Reefer Madness: Alive And Well In The Federal Government!

Almost as if on cue from a movie director, the head of the Judiciary Committee in the US House of Representatives, ‘conservative’ Republican from Texas Lamar Smith, has provided both cannabis law reformers and the general public a typical up-close view of why the US Congress—the creator of Cannabis Prohibition laws in 1937 and later the Controlled Substances Act of 1970—rarely seems to work the way it was intended. One person, either ignorant or uninformed, can block consideration of a controversial political issue if he or she wishes to do so. And the ability to do this only increases with time, as the legislator gains seniority and become a committee or subcommittee chairperson.
Rep. Smith, the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, responded to press inquiries yesterday about the new federal legalization bill, that will be referred to his committee, saying he had no intention of considering the bill, or even giving it a public hearing. Unfortunately, under current Congressional rules, a committee chairman is given great discretion regarding what bills to consider, and which to ignore, and it is only when another member or members of that committee, or the general public, make a big deal out of it that sometimes one can overcome the stiff opposition of a committee chair.
One promising fact is that the ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. John Conyers, JR, is a co-sponsor of HB 2306, and should serve as a counter-balance to the opposition of the chairman.
Smith’s anti-cannabis salvo against the new legalization bill should inspire cannabis consumers and activists to redouble their efforts this year to get as many co-sponsors as possible for HR 2306, and to recruit and elect political candidates to Congress who no longer embrace reefer madness or favor continuing—possibly for another 74 years—the status quo of arresting another cannabis consumer every 35 seconds in America.
NORML and our supporters decided to reach out to Representative Smith today, to let him know we considered HR 2306 sound public policy that deserved a hearing. Instead of addressing the concerns of the general public, Smith removed his page from Facebook and wiped it clean of any and all comments posted in support of the bill. Further commenting was also disabled on the page. Once one too many calls began coming into his congressional offices and the extension for the House Judiciary Committee, a prerecorded message was posted stating that his office was closed (it wasn’t, their operating hours on Friday are posted as until 6pm EST).
Even President Barack Obama has stated he considers legalization a legitimate topic for debate, so why is Rep. Lamar Smith stonewalling the legislation?

NORMLtv is now streaming a new PSA targeting Smith and his refusal to engage this issue in a productive and rational way, which you can view above. We encourage you to continue contacting the chairman through his contact information listed below.
Rep. Lamar Smith
DC Office: 202-225-4236 (8:30 am- 6:00 pm EST)
TX Office: 210-821-5024 (8:00 am- 5:00 pm CT)

You can also use NORML’s Take Action Center by clicking here and easily message your elected officials to encourage their support of this important legislation. Over 3,000 of you already have, let’s keep the pressure on!
We appreciate your support and especially want to thank those who have been helping us push this issue today with Chairman Smith. We will be back in touch soon to ask for your further help as we find new ways to push this new legislation forward.
Subscribe to NORMLtv or follow us on Twitter to stay up to date on the latest marijuana news and further updates on HR2306.

202 thoughts

  1. well i jus came from yahoo computers lobby 1 and i gotta say reefer madness is still alive and well….i could not belive the mentality of these folks….they spewed such things as they are against it because they claim to know of cases where pot smokers have killed entire families…lol…we got a straight uphill battle on our hands here ppl and i honestly dont know how they will become educated to the truth becaues the proganda has engulfed them like a disease and taking over their will to think freely and read to educate them selves…legalization seems to become more of a fantesy the more i try to talk to ppl on the issue
    i dont know where the polls come from but from my experience it seems the majority of the ppl i try to talk to on this issue are hard core against legalization…there is still much more to be done befor this ever happens as i see it…but i will keeep tryin to help in any way i can…its really all we can do at the end of the day

  2. To post number 150:
    I, for one, am a registered voter. I’ve written my representative in the House, and both Senators for my home state expressing my support (and highlighted several points why THEY should support) this bill.
    My key point: You lose my support if you don’t support this bill, and I will be actively campaigning against you in 2014 when I’m of legal age to hold a seat in the U.S. Senate.
    Another of my points: Whilst a high school student in this state, it was easier to get my hands on pot or meth than it was cigarettes or beer, simply because there are no controls in place.
    Bear in mind, I reside in a state that banned K2 because some overreacting parents blamed it in the suicide death of their teenaged son. Also, my state has a pretty poor record on human rights and common sense issues…a “grassroots movement” to impeach the state Justices when not a one of them violated the state Constitution (the legal prerequisite for impeaching a Justice) will attest to the fact that the people here are backwards, at best.
    I absolutely agree with you that voting these jackasses out of their seats of inscrutable power is the only way to bring about true change. I can’t agree, however, with a blanket statement saying that all the posters here are a bunch of lazy non-voters. Some of us who support organizations like NORML, LEAP, or SSDP vote accordingly.

  3. A Call to Arms – Marijuana Revolution Is In The Air!
    Revolution is in the air! From Wikipedia: “…[P]rotests are an unprecedented revolutionary wave of demonstrations and protests which have been taking place in the Middle East and North Africa… To date, Tunisia, Egypt and Libya have seen revolutions of historical consequence, Algeria, Bahrain, Djibouti, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Oman and Yemen have all seen major protests… The protests have shared… the use of social media such as Facebook and Twitter to organise, communicate, and raise awareness in the face of attempts at state repression…”
    What does that mean to us? The time for a Marijuana Revolution in America is now!
    We must use Facebook, Twitter, blogs, photo and video hosting sites and other social media tools to bombard/swamp/deluge/flood all elected officials — at the local, state and federal level — with our discontent/dissatisfaction/disgust over America’s failed war on marijuana. Most elected officials today are maintaining and monitoring Twitter and Facebook feeds/pages; it is up to us to leverage this new media to get our message out — LOUD and CLEAR!
    We must monitor the local and national news for “Marijuana injustices”. For example, in New York City, possession of 25 grams or less of marijuana is punishable by a fine of $100 for the first offense; despite this, NYC cops are known to trick users into showing their weed, at which point they can cite them for possession of any amount in public where the marijuana is burning or open to public view, which is a class B misdemeanor and is punishable by up to three months in jail and a fine up to $500. We must be on the look out for these situations and we must use these new social media tools to HIGHLIGHT these police infringements on our rights. Wherever we find intolerance, or police misbehavior contrary to the letter and intent of the law, we must publicize it! (Moral to the NYC story: if you’re in NYC, under no circumstances should you ever take out your weed – you will automatically move to a class B offense; they will take you down, book you, etc.)
    As the US military is under a continual and unblinking eye of scrutiny the world over, so must the cops that are currently running roughshod on our rights as American citizens! I recommend, as a matter of policy, that we document with camera and video image every police action that we see.
    We must post what we see on the Facebook pages of our elected officials, our commentary in the comments sections of online newspapers, and we must blog our thoughts about these misuses of our tax dollars. We must upload our media to Youtube, Flickr and other hosting sites for the world to see.
    We have to be heard expressing our dismay over the current state of affairs!!! This is bull**** and only we can change it, straight people may be willing to go along with decriminalization/legalization efforts, but we can not expect them to spearhead this for us!!!
    The Constitution of the United States of America does not give our federal government the power to create or enforce these bull**** laws. The Tenth Amendment explicitly states the Constitution’s principle of federalism by providing that powers not granted to the federal government nor prohibited to the states by the Constitution are reserved to the states or the people.
    Gonzales v. Raich was a decision by the United States Supreme Court ruling that under the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution, the United States Congress may criminalize the production and use of home-grown cannabis even where states approve its use for medicinal purposes. This ruling is specious at best. Again — the burden is on us, the dope smokers, to fight this!!! We have to be heard or continue to suffer under this persecution!
    I believe the time is right. We can do this now. Americans support allowing us to burn in the privacy of our homes, provided we aren’t smoking up with children, or driving stoned, or going to work stoned, or smoking in public, or pushing for “rights” that would underwrite stoned behaviors — for example suing my workplace for medical treatment necessitated by my personal marijuana use.
    I welcome your thoughts…

  4. #150, Douglas:
    Don’t be an idiot! Concluding that most of us here “don’t vote” is a stupid assumption. And your point or purpose is what? Do you vote? Like your options??
    President Obama was elected because he promised change… but I’m not sure I’ve seen anything of the sort. It’s like there’s a Presidential Guidebook on how to treat cannabis. I doubt there is, but rather I expect politicians do what they do for show. Laws and penalties are based on anything but blind justice, or what’s right or wrong.
    In 1977 President Jimmy Carter legalized cannabis, home-brew beer and wine. Until that time all three had been illegal. The beer and the wine passed, the cannabis raised a hell-storm from the elite drug warriors, and forced laws and re-regulations that ultimately made cannabis one of the worse drugs, placing it alongside heroin and murder. Hardly true even if one stretches use of cannabis to the extreme… but it’s what “they” want society to believe, that to be hard on crime means being hard on cannabis use.
    How out of touch can a government and it’s policies be? And to what effect do those policies have on the way people respect authority? They don’t, and when they don’t, cannabis is the fall-back… becoming a vicious self-fulfilling prophecy.
    The largest joke to date is the so-called “Tea-Party”… evangelicals who support Republicans who support tougher controls. Like Christ or God said “do not use cannabis”! I know actual people who used to use cannabis who stopped because they felt religion dictated it was a sin. They took up drinking instead. Sheer lunacy, in my opinion.
    Fact is, God gave us plants, cannabis included, and there is absolutely no reference that forbids humans from using cannabis. My point, the “In God We Trust” motto on our money is a joke! A sick joke for those of us seeking peace and happiness, life and prosperity.
    Do I vote? Damn right I do. Do you???

  5. 152. thatcreepmike
    Ya – but – 150 Douglas still said it – and – it was still read. Therein lies the problem. If enough people say this shit – long enough – it becomes believable.

  6. #153, DaveNotHere:
    If you think revolution is the answer, lets start with two places on the web that could use education.
    And how many of you remember the first Drug Czar? William Bennett? Well he’s alive and well, working for CNN, has his own editorials. He had a response to HB2306 – “that it was wrong”! Do you know he says only 2% of all drug arrests for cannabis involve simple users. He goes on to say it’s the people selling it, think cartel…. he seriously believes the war on cannabis, and drugs, is targeting hard core distributors, and not the average or above average citizen.
    I like CNN, but I disdain William Bennett. Still, it’s good to keep the enemy close, and now that we can actually comment to him on CNN it’s all the better.
    I really wish I knew what was so bad in the eyes of gov’t about cannabis? It boggles my mind, that we pay taxes to fund a war in America against cannabis. That we talk about it like it’s “DRUG”… you know, “DRUGS”? Where is the common sense in that… How can it be 2011, and my gov’t still believes Martians have landed?

  7. @156 BobKat – I read the article by William Bennett on CNN and participated in the blog that followed. There was about 4000 comments, mostly pro-marijuana, before I left for the beach this past weekend. I decided to check up on that blog for updates this morning and guess what – all of the comments have been removed but the article by Bennett is still there! Outrageous!

  8. What the! I just checked the CNN website again and now the comments are back… Thus, my comment #157 is bogus… Anyway, I encourage all of you to check out this link and post your own thoughts if you haven’t already. After all, CNN is mainstream and we need to get our points out to as many people as possible!
    I was a bit angry when I tried to view comments earlier this morning and they didn’t come up… I thought the worst; that being that CNN decided to shut the community up in favor of Bennett…

  9. I know plenty of anti-prohibs that don’t pay a penny to anyone or anything that funds prohibition of cannabis. The problem is – “There isn’t enough of them.”

  10. In “90, I went back to school at the ripe old age of 38. The majority of my classmates were under 25. In our economic class, I wrote my term paper on “The Economic Justification of the Legalization of Marijuana”. Even though our teacher did not approve of my subject, he had to admit that it made sense. (I had really gotten into my research) The teacher decided to have a vote: If you could vote tomorrow on legalizing marijuana, would you? He even left the room when the vote was taken. In a class of 30 students, only 3 voted in favor, and 2 of them were my age. It really struck me how the “Reefer Madness” mentality had worked on the generation after mine.

  11. #85, Ned:
    Just caught your post again, very good summation and points of interest! Points for us to pursue.
    #160, Lynn Cason:
    I went back to college in the early 90’s also. Was getting a degree in medicine. I wish I could remember the name of the course, but can’t; I believe it was a biology class, and we all had to write a paper – my topic – “Medical Marijuana”. I received a coveted award for my paper after it was submitted by my teacher. My classmates, all graduates of DARE, scoffed at me getting an award.
    75 plus years of misinformation is what propaganda is all about – and it works! In 8th grade back during the 60’s my Spanish teacher took a whole period outlining on the blackboard what would happen if Blacks and Whites mated and produced children – the end of the Pure White Race.
    Politicians make their money propagating information and misinformation… I forget for the moment the congressman that said it, but essentially he said: it doesn’t matter what is said as long as the end result happens, as the politician wants it to happen.
    The DEA saw a substantial increase to their budget this year, while social programs are being cut, and extensions for tax-cuts to the wealthy are a Republican priority.
    What is the largest pork in 20th to current 20th century politics??? Answer: “The War on Drugs”, on cannabis which is the 3rd most popular recreational drug next to alcohol and tobacco.
    We all know there would be no Mexican Cartels if cannabis were legalized, and grown in the USA by the general population who likes growing herbs. But that’s not a solution to the War-Pigs anymore than ending the failed and ludicrous Viet Nam war was during the 60’s to self-righteous politics. The War on Drugs took the place of the Viet Nam war, a war that could be fought against the very American Citizens opposed to the war – the conscientious objectors of that war.
    My question, as a Citizen of the USA, a long-time payer of taxes, a Genesist with a religious and moral obligation to God and the blessings of plants bestowed on humankind, how can I not be a conscientious objector to the War on Cannabis? To the harm the laws of this country are doing to innocent people, guilty by unjust politics and lies?
    I know I’m preaching to the choir… but like Rev. Billy Graham, you’re not my only choir.
    Does it matter that only 3 votes out of 30 were in favor of legalization? No. But it does matter. It matters because there are spoke-people like William Bennett of CNN who promote the lies and misinformation, and people like him, are to be frank, quite offensive being naked in public. And it’s time we proclaim – “I’m Mad As Hell and I’m Not going To Take It Anymore”!!!
    Put some clothes on, get educated, and stop spreading lies as if they were God’s Truth!
    As Ned, #85 said, 2 + 2 = 4… that’s true! That’s the math and the science.
    If we’re to be “drafted” into a War that is Unjust and based on Lies, like I was to be drafted into the Viet Nam war, we have a right to be conscientious objectors… we have an obligation to protect our fellow Americans against acts of terrorism of which that is exactly what the War on Drugs is. Drug use – recreational drug use, is either a personal choice under the Constitution, or a mental health issue; law enforcement or federal military units like the DEA should only be involved under imminent threads of harm to citizens, not as a routine practice.
    To be clear… the War on Drugs is a terrorist threat to me… by my own government, and further a violation of Article 83 of the Constitution of the State of NH:
    “Article 83: Knowledge and learning, generally diffused through a community, being essential to the preservation of a free government; and spreading the opportunities and advantages of education through the various parts of the country, being highly conducive to promote this end; it shall be the duty of the legislators and magistrates, in all future periods of this government, to cherish the interest of literature and the sciences, and all seminaries and public schools, to encourage private and public institutions, rewards, and immunities for the promotion of agriculture, arts, sciences, commerce, trades, manufactures, and natural history of the country; to countenance and inculcate the principles of humanity and general benevolence, public and private charity, industry and economy, honesty and punctuality, sincerity, sobriety, and all social affections, and generous sentiments, among the people: Provided, nevertheless, that no money raised by taxation shall ever be granted or applied for the use of the schools of institutions of any religious sect or denomination. Free and fair competition in the trades and industries is an inherent and essential right of t he people and should be protected against all monopolies and conspiracies which tend to hinder or destroy it. The size and functions of all corporations should be so limited and regulated as to prohibit fictitious capitalization and provision should be made for the supervision and government thereof. Therefore, all just power possessed by the state is hereby granted to the general court to enact laws to prevent the operations within the state of all persons and associations, and all trusts and corporations, foreign or domestic, and the officers thereof, who endeavor to raise the price of any article of commerce or to destroy free and fair competition in the trades and industries through combination, conspiracy, monopoly, or any other unfair means; to control and regulate the acts of all such persons, associations, corporations, trusts, and officials doing business within the state; to prevent fictitious capitalization; and to authorize civil and criminal proceedings in respect to all the wrongs herein declared against.”
    Stop the War, Stop the Hurt!

  12. Pingback: Not Only Will

Leave a Reply