Mainstream Media Looks At Marijuana Prohibition

  • by Allen St. Pierre, Former NORML Executive Director January 9, 2009

    Fire Up The Digital Recorders! January Is ‘Marijuana’ Month On The Groove Tube

    As if this month was not busy enough with the arrival of Barack Obama to the White House and an ever-growing popular buzz about the need for cannabis law reform all over the media and internet, three major MSM outlets are scheduled to broadcast prime time specials examining aspects of cannabis prohibition.

    On Friday, January 16, the venerable NBC news show Dateline has scheduled an hour-long profile of the tragic death of Florida college student Rachel Hoffman. Ms. Hoffman was arrested with cannabis and unfortunately trusted local police to become an undercover informant, which ultimately led to her murder. Her shocking death has forced Florida law enforcement to re-examine the use of confidential informants in drug cases and raised the question publicly about decriminalizing cannabis for adult use.

    ABC 20/20 correspondent John Stossel’s investigative unit is going to cast its usually critical eye at government overreach and wasteful spending, this time specifically towards the noted case of medical cannabis provider Charles Lynch. By all media accounts and advanced in his legal defense, Mr. Lynch was operating a ‘Main Street’ medical cannabis dispensary in Santa Barbara, California in compliance with local and state medical cannabis laws. However, the federal government continues to selectively arrest and prosecute medical cannabis providers under federal laws. Mr. Lynch’s appeal for a new trial has been rejected and he now potentially faces a mandatory five-year sentence at an upcoming sentencing hearing. Depending on the editing process, the story will likely broadcast either Friday the 9th or 16th @ 10PM (eastern).

    Business network CNBC has produced an one-hour special called Marijuana, Inc. to premiere at 9 pm (eastern), January 22. Fascinated by the multi-billion untaxed, unregulated cannabis business in the United States, notably on the west coast, producers fanned out to interview cultivators, medical cannabis dispensary owners, middle-class cannabis consumers and of course law enforcement.

    Lastly, NORML hears whispers of a major piece about cannabis prohibition being researched for publication at America’s largest Sunday newspaper circulation drop-in, Parade.

    65 responses to “Mainstream Media Looks At Marijuana Prohibition”

    1. melissa burdette says:

      Well, perhaps some of the money being wasted on social cannibis users can be put to something more useful. Perhaps Jessica Lynch and her family would have prefered more of our tax money being spent on keeping better tabs on sex predators. I sure think tax dollars would be better spent this way.

    2. Dan says:

      EXACTLY! WOOO! Somebody gets it!


    3. Ragnarok says:

      holy shit. thats all i have to say. this has to be some of the best news ever. along with teh change.org scenario, it seems we, after so many years of struggle are starting to reach fruition. we are FINALLY reaching people! it is only a matter of time until marijuana is 100% legal. and i for one am exited. big props to all who have fought over the years for this fight. but keep going. we are almost there. dont let it slip away now!! HOORAH!!!

    4. Cody says:

      This is HUGE news! It’s about time national media has woken up and decided to investigate the absolutely ineffective War on Drugs.

    5. Jason says:

      I just hope that these specials take a more critical look at prohibition than National Geographic’s Marijuana Nation. There is plenty of coverage on the widespread underground marijuana market and the billions of dollars being spent on both sides of the law. Let’s hope that these specials will actually ask questions about whether or not prohibition is working and if perhaps we need to rethink how we are handling this issue.

    6. Stephen says:

      Government needs a swift kick in the ASS!

    7. Chris S. says:

      I can’t wait for this to air. But the only thing is if they will edit some content to make some people stand differently than they say. Or if some info will be misleading or a quick out like ” keeping it away from our kids”.

    8. The Oracle says:

      Keep up the drumbeat!

      Lisa Ling had a recent special, and it would be useful to keep the beat going into February by getting that on other cable channels such as History and/or Travel Channel if not on mainstream channels, too. Whatever you can dig up and get ready in a hurry to keep the beat going every month because once it stops the pressure on politicians is off. I think a report on Gettman’s research and research of others about how much revenue legalization can bring in to get us out of this economic crisis is in order–make that a two-parter, a “to be continuesd” reportage. A PBS sister complimentary documentary makes the next beat. Have Congress or at least a committee or ad hoc group send a correspondence to the DEA about rescheduling cannabis, also. Conclusion in some reportage, then have it be a suggestion on the shows’ ends in the following drumbeat shows.

      Such are good summer reruns!

      “The Beat Goes On”, Sonny & Cher

    9. Jimmy says:

      FINALLY! Make sure to pass this article along to anyone you know who might be interested in these showtime events!

    10. Barberito! says:

      I am tremendously excited to hear Libertarian John Stossel’s take on this. He generally does a fantastic job of making the government look like the bloated authoritarian apparatus that it is! John is singular among our modern 4th Wing media, in that he actually cares about the truth, not just the government’s version of “truth.” If you haven’t yet seen his masterpiece ‘politically incorrect guide to politics,” watch it here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Phs6CwnutoY

      And Parade? That should be interesting1 I never knew them to run anything very controversial, but they do have some good sob-stories…maybe the story of cannabis prohibition and related government tyranny will be the biggest sob-story yet!

      Good reporting, NORML – thanks for the heads-up!