MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell: "I Really Don't Know How [Prohibitionists] Sleep at Night…Without the Booze."

Tuesday night, on his program “The Last Word,” Lawrence O’Donnell took an impassioned stance against marijuana prohibition while reporting on the recently released Gallup legalization poll.
O’Donnell, who formerly served as Staff Director of the Senate Finance Committee, notes the disconnect between the public opinion on this issue and policy coming from elected officials.
“In a democracy,” he stated, “we should expect such a dramatic shift in public opinion to be reflected in our public officials, but support for marijuana legalization in the United States Senate…has gone from 0% in 1968 to 0% in 2011.”
O’Donnell then rightfully attacked the Obama Administration’s insistence on keeping marijuana a schedule I substance.
“Now we know that no one in the Obama Administration is stupid enough to actually think [marijuana is as dangerous as heroin], but we also know politicians have no intention of facing reality anytime soon when it comes to marijuana. Politicians will continue to allow young lives to be ruined for mere possession of marijuana; politicians will continue to allow people to be arrested. [They will] allow people to go to jail, allow people to be arrested, allow people to get criminal records, get kicked out of school, be turned down for jobs just because they’ve used marijuana, something more than one president has done and gotten away with.”
In the conclusion to his segment, he unabashedly calls out our country’s elected officials for their hypocrisy on the issue, as many of them have no hesitation to indulge in the legal, more dangerous alternative.
“Senators, members of Congress, presidents, vice presidents, and Supreme Court justices are going to continue to get high, many of them every day and every night. Many of them will do it publicly, and loudly, and legally at restaurants and campaign fundraisers and at state dinners,” O’Donnell said, “They will raise their glasses and get high and they will continue to put people in jail for using a harmless, non-liquid way of getting high like marijuana. Such hypocrisy carries an even stronger stench than the alcohol-drenched breath of those politicians and judges and prosecutors and DEA officials. I really don’t know how they can sleep at night…without the booze.”
If more mainstream media journalists begin embracing the issue with the same intensity and comprehension as Lawrence O’Donnell displayed on his program last night, the end of the war on cannabis might be closer than we think.
You can view the segment in its entirety below:

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101 thoughts

  1. Seems safe now for DIMS to pick low hanging fruit…the RIPS & Gov Gary Johnson & the hoary Ron Paul (please teach this man how to wear a suit & tie) are harvesting many voters from the hapless WarBama anti-science mantra of ruse.
    Rep. Steven Cohen DIMS has come out for descheduling & dialogue with NORML etc…the ‘war on pot’ has been a frenzy of mass stupidity beyond all human comprehension.

  2. It took a lot of courage for Lawrence O’Donnell to speak about the continued ignorance displayed by the politicians and White House over
    reclassifying Cannabis. His comment and plea was one of the more impassioned ones to date; well written and delivered in a clear, honest and intelligent manner.
    I have very little faith in our government and in particular those who now occupy offices. It’s not only our President but for the most part most members of the House of Representatives and the Senate. There are some exceptions, but slimy politicians like Lamar Smith from Texas, are
    perfect examples of what’s wrong with out country, and in particular the denial of much needed alternative medical options to those who are suffering,
    Kudos to Mr O’Donnell,,, well done!!

  3. Lawrence O’Donnell is now a hero in my mind! Finally someone in the mainstream news is showing real courage and common sense! I just don’ know how much longer our politicians can continue to show their incredible ignorance and fear-mongering regarding ending this prohibition.

  4. Best 4 minutes about the hypocrisy of our government I’ve ever heard. And all this at the taxpayers expense. Free the truth about cannbis and FREE THE WEED.

  5. @24 Price Charles:
    Actually, what he said was: “I don’t care what anybody says the facts are about marijuana, medical, or, otherwise. I’m running for office for pete’s sake!!!”
    Just kidding but it’s not that far out there judging by the way he seems to think!

  6. Just wanted to add a voice to the chorus. Mr. O’Donnell is a beacon, an example of how the tide has turned on this stupid, stupid repression of the cannabis plant and the war on those who use it for personal enjoyment or healing. Many of us, including the folks at NORML, have been saying these same things for decades but have been ignored by the mainstream press. To see this rational perspective unabashedly declared on MSNBC makes me smile.

  7. Great stuff. Surprised he did not include the staggering amount of drugs Americans down every day in the form of “legal” prescriptions. What a joke.

  8. @ Jim Livesay,
    While I totally agree with the gist of what you sent to your Congressmen, I have to believe that it will get ignored. This partly because of spelling error; that and their aversion to the truth. In particular, there is no such thing as Cannibus; the very topic of your letter. Of course what you really mean is cannabis… My understanding is that people like congressmen (or their assistants) look for reasons to discard anything they don’t like. Spelling and grammar will send the greatest thoughts straight into the trashcan…
    That said, I thank you for trying to do your part to end this terrible injustice that so many millions of good Americans have had to endure because of the total idiocy, greed, and hypocrisy that our leaders have perpetrated on us. I’m afraid I’ll be 80 all to soon myself!

  9. Re Casualty #32–
    Hello my friend. You are right. We should send notes of thanks to O’Donnell–and I just finished doing that.

  10. Way to go my america people.
    We almost running our time tonight and BRAVO!!!!!!!!!!
    We need all we can get very good turn out tonight.
    We may reach about 70,000 signtures tonight.

  11. It doesn’t matter how many signatures we get, Tim .
    We are living under a dictatorship .
    Here in, Santa Barbara, California the Police under the leadership of Mayor, Helene Schneider pass out citations costing hundreds of dollars to its people . The charges are exaggerated & the Police lie in Court . The Judges & commissioners rule in the favor of the Police only for the purpose of generating income for their corrupted City no matter how many witnesses & documents you show to support your innocence

  12. The Navy just announced they are discharging dozens of sailors for drug use, most for synthetic marijuana. It’s something they call “zero tolerance”.
    On the other hand, the Navy policy on alcohol, cigarettes, coffee and prescription drugs remains “total tolerance”.

  13. I think we need to have a weenie roast on Pennsylvania Ave,but the logistics and expense of such a maneuver would be staggering,,and we are broke.
    So join the closest OWS demonstrations,,do not go baked,,do not carry signs saying Legalize pot but instead “end the war on drugs”,,save 440 billion a year or some such slogan.
    If you go baked,,you will be the one the news reporter sticks a microphone in your face,,and we have had enough bad representatives on the news,,so no staggering around chanting “Dave’s not here” or playing the bongos.

  14. Thanks, Mr. O’Donnell…. I really didn’t need yet another reminder how insane my country is, be it the refusal to fairly tax the wealthy corporations and individuals to a simply bizarre, insane, ludicrous set of drug policies….

  15. Now would be a great time for Gary Johnson to run as an Independent on a single issue. He’s a good Republican but we all know he’s not going to get the nomination, he’s probably not even be allowed to attend the Republican convention, much less speak at it. He could make a real difference by drawing off even 2 or 3 percent of the popular vote. That’s 2 or 3 percent Obama and Romney are are not gonna want to forfiet. 2 or 3 percent may decide the next election. Remember the Prohibition show last week, go back and watch about 1 hour into the first episode, the tactics of the anti-saloon league. “THEY DIDN’T NEED A MAJORITY, THEY ONLY NEEDED THE MARGIN THAT SWINGS AN ELECTION, THEY DEIDN’T NEED 50 PERCENT THEY ONLY NEEDED 10 PERCENT TO CONTROL THE STATE”. If we could control 10 percent of the vote a marijuana leaf would be on the dollar bill by 2016.

  16. At a news conference Wednesday, Assembley Man, Tom Ammiano & Senator Mark Leno condemed the recent decision by the four federal prosecutors in California to go after Pot club owners & operators and their landlords as ” illegal drug trafficers “. Ammiano called the move a 1930’s era reefer madness reaction to a substance that enjoys popular support and widespread therapeutic & medical use .

  17. Does anyone know whether we drug test congress? With all the rules they put on us I think we should!
    [Paul Armentano responds: Ironically, the only class of public employees that, to date, the Supreme Court has determined may not be legally drug tested are elected officials. See Walker v Chandler.]

  18. When opposers of cannabis regulation say, “States with decriminalization have seen and INCREASE in use”, we should be saying, “But, the number that really matters is the children. And the data has shown no increase, even a potential decrease.” NORML Executive Director, Allen St. Pierre, pretty much covered this point on the Dr. Oz show.

  19. I have a proposal that I would like everbody to consider. Please let your opinion be known about this.
    The police, an unfortunate evil necessity, were getting screwed about their contract.
    Something all goverment employees have from time to time.
    The response they came up with was brilliant.
    They came up with the “Blue Flu”. Everybody called in sick oneday. They got their message through.
    My proposal is to have a “Green Flu” day.If every toker in America, not just the medical patiences, were to just call in sick for just one “Green Flu” day.
    I believe this country would come to screaching halt.
    Only one day will be necessary to prove our point. This is OUR country, and I am sick and tired of loosing my rights more and more everday.
    Most of you have some sick leave,or maybe this is just to important to loose one day of work.
    Can you invision the Feds response to several million people that just called in sick one day.
    What ever any of you think, things are not becoming better for us.
    The visible and opacue people of the prohibitionists, that need a new kind of wake up call.
    Please, if we can get organized, pick a day like stop smoking day.
    If enough of us can cordinate this, it will blow their minds at the number of people that don’t go to work for just ONE day.
    I get tingly with just the idea of several million people being “sick” for just one day.
    Please let me know if this sounds reasonable or not.
    The Unpopular Terrorist attack. A day that should live in infamy!

  20. “Now we know that no one in the Obama administration is stupid enough to actually think [marijuana is as
    dangerous as heroin]”. Lawrence O’Donnell
    Does the Obama administration include the Department of Justice, FDA and DEA?
    I think they are that stupid. And I think there is something dark in the background of this continued prohibition.
    If stupid could be colored it would have to be dark because no light has reached this group.

  21. @75 – Great Idea!!! I would absolutely participate if only we can get NORML to get behind us and promote this. It would be fantastic if we could actually get the mainstream news to give their dire warnings about how so many people necessary to our functioning society suddenly called in sick to support this cause.
    How about it NORML?

  22. It is a sorry mess. I hope these Politicians who have kept Marijuana Illegal for all these years have to wait outside the gates of Heaven as long as they have made all of us wait to have our weed freedom. God will say, “Turn around is fair Play”. Or Mabey God will let us all slap them in the face as hard as we can to take off the 70 plus years they have oppressed us. What do you say one slap equals ten years. Don’t worry Politicians. I know there are many dentists in Heaven. Ha Ha Ha Ha.

  23. I don’t have a crystal ball but I can pretty much guess what’s going to happen to everyone who calls in sick on Green Flu day. Is everyone sure we can’t just form a voting bloc like the NRA and AARP does. Then it wouldn’t matter if congress wanted to legalize MJ or not, we wouldn’t be asking them, do it or we’ll find someone who will. Next time, probably tomorrow, some jerk decides to buy a gun and shoot a lot of innocent people, take note how many politicians want to take action, again just my guess, zero. Go to a Tea Party rally, these people woke up, cashed their social security check, went to a doctors appointment paid for by a single payer system, hoped on their motorized scooter chair, “which didn’t cost me a penny” and are all readey to protest socialism. Meanwhile people who want to pull a weed out of the ground and smoke it keep taking it up the you know what. Why is that.. Like the guy said, since 1968 support for legalization has gone from 12% to 50% 1969 to 2011, in the Senate it’s gone from 0 to 0. I could care what my Senator wants, I don’t work for him, he works for me.

  24. I can’t believe that not a word from the drug warriors over that slap in the face.
    Not a Judge,prosecutor defending themselves,not a drug warrior one. TMK

  25. #75 Michael B Says:
    “My proposal is to have a “Green Flu” day. If every toker in America, not just the medical patiences, were to just call in sick for just one “Green Flu” day. I believe this country would come to screaching halt.”
    In Theory, that’s a great idea. It’s also called a general strike. Even if every toker AND every anti-prohibition reader here were to call in sick OR not buy anything on that one given day and that action of civil disobedience did not have the desired disruptive effect immediately, it would ultimately be disruptive regarding the predictable employer response.
    In Practice, that predictable employer response would be a new massive program of employee drug testing, a policy of zero tolerance, and culling the tokers from their work force. The actual national unemployment rate is greater than 20% — nobody these days is irreplaceable. That predictable employer response would also be disruptive, but not with the desired results.

  26. After reading most of these comments,i am happy to see so many supporters for this cause…i fully understand your pain..i will do everything in my power to help chsnge these non sense laws..i hope to one day link up with all of my mary jane lovers and rejoice..hey u never know..we got to believe..but until then puff puff give and be safe…

  27. #81 David76
    Yes,of course its just theory. and yes there will be repercusions. But the things your warning about already excist.Drug testing and zero tolerance have already been used as terror tools for a long time now.
    OK, lets go through some worse case scenarios.
    Nothing happens,no media,no news, oh well just another day.
    Small business, 50 employees or less. Generally speaking, it is the business that will hurt. Sure they fire everybody that walked out. One big problem. To replace them, some might be Crafts peolpe that aren’t to easy,if at all,to replace.
    Now heres the rub, they now have to interview prospects,reading applications,having people come in for interviews,time will be spent deciding who to consider. Then after all that they now have to train a new person.
    This all takes time and money away from their regular business.
    Now lets say that same company has to do business with a company that is also undermaned or closed.
    Overall, yes people will lose their jobs, but as with any war there will be casualties.(we already have thousands in jail)
    Bluntly, if your not willing to stand for what is right, not just your rights, screw you.
    Now back to business. Even large companys can’t handle a one day walk out. Let say Walmart fires everybody that walked out. First off, it cost them a fortune to rehire all those positions. Then I don’t about you but there are of other places to shop. They may not want that much bad publicity.
    Then there’s the big one,unemployment insurance.I have had a business in both WA & CA. If you fire someone who called in sick for one day,first you will have to show cause or you,the business owner, will have to pay for their unemployment insurance. That is a pretty far out on the limb to go, just because someone called in “sick”.
    My whole theory is, if their are truly 10-20 million people who want an end to the “war” on citizens. Then I believe we could be heard so loud, the rest of the world would put it on their news! Now that would be cool!
    Whatever happens , if we don’t start being together in the streets, They know they got us, one by one.

  28. @81 – After thinking about it for a while, I ultimately came to the same conclusion that you did! What is most likely to happen if we all called in sick, as a form of protest, is that employers nationwide would take a look at who called in sick. They’d all be subject to random testing for the rest of their employed life…
    Even though this is one of many things I wished, initially, that NORML would get behind and promote, in afterthought I realize that doing so would probably hurt our cause more than help it. NORML might even run into legal troubles as a result of promoting this or any other kind of similar acts of protest…
    Our society doesn’t work the way I wish it would or could. NORML is probably correct in trying to play the system the way it actually is. The cold hard truth is that the people in charge care a great deal more about who sends them money than who gets hurt. So, we must find legal ways to hurt them in their pocketbooks; which is painfully slow without major $$$ players helping us out. I really wish all these rich celebs that are known to endulge in our favorite herb (like Lady Gaga for example) would help the cause more…

  29. The governments’ insistence on continuing cannabis prohibition despite it being an absolute failure clearly shows just how ilrepresented the average American is right now, especially considering the recent polls that show 50% are in favor of full legalization. What right does a democratic government of the people, for the people, by the people have to deny what 50% of its population wants? Or are they only counting the votes from the 1% who seem to always have things in their favor?

  30. WOW, This is a news clip that I’ve been waiting to hear. Those are the facts in this clip. It really bothers me to think that are leaders are still saying the same bullshit that Harry Anslinger would say. It would be a great increase in our budget if marijuana was legalized.

  31. Between January and September 2009, there were 5,874 drug-related murders in Mexico, an almost 5 percent increase over 2008 (5,600).” Approxaimate total 60,000
    United States Department of State, Bureau for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, “International Narcotics Control Strategy Report: Volume I, Drug and Chemical Control,” (Washington, DC: U.S. Department of State: March 2010)p. 432.
    (2009 – harms of prescription drugs) “Each year offers new examples of injuries and deaths caused by untoward dangers in prescription drugs. Prominent illustrations from recent years include Vioxx, a popular arthritis painkiller that more than doubled the risk of heart attacks and strokes,6 a risk that lingered long after users stopped taking the drug;7 “Phen-fen,” a diet drug that caused heart damage;8 and Propulsid, a drug that reduced gastric acid but also threatened patients’ hearts.9 Once information on these side-effects became known to the public, the manufacturers of each of these drugs stopped selling them and, eventually, paid millions or billions of dollars to settle claims for resulting injuries.10 Merck, for example, having withdrawn the profitable Vioxx drug11 from the market in 2004, settled nearly 50,000 Vioxx cases in late 2007 for $4.85 billion.12 In 2009, Eli Lilly agreed to plead guilty and pay $1.415 billion in criminal and civil penalties for promoting its antipsychotic drug, Zyprexa, as suitable for uses not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”).13 These cases may be among the more prominent, but they represent just the tip of the iceberg of damage caused by prescription drugs.”
    Owen, David G., “Dangers in Prescription Drugs:
    (2009 – annual causes of death by cause)
    Cause of death1 Number
    All causes 2,436,652
    Cardiovascular diseases 779,367
    Malignant neoplasms 568,668
    Drug induced2 37,485
    Suicide 36,547
    Motor vehicle accidents 36,284
    Septicemia (infections) 35,587
    by Firearms 31,224
    Accidental poisoning 30,504
    Alcohol induced 23,199
    Homicide 16,591
    Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) 9,424
    Viral hepatitis 7,652
    Cannabis (Marijuana) none

  32. #81 David762
    Wow! Dave your right! Losing your job to fight for your rights would be a bummer.
    If I recall, some 800,000 Marijuana Victoms not only lost their jobs but are in jail. Just this year.
    With your logic, we might as well just roll over and piss on ourselves.
    Even if we all voted for that one special person.
    Your Vote doesn’t matter.
    Do some reading, start with the electoral college. Then read up on our new $8 billion voting machines. The ones that have no accountabity or paper trail.
    It is not just the pharms or alcohol, even though they are a big part, imagine all the suddenly unemployed law enforcment folks. Whether they agree with you or not, they to are not going to give up their jobs for your rights.
    On May 4 1970, in response to war protestors, the National Guard,under orders, fired into not only the protestors,but at students also.
    67 shots in 13 seconds. Killing 4 and wounding another 9. Of those shot, 11 of the 13 were shot in the back or side.
    Even with a recording of the order to shoot, is available, the goverment still will not admit any wrong doing.
    I don’t have any proof, but I am sure in my mind that Americans have been shot over marijuana to.
    As for me. I will tell my boss why I’m taking the day off. And who knows, because of me maybe he’ll close his store for support to.

  33. I am spreading the word as best I am able-
    trying to reach those that are not already in favor,
    as ~most of the viewers of this awesome site are…
    copy and paste and hit up business/economy discussions with this, if you would be so kind.
    spread the word, please
    I am not interested in any more hardships because of stupid policies which damage life.
    They should consider the revenue of undoing cannabis prohibition:
    ~50% of the visible public are for it, in spite of its vilification and stigmas
    the largest organization of doctors (35,000) in California wrote this about it:
    take a few minutes, hit the link and scroll down and watch the few minute clip
    read about it, and comment, here:

  34. #84, #89 Michael B
    #85 Don
    Our entire system of government has been corrupted (imvho) beyond redemption — illegal overseas wars, domestic police state, their war against their own citizens regarding drugs, private for profit drug testing, court-ordered rehabilitation, private for profit prisons / slave labor camps, draconian civil & criminal asset forfeiture, illegal indefinite detention, torture, & extrajudicial assassination of citizens.
    I am of that age that saw Kent State students murdered by National Guard, so I fully understand the ramifications of public protests & civil disobedience. A one-day ‘strike’ will be ineffective and only illuminate a new group of citizens to persecute. A better idea, which is more anonymous and likely far more effective is a nation-wide boycott — We the People have been stripped of citizenship in favor of being treated like mere consumers.
    When We start being very selective of that which We consume, it hurts crony corporations the only way they feel pain — in their quarterly fiscal bottom line. Buy local foods, buy appliances & vehicles & whatever else We can Used instead of Shiny New, use local Credit Unions instead of TBTF Banksters, etcetera. Such boycott actions hurt everyone, but especially the Monopoly Capitalists, who have been waging Class War against We the People for generations.
    I agree that Electronic Voting Machines have robbed We the People of our voices at the ballot box, but that is no reason Not To Vote. But why Vote for the very same Monopoly Capitalist shills of both Lame Stream political parties that have forsaken We the People? I would recommend that everyone Vote, but Vote for 3rd party candidates — and We do still have the option of Writing-In our candidates of choice, which bypasses the EVMs & leaves a definite ‘paper trail’, and if possible Vote by Mail (Absentee Ballot) early.
    Throwing most of these incumbent political bums out of office would be a good start, but by no means a final solution. We need public-only financing of political candidates, direct voting with the power of recall, eliminate the Electoral College, Instant Run-off Voting in both primaries & general elections, prosecution of influence peddling by public officials, and a prohibition of corporate ‘personhood’.
    I will be the first to admit that I don’t have all the answers, but after nearly 60 years in this incarnate lifetime I do have a sense of what direct actions work and which ones don’t.

  35. to David762 & others.
    Thanks for all the thinking. I think some great stuff & not just whining is where it’s at.Probably more than once will be needed. I think we all believe we need to do something more physical to show our desires. We all know something needs to be done by us. It would be nice to get some support from certain groups, but if we can’t, we just need to remember, we are already a group. A bunch citizens getting screwed by their own goverment.
    Again, I think with all the instant communication and photo ability. We should be watching them as close or closer then they watch us. Who knows, maybe one of their kid’s deals at school. Just remember their people to, and we all have skeletons in our closet’s.
    I think we just need an alternitive game plan then voting for that one person.
    Good thoughts followed by some solid action, will definetly do good. Let’s do something! Just let me know when and where.
    Let us never foget…

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