Mr. Burns Goes To California

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director July 29, 2008

    Nearly six years ago, Deputy Drug Czar Scott Burns mailed a two-page letter to every prosecutor in America urging them to target and “aggressively prosecute” marijuana violators, including first-time offenders.  

    At that time, I spent some 5,000 words addressing Mr. Burns numerous lies and exaggerations — which included this shocking statement, “No drug matches the threat posed by marijuana.”

    Yes folks, in 2002 that was the official position of your federal government.

    Fast forward to today and you’ll see that little, if anything, has changed among the Czars who cohabit the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.

    Earlier this month Scott Burns flew to Humbolt County in northern California where he gave this revealing (as in, it reveals just how clueless this man really is) interview with the editors of the Arcata Eye, explaining why the White House continues to believe that pot remains the most dangerous herb on the planet. However, rather than bleed my fingertips to the bone responding to Mr. Burns’ inherent inability to tell the truth, this time around I’m simply going to let his words speak for themselves.

    An interview with Scott Burns, deputy drug czar – July 25, 2008
    via The Arcata Eye

    Eye: Is it realistic to keep marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug, in with cocaine and heroin?

    Burns: Yes it is, and I’ll tell you why. … You can’t talk to a counselor in this country, Republican or a Democrat or an independent or a Marxist, and they will tell you, political beliefs aside, everyone that is addicted to drugs in this United States, started with either alcohol and/or marijuana, and they started when they were 13, 12 or 11. That doesn’t mean everyone that used those substances goes on to be a heroin addict, but you don’t have to have an IQ over 120 to figure out that if you can keep young people off marijuana, you can keep them from being addicted for life.

    The last thing I’ll say is, we were talking about Nora Volkov, the head of NIDA, National Institute of Drug Abuse, who before said there is no correlation between smoking pot and rewiring and damaging the developing brain of young people, who now will tell you unequivocally that there is. Because of the higher potency, it is the same as cocaine and methamphetamine and heroin. They see it from the MRIs, the PET scans. They also are seeing psychosis and other mental problems from young people smoking this higher potency, which frankly should be called marijuana 2.0, drug. So yeah, it should remain a schedule 1.

    Eye: … Is there enough research to indicate that [marijuana] has no medical efficacy? I can bring you chemotherapy patients who would tell you that it is the only thing that suppresses their nausea and gives them an appetite. So is there nothing to what they’re saying and feeling?

    Burns: … Anybody can say something makes me feel better anecdotally. And I hear that a lot. “Marijuana is the only thing that makes me feel good.” I say you should try crack, because from what I hear, crack cocaine will make you feel really good as well.

    This is not about making people feel better, it’s about as a country and the effects it will have on all of us, all 305 million of us. Because someone tells me that “smoking crack cocaine releases my nausea and allows me to have healthier appetite,” does that mean that we legalize it nationwide, and that its available to kids in a greater number? We have to make those kind of policy decisions. And we ought not make them on people who say, “Me personally, it makes me feel better.” … Yeah, the whole thing is a con. If you wanna call it what it is, it’s a joke.

    Eye: … I could tell you without question that there are innumerable, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, millions of people who smoke marijuana on a regular basis, are fully functioning contributing citizens. Other than the fact that they do something that the government tells them is illegal. They’re contributing, they’re motivated, they obey the law, they vote, they pay taxes, they have children and they smoke marijuana. What about that? Doesn’t the federal government’s prohibition of this drug simply put a lot of profit in it for criminals, breed criminal enterprises and also breed disrespect for the authority of government?

    Burns: … Whether or not they are functioning or not, there are others that say, they sit on the couch and eat Cheetos, and I’ve talked to hundreds of moms and dads that have said I wish you could do something, because my son has done nothing in 25 years but sit around and smoke dope. So for every person you have that you say is a taxpaying successful person, I could give you, I think five, of a mom and a dad or a loved one say, “My god, this addiction to this drug is a horrible thing.”

    Eye: … [T]he whole premise of America’s freedom and self determination. How can we reconcile that with the government telling us what we can ingest and what we can’t?

    Burns: … [O]n many issues … I think most Americans would agree that it should be that way. But on some issues that affect all of us for the good of the order we have to come to some consensus. And not everybody’s happy, are they? And every time we don’t get to do what we want, I know there are states where they really really like to marry young girls, 12, 11, or 10 and they would argue to you, “How dare the federal government preclude us from engaging in certain activities?” Well, in some instances we just say your, quote, “constitutional rights” and your freedom to do certain things gets trumped by the rest of us who say, “You know that’s just not a good idea.”  

    Those of you who wish to try and stomach the entire interview — I recommend having a strong anti-emetic nearby — are welcome to click here.

    And if you’re looking for even more information on Mr. Burns visit to Arcata, NORML podcaster Russ Belville has a two-part interview with Eye editor and publisher Kevin Hoover on the NORML Daily Audio Stash here

    49 responses to “Mr. Burns Goes To California”

    1. Brandon says:

      WOW! What a short sighted moron! Lets see… if somone’s kid sits on the couch for 25 years eating cheetos and smoking dope, and nothing else, SOMEONE IS EMPOWERING THEM to sit there, so don’t whine about it. Most adult marijuana users are responsible, non-violent, tax paying, AVERAGE people. Not criminals and lazy people who can’t motivate themselves. While anyone would agree that young, developing minds should NOT smoke pot, they also should not take most over the counter drugs either! I LOVE the part where he says, “kids start at 11, 12, 13…” DUH! Because the criminal black market pushes it to kids! Pot’s easier to get for kids than alchohol! How sad is that? But yet, it’s God’s fault for letting such an evil herb grow in the first place, not the government’s fault for self-imposing criminal destruction on it’s own children. Idiots.

    2. moldy says:

      What planet does he live on? I’m afraid we have aliens (ET type) working at the DEA.

      … certain things gets trumped by the rest of us who say, “You know that’s just not a good idea.”


    3. Leaving florida soon says:

      My IQ is 145 and that was some of the weakest shit I’ve ever read. I know a Neurosurgeon ,a former Mayor, a Plastic surgeon, as well as several business owners and at least one of the sheriffs who busted me(I wasn’t selling to him) all smoke pot. Blaming pot or any drug for your kid not growing up and moving out on their own is just silly. Honestly I think it’s the parents fault they should try cutting off the free meals and laundry service, you know charge some frikken rent. In any case alcohol by his logic should be a schedule 1 drug he did say “and/or marijuana” right?

    4. DS says:

      All I can say is….wow.

    5. Lex says:

      i actually feel sorry for the ppl of CALI…not only do they have morons like this guy coming but they have to deal with the earthquake that recently shook up many gardens and dispensaries!! My prayers are with you CALI and NEVADA!!

    6. Ben Patrick says:

      WOW! This just goes to show how uneducated our legal officials are! especially in the White House!

    7. Raven says:

      Holy Hell! This guy truly is a clueless robot. Alcohol is way more harmful than pot could ever be. Pot is non-toxic, non-addictive, non-patentable(that’s another rant entirely) plant. Not one person in the history of it’s use has ever died from using it. People die of alcohol poisoning and many other alcohol related issues quite often. They need to regulate pot, tax it and only sell to those 21 and over. It will relieve the backed up jails and free up time so the cops can concentrate on the really bad guys that rape, murder and pillage etc their way through society. It will drastically reduce usage by minors because they won’t be able to get it near as easily as they can now. The smoke shop employee will demand an ID before selling. The drug dealers don’t care if you are only 9 years old. They will sell whatever to whomever.
      As for the 25 year old couch potato, it’s called being a lazy bum sponging off your enabling parents. It has nothing to do with smoking pot.
      As for the cops, off duty, they always seem to have the best smoke at the party.

    8. Dave Schumer says:

      Just linked to this post and added a few comments at our awesome site:

      It blows me away that people like this are still around, but I guess if you’re looking for someone to run a place like the ONDCP, these are the kinds of people you look for – Mr. Burns probably lived with his mom as long as the Cheeto guy.

    9. Brad says:

      wow, this guy is out of his mind. in my mind, marijuana being scedule 1 is why people try other drugs. the punishment isn’t that different in a lot of places.

      i started it all when i was 16, didn’t know anything other than that i was being lied to. they grouped pot with all the other drugs. so being ignorant, the first thing i tried was meth. took me a long time to kick that nasty habit. now all i do is smoke pot. i dont even drink or smoke tobacco. i know, some people think its just stupidity but i claim ignorance 😉 the government says they will all kill you, and thats what i was taught in school.

      having an iq over 120, i say don’t only legalize weed cuz its harmless, but legalize it so we can better fight the powders and that crap.

      also, i sure have lost a lot of weight while putting on a lot of muscle for sitting on the couch eating cheetos all day.

    10. Jimbo says:

      People like this guy are the enemy and need to be eradicated from power.
      They only see things as one sided and will never give due and reasonable thought process to the way things should be.
      These people keep showing time and time again that they only want the worst for the people of this country and will never stop unless they are stopped by the tax paying/voting people of this country…Period!!!
      There HAS to be a gathering of mass proportion of like minded Americans in this country.
      There should be a pro-marijuana rally going on in every major city in this country from here until November.
      We have got to re-educate and warn the masses about clowns like this, because they are doing nothing but stealing any hopes of true freedom from us at an astonishing rate.
      PEOPLE!!! we, the smokers of this country, have got to raise awareness and re-educate the masses…PERIOD!!!

      Please join me and many other like minded people in our efforts to try and find solutions to these problems at; http://www.420magazine.com/