Drug Czar’s Office To NORML: ‘We Can’t Legalize Marijuana Because Some People Abuse Prescription Drugs!’ Wait, Huh?

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director August 22, 2011

    “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”
    — Mahatma Gandhi

    What can I say? I’m flattered. David Mineta, deputy director for demand reduction in the Office of National Drug Control Policy, has taken time to publicly respond to little ol’ me. I wonder if they pronounce ‘Armentano’ phonetically at the Drug Czar’s office?

    The back story: Last week NORML Board member Paul Kuhn and I published a guest commentary in Nashville’s largest daily newspaper, The Tennessean, opining in favor of H.R. 2306, the ‘Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2011. Here’s an excerpt:

    Marijuana legalization bill offers safer alternative
    via The Tennessean

    We know tobacco is the leading cause of death in America, contributing to 400,000 deaths each year. So it’s hardly any wonder the FDA will require the placement of prominent warning labels. Alcohol is the third-leading cause of death in America. The World Health Organization reported earlier this year that “alcohol causes nearly 4 percent of deaths worldwide, more than AIDS, tuberculosis or violence.”

    … What about marijuana? With every other drug from Advil and alcohol to Zantac, a correct dose is effective, but too high a dose kills the patient. No dose of marijuana is capable of causing a fatal overdose.

    … And unlike alcohol and tobacco, adverse effects of even heavy cannabis use are minimal. There is no epidemiological evidence in any country, after scores of studies and centuries of use by tens of millions of people, that marijuana smokers have a shorter life expectancy than non-smokers.

    … They don’t become violent at sports events or beat their spouses and children. They don’t get heart disease, cancer, brain damage or any other deadly illness at a higher rate than those who abstain. In fact, a pair of studies conducted by Kaiser Permanente found that marijuana use, even long-term, was not associated with elevated levels of mortality or incidences of cancer, including types of cancers associated with tobacco smoking.

    … America is on a path to allow adults to choose a safer alternative to tobacco and alcohol. And create more tax revenue and more jobs in Tennessee. And more freedom.

    Apparently quite a few people read our editorial, including some folks at the Drug Czar’s office. And it must have gotten under their skin because today the White House responded with this.

    Movement for legalized marijuana ignores dangers
    via The Tennessean

    Proponents of marijuana legalization often argue it will do everything from fixing our economy to ending violent crime (“Marijuana legalization bill offers safer alternative,” Tennessee Voices, Aug. 15). Yet, the science is clear: Marijuana use is not a benign drug and it is harmful to public health and safety.

    … Would marijuana legalization make Tennessee healthier or safer? One needs to look no further than Tennessee’s current painful experience with prescription drug abuse. In Tennessee, prescription drugs are legal, regulated, and taxed — and yet rates of the abuse of pain relievers in the state exceed the national average by more than 10 percent.

    Nationally, someone dies from an unintentional drug overdose — driven in large part by prescription drug abuse — on average every 19 minutes. What would America look like if we had just as many people using marijuana as we currently have smoking cigarettes, abusing alcohol, and abusing prescription drugs?

    The classic ‘bait-and-switch’ goes on and on, but you get the idea. But I’m not sure the Drug Czar’s office does. After all, if their logic above had even a hint of consistency then they would be arguing for the criminal prohibition of cigarettes, alcohol, and prescription drugs. And lots of other things.

    Yet when it comes to Americans’ use of substances like tobacco, booze, and prescription drugs — substances that pose far greater dangers to health than does cannabis — the White House recognizes that prohibition is not the answer: regulation and education are. So why does the Drug Czar’s office fail to apply this same common-sense principle to pot? Perhaps it has something to do with the federal requirement requiring the office to lie about legalization.

    Finally, as to the specific question: ‘What would America look like if we had just as many people using marijuana as are presently using tobacco, alcohol, and prescription medications?’ Well, what does America look like today? After all, the federal government imposed criminal prohibition over 70 years ago; yet today that very same federal government admits that over one out of ten Americans admit to having using cannabis in the past year. Among those age 18 to 25, almost half admit to consuming cannabis recently!

    The question isn’t ‘What if Americans consumed marijuana?’ The reality is that tens of millions of Americans have and do consume marijuana. Most do so privately and responsibly. Legalizing cannabis simply acknowledges this reality and seeks to regulate the behavior appropriately. In a free society, why would even consider doing differently?

    136 Responses to “Drug Czar’s Office To NORML: ‘We Can’t Legalize Marijuana Because Some People Abuse Prescription Drugs!’ Wait, Huh?”

    1. chip says:

      Good thing people don’t abuse alcohol. It might be made illegal using that logic.

    2. BobKat says:

      132: The Road runner… you’re absolutely correct… Michelle Leonhart is the Evil Empress who in reality is a hideously ugly dragon And who holds the beautiful damsel Mary-Jane hostage high in the Tower within the wastelands and polluted swamplands of the DEA. In any other day and age people would see this evil for what it truly is, and there would be a Sir Lancelot battling this evil to free Mary-Jane from the fortress of evil.

      But Sir Lancelot has been imprisoned by the evil warlock Lamar Smith… and the pure Constitutional waters that once were the United States of America have been poisoned, rendering intelligent men stupid and powerless to see the evil that has overcome them.

      They see eggs as brains, and oil as sustenance, they drink intoxicating liquors and entertain mistresses of the night in their drunkenness. They abuse their power granted by The people and bring suffering to those People. They call it Justice… they call it good. In a land where the motto on their money is “IN GOD WE TRUST”, just what god, is that they believe in????

      The Emperor wears no clothes, the Dragon flies in the night bringing death, destruction and imprisonment to our once Great Land. The Czar, is required by law to lie, and the We are made to believe that all this evil, harm to society, scourge is the fault of Mary-Jane, locked away in the tower.

      It’s not really a question of how stupid and naive our elected officials might think we are, it a question of how stupid our elected officials are! If they truly believed in the Constitution of the United States of America and the Motto on our money they would end the reign of the Dragon Lady and free Sir Lancelot so he could rescue the beautiful Mary-Jane.

      But, they simply DON’T CARE!!! They don’t listen to the science, they don’t heed the truth… they believe and pray to their god that WE will go away, or that we will continue to pave our roads with our green blood. They pray that magically Mary-Jane will become the hideous creature they are told she is, by the Dragon Empress, the evil, Michelle Leonhart.

      That is what myth is all about… that is what tyrannies are all about, perpetuating the myths. Like Global Warming is a myth… like the US is far behind other developed countries in so many ways… all myths to our great leaders. President Obama took advantage of our hopes that the MYTHS WOULD FINALLY BE BUSTED, and see in TRUTH, TRUE JUSTICE and LIBERTY.

      And now the new demons of the elect are at our doorsteps asking us to believe once again. God Help US!!! Where the hell is Merlin???

    3. Medical-rights.com says:

      Prescription drug is never sold over the counter and is not available in the market easily without a valid medical prescription. Such medicines are powerful dolor pills and are prescribed only when needed by the patients. Such medicines include names like opioids like hydrocodone, oxycodone, codeine, morphine, propoxyphene, CNS and stimulants. These three classes of prescription drugs are most commonly abused. Opioids are used to treat moderate to severe dolor. CNS Depressants are used to treat anxiety and sleep disorders. Stimulants are used to treat narcolepsy and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. These prescription medicines are commonly prescribed because of their dolor relieving properties.

    4. wenwens says:

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    5. The Road Runner - Meep! Meep! says:

      126. BobKat

      The DEA’s pet dragon is named Michelle Leonhart – and – she’s full of dragon shit.

    6. Darren says:

      Seriously? Why is it on every Pro/Anti- Marijuana Debate and or Article the Anti- Marijuana side of the argument on legalization, either flat out deny/ignore marijuana’s benefits or the Pro- marijuana argument, makes excuses ( Ex: We already have Alcohol, and Tobacco legal, we don’t need any more drugs in society Etc. Etc. ), answer’s the legalization question with more question’s ( What if this? What if that? ), or completely avoid’s the topic at hand. It just makes me angry, that anyone could be so ignorant toward’s Marijuana. They just hide behind a wall of lies and excuses, anyone who has a head on their shoulder’s could see that the Prohibition of Marijuana is a giant mistake, pure stupidity, and just a plain waste of time and money. The extermination of a plant Is just morally wrong, un- just and just plain not right. We do not have the right to make a part of God’s green earth illegal. Human- Being’s have the right to put in their bodies whatever they would like, it doesn’t hurt anyone else, if it bother’s you, then stay away from that person. The government does not have the right to say what we can or can’t consume! We the people have the right to a pursuit of Happiness, and the government is denying us that right! This prohibition has got to end! It does not make sense at all to keep this going any longer. We need to legalize Marijuana NOW!!! … Sorry, if I got a little out of hand, it just makes me angry that we even have to debate about this, it is clear that the prohibition, and the drug war ( which isn’t even a war on drug’s, the DEA spend’s more time eradicating Marijuana, than any other drug, it really is just a War on Freedom! The government know’s that Marijuana help’s us see the truth, and doesn’t like it. They want us to be blind to their lies and corruption ) are just pointless.

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