The Daily Caller: “Regulations, Not Criminal Prohibition, Best Address Concerns Regarding Cannabis”

Last week Charles Stimson, a senior legal fellow at the Washington, DC think tank The Heritage Foundation, took to the opinion pages of the conservative-leaning DC publication, The Daily Caller, to opine “why we shouldn’t legalize marijuana.”

Stimson’s commentary predictably contained various inaccuracies and outright falsehoods — including the unfounded allegations that marijuana use inspires violence, that the areas around medicinal cannabis clubs have experienced “exponential increases in crime rates,” (A recently published UCLA study and several others eviscerate this claim.) and that the daily consumption of alcohol “has been shown to actually improve health; not so with marijuana … (which) has no known general healthful properties.”

Predictably, Stimson’s comments drew a firestorm of criticism, generating nearly 400 comments on The Daily Caller‘s website. It also drew a harsh rebuke, in the form of a letter to the editor, from NORML Advisory Board Member, Dr. Mitch Earleywine, who responded that Mr. Stimson’s “misstatements and half-truths” lacked any empirical foundation.

To their credit, The Daily Caller on Wednesday also devoted space for NORML to respond directly to Charles Stimson’s pot propaganda via my own op/ed, which I’ve excerpted below.

Regulations, not criminal prohibition, best address concerns regarding cannabis
via The Daily Caller

The views on marijuana legalization expressed in The Daily Caller last week by The Heritage Foundation’s Charles Stimson (“Why we shouldn’t legalize marijuana,” July 19, 2012) are woefully out of step with contemporary science and public opinion.

Americans have grown weary of the federal government’s war on cannabis. Their exasperation is justified. Since 1970, over 21 million U.S. citizens have been cited or arrested for violating marijuana laws. Yet despite this vigorous and fiscally taxing criminal enforcement, over 100 million Americans, including the president, acknowledge having consumed cannabis. One in ten admit that they use it regularly. Marijuana prohibition hasn’t dissuaded the general public from consuming cannabis or reduced its availability, especially among young people. But it has damaged the lives and careers of millions of people who were arrested and sanctioned for choosing to ingest a substance that is safer than alcohol or tobacco.

… A pragmatic regulatory framework that allows for the limited legal use of marijuana by adults would best reduce any risks associated with its use or abuse.

… Need further proof that regulation works? Just look at our contemporary experience with tobacco — a legally marketed but deadly recreational drug. Teen use of cigarettes has recently fallen to its lowest levels in decades. Conversely, young people’s self-reported use of cannabis is rising and has now surpassed the number of teens consuming tobacco. Why the disparate trends? Simple. In short, it’s legalization, regulation and public education — coupled with the enforcement of age restrictions — that most effectively keeps mind-altering substances out of the hands of children.

Despite more than 70 years of federal prohibition and regardless of the fear-mongering of pundits like Charles Stimson, marijuana is here to stay. Let’s acknowledge this reality, cease ceding control of the marijuana market to untaxed criminal enterprises and put forward common-sense regulations governing cannabis’ use and production.

You can read the entire commentary and leave comments by clicking here.

29 thoughts

  1. Everyone uses drugs. It’s true-whether it’s caffeine, sugar, chocolate, ibuprofen, alcohol, tobacco, weed, crystal meth, pcp, or opium every person at a certain age or whatever starts using then uses drugs. Did you know bread is a drug? The bread turns to sugar after you eat it. Our drug or vice just happens to be illegal and extremely safe. We get good exercise running away from cops. =)

  2. Ya wright, let’s keep fighting a war where (the goverment) is not winning and keep spending large amounts of money on it. the heck with the elderly,the poor and the people living in the streets because they can’t find a job. WAKE UP.

  3. Have you done any research on cannibis at all? Or just tried to use ridiculous stereotypes (if even that) to try and persuade people that cannibis is worse than alcohol. Yes it might be true that a glass of wine a day is good for you, but guess what? You can’t over dose on cannibis (unless you smoke half of your body wieght). But you can on alcohol. Have you ever heard of a doctor prescribing alcohol to a patient? I didn’t think so. A doctor would only prescribe something that he/she thought was safe and/or healthy for the user. If cannibis was legalized for conventional use, the numbers of person(s) that abuse other illegal narcodicts such as herione, methamphetamine, etc. would drop drasticly. Atleast my therory is the main reason people move on to other drugs and cannibis is considered a “gatway drug”, is its the easiest to smell, and test for (other than a solem few). People should have the choice to use cannibis as they do with alcohol with responsibilty. You may think people abuse cannibis, well there is a much larger persent of people that abuse alcohol. Therefore if alcohol is legal under the consumption it is used responsibly why can’t the same be for cannibis? Did you also know that 1% of cannibis users can get pyhsically addicted? That approxamently 2.5million people die each year world wide from alcohol related incidents. That anually 1000 people die from cannibis related incidents. With that I end my statement.

  4. Sounds like a good reason to declare marshal law on us pot heads. Yap make me want to poo all over my self.

  5. I don’t consider the Heritage Foundation to be a ‘think tank’. Obviously very little real thought went into Stimson’s commentary.

    There is a distasteful, anti-science aspect to conservatism that I have come to truly despise. Think environmentalism, climate change, evolution, big bang.

  6. From what I have been able to ascertain regarding the Heritage Foundation, they are mostly idiots! They are completely out of touch with most Americans. They have this utopian fantasy about what they’d like America to be about (no marijuana allowed in their version) and ignore what America and it’s people really are. I remember well Brain Darling of the Heritage Foundation making the statement that he often consumes chewing tobacco and alcohol together and that’s okay because that’s legal. He in no way condones using marijuana because that’s illegal… What a moron!!! The Heritage Foundation would do well to look beyond their tiny enclosed box thinking and see what is really out there in our world.

  7. “I never meant to say that the Conservatives are generally stupid. I meant to say that stupid people are generally Conservative. I believe that is so obviously and universally admitted a principle that I hardly think any gentleman will deny it.” John Stuart Mill

  8. The modern-day conservative movement appears to demonstrate psychotic symptoms. During my training to become a psychotherapist three-and-a-half decades ago, I did an internship on a community mobile mental health crises team. When people were at risk for harming themselves or others, or couldn’t care for their basic needs, we put them on 72-hour holds and hospitalized them to see what was up. Invariably, it was discovered that there was some sort of thought disorder that caused them to misperceive consensual reality. Does this remind you of what’s coming from the conservative ‘think tanks’ and wending its way into public policy now?

    Conservatives advocate for the destruction of our life-support system on every level. Air, earth fire and water are under attack in the name of our pursuit of the all-mighty dollar.

    Cannabis and its users harm no one. Prohibition certainly does, but the herb doesn’t. When we use cannabis, many of us widen our gaze, so we get a larger perspective on what’s so. This is a threat to the madness. To keep a delusional system in tact, it’s necessary to discredit anyone or thing that might threaten it. But, to teach people afflicted with delusions how to manage their disease, it’s essential not to collude with them. Consistent, measured confrontation with consensual reality is essential.

    Thank you, NORML for providing that. We must each join the chorus for sanity. Giving the psychotics the keys to the nut house med room is a very bad idea.

  9. Galileo, that is because fascists have completely taken over the Republican Party. Rob Paul wasn’t just running for president, he was trying to steer the party back to conservative principals and less in the hands of the fascists. And he only got ten percent of the Republican vote.

    Perhaps there does need to be a conservative party that cares about people, cares what Jesus taught, cares about the economy not just rich folks, cares about the different between right and wrong, not left and right bullshit. ‘Cause that isn’t the Republicans.

  10. Charles Stimson feels threaten that the prohibition movement is loosing, and tries to rehash the anti-cannabis propaganda so that their job will not be taking away when the public finds out the truth on how much the federal government is wasting on something that make criminals out of people.

  11. Mt correction from my last reply:

    “…….on how much the federal government is wasting money making criminals out of people.”

  12. I think the idea of marijuana being a gateway drug is ludicrous. I believe it is more a case of a predisposition towards challenging authority. Teens especially are wired to experiment with things that would be considered taboo. Sex, drugs, alcohol, alternative lifestyles, etc. If anything, alcohol is the gateway drug. It reduces inhibitions, and allows those under the influence to make dangerous decisions. Wake up, America! Marijuana is not the enemy…ignorance is!

  13. One of the main barriers of legalization is other humans. Did you ever notice that we can relate to bad things 1000x more then good? Everyone doesn’t understand or know how you feel when you have good times. So every time someone talks about getting high on weed, other people don’t want you to have fun when they’re not. The atmosphere seems to get thick or maybe I’m just tripping. God, if we use love and happiness it will defeat the evil people in charge because love defeats fear or hate.

  14. Chuckie Stimson is nothing more than a puppet. He is pathetic and so is the “Think Tank” there at the Heritage. They are so out of touch with most realities which they will soon realize but by then it will be too late to redeem their dignity of which they have very little anyway. Typical Conservatives that nobody wants to hear from except a few right wing bigots. The Heritage and the Kristols are no longer a consequence merely an annoyance.

  15. This is merely a way to hold something over a certain group of people that someone doesnt like. It just so happens they make alot of money off of our being jailed and then stealing our shit. This certain group of people that show we are created from the earth by an intelligent creator. This plant ties us to our Mother Earth in many ways.

  16. @Dave Evans

    It’s a shame. I once saw someone from the Heritage Foundation give a talk on CSPAN. He started off by making derogatory comments about everything being ‘green’ nowadays, an anti-environmental attitude.

    When he began his talk he emphasized the science in ‘political science’ and how the founders earnestly forged a governmental system they felt would work. I found this very engaging, but my knowledge of the Heritage Foundation and the anti-green comments turned me off big time. The bizarre notions I associate with conservatism prevented me from really ‘hearing’ the message he was trying to convey.

    It’s a shame. America is stronger with a broader spectrum of political ideas.

  17. Marijauna does not cause violence Only it’s prohibition which is an affront against humanity

  18. It sounds like Charles Stimson is trying to win the Harry J. Anslinger Great Leap Forward prize by supporting Washington’s official story on the killer weed. And his logic is so faithful that he’ll undoubtedly win the Grand Wizard Award (unless he remembers Anslinger too well and quotes something stupid like “There are 100,000 total marijuana smokers in the US, and most are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos and entertainers. Their Satanic music, jazz and swing, result from marijuana usage. This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers and any others.”)

  19. The Heritage Foundation has gotten right up my nose for years now. They just downright piss me off.

    They are so prohibitionist. Where the hell do they get their funding? Put them on the public pillory about that!

    It’s stink tanks (stinky-ass think tanks) like The Heritage Foundation that support the militarization of the drug war along the border with Mexico.

    Didn’t WikiLeaks pick up any of the top-secret plans for the U.S. military to occupy the northern Mexican states right down to the decimal point of the lattitude 100 miles south of the tip of the Baja Peninsula!

    Come on WikiLeaks! Please! Someone!

    Talking to some of the Mexican intelligentia here in my undisclosed location, I can tell you that is the suspicion as to why Fox, Calderon, soon Peña Nieta, just like those before have been coerced/forced/left no choice but to do what the U.S. tells them. The U.S. is making the decisions, and the intelligence agencies are managing things, trading arms in exchange for information, letting the U.S. preferred cartel get stuff into the U.S. while tapping them for information on all the rest. They call it something along the lines of minimizing the amouont of drugs getting in. This whole shit with HSBC is something we saw before and will see over and over again with one bank or another. There’s just too much money in it, for the jobs of the interdiction agencies in the U.S. too.

    I’m recommending to the Mexican intelligentsia, who along with other Latin American countries who want to legalize that they adopt a Dutch style coffeeshop system without that stupid weedpass shit. I’m recommending to them that the city governments be allowed by the federal and state governments to issue a licencia de tolerancia, like the Dutch gedoogbeleid and the BIBOB test, whereby someone with no major prior convictions for offences other than cannabis violations is allowed to apply for a license of tolerance at the local chief of police’s office, which the chief then signs approved and sends to the mayor for a signature of approval, or the chief denies it or if the chief approves it the mayor can still deny it.

    Americans will flock to Mexican coffeeshops, and their selection will have to rise to the quality levels along those in Amsterdam. The U.S. will have to step up police for all the gringos trying to bring it back, and unless the U.S. steps up police numbers rather than shifting manpower to the border crossings it should be easier to get things through in tunnels and by catapult, etc. The coffeeshops inall of Mexico should reduce somewhat the amount needed to get through the border and hopefully reduce the violence.

    If Mexico and the other Latin American countries do that, they have a precedent in Holland and in Canada and the U.S. states that have MMJ cooperatives or clubs. Ideally, the Mexican coffeeshops should by like the ones in Amsterdam are now, before Opstelten’s weedpass shit is forced down their throats, anyone 18 or older of sound mind can go in and buy cannabis products, limited amount. In the Latin American version, they should also issue licencias de tolerancia to cannabis breeders, growers, wholesalers, from seed to shop, bascically to avoid the backdoor problem The Netherlands has had to cope with/turn a blind eye to.

    Militarization is not the answer. Occupying Mexican territory because there is no way of eliminating the cartels is not the answer. Under the guise of helping the Mexican Army or not, it’s just not a good neighbor policy, since the demand still exists then so will the cartels. If the governments in Latin America don’t want to outright legalize cannabis, the licencia de tolerancia method is the next best thing. It will put pressure on the U.S. to legalize cannabis, while at the same time preparing the Mexican empresarios of cannabis to compete in the world market. Some day the U.S. will legalize cannabis, and if the Mexicans are still supplying only their pressed brick weed and stuff full of seeds that is not selectively bred like the current selections in Europe, Canada and the U.S. MMJ states, people just won’t want their weed like before. Latinos have to prepare for the coming change in the market so their people aren’t unemployed. They need to adjust to keep the cash flowing. It will be better for them in the long run, compared to the U.S. prohibitionist idea of foreign aid and foreign development in the form of the war on cannabis and supplying one cartel with arms and an advantage over the others, whether the CIA or DEA or whoever they are are doing it directly or indirectly.

    Really, my Mexican amigos, think of your future. You already lost half of New Spain to the U.S. Do you really think that once U.S. troops are on Mexican soil they will ever leave? Mexico will be even more of a U.S. satellite than it is now, and that is if the future does not have a U.S. landgrab of more Mexican land store.

    Think in terms of what might happen, what could happen.

    I would be remiss if I didn’t repeat my mantra to keep running the world economy into the ground until cannabis is legalized.

    The Beat Goes On


    Sonny & Cher

  20. Marijuana being considered a gateway drug is outrageous it is the individuals choice whether or not they decide to try other drugs I for one have never tried anything but Cannabis and it has never given me the urge to take other drugs.

  21. The government is like the witchfinder general and law enforcement are the witchfinder assistants to put anyone they deem hereticts and process them to draconian tests in which the outcome will be decreed they are evil when the oppressors themselves and their tactics are the most embodiment of evil,diabolical, and sinister then those who are being oppressed and taking all resources in this process and deeming those resources demonic as payment.The witchfinder general and his assistants will then meander the countryside looking for the next set of victims to defile. This is an abomination.

  22. I feel the ones in power want weed to stay illegal so bad, that even if it is legalized I feel they have a plan for that. There’s at least 72 FEMA camps here in America as a result of H.R. 645. Who are they for? The government has been ostracizing all illegal drug users for decades now but their primary target has always been marijuana, the safest one of legal and illegal drugs. Say weed is legalized, and a huge epidemic just “happens” to be released at the same time, the gov’t would use that to their advantage would they not? They would probably blame it on weed even though we all know weed cant cause death. Would they round up all marijuana users and throw them and their families in FEMA camps? They already throw them in prisons so why not? If they can brainwash local law enforcement bad enough to bring them to do this to their fellow citizens then we can only imagine how brainwashed our military is. The future does not look very promising with the way everything is going.

  23. Yeah, there’s no plant that causes you to kill or anything bad. People who kill… are bad or insane. These politicians will say/try anything to win this war so their false egos will be satisfied. It doesn’t matter to them if Cannabis is a wonder drug. Down with greed.

  24. Just keep fighting. They WILL eventually give and then give alot. When the “war on drugs” started, there was less pot and other drugs. The pot was of less quality then, too. Now that our government is losing the war(against our own citizens) there is more pot, better pot, and other drugs, too. This is good. You can’t keep a good thing down. This just has to be talked about openly and on tv.

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