What Gives? Another Senator From Iowa Provides A Dose Of ‘Reefer Madness’ When Replying To His Constituents

  • by Allen St. Pierre, Former NORML Executive Director July 5, 2008

    marijuana, NORML, Charles Grassley, medical marijuana

    A few months ago it was Iowa’s Democratic Senator Tom Harkin that was replying to his constituents claiming cannabis “use often has fatal consequences” and that cannabis users may actually sell their children for ‘drug’ money.

    Now, Senator Charles Grassley (R) in a letter to constituents, oddly equates cannabis use to genocide, murder and child rape.

    After several thousand years, civilized societies have failed to eliminate murder, rape, or child abuse. Nor have they eliminated organized crime, the manufacture of counterfeit money, or genocide. But no one seriously sees these failures as justification for surrender. Illegal drug use costs society at least as much as any of these social ills. Yet we do not hear any calls to legalize these abuses. Why then should we give up? Should we surrender to the criminals, and legalize marijuana? No. Instead, we should do whatever we can to prevent criminals from gaining the upper hand, do what needs to be done to give our families, our friends, and our neighbors a safe and secure place to live.

    However, his major problem with this premise, and presumably his underlying rationale for supporting cannabis prohibition, is that few in the United States (even in Iowa) agree with such absurd assertions as most citizens perceive cannabis use closer to alcohol consumption—and since the mid-1990s, as a valuable, non-toxic, affordable and effective medicine.

    Also, similar to the Harkin letter, Senator Grassley equates cannabis law reform with “surrender”, which helps one understand how hard it is to lobby these gents when they cast the debate as ‘winning’ or ‘surrendering’ (but, what else is new in DC?).

    There are many reasons why America’s 70-year old cannabis prohibition, a failed public policy many times worse in scope and cost than alcohol’s short-lived prohibition, still prevails. Regrettably, because of the way the US Senate works regarding seniority, committee assignments and a senator’s individual ability to place a hold on legislation, cannabis reform is always against the eight ball in the Senate in a way not possible in the House of Representatives.

    Senator Grassley is too smart and sophisticated a man to really believe that cannabis use equates to murder, child rape and genocide. Please join NORML in contacting Senator Grassley and asking him to stop replying to his constituents in Iowa with non-sense, and to support the decriminalization of cannabis and to allow sick, dying and sense-threatened Iowans (and citizens nationwide) to legally access and use medicinal cannabis.

    Thanks to Ames Progressive’s Gavin Aronsen for the tip and Grassley’s letter to constituents who contact him about cannabis law reform is read here.

    16 responses to “What Gives? Another Senator From Iowa Provides A Dose Of ‘Reefer Madness’ When Replying To His Constituents”

    1. alex says:

      i cant understand or even fathom how you can equate cannibis to those attrocities of humankind. Cannabis is no more than a medicinal herb and recreational drug, that good tax payers consume. i urge you to reconsider your believes on cannabis

    2. Kathryne says:

      Wow, and ignorance like that of Senator Tom Harkins is the very reason why marijuana has the reputation of being a harmful street drug; Also the reason why it is so hard to decriminalize marijuana. Only when true facts are given about marijuana is when anyone stands even a slight chance at legalization.

    3. Ozlanthos says:

      I am so sick of this crap!!! It is time for ALL AMERICANS TO VOTE INDEPENDENT!!! Let me be clear here. The reason so many of us use drugs is that for many of us there is no other apparent way to improve or alter our state of mind. The human mind often needs re-enforcement for behaviors. Threatening someone with the possibility of taking everything away from them for participating in the very immediately rewarding action of using drugs, will do nothing but reward disregard for the laws prohibiting the use of drugs.

      I’m a proponent of the idea of “following the money” in order to determine the intent of a social program (often useful for figuring out whether or not it is working). Considering that our government annually spends 1000 times as much on “the drug war” as it does on education, one can hardly hope but come to the conclusion that our government is 1000 times more interested in stopping us from using drugs than it is in educating us!

      And while education alone won’t stop people from using drugs, it could do a lot more in dissuading use. I mean really, I would be a lot more interested in keeping my job than smoking pot if I were pulling down over $100,000 a year!

    4. Casey says:

      I live in Iowa and will be E mailing Harkin about his remarks, and I will be voting against him when he is up for re-election. Keep up the fight.

    5. bobby says:

      Why do we try so hard for medical marijuana when we should just completely legalize it for recreational use then everyone can enjoy and the medical people can use it too!

    6. dan gunderson says:

      Where did cannabis come from? God, not the devil. Where did most of our politicians come from?…Hell?

    7. averagejoe says:

      Heres a funny fact I’ve been with one of Harkin’s Daughters when she has used cannabis and gotten completely wasted at 17 years old at my house. What a great dad allowing his daughter to start down a path of despair that would lead to her selling her children and other fatal consequneses. Yeah Tom another politician whose full of shit.

    8. douglas maenpaa says:

      Dear Sir:

      While I do not agree that marijuana use is benign (actually it is very dangerous), that is beside the point.

      Senator Tom Harkin’s comments show that he is a complete, ignorant, shameless ass-hat who (must know better, that to utter such nonsense).

      He is on a pedestal, and considers himself untouchable, not afraid of any consequences of spouting over-the-top bullshit.

      Like so many politicians.

    9. bob searcy says:

      i wrote to this sack, but ray charles could see that hes a closed minded joke of a man so i dont anticipate any change of opinion on his part.

    10. steve says:

      In this day and age with so many being killed by drunk driveres who get off free. Someone who is caught with marijuana is put in jail for 3 to 5 years as a first timer. What is wrong here.