Congress’ Continued Disconnect on Marijuana Prohibition

Among the many hundreds of public policy concerns that Americans care and act upon, what are the top policy concerns in Congress for which citizens search?

-Military spending?
-Environment?
-Reproduction Rights?
-Economy?
-National Deficit?
-Sequestration?
-Drones Used In Domestic Law Enforcement?

None of these supposedly political hot button topics were at the top of a newly created list by Thomas (the online interface the public has with Congressional legislation, run by the Library of Congress).

According to the March 6 print edition of The Hill, the new marijuana legalization legislation introduced by Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) was the second most popular legislation that citizens have searched on in the previous week (second only to the white hot issue of pending gun control legislation).

Gun, pot bills attract the most attention online
By Bob Cusack

It’s a Top 10 list that will never make David Letterman’s show, but it reveals that people are very interested in guns and marijuana. A relatively new feature on the Library of Congress THOMAS site is a Top 10 list of bills searched on Congress’s official website.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s (D-Calif.) measure to ban assault weapons has the top spot with Rep. Earl Blumenauer’s (D-Ore.) bill to allow states to legalize medical marijuana in second place.

However, despite the popularity for marijuana law reform in America, will the leaders in the House allow even a subcommittee hearing on the Blumenauer bill (or the near half dozen other marijuana law reform bills—which range from legalization to banking regulation reform to decriminalization to sentencing reform to industrial hemp)?

Aren’t elected officials supposed to listen, deliberate and respond to public advocacy—long festering public advocacy, in the case for cannabis law reform going back almost forty-five years—rather than be silent and oppositional?

Who do they work for? Who pays their salaries? Who is ‘wise’ enough to both elect them to power and also want substantive cannabis law reforms? Why disrespect citizens’ concerns in a democracy?

The phenomena of ‘malevolent neglect’ specific to cannabis law reform is not of course unique to the legislative branch as President Obama has laughed off basically the number one asked question at his so-called electronic town meetings from the beginning of his presidency.

The empirical data (all measurable from public surveys to citizen vote totals to public interest with reform legislation to Internet traffic on reform vs. prohibitionist webpages) is clear and elected officials—from all political parties—are rue to ignore it: Ending cannabis prohibition is a major political concern for Americans.

88 thoughts

  1. I see something akin to the political upheaval in Libya on the horizon. And it ain’t gonna be pretty….

  2. What more can we do? We did our part here in Colorado by voting to legalize small amounts for recreation. A lot of people here are afraid they are going to just step on us. I hope Holder and Obama remember “We The People” when they make up their mind what to do about it.

  3. Unfortunately it is the probable demise for this legislation to die in committee…….

  4. I feel if our elected officials push the issue of legalizing Marijuana aside we the people should take there actions into consideration. Keeping track of who is with us and who is not. Voting them out of office will help with the relaying message American’s think it’s time for change. Making our voices heard in the next Representative election I feel, is paramount to the reform/legalization of Marijuana. Make your voices heard in the polls an lets stop the prohibition of Marijuana.

  5. Right on Z-man. I think you should focus on federally. We need the media to ask the politicians their position on marijuana. Anyone pro wins hand down!

  6. In our advanced society that’s how tricky politicians ignore
    the populace . But throughout time that’s how revolutions
    begin. It’s becoming the heck with mariuna and all it’s properties this is about Standard Liberty.
    So even wise people that don’t care about prohibition
    will get onboard with the cause of Democracy ..

  7. Ending cannabis prohibition FIX A 1937 Greedy Screw-Up and save millions of lives around the world. My father died at 52 from liver cancer. An to find out now that my government held the this plant away from him as they still do today from so many is just Genocide. And every day the body count goes up. God Bless America! Vietnam Vet!

  8. This is a “duh” moment in history and the DOJ really has no choice but to listen to the states like Washington (mine) Colorado, and others that are following soon. The people have woken up and realize this war on drugs in inhuman and out of touch with what the real deal is on this plant. Every time I see the Feds and DEA out flying around in helicopters, dressed up in fatigues like they are fighting a real war, I just say outloud-they look stupid and their actions are stupid and what a total waste of taxpayer money. If these people just read about our country before the war on drugs, they would see that folks smoked pot and grew hemp-including George Washington. If they read the Bible-they would see that Cannibis was a plant that ancient civilizations knew the amazing effects/properties it has. And all it boils down to is that Big Pharm, the police and justice system have to lose is their jobs and profits from legalization/decriminalization of marijuana.

  9. The problem with the government legalizing Marijuana, as most Americans wish to happen including myself, is that the US government has already STRONG-ARMED so many other countries into prohibition and keeping prohibition that it would cause a world-wide controversy to which our government is unwilling to deal with. Regardless of what we say or vote, it means little to nothing to the government. We are but ANTS underneath their greedy shoes. The government was created “FOR THE PEOPLE, BY THE PEOPLE” but alas, most everyone has become to greedy and selfish. You would think that the government officials would realize that by following suite with Washington state and Colorado, they would in fact be lining their own pockets with much more cash to feed their own GREED with. However they feel they must maintain the appearance that they actually care about us and are doing this for OUR benefit. We all clearly see they have no one in mind but themselves. Another reason they wish to keep Marijuana illegal is, they do not wish to have people who do/can think for themselves as we are very dangerous to their system of controlling everyone world-wide.

  10. when it comes right to it,,iam going to smoke it rather uncle sam likes it or not. also i have ms, its a part of MY TREATMENT…

  11. “Who do they work for? Who pays their salaries?”

    1. The highest ranking Republican, Speaker Boehner, had officially received $340,000 from “tobacco” (i.e. $igarette) companies last time I looked— but that doesn’t include $ecret $igarets United PACk money, does it? (Plus B. Gates from Philip Morris and J. Fish from R. J. Reynolds on his Advisory Board.)

    2. At one point last year, again speaking “tobacco” i.e. $igarette money, Romney had received $120,000 to Obama’s $25,000, well, that’s the preference we’d expect but those numbers look so small in a billion-dollar election– only Joe Camel knows how much more both candidates actually got??

    Why is it logical to finger $igarette companies as the #1 most important enemy of cannabis legalization?

    B. Some “smokers” could replace tobacco with cannabis or…

    A. Small screened-crater pipes, so-called “one-hitters” (with a 25-mg serving capacity instead of lighting up a whole 700-mg $igarette every time), now risky to own because of “paraphernalia laws”, would get unambiguously legalized along with cannabis— and suddenly tobacco users would not fear to possess and use them instead of HIGH-PROFIT overdo$e $igarettes.

    That will be the most sudden and world-changing industry crash of modern times, but also the greatest public health victory– no more 6,000,000 deaths a year! Yes we cannabis!

  12. Politicians are playing with fire, but they don’t know what yet. They will catch on pretty soon though, once they realize that their career depends on whether they are for, or against the legalization. The American people learned a very important lesson the last two elections, especially the very last one. Many people who were skeptical about voting in the past, have realized that their participation in the voting process does indeed count, and does indeed make an enormous difference. Example, Colorado and Washington. Trust me, once the politicians realize how important this particular issue really is to the American people, things will start moving the right direction very very fast and very soon thereafter, Because their jobs will depend on what they do about.

  13. They have to respond eventually if another state or two legalizes it will happen soon. They can’t just step on us and say no this time that’s why its taking so long to just say no this time will have a backlash if they do and after research and study it shouldnt take more than 3 states legalizing marijuana to be to much for the whole Dea to control the Dea is streched to the limit on marijuana already if another state legalizes growing your own like Colorado the feds will be screwed. Right now the Dea and local/state go after big growers and possession but those that grow inside 6 plants gets away (most) of the time unless someone tells on them so 2 states which people can grow legally and get an ounce at a time the bud will come out the feds ears there will be so much at this juncture in time all the gov. Is doing is not taking taxs and not providing protection from the people who already selling it to kids to helping keep the marijuana itself safe to consume. The prohibition of marijuana is over feds there’s probaly 10x the amount of weed out there you think there is you catch the poor, stupid, and money hungry. At current if one of the marijuana recreational legalization state bills pass besides hawaii it will be the last nail in the coffin.

  14. They-Pres., congress, Holder, Supreme Court, Leonhart….etc are so much like the monkeys…not the TV show, but the ones with their hands over their eyes (see no good), ears (hear no good), mouth (say no good)….how can anyone believe them?

  15. The Drug war epitomizes wasteful, pointless, outright counterproductive government spending.

    Instead of sequestration we should be seeing the pruning of exactly this kind of nonsense.

  16. The Drug war epitomizes wasteful, pointless, outright counterproductive government spending.

    Instead of sequestration we should be seeing the pruning of exactly this kind of nonsense.

  17. I for one am getting really mad and more vocal about this subject of leagalizing MJ. I feel it s/b my right to go down to a corner store and purchase marijuana, pay an appropriate tax, and take my purchase back home and partake. I hurt no one, including myself. The government is the one at fault for the deaths, incarcerations, and lives thrown helter skelter because of their uunconstitional actions. I have started a bombardment of messages to both state and federal represenatives. It’s hard to bite my tongue and ask politely but I’m starting there. If they dont do as I’ve asked than I’ve also let them know that I nor any one I know will vote for them for that reason. Marijuana needs to be leagalized. NOW!

  18. @cat cassie,
    It’s a great start what has been done in Colorado. Actually my first state choice to live in but life brought me to Florida. Anyway, dont stop. Let the Federal and State( yes, they can influence the Feds to git off their butts too) to put this prohibition behind us so our energies can be used for other needs. FIRST tho is to legalize marijuana.

  19. If they won’t listen, let’s all vote them out. Some of these guys have been serving in Congress for over 50 years. Wouldn’t they shocked to suddenly lose their next election due to a Young Voter Rebellion. We have technology and the Internet on our side, to mobilize our cause. One-Issue voting may be the only way to fix the problem.

  20. I agree with Z-Man. For those who have ever tried to stomp on an ant hill… It works pretty well until the ants start to fight back, especially fire ants… Americans are alot of ants. Let them try nd step on myself and my lot of friends. We WILL fight to end the stupidity for future generations of “ants”. 🙂

  21. Think about the forces most Congress wo/men have to deal with. Pressure from the right wing/D.A.R.E. contingent, the D.E.A., drug companies, respiratory specialist, drug cartel lobbyists [in some ridiculous front business], tobacco lobbyists, alcohol lobbyists, local black market growers, local law enforcement, corporations that build prisons, the list goes on and on.
    Alcohol prohibition, in the grand scheme of things took little, to no, time at all to be abolished.
    Marijuana’s up-hill battle is fighting many more opposing forces than alcohol ever did.

  22. Patrick Leahy is so right in his questioning of Mr. Holder. Since he has to allocate money shouldnt the first thing to go is marijuana prohibition. The Lancet came out with a study indicating marijuana is less harmful to our bodies than alcohol and tobacco. The prohibitionists dont have a leg to stand on including John Cornyn in Texas. He will not even consider it. Well John guess what you will be voted out of office if you dont do what your constituents want and makes sense. Its a shame we have people who want to keep the drug gangs in business with marijuana prohibition. Dont they know who makes the money off of marijuana at this point?

  23. I once heard astronomer Carl Sagan back in the days of the Cold War describe progress against the nuclear arms race as AGONIZINGLY slow. Take heart NORML fans eventually even the Berlin Wall came tumbling down.

    Have a nice day.

  24. I once heard astronomer Carl Sagan back in the days of the Cold War describe progress against the nuclear arms race as AGONIZINGLY slow. Take heart NORML fans eventually even the Berlin Wall came tumbling down.

    Have a nice day.

  25. The comments about the US govt having to live up to the requirements of the treaty we forced about 140 other countries to sign, agreeing to adopt a uniform set of drug policy laws (based on the prohibition and incarceration principles pioneered by the US) are somewhat backwards. As more and more So American and European Govt’s are seeing the failure of these policies, they are either denouncing the treaty or unilaterally making exceptions for specific endogenous drugs, like the chewing of coca leaves for energy among Columbian workers at high altitudes. So the uniform drug policy treaty is becoming so full of holes that it will collapse under its own weight and the fact that the US Govt can’t even enforce it among its own states

  26. Galileo, the “Cold War” hasn’t ended, we just stopped fighting it, in favor of being the World’s Policeman. Russia is still very much a country in search of more lands to steal. Just look, if we put up a missile shield, the Russians said they take it as an act of war. Really, how is avoiding Russian missiles an “Act of War”, unless we are the intended targets of said missiles? Russia and China hate us, they teach their kids to hate us, and this isn’t going to change anytime soon.

  27. A democracy? I don`t need a man behind the curtain dictating to me.The vote TALKED in CO. and Washington.If this is shot down by the fuds then tell me the difference between the U.S. and North Korea.

  28. Mitch mcconnell is a fence rider, and not for pot ,and has been a senator from kentucky for most of my life. He is up for reelection next year, we will try our best to vote him out. By the way I am a member of the gop ,but I will help to vote his butt out.

  29. i wrote to my state senator to plead for medicinal marijuana allowance here, and his response was that since it is listed as a Schedule 1 drug, it was highly illegal and would not be a consideration. Needless to say, the fact that he was paid $675k from pharmaceutical lobbyists in 2012 probably weighed in on his decision to tell me it would never be a possibility here. I suffer from chronic pain and fibromyalgia after a bad surgery, and this state is so strict on medication that I can’t even find a dr to refer me to a rheumatologist as only 1% of drs in this state have a license to practice it. So I can’t get proper pharmaceutical medications because of tight restrictions due to others abusing or selling medication for cash, and I can’t smoke (which I know for a fact would help with 80% of my ailments as I was a prior smoker before moving here for better medical care- bad decision, hindsight 20/20). I am furious that marijuana is still listed in the same category as heroin- it’s like saying milk and paint thinner have the same nutritional value!! And why do the LA shops get raided by feds, and I’ve not heard about a single one in DC being raided- and that’s the heart of our country’s government. This is not the 1930’s, and Americans were lied to in order to prohibit marijuana use in the first place. I’d like to suggest everyone watch the documentary called “Grass”, narrated by Woody Harrelson, to get a better history of how and why this plant was made illegal in the first place. Hell, poison ivy can give people horrible effects and it hasn’t been outlawed- and why? Because it is just a plant? So is marijuana. There is not a NORML group in my area, and I am seriously thinking about starting one, although being able to afford it is going to be basically impossible. There’s always Kickstarter- I just may make a campaign on that site to get some help trying to spread the word that Marijuana is not the evil “Reefer Madness” it was created to seem- the closed-minded government officials making half a million dollars to push prescription drugs is what is evil. And people like me are forced to suffer while they shop, take vacations, and fatten their wallets- and I wouldn’t be surprised if they, themselves, are tokers. This backwards thinking is what is pissing off voters, and although we are supposed to have our say and be represented by those who will listen and truly respond to our needs, we take a step backwards and are helpless because of their greed and inability to move forward.

  30. Lets face the facts that every governmental body is reticent on legalizing weed. This game is all about precedent and momentum. In the 2013-2016 period the tides of change are right.
    There are 3 kinds of people, leaders, followers and nothings. Govt is full of do nothings and followers on this issue. Folks, be the next state totake a positive step forward. These little steps shift the momentum. Remember, in 1972 nixon screwed us hard on weed, this has been a 40 year fight. Wa and colorado still have to fight to get the legitimate industries started and the battle is at the city council. As in mass, local cities are banning production and retail in colorado and washington for defacto prohibition.

  31. Anyone watch Bill Maher recently? Last week he had as a guest California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsome on. Newsome said that every politician he speaks to supports full out legalisation privately, but they are too scared to come out and support it publicly.
    Fucking cowards! Get the fuck out of the way and let somebody with some balls take your job!!!

  32. @Ray Glass
    Congress wo/men know who is making the money from illegal marijuana sales, but I believe the lobbying powers that be call for them to disregard that issue.

  33. The CITIES want their money. The individual cities in these legal states are very busy right now trying to figure out how they can get theirs and profit from this new legislation. You have governors and mayors putting their heads together at private town hall meetings to figure out how they can get a piece of UW and WSU’s pie (they get big tax kickbacks from the sale of legal cannabis). WA’s “private clubs” are right around the corner… wait and see 🙂 EVERY POLITICIAN SUPPORTS FULL LEGALIZATION – why?

    Simply put, politicians can smell money. They just caught a big whiff… and now they’re trying to move heaven and earth behind closed doors to get their piece.

  34. They will give a response when they feel like it is what there saying I hope it blows up in their faces and another state or two legalizes it before they do. This war is to long going no war can go on forever but this one has only two ways to end legalization or eradication. Legalization is the only legal way to end the war on marijuana.(NOT the war on drugs I personally think opium,cocaine,meth, and all prescribed painkillers are no good and the effect on the mind needs medical not lawful solutions.) Yes I said it legalizing cannabis is the only way for this war to end people will always want cannabis so we are not going to end the war with what would basically be surrender to the government on the grounds of no fighting man power. We are going to win no if and or but about it the end is legalization or eradication and the government can not eradicate weed not just because there is so much but because to do so would put {A native plant of the U.S.A in a endangered plant category} By doing this they put everyone that participated in the eradication of the last few plants after being placed on the endangered list in legal trouble going from those on the ground that destroyed the plants to the people that ordered it. BUT this wont happen the DEA is so stretched that they usually pass up busts of 25 plants or less and call in local and state law enforcement to destroy it pay for the eradication and the holding trial and jailing of the grower. So if the states legalize it how is the DEA going to enforce this with no help and that does not even tell you how stretched local and state law enforcement is stretched. State and local law enforcement picks up possession of small amounts when they become aware someone has it on them in there presence.(traffic stop, checkpoints , and people on city streets) Sometimes they get lucky and bust someone with 10 pounds of pot on routine stops but that is one in a million.They also fly helicopters around and try to find grows but outside grows that are really big are easy to find and the medium sized grows are found a few times but what about the people outside that are growing 6 plants that never get caught unless someone sees them going,coming,or at the grow.(then they usually steal most if not all and call the police on you if they leave anything for evidence) That is only the outside grows where one or two large 100+ plants grows make it and about half medium 25-100 plants grows make it and almost all the small 1-24 plants grows make it and there is most likely more plants in small outside grows then the large and medium sized grows all put together. Then you have inside grows that do not get caught unless they steal power or have enough high heat lights to tip off a thermal camera on a helicopter( THEY DON’T ALWAYS USE HELICOPTERS the people that get busted for inside grows by thermal police usually have a hint that something is going on but need the thermal to get a warrent) or they get sold out by person that comes near or in there house for the sight scent or word of marijuana (yes word ever hear the saying “money talks” well money=green=marijuana[This basically means when people see or smell a grow they want to talk about it and talking to the cops can make them money.] about 87% of all indoor grows get busted by a informant that the grower knew for at least 5 years as a friend,buyer,and/or neighbor that also knew they were growing and was fine with it until they were slighted by the grower or found out they can make money.

    To summarize the people have pretty much won if we continue at this pace. The DEA and state/local dont have the man power to enforce this law anymore and any state that legalizes growing your own like Colorado will just push them further over the ledge. WE THE PEOPLE are saying what we want you can’t say its bad for us as individuals and keep tobacco and alcohol legal and the same thing applies to the masses. We need to rally on 4/20 at one major city for those that can make it and your local major city for those that can’t have a few tens of thousands people light up a joint in a public place that has cops and make sure there is media coverage. NO and i mean NO NO NO ALCOHOL OR ILLEGAL DRUGS PRESENT and what are the cops going to do spend all day ignoring other crimes to take everyone and write them up or just use riot tactics on the crowd WITH MEDIA COVERAGE THERE they cant win in that scenario if they drop what they are doing even the largest police force would take weeks to detain,book, and process them and arresting only a few in front and leaving the rest would be so immoral that if the media covered it well would start a movement. So they cant arrest us then what can they do? They CAN USE RIOT TACTICS such as tear gas to disperse the crowd but on a few ten thousand people that takes time and planning to be effective and if they do it anyway the medias there to film it and if the media shows it right we can benefit from it on all sides no matter what they do and a rally that big in a major city will get the national news attention and that is what we need for a backing on a national news station we need to start fighting harder now were on the tipping point and if we can push the stone over it will roll itself down hill.

    SO I say if we do not hear from the FEDS by 4/20 we rally Peacefully in a large city besides those in Washington and Colorado because that would be legal and that is good but since it is legal it would not be as good as say Nashville or Atlanta a big capital city with no legal medical or recreational laws pushes it to the front spot light in media news and catches more attention. Then if we do not get legalization by then we should do this every year in a no legal medical or recreational marijuana laws state till we legalize them all. We need to push now Colorado and Washington legalizing recreational use was the stone reaching the top of the hill but we still got to get it over that last hump and to do that we need to push hard and show everyone that we are normal people and the benefits of legalizing and taxing marijuana on the national level would be a positive thing and to do this we need national media coverage of an event big enough to allow for interviews and other things to show we are normal and marijuana would do less harm as good. Documentaries are good but not enough get shown or seen local news is good but it focuses on an area and it doesn’t get enough attention by the people if its just one 3 min clip talking to someone that wants to legalize medical marijuana not shown again.We need to get national news coverage on FOX,NBC,and/or CNN to connect all the communities that are pushing for legalization and a rally like this would be put on the news for a day straight if not a few just think a few days of basically hourly news coverage on marijuana legalization we just got to show them we are NORML.

  35. @Mark – I totally agree with you about cowardly politicians who think marijuana should be legal but are to scared to admit it publicly. I have a lot more respect for the average pothead than I do for them! If they can be pointed out somehow, we can get rid of them.

  36. If I was a betting man I would say that at least a third of the states that have expressed interest in legalizing cannabis will be successful in the 2014 or 2016 election cycles. The momentum from that next wave of states will finish this country’s prohibition.. imo. Peace

  37. it will only happen when politicians fear losing our votes and more importantly money for re-election.. When a bill dies in subcomittee we need to publicly shame these politicians. Find out if they are connected to lobbying dollars from police unions, court mandated drug treatment and/or private prisons. call them to the carpet on why and continue to lead with state iniatives. Remember, the feds acted last during alcohol prohibition

  38. LoL “relatively soon” I have just the thing for this it is made for this

    http://www.wowwiki.com/Soon

    read it and get a crack out of the irony behind it and then tale Holder that if its going to be soon at least make a deadline because time is valuable and soon is a word told to kids that do not know how to read time or a calender to settle them down about going somewhere or doing something and we are adults. We have agendas and schedules and if you just wrote soon on a memo to your boss about an event happening soon that he needed to be at or see to what would he do? My boss would can or crate and ship me across the country or the world on a “lateral” movement in my position to a job with the same pay but harder work and I don’t see that happening here.

  39. Hemp probably has the best chance to make it through soon because of Paul and McConnell’s involvement. Blumenauer’s bill is likely to get stalled.

    I hear all the arguments for lobbyists to not want this to happen, but I have always disagreed everyone is against this. I think Tobacco, Alcohol and Big Pharma will all benefit from legalization. Big Tobacco will no doubt get in the industry, and people will still smoke cigarettes, the same way they drink light beers and wine coolers. Everyone isn’t always trying to get high. You can make beverages from cannabis, and every sick patient who gets medical marijuana isn’t healed. Alcohol and Pharmaceutical companies will get in this industry with no real hit to their businesses. I’m sure they have all researched what they can do WHEN legalization happens.

    You ask me, its the prisons industrial complex, law enforcement, crooked politicians who have product on the street themselves, oil companies, and other manufacturing industries that are effected by hemp production.

  40. Congress is still figuring out how to play this card. It is similar to alcohol prohibition. Are there government officials using Cannabis hours after an impassioned speech against its legalization? Yes. Will they come clean and admit it? No. Why? Because of the silly stigma propagated by an undereducated media. Personally, I’d prefer my leaders partake of Cannabis rather than alcohol because alcohol dulls the mind and Cannabis sharpens it. Carl Sagan tells of writing some of his best work under the influence of Cannabis. Other scientists and progressive thinkers agree. But, do we have a congress dialed into the science community? No.

    Here’s the thing, we still have a hurdle or two we have to clear. At this writing there are many states looking to revamp their laws concerning this most interesting herb, or flower of you prefer. The faster these states change their laws the harder it will be for the feds to stem the tide of legalization and the feds know it. If they aren’t careful the ever growing (and well educated) populace in favor of legalization will be the bane of the feds existence.

    It gets more interesting every day. Stay tuned. Use Cannabis responsibly. Vote where and when it counts. Write letters to your representatives and let them know you have your eye on them, this makes them sweat. And that’s a good thing.

    Upward and onward.

  41. @Chris

    Will folks keep smoking cigs? Yes. Will folks continue to drink beer? Yes. Will people continue to go to their PCP to get prescriptions for antibiotics? Yes. However, all of those industries are going to see reduction in sales. Why would they consider starting a on a new venture when the products they produce continue to make consistent, easy money?
    Pharm, alcohol, tobacco, prison construction, the D.E.A., local court systems, local police (both corrupt and clean [the clean get to meet quotas for arrests and the corrupt get a piece of the action]), oil industry, etc etc are all lobbying hard to keep marijuana illegal.
    Washington and Colorado have started the ball rolling downhill, now more states are going to need to push bills to legalize. Momentum is everything and states are going to have to force the feds hand.
    It is the only way this issue is going to be resolved. Constituents are going to have to demand change at the local level.

  42. @Chris, I think Big Tobacco is exposed to the
    “big hit”– because once cannabis is legal, “paraphernalia laws” will no longer ban single toke utensils which are the TERMINAL nemesis of HIGH PROFIT $IGARETTES. Just as many smart cannabis users now already have switched to vaporizer or one-hitters, millions of present $igarette addicts will imitate their example, and while continuing the nicotine habit, buy a TENTH as much tobacco (OR SWITCH TO E-CIGS)! We’ll BAIL OUT PHILIP MORRIS and its brethren, and use the $igarette rolling machines to roll “brownspliffs” with POTting soil and a POTseed inside (and, when cannabis has prepared the topsoil for trees, tree seeds inside)– allegazam, REFORESTATION!

  43. They are not going to roll over folks, there is far too much money in those local law enforcement and federal budgets not to mention the Private Prison system..

    The best move for citizens which will totally destroy the governments movement in denying legalization is by ‘JURY NULLIFICATION’ throughout every city, county and State. This the citizens can do all by themselves.

    Start a movement to get all citizens to vote “Not Guilty” on all drug cases regardless of the drug involved,the amount involved or the conditions. Once we do that the process will only cost them money. It also puts the government in such a poor light because of their unwillingness to change the system, it will become devastating for the electorate both locally and nationally. Then and only then will they stop trying to prosecute.

    That’s the way to put an end to it. When the local government and Congress continue to ignore the will of the people, you do it on a local level throughout the nation. That sends the message both locally and nationally. That’s pretty powerful..

    Lets all get on board and start a “Nation Wide” campaign to support and promote “Jury Nullification”.

  44. Reading the latest NORML news about Holder’s announcement of a “response” to state legalization was like reading so much previous and incessant bad news over decades of failed public policy and official press-released threats and lies.

    But things are a bit different now.

    What is the AG going to say? “Our response is to maintain the status quo of failed public policy and budget of $260 billion for this year’s drug war effort and trillions more to come, as long as the powers that be, which are special interests disparate from the federal structure, say so.”

    NORML news stated this was the reaction to the state election victories, which were moral victories. Pro-cannabis citizens are on the higher moral ground and everyone knows it. Anyone handcuffed, arrested, jailed and had their property seized and reputations damaged for use of dried flowers is a better person than the so-called authority who terrorizes them while trashing the spirit of the law and violating basic human rights, and American rights.

    “On Tuesday, eight former heads of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and four former drug czars published an open letter calling on the Attorney General to take steps to nullify Colorado and Washington’s recently amended laws. “Our nation urgently needs action from Attorney General Holder to ensure that federal marijuana laws are enforced, federal preemption is asserted, and our obligations under international drug treaties are honored,’ the letter stated.”

    To briefly summarize the intent that belies that statement:

    The Tax Stamp Act of ’37 was pushed through by Hairy Anslinger, a relative of Wm. Randolph Hearst, yellow journalist and the unscrupulous inventor of something previously unheard of and inanely corrupt: making paper out of trees when trees take forever to grow and produce paper of low quality, like choosing papyrus over more durable hemp paper. It was out of self-interest he did this. It was out of self-interest also that Anslinger pushed for the Fed Bureau of Narcotics, so he could keep “working” after the end of failed alcohol prohibition and tragic externalities like alcapone alcohol.

    Timothy Leary, Harvard professor was arrested in Texas for cannabis possession. Fighting his case all the way to the highest court, he won his Supreme Court case. In order to obtain a tax stamp, he argued, one would need to report the amount of cannabis owned, in order to get the right number of stamps or type of stamp needed. This would be self-incrimination and entrapment and a stupid law that used “marihuana” instead of “hemp” in its terminology finally failed. It took that long for people to realize how stupid the degenerate legislation was.

    Cannabis prohibition became unenforceable. So Nixon charged the Shafer commission to find out the facts about cannabis because Nixon made it a priority to figure who could have access to cannabis. The Shafer commission’s response shocked Nixon, stating cannabis should not be and never should have been illegal and has demonstrated medical benefits, is relatively harmless as can be, and has a possible therapeutic use in cancer treatment.

    Nixon ignored this and started the drug war, or Controlled Substances Act. The CSA involved a scheduling system devised by himself and AG John Mitchell who arbitrarily and unscientifically pigeon-holed drugs into schedules with the obvious intent to enforce medieval punishments for users.

    Now that two states have passed legalization, it is irrelevant what the feds have to say because all signs point to the same result in other states.

    Of course people who make a “living” pretending to fight the good fight will bitch and moan. These people are paid to lie about cannabis and these people are the PROBLEM, the creators of the organized crime they pretend to battle in the drug war. That’s why drug czars tend to be people at the end of their careers, who no longer care about credibility, and can do little else but appear as commentators on 24 hour news drivel like CNN.

    An honest letter would have the czars apologize for corruption, dereliction of duty, a trillion+ wasted. It would apologize for even the title “czar” which is Russian-derived for “caesar” or dictator. Their response should state that cannabis should never have been “illegal” and they’ve always known it. It should advise that a federal response that is even slightly pushy or confrontational will only promote a backlash. It is clear the CSA persists, astonishingly, as an animal housed in a schedule of its own, labeled “un-American, oppressive, and hypocritical nonsense…with no medical use.”

    A post above compared N. Korea with the US based on how unfair and paternalistic the drug war is. Surprisingly, cannabis is legal in N. Korea, it grows along the roadsides. To them the notion of cannabis being made illegal with mandatory sentences and intellectual dishonesty is an example of Western evils. They weren’t coerced into signing BS treaties. They don’t have policy makers claiming cannabis has no medical use, despite a mountain of evidence and testimonials from scientists, doctors, and patients that contradict the schedule I lie.

    Every time this lie is repeated, the founding fathers roll in their graves. People with integrity should always stand up and call these liars out. “No medical use you say? You are a lying liar, go work in the private sector since you’re unfit to hold office.”

    Their letter stated, “Our nation urgently needs action from Attorney General Holder to ensure that federal marijuana laws are enforced, federal preemption is asserted, and our obligations under international drug treaties are honored.”

    And so the question remains, and will never be answered by these individuals in that or any letter:

    “WHY? Why continue the hell?”

    “What good reason is there to continue the suffering and oppression, the very definition of insanity? because the results of decades long fail policy are not going to change. Hello?”

    They will never admit their failure and wrong-doing. That will have to be an apology made by a president much later, like Clinton apologizing for Tuskegee experiments and the lack of response to the genocide in Africa.” Think about it, admitting their dereliction and corruption would be like trying to get a stupid marihuana tax stamp, like locking the door on one’s own (for-profit) prison cell.

    Whatever this response will entail would prudently be carefully-worded lest they trample and insult our own system of laws. The people have spoken and continue to do so.

    Stay out of the way of *states rights.* Failed ineffective agencies which waste billions don’t have the credibility to plead for maintaining draconian policy so they can keep their “jobs.” You’d think a letter like theirs intimated that states want to secede from the union and should be stopped, or other such nonsense. Instead, people are fed-up with abuse of states’ rights. That letter demonstrates they believe in some bizarre concept of “fed rights,” which can only be a fiction, a non-entity, more aptly named “special interests’ commands to the government to please them,”

  45. Hey if they go against their graft payers they stand too lose a lot of tax free money paid by the pharmaceutical companies that pay for reelections, big houses, and big new cars!!!

  46. The reason they ignore cannabis reforms and retain prohibition of the plant is for one main reason in my opinion- Cannabis if it were ever legal would be a threat to both the parties, Democrat/Republican. The reason being is Cannabis when consumed allows for people to have free, independent, critical thinking. Hence the state of Colorado is independent. The counter-culture started because of cannabis, hence the reason it was outlawed directly by Nixon from an unregulated product to illegal.

  47. Activism takes many forms. I agree with several posters on ideas like calling out politicians, particularly those in opposition, for their dismissal without consideration of the outcomes they support by default. I agree journalists should be called out for their dismissive and offensive headlines, repeating outdated and clealry ignorant stereotypes coined by Prohibitionists. I agree voting can and should be weighed by a politician’s opposition or support (for me personally this carries a great deal of weight and will influence my voting choices) and that active efforts should be taken to get people out to vote.

    Lobby your lawmakers. Make an appointment and go visit them. Show up in your Sunday best. Talk reasonably, tell your personal story, and respect their time. Ask them what concerns are keeping them from supporting reform. Ask them if they would support reform if their concerns were addressed. Ask them for input on how you could be more effective with other lawmakers. If you want to be taken seriously, present yourself as someone they will take seriously.

    Polls consistently show that those over 60-65 and moms are the most opposed. We all have family in those segments. Have a conversation with them. Start by explaining you want to understand their views better, talk about what you’ve learned, and how a new approach will improve the issues they are concerned about. Ask them open-ended questions (e.g. What are your views on cannabis legalization and how you did you come to them?). Ask at least two questions for every statement you make; you have two ears and one mouth – use proportionately.

    Issues tip when people’s attitudes shift overwhelmingly in favor of a new reality or approach. It is nearly there now. We must win the battle of public opinion, family values, and political influence all at once, and equally. Keep it up, polish yourselves and your message. Write down every objection and have a well-prepared, thoughtful and respectful response that acknowledges concerns, empathizes with them and then resolves the problem with a solution that provides the positive outcome we all seek. Do it before engaging in discussion, and have yor responses down cold.

    That’s the thing. Most people want a better outcome. We want people to be healthier, happier, freer, to spend our taxes effectively, and to respect the principles of our Fouding Fathers and our Constitution. It’s just that the remaining opposition doesn’t believe that legalization will achieve it. So the conversation must go on, especially at home, and the voters must get out.

    May liberty and reason prevail. Our nation will be better off.

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