather toward the end there. It had to be pretty frustrating for you Allen, I appreciate the work you/NORML have done!

  4. Marijuana is illegal because big name companies are afraid that hemp will take over the market. Hemp is the most useful plant known to mankind.

    I’m not going to spend time looking for links to this but I know they are facts.

    25% of senior High Schoolers claim they can get marijuana within the hour. Alcohol and tobacco are much harder for teenagers to get.

    The largest government funded study ever conducted trying to relate marijuana to cancer, concluded that marijuana has no correlation to cancer and there might even be some positive effects. This is due to marijuana isolating the cancerous fat cells from the healthy cells. In other words marijuana makes cancer much harder to spread.

    Marijuana use makes people want to sit at home, snack, watch tv, listen to music, and chill out. While alcohol tends to make people act by their emotions, if their emotions are negative the user can often make bad decisions, such as physically or verbally abuse another human being.

    Marijuana prohibition has created marijuana dealers. These dealers often will be selling large quantities of pot, worth thousands of dollars. When this is not regulated people can often use violence to get the pot and the money. There is no way of policing this violence because people who are robbed or attacked can’t give the reason that they were selling them pot. Once marijuana is legalized stores will receive shipments and only small quantities will be able to be bought. If a store is robbed they can call the police and the police can find the person and put them in jail.

    If pot is concluded to be illegal, tobacco, alcohol, and pharmaceutical drugs should all be illegal too. Marijuana is one of the safest and least addicting drugs known to mankind, while serving as a positive drug for so many illnesses such as cancer, anorexia, glaucoma, and sleep deprivation just to name a few.

  5. Why is it that everytime I watch a debate on the issue of marijuana legalisation, the people opposing leagalization end up taking the debate into to herion, cocaine and crystal meth? The subject matter is marijuana and you anti-marijuana cannot state a legitiment factual reason or study to support your case.

    I also have to state this fact. Alcohol and tabacco are the gateway drugs. Both have directly and indirectly killed more people than marijuana can even come close to, ie: alcohol = murder, assult, spousal abuse, rape, drunk driving and then there is what killed my brother. He drank over a period of 20 years that his organs swelled up in his body and died. Alcohol did this not marijuana.

  6. That guy was completely off trying to compare marijuana to heroin. Where is the logic in that?

  7. And these are the people making decisions for us? Uneducated nimrods who can’t speak a single fact or support with a comprehensive explanation.

    Brian Darling you are seriously the worse speaker I have ever seen. You just said in response to AStP when he said you aren’t making a fight or a case and you said “Yes I am.” The end. No more explanation other than hypocracy. That pretty much sums up every arguement you had to say in the whole debate.

  8. Allen, someday I hope you can have a very logical debate with someone who has a clue. For the record, I only use Cannabis. No alcohol, no tobacco, and no pills (Advil as exception). I would like to hear it mentioned in the future, that this prohibition is outlawing the natural (ref. Jack Herer). Thank you. And I hope you get a real challenge someday. For the record, if I ever had a child, I would rather they use Cannabis over alcohol AND tobacco.

  9. Ahhh… why does the Heritage Foundation suck so badly?
    Did he not realize how hypocritical he was being? Or how he failed to argue the fact that even government research proves cannabis to be safer than alcohol? Why don’t they realize that arresting the entire population of South Dakota every year on possession charges isn’t making the drug less appealing or less available. And how could he argue that ‘driving under the influence’ laws (of any intoxicant) would change if cannabis were legal? Millions already smoke it, and yet we still here a plethora of drunk driving horror stories. Give us a safer alternative to killing-your-liver alcohol and cancer sticks! You don’t see cigarette execs or Beer execs shooting each other for market control. Make cannabis legal and bring this dangerous, uncontrolled, untaxed market under the rule of law and help separate hard and soft drugs. You can’t get coke just because you can buy beer. You can get coke if you buy weed under our current system because your’e already in the black market. And drug dealers don’t card. Licensed businesses, like pharmacies, do.

  10. Great job Allen. Keep up the good work. Funny, they always try the slight of hand thing and try to bring narcotics into a cannabis debate as soon as they know they are thwarted with facts. That “hey shiny object over there” thing just isn’t working anymore. Nice try Brian.

    The truth will set us free.

  11. i think that was a good argument. the prohibitionist looked ridiculous and i think it was good for Allen not to take it too seriously. the madness of prohibition has got to be stopped, but we are defntly getting there…

    Hopefully Cali will kick start the revolution!

  12. why is there always so much debating about a plant that is prescribed medically, if there is going to be a debate, just fuckin legalize it already, if its possible just do it….is there a debate on crack/cocaine or the possibilty of legalizing any other drug, no cuz it won’t happen, if your gonna debate then it must not be that bad

  13. Duh Joseph #110, you wouldn’t want to scroll through the comments now would you, let alone read them?
    Good gawd.

  14. Brian Darling should be a spokesman for CRAFTSMAN, what a tool! Thanks Allen,Its hard to debate someone with the brain of a mushroom, he’s been kept in the dark his whole life and fed alot of shit!

  15. like i said weeks ago. “f*ck brian darling” he has no place in his line of work. As you can tell he was handed this job because he is a dumbass and anyone with a brain would not take it on because of the lost cause. No one in their right mind can have a real debate against marijuana legaalization with all the scientific facts behind it. Thank you NORML I don’t know what I would do without your hard work!

  16. Wow! That was fun! Allen was in good form and a pleasure to watch. Mr. Darling reminds me of my college Logic classes when I learned the meaning of apriori: My mind is made up, don’t confuse me with the facts!”

    Perhaps for those of the same ilk Mr. Darling’s arguments made sense, but for those who have an open mind, or for those who know the facts, his arguments made no sense at all. More people’s eyes are being opened daily to the facts thanks to Allen and others like him. Rock on Warrior!

    It looks like you were having fun Allen! I’m looking forward to a lot more of these fun “debates!” Keep up the good work!

  17. I think a different state needs to kick-start it. Cali’s already done all it can. I think we need another state to really make an impact.

  18. Jesus, that Brian guy was a complete moron.
    His argument was invalid, I feel like he just wanted to be on national, live T.V.


  19. Good job Allen maintaining positive points against the nay-sayer. I think you could debate with the best of them on even a larger scale. He didnt take long to drop the heroin bomb, he really seemed to be making stuff up as he went along. I cannot even drink alchohol anymore, because it makes me feel poisoned! I would stop using tobacco immediately if MJ was readily available. If this bill passes I WILL move to Cali the next day.

  20. Not so sure I liked the closing comment of “educating against” it. First I think vilifying something encourages the rebellious to tend towards it. Second, it has more than a few beneficial uses. Perhaps Mr. St. Pierre spoke too hastily, or got caught up in the reality distortion field of the other guy.

    My opinion is people need to hear “the good and the bad” so they can make educated decisions. The more people like Brian want to treat people like unthinking morons, the more he will be obliged; aka the Pygmalion effect, self-fulfilling prophecy.

    My sense is the overwhelming majority of teens will avoid it if they are told to and they know they have the opportunity to try it when they’re older. This is why most teens don’t drop out of high school and get married and have kids. They realize they can do that later.

    But certainly there are rebellious teens who will do what they can to piss off authority. Thus the need to not vilify it, and I would even include other drugs. Further extending this is if they do get caught up in other drugs, the more the parent has built up a hard-hearted wall via vilification, the less likely their kids are going to be able to tell them they’re in trouble.

    Anyway, at times it seemed the Brian character didn’t really believe what he was talking about, but he was spouting it because he was paid to. What’s a soul cost these days?

  21. As a supporter to end the ‘WAR ON ALL DRUGS’… this debate was a great win for Allen and ‘Cannabis Law Reform’.

    It would be nice that just once – an opponent to ‘Cannabis Law Reform’ would listen and hear the facts about the – TRUE Stats & Science – of Cannabis and acknowledge they learned something new that gives them an open minded purpose to research the facts further instead of hanging on to their overused, uneducated, one-sided talking points that shines the light on their ignorance.

    Brian Darling & those like him care only about themselves and harm humankind in the worst way. These people oversee the fact that America is getting high everyday, yet continue going to school, work, and being creative/productive individuals. The % of the population who partake as a whole – hasn’t increased in over 70 years. I believe that stat is 3% with a fraction of that percentage ending up needing some type of intervention. Please correct if I’m wrong. Education is the key to end the ‘Drug War’ madness.

    “alcohol distributers aren’t killing each other in the street” great line!

    Thanks NORML :-]


  22. Christ. That wasn’t a debate, that was a slaughter. Damn, Heritage Foundation, you’re the leading conservative think tank in the United States and this is the best you can do? The prohibitionist’s agenda is done; they’ve got nothing left but those who’re still clinging on.

  23. I just watched the debate and wow. Kudos to Allen for ripping Mr. Darling misinformation, distored facts, and lies to pieces. Mr. Darling cited No statistics or research on the subject instead saying the Obama Admin. found that it is harmful. ROFL and where did Obama admin. find the information. The truth is they haven’t they are just recycling the same old lies and misinformation because they are afraid he will not be re-elected if they back our position. I say Legalize it!! Thank you Allen for standing up for marijuana smokers across the country.

  24. I just had the opportunity to watch the debate with Norml CEO Allen St. Pierre, and I would like to give you my opinions on this controversial subject. You sir, are a disgrace. You only spouted outdated prohibition propaganda that was started in the late 30’s by Harry Anslinger. In no way should you be receiving a paycheck for the work you do. You are a charlatan and should be fired for such a pitiful job debating this issue. The only reason people use alcohol is to alter their perceptions, you use alcohol yourself, and I imagine this is the reason that you partake. My family has a history of alcoholism and I refuse to fall victim to this despicable disease, so I choose not to use alcohol. I do however enjoy “altering” my perceptions like you do, I just choose to use marijuana, a much safer alternative. There are numerous prescription drugs that are readily available on the black market that are extremely addictive, unlike marijuana, which is not. My father was addicted to Valium due to his mother’s prescription and subsequent dependence. You should definitely read the current facts on these issues and stop being led, like a Lemming, by government prohibition propagandists.

    Peter James Seitz
    Florida resident
    Pothead extraordinaire

  25. “The War on Drugs is the most destructive and dysfunctional social policy in America since Slavery”

    The American Federal Governments support of Marijuana Prohibition just drips and oozes with hypocrisy. Legalize It and stop playing this silly stupid game.

  26. One of the best debates on cannabis I have ever seen. Allen was on the top of his game on this one. Usually when I see debates, the pro-cannabis arguers don’t go “hard” enough. But all the stops were pulled out on this one, it was a massacre on that other guy. Great debate!

  27. I just watched the debate on you tube, its pretty clear how ridiculous it is that we allow tobacco and alcohol to be legal and yet still have prohibition on marijuana

  28. I wanted to ‘verify’ the comments made by Mr. Kerlikowske at his meeting with the police chiefs.

    I was impressed with the errors and misrepresentations of the ‘facts’ associated with marijuana. He actually contradicted himself on several occasions. He takes information out of context and promotes it as facts. Inciting fear seems one of his motivations. The image of ‘the thug with a blunt’ comes to mind though he does not say so.

    I was especially intrigued by his assertions of the harm on our youth. His references to studies on the harms of MJ use, one in particular…..turned out to be a study of heroin users in Australia.

    I worked for many years in a residential treatment program which started out as a program for adults and ended up with a program for adolescents. This was a ‘diversion’ program steering kids away from the penal system into treatment. It was a ‘therapeutic community.’ The success depended on two things: the influence of peers (including counselors in recovery) and the involvement of family. These kids primarily had problems with alcohol and ‘hard’ drugs—mainly amphetamine. Few were involved with gangs at first but later this became more of an issue as the culture has changed. Marijuana use was associated with these drugs but not the primary problem. The disruption and chaos in dysfunctional families was paramount. Family involvement proved to be the most beneficial in getting these kids on a positive track. As well as 12-step principles and the therapeutic community.

    His comments about using social programs in combination with law enforcement for prevention is a nice idea but will never work. Drug using kids would never participate. Getting parents more involved with their children will. If parents would get off their irresponsible butts and pay attention.

    His comments about the “closing down thousands of the coffee shops in the Netherlands” is incorrect. A correct reading of this research stated that two of the border towns have taken this action directed to the thousands of ‘drug tourists’ that come from Belgium and France. “25,000 a week” Obviously because they can obtain marijuana legally there. The congestion and other problems related to a good market for hard drugs were the problems.

    Nobody has ever espoused marijuana as a ‘cure all’ for medical problems. The use of alcohol associated with marijuana use is dangerous just as the use of alcohol alone. Combining marijuana with narcotics (oxycontin is most commonly used by teens) can be especially dangerous. There has been little research into the harms and benefits of marijuana without the complication of alcohol also being used. Physicians are responsible to a large degree. They prescribe narcotic pills all to readily. Looking at the disciplinary action take by the Medical Board of California shows many docs cited for excessive use with patients and themselves.

    Clearly the use of prescription narcotics is a serious problem with our youth. His suggestion that parents clean out their medicine cabinets is good but these drugs are readily procured on the street. Street drugs probably account for more of the gang activity than marijuana.

    The Mexican cartels are mainly trafficking in crack cocaine with amphetamines closely following. Heroin is still being smuggled.

    It should be noted that Amsterdam has had the most liberal laws regarding drug use for many years. For this reason this city has been associated with the smuggling of all drugs as a clearing house for Europe. This might seem an argument for banning legal marijuana but there is a significant difference. Mexico’s border towns and the struggle for dominance of the cocaine and amphetamine market has been the main cause of the violence there. There is much more profit to be made with these hard drugs. Smuggling marijuana is just not as profitable as it used to be before our farms were developed.

    The cartels are responsible for the majority of hard drug use in the US. They the source of the business of smuggling hard drugs, not the people that are growing marijuana here and down south. Not the dispensaries that are providing it. The dispensaries I know of are run professionally and ethically. Cities are struggling to regulate them as is appropriate if done in a manner to benefit the public. Clearly there is need to develop uniform regulations throughout the state which will help cities define this regulation. And not do so for political reasons.

    There is no true ‘gateway’. This depends on the will of the individual. The needs of that individual. It is influenced by the socio-economic and cultural climate of the individual. Do you think a ‘crack whore’ wants to be there? It is the only alternative open to her.

    What is a pothead? It is a person who has maxed out on the high, is spaced out or stoned all the time, is uncoordinated, is less intelligent than they were before and is using a lot of marijuana. You can’t get high enough.

    Why don’t we look at alcohol and nicotine as equally as marijuana? In fact cigarette use is diminishing. This is not because the price has been raised as proposed by Mr. K. It is because advertizing has been eliminated, being forced to smoke outside is unpleasant and it is just not cool to smoke anymore. (remember all the old movies characters and even TV personalities would smoke openly. I’ve often wondered where they put the ashes and butts.)

    Why don’t we put more emphasis on alcohol use and abuse? Prohibition didn’t work. In fact alcohol use and abuse has been prevalent from the beginning of man. It is accepted all over the world.
    Tobacco use and abuse came up next several hundred years ago. Yet we have not controlled the tobacco fields even though the health effects are well proven.

    The concept of ‘dependence’ is widely misunderstood. Dependence is both psychological and physical. There are always physical withdrawal symptoms associated with substance dependence. The most serious symptoms are those associated with coming off alcohol (the DTs) and narcotics (starting with ‘jonesing’) There are definitely symptoms with stopping the excessive use of marijuana—mood changes………..

    Psychological dependence is habitual use that actually interferes with personal development. Most marijuana users function perfectly well and are able to contribute to their own social welfare. Consider the construction worker or anyone doing a lot of back work. The usual habit was to have a couple of beers with the guys after work. Coming home semi-intoxicated, self absorbed and unable to really alter the stiffness after the body cools down. In contrast, the people that I have interviewed, that have a few hits when they come home, get genuinely relaxed and are emotionally present for their kids and wife. “we like him so much better when he gets stoned”. The goal is to feel that “I’m OK now.

    Why does man want to ‘get higher’? (for that matter why is greed a driving force causing social problems) When does substance use work against itself? Does beginning the ‘experiment’ use of marijuana lead to the desire to experiment further with hard drugs? How much of the need for social acceptance is there, particularly with weak family involvement?

    ‘chronic’ versus ‘habitual’…is there a distinction?

  29. Seems that the opposing viewpoint is the same old argument that cannibis will lead to that old demon heroin.Unfortunately the right wingers will be in lock step with this mouthpiece from the Republican think tank.

  30. Wow! Allen just shoved prohibition down Brian Darlings. Brian made not a single valid point for why Cannabis should remain illegal. They need to air and re-air this video debate. A shining example on how prohibitionist have not one leg to stand on for why it should remain illegal. Hope Americans get their heads out of their asses and realize this is one area where change has to come.

  31. Very good debate. Allen was all over him. One part where I feel he dropped the ball a bit, and I know its tough to think of everything in the middle of a debate, but When they used “hypocrite” back and forth, Allen could have stopped that by pointing out that Heroin AND Cocaine have lethal doses. I waited for him to come back with that when the opponent asked why not legalize those drugs too and called him a hypocritye for not wanting to legalize it for those people. Allen should have stated that, “NO YOU are the hypocrite because Heroin and Cocaine DO have lethal doses, and alcohol kills as well. Marijuana does NOT have a lethal dose. Pass it on for the next debate. Good Job…. score for Allen: A-

  32. Allen, you kicked ass!

    Thank You!

    Next Time ask Brian and any opponent if they have smoked marijuana…

    Then ask how often…did they smoke it?

    This should intimidate them…and will allow for those who smoked with them, and supplied them to speak out against them.

    You could say hey if you know Brian and have smoked pot with him contact us. at Norml we would love to speak with you…

  33. BRIAN! BRIAN! BRIAN! I loved it! I think Allen was having a great time. I was totally amused over Brian’s weak logic (no surprise) and then we find out he’s addicted to tobacco! When Allen found that out his face just lit up. Priceless!

    Brian Darling’s cannabinoid deficiency was raging big time. He was in dire need of chew.

  34. I wrote to the Heritage Foundation to express my disgust with this hypocrite, Brian Darling. I suggest you all do the same.

    To whom it may concern,

    Please tell me that my taxes do not fund your organization. Having seen Brian Darling on Nightline arguing against marijuana legalization made it sickeningly apparent how much of a hypocrite Brian is. If he is representative of your entire organization, then I question the integrity of it as a whole. How can you have such a hypocrite – one who uses alcohol AND tobacco (both killers and destroyers of life and health) – arguing against the rational regulation of the cannabis plant?

    Brian lost ALL credibility during his asinine argument against legalization that night, as did the Heritage Foundation. It is sad and embarrassing to know that people of such a manipulative and close-minded nature are doing so much to damage the progress of American society.


  35. Yeah, this was pathetic. Well, Brian was pathetic. I, too, wrote to the Heritage Foundation and gave them my disaproval of Brian going on TV for a debate and not knowing what the hell he was talking about. All of his arguements have been debunked a long time ago. Prohibitionists are really loosing something to stand on. They really don’t have any factual reasons for keeping cannabis illegal, so they just keep spouting the same, lame, b.s. that has already been dealt with. If the people who support prohibition were smart enough, then this battle would have been over with a long time ago. Unfortunately, I think about half of all Americans are still buying this load of horse hockey, otherwise it would be legal by now. What we need to do is STOP VOTING FOR ANY PERSON THAT SUPPORTS PROHIBITION!!! Once politicians learn that they will not be voted into office if they support making criminals of a million people every year, they will change their tunes ASAP!!

  36. Fantastic job to St.Pierre on this interview. The representative from the Heritage Foundation was flat out lying and being a perfect example of what’s wrong with the anti-marijuana movement.

    I felt that debate was much more strongly represented and well done by St.Pierre.

    Loved watching it. Not happy with how the Heritage guy was smug as hell. Kinda upset me.

  37. Good job keeping your cool Mr. St. Pierre, I can’t believe that he called YOU a Hypocrite. I was injured in the Army and they covered it up making my life worse in so many ways. Isn’t that corrupt? As I grow and learn about history, this prohibitions agenda to lock up people is equivalent to what Hitler did with Ethnic Cleansing. This Country only wants the elitist and if you are under this ceiling then you are simply not worthy. I’m with those when it comes to voting, lets ask questions and demand more individual civil rights. I don’t smoke cigarettes nor drink alcohol as it increases my pain. MJ is the only natural cure for many things and it doesn’t even have to be inhaled. It can also be locked up in my cabinet along with my other pharmaceuticals so it can’t be stolen or taken by children. This Government under-estimates its own citizens, how sad, but expects so much in return from them. You won’t get it by locking them up, thats for sure. These people such as Brian are puppets and even if the Heritage Foundation are informed about the PROS of MJ and agreed, they are simply paid off by Corporations that has more money than Norml. Money Talks and BS Walks in this Country. Although down at my local thrift store, I still see people who actually care and want to just give their time to other like themselves. Some of these people use MJ, yet they aren’t violent nor unproductive. It simply eases ones pain for a short while and then back to the Norm. I see no harm in this as I have been through the Pharm Land and I simply don’t like it. Thanks Norml


    This is a slogan I came up with, for the upcoming election.

  39. I came up with a slogan for California’s upcoming legalization vote.

  40. Its about time they take the time to have a meeting with both sides present. Now the problem is getting through those thick headed skulls we call our leaders. Its time they realize that this war on drugs has been nothing but a joke for decades. Fight the good fight, and keep on keepin on.

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