Pelosi Talks Medical Pot

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director August 28, 2008

    Hard to believe that the entire Democratic National Convention could go by without even one speaker paying lip service to the devastating folly that is America’s war on (some) drugs, but as NORML podcaster Russ Belville reports in his latest blog post here, the subject of marijuana law reform has been all but “invisible” in Denver.

    Fortunately, thousands of Digg.com users posed the following question to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi live on CNN: “As a taxable resource, what stops marijuana from being legalized, for medical or recreational purposes, throughout the country?”

    (The question comes four and a half minutes into the video.)

    Pelosi’s response is candid yet disappointing. While acknowledging that scientific research clearly supports the medical use of cannabis, Pelosi acknowledges that most of Congress — including many otherwise ‘progressive’ members of the influential Congressional Black Caucus — “just isn’t there yet. … There just isn’t enough support for it.”

    Of course, anyone who has followed this issue knows that the Speaker’s Congressional assessment is painfully accurate.

    That said, I find myself a bit incredulous when Pelosi says: “We have important work to do outside the Congress in order for us to have success inside the Congress for [the] use of medical marijuana. … [W]e need peoples’ help to be in touch with their members of Congress to say why this should be the case.”

    While I agree that it’s both important and necessary for constituents to contact their elected officials, I’m disappointed that Ms. Pelosi still believes that the ‘heavy-lifting’ needed to successfully move this issue forward federally must be engaged in outside, not inside Congress.

    Pardon me, but here in the real world (outside of the Washington Beltway) public voteafter public vote illustrates that the overwhelming majority of registered voters back the legalization of medical pot, and national poll after national poll consistently shows that upwards of 70 percent of the electorate support a patient’s right to use cannabis legally.

    Here in the real world, numerous health and medical organizations such as the American Public Health Association and the American College of Physicians have passed resolutions urging Congress reschedule marijuana so that a physician may prescribe it, and scientific papers indicating that cannabis can inhibit diseases ranging from multiple sclerosis to cancer to MRSA are being published virtually every week.

    Given this reality, I humbly submit that those of us who work ‘outside’ the so-called ‘hallowed halls’ of Congress have done our part. It’s now time for our federally elected officials, in particular Speaker Pelosi and Democratic Presidential Nominee Obama, to pledge to do theirs.

    28 responses to “Pelosi Talks Medical Pot”

    1. Jim says:

      I am disappointed, but want to applaud Nancy for her honesty. Yes, if ALL THOSE citizens would contact their reps, it would help. Yes, it is also true that it shouldn’t matter given ALL the reseach and those in the medical community behind it.

      However, we’re dealing with a generally ignorant public that believes, since they’re also ignorant of the ONDCPs mission – “keep the status quo regardless of medical value”- whatever the gubment says is true. Until the Media will present ALL viewpoints and consider the facts/bias when presented propaganda by the DEA, NIDA and ONDCP, general public opinion, and commensurately our representatives, will be against any reform.

      I say people should write their local newspapers opinion columns, mention how the ONDCP is REQUIRED to lie “regardless of the medical value of a substance”, mention how the DEA committed a crime against humanity by suppressing the anti-cancer cannabis research findings in 1974(?) – they didn’t even report it to their “research” center in Mississippi for follow up !! – no care for cancer victims PERIOD. Just keep weed illegal.

      Finally, add how addiction is a medical and not a criminal problem, how the drug warrior/mercenaries don’t want ANY change because it might change money in their pockets, and a few other things NORML, LEAP, MPP, and others suggest.

      WE’VE got to WAKE UP THE PEOPLE before there will be any changes, and the media, who’re getting big bucks from the ONDCP etc., is probably not going to help us.

    2. I tell ya, it’s because if pot weren’t outlawed, the ONDCP would never be able to suck billions out of the federal budget every year for ever-increasing requests. Plus the benefit of prison labor taking the place of slave labor (US has highest incarceration rate in the world) after the north won the Civil War. (1865) First drugs started being outlawed around 1904, AFTER the ‘grandfather clauses’ that *other* racist politicians were found unconstitutional. Hmmm… see it yet?

    3. RED says:

      Speaker Pelosi is all about”cosmetic”applications,without substance.Truely an artfull dodger.

    4. SteveJJ says:

      Nasty Pelosi needs to use MJ to subside the pain she has in her eyes from not blinking. Pelosi is wrong on everything including how much plastic surgery a person should have.

    5. BusGreg says:

      Me thinks it is time for a peaceful revolution at the ballot box. From all the comments to these posts as well as the ones on “The Hill Blog” it seems that if we make some noise this November 4th we might have an impact. I just wish there was a listing of pro-cannabis candidates as I have not been able to find one. With Grandpa Munster most likely to carry this ass-backwards state, the current crop –E. Dole and Heath Shuler in the 11th district with Carl Mumpower(R) challenging — none of them is fit to carry water for my bong (even though we have “de-criminalized” MJ). All of the US legislators here believe in this insane war on cannabis, and none of the 3 in my district are apt to effect change. As far as Nancy Pelosi is concerned, we need a different Speaker who has the cajones to run the House according to the wishes of the people and NOT pander to special interests. With Grandpa Munster just announcing Alaskan Gov. Sarah Palin as his Veep candidate, he’ll probably pull a bunch of Hillary supporters — PUMA’s — and we may just be stuck with another Repug in the White House. That is why I believe that it is highly important to send progressive independents and third party candidates to Congress.

    6. J3 says:

      I’ve often wondered about something. We’re told that Soros is funding the drug reform movement. Whereas, it used to be Canada’s Emery.

      Why can’t there be a nationally covered series of round-table discussions on the points of Prohibition? Why are we fighting “piece meal”? Where’s the “I Have A Dream” multitude of marchers?

      Come on, George, put your funding in the right place! We need something that’s “in your face!” We’re doing what we are accusing our opponents of doing, using 20th century methods in the 21st century. It’ll never happen this way.

      There is absolutely no way available to us today to show Congress what our true numbers are. There’s not a single website, a single TV show, nothing! It’s time for our own movement leaders to bite the bullet, lay lateral oppositions aside and join forces into “One Army!” Just as all the civil rights groups yielded to one message, “I Have A Dream!”

      Without a showing like that, we’re going to be wallowing around in our own muck for a much longer time. Numbers and Multitudes are what Congress have to see to do anything. We’ve seen it time and time again. Quit this internal sqabbling and DO SOMETHING! You know what it would take. JUST DO IT!

    7. Asemili says:

      Pelosi might be right. There isn’t enough support in Congress – yet.

      regional NORML chapters need to organize their members to send letters to their local congressional reps. There should be a regional/local NORML chapter in every city in the US. Find yours and join.

      It might help us, the NORML members, if we knew what cities don’t have local chapters… NORML?

      It’s easy to organize a chapter. Get with NORML, put up a Myspace or Facebook, then flyer your local headshops.

      Get the work out to Congress. I did a letter drive for my Norml chapter to my local Congressional rep. I got several pages of signatures in a single night. More in the following days. It’s not hard. Just takes some time. Spend the time now, and reap the benifits later.

      Back in the day, my parents used to drag me to this ultra-conservative church. There, I got to see how the right-wing organizes. Man do they do it right. They get their members engaged and excited. One interesting thing I heard one day when they where lobbying for some Pro-Life anti-abortion initative, was that Congressmen rarely get written letters. If they get 3-4 letters on a subject, they consder it a loud message. Don’t think your letters won’t go unnoticed. One letter can equal the voice of thousands who agree, and your congressmen know that. WRITE THEM. Every one of them. It matters more than you realize.

    8. heather says:

      I believe when Mr. obama spoke last nigh in his acceptance speech when he stated “I will also go through the federal budget, line by line, eliminating programs that no longer work and making the ones we do need work better and cost less – because we cannot meet twenty-first century challenges with a twentieth century bureaucracy,” if this being true could very likely include medical marijuana.

    9. Lex says:

      I do value and appreciate Pelosi’s statement. She is correct about getting ppl on board. There are so many in congress who are against legalization of medical or recreational use. We have to start persuading ppl to our viewpoints. THe more statistics and scientific studies that help to show Medical MJ usuage will only help us! They can stay in the dark all they want, but when MJ is ready, the issue will no longer be ignored. Pelosi does look like she’s smiling all the time though..LOL..She needs to lay off the plastic surgery..lol..Now that should be illegal!! What’s funny is her face is still sagging!!

    10. the independent says:

      I give her props on answering the question honestly and sanely. Heck she and other congressional reformers have Mark Souder and a 70+ year stigma against them.