United Republic Investigative Report: Why Can’t You Smoke Pot? Because Lobbyists Are Getting Rich Off of the War on Drugs

A relatively new webpage called Republic Reports (a project of United Republic with the sub moniker ‘Investigating How Money Corrupts Democracy‘) has turned much needed public attention to one of the five pillars of Pot Prohibition: The Law enforcement community’s role in perpetuating another possible 74 years of Cannabis Prohibition laws in America.

Local/state police, sheriffs, prosecutors and federal agents from the DEA claim, as they often do, that ‘they don’t make the laws, they only enforce them‘.

Is this really true? Not according to Republic Report.

By Lee Fang

John Lovell is a lobbyist who makes a lot of money from making sure you can’t smoke a joint. That’s his job. He’s a lobbyist for the police unions in Sacramento, and he is a driving force behind grabbing Federal dollars to shut down the California marijuana industry. I’ll get to the evidence on this important story in a bit, but first, some context.

At some point in the distant past, the war on drugs might have been popular. But not anymore — the polling is clear, but beyond that, the last three Presidents have used illegal drugs. So why do we still put hundreds of thousands of people in steel cages for pot-related offenses? Well, there are many reasons, but one of them is, of course, money in politics. Corruption. Whatever you want to call it, it’s why you can’t smoke a joint without committing a crime, though of course you can ingest any number of pills or drinks completely within the law.

Some of the groups who want to keep the drug illegal are police unions that want more members to pay more dues. One of the primary sources for cash for more policing activities are Federal grants for penalizing illegal drug use, which help pay for overtime, additional police officers, and equipment for the force. That’s what Lovell does, he gets those grants. He also fights against democratic mechanisms to legalize drugs.

In 2010, California considered Prop 19, a measure to legalize marijuana and tax it as alcohol. The proposition gained more votes than Meg Whitman, the former eBay executive and Republican gubernatorial nominee that year, but failed to pass. Opponents of the initiative ran ads, organized rallies, and spread conspiracy theories about billionaire George Soros to confuse voters.

Read the rest here.

52 thoughts

  1. It seems that more people have opened their eyes to the “Money Paid and Made” for ruining peoples lives scheme that has been going on in our country for decades. Thats a good thing but what can we do about it?

  2. Somebody needs to put together a detail video that explains everything! Spready that thing like wildfire over the internet. Call it Weed & Truth.

  3. The phrase “we were just following orders, just doing our jobs” springs to mind. I wonder why?

  4. See to it that federal sequestration (the automatic budget cuts) disproportionately and drastically slash the budgets people like him and other prohibitionists such as the DEA rely on. Let their money dry up! They’ve squandered enough of the people’s money. They should have to dig deep into their own personal pockets to continue their dastardly war on the American people!

    Spend your own money, bitches!

  5. its not just a democratic issue im a libertarian mostly with conservative views but i believe in legalizing all drugs and treating the problems as a medical disease….this is the only SANE but pot isnt really a harmful drug as the propagands classifies street “drugs” such as meth crack and heroin….there is a stigma that spills over into pot…that somehow the people who use “drugs” are somehow mentally/morally deficient or “burnt out” so they have no cohesive thoughts..addiction hits all kinds of people including Rush Limbaugh..who has is a conservative …so conservatives do have some knowledge of what i call the WAR ON STONERS i feel like pot should be legal and i think that legalizing pot will take away the taboo of pot and will actually make use decline when u take away the taboo of somehow doing something wrong or bad to be more correct…then much funds would be available to treat substance abuse which may include a marijuana maintenance program for drug addicts who want to live as natural as possible without chemical treatments such as amphetamine or methadone treatment…just a thought let alone the 54% of Americans who believe that legal pot pays our bills…

  6. So, does NORML subscribe to this theory — that the only reason that cannabis is still illegal is because of LEO lobbyists? This is simplistic at best. 75 years plus of cannabis prohibition has allowed a whole cabal of different special interests to align against re-legalization.
    The Wall Street Banksters launder many tens of Billions USD in illicit drug money yearly, comprising a significant portion of their liquid fungible assets.
    The Military Industrial Complex has entered a new era of magnificent prosperity, thanks in no small part to the War OF Terror, the War OF Drugs, and the War On The American People, the Police State.
    The Medical Industrial Complex, including Big Pharma and their drug pushers, could not exist in an alternate paradigm in which homeopathic & preventive health services based upon natural medicines has an equal voice.
    Elements of the USA government itself are and historically have been directly involved in the global illicit drugs enterprise, as a matter of both state-craft and off-budget funding of “black projects” that would not otherwise survive Congressional oversight.

    Please, NORML, let’s not minimize the array of forces aligned against cannabis re-legalization. It does help to focus on specific opposition, but not in isolation from the larger problem.

    [Editor’s note: Minimized? Rather, law enforcement’s historic opposition to changing cannabis laws is but one of five pillars of modern cannabis prohibition.]

  7. You can’t smoke pot because there is absolutly NO political gain and a ton of pain for any would be politician.
    Obama was afraid to alienate the Reptile Handlers of America when stories of 16 foot carniverous snakies getting loose in Florida backyards story comes around every few months or so. Let’s see People who want to keep 16 snakes in their house. I’m gonna guess that’s about,, oh just a guess mind you, something like .00003 % of the vote.
    On the other hand you claim 50% support for legalization yet 99 percent of politicos would rather be eaten by said 16 foot snake than get your endorsement.
    I know I’m not a smart man but…….

  8. This is ridiculous…legalize it already…

    In a perfect world pot would be legal, alcohol and tobacco wouldn’t.

  9. Apparently the DEA is sending out “agents” or “representatives” into states to oversee election procedures. Twelve states are voting this November regarding either medicalization or legalization (for recreation) of Cannabis.

    The DEA “agent” in Colorado, her name is Roach. Ms. Roach.

    The only two things she said that the press reports as significant is that

    1) Cannabis has no medical use

    2) Medical marijuana is a danger because many homes (maybe thousands) could face water damage and resulting mold in places where indoor gardening occurs.

    So I have to wonder how much of national tax revenues is used to support a government agency that is unconstitutional first, draconian and a source of problems second, and more obviously: unnecessary, unjustified, ineffective, and unconscionably inane with no good reasons to justify its existence.

    Cannabis is a medicine. It is most probably the safest medicine known to man, who carried it from the mountains of Asia to every part of the earth.

    Thomas Jefferson obtained a special cultivar or strain of Cannabis while in Paris and brought them back home with him to Virginia.

    To think, that in the land of the free, the beacon of liberty to set an example for the whole world

    there is an antiquated prohibition

    -that directly creates organized crime and related violence by motivating those sorts with easy money

    -leads to felony convictions, imprisonments, social stigmatization as criminals for a non-crime, and murders by no-knock search…for having in possession a bag of dried flowers

    And the US people pay money to allow this sort of pointless tragedy to continue, to the benefit of a small group of interests and people who lack meaningful work or scruple.

    An alien arrives on earth and observes life in America. He observes and notes a pattern that is obvious but is hard to see unless out of the box. Pharmaceuticals are released experimentally, e.g., you can’t know if taking a new pharma pill and having a baby at the same time could lead to birth defect(s), the FDA does not scrutinize these drugs enough. Many pharma drugs are claimed to “treat” particular illnesses, but don’t do so better than Cannabis. There is no better medicine, FDA approved or DEA approved, to treat glaucoma by lowering intraocular pressure (IOP) than cannabis.

    Pharma makes people sick, taxes the hell out people’s livers with semi-toxic experimental drugs. When you’re almost dead, insurance takes over raking up more money. Hospitals, Pharma, Insurance are in a beneficial scheme together, as the prices of all three keep climbing simultaneously.


    Cannabis free and more effective, and NOT a crime in any reasonable way by any non-insane standard.


    the hospi-insure-pharm triad


    Make in legal in all 50 states. Grow it everywhere you can. An unjust law is no law at all.-Thomas Aquinas

    Vote Ron Paul, even if you have to write him in on your ballot.

  10. The lobbyists are just part of the police state we live under, keep the money flow going for the 21ST CENTURY INQUISITORS. We get prosecuted for marijuana use and they rule with an iron fist to keep us from seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. You don’t see AUTHORITARIANS in the unemployment line. Prisons and drug testing are big industries, you don’t hear anyone working in those sectors complain about money. The LOBBYISTS protect BIG PHARMA, OIL COMPANIES, LUMBER INDUSTRY and producers of WEAPONS OF MASS DESTRUCTION and STRUCTURES OF CONTAINMENT FOR CITIZENS OF THE DRUG WAR. There is a LOBBYIST for everything that goes before CONGESS. Money talks and we are the BULLSHIT that gets walked on. When you walk out of your front door, BIG BROTHER-THE NEW WORLD ORDER and the POLICE STATE with the ORWELLIAN MENTALITY have their eyes upon us with their unjust laws and regulations of entrapment. We are the fuel for their UTOPIA. GREED is just another piece of the puzzle at us non-conformists. THEY DON’T WANT US TO DREAM-THINK or let us take action to DEFEND ourselves. It’s time to put on the DARK SUNGLASSES to see the real reality of what is around us. HAIL TO THE MONARCHY!

  11. my problem is that absolute power corrupts absolutely this country is starting to sound like Nazi German the war on terror is just like hitlers war on Jews make them hated then dispose of them just like the lobbyists of this country and law enforcement saying were just doing are jobs well isn’t that what the SS said at the Nuremberg trails and all of them were either sent to the gallos or shot America is hitlers 4th Reich

  12. so we borrow money to give to the police to bust people who smoke weed? were 15 trillion in the hole wtf, fuck the us government and there corruption, a new day will dawn

  13. Yes friends we need a slam dunk in
    November on all the MJ issues
    Love that pat robertson is speaking out
    What is needed now is to get more
    High profile celebs to come out of the
    Basement and endorse the miracle

  14. It all about the money duhhh! It is ridiculous how people are going to jail for smoking pot it is absolutely ridiculous. Taxpayers are paying to imprison pot smoker’s while Billionaires fund 3 letter agencies to just imprison the people smoking DONT WORRY that makes sense it just shows how much of a joke this country is. Everyone needs to see how Portugal works they are a beautiful country in Europe check it out for the misinformed!

  15. ….it takes a revolution, to make a solution… Government will always be corrupt, its up to us, “the people” to change it all. Sadly the current generation in power needs to pass for any real change to happen.

  16. They talk about getting government out of people’s lives, of getting rid of the “nanny state,” about cutting the budget of unnecessary expenditures, so-called “special interests,” yet they continue to fund the DEA and these special interest grants. all the while trying to make cuts that will protect our air and water and land, and that protect the small guy against big business. someone tell me how this government is by the people for the people and of the people. It’s by big business, for big business and of big business.

  17. What do tou think. If the Pope had as much proof as the Cannabis Cause has. We all everyone would believe and know God.

  18. Cannabis is job security for law enforcement. They receive Federal monies which allow them to secure police officers a job. Lawyers gain clients. Towing companies charge towing fees.Court costs labs testing fees. Talk about your conflict of interest..

  19. There’s no honor in kicking the sick when their down John Lowell and get a real job because you’re not the owner of me.

  20. what can a person say or do? the rich in this country are getting richer and have more power then the average joe. if they where to legalize pot the rich would still get rich but there maybe people lossing there jobs. bad boys. this country is so crooked it isn’t funny just vote for the people who r for the legalization. on the hand a person can’t trust a polition know furtr then u can through then.

  21. The War on Drugs was never meant to be won it was designed to be a perpetual forever.
    The federal goverment will use whatever means to continue this concubine to obilivion.
    In the words of Milton Freidman:
    The measures that you favor are the major source of the evils you deplore.

  22. Hey,We create the problem(cannabis prohibition)and then we provide the solution(prison&rehab) offered at a reasonable price. However, to continue providing the solution, the problem has to continue to exist,even if it’s not a problem,hehe. Then we can give ourselves bonuses like
    (seized assets&fine money) and make off like a bandit.. sweet deal aay. shhh don’t tell wife ,she still thinks prohibition is for moral issues like the children’s futures…” in prison that is..”hehe.

    Bottom line, ya create the problem, and then offer the solution ta the problem’ and it generates itself in interest..

    WARNING: sardonic sarcasm contained within)

  23. What a great piece. Yes, we have known this for 30 years, but during those 30 years there has been drastic change in the way the U.S government operates. It really has only got worse and worse. I had honestly never thought of it from this perspective, and it sheds to light how difficult it is to have a conversation about legalizing marijuana. Especially when money is involved!

  24. @ America: There are 2 wonderful youtube documentaries called “Grass: The History of Marijuana” and another called “Puff the Cannabis Documentary.” The first details the history of why it became illegal. President Carter tried to make it legal under his administration and Reagan made it a mission to recriminalize it using religion. Very interesting.

  25. What is absurd is that they all call themselves patriots and then turn around and violate the fundamnetal human right of all to FREELY choose how to best care for their own body, mind, and spirit.

    Liberty and justice for all my ass.

    Liberty for the rich who then mete it out as they see fit to the rest of the poor souls who suffer under their hypocritcal tyrany.

    I can’t stand hypocritical cops and lawmakers. They are traitors who think themselves patriots. What a shame!

  26. Rush Limbaugh always said: “Follow the money trail”. And the love of money is no less the route to all evil than it ever was.

  27. It would seem reasonable to require the Police take drug tests!Of course reason will not play in this double/standard War!I know cops that use pot and other drugs!
    Undercover cops get addicted to narcotics regularly.I have a neighbor that did,they gave him a dog to keep him straight!
    Welcome to Stazi-America where you have to be in the elite to use Pot.The poor and sick that are suffering in or out of jail or hospitals is a tragedy.All due to Money and a Corrupt System of Justice!
    One where police are killing,maiming and terrorizing our citizens!With impunity its the worst I have seen since pre-civil rights days.When TV brought the pictures for all to see,things changed!
    I can’t comprehend the lack of rage at the tactics and policies of the War on Drugs!It would seem massive internet posting and mass resistance instead of complaining,which I am guilty of here might shake the Tree of Liberty!
    I am at a loss,the youth of today need to get this done.Use your brains and resources to do so.Norml is a lobby group as well!
    Many celebrities and officials support this,even lots of good cops.Good Luck to all and may the suffering decline.

  28. It goes a lot deeper beyond the money, most notably world power and the control of the people. the criminalization of marijuana of 1937 created all the problems we have today.

    People such as dupont, mellon, anslinger, rockefeller had no interest of Americans rather they wanted to slowly cripple the economy by introducing chemical made products and goods that are inferior and can’t be recycled and used again like hemp made products could be
    In many cases what was replaced by hemp was outright toxic or environmentally toxic for the earth ( asbestos,lead paint,gasoline, oil based plastics); the elimination of hemp for clothes and paper increased the need for cotton clothe which require copious amounts of chemicals and are inferior to hemp clothes; the deforestation of the world began
    as paper after 1937 was now made with pulp from wood which again required massive amounta of chemicals as opposed to hemp which neede no chemicals to make paper.
    All these new processes required chemicals whereas before hemp was used and no chemical were needed

    The pollution of the food, cosmetics ,groundwater, textiles, medicine and industrial supply are just a few industries that the entire world has been damaged almost irreversibly .

    the advent of the chemical assault on the world as stated above started with making cannabis illegal.this in turn made the Americans dependent on chemicals for paints,fertilizers,plastics,medicines,cosmetics,paper,oil,clothing ; and you all wonder why more businesses don’t support legalization???
    It’s because most of the industries would be bankrupted if the people found out that we could revert back to a less polluting state;
    Aside from all the rehtoric of cannabis ;chemicals are what have really destroyed America and likewise all the countries that America can coerce into adopting the same laws.
    Companies and people need to wake up to the dangers that chemically made products pose to the world. THere is no such thing as “green” anything unless it’s made from hemp.

    Ignorance is the prison that people are kept in
    -Immortal technique

  29. It is a sad statement about us as a civilization that we would be willing to ruin thousands of innocent lives in order to insure a good income, or kill millions over natural resources for that matter.

  30. OTay . Cannabis uh got made legal in the 1540s
    counsel on Elizabethean Counsel on 100 Years :
    as reguard to [m word] the “loco weed” the men
    uh Columb{u}os found at the New World and made
    a deal of.e going ‘loco’ and looking up in the
    sky and dancing with choking.en laughing with:
    a wonder.ing.e of what the clouds were doing *
    up there in the sky .,. and [m word] became uh
    illegal product of manna ever since . Cannabis
    not “mar i jua na” not ‘loco weed’ not cannabe
    and NOT canna.bis “dream happy produit” geome:
    proper produit alordiment manna en weis ALord*
    became legal since the new world “finding” uhm
    Brasilia and Columbous.sp men gettin high on :
    improper very “‘loco'” swag. outdoor cannabeim
    which in modern pora technocratic Republic uhm
    funding {being the Prohibition dollar} want.ed
    the deal on not “being a bother to free will u
    master laven exempl editen” known as the way.s
    freemason accord knows the ElizabetheanCounsel
    smoked pot “and liked it alot” and ma ri juana
    is the DEA DOJ and DHS Keyword for dangerous *
    drug Money . It’s the keyword for Prohibition.

    I am youthfully confounded by what last-ditch-
    effort “compassion” must have is free money uh
    to make a last ditch effort appeal to medicine
    as some near radio-mutable cokamamie reas.on *
    to get free money to pay ‘compassion centers’:
    all the money for 5 dollars a gram to {ahem}!!
    embezzle state funding to security “business”:
    “”charity”” (not whatsoever non profit) as the
    ([weis]) means to embezzle State Funding to uh
    Republic Office of Money Finance as the direct
    means of subsiding technocratic advance to the
    grant werd.ing to Office of Control policy on:
    Prohibition of the Republic Finance to Mainten
    the Master Account in Case of WarTime Exhort.,
    known as the problem with Greed and Weed . !@!
    Look it up on internet equivalent at [POTcom.]
    Department of Justice concerns to be unavailed
    in ways of Internet Highway* . (not savvy .|.)

  31. Try actual Legal Counsel in case about the way
    to begin designation 18345.6 and not allow the
    misfunding of embezzled {be nice} Prohibition:
    Dollar set as foreign embezzle and ex{t}ort *.

    Cannabis became legal in the 1500s and [Mword]
    became the Elizabethean banned ways of manna .

    Are all you disability free ride equivalent to
    any money “disability” to never work nonprofit
    a day in your adult lifes .|. Yer stealing the
    money government Taft and Grant gives to then:
    all parties who are good to civil society and:
    may have free will to be funded by intentions:
    to begin Manna Ideal at Modern Ages of Thought
    AND it’s not Beheni`a free money nor prohibit*
    weed .,. it’s value of non profit liveable uhm
    deal on Manna Ideal onlin.e modern network [2]
    begin the ruling as accord with proper availen
    the way to offer the kind and peaceful and @!!
    Earth friendly regard to be ‘kind’ to Mother.s
    Earth and GAIA in reguard to 1960s appelat.ion
    to enjoy free will and kind living . Duh. Why~
    did so many former activists develop terrete’s
    as they did psychedelics and can afford newer:
    equivalent to tobacco . . . so they get the uh
    hearing disorder and appear “mad” at talking @
    to nothing on advanced background high sonic.a
    audio tapping and become berated by men.tality
    “health” providers who are as nazi as the ways
    Republic ruin thought with ulster.en Greed #$%
    so not who says : [m word] “m word” oh $$$ uhm
    I mean ‘cannabis’ for More Prohibition . . . .
    who is kind and talks with out uh work not for
    profit modern “environmental condition” hippie
    genu{is}us [real smart] who you will often uhm
    find balding . talking to background network .
    and making a deal on walking to store for food
    and tobacco . Which looks like schizo.bs.laven
    ranting ‘at’ nothing and smellin like pooi.en.

    Uh other thn the fairly painful application of
    medication for former use of psychadelics . .,
    we are the modern former activists … and huh
    will want Midwest cannabis legally smoked as #
    available product with Nation Legal_\|/_ OTay.

    Thanks . I’m not a sob story nor a money nazim
    “launderer” {tee~hee} . I’m cannabis leader on
    premise~s the way I see it . _\|/_ / Bryan pax

  32. John Lovell is a lobbyist who makes a lot of money from making sure you can’t smoke a joint

    “You’re a fucked up prick too… can i hang you?”

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