The Hill: NORML vs. ONDCP (Round Two)

  • by Allen St. Pierre, Former NORML Executive Director August 28, 2008

    In what is passing for one of the first public debates ever between the government’s ‘anti-drug’ office (Office of National Drug Control Policy, aka ONDCP) and the world’s most famous pro-cannabis reform organization (NORML), check out my rebuttal to the ONDCP’s attempts to discredit the nearly 40 year effort to end cannabis prohibition.

    To date, this unofficial debate between NORML and ONDCP has been one of the most popular public discussions ever at The Hill’s blog, which informs their editors (as well as other major publications’ and broadcast editors) that the issue of cannabis law reform is of great public concern and ripe for ongoing public policy debates about the future of cannabis prohibition.

    Preview: In advance of you reading, and hopefully weighing in on The Hill’s blog, rather than engage in what I describe as the ‘flash card’ game–where every misapplication of science or anti-pot myth needs to be addressed–in my reply to the ONDCP’s rebuttal of NORML’s pro-reform advocacy efforts I try to focus on the larger issues at hand regarding personal freedom, autonomy, the proper role of the government in the private lives of it’s citizens and the obvious juxtaposition of the legal ‘drug’ industries (alcohol, tobacco and pharmaceuticals) to the failed 70-year old prohibition of cannabis.

    92 responses to “The Hill: NORML vs. ONDCP (Round Two)”

    1. Dave says:

      This is awesome! Thanks NORML and Allen St. Pierre. We did a review of this over at http://www.akdope.org and encourage the dialog to continue. There is no better case for contributing to / joining NORML than the type of advocacy that appears in The Hill this month!!

    2. RED says:

      About the US seal pictured, are those hemp leaves in the eagles right claw? Also ,is it true that the ONDCP charter is scheduled to sunset on Sept.30,2010?

    3. matt says:

      After reading this article, it’s very clear that lots of public support in any form would be critical to achieving the desired results. I’m an avid Ron Paul supporter and one thing I noticed through his campaign was the phenomenally fast build up of on-line supporters, (despite the media bias.)
      Why not put together a campaign aimed at getting the message out to the people who use cannabis but don’t follow law reform? And I know there’s a lot of them. Ron Paul’s campaign reached millions of people, thousands of them–before Dr. Paul–probably didn’t even pay attention to politics (I didn’t.) So what made it go so well?
      I can’t really say for sure; But, I do know some things that were tried to gain support. One was the money bomb, advertising a specific day (through blogs, youtube, word of mouth — anywhere people can casually find the information — could donate to support the cause.
      In this particular situation it’s not so much a need for donations as it is a need for a petition like statement made and supported by thousands of people.
      An idea to attract people would be to advertise a youtube contest were people create there own short video exclaiming the need for legal herb, pick the top 3 to present to the ONDCP backed by the total number of participants and signed supporters. Show them the immediate support of the people.
      I guess my basic thought is just get things fired up a bit. Use common internet mediums like Youtube, myspace, etc… to excite and attract perspective supporters. Maybe create an online poll and have current supporters spread it around related blogs and forums. Freedom is a powerful message right now, and the people are starting to observe our government more closely. Changing the marijuana laws in this country would send a very positive message to many who feel very downhearted about the current state of our nation.
      As always I’ll do what I can to help. hopefully my input is useful to someone

    4. ph0ed1n says:

      This is not just about the right to get high.

      This is about the Right (capital ‘R’ intentional) to do something our public servants condemn as too risky.

      The Controlled Substances Act (CSA) undeniably shows that certain recreational drug use is found by our public servants to be bad, solely because it has a “potential for abuse”.

      While evidence shows that marijuana is abused by some, and there are questionable studies ‘suggesting’ that marijuana ‘may’ cause harm, I challenge anyone to provide ‘irrefutable’ evidence proving an instance of marijuana use automatically causes ‘any’ harm (i.e. that marijuana use automatically constitutes abuse).

      Failure to provide that appropriate degree of evidence is failure to prove that marijuana use automatically violates another American’s Rights, denying the authority for our public servants to defy our Creator-given, unalienable Right to Liberty by banning its use.

      The U.S. Declaration of Independence, the essence of our nation born in violent sacrifice against government abuse, an essence separating our nation from any other in that Liberty is naturally-given, not government-given, supports our public servants only in securing our Rights, not defying them.

      No individual or group (e.g. government, public majority) can justly defy an American’s Rights.

      Do we really want to allow our public servants to continue to defy Liberty on the sole basis that something is too risky to them?

      Think of all of the high risk activities in our personal and professional lives (and the heavy damage from people exercising such risks). High risk yields high rewards at times for our nation, and who are any of you to tell me that drug use has no reward? You are entitled to your opinion, but not entitled to wield it against my Rights.

      Does the CSA undeniably confirm that our public servants have effectively found a way to change Creator-given to government-given, defeating the true Liberty so many Americans have sacrificed (and continue to sacrifice) their lives to secure? If so, isn’t that a front-burner issue?

      There are better ways to deal with abuse in society than Liberty-defying, all-out bans. Just ask the NIDA about the “strong correlation between stress and substance abuse”, noting there has never been a prominent ‘war’ on unhealthy stress.

      Our nation is born on opposition against government abuse.

      Our nation can only survive on opposition against government abuse.

      May our public servants promptly fix the errant shift of our nation from its strong foundation.

      Failing to do that sends the wrong message to children, and anyone else now through posterity.

    5. Eric says:

      McCain’s VP pick Sarah Palin is an admitted former pot smoker. From Achorage Daily News “Palin said she has smoked marijuana — remember, it was legal under state law, she said, even if illegal under U.S. law — but says she didn’t like it and doesn’t smoke it now.

      ‘I can’t claim a Bill Clinton and say that I never inhaled.’

      I guess marijuana really ruined her life. Yet another successful pot smoker.

    6. Andrew Lang says:


    7. David says:

      I find it funny that the ONDCP hides behind a computer screen to distribute its propaganda. It’s quite funny that they won’t publicly debate us. What do they have to lose? (Besides their credibility and funding). If they really are right, then they should be able to crush us. but, they’re not, and that’s why they won’t debate publicly: They’re just too damn scared.

    8. axlerodhomeboy says:

      I have heard folks argue against medical cannabis by saying that “better treatments already exist.” Isn’t that an admission that marijuana is a treatment? Shouldn’t folks who say this sort of thing be pressed into advocating the rescheduling of marijuana since they are basically admitting that it has medical value? Seriously, even if they consider it a weak substitute for various prescription drugs, aren’t they saying that it’s good, but there is something better?

      If what they claim is true, and “better treatment methods already exist”, then maybe chicken soup should be schedule I. I mean, chicken soup has been used as a natural remedy for ages, but they have fancy store bought drugs these days. The evidence that chicken soup has any theraputic properties is mostly anecdotal, but brother, if you tried my mother’s chicken soup one time, you would be hooked. We’re talking HIGH potential for abuse. If they really wanted to be consistent and reschedule chicken soup, they would have to rename it Sopadepollo first, and they’d have to make a movie just to stir public opinion. But if the ONDCP set their mind and their money to it, I’m sure they could pull it off.

      So anyways, you get the picture. The idea that Lortab somehow makes aspirin obsolete is confounding. I don’t believe that the “better treatments exist” argument holds much water. If somebody really does want to stick to that argument, then he must logically advocate rescheduling cannabis since he admits it has medical value, however inferior he considers it to be.

      This is the sort of predicament that prohibition folk find themselves in quite often. It’s an obvious dodge that one uses to deflect a question that he’s afraid might not get him re-elected… or hired… or whatever.

      Maybe that’s why the ONDCP published a handbook on holding your own in a drug legalization debate with Step 1 being: “Don’t get into a drug legalization debate.”

    9. matthew from New England says:

      WOOOOO RON PAUL!!!!!!!!!!!!

      LOL sorry had to.

    10. John says:

      WTF! I wrote a nice piece, but it won’t attach to the comment section! I then pasted the article I previously wrote into the comments section, and it said that the post already existed…and that is not the case 🙁