NORML Deputy Director Speaks About The Failure Of Prohibition On Fox News’ Freedom Watch

Below is the video from my most recent appearance (yesterday) on the Fox broadcast Freedom Watch with Judge Andrew Napolitano.

Judge Napolitano has long been one of the mainstream media’s most vocal and consistent critics against the so-called ‘war on drugs.’ In recent broadcasts, he has profiled how U.S. marijuana prohibition is fueling violence and murder in Mexico, and has called for the arrest and prosecution of several police officers involved in a violent SWAT raid in Columbia, Missouri.

In this segment, Judge Napolitano questions the White House’s recent call to expand so-called ‘drugged driving’ laws to punish non-impaired, former cannabis consumers (and he is no doubt the first national commentator to do so), and asks whether the war on marijuana consumers is less about pot, and more about expanding budgets and job opportunities for law enforcement. (Answer: Absolutely!)

You can watch our full conversation below.

66 thoughts

  1. This was so beautiful it made me cry! Finally got to say what you wanted to say on national TV without some heritage foundation windbag interrupting you with tired comments.

  2. I am glad to hear that at least parts of the media are finally talking some sense concerning drug laws.

  3. I’m truly amazed at the tone of this segment. It’s almost a real discussion with real information being exchanged, and on FOX news nontheless. Now we just need to put Judge Napolitano in office.

  4. I wish the web team would of made it to where you had to go to Fox’s website to view the video so that they would see all the web traffic coming over from this site..

    Visitors/web traffic = money. Might make them actually wake up and realize that there is a large audience who is interested in this issue.

    Anything to get the main stream media to give more coverage and discussions re: cannabis.

  5. Glad to see people in the news that are aware of the reality and also have the sack to speak the truth.

  6. I’m so freaking disappointed with this. It’s just ridiculous. Of course, what the people say doesn’t matter because this is all just a game to them.

    Ridiculous. We should all just meet up, and have the biggest freaking rally on the planet. Like, get EVERYBODY and march, and I’m talking, EVERYBODY.

    Let’s keep on writing our congressmen, etc. We can do it!

  7. Judge Napolitano is my hero. Here is someone who is not afraid to stand up for what is right, and actually has intelligent discussions on important issues instead of just feeding us the same of crap that the rest of the MSM loves so much.
    Napolitano for President 2012!

  8. Since the beginning of time, man has the inherent necessity to control & conquer. Slavery, Native American Indians, Spanish Conquestedors, Hitler, could go on for days. Bottom line is, the aggressive, I am taking what I want/ I am forcing you to do things my way or you will pay severely has always been man’s M O and they have always failed, regretted their actions/inactions and the poor & the innocent suffer & or die as a result. I have just about given up on humans as a majority, I stick with animals. They are loyal to no end, they don’t lie to you or treat you like they are better than you and even the most dominant of males doesn’t want to conquer & kill, they just want to co-exhist. Just like every human being in this world that smokes Marijuana. We have been doing it since the beginning of time as well, peacefully, I must add, and what has happened so terrible? The war on drugs has 100% failed. Caused thousands of lives, took thousands of fathers from their children throughout their childhoods, being incarcerated, likely caused the National debt housing each non violent offender annually costs somewhere around $30,000 each. Not to mention all the severely violent offenders getting away while police harass a human being for smoking Marijuana. The economical benefits are astronomical 4 times the products at 5times less polution to aquire the products we get from trees to use hemp trees instead, fuel included. Stop being scared and conquerers. We need to all pull together as equals and do what’s right for our world. It cannot and will not ever be stopped. The only war is the government keeping themselves out of the loop, making it an underground market, adding the element of danger and making it the most accessable drug to minors possible. Please let me be able to say I am a white woman and I am proud. All of the white men in history have wipped out civilizations and species’ with their selfishness and society sees the big picture as wrong. Be a decent, honest white man and protect your people from the foolish persecutions of a misguided history of mistakes. Stop fighting this civil war against our people and come to a mutual agreement that benefits everyone. i know you can do it, if each good man/woman would just please stand up. I am.

  9. Paul,

    Great clip. I dislike faux news, but glad to see Napolitano speaking sense. Seems too many people in this country still have faith in the ‘war on drugs’ efficacy.

    But, my more important point, well question…is: in the video it was mentioning the recent Obama admin suggestions on per se drugged driving laws expansion. Because of the long half life, the metabolites stay forever from cannabis…so on.

    Would it be possible to get a blog post with some fair, objective scientific and medical data about why cannabis has such a long half-life? What this may signify? Could it be considered a negative aspect of the drug? Is cannabis so natural that the body doesn’t fight it with all of its might to expel the toxins like say nicotine, caffeine, valium, etc?

    I was wondering if my assumption (which I have no idea if it is true or not) would be another ultimate irony in this if true?

    I would love to hear some authoritative info on this if possible?

    [Paul Armentano responds: Carboxy THC is one of several metabolites (byproducts) of THC. It happens to be lipid soluble so it has a longer half-life than it would if it was water soluble. This is not unusual, as plenty of byproducts of other substances also have long half-lives (e.g., steroids). Since Carboxy THC is inert, it’s longer half-life is not threatening to health, but does allow for discriminatory drug testing practices against cannabis consumers.]

  10. America, Fuck yeah!!
    But actually i never thought I would give props to fox news at this time. I wouldn’t be surprised if republicans claim to legalize bud in order to gain votes during the 2012 elections. I can’t even tell what direction this country is headed anymore. Ok my vote is for Cali to get independence. Last resort im moving to Canada. I’m sick of this place for many reasons.

  11. OMG! You see those guys manicuring the budz? I just want their castaway clippings! Please mail me a large sack! lol

  12. a little off subject but needs to be said…i saw a news report today 5/28 on msnbc that growing mj is polluting the environment with fertilizers, pesticides and diesel exhaust for generating electricity for grow operations and are calling for penalties against companies that supply those products for that use!! can you believe that?

  13. Judge is great. This segment was awesome. And YES from FOX, I am totally SHOCKED… More of this, more more more… Thanks for all you do…

  14. Well finally somebody addressed the true reason for the continuation of the absurd and grossly outdated propaganda that persists regardless of public opinion and proven scientific data……Which is:

    The preservation of High Paying Drug Enforcement Positions. The drug war has been a VERY PROFITABLE endeavor for many and those involved will spin, defend, and distort facts to their own benefit so to ensure their economic stature.

    Please note: I’m not a smoker or a drug user. But the truth is obvious here I’m just shocked that somebodies final said it on a major news carrier.

  15. Hey everyone. Went to the first medical marijuana dispensary in my hometown in Michigan the other day. Times are a changin!!!!

  16. I cannot believe the govt has gotten away with this war on drugs for so long.. it’s a war on Americans! Over a substance that could be the cure for cancer, and is safer than caffeine.

    the government is disgusting.

  17. Fox has always been a ture speaking channel. This is not the 1st time, nor the first host on Fox I have heard say we should legalize weed, in fact the other one I heard say that out right said it he did not just imply.

  18. This video perfectly illustrates the long steady march toward a fascistic totalitarian society here in the USA, all in the name of a War on Drugs that began as a means to suppress minority rights. It is disheartening that in spite of chinks in the armor that medical marijuana represents under State’s Rights (9th and 10th Amendments), that a nominally “liberal” Democratic administration under Obama suppression increases under the guise of Federal DUI regulations. Kudos to Fox Freedom Watch and NORML for shining the spotlight on the continuation of this failed Prohibition 2.0.

  19. Thank you Judge but do we have a case? Hemp/cannibis/marijuana/marihuana is a candle that the powers that be including our government have placed a basket over and have been spitting on for about 100 years. This plant is proven useful and there are great hopes to greater uses. By them keeping it from us are there crimes of treason and genocide against the republic and the world.Hemp is green and clean. Maybe this is the pot calling the kettle black’nd seeing how I’m typing on oil, wow I’m surrounded by oil.

  20. paul,

    you sounded informed, passionate and shrill.

    next time smoke a biiiig phatty before OR hand the judge a smokin dooob during and see what happens. why does the judge look like disney mafia?

    a meeting of left/right progressives at the back fence so to speak is encouraging.

  21. Judge Napolitano, god bless you for speaking the truth. You are an angel among the cowards and thieves working in many high paid, mainstream media systems, and your words truly resonate with me.

    I’d like to also thank Paul Armentano, not only for sharing with me numerous arguments in favor of drug legalization that actually make sense, but also for continuing to keep pushing in favor of Marijuana reform no matter how difficult it is or how powerful the law enforcement agencies are that are tying to halt it. Marijuana, and the use of all drugs really, are an adult’s private business, not the Governments. If there is anything resembling George Orwell’s “1984”, it’s America’s War on Drugs and the fact that some people accept it.

  22. thank you so much judge!!! and Paul of course.

  23. OMFG was that on FOX news lol was it photoshopped on there lol, wow

    we are turning tides

  24. As long as someone is shining a light on this “war on people who use drugs”.and exposing the dismal failure of this insane prohibition, I dont care who it is, I would vote for him. I even might start watching Fox news!

  25. The only thing that could have been added at the end of the broadcast was a statement of counter action, a threat to be taken seriously from NORML or anyother support groups of marijuana reform. Right now, as always, the authorities are just laughing at anyone who declares revenge, political justice or accountability of such horrible events such as this and this is only a few that are being highlighted. It’s a common practice with deadly consequences and these police raids will get worse till you can’t afford to smoke pot because you need to be able to afford self protective devices first!

  26. Eathan u said it dude and im a proud stoner i dont have any medical reason to smoke other than it keeps me from having thoughts of suicide it helps me think about whats really important in my life and not to mention helps tramendously with my migrain headaches

  27. Six months ago I had never heard of Judge Napolitano. I think we’re fortunate to have such a strong ally in such a unique position (the average Fox viewer votes Republican, and the average Republican is opposed to decriminalization.) Napolitano can play a key role in changing the opinions of the opposition.

  28. Great interview, informed discussion, Thank you! I guess Obama is too busy dealing with the public perception of the oil spill to be diverted to this issue – if he took real leadership on this issue, I would have some real hope for change. I guess it is up to the citizens to demand change.

  29. Great Interview, but lets get real here, I am a member of MADD. I am a responsible marijuana smoker. I don’t get behind the wheel after I smoke.

    This is how it will work, I smoke my stuff they night before, just like a person takes a drink. Then I get stopped on my way to work the next morning. They do a blood test on me, haul me off to jail and then I get fired from my job. Oh, look, there is a new job now created for another person for statistics. It is totally unjust and a violation of my civil liberties and really stupid for Obama to test people for pot on the road like that.

    It is just like the Video Tape, It’s not a war on drugs, it is more jobs for cops and more busts like the one in Missouri and to me, that is insane. It is now the war on people who smoke cannabis. This is so BS and it’s time for us to speak up and speak out and elect another president and drug czar who will just legalize, tax it outright, put more people to work and fk this BS. This makes me totally SICK!

  30. Workers at three medical marijuana businesses in Oakland will announce Friday that they have unionized, another step in a concerted campaign aimed at bringing legitimacy to a once-hidden sector of the state’s economy and boosting the marijuana-legalization initiative.

    Union representatives and the business owners believe it is the first time that workers in the nation’s growing medical marijuana industry have joined a union.

    “They want the community to understand them as decent, hard-working people,” said Dan Rush, who oversees special operations for the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, Local 5.

    The numbers are small, Rush concedes — about 100 new members. But he believes the potential for new jobs — and union members — is enormous.

    Rush, who lives in Oakland, saw marijuana businesses helping to revive a sketchy area not far from his home. He studied the legalization initiative on the November ballot. And he concluded that his union ought to tap the emerging industry and push to expand it.

    He worked to persuade the employees that the union could help advance their cause. The businesses include the firm owned by Richard Lee, who is sponsoring the initiative. Lee runs a handful of operations, including a dispensary and Oaksterdam University, which teaches classes about marijuana.

    Lee has staked the success of his initiative on persuading voters that the drug ought to be regulated and taxed like any business, and he thinks the successful union drive bolsters this argument.

    “It’s another validation of the idea that the cannabis industry is a legitimate industry that creates taxpaying jobs,” he said.

    Lee is also hoping that the local, which has about 26,000 members in the state, can help win the initiative an endorsement from the California Labor Federation. “They have a lot of political muscle,” he said.

    That would be a coup, said Jack Pitney, a government professor at Claremont McKenna College.

    “It would be a huge difference because unions have boots on the ground,” he said. “The question is whether this is actually going to be a major priority for organized labor at a time when the state has over 12% unemployment.”

    John Lovell, a lobbyist organizing an opposition campaign, credited Lee for the effort.

    “He’s scrambling. He’s trying to do different things. I get that,” Lovell said. “I just don’t think it’s going to be successful.”

    Rush and Ron Lind, president of Local 5, said they are working to win a labor federation endorsement and will highlight the measure’s job potential.

    The initiative would allow Californians to grow and possess pot, but also let cities and counties legalize the cultivation and sales of marijuana and hemp.

    “I’m guessing there would be thousands of workers, if it passes,” Lind said.

    The new union members also include workers at the Patient ID Center, which provides medical marijuana identification cards, and AMCD, which hopes to become one of Oakland’s newest dispensaries.

    “We’re 100% union,” said Carl Anderson, AMCD’s chairman. “It brings credibility to what we are doing.”

  31. War’s over yeah right,wow everybody look at me I am really smart, I know how to pee in a cup. President Obama is a royal jackass, and his pea brained cronys in Washington D.C. just think. President Obama should remember that if civil rights activists had not broken the law he would just be another black boy siting at the back of the bus.

  32. Fox News finally reporting how the War on Drugs fail. Now we need all stations to do the same and more people demanding action from their representatives.

  33. Dear NORML,

    Thanks for lecturing me on “Freedom Politicians” telling me it doesn’t exist and it is not viable, then the very next day running a blog about FREEDOM Watch who is hosted by the Judge. Judge Napolitano openly considers himself a “Freedom” politician and a leader of the “freedom movement.” Yes, the same one you are constantly lecturing me about whenever I make a friendly suggestion for people to look at a list of candidates who subscribe to this ideology.

    I am not sure why you have adopted such a double standard. You will use our “clips” to support your point, but then turn your backs on us, tell us we don’t exist, and tell us we are not viable. Well I await your anonymous snarky reply, but really there is no need.

    Thank you so much for posting this and exposing an ideology, that not alone, but in conjunction with others can really progress this nation and re-legalize marijuana. The FREEDOM movement has infiltrated Fox News thanks to the Judge. And thank you for giving us our due respect by posting this, even though I am sure you are about to slam me in your anonymous editor comment.

    Thank you sincerely,

    [Editor’s note: Self-description is oh so convenient, especially for Internet hosts like the good judge. But joining him as self-described ‘freedom’ supporters (of course ALL politicians, and some talk show hosts, claim to support freedom. Who does not as the concept is too abstract not to oppose and too easy to anoint oneself with?) is the recently disgraced Mark Souder, who claimed he was a ‘freedom’ candidate (citing his involvement in Young Americans for Freedom…). Newt Gingrich claims to be a ‘freedom’ kind of guy. Is he? Dick Armey, the lobbyist and former leader in the GOP, claims to be working for ‘freedom’ as Tea Party puppet master. Hear anything about legalizing cannabis from him and other ‘freedom’ loving and Tea Party politico picker-in-chief Senator Jim DeMint? Dick Cheney claims to support ‘freedom’ as well. Karl Rove loves freedom, he tells us. Senator Orrin Hatch actually writes and sings songs about ‘freedom’ (he used to be joined in three part harmony by other self-described ‘freedom’ lovers John Ashcroft and Larry Craig.

    There are hundreds of both hard right and left wingers in the Congress who claim to be huge supporters of ‘freedom’.

    The question is: What, if anything have these self-described freedom lovers done to say, reform an iota of cannabis laws? How much ‘freedom’ did Judge Napolitano deliver as a ‘hanging judge’ in AZ? Did he ever declare cannabis laws unconstitutional when cases were tried before him? Is he only now starting to love ‘freedom’ and the Constitution as a Fox commentator?

    Actions deliver freedom, not words and self labels. The passage of laws by politicians that actually reform our antiquated cannabis laws is what truly matters, not self-described, self-serving, do-nothing-when-in-power, so-called ‘freedom’ politicos spouting off about the obvious and uncontested.

    Yeah, freedom! Rah! Rah! We’re all for freedom, rah, rah!

    Now, how about some legislative action and/or judicial rulings from all these ‘freedom’ loving folks when it matters.]

  34. Anybody else get the feeling that this Missouri thing will end up being our “big thing”? Like the ozone was for the environment… the thing that finally makes people realize that the way things are is messed up.

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