Marijuana Prohibition Tea Leaves Du Jour

  • by Allen St. Pierre, Former NORML Executive Director February 17, 2009

    I don’t think it hyperbolic to observe that the prohibition of marijuana appears to be in serious question as a public policy in the United States these days.

    Consider for just a moment the major changes promised by the Obama administration to end the federal law enforcement raids in states with legal protections for medical marijuana providers and patients; the mass questioning of marijuana prohibition via the outing of 14-time gold medal winner Michael Phelps; the crushing economy that apparently is disabusing many state legislators that the costs of prohibition can no longer be sustained and lastly, the graying of the Baby Boom generation (who, in the 1960s and 1970s scoffed at their parent’s Reefer Madness).

    What did today’s ‘mail’ deliver to my inbox that just makes my eyes roll:

    The Associated Press ran a story entitled ‘Lawmakers Across Nation Look To Booze for Revenues: Governors and lawmakers faced with budget deficits are advocating loosening laws that restrict alcohol consumption so that the state can increase its tax base.’

    — In Georgia, Connecticut, Indiana, Texas, Alabama and Minnesota, lawmakers are considering legislation this year that would end the ban on Sunday liquor sales. All but 15 states sell booze on Sundays.

    — In Nebraska, a state lawmaker has proposed allowing beer to be consumed in state parks as a way to boost tourism.

    — Other states, including Utah, are considering allowing the sale of liquor on Election Day.

    Drinkers shouldn’t break out the bubbly just yet: Two dozen states, including California, Massachusetts, Oklahoma and Virginia, are looking to help their budgets by raising alcohol taxes.

    Meanwhile, some states are trying to eliminate much less onerous hassles associated with buying alcohol.

    –In Colorado and Kansas, grocery stores are fighting for the right to sell full-strength beer. Most of the opposition in those states isn’t coming from morality groups, but instead from liquor stores who like having a corner on the market.

    –A similar effort is occurring in Tennessee, where lawmakers are considering allowing the sale of wine in supermarkets.

    –In Alabama, a proposal to raise the amount of alcohol allowed in beer from 6 percent alcohol by volume to 13.9 percent is being considered, although some church groups fear it would result in people getting drunker quicker.

    Gee, I wonder where else balance budget strapped states could take in billions in unrealized taxes? Hmmm…


    DEA has 106 planes, so why did it charter private jet for chief?

    McClatchy Newspapers reports that, in these belt-tightening times, especially for the federal government, that 1) the DEA has 106 airplanes that cost the taxpayers $76 million annually and 2) Even with this mini-Air Force, the DEA’s Acting Administrator Michelle Leonhart still chartered a private jet for over $128,000?



    Laguna Woods’ retirees still await medical pot dispensary —

    Responding to some residents’ quality-of-life pleas, the city last year agreed to let a marijuana facility set up shop. But so far no landlord has been willing to risk the wrath of Uncle Sam. LA Times

    As more and more senior citizens and Baby Boomers turn to the non-toxic, safe and affordable cannabis plant as a medicine, media stories about senior citizens being denied viable access to medical cannabis in retirement communities and hospices is only going to increase in the near term as the federal government’s strict prohibition against medical cannabis continues to loose both credibility and the weight of law in the American mind.


    State lawmakers looking to increase revenues by increasing public access to a dangerous and addictive drug (ethyl alcohol products), DEA getting long deserved public scrutiny for wasting tax dollars and senior citizens in California complain in the state’s largest paper about the need for greater retail access to medicinal cannabis…

    Yep, America’s cannabis prohibition laws really are primed now more than ever for substantive reform!

    45 responses to “Marijuana Prohibition Tea Leaves Du Jour”

    1. Trenity says:

      Good read. As far as medicinal marijuana, and the DEA raids.. I read this a couple of days ago:

      “The White House said it expects those kinds of raids to end once Mr. Obama nominates someone to take charge of DEA, which is still run by Bush administration holdovers. “The president believes that federal resources should not be used to circumvent state laws, and as he continues to appoint senior leadership to fill out the ranks of the federal government, he expects them to review their policies with that in mind,” White House spokesman Nick Shapiro said. [Washington Times]”

      Will this allow for more medical dispensaries to be opened up now, simply because there will be no fear of raids?

    2. Jeff says:

      The Government is tryin to kill US…

      They want US to Drink more Beer-__-

    3. herbalist 973 says:

      this government has finally really lost its mind. first they filled our heads with us all this crap about marijuana thats not true. now they want to add more alchol to an already dangerous SUBSTANCE and add more higher tax on it when we all know one year of fully legalizing canibus would cure every states tax problem guaranteed. these people in congress will do anything to stop marujuana prohibition. but me and THE GOOD PEOPLE AT NORML ( WONT STOP NOR WILL NORML AND ALL THE LISTENERS AND PEOPLE WHO CLICK THIS SITE EVERYDAY let a government destroy what norml has work so hard for

    4. […] NORML Blog » Blog Archive » Marijuana Prohibition Tea Leaves Du Jour […]

    5. Tim says:

      Yea, I’m gonna stop smoking cannabis and go get liquor,prozac and an automatic shotgun because weed is dangerous.

    6. D-Bag says:

      “Responding to some residents’ quality-of-life pleas, the city last year agreed to let a marijuana facility set up shop. But so far no landlord has been willing to risk the wrath of Uncle Sam.”

      All the more reason to open up shop!

      As more states get on board and dispensaries are created, the closer we get to having them become a part of every day life in our nation. There’s no way the DEA could keep up with the raids if more states are on board. The funding either won’t be there or someone higher up will cut them off eventually, simply because this country cannot afford it anymore. I truly believe all this.

      Open up shop NOW so that we can show all the citizens of this country just how serious we are about medical marijuana and state’s rights! In fact, that would be more of a message to the world than any protest, march or petition could ever get hope to accomplish.

    7. crash says:

      Am i the only person pissed off that people can steal billones of dollars and not go to jail. but if you get caught with bag or grow your Owen cannabis you go to jail it’s not right the government needs to change laws.

    8. Springheel Jak says:

      There is no better way to start my day then to open my homepages with my morning tea and find a new NORML article waiting patiently for me like a faithful canine with today’s mail and my slippers; so today is no exception.

      But while this is for sure a great read and I thank the NORML writing staff for their hard-hitting journalism, I can’t help but ask the following question: Where’s the stuff that we can use to bombard and stutter our politicians with?

      Where are the estimates and percentages on things like the state-by-state estimates in tax dollars waiting to be generated by legalizing cannabis?
      Where are the percentages on how many tax dollars could be saved by decriminalizing marijuana?
      How about the “prisoners” being held on marijuana related offences in state jails? How much would we save by releasing them and reducing the population of our over-crowded prisons?
      How about estimates on how many people would be able to look for well-paying jobs if their “Caught with marijuana one-time” offences were crossed out instead of having to sit at home waiting for welfare checks because no one will hire them? How much of a burden would be lifted from states then?
      Estimates on how many people who could even look for jobs without fear of being caught with marijuana in their system on mandated drug-tests? (I know of one friend who can’t even leave her hated part-time job at Hot Topic because she’s not sure if she wants to risk not being fully detoxed on another job opportunity she was offered that does drug-test but pays 3-4 times as much for less work. (Truck-call coordinator.)

      I realize that when cannabis is legalized it will be capitalized on faster then you can say “Mary Jane” and that it would be a multi-billion dollar industry over-night, generating millions upon millions in taxes for states crippled by our festering economy, but without things like those listed above we can’t even stand up and get the word out in order to even start said-multi-billion dollar industry for lack of substance and “Here’s the facts” statements for which to behead naysayers with.

      It only takes one person and one question to make us look part the fool and to have no one take us seriously afterwards.

      I’ll make you a deal NORML: Give me some substance for a few fliers and I’ll walk around my neighborhood sliding them in mailboxes in two jiggles of a jackrabbits ass. Deal?

    9. Troy - Free your mind says:

      What do we expect? We keep voting for the same politicians over and over, they are going to keep making the same decisions over and over.

      Start voting, and get involved if you want to make changes. Nancy Pelosi for example. If she were to be threatened with losing a large number of supporters over her inaction to bring marijuana reform to the table, she’d have no choice but to hop to.

    10. lori says:

      No,legalized drug dealers do not want us dead (no profit there) they just want us sick and taking THEIR drugs…have you listened to the side effects of those LEGAL drugs? Big government and big pharma are not worried about those side effects, they’ll just prescribe another drug to counteract those side effects and if that one has side effects……well another prescription will take care of those and so on, and more money for them, it’s not about us or how we feel, it’s about how much money we are giving them, and then they pass some of those big bucks along to the gov, and everyone is happy….except US ……….Legalize Hemp now…for the people