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NORML 2008 Conference: “The War on Pot Is a War on Young People”

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director October 20, 2008

    The War on Pot Is a War on Young People
    via Alternet

    NORML’s Deputy Director Paul Armentano delivered this speech at NORML’s 2008 National Conference, “It’s Not Your Parents’ Prohibition” in Berkeley, California.

    According to a 2005 study commissioned by the NORML Foundation, 74 percent of all Americans busted for pot are under age 30, and 1 out of 4 are age 18 or younger. That’s nearly a quarter of a million teenagers arrested for marijuana violations each year.

    To put this bluntly, we now have an entire generation that has been alienated to believe that the police and their civic leaders are instruments of their oppression rather than their protection.

    And the sad fact is: They’re right!

    Why is this the case? And why, as a community, don’t we talk about it?

    (Text of full remarks after the jump.)

    Young people, in many cases those under 18-years-of-age, disproportionately bear the brunt of marijuana law enforcement.

    Demographically speaking, the above statement is a “no-brainer.” Yet this is hardly a fact that we as a reform community like to admit or emphasize. Instead, you’ll hear reformers argue that the war on pot is a war on patients — and at some level, it is. Or you’ll hear advocates proclaim that marijuana enforcement disproportionately impacts African Americans and Hispanics — and to some degree, it does. Attend enough of these conferences and you’ll inevitably hear that our movement needs better representation from women and minorities, both of whom face unique hardships because of the drug war, and that criticism is appropriate too. But, one thing you’ll most likely never hear is that our movement needs greater involvement from teenagers and young adults.

    But we should — because for the young people in the audience, the war on pot smokers is really a war on you.

    According to a 2005 study commissioned by the NORML Foundation, 74 percent of all Americans busted for pot are under age 30, and one out of four are age 18 or younger. That’s nearly a quarter of a million teenagers arrested for marijuana violations each year.

    To put this bluntly, we now have an entire generation that has been alienated to believe that the police and their civic leaders are instruments of their oppression rather than their protection.

    And the sad fact is: they’re right!

    Why is this the case? And why, as a community, don’t we talk about it?

    There are several reasons why young people are far more likely, statistically, to be busted for weed than those over age 30. Most obviously, young people are more likely than their counterparts to smoke pot, and toke more frequently. They’re also more likely to indulge in places that will inadvertently attract law enforcement’s attention: in parks, dorm rooms, cars, dimly lit parking lots. Let’s face it, most teenagers aren’t going to go home and smoke weed in their room while their parents are home, though if they did, it’s far less likely they’d ever be arrested for it (of course, it’s possible that their parents’ might face legal repercussions, but that’s another story.)

    Young people are also more likely to have frequent interactions with sellers of weed, an activity that also increases their likelihood of one-day being arrested. Of course, it’s not that young people enjoy hanging around drug dealers, but it’s that young people typically have less disposable income, which means they have to buy their pot in smaller quantities on more frequent occasions.

    Young people are also more likely to take risks — and they’re also more likely to commit traffic violations. Both these actions, though unrelated to marijuana per se, greatly increase the likelihood that young people will have face-to-face contact with law enforcement, and this contact often ends in a pot arrest.

    So why then, if more than 650,000 Americans busted for weed annually are under age 30, don’t we spend more time talking about it? Easy, because we’ve let our opponents hi-jack the ‘kids’ issue.

    There’s a saying among reformers that drug law reform is the ‘third rail’ of politics. If that’s true, then talking about drugs and kids is the ‘third rail’ of drug law reform. But it’s a ‘rail’ we need to start talking about.

    Those who favor the continued prohibition of cannabis base their arguments on the false premise that the continued enforcement of said laws “protects our children.” This statement is nonsense. In fact, just the opposite is true.

    The war on weed endangers the health and safety of our children. It enables young people to have unregulated access to marijuana — easier access than they currently have to legal, age-restricted intoxicants like alcohol and tobacco. It enables young people to interact and befriend pushers of other illegal, more dangerous drugs. It compels young people dismiss the educational messages they receive pertaining to the potential health risks posed by the use of ‘hard drugs’ and prescription pharmaceuticals because kids say: “If they lied to me about pot, why wouldn’t they be lying to me about everything else too.”

    Most importantly, the criminal laws are far more likely to result in having our children arrested and placed behind bars than they are likely to in any way discourage them to try pot.

    These are the facts, and it’s about time we start shouting them from the rooftops.

    For three decades now, our opponents have framed this issue from the standpoint that they care more about the health and safety our young people than we do — that we’re just a bunch of self-centered pot-heads that are willing to sacrifice the lives of our young people so that we can catch a buzz. Well, it’s time for us to respond.

    Yes, we do favor changing the marijuana laws. We care about protecting the health and safety of our children too. And by changing the laws, we are protecting the health and safety of America’s young people. After all, under prohibition it’s America’s young people that are being lied to; it’s our children that are being approached by drug dealers; it’s our children that are smoking pot in cars and putting their lives and others at risk to try and avoid the detection of their parents or the law; and it’s our children that are being busted in unprecedented numbers.

    Finally, let me close with one final reason why we as a community must begin acknowledging this reality and that is this. Even though young people suffer the most under our current marijuana laws, they lack the financial means and political capital to effectively influence politicians to challenge them. Young people also lack the money to adequately fund the drug law reform movement at a level necessary to adequately represent and protect their interests.

    In short, if we ever want the marijuana laws to change, that we as a community have to better represent the interests of young people, and we must do a better job speaking on their — and their parent’s — behalf.

    We must also do a better job allying with organizations that speak on behalf of youth, particularly urban youth — who are most at risk of suffering from the lifetime hardships associated with a marijuana conviction. We must do a better job reaching out, engaging, and recruiting students to continue to take this issue seriously after they graduate college — and that includes offering them internships and employment once they’ve received their degrees. Finally, reformers must do a better job reaching out to the parents of young people, and urging them to become active members and financial contributors of the cannabis law reform movement.

    They say it’s the so-called “parents movement” that derailed the “pot-progress” of the 1970s. Well then I say that it’s high time we recruited our own “NORML Parents” movement to finish the job once and for all.

    98 Responses to “NORML 2008 Conference: “The War on Pot Is a War on Young People””

    1. Chris says:

      this is the most true statement i have ever read. just yesterday me and my friend were driving and he didnt have on his seatbelt. and we got pulled over. and the first thing the cop said was “how much pot have u smoked today” when in reality we hadnt smoked at all. then he proceeded to call us “fucking stupid”… all in all this lead to the demolishion of my pipe. just over a seatbelt.

    2. Mac says:

      Face it. This is just another tactic of the political social-engingeering machine. These laws exist in the guise of being “for the safety of our chidren.” The facts are irrevelant. They cling to this and are looking for more. Watch out for the anti-smoking nazis, MADD neo-prohibitionists, food police and many others like this. They want their piece of the criminalization pie too!

    3. Kris says:

      I was in jail the other day (probation violation- failed drug test for THC) in a little town called Vandalia, IL (the old state capitol). I saw more “kids” than I could ever imagine coming into that place. 17 year olds in jail for 90 days because they failed a drug test for pot. This is completely ludacris, that is why I must leave this state now. I was only in jail for 2 days because I bailed myself out. I was actually in there for missing the court appearence that was going to sentence me for failing my drug test. I won’t hang around a place that is putting kids in jail. In the two days I was there, there were almost 20 arrests due to probation drug tests. Vandalia is only a city of about 7000… Hello Washington, here I come!

    4. Mac says:

      Oh yeah one more thing: In the state where I live (WV) many counties are drug testing all students that participate in extracurriclar activities (sports etc) or drive to school. When the issue of drug testing teachers and staff came up, the teachers union raised hell! Screaming “it’s a violation of our civil rights!” GO FIGURE.

    5. Adam says:

      I totally agree with those statements. Kids are being further endangered by this so-called drug war than they would be otherwise. We do dumb things to get our stuff only b/c of the legal taboos surrounding marijuana. Also very true that most pot dealers have other stuff too and since they lied about how bad weed is why not go further? The land of the free????? Whoever told you that is your enemy!!!

    6. Cherokee Fred Hussein aka Stupid old man says:

      DRUG WAR FOR IDIOTS:

      You can go to a doctor he can prescribe an opium derivative or a synthetic heroin they even have a THC pills. So why are some drugs illegal and some are legal. Even the most unsophisticated individual should be able to see the War on Drugs is a scam. It is a way to take 100 billion of your money plus the 50 billion lost in tax revenue and blow it. If you are on the receiving end (our representatives Senate/House) you get rich. The most important thing to me is the estimated 2,000,000 (that’s Two Million and growing every day) of our fellow American citizens in jail. They are non-violent marijuana users responsible free Americans with rights! They are your sons, daughters, parents and even grand parents. They are having homes taken away from third generation owners. They are the old man down the street that everyone likes jailed. They are college students having their futures ruined. They are mothers having their children taken away. They are sick people being deprived of a medicine that works for them. They are disabled people having their Medicare benefits taken away. They are mothers kicked out of public housing and made homeless. They are good young people with no record being raped and even killed in jail. They come out changed scarred for life with distrust for our system and fear for there so-called protectors. They are one in every three blacks. They are mainly the poor and powerless that can be discarded by our so-called leaders (Senate/House)! For what? Growing a weed that helps people, makes them feel better or just to get a buzz and relax in our hectic world (much like drinking a few legal beers without the health hazards of liquor). It is there God given right as Free Americans and they will not conform to a law that is wrong and based on lies started for pure racism in the 30s !!!
      While the fat cats go to the doctor and get OxyContin (opium derived), which is much stronger and more addictive than opium ever dreamed of being ask Rush (Yet legal). Millions take the so-called legal drugs every year (legal = owned by major drug company and producing 1000% profits to them). Between liquor and so-called legal drugs 600,000 die every year. So why, when people VOTE and make marijuana legal, doctors in 12 states prescribe it. The FEDS STILL (emphasis on STILL) under the direction of our so called leaders (Senate/House) go in and arrest the doctor, his patients, the guy selling the weed, the guy renting the building to the guy selling the weed, even the one in the car with a person selling the weed even if they do not know about it and sending them all to jail? Without a fair trial they are not allowed by the federal judges to present the truth to defend them that is why they have a 99% conviction rate! With mandatory federal minimum sentences they do hard time with long sentences at 45K a year per person. (Ask why here) WHY YOU ASK?
      It is all for pure simple greed period end of story!!
      Corporations and others that do not want weed legal because it would cost them $$$$$:
      Major pharmaceutical companies = estimates are as high as 80% loss. Billions in profits if marijuana were make legal. (It cures many common ailments maybe yours depression, insomnia, cramps, chronic pain, migraines, and many others!) With no side effects you cannot even overdose with weed it is impossible.
      Drug Czar DEA = They would lose there jobs we save 20 billion of our $$$$$ so do not expect them to tell the truth about this war they will say anything you suckers will believe to keep the war, there job, going! And the money and power that goes with it.
      Liquor industry = estimates are as high as a 40% market loss billions.
      Private Jail industry = Total loss they would have to close we would save billions and quit putting our neighbors in jail and ruining there lives (even if they are poor or of color they are still fellow Americans with rights like the right of free choice!! How about life liberty and the pursuit of happiness? (To me the war is illegal and strips us of our rights as free Americans)
      Drug Testing industry = Loss 44,000,000 a year
      Our Representatives (Senate/House) = They would lose millions contributed to them through PACs every year from the corporations above. So don’t expect much in the way of truth, compassion or facts from these guys they have been lying to us for decades and taking the money to the bank in big sacks. Or they sell a house for $700,000.00 more than it’s worth to a needy constituent (not the poor kind one needing a favorable vote).
      They would all lose money and will lie, steal and enslave millions to stop Free Americans from having access to a weed that hurts no one, any one can grow, helps millions ever day and they cannot find a way to profit from. Simple isn’t it?
      One other point the right wing folks keep throwing up, “Making drugs legal would send the wrong message to the youth of our country.” I have heard that one a million times standard scare tactics they use. Today the youth of American are being drug tested in schools, arrested for a joint and having there lives ruined due to an arrest record, put in jail and being raped, killed and warped. Not to mention the distrust for any authority figure, they know its lies they smoke the stuff (like we use to get an old guy to buy us beer). I say they would be better off if we legalized and regulated drugs (Against the law to sell or give to minors like beer!) Illegal drugs will be sold to anyone with the money its already illegal so who cares, idiot!

      NOW YOU KNOW!!
      By the way we need your help open the window shout, “STOP THE WAR ON US.”
      Save billions return respect for our rights show our representatives who runs this country! It is us the 75% that say you have had your fun with your war enslaving us it’s our turn!

    7. Kaitie says:

      This article has said everything i’ve wanted to. I’m a 19 year old who had spent all of highschool fearfull of the police. They have never been those who protect and serve, but instead those who arrest the peaceful potheads who have done nothing wrong but buy the weed itself. It’s rediculous that young people are getting arrested for possession and from that point on find it difficult to get a good job or receive a scholarship. It’s also appalling that more people don’t realize that marijuana prohibition is making things worse not better. Can we please look at the netherlands as an example and notice that there underaged drug use is 1/2 of ours? Legalize it, or atleast take some baby steps to do so.

    8. Chelsea,

      I am so sorry to hear about everything you have gone through. I can not even imagine what it has been like for you. Stories like that make me even more certain that the laws NEED to be reformed, and marijuana needs to be legal. The state should have no say in what citizens decide to do to themselves. If people can smoke cigarettes (rightly so) then they should also have the right to smoke a blunt if they so choose.

      -David
      http://www.davidcarlsonpolitics.com

    9. wkatz says:

      Another point that needs to be addressed is that kids are tempted to be a drug dealers under prohibition. Lets not kid ourselves what teenager wants to work at a dead end job and work 30 hours a week with strict managers and bitchy customers just to pay for minimal expenses, when they can make 500 bucks a week in cash selling pot to all the stoners at school. I actually knew a kid who did that… quit his job and made about 100 bucks a day every day after school. And it was super easy, he would meet them on this hiking trail everyday after school, and he would only stay an extra 15-20 min. Think about that… 100 dollars in 20 min, in cash, no taxes, no bitchy customers.

      If you think getting busted for possesion as a teenager is bad. Try getting busted for sale, or even attempt to distribute. The sad thing about it is that these teen drug dealers are actually saving kids. As a smart pot smoker, I will only buy from people who i know, or my friends know. Unfortunatly some teenagers just dont care and can get themselves involved with dangerous people.

      If cannabis was legalized and sold to adults 21 and over in special regulated stores (like the coffee shops in a-dam) for cheap, this would eliminate the desire to sell, and it would also make it more difficult for minors to get a hold of it.

    10. A rope leash says:

      Thanks for the kudos, Rick.

      I actually wrote that essay about a year ago. Since then, after two weeks of jail, my gal has been serving a five year probation, with all the adornments of that. We have both quit smoking…she because she has to, and I because I need to find a better job. It’s strange…one of the requirements of her probation is that she maintains employment, which to me, is akin to slavery. I can’t seem to get an interview (now that I’m ready to piss with pride), but there doesn’t seem to be any shortage of employers willing to exploit her probation situation. She works long hours for minimum, and it’s that or jail. It works out well for the capitalist oppressor.

      This isn’t freedom, not by a long shot. Many of the excellent posts here demonstrate that fact.

      I must now register my disappointment with a couple of the posters here who seem to think that people got busted because they weren’t smart.

      First, don’t think it will never happen to you. Unless you have some kind of weed home-delivery service, you will always have to purchase and transport the product. A traffic incident, a small accident, a roadblock…any number of situations can arrive whereupon you will be asked by law enforcement whether or not you have used or currently possess a controlled substance. Hell, I was busted by the water patrol who stopped my boat to tell me that a thunderstorm was coming. You better be a damned good liar, and you had better fess up before they get the damn dog involved.

      This sort of “blame the victim” attitude reminds me of some of our fellow smokers reactions to my gal’s arrest. “She shouldn’t have trusted that guy”, “she should’ve know better”, or “that’s what she gets”. It pisses me off. Some of these guys were really just angry because they had lost a good connection…her! Some people want the benefits of smoking without the risk…but there would be no smoking if no one assumed the risk. These small time dealers and couriers are heroes in my book…don’t blame them for suffering the damage when it could easily happen to you, as well.

      In fact, I don’t think anyone but the “judicial system” is to blame for anyone getting busted. Our culture is full of subtle acceptance and promotion of drug use…from That 70s Show to Harold and Kumar to Snoop Dog…people get the idea that smoking pot is cool, funny, and okay. The reality is that there is nothing cool or funny or okay about going to jail, but the people that create these productions and make money off of them never apologize for leading someone astray of the law. Like the lawyers, they just take the money and say it isn’t right what the law does to poor little potsmokers.

      I wish I had a dime for every lawyer I’ve met in my life that said pot shouldn’t be illegal, but there’s too much money in it to legalize it. Money for them is what they are saying. The vast majority of legislators in this country are lawyers or former lawyers. They are the ones who could change these laws, but they are not willing to stand up and have a large chunk of business sheared away from them.

      It’s sick. This whole goddamn country is sick. I can’t change it, and I don’t think it will ever change. Freedom is a joke. You have the freedom to be a bum, and that’s about it. How long has NORML been around? I’ve been wishing for weed to be legal for going on forty years now…I know we are getting closer, but at the same time, it seems we are encountering heavier resistance…resistance even from those that enjoy it themselves.

      One day, this country is going to break. If lawmakers had any sense at all, they’d legalize hemp immediately, because their own asses are going to be on the line, and they are going to wish the masses were sedated.

      (By the way, anyone here ever quit smoking after 35 years like I did? The dreams drive you mad, but it gets better after about three months. Expect to be constipated!)

      ;P

    11. Excellent article! We need to speak up for this in our communities more! Very few politicians have the courage to do it and/or very few understand the concept! All of us reading, send an email to your elected representatives on every level of government.

    12. David says:

      i agree, i have been busted for pot, and as i go to court and tasc and all the bullshit that goes with it i see far worse kids. kids speaking of guns and violence. they are criminals. i get high, how am i a bad person? we need our generation of pot smokers to actually go into politics and fight for us. and those pot smokers who give us other pot heads a bad name, please stop you are not helping.

    13. RED says:

      Old folks know that politics stops the “drug=war”. Supreme Justice, Stephens said so. ONDCP is set to expire on Sept.30,2010. Or sooner if we start NOW!

    14. jim says:

      okay people, its time to start getting our asses out there,start influencing people and speakin our minds. Ladies and gentlemen, when someone comes up to you on the street or wherever else and asks you why you like pot so much what is your responce going to be? If your answere is “uhh, i dont know”, there enlies the problem! So why do we like it so much, its natural,its calming, its fun, its kewl,its non toxic? Well, thats great, but also very common and very vague answeres! We need to get something straight here, people fear what they dont understand.Its time for us to open our eyes and get to the root of the problem. We need to realize that the reason why there are still people our there that are so stubborn and ignorant is becasue they dont understand what exactly makes weed a “mirical drug”. The reason why we REALLY like it so much is becasue it makes us more aware of our sences,thus allows us alot more able to notice/enjoy the little things that make life so great,helps us change tiring moments into pleasure.People need to understand that,so lets start speaking our minds and spread that message!

    15. Joel says:

      This country has become a mockery of the ideals it was founded on, and at many times I am ashamed to be a part of it. But to quote the great Willie Nelson, “I didn’t come here and I ain’t leavin”. This is my home and I love it regardless.
      I’m tired of feeling like a terrorist. Shit, as if suspected “criminals” weren’t treated bad enough already, now we have the Patriot Act!
      Democracy is dead in the USA, we need to do all we can to take it back.
      I hope that these youg adults/teens/whatever stay pissed off instead of falling into complacency. I hope they continue to seek out the truth.
      Let’s turn on our Bullshit Detectors, and sharpen our wits. Let’s fight back while we still can. It may all be futile in the end, but what the fuck else are we to do?
      -oh yeah, to anyone who’s read this far… I suggest if you haven’t already to watch The Zeitgeist Movie, and for excellent commentary on this particular reefer topic, listen to Jello Biafra’s(of the Dead Kennedys) spoken word piece titled, “Grow More Pot”. (try Youtube and Limewire)

    16. Dylan.D.Webster says:

      I am 17 years old and i have had too many run ins with the law. And it is fact that under age 30 are more likly to get busted simply because by the time you reach ages over threety you become wise enough not to get caught. We do need more voices from the youth, and I am one of them. And there is no way they are going to tell me I don’t have a voice in the matter. In fact I know a good number of pot smokers even over the age of 40, but the men in uniforms have most middle aged pot smokers scared to speak up, kind of what the government wants, is total control. My granfather smoked weed all of my mothers life and mine, up to the day he died and the only thing that wuz wrong with him was that he had diebeties and he died at the age of 54.I have to say more then 90% of the people ive ever met in my life were pot smokers and still are today.

    17. Paul says:

      But this won’t always be true. Soon, these kids will be voting and this demographic group will start to have real political power and get representation. THAT is when marijuana will finally be legalized. If the majority the next generation opposes the drug war, the drug war can’t continue.

    18. mike says:

      I’m 17 and i recently had my digit volcano vaporizer confiscated out of my backpack when it was in my car. I was search illegally and had it confiscated and received possession of drug paraphernalia for it. My friends and I get hassled by the police just because of our age and this makes it extremely frustrating to just try and go out and enjoy the night without seeing them. Ive come to not understand the actions of police anymore and feel there should be much less of them. I don’t think we need the police creating this war anymore.

    19. RoyArtelo says:

      Do you think that Obama is going to win because the Republicans have such a bad candidate?
      Why did John McCain make his final argument against Obama… coal?
      That’s his closing argument? William Ayers, Rev. Wright, spreading the wealth, Born Alive, meeting dictators without preconditions, etc. all have to take a back seat so that McCain can go to Colorado and New Mexico to talk about coal? Does this more or less explain why he’s going to get his clock cleaned Tuesday?

    20. […] of those arrested were African Americans and Hispanic males. Some 75 percent of those arrested were under age 30. In short, our criminal justice policies are alienating millions of otherwise law-abiding citizens […]

    21. Mark Ansley says:

      I thought that pot would be legal by now.I’m 53 & pot.Is there a survey on how many auto accidents are caused by pot?I would think ther ewould be less than alcohol.Just think the taxes they could get.Plus medical.Anxety is one I could use it for.It helps me.The psyc pills don’t work.

    22. Clair says:

      I’m writing to urge your support for both The Medical Marijuana Patient Protection Act of 2009; and the citizenry personal use of Marijuana with a law to prevent unreasonable depletion of a natural agricultural heritage and degradation of a valuable and natural resource.

      This legislation seeks to amend the discrepancy between federal law and the laws of over a dozen states that have enacted regulations governing the therapeutic use of cannabis. At the same time, passage of The Medical Marijuana Patient Protection Act of 2009 will not alter or interfere with already existing federal laws discouraging the non-medical, recreational use of marijuana, nor would it legalize the physician-supervised use of medical cannabis in states that have not already approved it.

      The use of marijuana as medicine is a public health issue; it should not be part of the war on drugs. Nearly half of all doctors with opinions support legalizing cannabis as a medicine, and over 80 state and national health care organizations — including the American Nurses Association, American Public Health Association, the American College of Physician, and The New England Journal of Medicine — support granting qualified patients immediate legal access to medical cannabis.

      To deny an effective medication to the sick and dying in order to “send a strong message to kids” against drug abuse is cruel and unconscionable, and improperly interferes with the relationship between a patient and his or her physician. State and federal laws already allow the medical use of many drugs, such as cocaine and morphine, which can be abused in a non-medical setting. Basic compassion and common sense demand that we allow the seriously ill to use whatever medication provides safe and effective relief. That is why 8 out of 10 American voters now say they support the legalization of cannabis for medical purposes.

      Thirteen states — Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Maryland, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Vermont and Washington — have enacted laws protecting medical marijuana patients from state prosecution. The citizens and representatives from these states, as well as from additional states that seek to regulate the controlled use of medicinal marijuana, should be allowed to act in a manner that is free from federal interference.

      Once again, I urge you to support The Medical Marijuana Patient Protection Act of 2009.

      IN ADDITION TOO the above: The U.S.A concerned citizens are as baffled as the Canadian’s as to the ludicrous actions of the law enforcement agencies when it comes to marijuana. If the law enforcement agencies would use their talents to stop real crime, that is running rampant, the heinous crimes that harm people, ie: murder, rape, robbery, corporate greed, election tampering, illegal invasions, blocked investigations, cover-ups, torture, suppression of constitutional rights by The Patriot Act, outing CIA agents, lumber & water disputes, beef, environmental destruction, air-pollution, same-sex marriage, euthanasia, or abortion — then law enforcement wouldn’t have time for the marijuana issues; if they were doing their jobs correctly. With 35 states passed legislation recognizing marijuana’s medicinal value — then why this war with the Federal government on this issue with patients and voting citizenry being denied their rights?
      According to Judge, Francis L Young, ruled 9-6-88, that : “Marijuana, in its natural form, is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known…. It would be unreasonable, arbitrary and capricious for the DEA to continue to stand between those sufferers and the benefits of this substance.” Even after people vote it in — still the Federal government doesn’t respect the peoples voices. Why? According to Drug Policy News it stops cancer, and has many other positives. Airing on Wisdom TV ‘ Spaceship Earth Marijuana A Forest Survival Strategy’ by IB&C Ges, m.b.H. , Producer Gernot Schreck; in short, showed and stated everything you can see and touch can be made from this product marijuana.

      One alternative would be for the sake of the ecological and economical potential vitality growth and inexhaustible potentials, to eliminate revenue short falls with an abundance of REVENUES that conservatives estimate of its profit potential will surpass $500 BILLION a year. Then why is the government against this substance Marijuana? That not only does the above but lessens the stressors of life for all; insuring domestic tranquility by allowing the production and farming of marijuana for the personal and commercial uses by its citizenry, improving the quality of life — and stopping the drug war on this substance, and saving lives! Moreover, marijuana is not harmful, or a violent substance, nor does it push you to harder addictive substances such as alcohol, tobacco, or addictive drugs, as the government would have you believe by their info-commercials. In reality, the plant is proven to cause laughter, the best medicine, heals and releases endorphins and enhances the immune system within the bone morrow for excellent health, via the God grown plant eliminates depression and all the negatives that make you ill. Also, is drought resistant, self-fertilizing, and pest-resistant, fireproof, and fast growing for plentiful product. Allowing for a better quality of life and a healthy body. This substance has been around since 8000 B.C., and there is no recorded record of a person ever being in a coma, an overdose, or even death resulting from the use of only marijuana, in spite of the disinformational practices of the government.

      Plus it would create JOBS and clean energy for America, farming a natural resource, while allowing our trees to replenish and clean up the carbon-dioxide from the atmosphere, and real national security!!! When you look at the true statistics of this natural substance, there should be a law to prevent unreasonable depletion of a natural agricultural heritage and degradation of a valuable and natural resource such as marijuana. It is ludicrous to not see the truth and the potential for America’s REVENUES from this natural substance. The list is unlimited for the inexhaustible potentials of this plant.

      It seems our law enforcers want to eradicate cannabis and legalize the most demoralizing issues; not because these plants pose any real danger to the users or to society, but because they are a danger to the oil-based economic wealth on which they have built their ivory towers. In conclusion : to all concerned, with a quote from our Constitution: ….”But when a long Train of Abuses and Usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object, evinces a Design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their Right, it is their Duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future Security.” In otherwards, It is the responsibility of those that have the ability and means to make things right for those that can not. So congratulations to Marc and Jodie Emery of Canada, and the California residents, in doing just that! U.S.A. is BY, FOR and OF the PEOPLE — so why isn’t our voices and votes being honored when it comes to this issue?

      Our Constitution never intended nor was ever meant to have the government suppress or stifle the peoples voting voices.

      Clair

    23. Lindsay says:

      It absolutely is a war on young people! In NEVADA it’s only a misdemeanor if you’re caught with pot being over 21 but A FELONY if you’re under 21. WTF. It’s the same for alcohol as well there (giving someone under 21 alcohol = felony, DWI – misdemeanor) it’s entirely a rape of justice and is a clear violation of the Equal Protection Clause in the Constitution! No where in there does it limit it the rights of people under 21! (there is mention of age only relating to presidency, voting (no HIGHER than 18, can be lower)etc. It does not say that someone under 21 or 18 is to be summarily denied the same rights to their own bodies and lives simply based on age and for no other reason! This is a travesty! This is wrong and it is ILLEGAL!

    24. tom says:

      I am 51 ,married 32 years, two wonderfull kids. clean,hard worker,volunteer football and basketball coach for grades 4 – 7 . I have degen. disk desease. Had 5 surgerys, now total disabled. (excuse my spelling !). Pot helps my pain. I have no ”connections” to get any. Too much to lose by growing and getting busted. My PAIN Dr. has me taking 100 fiorecet/codene a month. plus other meds. I am turning to you to help me. What do I need to do ? Sincerely, Your Friend

    25. […] importantly, the criminal laws are far more likely to result in having our children arrested, placed behind bars, and stigmatized with a lifelong criminal record than they are likely to in any […]

    26. […] permalink Here we go… most current that I can find. 75% arresst rate for 30 and under with every 1 in 4 being 18 or younger. I am all for legalization but I want it done right… 18 and over with education for those who are under 18. Sorry but this bill will not do that and will further seek to feed the correctional dept. NORML 2008 Conference: “The War on Pot Is a War on Young People” | NORML Blog, Marijuana… […]

    27. […] NORML 2008 Conference: “The War on Pot Is a War on Young People” | NORML Blog, Marijuana… Sorry but if you read this from the norml site you will see that the stats are from 2005. […]

    28. […] While it is commendable that CBS is highlighting the findings of this troubling data, it’s frustrating that the network’s editors appear blissfully unaware of what is one of the most painfully obvious drivers of this surge in juvenile arrests: the ever-increasing enforcement of marijuana prohibition. As I stated from the stage at the 2008 NORML national conference, “It’s Not Your Parents’ Prohibition,” the so-called ‘war’ on pot is largely a criminal crackdown on young people. Young people, in many cases those under 18-years-of-age, disproportionately bear the brunt of marijuana law enforcement. … According to a 2005 study commissioned by the NORML Foundation, 74 percent of all Americans busted for pot are under age 30, and 1 out of 4 are age 18 or younger. That’s nearly a quarter of a million teenagers arrested for marijuana violations each year. … [I]f we ever want the marijuana laws to change, that we as a community have to better represent the interests of young people, and we must do a better job speaking on their — and their parent’s — behalf. (Read my entire remarks here.) […]

    29. Evan says:

      “It compels young people dismiss the educational messages they receive pertaining to the potential health risks posed by the use of ‘hard drugs’ and prescription pharmaceuticals because kids say: ‘If they lied to me about pot, why wouldn’t they be lying to me about everything else too.'”

      I’m sorry, but I feel like this is an incredibly opinionated “statistic,” especially considering that just a few paragraphs down is the line “These are the facts.”

      As a 19-year-old member of the “young people” demographic, I find it highly violative that the supposed-logical response of young people is that we would buck off solid evidence of the dangers of hard drugs. This article, in several places, paints young people as wholly incapable of responsible action regarding hard drugs.

      I have NO interest, and never have, in experimenting with anything harder than cannabis – not ecstasy, heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine; not even abusing prescription drugs. I am highly aware of the risks of hard drugs, and have seen their effects on people that I hold very dear.

      I guess I feel as though it’s articles like this – especially this one, which has swathes of opinionated statements that cite no professional references to support them – that make the battle harder for young men and women. If we can’t be seen as capable, then NO ONE is going to trust us with the responsibilities that come with autonomy.

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