White House response to NORML's "We the People" marijuana legalization petition

The Obama White House has released its official response to the “We the People” online petition for marijuana legalization submitted by NORML.  The petition, which garnered 74,169 signatures, was by far the most popular petition submitted.  The government response (released late on a Friday to avoid news cycles, we’ll note) repeats the same tired lies and classic misdirections.  Most of all, it fails to answer NORML’s actual petition, which asked:

Legalize and Regulate Marijuana in a Manner Similar to Alcohol.

We the people want to know when we can have our “perfectly legitimate” discussion on marijuana legalization. Marijuana prohibition has resulted in the arrest of over 20 million Americans since 1965, countless lives ruined and hundreds of billions of tax dollars squandered and yet this policy has still failed to achieve its stated goals of lowering use rates, limiting the drug’s access, and creating safer communities.
Isn’t it time to legalize and regulate marijuana in a manner similar to alcohol? If not, please explain why you feel that the continued criminalization of cannabis will achieve the results in the future that it has never achieved in the past?

Following is the full official White House response, with NORML’s comments interspersed…

What We Have to Say About Legalizing Marijuana

By: Gil Kerlikowske
When the President took office, he directed all of his policymakers to develop policies based on science and research, not ideology or politics. So our concern about marijuana is based on what the science tells us about the drug’s effects.

Oh, good.  Then we’ll look forward to implementation the 1972 Shafer Commission Report or any of the other government and scientific studies that recommend the decriminalization of cannabis.

According to scientists at the National Institutes of Health- the world’s largest source of drug abuse research – marijuana use is associated with addiction, respiratory disease, and cognitive impairment.

“Addiction” links to a NIDA page noting the lifetime dependence rate of cannabis to be 9% – that is, 9 in 100 people who try cannabis will develop a dependence.  Kerlikowske does not mention that caffeine has the same 9% rate, alcohol is a 15% rate, and tobacco is a 32% rate.  NIDA scientists also rated the addictive qualities of those substances and rated cannabis about equal to caffeine in risk.  The withdrawal from this rare dependence is characterized by the Institute of Medicine as “mild and short lived” and “includes restlessness, irritability, mild agitation, insomnia, sleep disturbance, nausea, and cramping.”  (Speaking of withdrawal, Mr. Drug Czar, you do know withdrawal from alcohol can kill a person and it’s legal, right?)
“Respiratory disease” links to a 2008 Science Daily article on a study entitled “Bullous Lung Disease due to Marijuana” which looked at the cases of ten people who came in already complaining of lung problems, who admitted they smoked pot over a year.  The subject was featured in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine as it found “insufficient evidence for a causative link“.  Matthew Naughton, author of the 2008 study, co-authored a 2011 study which noted “unfortunately, it is difficult to separate marijuana use from tobacco smoking which does confound these reports“.  (Speaking of tobacco, Mr. Drug Czar, you do know tobacco is much worse for the lungs and it’s legal, right?)
“Cognitive impairment” links to a 1996 NIDA fact sheet on studies of cognitive impairment involving card sorting.  Since then…

  1. A 2001 study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry found chronic users who quit for a week “showed no significant differences from control subjects”.
  2. A 2002 clinical trial published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal determined, “Marijuana does not have a long-term negative impact on global intelligence.”
  3. A 2003 meta-analysis published in the Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society also “failed to reveal a substantial, systematic effect of long-term, regular cannabis consumption on the neurocognitive functioning of users who were not acutely intoxicated.”
  4. A 2004 study of twins published in the journal Psychological Medicine reported “an absence of marked long-term residual effects of marijuana use on cognitive abilities.”
  5. A 2005 study published in the American Journal of Addictions used magnetic resonance imaging and found “no significant differences” between heavy cannabis smokers compared to controls.
  6. A 2006 study published in the German journal Psychopharmacology found no “long-term deficits in working memory and selective attention in frequent cannabis users after 1 week of abstinence”.
  7. A 2009 study published in Human Psychopharmacology found “little indication of differences in executive functioning” for mild to moderate cannabis users.
  8. And a 2010 study published in Pharmacology, Biochemistry, and Behavior found regular cannabis users’ performance accuracy on episodic memory and working memory tasks “was not significantly altered by marijuana.”

Forgive the overkill, but as an organization that is honored to have regular cannabis consumer Carl Sagan‘s widow, Ann Druyan, as an Advisory Board Member, we’re particularly offended when the government claims science says that regular cannabis consumers are stupid.  (Speaking of cognitive impairment, Mr. Drug Czar, are you aware that frequent alcohol use is shown to have incredibly deleterious effects on cognition and it’s legal?)
But our petition wasn’t about whether or not cannabis is harmful, it was whether we should consider regulating cannabis like the far more harmful substances, alcohol and tobacco.

We know from an array of treatment admission information and Federal data that marijuana use is a significant source for voluntary drug treatment admissions and visits to emergency rooms.

“Voluntary drug treatment admissions” links to 2007 TEDS data tables showing that 37% of the people admitted to treatment for marijuana hadn’t used it in the past thirty days.  These tables are based on admissions data that show 57% of marijuana treatment admissions were coerced by law enforcement (drug courts) and only 15% of such admissions are actually “voluntary drug treatment admissions”.  (This is much easier to debunk when the Drug Czar links to the government tables that make our point.  Thanks, Gil!)
“Visits to emergency rooms” links to 2009 DAWN data which contains this interesting bit of fine print, “Within DAWN, the drug misuse or abuse category is a group of [emergency room] visits defined broadly to include all visits associated with illicit drugs.” That is, if you mention pot, have pot on you, or your urine or blood tests positive for pot, that’s a drug-related emergency room visit.  If you smoked a bowl last night, broke your leg skiing today, went to the ER, and they found metabolites of THC in your pee, that’s going into the DAWN stats as a pot-related ER visit.  Meanwhile, a 2011 study in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine found “marijuana dependence was associated with the lowest rates” of emergency room admittance compared to other drugs.
So we have illegal marijuana which lets government arrest people and make them choose jail or rehab, then those rising rehab numbers are an indication that we need to keep arresting people.  And we have emergency room data that tells us that some sick and injured people, like some Americans generally, smoke pot.  Can you tell us why we shouldn’t end those charades and consider regulating cannabis like alcohol and tobacco?

Studies also reveal that marijuana potency has almost tripled over the past 20 years, raising serious concerns about what this means for public health – especially among young people who use the drug because research shows their brains continue to develop well into their 20’s. Simply put, it is not a benign drug.

“Marijuana potency has tripled” links to a paper (“Potancy [sic] Paper 2010”) at Ole Miss’s US Pot Farm showing potency tables from 1993 to 2008 (15 years, 20 years, whatever).  These figures include hashish and hash oil (concentrated preparations of cannabis), which is like throwing three Rhodes scholars into an eighth grade social studies class and then grading on a curve.  Figures for all samples (including the hash) show a rise from 3.4% to 8.8% THC (2.5x, not even “almost triple”), but what they call “marijuana” goes from 3.4% to 5.8% THC (1.7x, not even double) and “sinsemilla” goes from 5.8% to 11.5% THC (2x, double).
So today’s average marijuana is as good as yesteryear’s sinsemilla and today’s average sinsemilla is twice as good as yesteryear’s sensimilla.  Anybody recall any deaths, riots, or serious social disorder due to the sensimilla of 1993?  As we’ve said before, potency is irrelevant as cannabis smoking is a self-titrating behavior.  You smoke to get high.  If you have ditchweed, you smoke a lot to get high.  If you have kind bud you smoke a little to get high.  Less smoke in your lungs is a good thing and by that measure, smoking more potent marijuana may be a harm reduction strategy.  Besides, it’s hard to take seriously any concerns about non-toxic 11.5% THC sinsemilla when the government approves of 100% synthetic THC Marinol and marijuana of any potency has never killed anybody.
But nobody here said cannabis was a benign drug, only that it is far safer than the two current choices of legal substances, alcohol and tobacco, and we’re wondering why we couldn’t just regulate cannabis like them?

Like many, we are interested in the potential marijuana may have in providing relief to individuals diagnosed with certain serious illnesses. That is why we ardently support ongoing research into determining what components of the marijuana plant can be used as medicine.  To date, however, neither the FDA nor the Institute of Medicine have found smoked marijuana to meet the modern standard for safe or effective medicine for any condition.

That “ardent support” consists of six ongoing FDA-approved clinical trials (two of which have already been completed) worldwide involving subjects’ use of actual cannabis and fourteen researchers allowed to study inhaled cannabis on human subjects.  It does not include a recent FDA-approved study of medical marijuana use to treat post-traumatic stress in our returning combat veterans.  That study was ardently opposed by NIDA, which wouldn’t sell any Ole Miss US Pot Farm marijuana for the researchers to study.  Furthermore, a NIDA spokesperson admitted to the New York Times in 2010, “As the National Institute on Drug Abuse, our focus is primarily on the negative consequences of marijuana use.  We generally do not fund research focused on the potential beneficial medical effects of marijuana.”
The FDA and Institute of Medicine links take you to papers from 2006 and 1999, respectively.  The American Medical Association in 2009 issued a position paper stating, “smoked cannabis reduces neuropathic pain, improves appetite and caloric intake especially in patients with reduced muscle mass, and may relieve spasticity and pain in patients with multiple sclerosis.”
It’s too bad our petition wasn’t about carving exceptions in federal law to allow medical use of marijuana, as 70% of Americans support.  It was whether we should regulate marijuana like we do alcohol and tobacco, like 50% of Americans support.

As a former police chief, I recognize we are not going to arrest our way out of the problem.

If you recognize that, why were there virtually the same number of arrests this year for marijuana as last year, a number that still eclipses any arrest total under Presidents Bush and Clinton?  It seems you’re going to ignore our petition to end the strategy of arresting our way out of the problem by regulating marijuana like we do alcohol and tobacco.

We also recognize that legalizing marijuana would not provide the answer to any of the health, social, youth education, criminal justice, and community quality of life challenges associated with drug use.

Right, legalizing marijuana won’t address drug use.  It will address marijuana use by regulating it like we do alcohol and tobacco. Legal marijuana would be an answer to many Americans’ health challenges.  Legal marijuana would raise tax revenues to benefit society and community.  Legal marijuana would help replace the “reefer madness”-style youth education proven not to work with honest, factual information.  Legal marijuana removes the cost of arresting, prosecution, and monitoring on parole and probation and, by definition, eliminates crime.

That is why the President’s National Drug Control Strategy is balanced and comprehensive, emphasizing prevention and treatment while at the same time supporting innovative law enforcement efforts that protect public safety and disrupt the supply of drugs entering our communities.

The president’s budget is only slightly different than the drug control budgets of his predecessor; still a two-to-one tilt toward “Supply Reduction” (interdiction and domestic and international law enforcement) versus “Demand Reduction” (treatment and prevention).  Which takes us to the second part of our petition asking how the continued criminalization of cannabis will achieve the results in the future that it has never achieved in the past?

Preventing drug use is the most cost-effective way to reduce drug use and its consequences in America. And, as we’ve seen in our work through community coalitions across the country, this approach works in making communities healthier and safer. We’re also focused on expanding access to drug treatment for addicts. Treatment works. In fact, millions of Americans are in successful recovery for drug and alcoholism today. And through our work with innovative drug courts across the Nation, we are improving our criminal justice system to divert non-violent offenders into treatment.

See our rebuttal above to TEDS treatment admission statistics and forcing cannabis consumers into rehab via drug courts.  Bless the millions of Americans in successful recovery for drug (?) and alcoholism who didn’t miss out on an open bed because it was taken up by a coerced cannabis consumer who hadn’t smoked weed in a month.  Those drug courts only work thanks to arrests of cannabis consumers and we were wondering how the continued criminalization of cannabis will achieve the results in the future that it has never achieved in the past?

Our commitment to a balanced approach to drug control is real. This last fiscal year alone, the Federal Government spent over $10 billion on drug education and treatment programs compared to just over $9 billion on drug related law enforcement in the U.S.

Which is fuzzy math and see our rebuttal to President’s National Drug Control Strategy, which, as we mentioned, differs little from President Bush’s before him.  So how is the continued criminalization of cannabis going to achieve the results in the future that it has never achieved in the past?

Thank you for making your voice heard. I encourage you to take a moment to read about the President’s approach to drug control to learn more.

Thank you for wasting America’s time ignoring her wishes.  I encourage you to take a moment to actually read and answer the questions on these petitions.  Every answer you gave to “whether we should consider regulating cannabis like the far more harmful substances, alcohol and tobacco” was an excuse to make alcohol and tobacco prohibited like marijuana.  Every answer you gave to “how will the continued criminalization of cannabis achieve the results in the future that it has never achieved in the past?” illustrated that you’re continuing the same failed strategies as your predecessors.  We the People were hoping for some change.
(Updated for minor grammar corrections and additional hyperlinks –RB)

538 thoughts

  1. I just learned of a bill or negislation they are trying to pass that will censor what web sites we here in the US can view. One of the sites the will be banned is one called the shroomery.org a forum for those of us interested in dicussing miconalogy (mushrooms) or anything else drug related or otherwise freely.
    http://americancensorship.org/
    this link above will take you to a site that will explain it better than I could.
    Please help keep the US free, they are trying to take our rights away and if we do not fight back they will succeed.

  2. Garrett,
    I am very disappointed in President Obama, but surely you don’t expect any better from the other side of the aisle. Maybe Ron Paul, but he doesn’t have a chance.

  3. Ron Paul might have better support this time around. But even if he got nominated to the GOP I doubt he would be allowed to go any further. Still going to vote for him in the primary regardless.
    Unfortunately the We The People platform doesn’t seem likely to get much attention, unless someone has a troll petition. Doesn’t help that there are like 10 marijuana petitions that kinda dilute them. Although I was quite pleased to see one about growing industrial hemp. Definitely a good idea.
    Effective or not, in any case I just started a new petition, even if it’s fruitless. If you support getting rid of the Federal Reserve, please sign it and pass it along. Thanks.
    http://wh.gov/j9d

  4. I ask because I don’t know the answer;
    openly!
    Is it possible to grow the female cannabis to cause the tops to seed? And if so could it be controlled to seed very very heavily? It seems to me the “tops” seed some what easily, and those type seed; instead of stim seeds, could find more use carrying flower potency/cannabinoid for scientific investigations. The oils from those seeds in great quantity, say mega-ton amounts could supply, what?
    How many different business?
    Just asking/submitting.

  5. President oboma , I’m sure your advisors tell you not to take a stand or talk about it, but they are more than likely ivy league people who do not really understand how most Americans think . The money we would save preventing the cartels from smuggling marijuana into our country could be used for one to increase the border patrols and the dea agents could be transferred into border protection. A vanguard documentary advised that marijuana is 80% of the cartels income , these smuggling routes open the doors for terrorists to pay cartels to smuggle dangerous weapons into our country. I don’t even use marijuana and I’m all for legalizing and regulating it. As long as people aren’t driving or doing anything that could harm others then it makes perfect sense to legalize and tax. The government would make money in taxes and saving money from useless incarcerations that turn non violent users into criminals . Look at how bad Portugal was before 2005 and look at it now, they legalized all drugs and crime went down. Just look prescription pills ,ie pain killers, if someone over 21 could go to the pharmacy and buy a days supply then no one would break into or hold up pharmacies because there would be no more inflated street price. It’s like the lobbyists for private prisons want people to commit crimes so they can profit. When a 21 year old person with a clean record is caught with an ounce of weed or 8ball of coke, there life is ruined from that point on because it will always be on there record, that is ridiculous , they will never hold a good job and that could lead them to crime. Most people breaking into pharmacies do it because either there isn’t a supply of there drug of choice on the street or the street price is so high they can’t afford it, why do you think that most of the time they don’t bother to steal the money when they hold it up at gunpoint they only steal oxie’s, lortabs, and other opiates . Wake up legislators and do something good for this country, treat narcotics like alcohol, there are some things that should never be legalized like crystal meth, pcp and drugs that kill people . But marijuana doesn’t kill and the reason people die on oxycontin are because they mix it with other drugs, if they could buy from a pharmacist the pharmacist could advise them of dangerous interactions. And alot of OD’s are suicide , you can’t stop that, they will either use a knife or gun , or hang themselves . Use sone of the tax revenue gained from marijuana and opiates from free drug treatment for those who want it or need it. I was a cop for 5 years and I personally witnessed that liquor causes more problems like violence , wrecks than marijuana or other drugs, except for crack, pcp and meth. Those are the dangerous drugs, and whe talking to people who use it most say they only bought it because it was all that was around. If they like to speed they could by adderal from a pharmacy ( made safely in a real lab) unlike meth where you don’t know what your gettibg, and heroin addicts but heroin becUse they like the feel, all I have talked to said that if oxy was legal to but at pharmacy they would never touch heroin, but heroin is cheaper than oxy on the street so they use heroin and they die when they get sone that is stronger than what they are used to, President OBOMA , legalizing marijuana will guarantee you more votes than you can imagine , look at all the states that have legalized medicinal marijuana . And everyone will RESPECT you for not going around te issue like typical politicians , we voted for you for change and someone who would help us. STAND UP, your our leader, End this nonsense crminalization . It’s ridiculous that someone gets more jail time for having drugs on them than armed robbers, and especially the fact that a non violent person caught with drugs is out in the same jail as hardened criminals. That’s another issue in itself, at the least they could put all the violent people in jails together and non violent drug offenders in a very minimum security prison, th only reason people who are against legalization is propaganda, they have no real life grasp of the truth and if they don’t like it they don’t have to buy it or see it. Have the stores that would sell hidden like adult book stores and make use only legal in private residences to start and once people see that marijuana smokers are more non violent than drunks, there minds will change.

  6. Pingback: peter scully
  7. There is a new petition on the white house website we the people, please be sure to sign it, there are only 360 signatures now. They need 25000. It’s under Open petitions and titled recognize marijuana has legitimate medical value, it’s a step closer to the goal .

  8. Wow. Amazing arguments, federal government. Not only did you beat around the bush, but you sat and twiddled your thumbs while playing a tape recorder to a scribe who typed that for you. Same Shit, Different Day, right? I say we do another petition, personally.

  9. I agree with; Porter Says:
    November 24th, 2011 at 5:19 am above.
    We should, all that care, state clearly the truth of how we each feel about the lame statement made in the phony governmental response in the We The People petition. We all as stated above should post our own petition concerning the legalization of a very legit substance the government is restraining it’s peoples use of. And then all of us sign each petition that is truly relevant to the cause, “my meaning is we are not all writers per se”. But we ALL care that the end result be that which was stated in the first petition.
    Control to legalize and legalize to control.
    Government greed is ruining this country.
    And why should any government have concerns with something like this anyway? This is a people concern and has nothing to do with governing the country. Legalization has nothing to do with communication with Canada, Israel, Japan, China or any other country.
    And what is a government for????
    If we all drink Jack Daniels, will that make other countries not want to communicate with the United States. Legalization is a people issue. The government needs to back off and leave that which is simply a state issue to the people of each state. The government is trying to control our health when that is not what a government is for. Government is to take care of that which is directly connected to a countries safety. And if cigarettes and alcohol are of no governmental concerns nor should any other substance be! Leave the state items for states to control. Our government is enlisted to protect us from other countries, not to control it’s people.

  10. Repeal marijuana prohibition (laws) based on the deception and illegal behavior enforcing regulation as better understanding of how to lower taxes (which are based on law-making and enforcement). The regulations being proposed are more tax-tricks!

  11. Why did the White House avoid answering the questions presented??????
    Can we formulate another question? All Gil did was talk about drugs and alcohol and people being treated for drug and alcohol addiction.
    The questions were not even addressed!!!

  12. I made a post myself about this because of how much it disgusted me. I followed the petition every day since it was at about 15,000 signature and it really upset me to see them not address the actually petition at all.
    I know I’m repeating what yourselves and others have said, but I think it’s bs.
    I’m pretty sure they completely shrugged off the whole petition.
    I mean, look how long it took for them to reply once the cut off date was past.
    NORML I personally believe you should make a new petition. This time make the petition known through out the United States. I mean tell everybody to spread the word. I have posted this post on my sites and have told people to share.
    This isn’t something that our government can control anymore with simple words and their chins above our heads.
    We are not ignorant.
    We are not cowards.
    We are Americans that want our freedom with a “plant” that has shown more plus’s to human health than minus’s.

  13. @426 – I too am totally disgusted. Obama and his administration has been snubbing their noses at those of us who want to end prohibition since the day he got elected (largely with our help!).
    However, after the way they responded to the previous petitions, I believe we would all be wasting our time and efforts to pursue it any further. They have made it clear that they don’t care what the people want. They seem to care only about themselves and their agenda. Personally, I have totally lost any faith I ever had in our Government. The older I get and the more I learn the less I respect those who are in power governing our once great nation.

  14. I’ve got a BS in Biological & Chemical Sciences, which is a double major with honours, and also a vocational degree in Electronics Technology, from which I was also valedictorian of my class, and so I would imagine I know “a little bit” about science LOL.
    However, I am quite sure that *neither* side will like what I say -but this will probably be an indicator that I am right… OK:
    On the one hand, I *do* accept the armaments bandied about by weed-smokers, including one of my best friends who is addicted to weed –namely, I accept the truthful claims that marijuana is both less addictive and also less harmful than other “legal” drugs, such as alcohol.
    OK? – Satisfied? a bonafide right-wing, Bible-thumping *’Conservative’* Republican Christian (with very strong Libertarian leanings) has supported a key tenet to your cause. (Yes, I’m conservative — Google me to see who I, a NON-LAWYER, nearly won in court in my bid to ‘Save Terri Schiavo,’ making a mockery of Jeb Bush’s much
    worse loss in court, k?)
    Now, the part that my liberal, fellow-Libertarian weed-smoking peeps will not like, but keepin’ it real, ya?
    I have read from respected sources that I trust that expert weightlifters & powerlifters do *not* smoke cannabis, and the reason I *vividly* recall cited was that while the weightlifter did not give ‘scientific’ reasons, per se, he noted to the effect that *all* his experiences and observations tended to lead him to believe that smoking weed led to a lack of focus and commitment, which, of course, was the reason he felt that it was not good. Regardless of his reasoning, he *DEFINITELY* stated (and this, with no bias or reason to lie, dig?) that anyone smoking weed DID have trouble being focused with commitment to stay on track and achieve high-level performance.
    Also, we both know, for a fact, that the chemicals in weed cause a loss of concentration and some memory loss (even if, admittedly, with less harmful physical, mental, addictive, or psychological results than alcohol or *many* medically-approved prescription drugs -or even many over-the-counter drugs). — Hence, the joke about “What’s the ‘Weed Smokers of America”s new slogan?” Ans: ‘Duh, we forgot or slogan LOL’ (Funny, and NOT meant as an insult, but some truth to it — as all the funny joked are based on some truth.)
    So, what’s the solution? *Maybe* a little more availability of cannabis is appropriate *if* supervised, and *not* smoked (but taken in other forms) -but IF and *only* if medically approved and regulated. … Maybe … or maybe not?
    But, as rightly pointed out, both prescription, nonprescription meds AND alcohol are *more* dangerous than weed, and cost more in social and medical costs to this nation, so perhaps we need less of those, I would agree, which might be had be an increased social conscience and stronger laws prohibiting and regulating prescription meds (pill mills, money makers for the big drug companies) and alcohol.
    Gordon Wayne Watts, editor-in-chief, The Register
    http://www.GordonWayneWatts.com / http://www.GordonWatts.com
    ALWAYS FAITHFUL – To God
    BS, The Florida State University, Biological & Chemical Sciences
    AS, United Electronics Institute
    See also: http://Gordon_Watts.Tripod.com/consumer.html
    Gww1210@aol.com ; Gww12102002@Yahoo.com
    Truth is the strongest, most stable force in the Universe
    Truth doesn’t change because you disbelieve it
    TRUTH doesn’t bend to the will of tyrants
    http://GordonWayneWatts.com / http://GordonWatts.com
    Get Truth
    “First, they [Nazis] came for the Jews. I was silent. I was not a Jew. Then they came for the Communists. I was silent. I was not a Communist. Then they came for the trade unionists. I was silent. I was not a trade unionist. Then they came for me. There was no one left to speak for me.”(Martin Niemöller, given credit for a quotation in The Harper Religious and Inspirational Quotation Companion, ed. Margaret Pepper(New York: Harper &Row, 1989), 429 -as cited on page 44, note 17,of Religious Cleansing in the American Republic, by Keith A. Fornier,Copyright 1993, by Liberty, Life, and Family Publications.
    Some versions have Mr. Niemöller saying: “Then they came for the Catholics, and I didn’t speak up, because I was a Protestant”; other versions have him saying that they came for Socialists, Industrialists, schools, the press,and/or the Church; however, it’s certain he DID say SOMETHING like this. Actually, they may not have come for the Jews first, as it’s more likely they came for the prisoners, mentally handicapped, &other so-called “inferiors” first -as historians tell us-so they could get “practiced up”; however, they did come for them -due to the silence of their neighbors -and due in part to their own silence. So: “Speak up now or forever hold your peace!”-GWW

  15. So Gordon, you’re saying smoking weed makes people lethargic and less apt to remember things. Please show us where anyone has said other wise. You’re solution is to treat it even more harshly than those other substances that you readily admit are worse for the body in any sense. I see that your position is similar to that of the prohibitionists of the 1920’s and 30’s. To insert government into everyones homes to dictate to them what they can or (in this case) can not do to themselves in their own home. If you’re truly a Republican, for smaller government, more freedom and all of that, how can you stand behind a government that is allowed to tell you what you can or can not do/grow on your own land? What business is it of yours to impose your own morals and values on those who outright reject them?

  16. @ zexks — Dude! — you prove my point on the memory problem.
    For one thing, you didn’t even read my comments: I said early and often in my post above that I *ADMITTED* that weed is LESS harmful than most other substances to which it was compared, k? (And I quote paragraph 3: “”On the one hand, I *do* accept the armaments bandied about by weed-smokers, including one of my best friends who is addicted to weed –namely, I accept the truthful claims that marijuana is both less addictive and also less harmful than other “legal” drugs, such as alcohol.””)
    ALSO, you said (and I quote) the following: “”So Gordon, you’re saying smoking weed makes people lethargic and less apt to remember things. Please show us where anyone has said other wise.””
    So, let’s take a closer look at your question (which did not have a question mark, but hey, I misspell things so I’m not a grammar-marm) — You admit that I *claim* that cannabis makes for memory problems & lethargy, and then you ask me to show where anyone has said to the contrary, that is, you’re asking me for proof that my statement is false.
    If you’re *really* trying to make your point, then don’t you think it’d be more reasonable to ask me to show where people have said my claims are *true*?
    So, you prove my point that weed-smoking makes for memory problems.
    But you miss the “big picture”: Here, you have classic support from a legendary right-winger (myself) that weed is LESS harmful than alcohol and many (if not most or all) prescription meds, and yes, you don’t “run with it?”
    LOL
    I’m trying to toss you a softball pitch, hoping you’d find it easy & bat it “out the park!”
    Yes, I’m more “conservative” than you, and would therefore be *less* likely to support drugs of *any* type, but at least I’m not hypocritical or imposing of a double-standard bias as you see here. (And, yes, cracking down on drinking *would* be hard, and *would* go against our commonly-held Libertarian slant to get Big Brother OUT of our lives, but some law and order is needed, isn’t it?)
    Not trying to be harsh, my brother, but check this: Some rules must be maintained in ANY paradigm to keep chaos from reigning.
    PS: Was my joke in my previous post funny?
    G.W. Watts (R-Fla — mere voter or citizen – not running for or holding any elected office: They wouldn’t like the truth I dispense, as I’d tick off BOTH sides in short order!)

  17. The matter of the issue is not the effects. It is the freedom to do it because that is what our country is founded on. The freedom that we may do it at our own discretion as long as it does not impose on the rights of others. If you can have a cigarette and a glass of scotch in the comfort of your own home on your own time, why not have a joint. I say it is not the effects of smoking marijuana that would influence ones motivations but the response of others to its use. Lots of things have the potential for abuse, it is up to the individual to take personal responsibility. Tell me who it would harm to grow and smoke marijuana in the privacy of my own home. If it is me, then you have no argument. It’s my choice and my American right to do so in which you are infringing. To bombard me with a series of “what if” questions is utterly pointless, it’s none of your business. Marijuana is intoxicating, i would no sooner smoke a join and leave my house or go to work than i would drink a bottle of liquor and do the same. That is not the point. i can’t count the number of people that would no sooner put out a cigarette on their lunch break because you told them they have no right, then to tell you where to stuff it. I’m sure they know it’s bad for them just like eating junk food but you can’t tell them it’s not a persons right to do so. The point is it’s my right, and i don’t care what you think. It’s my choice so stop acting like you have a right to make it for me. And on a further note many of the people of which I know for a fact smoke marijuana regularly, do not have an abuse problem. In fact, they have college degrees. It is not the substance that has potential for abuse, but the individual. If you have an abuse problem maybe you should stay away from substances that are intoxicating. Many of my friends smoked marijuana throughout the entire time they attended college and graduated with outstanding grades. But their decision to do so is not up to you, it is that persons choice. Stop messing with my freedom. I didn’t need a degree to tell you that, but I can put it in a more simple fashion of you have trouble understanding with your profound background.

  18. @ zexks — Dude! — you prove my point on the memory problem.
    For one thing, you didn’t even read my comments: I said early and often in my post above that I *ADMITTED* that weed is LESS harmful than most other substances to which it was compared, k? (And I quote paragraph 3: “On the one hand, I *do* accept the armaments bandied about by weed-smokers, including one of my best friends who is addicted to weed –namely, I accept the truthful claims that marijuana is both less addictive and also less harmful than other “legal” drugs, such as alcohol.”)
    ALSO, you said (and I quote) the following: “So Gordon, you’re saying smoking weed makes people lethargic and less apt to remember things. Please show us where anyone has said other wise.”
    So, let’s take a closer look at your question (which did not have a question mark, but hey, I misspell things so I’m not a grammar-marm) — You admit that I *claim* that cannabis makes for memory problems & lethargy, and then you ask me to show where anyone has said to the contrary, that is, you’re asking me for proof that my statement is false.
    If you’re *really* trying to make your point, then don’t you think it’d be more reasonable to ask me to show where people have said my claims are *true*?
    So, you prove my point that weed-smoking makes for memory problems.
    But you miss the “big picture”: Here, you have classic support from a legendary right-winger (myself) that weed is LESS harmful than alcohol and many (if not most or all) prescription meds, and yet, you don’t “run with it?”
    LOL
    I’m trying to toss you a softball pitch, hoping you’d find it easy & bat it “out the park!”
    Yes, I’m more “conservative” than you, and would therefore be *less* likely to support drugs of *any* type, but at least I’m not hypocritical or imposing of a double-standard bias as you see here. (And, yes, cracking down on drinking *would* be hard, and *would* go against our commonly-held Libertarian slant to get Big Brother OUT of our lives, but some law and order is needed, isn’t it?)
    Not trying to be harsh, my brother, but check this: Some rules must be maintained in ANY paradigm to keep chaos from reigning.
    PS: Was my joke in my previous post funny?
    ‘Flash’ Gordon Wayne ‘G.W.’ Watts (R-Fla — mere voter or citizen – not running for or holding any elected office: They wouldn’t like the truth I dispense, as I’d tick off BOTH sides in short order!)

  19. Gordon, No sorry that was not a question it was a statement of fact pulled from your prior post, thereby not needing a question mark, as I was not asking you anything I was merely restating your position, so as to mark the point of my rebuttal. Because you state it from an anecdotal point of view (your “respected” sources: Power Lifters) as if those ailments were something pro-smokers are trying to hide from the public. You go on to write more than two paragraphs in response to a non-existent position. Then you come around to say “Well yes you are right that it is less dangerous than EVERY other legal substance currently available” So instead of adjusting the rules surrounding the one, you propose changing the rules surrounding the many. As if that would somehow do something different now, that it hasn’t been able to do for the one in nearly a century.
    I’m fine with rules, but for me those rules should ONLY govern our interactions with each other. They should not entail allowing and denying people the right to do as they choose with their own body, in the privacy of their own home. But all laws should also be equal in their intent and enforcement. Who gives us the right to ‘ban’ a plant from existence? Of all things, why do we accept man made substances over all natural substances? Who’s morals and values get to be legislated, christian, mormon, hebrew? Maybe you want to go the route of legislating based on toxicity. Well even then Alcohol is going to be right up there near the top of the list. In fact by that line, aspirin and ibuprofen would both be higher than weed (no pun intended). Some rules are fine, but keep them in public and in our interactions with each other, not ones in what one chooses to do to themselves.

  20. @433 – FLASH Gordon Wayne Watts
    Some of us, including myself, do get what you’re saying and fully respect your position and opinion!
    I’m not one of those people that claim marijuana is completely harmless. It’s not! It is much safer than many other substances which are legal and so the law is completely out in left field regarding this herb. I’m sure you get it too!
    Only a complete knucklehead believes it is so dangerous that people should be locked up and maybe even put to death for it (like Newt Gingrich).

  21. To the webmaster — thank you for approving my somewhat “dissenting” view –and it’s perfectly OK that you posted my double-post (I didn’t see my 1st post, and so I tried again & even fixed a typo or 2o 2nd time. 🙂 🙂 It’s your website, and I appreciate the gracious hospitality that you’ve extended to guests to comment.
    @ zexks and @ Don —
    First — @ zexks — sorry for misunderstanding your post:
    I guess I was wrong there…
    — Yes, upon 2nd glance, you WERE stating a fact about my position, instead of asking me if that’s where I stood…
    I hate to admit it, but maybe we should have more freedoms to smoke weed — but, regardless of your views or the views of others on the so-called “failures” of prohibition (you imply as much here: (“prohibitionists of the 1920’s and 30’s.”), I stand by my position on alcohol:
    It is very dangerous, and should be tightly regulated, Libertarian desires of us guys notwithstanding. “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few, or the WANTS of the one.” (paraphrase of Spock’s famous quote in one of the Star Trek movies -yes, fictional characters are smart too! 😀 :D)
    … now: @ DON: Thank you for meeting me halfway here, and admitting & acknowledging the dangers of weed…
    Whether I fully agree with your conclusions or not, I will give you this tip: If you want to win over us conservatives, you might compare weed with the right to bear arms, as we want the “freedoms” to choose for either –and guns vs. weed IS a *good* comparison, as both can be used for good –and both can be used for evil:
    “Guns don’t kill people –and neither does weed: PEOPLE kill people.”

  22. @ freakngeckos —
    I read your response, — my apologies — sorry I forgot to acknowledge you in my last reply — what I said to Don @ zexks was directed to try and answer you as well. Hopefuly, I was making helpful contributions to the discussion here.
    — Gordon

  23. zexks –> RE: http://fishermage.blogspot.com/2011/10/coolness.html “You may be cool … But You’ll never be ‘Spock leaning on a Riviera’ cool.”
    Classic! (ha hah!)
    Spock just text-messaged me on his communicator and said that he wanted to fire up a green one and do some ‘Vulcan-style’ meditation, ha!
    In all seriousness, though… even though I am very sympathetic to both Government oppression in general AS WELL AS the very real ‘double-standard’ bias here (where weed is treated WORSE than alcohol& prescription meds, even though the latter are usually or always WORSE then weed), on an ‘absolute’ standard of truth, however, I honestly and genuinely struggle with whether it’s right to make something more legal / accessible if it’s admittedly somewhat harmful or has the potential for abuse. (What I’m saying is the 2 wrongs don’t make a right, and that I honestly *don’t* know if it’s wrong to ask for a little more access to weed, even in spite of the fact that it’s not near as bad as some other things that *are* legal.)
    Gordon Wayne Watts
    Lakeland, Fla.

  24. @ Mr. Watts – I think that one of the best arguments for legalization and regulation of cannabis is that it is very popular! People can and do get it now. What they get may not be very safe depending on it’s source. But, since they are going to get it anyway, it just makes sense! If everyone who has ever used it or had it in their possession was to suddenly find themselves in jail or prison, the remaining population outside the jail would have a terrible problem to deal with! The punishments for cannabis are far greater than any supposed crime that has been committed. The real crime are the laws dealing with cannabis!

  25. @ Don — at first, when I started to read your comment, I thought that id didn’t make sense — namely, just because something is popular does not necessarily make it a good idea to support or allow.
    On the other hand, as Spock might say, you make a logical point: If it’s going to be done anyhow, why not legalise it?
    In fact, by legalising & regulating it, there can be tighter controls over quality and contamination issues. (Plus, the goobbermint can tax us to death in yet one MORE area.)
    But, merely making weed more accessible or legal may not be the best goal: Perhaps, tying this call for legalisation in with tighter controls over other (more harmful) things would garner additional support from conservative libertarians lime myself:
    I *could* find myself supporting more accessibility of weed IF it was *conditionally* tied to *LESS* accessibility of other (more harmful) drugs. This would not only increase the odds of your conservative peeps supporting you, but also save lives –ask any mother whose son or daughter was killed by a drunk driver –or whose child was prescribed poisonous “prescription” medication for “made up” psychological ‘problems’ such as ADD or ADHD, things that, in reality, are merely “kids being kids.”
    Do I make progress here in moving the ball down field?

  26. @ Mr. Watts – I believe that legalizing cannabis and regulating in a similar manner as alcohol would have the effect of reducing the availabilty of it for people under 21 (if that is the legal age for alcohol in a given location). It would also have the added benefit of having a cleaner, more pure and healthy product for the adult who chooses to consume it for any reason. As it is, if you make a purchase off the black market you just don’t know for sure what you’re getting unless you pay a company big bucks to analyze it for you.
    I respect your opinion on the subject and the fact that your mind is open to discussion about it!

  27. Criminals will use the latest Techno to take that which they convince themselves they have right to. Free non-government controlled Science will surpass this obstacle certain politicians are trying to push over this GREAT LAND of Great People. The crooks are changing US Law to get everything they want from all Americans. 1 Way or another “freedom wins” Always Has-Always Will, and freedom means “truth” and truth needs no changing. LAW is LAW, as written in the original Document once known as the “AMERICAN”Constitution! “WTF” Indefinent Detention??? Google that for a minute! War on Drugs is stupid, but to let politicians pass that bill. R-WE-Stupid?

  28. Enough of all this *heavy* stuff — Time for a little *light-hearted* humour for these holidays! –>
    –> OK, when I was thinking about the latest controversy, I couldn’t get this song outta my head:
    LYRICS: “Speed is what you need/if finesse is what you want to posses/Flash! The answer to the ladies request.”
    from: “Girls love the way he spins” (Grandmaster Flash & The Furious 5, Album: The Adventures of Grandmaster Flash and/or his 1985 album: ‘They Said It Couldn’t Be Done’)
    http://mp3.rhapsody.com/album/the-adventures-of-grandmaster-flash-melle-mel-the-furious-five-more-of-the-best/girls-love-the-way-he-spins-lp-version
    It just as well might say:
    LYRICS: “WEED is what you need/if finesse is what you want to posses/Flash! The answer to the ladies request.”
    🙂 🙂 😀 😉
    Here are other links to that, in case the above doesn’t work:

    or:

    Grandmaster FLASH Gordon Wayne Watts…/

  29. UPDATE –> I (a far-right conservative, Bible-thumping’ Christian Republican) signed a ‘pro-weed’ petition, and urge you to do likewise…
    DETAILS:
    OK — I hope all of you enjoyed my humour above (links to old 80’s rap!), but I realise there are serious issues afoot, to correct off-centre laws…
    Now, while I’m probably a lot like Dr. Ron Paul (R-TX) a Libertarian-leaning Republican politician of great fame, insofar as he would prefer you NOT smoke marijuana, even as libertarian as he is, nonetheless, I have *strongly* defended weed-use as NOT as bad as other drugs (many prescription drugs AND alcohol).
    So, while I’m still kind of undecided as to whether weed should be outright legal, I am practicing what I preached:
    I just signed THIS petition here: “”Release all non-violent drug offenders. Release all inmates who are incarcerated for cannabis related crimes.””
    https://wwws.whitehouse.gov/petitions/!/petition/release-all-non-violent-drug-offenders-release-all-inmates-who-are-incarcerated-cannabis-related/tBvfwJC8
    (Reasoning: Though hot mentioned in THEIR petition, it is a fact: Weed may be bad, but come on: We’re wasting a lot of monies incarcerating non-violent crimes –or maybe they’re NOT crimes — that is a matter in dispute.)
    GordonWayne W
    Lakeland, FL
    January 10, 2012
    Signature # 6,689
    My signature was #6,689 in case you want to verify my claims here that I really signed it.
    I’m Gordon Wayne Watts of LAKELAND, Florida, between Tampa & Orlando — and I approve this message. — Google me to see if I’m “for real.”

  30. OK, I also just signed the following petition here:
    “”WE PETITION THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION TO:
    Write a Point-by-Point Rebuttal to NORML’s Point-by-Point Rebuttal of the White House’s Reply to the Marijuana Petition.””
    Link: https://wwws.whitehouse.gov/petitions#!/petition/write-point-point-rebuttal-normls-point-point-rebuttal-white-houses-reply-marijuana-petition/2LmsMr1T
    GordonWayne W
    Lakeland, FL
    January 10, 2012
    Signature # 1,400
    (I signed at signature #1,400, in case you wanna verify my claims here.-GW)
    SIGNATURES NEEDED BY JANUARY 17, 2012 TO REACH GOAL OF 25,000: *** 23,600 ***
    Reasoning: Although I’m very conservative (Rule of Law, Moral Rights & Wrongs, Personal Responsibility, a certified ‘Health Nut,’ etc.), and am still a bit unsure about whether weed should be outright legal, nonetheless, I do agree with the petition: I think that the Obama administration morally owes it to us to provide a rebuttal, and with that request I do agree.
    “Conservative FLASH” Gordon Wayne Watts
    aka: http://www.GordonWatts.com
    aka: http://www.GordonWayneWatts.com
    (-: .. 😉 .. 😀 .. 🙂

  31. I think this is a no brainer! I can’t go to to U.S without a waiver because of a gram of weed that wasn’t even mine from 13 years ago. I don’t care to go to U.S anyway but to judge me on that petty conviction {was told at border I was no better then a rapest} is just stupid.GET YOUR HEAD OUT OF YOUR ASS ALREADY!!!!! LEGALIZE IT!!

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