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Mr. Burns Goes To California

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director July 29, 2008

    Nearly six years ago, Deputy Drug Czar Scott Burns mailed a two-page letter to every prosecutor in America urging them to target and “aggressively prosecute” marijuana violators, including first-time offenders.  

    At that time, I spent some 5,000 words addressing Mr. Burns numerous lies and exaggerations — which included this shocking statement, “No drug matches the threat posed by marijuana.”

    Yes folks, in 2002 that was the official position of your federal government.

    Fast forward to today and you’ll see that little, if anything, has changed among the Czars who cohabit the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.

    Earlier this month Scott Burns flew to Humbolt County in northern California where he gave this revealing (as in, it reveals just how clueless this man really is) interview with the editors of the Arcata Eye, explaining why the White House continues to believe that pot remains the most dangerous herb on the planet. However, rather than bleed my fingertips to the bone responding to Mr. Burns’ inherent inability to tell the truth, this time around I’m simply going to let his words speak for themselves.

    An interview with Scott Burns, deputy drug czar – July 25, 2008
    via The Arcata Eye

    Eye: Is it realistic to keep marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug, in with cocaine and heroin?

    Burns: Yes it is, and I’ll tell you why. … You can’t talk to a counselor in this country, Republican or a Democrat or an independent or a Marxist, and they will tell you, political beliefs aside, everyone that is addicted to drugs in this United States, started with either alcohol and/or marijuana, and they started when they were 13, 12 or 11. That doesn’t mean everyone that used those substances goes on to be a heroin addict, but you don’t have to have an IQ over 120 to figure out that if you can keep young people off marijuana, you can keep them from being addicted for life.

    The last thing I’ll say is, we were talking about Nora Volkov, the head of NIDA, National Institute of Drug Abuse, who before said there is no correlation between smoking pot and rewiring and damaging the developing brain of young people, who now will tell you unequivocally that there is. Because of the higher potency, it is the same as cocaine and methamphetamine and heroin. They see it from the MRIs, the PET scans. They also are seeing psychosis and other mental problems from young people smoking this higher potency, which frankly should be called marijuana 2.0, drug. So yeah, it should remain a schedule 1.

    Eye: … Is there enough research to indicate that [marijuana] has no medical efficacy? I can bring you chemotherapy patients who would tell you that it is the only thing that suppresses their nausea and gives them an appetite. So is there nothing to what they’re saying and feeling?

    Burns: … Anybody can say something makes me feel better anecdotally. And I hear that a lot. “Marijuana is the only thing that makes me feel good.” I say you should try crack, because from what I hear, crack cocaine will make you feel really good as well.

    This is not about making people feel better, it’s about as a country and the effects it will have on all of us, all 305 million of us. Because someone tells me that “smoking crack cocaine releases my nausea and allows me to have healthier appetite,” does that mean that we legalize it nationwide, and that its available to kids in a greater number? We have to make those kind of policy decisions. And we ought not make them on people who say, “Me personally, it makes me feel better.” … Yeah, the whole thing is a con. If you wanna call it what it is, it’s a joke.

    Eye: … I could tell you without question that there are innumerable, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, millions of people who smoke marijuana on a regular basis, are fully functioning contributing citizens. Other than the fact that they do something that the government tells them is illegal. They’re contributing, they’re motivated, they obey the law, they vote, they pay taxes, they have children and they smoke marijuana. What about that? Doesn’t the federal government’s prohibition of this drug simply put a lot of profit in it for criminals, breed criminal enterprises and also breed disrespect for the authority of government?

    Burns: … Whether or not they are functioning or not, there are others that say, they sit on the couch and eat Cheetos, and I’ve talked to hundreds of moms and dads that have said I wish you could do something, because my son has done nothing in 25 years but sit around and smoke dope. So for every person you have that you say is a taxpaying successful person, I could give you, I think five, of a mom and a dad or a loved one say, “My god, this addiction to this drug is a horrible thing.”

    Eye: … [T]he whole premise of America’s freedom and self determination. How can we reconcile that with the government telling us what we can ingest and what we can’t?

    Burns: … [O]n many issues … I think most Americans would agree that it should be that way. But on some issues that affect all of us for the good of the order we have to come to some consensus. And not everybody’s happy, are they? And every time we don’t get to do what we want, I know there are states where they really really like to marry young girls, 12, 11, or 10 and they would argue to you, “How dare the federal government preclude us from engaging in certain activities?” Well, in some instances we just say your, quote, “constitutional rights” and your freedom to do certain things gets trumped by the rest of us who say, “You know that’s just not a good idea.”  

    Those of you who wish to try and stomach the entire interview — I recommend having a strong anti-emetic nearby — are welcome to click here.

    And if you’re looking for even more information on Mr. Burns visit to Arcata, NORML podcaster Russ Belville has a two-part interview with Eye editor and publisher Kevin Hoover on the NORML Daily Audio Stash here

    49 Responses to “Mr. Burns Goes To California”

    1. Brandon says:

      WOW! What a short sighted moron! Lets see… if somone’s kid sits on the couch for 25 years eating cheetos and smoking dope, and nothing else, SOMEONE IS EMPOWERING THEM to sit there, so don’t whine about it. Most adult marijuana users are responsible, non-violent, tax paying, AVERAGE people. Not criminals and lazy people who can’t motivate themselves. While anyone would agree that young, developing minds should NOT smoke pot, they also should not take most over the counter drugs either! I LOVE the part where he says, “kids start at 11, 12, 13…” DUH! Because the criminal black market pushes it to kids! Pot’s easier to get for kids than alchohol! How sad is that? But yet, it’s God’s fault for letting such an evil herb grow in the first place, not the government’s fault for self-imposing criminal destruction on it’s own children. Idiots.

    2. moldy says:

      What planet does he live on? I’m afraid we have aliens (ET type) working at the DEA.

      … certain things gets trumped by the rest of us who say, “You know that’s just not a good idea.”

      Huh?

    3. Leaving florida soon says:

      My IQ is 145 and that was some of the weakest shit I’ve ever read. I know a Neurosurgeon ,a former Mayor, a Plastic surgeon, as well as several business owners and at least one of the sheriffs who busted me(I wasn’t selling to him) all smoke pot. Blaming pot or any drug for your kid not growing up and moving out on their own is just silly. Honestly I think it’s the parents fault they should try cutting off the free meals and laundry service, you know charge some frikken rent. In any case alcohol by his logic should be a schedule 1 drug he did say “and/or marijuana” right?

    4. DS says:

      All I can say is….wow.

    5. Lex says:

      i actually feel sorry for the ppl of CALI…not only do they have morons like this guy coming but they have to deal with the earthquake that recently shook up many gardens and dispensaries!! My prayers are with you CALI and NEVADA!!

    6. Ben Patrick says:

      WOW! This just goes to show how uneducated our legal officials are! especially in the White House!

    7. Raven says:

      Holy Hell! This guy truly is a clueless robot. Alcohol is way more harmful than pot could ever be. Pot is non-toxic, non-addictive, non-patentable(that’s another rant entirely) plant. Not one person in the history of it’s use has ever died from using it. People die of alcohol poisoning and many other alcohol related issues quite often. They need to regulate pot, tax it and only sell to those 21 and over. It will relieve the backed up jails and free up time so the cops can concentrate on the really bad guys that rape, murder and pillage etc their way through society. It will drastically reduce usage by minors because they won’t be able to get it near as easily as they can now. The smoke shop employee will demand an ID before selling. The drug dealers don’t care if you are only 9 years old. They will sell whatever to whomever.
      As for the 25 year old couch potato, it’s called being a lazy bum sponging off your enabling parents. It has nothing to do with smoking pot.
      As for the cops, off duty, they always seem to have the best smoke at the party.

    8. Dave Schumer says:

      Just linked to this post and added a few comments at our awesome site:
      http://www.akdope.org/2008/07/our-drug-czar-and-our-quote.html

      It blows me away that people like this are still around, but I guess if you’re looking for someone to run a place like the ONDCP, these are the kinds of people you look for – Mr. Burns probably lived with his mom as long as the Cheeto guy.

    9. Brad says:

      wow, this guy is out of his mind. in my mind, marijuana being scedule 1 is why people try other drugs. the punishment isn’t that different in a lot of places.

      i started it all when i was 16, didn’t know anything other than that i was being lied to. they grouped pot with all the other drugs. so being ignorant, the first thing i tried was meth. took me a long time to kick that nasty habit. now all i do is smoke pot. i dont even drink or smoke tobacco. i know, some people think its just stupidity but i claim ignorance ;) the government says they will all kill you, and thats what i was taught in school.

      having an iq over 120, i say don’t only legalize weed cuz its harmless, but legalize it so we can better fight the powders and that crap.

      also, i sure have lost a lot of weight while putting on a lot of muscle for sitting on the couch eating cheetos all day.

    10. Jimbo says:

      People like this guy are the enemy and need to be eradicated from power.
      They only see things as one sided and will never give due and reasonable thought process to the way things should be.
      These people keep showing time and time again that they only want the worst for the people of this country and will never stop unless they are stopped by the tax paying/voting people of this country…Period!!!
      There HAS to be a gathering of mass proportion of like minded Americans in this country.
      There should be a pro-marijuana rally going on in every major city in this country from here until November.
      We have got to re-educate and warn the masses about clowns like this, because they are doing nothing but stealing any hopes of true freedom from us at an astonishing rate.
      PEOPLE!!! we, the smokers of this country, have got to raise awareness and re-educate the masses…PERIOD!!!

      Please join me and many other like minded people in our efforts to try and find solutions to these problems at; http://www.420magazine.com/

    11. jordan(seedlesssticky1) says:

      The close mindedness of our government is the reality of the problem….in the article it mentions that only 16million people smoke the sacred herb daily, or regularly. Thats because of the laws, people if they openly admitted to smoking pot, would loose jobs, spouses, and “credibility” in society. the actaul number is a lot higher, shit 16 million smokers in Cali alone. And isnt that the point of the government anyways, to make money, and have a good economy, and structure! well then pull that half a head of yours out of your asses and LEGALIZE IT! If its such a problem in current times, then the government needs to really step up and think about a solution to the problem with the best possible outcomes. Herb has been around before man and will definately be here after man, elimination is not the answer! Increase of economy, jobs, awareness, and that good government/scientific grown smoke. A decrease in illegal drug cartels, extortion, and filling up useful jail space. These are some of the most recognizable things we, as a country, would recognize within the first month of legalization! ohh and the reason the number of “kids” using the sacred herb has declined is because, they are far more descrete with their use due to higher penalties for the use of the sacred harmless herb…..enough said..sorry i was distraught by the ignorance of the nations “HIGHER UPS,” he’s a baddass cause he’s federal now…ohh no!

    12. Gary Lee says:

      This guy must be the reincarnation of Harry J. Anslinger, the 1st U.S. Narcotics Commissioner.
      NORML would do well to publish Anglinger’s actual quotes about mary jane, along with places, publications,and dates so that authenticity can be verified by skeptics.

      The anti-pot laws were legislated amid racism and hysteria. The cure is worse than the alleged disease.

      W., 7/30/08

    13. Just another victim says:

      This is why we are where we are is completely stupid folks like this. Is he for real?

    14. Brandon says:

      this guy is the purest definition of FUBAR that one could be.

    15. RED says:

      Scott has the same look in his eye that Calvina Fay has.Humorless,fearfull twits,ready to cage you for freedom.When the end of drugwar finally arrives he and all the others(ONDCP)should be tried as war criminals.

    16. rev says:

      that idiot is a typical druggie czar,he knows all,what a loser,people that live in his district should vote him out of office,we don’t need closed minded people like him in any gov. office.register to vote people,get rid of these idiots for once and always.power to the people!get a rope,mahalo and aloha

    17. Chris says:

      is there realy a living brain cell in there? I think this was a recording re-translated from reefer madness, and placed on a chip,(no it wasnt a cheeto)and placed in skull in place of brain!
      Holy shit dude, I think you need to chill the fuck out and smoke a doobie before you open your mouth next time, at least relax, and dont get so but hurt when you are challenged, you could at least blame it on the weed then, and be more convincing!

    18. Rick says:

      This man is not stupid, he is corrupt.

    19. Craig says:

      Actually, I like what he says. He sounds completely ridiculous… almost like a Saturday Night Live version of himself. The more outrageous he sounds, the less people will believe him. Way to go NORML, you’re backing these people into a corner.

    20. Marty says:

      -I know there are states where they really really like to marry young girls, 12, 11, or 10 and they would argue to you, “How dare the federal government preclude us from engaging in certain activities?”-

      Thank god for the Feds!

      The poster who compares Mr. Burns to Harry Anslinger hit it on the head… I think ridicule is the only way to turn public opinion against the propaganda regurgitators we’ve allowed the government to become.

    21. Rob says:

      Never underestimate your adversary! This guy’s not the clueless moron you think he is – he’s a self-interested individual who enjoys a position of power and a nice paycheck. Why does he get that? Because pot makes the sky fall! And who’d hold it up if it weren’t for Scott Burns? Anyway, his statements have nothing to do with idiocy and everything to do with agenda.

    22. Jerry says:

      I like how he says it is up to the individual states to decide, and then quickly states how illegal it is federally. He just made the point for us…if the federal gov. would get out of it and lift it’s bans we could ultimately regulate it just as we do with alcohol.

      Also independant researchers in this country could perform tests and trials about the vilidity of medical MJ and its necessity for the sick with out being considered a criminal.

      and one more point…when did we as country become a non-profit? they seem to get mad when people make money on medi pot, but i don’t remember the last free beer and pack of smokes i got, or free medicine at the pharmacy. those people make billions! communities could benifit from the legal taxation of the damn plant in a setting of proper regulation!

    23. will says:

      does anyone know Mr. Burn’s address so we can directly mail this crazy guy???

    24. the fool says:

      if they’d stop fuking up life, we wouldn’t need to get high. we’d already be high

    25. Mokkie says:

      Mr. Burns Needs to be indicted for lying to the general public.Giving false statements to the news media. It just goes to show you how stupid our Government really is.

    26. Will says:

      I bet that he doesnt truly at heart feel that way about marijuana, his million dollar salary, fancy cars, and big house all depend on him talking about how bad marijuana is. The funny thing is i got a call today from this telemarketer asking me to donate to a program (kinda like dare) for kids in kindergarten through 5th grade so the police can talk to them about drugs and violence “before the gang members and drug dealers get to them”.

      If people are so concerned about drug dealers and gang members getting to children, all you have to do is legalize drugs regulate them, and poof no more dealers, and most gangs would dissapear too.

    27. Dave says:

      This is funny. I had no idea what drugs were until DARE. You all know how it is, you tell a kid not to touch something and what’s the first thing they do? Touch it! Besides what I do with my body is my business, as long as I don’t interfere with someones rights, this is my right!

    28. Kim Hanna says:

      if the Fed’s won’t honor state laws on cannasbis we won’t honor their laws on coke, heroin & meth.
      that would end the drug war.
      all we need are non-cooperation with the Fed’s ballot iniatives and the war is over.

    29. Gerry says:

      I COMPLETELY understand what this man is saying. He is absolutely right on some of his observations. Especially “Constitutional rights” they must definately be upheld and honored. BUT he and those like him use that same ol “reason/excuse” for keeping it as a schedule 1 drug. “IT LEADS TO HARDER DRUGS.” This over used, worn out answer is COMPLETELY WRONG! I’m 50. I smoke pot daily and have been smoking pot since I was 14. I am one of those that started with pot and moved on to harder drugs. I do not under any circumstances use hard drugs now and haven’t since I was in my 20’s. The flaw that they fail to see, or don’t want to see, or don’t want us to see is that it’s the enviornment where the pot is sold that leads to harder drugs. Where kids buy pot is where they can also find harder drugs. If pot were sold over the counter in the same fashion as say alcohol, the kids wouldn’t be exposed to harder drugs. They wouldn’t be sitting around some pot house where people are snorting coke or smoking crack etc. They wouldn’t be exposed to some one saying “hey take a hit off this crack pipe” or “have a snort of this” IT’S THE DRUG HOUSE ENVIORNMENT PEOPLE!
      By the way. I see a doctor regularly. I am completely honest with him. He knows I smoke pot and have smoked pot for over 35 years. He is always shocked and amazed at how healthy I am. All my physicals and testings are always positive. He joked a while back and said “after knowing me, he might just have to give pot a try.”

      plAyfaIrhAVefuNkEePfAiTH

    30. Weirdly says:

      cigarettes kill. cigarettes are big business. hemp cannot be patented, for medicinal or recreational purposes.

    31. Jim McNutt says:

      Wow, I am not impressed. Seems yet again the FEDs have WAY too much spare time on their hands!

      JT
      http://www.Ultimate-Anonymity.com

    32. sf says:

      I have to agree with Brad up there. The #1 reason in my mind that pot is a “gateway” drug is that it is listed with heroin and cocaine, but then you try it as a kid, or you know about all the people who smoke and you think to yourself… “this wasn’t that bad” you aren’t addicted, you didn’t loose your mind, you had a good time!
      and what is the average rebellious teenager going to do next during this time of testing boundaries and self assertion? Decide that if they are being lied to about Pot and how terrible it is, that the rest is probably all a lie too, so might as well jump in.

      when you are introduced, finally, to a “super hard drug” and then realize that it has less effect than booze, it is a pretty logical conclusion.

    33. Lydia says:

      Seems like more fearmongering to me. Druuuugs are soooo eeeeevil… Jesus. I’m moving to Canada. :-)

    34. Paul says:

      This dude needs to smoke some and chill the fuck out.
      I say we get all the world leaders and religious people get em stoned?

    35. Element says:

      That was both appalling and frightening – to read those words actually were uttered by someone who has power over us. How does someone like that get put into office? A better question, why are they allowed to STAY in? We should raise an outcry, because he’s an unjust leader and he shows no critical thinking nor does he showing any EMPATHY (i.e for the cancer-sufferers who were mentioned.)

    36. Brian says:

      “…because my son has done nothing in 25 years but sit around and smoke dope”

      Ok, so let us assume that this kid started smoking dope around the time that he says most kids start… around 12 (which is messed up, I started when I was 19, as did many of my friends).

      Starts smoking at 12, smokes for 25 years… the ‘kid’ is now 37… at this point what his parents have to say about the choices that he has made in life are pretty fucking irrelevant. If my parents are calling up the ONDCP complaining that they need to do something about their nearly 40 year old son’s personal choices… that’s just NOT RIGHT!

    37. MJ says:

      The war on drugs is essentially a war against human nature, and therefor can never be won. The government has been losing ground in the war on drugs since it began, and it is now easier than ever to obtain ANY illicit drug within minutes of picking up a phone or driving down the street. Yet our government still spends billions every year on locking up non violent drug offenders and creating de facto criminals. But most addicts are not criminals, they are mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters, sons and daughters, and more importantly honest american citizens. We need to stop locking up drug offenders and start getting them treatment so they can become productive members of society instead of leaches on it, as they are forced to be in the prison system. The resources that have been wasted by our government on our behalf under the guise of a war on drugs would be much more effective being used to fix our communities, build schools, feed and clothe our poor, and fund drug treatment and job training programs. And everyone should smoke weed, especially this toolbag, and chill the fuck out.

    38. fLu says:

      How can we contact this guy or his office directly?

    39. […] Drug Czar Thinks Pot’s the Same as Meth and Coke: Drug users can but indulge the fantasy that Pot would kept you spun for 8 hours and make you think the Nazi government is back to get you for that snowglobe you stole in 2nd grade. […]

    40. JohnInOhio says:

      This guy, Scott Burns, appears psychotic and delusional. His statements are saturated in “I’ll save you if I have to kill you” psychosis.

      If these quotes are accurate, and I am sure that they are, he gets himself so wound up over his cause that critical thinking becomes impossible for him. As someone that does no use illegal drugs, I am now officially afraid of the DEA. (Actually I was before, but that is another interesting story.)

    41. t5 says:

      poor guy just doesn’t want to loose his job.

      but yeah, what an idiot.

    42. 25 years huh? Damn..that’s a hell of a lot of Cheetos

    43. FLU asks: How can we contact this guy or his office directly?

      SH: Submit your comments to “Deputy Drug Czar”, 123 Main St, WackyTown USA

    44. But seriously folks (barump-bump)…If you would like to help us make the media more aware of smarter public policies related to marijuana, feel welcome to contact me using heath AT mapinc.org. We can help you and your like minded friends & neighbors get into print within just a few weeks and make your local media and community better educated.

    45. We Built This City On Blogs [I’m sorry]…

      Let’s jump right into this thing. As we know, we have a God-loving, ‘Tard-making Alaskan governor about to possibly become the next Vice President (plus she looks hot in a USA A-OK bikini). And like all good Christians, she hates books:
      [Fo…

    46. Brandon says:

      How can a high-level “drug warrior” be so dumb? Don’t these people actually do their own research and think for themselves, EVER?

    47. Marijuana is the best cure for Babylons Disease.

      Ganja makes you question external authority and think for yourself.

      There is nothing a Babylon Man fears more then free thinking individuals.

    48. Bethany says:

      I think Mr. Burns is right on and makes very legitimate points! To say he wont engage in the marijuana law debate is a lie, he engaged in the debate in this article you just published.

    49. Samuel says:

      This Burns guy is a pathological liar and probably believes his own lies. Up with cannibis and down with people like this.

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