Loading

Ron Paul

  • by Allen St. Pierre, Former NORML Executive Director April 27, 2013

    While there is nothing genuinely funny about a seventy-five year prohibition on cannabis that has arrested over 25 million cannabis consumers, making fun of the failed policy never goes out of style, especially when done right, with aplomb, which the NORML staff occasionally highlights on an otherwise serious-minded public policy blog.

    While over a week-old it would seem a crime itself not to share this New York Times so-called OpDoc (where videos rather than guest columns are submitted). The Gregory Brothers, a quartet of video artists from Brooklyn, absolutely skew the disparity between American society’s hypocritical legal vs illegal drug paradigm.

    They accomplish this by very humorous employment of auto-tune and eye-rolling use of politicians’ own words about the now near universally acknowledged failed war on some drugs.

    Check out former Congressman Ron Paul, New York governor Andrew Cuomo and New Jersey governor Chris Christie (with intentional help from Kevin Smith and Jason Mewes of ‘Jay and Silent Bob’ fame) sing in a way, about a subject matter, they surely didn’t intend t00 when they opened their mouths and spoke the truth about an unpopular public policy (which, ironically, is what elected policymakers are supposed to do in democracies).

    You can watch the video here.

    Enjoy!

  • by Allen St. Pierre, Former NORML Executive Director September 15, 2011

    Unlike Tennessee Congressman Steve Cohen (who favors America having a fair and constitutionally consistent cannabis policy…), the current Speaker of the House of Representatives, John Boehner, simply does not get how hypocritical he is by favoring another 74 years of the failed federal Cannabis Prohibition, while at the same time, being a frequent consumer (and longtime political ally) of far more dangerous and deadly drugs like alcohol and tobacco.

    A NORML supporter from Ohio named Todd recently used NORML’s webpage to contact his elected representative in Congress, who just so happens to be the Speaker of the House John Boehner, to encourage him to become a co-sponsor of the Ron Paul/Barney Frank bill to allow states to legalize cannabis for responsible adult use.

    What Todd did was exactly what tens of thousands of other like-minded NORML supporters have done since late June, when H.R. 2306 was introduced: they contacted their member of Congress and asked them to support the passage of H.R. 2306.

    What cannabis reformers and consumers really need to do now is to send hundreds of thousands of letters and emails to their members of Congress, and to, like Todd, not take ‘no’ for an answer, especially from hypocrites like Speaker Boehner, who maybe one of the capital’s most notorious tobacco addicts and consumer of hard liquor.

    Roll Call photo from a Sept. 2010 event capturing then Minority Leader John Boehner using society's most deadly and addictive drug: Tobacco

    Last October at a fancy Washington restaurant in a section of town called ‘Barracks Row’, a week or so before his ascendency to the Speakership of the House, High Times’ associate publisher Rick Cusick and I watched Mr. Boehner (and five or six of his fellow Republican colleagues from the House, and one from the Senate) continuously leave their table–after rounds of shot glasses of hard liquor were consumed–to stand out in front of the establishment in a circle to smoke cigarettes. We witnessed this kind of excessive ‘drug’ consumption from Congressional leaders for over two hours.

    Mr. Boehner, the son of a bar owner in Ohio, needs to get real and quick regarding losing his Reefer Madness about cannabis and to start treating cannabis consumers with the same respect and dignity that he wants afforded to him as a tobacco and alcohol consumer.

    If not, then, based on his unscientific and non-sensible reply to his constituent in Ohio found below, the man should 1.) stop buying and consuming clearly deadly and dangerous drugs like hard booze and cigarettes and 2.) pass federal laws banning these unhealthy and unsafe products from people who’d be foolish enough to consume them.

    NORML thanks ‘Todd’ from Ohio for being a stand up cannabis law reformer who is not keen to be governed by a hypocrite (who would have him consume drugs much, much less safe—and toxic—than cannabis. Just like him….).

    Boehner writes below: “I am unalterably opposed to the legalization of marijuana or any other FDA Schedule I drug.  I remain concerned that legalization will result in increased abuse of all varieties of drugs, including alcohol.”

    Maybe the Speaker of the House is speaking for himself here as both the science and my own personal experience is crystal clear here: When adults consume cannabis products they consume less—or no—alcohol products.

    I, for one, have always publicly acknowledged that I consume far less alcohol (and don’t binge drink at all) if I have access to cannabis products.

    Further, in the twenty years I’ve worked at NORML and convening dozens of major pro-reform conferences, fundraising parties and events I’ve watched bar managers, restaurant owners and hotel catering managers from coast-to-coast do major double and triple takes on our alcohol consumption bills, insisting that there must be some kind of billing error. When, in fact, if 500 cannabis consumers are attending a NORML soiree, we as a group consume 50%-75% less alcohol than similar size events.

    At a large and famous San Francisco waterfront restaurant that hosted a NORML event a few years back, when I went into the manager’s office at the end of the night to settle the final bill and remit payment, he too was flabbergasted at the dearth of our large group’s alcohol consumption tab and wryly remarked to me: “No wonder ya’ll can’t get pot legalized, because, you’ll cut too deeply into the alcohol industry’s bottom line.”

    Please join Todd and tens of thousands of other citizens who do not support Cannabis Prohibition anymore by contacting your member of Congress and insist that they co-sponsor H.R. 2306.

    The process to lobby your member of Congress is easy, free and necessary to finally—and once and for all—end Cannabis Prohibition in America.

    Wed, Aug 24, 2011 at 1:19 PM, Congressman John Boehner wrote:

    Dear Todd:

    Thank you for contacting me regarding the legalization of marijuana.  I appreciate hearing from you.

    On June 23, 2011, Representative Barney Frank (D-MA) introduced H.R. 2306, the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2011.  H.R. 2306 would remove marijuana from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act to provide states with jurisdiction in the regulation of marijuana.  H.R. 2306 has been referred to the House Committees on the Judiciary and Energy and Commerce for consideration.

    According to the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), “research shows that marijuana use in its raw form is harmful and its average potency has tripled in the past 20 years.”  ONDCP goes on to say that “studies also show teens are using the drug at earlier ages and the earlier a person begins to use drugs, the more likely they are to progress to more serious abuse and addiction.”  In addition, the Department of Health and Human Services stated that “marijuana dependence in the U.S. population is higher than that for any other illicit drug and over 150,000 people who showed up voluntarily at treatment facilities in 2009 reported marijuana as their primary substance of abuse.”

    As you know, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has classified marijuana, together with heroin, LSD, methamphetamines, hashish, and a number of other drugs as Schedule I drugs.  According to the FDA, these drugs carry a high potential for dangerous abuse.  To date, no clinical study of marijuana has progressed to the level required for approval by the FDA.  Even more, the Department of Justice has reiterated its intent to enforce the Controlled Substances Act in states who have legalized marijuana for medicinal purposes.

    I am unalterably opposed to the legalization of marijuana or any other FDA Schedule I drug.  I remain concerned that legalization will result in increased abuse of all varieties of drugs, including alcohol.

    Thank you again for contacting me with your thoughts.  Please don’t hesitate to inform me of your concerns in the future.  To sign up for email updates, I invite you to visit my website at http://johnboehner.house.gov.

    Sincerely,

    John A. Boehner

    *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *          *

    Dear John Boehner,

    Wow thats a mouthful did someone write that for you.  Your seriously trying to tell me that marijuana is as harmful as lsd, crack, methamphetamines, cocaine,legal sildenafil,merinol and other “chemicals” when marijuana is a plant which is nearly impossible to overdose. You sir are uninformed as are most of our “representatives”, who, are supposed to represent the interest of the people, but end up representing their own interests entirely. I would think that given our current economic crisis, it would be ideal to look objectively at every opportunity to decrease frivolous spending, and increase revenue. By legalizing and taxing marijuana on a federal level, the taxes alone are estimated at billions of dollars annually. Given the annual cost of the failed war on drugs and incarcerated nonviolent marijuana users, the annual savings plus revenue could reach in the hundreds of billions of dollarsNot to mention the tens of thousands of jobs legalizing marijuana would create. This is common sense knowledge and neither you nor the “F.D.A.” can tell me otherwise.

    As for your statement ” I remain concerned that legalization will result in increased abuse of all varieties of drugs, including alcohol.” Please elaborate as I do not understand how the legalization and regulation of marijuana on a federal level, will result in increased abuse of other drugs and alcohol. Regulating marijuana will not only decrease it’s availability on the black market, but will also decrease its value, therefore being less available, and of less interest, to teens and other underage people.

    On the subject of the Department of Health and Human Services statement that “marijuana dependence in the U.S. population is higher than that for any other illicit drug and over 150,000 people who showed up voluntarily at treatment facilities in 2009 reported marijuana as their primary substance of abuse.” What this statement does not tell you is that roughly 97% of these 150,000 people “voluntarily” showed up because they were given an ultimatum by the courts when found in possesion of marijuana, rather than face probation, or even worse, jail time.

    How about the statement made by Francis Young, the D.E.A.s’ own judge, “Marijuana in it’s natural form, is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man.”  If marijuana is considered a schedule I narcotic with no medicinal benefits, why do we have Marinol, the  synthetic form of T.H.C. (tetrahydrocannabinol), the main psycoactive substance found in marijuana?.  And why is the “chemical” Marinol a schedule III drug, meaning it is considered to be non-narcotic and to have a low risk of physical or mental dependence, when it is another form of T.H.C.?. There has never been a documented human fatality from overdosing on tetrahydrocannabinol or cannabis in its natural form. However, the synthetic T.H.C. pill Marinol was cited by the FDA as being responsible for 4 of the 11,687 deaths from 17 different FDA approved drugs between January 1, 1997 to June 30, 2005.

    I would appreciate a personal response from you, rather than one of your pre-writen responses. Thank you for your time.

    Sincerely,

    Todd

  • by Erik Altieri, NORML Executive Director September 12, 2011

    Google and Fox News will host a debate between Republican primary candidates in Orlando on September 22nd. Similar to the “social media townhalls” President Obama has previously hosted, this debate will consist exclusively of questions submitted by the public. This forum provides advocates with a unique opportunity to put these presidential hopefuls on record regarding their position on marijuana law reform.

    NORML has submitted a question for consideration:

    “As president, would you stand up for states’ rights by ending federal marijuana prohibition and allow them to experiment with models of decriminalization and legalization without federal interference?”

    Here is how you can voice your support and promote this question:

    Step 1: Go to Fox News’ Youtube page here.

    Step 2: Click the “Vote” tab at the top of the page.

    Step 3: In the topics box, select “Social Issues”

    Step 4: Click “Video Questions.”

    Step 5: You should see our video question towards the top of the list, look for the NORML logo in the thumbnail. Click the thumbs up icon next to the question.

    The current line up of candidates have gone to great lengths to distance themselves from the current policies of President Obama, yet most have remained silent on the topic of marijuana law reform (that is, of course, excluding Ron Paul). Take a moment of your time to vote up our question, if these candidates want your vote, don’t you deserve to know where they stand on cannabis?

  • by Allen St. Pierre, Former NORML Executive Director July 6, 2011

    Let states enact their own marijuana policies

    By Paul Armentano, Special to CNN
    July 6, 2011

    (CNN) — It is hardly surprising that former drug czar William Bennett would, in his CNN.com op-ed, oppose any changes to America’s criminalization of marijuana. But it is surprising that he would lump Barney Frank and Ron Paul’s proposal to allow states the opportunity to enact their own marijuana policy with the effort to legalize drugs.

    Let’s be clear: HR 2306, the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2011, proposed by Reps. Barney Frank and Ron Paul, does not “legalize drugs” or even so much as legalize marijuana. Rather, this legislation removes the power to prosecute minor marijuana offenders from the federal government and relinquishes this authority to state and local jurisdictions. In other words, HR 2306 is just the sort of rebuke to the “nanny state” that conservatives like Bennett otherwise support.

    Barney Frank and Ron Paul: Get feds out of pot regulation

    The House bill mimics changes enacted by Congress to repeal the federal prohibition of alcohol. Passage of this measure would remove the existing conflict between federal law and the laws of those 16 states that already allow for the limited use of marijuana under a physician’s supervision.

    It would also permit states that wish to fully legalize (for adults) and regulate the responsible use, possession, production and intrastate distribution of marijuana to be free to do so without federal interference. In recent years, several states, including California and Massachusetts, have considered taking such actions either legislatively or by ballot initiative. It is likely that several additional states will be considering this option in 2012, including Colorado and Washington. The residents and lawmakers of these states should be free to explore these alternate policies, including medicalization, decriminalization and legalization, without running afoul of the federal law or the whims of the Department of Justice.

    Of course, just as many states continued to criminalize the sale and consumption of alcohol after the federal government’s lifting of alcohol prohibition, many states, if not most, might continue to maintain criminal sanctions on the use of marijuana.

    But there is no justification for the federal government to compel them to do so. Just as state and local governments are free to enact their own policies about the sale and use of alcohol — a mind-altering, potentially toxic substance that harms the user more than marijuana — they should be free to adopt marijuana policies that best reflect the wishes and mores of their citizens.

    Does Bill Bennett believe that state and local governments cannot be trusted with making such decisions on their own?

    Speaking during an online town hall in January, President Obama acknowledged the subject of legalizing and regulating marijuana was a “legitimate topic for debate,” even as he expressed his opposition. Yet Texas Rep. Lamar Smith, chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, recently boasted that he would not even consider scheduling HR 2306 for a public hearing.

    There might be another reason people like Smith and Bennett will go to such lengths to try to stifle public discussion of the matter. To do so would be to shine light on the fact that the federal criminalization of marijuana has failed to reduce the public’s demand for cannabis, and it has imposed enormous fiscal and human costs upon the American people.

    Further, this policy promotes disrespect for the law and reinforces ethnic and generational divides between the public and law enforcement. Annual data published in the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report, and compiled by NORML, finds that police have made more than 20 million arrests for marijuana violations since 1970, nearly 90% of them for marijuana possession offenses only.

    It is time to stop ceding control of the marijuana market to unregulated, criminal entrepreneurs and allow states the authority to enact common sense regulations that seek to govern the adult use of marijuana in a fashion similar to alcohol.

    In Bennett’s own words, “We have an illegal drug abuse epidemic in this country.” How is such a conclusion anything but a scathing indictment of the present policy? After 70 years of failure it is time for an alternative approach. The “Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2011” is an ideal first step.

    Editor’s note: Paul Armentano is the deputy director of NORML , the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, and is the co-author of the book “Marijuana Is Safer: So Why Are We Driving People to Drink?” (2009, Chelsea Green).

  • by Erik Altieri, NORML Executive Director June 23, 2011

    Today, a bi-partisan group of representatives introduced the first federal bill since 1937 aimed at ending marijuana prohibition. To coincide with the bill’s introduction NORML is launching a new public service announcement featuring NORML Advisory Board member, country music icon, and cannabis enthusiast Willie Nelson. In the video below, Willie calls on you to support this important legislation and to contact your elected officials and encourage them to do the same.

    NORML has launched a bill specific Facebook page, where you can keep up to date on all the latest information. It can be accessed here. You can also utilize our Take Action Center to contact your elected officials and urge them to support HR 2306, the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2011, here.

    Subscribe to NORMLtv or follow us on Twitter to stay posted on all the latest video content coming from NORML, including much more on this important legislation.

Page 1 of 3123