Teen Use Of Alcohol, Tobacco Falls To Historic Lows (But All The Media And The Feds Want To Talk About Is Pot)

Adolescent consumption of alcohol and tobacco fell to historic lows while self-reported annual use of cannabis held steady, according to survey data released today by the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor — which has been sampling teens consumption of various licit and illicit substances since the mid-1970s.

But you wouldn’t know these facts if you read today’s mainstream media headlines.

For example, the accompanying headline of McClatchy’s wire story inaccurately claims that marijuana consumption among young people rose between 2011 and 2012, stating “Feds decry rising marijuana use among kids”, despite the fact that the title of the study’s own press release affirms “The rise in teen marijuana use stalls.”

Other news outlets, such as PBS News Hour (in which I am quoted here) predictably highlight the federal government’s talking point that adolescents’ perception of pot’s risk potential is dipping (e.g., ’60 percent of 12th grade students do not view marijuana as harmful’). Unreported is the fact that this trend is is not new, but is rather an ongoing one. According to the University’s year-by-year data, teens’ perceptions regarding marijuana’s risks first began declining in the early 1990s — a time that predates the passage of statewide medical cannabis laws or more recent statewide depenalization/legalization laws. (Looking for an explanation for this trend? Try this: More and more teens are wising up to the fact that cannabis is not as equally dangerous as heroin, despite the federal government’s claims to the contrary.)

Overlooked in the mainstream media’s reporting is that the use of both alcohol and tobacco among all grades surveyed has fallen consistently since the mid-1990s and now stands at all-time lows. (In fact, more teens now acknowledge using marijuana than cigarettes, the study found.) Teens are also finding alcohol to be less availabile and are far less likely to engage in binge drinking now than ever before.

By contrast, teens self-reported annual use of cannabis has largely held steady since the late 1990s but remains elevated compared to the historic lows reported in the earlier that decade. (Present use levels, however, still remain well below the highs reported in the late 1970s.) Approximately 8 out of 10 12th graders surveyed said that marijuana was “fairly easy” or “very easy” to obtain, a percentage that has remained largely unchanged since 2009, but is well below previously reported highs circa the late 1990s.

Nevertheless, federal officials are utilizing the latest University of Michigan data to once again sound the alarm about cannabis, stating that the cannabis ‘problem’ is even “worse” than the data suggests while the Drug Czar once again tries to misleadingly link long-term trends to the passage of recent changes in law.

And what no public officials wish to acknowledge is the obvious elephant in the room. The reality that an increasing number of teens are steadily turning away from the legally regulated intoxicants alcohol and tobacco — a factoid that once again affirms that the most effective way to keep substances out of teens’ hands isn’t through criminal prohibition; it is through legalization, regulation, and public education. So why does the federal government (as well as the mainstream media) acknowledge the effectiveness of this strategy when it comes to booze and cigarettes, but continue to turn its back on these common sense principles when it comes to pot?

43 thoughts

  1. This all sounds like the same ol’ same ol’ alright. The last paragraph sums it all up nicely.

  2. Answer to last question is varied and many. The government’s position that there is no acceptable medical use is mainly due to the government not accepting herbal and homeopathic medicine. We are being doctored by the old bleeders, surgeons, and chemists. In the late 1800s someone with connections figured out that there is money in chemical medicine, and that started the downward spin of herbal/homeopathic medicine. It has nearly been regulated out of existence. I don’t expect our so called ‘government’ to start making it any easier for homeopathic medicine, they made their bed a long time ago.

  3. Well, Paul, I know your question is ironic, we know the government is well paid in taxe$ to do whatever protects the $igarette companies “just a little longer” against what is going to happen to them anyway when cannabis legalization brings along the dreaded popularization of vaporizers and one-hitters permanently replacing their high-profit engine the pernicious H-ot B-urning O-verdose M-onoxide $igarette format.

    Since one oligop, Lorillard, has bought an e-cigarette company, it seems likely P Morris, Reynolds and others will do likewise, fine with me, live and let live.

  4. Responsible use does reduce alcohol consumption, often replacing it as the preferred means of relaxation. Plus, most people do not smoke joints at the same rate as the average pack a day cigarette smoker. No way. In states where it’s legal, there is not a wave of people smoking 20 joints a day after work, and they surely are not allowed to toke during work hours, I’m sure. And, you don’t have to smoke because you can vaporize.

    On a related issue, it’s been in the news that the Congress passed a budget, supposed to be good for 2 years. Now legalize marijuana at the federal level, and take your federal share of the taxes, and then stay the fuck out of people’s personal/private lives, you know, just to make sure you really do have enough money.

    It’s money you didn’t have before, and you don’t have a way of coming up with this much money or else you’d be implementing it already. It’s instant tax-paying jobs both here and globally, excise & state & local tax revenue, intelligence routes for NGOs overseas, and then the savings in ending the war on pot as the peace dividend. And as far as the kiddies, they’ll get carded and will have to steal it off there parents, you know the usual shit they pull, or get some of age dumbass to get it for them, which won’t happen too often because the dupe will get sick and tired of taking the risk on them till they come of age. Feds should let the states decide the age for recreational adult cannabis, so I think 19 years of age recommended, just long enough for the tie to brats still in high school to be severed by work or college, 18 if in the military (active or reserve) or in Coast Guard.

    I don’t want anymore of these bullshit federal raids. They simply have to stop.

  5. Oh yeah, I forgot to rant that the UN needs to shut the fuck up about international treaty prohibition on legalizing cannabis. Two US states legalized and the UN couldn’t do shit to stop it. It happened. It’s history. Uruguay legalized. If the UN isn’t giving the US shit for Colorado and Washington then they have no credibility giving Uruguay a tongue lashing for it. They can’t do anything else. Talk, talk, talk. Bitch, bitch, bitch, and it ain’t gonna undo legalization, bitches. You got European countries the Mujicas mentioned that it was leaked about there being support building within the UN from Netherlands, Scandinavians, Latin American countries do reevaluate, CHANGE, the international prohibitions, but I gotta tell ya that is way too long. UN needs to ignore legalization and just get their asses in gear and drafting all the changes lifting the dumbass prohibitions on cannabis internationally.

  6. I would like to answer the question why the federal government refuses to address ? its because of the billions and thousands of jobs in prisons and court houses its because they have created a business out of the drug war lie and they all should hung form the trees for us all to see

  7. “Figures do not lie people do” The dishonesty from government officials should not surprise anyone. This dishonesty allows them to keep arresting people for nothing. Then they want to act like their saving children, the same children they later ruin the lives of as they get older with an arrest record over nothing! These people in government could not take any longer to fix this problem if they wanted to. Remember these are the same people who want you to trust them to read your emails. It should not be long before they want to open your mail scan the contents and seal it back up and send it on to you. The powers that be want every thing to be based on a memo, not flat out repealing these dishonest laws. The officials who are giving interviewers this line of propaganda about the University of MICH. report are laying the ground work for an excuse to retreat from relaxing currant laws. These are carefully crafted talking points.The main stream media are more like cheering squads for one political party or another these days. They do not have enough time in their segments to get all the facts out. The media just wants to sound the alarm to warn you of a new danger they have found.

  8. Look at it this way, Paul: You are a mainstream journalist and you have been running the bust stories straight from the police for decades, making friends with cops, reporting without a second thought about stings, asset forfeiture, and peaceful citizens being raided by militants over plants; you either hate yourself, consider your whole career a failure, or you find the tiniest drug menace hand-hold and you cling to that wall of shame. You warn of schitzophernia! The munches! Gateways! and continue parroting the police, because that is all you have ever amounted to, or will. You stood for nothing – and fell for anything. A lot of cops are in the same boat.

  9. Our politicians need to smarten up as our youth have. Make it legal and we turn it into a regulated product similar to cigarettes and alcohol with a whole lot less risk. Senator Greg Ball in New York sent me a letter saying that marijuana is a gateway drug. He will never support marijuana. This is bull, I’m a middle aged cancer survivor who has a lot of pain, but my only (legal) relief is oxycodone. What do I want with this pharmaceutical heroin? The answer is nothing, but Greg Ball says that I am denied marijuana because I will move on to harder drugs. Yet I am given opiates from the hospital like candy. Really? I am actually now opiate free thanks to cannabis, my best pain free days are when I can relax and inhale.
    Teens today are to smart for this outdated bunch of misleading lies. Pot was around when I was in high school just as it is today. Perscription pills are what scare me as a parent not weed, we have this all wrong. How about synthetic pot, why is this even necessary when the real, safe, proven stuff available. Sorry for the ranting but it’s a frustrating time for a New Yorker with no legal access

  10. And I just saw on the USA Today at work a report that “marijuana use among teens is on the rise” accompanied by a sub-title that stated “1 in 15 teens admit to daily use”.

    The problem? Self-reporting is highly unreliable. Seriously, maybe you drink a cup of coffee every day, but if caffeine was illegal, how likely would you be to admit to it–especially if it was something your employer tested your piss for regularly? The only thing that such a study can really show is that teen admission of marijuana use is on the rise.

    Check out this link from the National Work Rights Institute (http://workrights.us/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/NewInformationDrugTesting.pdf). The claim is that companies that drug test have less drug use among their employees, conveniently based entirely on employee self-reporting. However, when one study backed up the self-reporting with multiple types of drug tests, they found that about 50% of the people who said “I don’t use drugs” were LYING. The only thing you can conclusively say from the original studies is that employees of companies that drug test are less likely to admit to it.

    I would say that MJ use isn’t on the rise, but that the increasing acceptance of MJ in the general population and the fact that a solid majority supports MJ legalization (a majority that increases every day) has made teens, as well as many other people, more likely to admit to their MJ use, as the demonization of users begins to fade and public opinion about the Drug War and its tactics becomes more and more negative. I rather suspect you’d find a similar “rise in usage rates” based entirely on self-report in other populations besides teens.

    Also, it’s a good read. I’m going to add it to my list of anti-drug testing links, since for some reason I must have overlooked this. Here’s a doozy from the page: Drug testing companies have very low hurdles to jump to get licensed, and then they are good to go forever. There are no tests to ensure quality control or accuracy, so when independent groups get in there and submit samples to them they return up to 30% false positives. If we are supposed to be subject to pre-employment or random drug testing, or any kind of drug testing at all, all without any good reason to suspect any of us, then shouldn’t the companies that do the testing be subject to robust random testing of their accuracy and robust regulation and regular inspection of their facilities to ensure that, say, people are not wrongfully terminated from their jobs? It seems that we, the people, are little more than criminals who need to be under constant internal surveillance since we are clearly not to be trusted with our own lives even when not on the clock, but the uber-rich companies that make billions off of that surveillance don’t even have to be held to any serious standards or regulated in any way. One standard for us, another standard for them.

    And here’s something you can use for those jagoffs who love to say “well, private companies can do what they like and test you how they please”. It’s called the “Employee Polygraph Protection Act”. You can look it up, but you can also see it on those worker’s rights posters your employer is required to hang up in plain view at work. It’s actually illegal for employers to use polygraph testing on current employees or new or potential hires, and it’s illegal for them to terminate employment or refuse employment based on a refusal of such a test. I look forward to the day when we can have an “Employee Drug Testing Protection Act” that similarly protects us from what is an equally unreliable and much more invasive form of employer tyranny over the worker.

  11. BTW, the reason there is such a hype over “OMG teens use MJ!” is because they are trying to scaremonger against legalization again by creating the illusion that legalization is making MJ more available to teens rather than less. I actually saw an article somewhere claiming that “since the states of CO and WA legalized, teen usage is skyrocketing, and that’s what happens when you legalize, it makes MJ so much more available!” Except the law goes into effect on January 1, 2014, so their whole argument is bull. It’s a common misconception that when something is voted in or out, it is effective immediately* and many people simply filter out the fact that we have been discussing the actual implementation of the legalization laws and voting on plans of action over the last year, and they are taking full advantage of that public ignorance. What else is new? Drug testing, in fact nearly every aspect of our failed Drug War, has been entirely dependent on public ignorance of the facts so they can lie and distort as they please.

    The one thing they haven’t counted on, however, is the fact that our side is now allowed to talk. Part of the success of their subterfuge over forty years has been the complete and total demonization of anyone who dared criticize the Drug War or any of its draconian methods, and the fact that they had spun the discussion in such a way that the Drug Warriors and their cheerleaders were the only ones who were allowed to comment on the subject without drawing a target on their backs for government or employer retaliation. And the fact that when they started this crap, there wasn’t this thing called the internet, by which we are able to spread the truth anonymously without having to fear, say, a retaliatory drug test at work. I know some people don’t like the anonymous element, but think about it: it’s the only thing that allows the downtrodden to have their say. Most of us would be targets right now if we used our real names, and in fact most of us probably wouldn’t even be having this conversation without the anonymity the internet gives us. That is a great deal of power we have to spread the truth in the face of the lies of the powerful, and to unite the downtrodden. I realize some people misuse this anonymity, but that is not a reason to remove this tool from the hands of the people. The powerful want to take that away, they want us to be forced to use our real names so they know who to chase, so our employers can track everything we say and do and retaliate accordingly, so they can eliminate our ability to speak to like-minded revolutionaries.

    In ancient Greece, the slaves and the common folk had the same mode of dress, though the higher classes had unique modes of dress from everyone else. Whenever it came up to give the common folk and slaves unique modes of dress, it got shot down. Why? Because if the slaves were able to see at a glance how many of them there really were, they would fight back. Making sure the common folk and slaves dressed identically was a way to ensure that every slave felt alone and had no idea how many other people were in his or her situation, or how much power they really had to change things. Think about that.

    For that reason, I am so glad to have the internet and the ability to speak freely with all you fine folks on such an important subject, and have conversations that many powerful people and industries would love to shut down by force if they could get away with it. Before I found NORML and DPA and MPP (but especially NORML blog with it’s large and vocal commenting community) I felt entirely alone and was afraid to speak out against the Drug War and all it’s injustices, including drug testing. It felt like I was the only person in the world who felt this way–everyone else was either a Drug War cheerleader or a “you’re crazy, you’re a fanatic, what does it even matter, why fight it, anyway, why piss in the wind?” apathist. You guys give me something to hope for, and something to live for! And here’s hoping that we will continue to draw even more allies to our cause!

    *I realized this in late 2009, when my mom was blaming Obama for the 2008 corporate bailouts. My dad and I pointed out that it was Bush who was responsible, and she said “but the later ones were in November or December, and he was President, he was voted in on November 2!” And we had to explain to her that Obama wasn’t president until late January at his inauguration. And this was over the presidency, which has a huge high-profile ceremony to establish when the new president comes in and the old one leaves. I realized then that with regular laws that lack such displays the ignorance of how these things work must be incredibly greater.

  12. Absolute authority has blinded the federal government to even it’s own lies. The feds just can’t understand why people question they’re research. Teenage substance abuse is the last agenda they can use to manipulate marijuana prohibition. Absolute obedience is a thing of the past.

  13. Because they will be out of a job and this legalization reduces there strangle hold on Americans lives. If we can legalize marijuana then we can decriminalize all drugs in small quantities like Portugal and reduce crime and prisons. Then spend more money on rehab and young peoples education.

  14. More lies and spin, in self-interest and a desire to retain power and control. Nothing more. They are clearly aware that they have lost all credibility and that these same news sources, who have been their shill for decades, have also reported the gross abuses of citizens by the goons along the way.

    And the Internet has the distinct advantage of allowing people to find information that the government continues to distill into ther own deceptive agenda. And guess what? Citizens are more able than ever to debate absent the spin and to determine our government has failed in every way to either protect us from ourselves or protect our inalienable rights. No, instead they have sought to infringe and restrict our rights, and it’s now glaringly evident thanks to the Internet and the vast trove of studies and facts contradicting their deceptions at every turn.

    That the press continues their knee-jerk shilling of this nonsense is a disgrace, but equally not a surprise. In this age of multi-tasking, fast-is-never-fast-enough, and hurry-up-and-get-all-this-done-too world, journalists are not free to take their time and thoughtfully write their stories. And to be sure, many journalists are biased and fail to separate their biases from their reporting. Let’s not even discuss editors, who seem to be more interested in which way the wind should blow rather than which way it’s actually blowing.

    But take heart: government has virtually NO credibility on this and a myriad of social issues. Fortunately, the Internet remains open for all, and citizens have free will and free-thinking at their disposal. While complacency is an easy pitfall, it’s important to note that this wave of support has literally overwhelmed the repressors, and nothing can stop the inevitable, inexorable drift to the end of prohibition.

    Gateway Gil has actually helped the movement every time he’s opened his mouth. I say, keep talking! When all you have at your disposal is lies and deception, you’re a one trick pony. Every time he speaks, he reinforces the complete absence of credibility that marks the government’s behavior and approach.

  15. @brentandrews – Your comment about Paul is, by far, the most ignorant that I have ever read in a NORML blog!

    Paul Armentano is a hero and a great American! He has done more to help end prohibition than a dummy like you will ever realize.

  16. The media gets its information from NIDA.
    NIDA only studies the negative effects of drugs.
    What the public is waking up to is: you can not have one side of a story and get a complete picture.
    If science is their ultimate test and bar, then they should do science from an un-bias way. Otherwise no one will believe anything they put out.

  17. Err, how is it the UN has anything to with or have any say about marijuana? Again, government over reach. Un-needed regulation in the form of prohibition! This is really simple, stop wasting the UN’s time on the subject of marijuana. They are there to stop the spread of communism, not marijuana!

  18. Finally, another tired, bad argument killed dead. Even a 2 year old knows prohibition doesn’t work. That’s what cabinet locks are for. I remember having this conversation with some teenagers back in 1994. “Marijuana is primarily medicine. It should be respected that way.” I told them at dinner, in front of their father, the Criminal Attorney and mother, the Doctor with wide-eyed reactions. Little did I know that was the year the Clinton Administration started the S.O.D. program.
    I’m more concerned that in the midst of the NSA scandals, corporate prohibitionists and DEA’s increasingly reduced platform of melting ICE, we’re not dealing with the most alarming evidence of all; The DEA’s Special Operations Division.
    Evidence fabrication?
    Reverse Engineered convictions without due process or legal search and seizures?
    Teenagers and young adults today have it worse than I imagined. They could land a conviction simply for minding their own business in a dorm room, smoking a joint. (Danny Chong).
    Even prosecutors are scratching their heads saying “That $#!+ aint right.”
    Let’s face it, we knew it was happening;
    State policeman: Sir, I pulled you over for driving with a dirty license plate… Oh look! It’s the DEA with DRUG dogs! What a COINCIDENCE! What are YOU guys doing here!”
    But now that the evidence is out, the white house panel should have at least MENTIONED the S.O.D. program in their recent list of intelligence reform proposals.
    It is, after all, only the most blatant violation of civil and human rights to privacy and due process ever to defy the U.S. Constitution since the Marijuana Stamp Act.

  19. Cigarettes and Alcohol should be listed as schedule 1 drugs according to the DEA’s own criteria. They simply have chosen to demonize this helpful plant in spite of overwhelming evidence that almost everything they have ever said about it is absolutely false!

  20. Elephant in the room: more legalization, regulation and public education about cannabis can SHARPLY REDUCE youth interest in, demand for addictive H-ot B-urning O-verdose M-onoxide $igarettes and alcohol binge-drinking. Which will threaten profit-margin of clout-heavy corporations now procuring desperately craved TAX REVENUE to which governments are “addicted”.

  21. its not worth the drug czar opening his stupid mouth. weed is legal now. no going back on it. agriculture hemp is good for ecology and economics. NY is becoming sensible, with a medicinal and legalization bill to introduce! My senators know im for legalization. and I just made a contribution to NORML buying Christmas presents through amazon.smile peace

  22. Reschedule/deschedule cannabis and all the medical community will be on board, but use the words, weed, marijuana,and pot and you buy into the feds prohibition mentality traced directly back to the 18th amendment’s advocates.

  23. Anonymous, instead of hating on a simple word like marijuana, how about hating on the assholes that believe selling us lies is their business? They are called Fascists and they are what is wrong with marijuana and the USA in general. And when we going into other countries, we find Fascists there as well trying very hard to ruin societies around the world. They don’t want war to end, they sell bullets and guns and drones.

  24. Think about it. You are putting yourself in the position of agreeing that “marijuana is bad” which is a pretty dumb position for “Cannabis advocate” to be in. Because if marijuana is that bad, we not should be making legal. Get it?

    The lies are the problem, not marijuana or hooch or whatever you want to call it. The liars are the problem. If we were to stop calling it marijuana, would the liars disappear along all the damage they caused and plan on causing? Somehow, I doubt. We will always have to deal with their bullshit as new lying egomaniacs are born every day.

  25. Merriam-Webster dictionary. fuddy-duddy:one that is old-fashioned,unimaginative, or conservative. This fits the fuderal government.Perfect fit.

  26. I usually refrain from putting my comments on this page because I feel as if my words are better put to use by argueing with prohibitionists and trying to sway their opinions, but I would like to give my fellow marijuana proponents a fantastic agruement when it comes to prohibitionists using teens’ brain development as a reason to continue the prohibition of marijuana.
    I was an all state linemen on both the defensive and offensive side of the ball. I never left the playing feild. On kickoff, I was the wedge breaker. On punt, I was the wedge breaker. I punished players on the other team with my body. I was 300 lbs and built like a brick shit house. I broke kids’ necks with my hits. I shattered 3 helmets in my high school career with helmet to helmet head shots. I was young and dumb. BUT i loved to hear the sound of my body colliding with another and hearing the persons body crack.
    I tried to commit suicide at least 20 times as a young adult. I dont know for sure if my brain had suffered any permanent damage, but I do not see how I could not have. I was knocked unconcious 4 times.
    My point in all this is simply this. I started playing football in the 4th grade. If people are going to use “brain damage” as a reason to keep marijuana illegal, then why are we still allowing children, whether it be a 4th grader or a high school senior, to put on a helmet and smash their heads into each other. This type of impact has been proven to cause severe problems in brain development, yet we fill bleachers with fans and tell the kids that if they are good enough, they can make it to the NFL and get paid millions. If we are truly trying to stop teens and children from developing brain damage, then why is football still allowed before brains have stopped growing, or for that matter, why do we allow this to continue at all?

  27. Tobacco is the Gateway Drug. Wonder why no one has ever considered/mentioned that premise. Tobacco was my first “taboo” experience.

  28. You asked “. So why does the federal government (as well as the mainstream media) acknowledge the effectiveness of this strategy when it comes to booze and cigarettes, but continue to turn its back on these common sense principles when it comes to pot?

    answer:politicians,lobbyists,pharmaceutical,drug testing labs,a fat check from Uncle Sam for the War on Drugs,private prisons….This is why i wont watch main stream media its all trash.IMO The young Turks is about as level headed as u can get for online media…

  29. Thank you @J.J. for candid story. My football (alias fatbull) story is different, “I never played the game”, but shows how that widely acclaimed and tolerated bestiality damages society: my Dad suffered a disabling knee injury at age 14 playing junior high football; he became a modest engineer making lots of money, but 1. I never saw my Dad climb a tree; 2. I never saw my Dad run; 3. I never saw my Dad ride a bicycle. 4. At age 70 he spent $$tens of thousands on a knee replacement.

    When I was 8 (1948) my Dad, who still liked football, took me to a game. The last name on the visiting team roster, evidently of a player with Japanese ancestry, was Ono. Late in the game a player lay injured on the field; the public address announcer boomed out that it was Ono; the crowd LAUGHED. I guess I learned something different about football than my Dad expected me to.

    @Syd Smith, thanks for nailing that connection tobacco ~ taboo. Here’s one I thought of: the bi-polar controversy of our time is between Reachforth (reefer) and Tobackgo. For a reason (resin) God gave us eyes in the FRONT of our head, o.k.?

    @Dave Evans, as long as we have “herb”, “reefer” and “tokes” I will avoid saying “marijuana” (controversial foreign word for Americana). Here’s my take on “Fascists”: Lat. FASCIS means “a torch”. 100 times more $igarettes have been rolled than any other kind of torch in the history of the planet, resulting in 6,000,000 deaths a year currently and going up. So much for torchery alias Fascism. If you want to keep your kids off drugs, make sure they have a Long-Stemmed One-Hitter and no temptation to mess with H-ot B-urning O-verdose M-onoxide rolling papers, gateway drug to $igarette addiction.

  30. PS. Nazi top command 75% tobacco: Hitler, former heavy smoker, quit successfully; Goering owned shares in a cigar factory; google Himmler and see many photos of Heinrich with a cigar; poor old Goebbels sometimes smoked 40 $igarettes a day, tried to quit in 1944 but after D-Day he relapsed.

  31. States and cities are hurting because of pension fund shortfalls, including prison employee pensions, so piss on the drug-testing and private prison sectors. Running prisons should never be for profit, and therefore the purview of government.

    Legalization is happening, just not as fast as I want.

  32. @TheOracle: “Running prisons should never be for profit and therefore the purview of government”

    True. And law-enforcement/criminal investigation should never be the purview of employers. Private employers are not cops. The only reason they started paying our employers to test our piss is because the Fourth Amendment prevented them from going door to door with specimen jars–and so they were forced to subcontract it to the private sector instead. The big benefit for them is that cops need a warrant (in theory) to search you while your employer needs no excuse whatever, so they get the added bonus of eliminating any and all privacy rights for all citizens, entirely by loophole. Anything the Bill of Rights prevents you from doing to the populace? Pay their employers to use it as a standard of employment and make them afraid for their employment health to speak out against such violation! And the best part is you can pay them with tax money–effectively making the hoi polloi pay for their own physical violation! It’s win-win!

  33. BTW, check out The Good Fight with Ben Wikler on iTunes. It’s free and there’s an episode with a great interview with Ethan Nadelmann about the DPA and Nadelmann’s history with the Drug War, and how incredibly quickly the momentum has gone from people giving him incredulous looks at the idea that he wanted to fight the Drug War, thinking it was some kind of joke, to 58% of Americans wanting to legalize marijuana. I enjoyed it a lot and I think I might listen to it again.

  34. JJ, you make a very good point. As for myself the best gift I can give to the kids is to simply leave them alone.I feel like adults just don’t have the right to tell teenagers how to conduct their life’s. How to dress, what music to listen to, and BS I went through as a teenager. “Why aren’t you getting ready to go to church”! I owe the kids the gift that I was not given when I was young, It’s called personal freedom.

  35. @ Demonhype

    Right on with the government getting around the 4th Amendment piss testing people by having employers do their dirty work for them. Employers argue that drug use reduces productivity and increases the likelihood that the employee will steal from the company to support their addiction.

    People with a hangover from off-work alcohol use are definitely less productive than someone who partook of the sacred herb, something seen countless times over the years at different jobs. Used to tick me off about rabid prohibitionist cigarette smokers cutting loose from their job stations for a smoke and joke session while everybody else kept working. Those days of pretty much at will smoke breaks in the workplace or in the break room are gone.

    Marijuana isn’t the kind of drug people normally will prostitute themselves for, you know, look for johns to have sex with to come up with money for a bag of weed, unlike heroin, meth or crack, or what have you. If employers would pay the employees better, such as retailers, they could afford to buy the things they steal, and I’m talking about employees in general and not just people who use cannabis. If employers would treat their employees better then employees wouldn’t feel the need to get back at them, and shit like that.

    I’ll make it a point to listen to the interview with Ethan. Ethan is sexy & hot!

  36. @brentandrews,
    It is my understanding that Mr. Armentano is a registered lobbyist. Even if he wasn’t, representing the NORML foundation with education is supporting lobbying efforts that by far enhance the legalization movement. Good reporting draws in donations.
    As for “cops in the same boat,” as Paul, not hardly. NORML would be the non for profit broadcast ship delivering truth to the masses, while the cops would be the coast guard; dodging bullets while looking for more asset forfeitures.
    If you are a guilty cop or know someone who is, look up LEAP.cc and get out while you still can.
    You bring up an interesting point about “prostituting oneself” for harder drugs. We have to be honest about our society and realize that money itself is addictive, and people are willing to demoralize themselves when they misconstrue their priorities by confusing money with food or forgetting how to grow their own food. Forgetting how to grow our own food is at the heart of the corporate agricultural mono-culture that is destroying the very fabric of human coexistence with our environment.
    At the core of prohibition is the oppression of the most widespread, oldest, agriculturally cultivated plant on earth; Cannabis. And with it is prohibited a mota-vation to grow our own gardens at all. When people go through the effort of growing their own food, medicine, fuel and building materials, they are motivated to continue to grow more varieties of vegetables. From there, depending on the space one has (and general success in composting), the benefits of growing a garden begin to “grow fruit,” and our ancient connection to the earth and God creates a self-sufficiency that is inherently anti-corporate.
    I’m no master gardener, and lord knows I WISH I could grow acres of cannabis as far as the eyes can see; But even the USE of cannabis has the power to inspire American society into an anti-corporate, self-sufficient agrarian revolution. Being anti-corporate does not mean that corporations will ever “go away,” it means that in a world where Brazil is already planting terminator seeds and Monsantos is lobbying hard to do the same here in the U.S., we need to fight to retain our human rights.
    And that begins with bringing these basic agricultural bonds into our homes and schools.
    School children should have cultivation of fertile seeds and harvest as part of core curriculum. Legal cannabis could pay for non-psychoactive hemp-shop classes where students learn to grow and build something out of hemp during the school year. Imagine the benefits to students whose imaginations would open up to healthy hemp product innovations that young adults could learn how to patent and pitch while they’re still in high school?
    The way I look at it, by simply NOT teaching our children how to be self-sufficient or grow their own garden, we’re prostituting them out as soon as they hit the door. Marijuana has the power to teach and inspire.
    Before I die, I’m telling my kids I left all my money in the mayonnaise jar where I kept my weed. But I forgot where I buried it in the hemp field, so start digging.

  37. Mexbuds,

    Dude, a “weed” is an unwanted plant, to be pulled from the Earth and left to die in the hot Sun. Marijuana, as a plant, is offended you call it weed. And I feel its pain. 😉 LOL!

    Anyway, chaining smoking of tobacco *is* often seen in people with conditions that can cause psychosis like schizophrenia, dipolar disorder and several others.

    I always hear and read about some connection with these exact conditions being related to people’s marijuana usage, but they all nearly use tobacco.

    It right there staring everyone in the face and they keep talking about marijuana usage, when the fact is most psyhcotic and anti-social people are also heavy tobacco users. Maybe it is doing something to their brains, eh?

  38. @Dave, maybe we can agree Not to say Pot. That word is one of the Top Ten Most Threatening Words in the life of an English language child, words that mean a grownup is angry and about to punish you. “Don’t knock over the Pot (chamberpot) or they will punish you.” “Get to the Potty in time or they will punish you.” “Don’t pull the Pot down off the stove or you will be scalded to death.” Then there’s potbelly, potshot, stinkpot, crackpot and other pejoratives. Also boycott “dope” (clearly refers only to opioids, not our herb). Finally, if you see an article about cannabis headed by a picture of a H-ot B-urning O-verdose M-onoxide joint, complain in a comment and suggest they post a picture of a vaporizer or a one-hitter.

  39. “You bring up an interesting point about “prostituting oneself” for harder drugs. We have to be honest about our society and realize that money itself is addictive, and people are willing to demoralize themselves when they misconstrue their priorities by confusing money with food or forgetting how to grow their own food. Forgetting how to grow our own food is at the heart of the corporate agricultural mono-culture that is destroying the very fabric of human coexistence with our environment.”
    The corporate model is just making it worse and accelerating the process. Simply packing people into cities removes them from anything remotely like a “nomal earth experience”. People lose the mental connections to the earth, they think food comes from Monsanto, not the Earth and their own labor. Now we have laws supporting these broken ideas. This has many affects including destroying family farming in the USA. The government helps put working family farms out of business just so they can be sucked up into larger corporate enterprises or turned into city density housing.

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