NORML’s Deputy Director Debates The Drug Czar

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director March 26, 2010

    Well, the ex-Drug Czar Barry McCaffrey that is. (As a rule, acting Drug Czar’s do not debate marijuana law reformers in public forums.)

    Below is the clip from this afternoon’s edition of the Dylan Ratigan Show on MSNBC.

    Before anyone comments, yes I am well aware that the host — who was clearly favorable to NORML’s position — did not give us equal time. Then again, former General McCaffrey is a regular consultant to MSNBC (and a guest) so the deference was to be expected. That said, Ratigan, to his credit, did allow me the first and the last word on the subject.

    Anyone who wants to read all of what I would have liked to have said, given the proper time, can see my recent commentary — Are U.S. Pot Laws the Root Cause of Mexican Drug Violence? — from last week’s online edition of The Hill, or you can listen to my recent appearance on FoxNews.com. I think they say it all.

    73 responses to “NORML’s Deputy Director Debates The Drug Czar”

    1. Robert Derenthal says:

      Kick ass Paul! You countered that fascist (excuse me, czar) McCaffery point by point and no doubt Dylan was sympathetic but honest with the facts, further putting you on the greater ground in the debate. That’s the way to debate these fools–present how legalization, regulation, and taxation would benefit us economically and in terms of net societal costs.

    2. Justin Rasmussen says:

      I understand the need for discussion in a public forum, but I’m pretty sure that subtitles should be popping up when the former Drug Czar pulls another lie out of his pocket, or just dodges a question he knows he can’t answer without making it sound like legalization is a good idea.

      Unfortunately no news show could do that without looking one sided. But it should be entirely fair to call BS flat out when he says we would be adding to health care costs, and when he said that he thought the numbers on the cost of the drug war and imprisonment of innocent people were inaccurate, when if anything they were rounded down.

      Anti-Drug Lies are the only thing that has kept marijuana illegal this long, and the people who are on the opposite side of the fence should be forced to at least be honest during a discussion or debate. It is entirely too difficult to have to both disprove lies and try to explain the pro legalization side of the argument, it is simply a scare tactic on their part as well as a strategy to burn more of the time we are given to speak our side.

    3. Matunos says:

      What’s this guy’s deal with “drug-based behavior” among truck drivers and airline pilots. Guess what… truck drivers already use speed and pilots already drink.

      Isn’t it possible that truck drivers and pilots and teachers and whatnot can all enjoy the inebriation of their choice when they’re not on the job and then still be productive members of society during the working hours?

      What a maroon.

    4. Robert Derenthal says:

      Another point, perhaps the most important of all. Anyone who watches needs to pay particular attention to when Dylan Ratigan asked McCaffery if, under his and other’s idea of prohibition as the only way of dealing with any drug or mind-altering substances, the country would be better off with alcohol and tobacco were illegal. Notice how McCaffery responds–he doesn’t answer either way, but instead merely states how dangerous those two substances can be. Anyone debating the prohibitionists or asked questions from interviewers or journalists need to press on whether the prohibitionists support alcohol or tobacco and not let them get away with deflection, press for a yes or no answer vigorously. And also bring up alcohol prohibition from the 1920s and early 30s and point to its utter failure and accompanying criminal element and its resulting complete repeal. America has been better ever since

    5. John Madden says:

      It will pass and who cares if teachers are smoking pot. Old people with no intellectual capacity don’t support this. It is insanity to continue with these policies and this “War on Drugs”. This guy’s a moron. Not one shred of evidence? And cigarettes kill people, marijuana doesn’t. And it’s only illegal in Mexico because the US has forced these policies on our trading partners.. Man I wish they’d let me at this asshole, I’d eat this dude for lunch…

    6. Anonymous says:


      Muahahahaha, crash and burn Drug Czar….. crash and burn! 😀

    7. jah says:

      wow did mccaffrey even make a point

    8. Jed The head says:

      Wow this debate is getting very interesting. I expect more and more prime time coverage of this issue as we get closer to the November election. There is certainly a sound of desperation in the prohibitionist point of view. I think they understand they are in big trouble here as most Americans are not buying their bullshit statistics anymore. The scare tactics of the past are seen through like cellophane. I can’t wait to blow smoke in the face of a radical prohibitionist once it becomes legal. Thanks Paul you ROCK dude!!!

    9. Just Legalize It says:

      As always Paul… great job! On the one hand, it sucks that you didnt get more air time… but on the other hand it is good that Barry got to spew a lot of stuff that makes no sense and he was also talking about “drugs” … he was lumping in cannabis with all the other drugs…. more and more Americans are seeing that and they are realizing that cannabis is not cocaine…. is not heroin… is not meth… etc… i actually love when prohibitionists talk nonsense.. because i feel that my generation, i am 26, has evolved past all that nonsense and we will be the ones to drive cannabis prohibition into the ground…….

      it is no longer a question of if….. it is a question of when…… almost every single day it is looking like cannabis prohibition will end sooner rather than later

    10. MatterofLiberty says:

      Something I would like to see brought up in these debates is the fact that companies both private & public could still screen against users of cannabis just like they can screen against alcohol (ie teachers or nurses may still be prevented from using cannabis in a world of legal markets) So Mr Mccaffery would still be incorrect in assuming that all sorts of professional would be “abusing” Cannabis.