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Want To Know Why Pot Is Illegal? Ask Your Governor (Again)

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director May 27, 2009

    Nearly eight months ago I posted the following essay to NORML’s blog, entitled: “Want To Know Why Pot Is Still Illegal? Ask Your Governor.”

    Marijuana law reformers, myself included, have spilled volumes of ink commenting on the numerous reasons and vested interests responsible for the continued prohibition of cannabis. But while these lengthy writings may be worthwhile intellectual exercises, I fear that they overlook the obvious.

    That’s why, right now, I’d like to give you seven specific reasons why the use of cannabis by adults — including seriously ill patients — remains a crime in America. Ready? Here they are:

    Governor Donald Carcieri (R-Rhode Island)
    Governor James Douglas (R-Vermont)
    Governor Linda Lingle (R-Hawaii)
    Governor John Lynch (D-New Hampshire)
    Governor Tim Pawlenty (R-Minnesota)
    Governor Jodi Rell (R-Connecticut)
    Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-California)

    Each of these Governors have single-handedly opted to kill marijuana law reform legislation in their states — either by the stroke of a pen (Carcieri, Lingle, Rell, Schwarzenegger) or by applying enough legislative pressure to abruptly halt ‘pro-pot’ proposals from ever reaching their desk.

    Why am I reposting this now? Simple, because the more things change the more they stay the same.

    On Friday, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty vetoed legislation that would have allowed terminally ill patients the legal right to possess and use (but not grow) medicinal cannabis. That’s right, I said ‘terminal.’ Apparently Gov. Pawlenty — who cynically remarked “While I am sympathetic to those dealing with end-of-life illnesses and accompanying pain, I stand with law enforcement in opposition to this legislation” — would prefer to have patients at death’s door rely on the medical judgment of a prison warden rather than that of their physician.

    But Gov. Pawlenty is hardly the only state governor up to the same old tricks.

    In New Hampshire, lawmakers are trying to work out a last-minute compromise with Gov. John Lynch, who has threatened to veto any measure that allows for seriously ill patients to grow or use medical cannabis in their homes. And in Connecticut, Gov. Jodi Rell’s veto threat of legislation that sought to prevent minor marijuana offenders from being saddled with lifetime criminal records certainly did proponents no favors.

    In Hawaii and Rhode Island, legislation pertaining to the medical use of cannabis is now on both state’s governors’ desks. If past is precedent, can vetoes be far behind?

    And what about Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who earlier this month announced, “[I]t’s time for a debate” regarding taxing and regulating the sale of cannabis for adults. We expect to learn more about the Governor’s position in mere minutes, as he will be elaborating on his stance in today’s Digg.com chat — which you can access here.

    Want to know why pot remains illegal in America? You can start by asking your governor — again.

    86 Responses to “Want To Know Why Pot Is Illegal? Ask Your Governor (Again)”

    1. Nick says:

      When are we going to have the debate???

      Come on NORML. I want to see a debate scheduled tomorrow. How much money do I need to donate??

    2. Daryl says:

      This should be no surprize that these governors are against this. The political climate needs to change more then it already has. When politicians start to feel pressure from the voters this will change. It would be nice to see a political figure lose a election for being against marijuana reform. Then things will really start to change.

    3. […] original here:  Want To Know Why Pot Is Illegal? Ask Your Governor (Again) Share and […]

    4. Matt says:

      Why wasn’t the issue raised in the Live Digg Dialogg with Schwarzenegger? Did I miss it?

    5. […] rest is here:  Want To Know Why Pot Is Illegal? Ask Your Governor (Again) Share and […]

    6. Jeremy says:

      I guess that

      Governor Donald Carcieri (R-Rhode Island)
      Governor James Douglas (R-Vermont)
      Governor Linda Lingle (R-Hawaii)
      Governor John Lynch (D-New Hampshire)
      Governor Tim Pawlenty (R-Minnesota)
      Governor Jodi Rell (R-Connecticut)
      Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-California)

      are more towards supporting the cartel doing more harm to our nation than any thing . Talk about hypocrits and yet they are suppose to be for the people yet are letting our constitutional rights in under the 1st amendment regarding descrimination yet they allow much dangerous substances like tobaco and alcohol which is known to cause more death and violence than marijuana. What happened to “Land of the free” and “We the people of the usa”? I mean don’t we get a say on our rights to preserve freedom with out fear of persicution? Oh that is right it is not “we the people” it is “We the ignorant Govt that is against and at war with the people.” I know when election time comes around what I will do and that is simply not vote to put the same people in office when they run and I would urge every one else to do the same after all we did not put them in to office to not be listened to while they get a fat pay check from the tax payers money yet do nothing good for the people but sit on their buts and complain about viloence , crime and our economy when they have a logical option that would help our nation save Billions up on Billions of taxpayers money. Personally if their is some one from MPP , NORML or an orginazation that is for the people I would cast my vote for them as so would thousands of other Americans. This being said let us take back our country and give it back to the people instead of giving it to the poloticians who only care for fame , fortune and make bad decisions for us (the people of the USA).

    7. Jeremy says:

      I guess that

      Governor Donald Carcieri (R-Rhode Island)
      Governor James Douglas (R-Vermont)
      Governor Linda Lingle (R-Hawaii)
      Governor John Lynch (D-New Hampshire)
      Governor Tim Pawlenty (R-Minnesota)
      Governor Jodi Rell (R-Connecticut)
      Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-California)

      are more towards supporting the cartel doing more harm to our nation than any thing . Talk about hypocrits and yet they are suppose to be for the people yet are letting our constitutional rights in under the 1st amendment regarding descrimination yet they allow much dangerous substances like tobaco and alcohol which is known to cause more death and violence than marijuana. What happened to “Land of the free” and “We the people of the usa”? I mean don’t we get a say on our rights to preserve freedom with out fear of persicution? Oh that is right it is not “we the people” it is “We the ignorant Govt that is against and at war with the people.” I know when election time comes around what I will do and that is simply not vote to put the same people in office when they run and I would urge every one else to do the same after all we did not put them in to office to not be listened to while they get a fat pay check from the tax payers money yet do nothing good for the people but sit on their buts and complain about viloence , crime and our economy when they have a logical option that would help our nation save Billions up on Billions of taxpayers money. Personally if their is some one from MPP , NORML or an orginazation that is for the people I would cast my vote for them as so would thousands of other Americans. This being said let us take back our country and give it back to the people instead of giving it to the poloticians who only care for fame , fortune and make bad decisions for us (the people of the USA).

      The main reasons why marijuana is illegal are:

      From a prohibition-based perspective, marijuana is illegal in the United States primarily for these reasons.

      1. It is perceived as addictive.
      Under the Controlled Substances Act of 1970, marijuana is classified as a Schedule I drug on the basis that is has “a high potential for abuse.” What does this mean?

      It means that the perception is that people get on marijuana, they get hooked and become “potheads,” and it begins to dominate their lives. This unquestionably happens in some cases. But it also happens in the case of alcohol–and alcohol is perfectly legal.

      In order to fight this argument for prohibition, legalization advocates need to make the argument that marijuana is not as addictive as government sources claim.

      FACT:Marijuana is not physically adictive. Alcohol and tobaco are more adictive and deadlier than marijuana will ever be.Heince this is a BS excuse to keep marijuana illegal.

      2. It has “no accepted medical use.”
      Marijuana seems to yield considerable medical benefits for many Americans with ailments ranging from glaucoma to cancer, but these benefits have not been accepted well enough, on a national level. Medical use of marijuana remains a serious national controversy.

      In order to fight the argument that marijuana has no medical use, legalization advocates need to highlight the effects it has had on the lives of people who have used the drug for medical reasons.

      FACT:Marijuana does have medical properties and can be debated with facts on NORMLs web site. Heince this is another BS excuse to keep marijuana illegal.

      3. It has been historically linked with narcotics, such as heroin.
      The first piece of federal legislation to formally regulate marijuana was the Narcotics Act of 1914, which regulated heroin, cocaine, and marijuana. The only trouble is that cocaine and marijuana are not technically narcotics; the word “narcotic,” when used in English, has historically referred to opium derivatives such as heroin and morphine.

      But the association stuck, and there is a vast gulf in the American consciousness between “normal” recreational drugs, such as alcohol, caffeine, and nicotine, and “abnormal” recreational drugs, such as heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine. Marijuana is generally associated with the latter category, which is why it can be convincingly portrayed as a “gateway drug.”

      FACT: Marijuana is no more a gateway drug as milk is to alcohol and tobaco . Heince is another BS excuse to keep marijuana illegal.

      4. It is associated with unfashionable lifestyles.
      Marijuana is often thought of as a drug for hippies and losers. Since it’s hard to feel enthusiastic about the prospects of enabling people to become hippies and losers, imposing criminal sanctions for marijuana possession functions as a form of communal “tough love.”

      FACT: This is against our 1st amendment in the constitution and is a BS excuse to keep marijuana illegal.

      5. It was once associated with oppressed ethnic groups.
      The intense anti-marijuana movement of the 1930s dovetailed nicely with the intense anti-Chicano movement of the 1930s. Marijuana was associated with Mexican Americans, and a ban on marijuana was seen as a way of discouraging Mexican-American subcultures from developing.

      Today, thanks in large part to the very public popularity of marijuana among whites during the 1960s and 1970s, marijuana is no longer seen as what one might call an ethnic drug–but the groundwork for the anti-marijuana movement was laid down at a time when marijuana was seen as an encroachment on the U.S. majority-white culture.

      FACT: This is against our 1st amendment in the constitution and is a BS excuse to keep marijuana illegal.

      6. Inertia is a powerful force in public policy.
      If something has been banned for only a short period of time, then the ban is seen as unstable. If something has been banned for a long time, however, then the ban–no matter how ill-conceived it might be–tends to go unenforced long before it is actually taken off the books.

      Take the ban on sodomy, for example. It hasn’t really been enforced in any serious way since the 18th century, but most states technically banned same-sex sexual intercourse until the Supreme Court ruled such bans unconstitutional in Lawrence v. Texas (2003).

      People tend to be comfortable with the status quo–and the status quo, for nearly a century, has been a literal or de facto federal ban on marijuana.

      FACT: IF this is so then why was alcohol illegal and is now legal yet alcohol kills more people than marijuana can ever do yet marijuana is safer yet is kept illegal. Heince this is also a BS reason for marijuana to be kept illegal.

      A much better argument for marijuana legalization, from my vantage point, would go more like this: “It makes some people happy, and it doesn’t seem to be any more dangerous than alcohol. Do we really want to go around putting people in prison and destroying their lives over this?”

    8. Bryce says:

      You know at least he didn’t backpeddle on his “debate” comment, but obviously now we need to get support more than ever from the voters (The PEOPLE….imagine that…) in California to keep this from becoming a backburner issue…

      If this passes, the rest of the nation will see how well it works and will push their state legislation to follow suit…

      C’mon!!! Yes we can(nabis)!!

    9. MIKE STROUP says:

      It is Unconstitutional, cruel and inhumane to deprive people of treatment that works for them. It is also in direct violation of God-given rights acknowledged in the Constitution of the United States. When guards in Nazi death camps were finally brought to justice, they claimed they were “just following orders,” and “it was the law.” I expect no better from prohibitionists when they are finally brought to justice for their horrific crimes against humanity during a “war” of choice they started more than seven decades ago. When truth and justice finally prevail, I also expect many lengthy prison sentences for those responsible, as well as full “war” reparations for the millions killed, robbed, assaulted, arrested, humiliated, incarcerated, kept from needed medicine, fined and deprived of their full rights as American patriots, among many other injustices, all in direct violation of God’s will and the Constation. God may forgive prohibitionists, but I doubt history will. Their days of trying to run other people’s lives is finally coming to an end. God bless America and all true freedom loving American patriots.

    10. Kasey says:

      The whole thing was kind of a waste, considering what question won.

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