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  • by Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director July 17, 2013

    Our friends at High Times scored a really provocative and informative interview with Vicente Fox, the former president of Mexico, where Mr. Fox demonstrates both a wide range of knowledge about the need for countries like America and Mexico to end cannabis prohibition and forward-looking vision about the need for regulation and tax laws similar to alcohol products.

    Mr. Obama and company, when your own Partnership for a Drug-Free [sic] America is left little-to-do but inane surveys indicating that American parents do not want cannabis marketed to their children when it is legal and the former president of the country where America’s failed war on some drugs has caused the most social upheaval, street violence, political and law enforcement corruption…maybe you should start listening and acting upon their recommendations.

    Just saying…

  • by Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director July 16, 2013

    The so-called Partnership for a Drug-Free [sic] America (PDFA) has been a prolific, yet impotent, anti-marijuana propaganda machine since its inception in the mid 1980’s under President Ronald ‘Just Say No’ Reagan. No other quasi governmental or private entity spent more money or had greater access to mainstream media to try to perpetuate the federal government’s failed cannabis prohibition. Only the now unpopular and underfunded DARE program rivaled PDFA in it’s high visibility efforts to maintain support among the American populace for cannabis prohibition–but was equally feckless–wasting billions in taxpayer dollars and not impacting youth drug use rates.

    norml_remember_prohibition_Both DARE and PDFA were largely ignored and underfunded by the George W. Bush Administration from 2000-2008, with the current administration continuing to follow suit by diminishing the size and scope of both’s finances and public reach.

    After the PDFA released a new survey today, with media outlets starting to contact NORML for commentary, only then did it become clear to me that the beginning of the end is die in the cast for PDFA when they chose to put out a survey that in effect says ‘marijuana legalization is coming, but only for adults’.

    Really?! PDFA needed to waste even more funding and bandwidth informing the public that support for cannabis legalization for adults is at an all time high, but that parents surveyed don’t think the herbal drug should be legalized for youth or marketed to children.

    Gee. Was there anybody in America advocating that children should be able to legally buy and use cannabis products?

    While the PFDA’s most recent survey seeks to create a political red herring about children and cannabis, the survey affirms the now obvious in American life: public support for continuing cannabis prohibition is at an all time low and tax-n-regulating cannabis is an alternative public policy that now enjoys majority support.

    After watching and archiving hundreds of anti-cannabis propaganda commercials from the PDFA going back to the late 1980s, reading this new survey acknowledging 1) Legalization is quickly picking up public and political support in America, 2) Americans want a sensible cannabis policy, where, like with alcohol products, only adults have legal and controlled access and 3) Parents have concerns about potential cannabis advertisements in mass media demonstrates to me that another major socio-political ‘tea leaf” has revealed itself with the PDFA now left to propagandize about if and how legal cannabis will marketed, not whether cannabis is an inherently ‘evil’ drug that will forever be prohibited.

    With even the hardcore anti-cannabis folks at PDFA now recognizing the changing attitudes about cannabis in favor of legalization, when will Congress and the White House finally embrace this political reality too?

     

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director June 26, 2013

    The criminalization and prohibition of cannabis has been an abject failure and should be ended as a federal public policy, according to the findings of a new report issued this week by the National Lawyers Guild.

    States the report:

    “The NLG believes that ending the prohibition of cannabis would offer multiple benefits. Legalization would help transform the marijuana industry … into a stable regulated one. It would significantly reduce infringements on civil liberties and lower the arrest and incarceration rates of people of color. Changing the criminal status of marijuana would lower the costs of law enforcement and protect people from entering the criminal justice system. Finally, legalization would remove restrictions currently impeding [the] study of medical marijuana and allow more users to acquire treatment if necessary. Each of these goals is consistent with sound economic, criminal justice, and public health policies.”

    The authors of the report recommend rescheduling cannabis from its present Schedule I illicit classification, revisiting the United State’s involvement in international drug control treaties, and ending the practice of civil asset forfeiture by law enforcement agencies. The report also call for the passage of additional statewide legislative and initiative efforts depenalizing marijuana use and possession.

    Full text of the report, “High Crimes: Strategies to Further Marijuana Legalization Initiatives,” appears online here.

  • by Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director June 20, 2013

    yes-we-cannabisNearly eight months after Washington voters passed a binding cannabis legalization initiative with an impressive 55% showing, the federal government is still yet to have made any definitive public statements as to what it is going to do regarding what is now such a clear conflict: between established federal laws and customs prohibiting any use, cultivation or sale of cannabis, for whatever reason–personal, medical and banning domestically-cultivated industrial hemp–and states whose citizens are leading the way at apparently dismantling a certainly failed 75-year-old federal prohibition against cannabis.

    Frustrated by a lack of federal response and political leaderships seven members of the Washington’s congressional delegation have written a letter to the Obama Administration (specifically Attorney General Holder, who told Congress in public testimony months ago that the administration would have public statements “soon”)  seeking guidance and clarity.

    The members of the Senate and Congress who’ve signed the letter are both Senators Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray, as well as Representatives Adam Smith, Jim McDermott, Suzan DelBene, Denny Heck and Derek Kilmer.

    Apparent opponents of reform, Representatives Rick Larsen, Dave Reichert, Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Doc Hastings did not sign onto the letter.

    In other news regarding Washington moving forward with their cannabis legalization efforts as directed by the voters, the soon to be renamed ‘WA Liquor and Cannabis Control Board’, held public hearing yesterday that can be viewed and watched here:

    WA Liquor Control Board

    WA Liquor Control Board YouTube channel

     

     

     

     

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director April 26, 2013

    The federal government’s anti-drug efforts are inefficient and ineffective, according to a just released report issued by the Congressional watchdog agency, the US Government Accountability Office (GAO).

    As if we didn’t know.

    The GAO report assessed whether the Obama administration’s anti-drug strategies, as articulated by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (the ONDCP aka the Drug Czar’s office) in its 2010 National Drug Control Strategy report, have yet to achieve its stated goals.

    The answer? They haven’t.

    States the GAO:

    “The public health, social, and economic consequences of illicit drug use, coupled with the constrained fiscal environment of recent years, highlight the need to ensure that federal programs efficiently and effectively use their resources to address this problem. ONDCP has developed a 5-year Strategy to reduce illicit drug use and its consequences, but our analysis shows lack of progress toward achieving four of the Strategy’s five goals for which primary data are available.”

    In particular, the GAO criticized the administration for failing to adequately address rising levels of youth marijuana consumption. The GAO also rebuffed the ONDCP’s allegation that increased rates adolescent marijuana use are a result of the passage of statewide laws decriminalizing the plant or allowing for its therapeutic use.

    “Other factors, including state laws and changing attitudes and social norms regarding drugs, may also affect drug use. We examined studies on three of these other factors, which we refer to as societal factors, which may affect youth marijuana use. … The studies that assessed the effect of medical marijuana laws that met our review criteria found mixed results on effects of the laws on youth marijuana use. … [S]tudies that assessed the effect of marijuana decriminalization that met our review criteria found little to no effect of the laws on youth marijuana use.”

    You can read the full GAO report here.

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