Prohibitionists Don’t Read The Papers

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director November 9, 2009

    Say what you will about prohibitionists — and I say plenty — but, if nothing else, they are consistent. Regardless of the circumstances, they stick to their talking points — no matter how instantly refutable their claims may be.

    Case in point. CBS News online today ran part one of an ongoing debate between recently retired Orange County, California Judge Jim Gray (who many of you recently watched testify before the California Assembly Committee on Public Safety here) and prohibitionist profiteer David Evans (who was last heard lying about medical marijuana law reform in New Jersey in a debate with NORML’s Chris Goldstein, which may be heard here).

    Predictably, early in the CBS News debate Evans cites the Netherlands’ pot policies — which allow for the regulated sale of small amounts of cannabis to citizens age 18 an older — as an argument in favor of maintaining U.S.-style marijuana prohibition. According to Evans, Dutch marijuana use “more than doubled” after liberalization, leading the government to “formally announce its mistake” in 2004.

    Hmmm, I guess Mr. Evans must have purposely avoided reading the newspaper last week or else he would have seen this widely disseminated report from Reuters Wire Service, published on Friday.

    Dutch among lowest cannabis users in Europe — report
    via Reuters

    The Dutch are among the lowest users of marijuana or cannabis in Europe despite the Netherlands’ well-known tolerance of the drug, according to a regional study published on Thursday. Among adults in the Netherlands, 5.4 percent used cannabis, compared with the European average of 6.8 percent, according to an annual report by the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, using latest available figures.

    … The policy on soft drugs in the Netherlands, one of the most liberal in Europe, allows for the sale of marijuana at “coffee shops”, which the Dutch have allowed to operate for decades, and possession of less than 5 grams (0.18 oz).

    Not surprisingly, Evans also failed to cite a World Health Organization report, published last year, which reported:

    US leads the world in illegal drug use
    via CBS News

    Despite tough anti-drug laws, a new survey shows the U.S. has the highest level of illegal drug use in the world.

    The World Health Organization’s survey of legal and illegal drug use in 17 countries, including the Netherlands and other countries with less stringent drug laws, shows Americans report the highest level of cocaine and marijuana use.

    For example, Americans were four times more likely to report using cocaine in their lifetime than the next closest country, New Zealand (16% vs. 4%). Marijuana use was more widely reported worldwide, and the U.S. also had the highest rate of use at 42.4% compared with 41.9% of New Zealanders.

    In contrast, in the Netherlands, which has more liberal drug policies than the U.S., only 1.9% of people reported cocaine use and 19.8% reported marijuana use.

    The WHO report went on to conclude: “The Netherlands, with a less criminally punitive approach to cannabis use than the U.S., has experienced lower levels of use, particularly among younger adults. Clearly, by itself, a punitive policy towards possession and use accounts for limited variation in national rates of illegal drug use.

    But Mr. Evans isn’t content to just simply lie about the Dutch. Elsewhere in the debate he falsely implies that the U.K. also experienced a spike in marijuana use after the British government temporarily downgraded its cannabis classification in 2004. (Parliament ended its experiment with decriminalization in 2008, a move that Evans argues was because of “the more lethal quality of the cannabis now available.”) The truth, however, was just the opposite.

    Fewer young people using cannabis after reclassification

    via The Guardian

    Cannabis use among young people has fallen significantly since its controversial reclassification in 2004, according to the latest British Crime Survey figures published today.

    The Home Office figures showed the proportion of 16 to 24-year-olds who had used cannabis in the past year fell from 25% when the change in the law was introduced to 21% in 2006/07.

    As for anyone who thinks they can stomach reading Mr. Evans lies in part two of the debate, be sure to log on here tomorrow.

    40 responses to “Prohibitionists Don’t Read The Papers”

    1. perry says:

      Keep up the great work and lets legalize it

    2. rhw007 says:

      Thank You so much for the continuation of the work you folks do in debunking these frauds and keeping on the fight on the front lines. I’m 57 and hope to be able to see many things before I go. Legalization and taxing of ALL hemp production in US.

    3. Brett says:

      they simply don’t get it. they care nothing about what the average joe thinks. they are selfish and are leeches of society. and half of America believes these prohibitionists!

      nothing sort of being punched in the face will ever fix these twisted human souls….

    4. Darrell says:

      Well it just goes to show that most prohibitionists will not change their way of thinking.I live in Oklahoma,our US Senator Tom Coburn,who also is a medical doctor,has said that Cannabis has no medical benifits whatsoever. Coburn and Evans make a “good” team

    5. Joel: the other Joel says:

      Well said about the prohibitionist. They are liars from the very beginning and they would remain that way to the very end.

    6. das says:

      Of course they are! It’s a question of ideology for them… just like Darwin’s 150year old research was turn into materialistic ideology…and despite huge amount of new evidences right into their faces, its still blooming today, destroying the planet and dividing the people. But since it’s each individual’s own responsibility to open their minds there’s some point of life to it)))

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    8. Ben Smokes Pot says:

      Judge Gray is the only guy presenting rational arguments. Any person with a brain who reads that stuff will know the difference.

      This is the era of the internet, information, YouTube, GOOGLE search. 1972, they managed to lie their way out of the strengthening reform movement, but be assured that they will have a hard time this time.

      This is why Obama won the Presidency, because the internet! Now that this issue is picking up speed again, the truth will eventually win; the facts are on our side, and the information cannot be suppressed.

    9. Chris C. says:

      I just want to say another fine job by NORML for pointing out and debunking yet another wave of lies and misinformation. The truth is on our side and I thank you guys for posting not only the truth, but the links to prove it. I use these facts to re-educate people I meet in my life who are misinformed about cannabis and I recommend anyone else to do the same.

    10. QueenSativa says:

      Thanks! I can always use more ammo against the morons against legalization!