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National Narcotics Officers’ Association Endorsement Fails To Lift Doug Ose Back To Congress And Exposes Hate Speech Against Citizens Who Oppose Prohibition

  • by Allen St. Pierre, Former NORML Executive Director June 30, 2008

    And How It Informs About Who Supports Cannabis Prohibition…

    “Supporting marijuana use is an example of domestic terrorism—it puts the public at great risk and threatens the very fabric of our society.” -Ron Brooks, President of National Narcotics Officers’ Association, 4/11/08

    In my many annual public appearances and media interviews advocating for cannabis law reforms, the question will often arise ‘if NORML and the other drug policy reform groups are right that there are safe and viable alternatives to cannabis prohibition laws, who then opposes you in trying to amend current state and federal laws?’

    The recent political endorsement given to former Republican congressman and ardent drug warrior Doug Ose by the National Narcotics Officers’ Association (NNOA) provides a handy opportunity that helps reveal exactly who are America’s prohibitionists and what are their motivations against ending cannabis prohibition.

    Who Actually Supports (Or Profits From) Cannabis Prohibition?
    At this juncture having worked over 17 years at NORML/NORML Foundation, my standard reply, without achieving doctoral dissertation length is 1.) There are five basic subgroups of Americans who strongly oppose any reforms in cannabis laws, and 2.) These subgroups constantly seek to deepen and enhance prohibition laws, i.e., politically and culturally oppose citizens and organizations who don’t favor prohibition laws; advocate for greater criminal sanctions and fewer civil liberties (more penalties, longer prison sentences, higher fines, and more of the ‘Big Three Ps’: police/prosecutors/prisons) and civil penalties (forfeiture, drivers license suspension, loss of child custody for parents who consume cannabis, denial of college loans to students busted for pot, removal from public-assisted living housing, etc…).

    The Five Pillars Of Pot Prohibition
    For all intent and purposes, in my opinion, educators, religious leaders, health organizations, military leadership, business and insurance institutions, and economists are not rabid supporters of cannabis prohibition per se. However, the five subgroups of Americans who do support rigorous cannabis prohibition laws and penalties are:

    1- Law Enforcement
    Police, sheriffs, state police; prison guards, parole officers and wardens; federal law enforcement [i.e., DEA]; local, state and federal prosecutors; drug court professionals and probation officers. Also, as you plainly read from the NNOA’s webpage, private law enforcement officer associations such as NNOA, California Narcotics Officers Association (read the CNOA’s anti-cannabis, laugh-inducing rants, click here, and here), Fraternal Order of Police, Chief of Police Association (and their state affiliates; Florida’s chapter is a prime example of police influencing the law—not just enforcing them) and the National Association of Attorney Generals (NAAG) work in concert to promote prohibition over tax-n-control policies.

    2- So-called Parents Groups
    Back in the 1970s there really was an organic, grassroots parents’ movement motivated and organized to oppose NORML’s marijuana decriminalization efforts. However, after the successful election bid of Ronald (and Nancy) Reagan in 1980, the executive branch largely hijacked the parents’ movement under the guise of Mrs. Reagan’s ‘Just Say No’ anti-drug program and a number of well funded government front groups were established by inside the beltway Republicans as promotional vehicles for Mrs. Reagan, leaving the nascent grassroots parent’s movement largely high and dry.

    The legacy of federal government anti-drug bureaucracies usurping the 1970s parents’ movement against marijuana is found today in a number of what are supposed to pass for parents’ groups, but today are largely government-funded organizations such as, in two examples: National Families in Action (NFIA) and Community Anti-Drug Coalition of America (CADCA).

    3-Companies and industries that financially benefit from the government’s 70-year old ban on cannabis and hemp products

    When government passes a law there are always winners and losers. When the US Congress created cannabis/hemp prohibition in 1937 it created a number of economic opportunities for certain industries that effectively exist to support and prosper cannabis prohibition, such as: drug testing industry; private prisons; private for-profit cannabis ‘rehabilitation’ centers, high-tech surveillance (i.e., forward looking infrared radar, aka FLIR) and interdiction devices (i.e., ion scanners).

    Many of these profit-making, prohibition-supportive companies and industries (some of which are multi-billion dollar and powerful multi-national corporations, i.e., General Electric, Blackwater, Lockheed Martin or Dyncorp) aggressively lobby for government policies and tax expenditures that benefit their companies, and their shareholders.

    A change in cannabis laws from prohibition to tax-n-control negatively impacts the bottom line of many large and politically connected US corporations (and their subsidiaries), along with hundreds of smaller government contract-dependent companies.

    4- Companies that would have to compete with cannabis and hemp products if it were not for the government’s cannabis prohibition, and therefore lobby for cannabis/hemp to remain illegal and its consumers treated like violent criminals:

    The alcohol industry (beer, wine and distilled spirits; wholesalers and retailers), tobacco industry (cigar, spit and cigarettes; wholesalers and retailers), pharmaceutical industry and industrial material and energy companies (i.e., wood, paper, petroleum, plastics, fiber, seed oil, animal fodder, etc…), lobby and/or advocate against taxing and controlling cannabis and hemp products. Pro-industry associations like the US Chamber of Commerce and The Business Roundtable often work closely with industries and companies benefiting from cannabis prohibition by opposing cannabis law reform, promoting the alcohol, tobacco and pharmaceutical industries (after all, these are legitimate, tax-paying industries. Right? Must be nice…).

    5-Local, County, State, Federal and International ‘Anti-Drug’ Government Agencies and Bureaucracies

    One could argue that absent the tens of thousands of government employees (civil servants and political appointees alike) and their inherent taxpayer-funded, multi-billion dollar annual budgets, there would be no so-called ‘war on drugs’ in America (and around the globe attributable to America’s exportation of cannabis prohibition through 1.) United Nation treaties and World Bank funding criterion, 2.) NIDA funding for anti-cannabis scientific and medical research and 3.) US Government-funded crop eradication and market disruption.

    However, in conclusion, as long as the US Congress continues to allocate tens of billions of funding annually for huge government agencies and anti-cannabis propaganda campaigns—such as the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Partnership for a Drug Free America, Drug Awareness and Resistance Education (DARE), National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and about a dozen more US government bureaucracies with odd sounding acronyms that represent tax-draining agencies, most of whom the general public have never heard of, such as the incredible Congressional boondoggle known as NDIC, the National Drug Intelligence Center in Johnstown, PA—allows the other four pro-prohibition subgroups to both foster and proliferate cannabis prohibition in support of their parochial profits and narrow business interests (or in the case of government agencies and their employees: annual funding with almost assured built-in budget increases, nearly impossible to terminate civil worker status, regular cost of living increases and a host of other highly sought after government employee benefits).

    Thankfully, on June 3, Ose and National Narcotics Officers’ Association lost the primary to one of the most longstanding libertarian politicians in the nation, California Republican state senator Tom McClintock—a supporter of cannabis law reforms.

    41 Responses to “National Narcotics Officers’ Association Endorsement Fails To Lift Doug Ose Back To Congress And Exposes Hate Speech Against Citizens Who Oppose Prohibition”

    1. Anonymous says:

      Yeah.. you can copy it and send it to every person in Washington or local goverment and or NEWS PAPER.

    2. surfglass bongs says:

      silly stoners, drugs are for losers. they’re not going to let us smoke in peace, this article makes it pretty clear that the guys in charge profit from prohibition. why would they ever let us put our hands in their pockets? just make sure you get a house with a big extra closet, get yourself some good seeds and you’re in business. dont tell anyone you’re growing and smoking marijuana though, they might turn you in, and the guys in charge would love to put your house in their pocket and send you to a taxpayer funded hotel for a few years.

    3. Allen St. Pierre says:

      >Why hasnt NORML brought suit under the Free Exercise >Clause of the First Amendment, on behalf of any or all >of the many different churches and spiritual >traditions which consider Cannabis a religious >sacrement?

      >THIS SCOTUS voted 8-0 to declare the drug law >unconstitutional with respect to Ayahausca, in >Gonzales vs. UDV, while also upholding the application >of the RFRA with respect to the Native American Church >and its sacramental use of Peyote. Why is NORML still >focused on Medical Marijuana two years after the court >decision, instead of going after the heart of >prohibition directly?

      Thanks for your comment. I suggest you read Gonzales vs. UDV closely. Even the lawyers in the case, who happened to be NORML Legal Committee Members (and the some of the funders of the case are NORML board members)acknowledge that this court largely closed the door on cannabis as a sacrament [ie, drugs that are already massively used by the population, in an uncontrolled fashion, are not candidates for current exemption from the CSA as religious sacraments. Legal and religious experts (incl. some who were involved in the case) have commented publicly in scholarly publications that the court was directing the limiting of the types of drugs that could qualify for religious exemption squarely at cannabis–the country’s most used illicit and uncontrolled use, largely unassociated with any religiosity or recognized religious group].

      Every month, about 2-3 citizens, at the state and federal level, begin or fail in their legal challenges to their cannabis-related arrests claiming religious exemption. Will one of these cases someday at trial. Maybe. Will the case survive the numerous appeals the government will make all the way to SCOTUS? Maybe. Will the case survive a SCOTUS challenge before this court. Unlikely based on their ruling in Gonzales vs. UDV.

      If John McCain gets elected President, and Ginsburg/Stevens retire or pass on while he is President, and he gets to nominate two more members to SCOTUS, then a Gonzales vs. UDV-like case involving cannabis seems even less likely to me to prevail.

      BTW, NORML is not at all focused on medical cannabis. Medical cannabis has never been, and will never be the focus of NORML. NORML’s principle work and advocacy regards decriminalization and legalization (where applicable). Is medical a major component of NORML’s work. Absolutely, because when Nixon and the Congress set up the CSA, the first legal matter that had to be challenged was the mis-scheduling of cannabis, and the scientific rationale therein. This is the genesis of one of the longest (22 years!) and likely most important case in drug policy reform, NORML v DEA.

      This past April NORML’s principle law reform efforts regarding cannabis were directed at the US Congress to re-introduce, for the first time in almost 25 years, a federal decriminalization bill, which allows for no penalty for possession and for not-for-profit transfer.

      The bill number is HR 5843.

      More info, including how you and all your like-minded friends can support this important bill, is at:
      http://norml.org/index.cfm?Group_ID=7581

      Again, many thanks for your comments and support for cannabis law reform!

      -Allen
      NORML

    4. Gary Lee says:

      Thursday, 7/03/08

      Alcohol, tobacco, trans-fat, cholesterol, and mercury are bad for one’s health; but these substances aren’t outlawed. While it’s comforting to read that narcs are committed to Prohibition to protect our health, they are modern-day Prohibition agents.

      I am told by more than one M.D. that it’s easier to get a patient to withdraw from heroin than from alcohol. A person can lead a normal life when on a medically supervised regime of pharmaceutical-grade heroin.

      The drug laws were originally passed because of racist hysteria. Smoking pot was supposed to influence a Latino or Black man to crave a White woman. At least that’s what the politicians believed after Prohibition ended in 1933.

      If the substance is bad for one’s health, that should serve as punishment enough. Cops and politicians should get out of users’ bodies unless they present an imminent and substantial harm to others. “The cure is worse than the disease.”

    5. ClassicsMajor says:

      # Lee L. Lacker Says:
      July 1st, 2008 at 8:16 pm

      It’s the Roman Empire all over again if you think about it…

      dude the romans never had one thing like drug prohibition. ever. the idea of regulating “vices”. you have to be kidding me! this is an example of justice in the MODERN WORLD!!! aka sad, twisted, immoral….whatever you call it.

    6. John Thomas says:

      These thugs are what I’ve wanted to focus on for years. With one hundred million Americans now having smoked pot, it seems we could create a voting block large enough to clean house of these American Inquisitors.

    7. Lefytovich says:

      I have never tried drugs, nor do I intend to.

      I don’t consider cannabis a drug. The marijuana plant doesn’t care whether or not we have a sheet of paper saying that it is illegal, it’s going to grow either way. The laws of man do not affect nature (only man affects nature).

      The government would rather focus on the funding it already receives from anti-pot efforts, rather than look ahead and consider other options.

      Personally, I hope that one day the government won’t be run by businessmen in expensive suits, but rather a system run by the people and for the people.

    8. ConservativeChristian says:

      Lot’s of good comments, especially the note indicating the US Congress has a bill before it right now, HR 5842, that would end the Federal raids on medical mj in states that approve medical mj. This is the right time to write our Congressmen and Congresswomen! There’s also HR 5843, regarding all mj, not just medical, so again, this really is the right time to write our Congresspersons. It will take more than one letter and it will take more than a short time period, but this is the kind of effort it will take. Not ranting, not swearing, just a reasonable friendly letter written while in a reasonable frame of mind. Now is the time!

    9. mheimerl says:

      All the efforts that every makes to get the laws changed seems like its not working. I love to argue the pros of smoking herb against the people in my life that are telling me how wrong it is. Maybe the reason why the say its wrong is that its illegal. With it illegal will I stop smoking, NO,if it was legal would it slow my smoking down, No.

      Its just so sad that a person with no REAL criminal past has to act like a criminal just to smoke and ease my body and mind. Its just as more sad that they won’t make it legal because of all those companies that would be under since there wouldn’t be a fight against herb. I like how some of the comments had it right on the money about it wont be legal because of all the money in the polictians pockets. The pharmacitical companies are afraid of the truth about herb, They know as well as the rest of the american public the good effects for herb. I know that I maybe bouncing around on this topic, but if tobacco is legal and kills thousands of americans as well as alchol, what the duece congress, marijuana has never killed a soul from smoking it. Granted one bad thing about if it did become legal all those people who sell it as a job would be out of work. And I just got a first hand experience from those people just about a week ago in jail. And its even more screwed up that they were young adults and they are going to be spending most of their lives in federal prison system for selling herb. Crazy. We all need to keep up our fight to do something about the american government abuse on us sensiable smokers,

    10. Boone says:

      Great article! It is a shame though, everytime I educate myself about Marijuana law and find out just who is tryin’ to screw me and take away my freedoms. Depression sets in, the reality of it all is overwhelming. Think about it for a minute…lost freedom for a plant you don’t even have to do anything to, it just grows that way! Thanks anyway to NORML for sticking it out when all seems dark and especially for doing something about it. It certainly is easier to dream than to live the life of a activist!!!

      Thanks again,
      BoOnE

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