Oh The Irony: Speaker Of The House John Boehner Continues To Support Marijuana Prohibition

  • by Allen St. Pierre, Former NORML Executive Director September 15, 2011

    Unlike Tennessee Congressman Steve Cohen (who favors America having a fair and constitutionally consistent cannabis policy…), the current Speaker of the House of Representatives, John Boehner, simply does not get how hypocritical he is by favoring another 74 years of the failed federal Cannabis Prohibition, while at the same time, being a frequent consumer (and longtime political ally) of far more dangerous and deadly drugs like alcohol and tobacco.

    A NORML supporter from Ohio named Todd recently used NORML’s webpage to contact his elected representative in Congress, who just so happens to be the Speaker of the House John Boehner, to encourage him to become a co-sponsor of the Ron Paul/Barney Frank bill to allow states to legalize cannabis for responsible adult use.

    What Todd did was exactly what tens of thousands of other like-minded NORML supporters have done since late June, when H.R. 2306 was introduced: they contacted their member of Congress and asked them to support the passage of H.R. 2306.

    What cannabis reformers and consumers really need to do now is to send hundreds of thousands of letters and emails to their members of Congress, and to, like Todd, not take ‘no’ for an answer, especially from hypocrites like Speaker Boehner, who maybe one of the capital’s most notorious tobacco addicts and consumer of hard liquor.

    Roll Call photo from a Sept. 2010 event capturing then Minority Leader John Boehner using society's most deadly and addictive drug: Tobacco

    Last October at a fancy Washington restaurant in a section of town called ‘Barracks Row’, a week or so before his ascendency to the Speakership of the House, High Times’ associate publisher Rick Cusick and I watched Mr. Boehner (and five or six of his fellow Republican colleagues from the House, and one from the Senate) continuously leave their table–after rounds of shot glasses of hard liquor were consumed–to stand out in front of the establishment in a circle to smoke cigarettes. We witnessed this kind of excessive ‘drug’ consumption from Congressional leaders for over two hours.

    Mr. Boehner, the son of a bar owner in Ohio, needs to get real and quick regarding losing his Reefer Madness about cannabis and to start treating cannabis consumers with the same respect and dignity that he wants afforded to him as a tobacco and alcohol consumer.

    If not, then, based on his unscientific and non-sensible reply to his constituent in Ohio found below, the man should 1.) stop buying and consuming clearly deadly and dangerous drugs like hard booze and cigarettes and 2.) pass federal laws banning these unhealthy and unsafe products from people who’d be foolish enough to consume them.

    NORML thanks ‘Todd’ from Ohio for being a stand up cannabis law reformer who is not keen to be governed by a hypocrite (who would have him consume drugs much, much less safe—and toxic—than cannabis. Just like him….).

    Boehner writes below: “I am unalterably opposed to the legalization of marijuana or any other FDA Schedule I drug.  I remain concerned that legalization will result in increased abuse of all varieties of drugs, including alcohol.”

    Maybe the Speaker of the House is speaking for himself here as both the science and my own personal experience is crystal clear here: When adults consume cannabis products they consume less—or no—alcohol products.

    I, for one, have always publicly acknowledged that I consume far less alcohol (and don’t binge drink at all) if I have access to cannabis products.

    Further, in the twenty years I’ve worked at NORML and convening dozens of major pro-reform conferences, fundraising parties and events I’ve watched bar managers, restaurant owners and hotel catering managers from coast-to-coast do major double and triple takes on our alcohol consumption bills, insisting that there must be some kind of billing error. When, in fact, if 500 cannabis consumers are attending a NORML soiree, we as a group consume 50%-75% less alcohol than similar size events.

    At a large and famous San Francisco waterfront restaurant that hosted a NORML event a few years back, when I went into the manager’s office at the end of the night to settle the final bill and remit payment, he too was flabbergasted at the dearth of our large group’s alcohol consumption tab and wryly remarked to me: “No wonder ya’ll can’t get pot legalized, because, you’ll cut too deeply into the alcohol industry’s bottom line.”

    Please join Todd and tens of thousands of other citizens who do not support Cannabis Prohibition anymore by contacting your member of Congress and insist that they co-sponsor H.R. 2306.

    The process to lobby your member of Congress is easy, free and necessary to finally—and once and for all—end Cannabis Prohibition in America.

    Wed, Aug 24, 2011 at 1:19 PM, Congressman John Boehner wrote:

    Dear Todd:

    Thank you for contacting me regarding the legalization of marijuana.  I appreciate hearing from you.

    On June 23, 2011, Representative Barney Frank (D-MA) introduced H.R. 2306, the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2011.  H.R. 2306 would remove marijuana from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act to provide states with jurisdiction in the regulation of marijuana.  H.R. 2306 has been referred to the House Committees on the Judiciary and Energy and Commerce for consideration.

    According to the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), “research shows that marijuana use in its raw form is harmful and its average potency has tripled in the past 20 years.”  ONDCP goes on to say that “studies also show teens are using the drug at earlier ages and the earlier a person begins to use drugs, the more likely they are to progress to more serious abuse and addiction.”  In addition, the Department of Health and Human Services stated that “marijuana dependence in the U.S. population is higher than that for any other illicit drug and over 150,000 people who showed up voluntarily at treatment facilities in 2009 reported marijuana as their primary substance of abuse.”

    As you know, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has classified marijuana, together with heroin, LSD, methamphetamines, hashish, and a number of other drugs as Schedule I drugs.  According to the FDA, these drugs carry a high potential for dangerous abuse.  To date, no clinical study of marijuana has progressed to the level required for approval by the FDA.  Even more, the Department of Justice has reiterated its intent to enforce the Controlled Substances Act in states who have legalized marijuana for medicinal purposes.

    I am unalterably opposed to the legalization of marijuana or any other FDA Schedule I drug.  I remain concerned that legalization will result in increased abuse of all varieties of drugs, including alcohol.

    Thank you again for contacting me with your thoughts.  Please don’t hesitate to inform me of your concerns in the future.  To sign up for email updates, I invite you to visit my website at http://johnboehner.house.gov.


    John A. Boehner

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    Dear John Boehner,

    Wow thats a mouthful did someone write that for you.  Your seriously trying to tell me that marijuana is as harmful as lsd, crack, methamphetamines, cocaine,legal sildenafil,merinol and other “chemicals” when marijuana is a plant which is nearly impossible to overdose. You sir are uninformed as are most of our “representatives”, who, are supposed to represent the interest of the people, but end up representing their own interests entirely. I would think that given our current economic crisis, it would be ideal to look objectively at every opportunity to decrease frivolous spending, and increase revenue. By legalizing and taxing marijuana on a federal level, the taxes alone are estimated at billions of dollars annually. Given the annual cost of the failed war on drugs and incarcerated nonviolent marijuana users, the annual savings plus revenue could reach in the hundreds of billions of dollarsNot to mention the tens of thousands of jobs legalizing marijuana would create. This is common sense knowledge and neither you nor the “F.D.A.” can tell me otherwise.

    As for your statement ” I remain concerned that legalization will result in increased abuse of all varieties of drugs, including alcohol.” Please elaborate as I do not understand how the legalization and regulation of marijuana on a federal level, will result in increased abuse of other drugs and alcohol. Regulating marijuana will not only decrease it’s availability on the black market, but will also decrease its value, therefore being less available, and of less interest, to teens and other underage people.

    On the subject of the Department of Health and Human Services statement that “marijuana dependence in the U.S. population is higher than that for any other illicit drug and over 150,000 people who showed up voluntarily at treatment facilities in 2009 reported marijuana as their primary substance of abuse.” What this statement does not tell you is that roughly 97% of these 150,000 people “voluntarily” showed up because they were given an ultimatum by the courts when found in possesion of marijuana, rather than face probation, or even worse, jail time.

    How about the statement made by Francis Young, the D.E.A.s’ own judge, “Marijuana in it’s natural form, is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man.”  If marijuana is considered a schedule I narcotic with no medicinal benefits, why do we have Marinol, the  synthetic form of T.H.C. (tetrahydrocannabinol), the main psycoactive substance found in marijuana?.  And why is the “chemical” Marinol a schedule III drug, meaning it is considered to be non-narcotic and to have a low risk of physical or mental dependence, when it is another form of T.H.C.?. There has never been a documented human fatality from overdosing on tetrahydrocannabinol or cannabis in its natural form. However, the synthetic T.H.C. pill Marinol was cited by the FDA as being responsible for 4 of the 11,687 deaths from 17 different FDA approved drugs between January 1, 1997 to June 30, 2005.

    I would appreciate a personal response from you, rather than one of your pre-writen responses. Thank you for your time.



    123 responses to “Oh The Irony: Speaker Of The House John Boehner Continues To Support Marijuana Prohibition”

    1. Jeffrey says:

      That picture of John Boehner made me deciede that as soon as i’m done writing this i’m going to go out and smoke a cigarette.

    2. moldy says:

      Fantastic job Todd!! I hope you don’t mind if I steal some of your reply! Thanks!

    3. Eric says:

      Above is an initiative I wrote when CA tried to pass Prop 19. I’ve been trying to at least get the rough draft reviewed. It’s fairly thorough. I just hope someone will take the time to read it and provide some positive feedback. Thank you.

    4. Beth Morgan says:

      It should be “fewer – or no – alcohol products,” not “less – or no – alcohol products.”
      Otherwise, great blog entry.

    5. Eric says:

      For anyone interested in reading my draft, please go to the above link. Thank you.

    6. Don says:

      It will be a happy day for America when John Boehner is gone for good! His arrogance is astounding! I believe he is the main reason that not more good has been done since President Obama was elected. He does his utmost to block anything and everything the President Obama and the Democratic Party does and doesn’t seem to care if it hurts the country as long as it benefits him. He really needs to go away – far away…

      I have, once again, written to my State officials about this.

    7. zach says:

      His niece is in one of my classes at Northern Kentucky University. I should bring this up lol.

      I hate how every single congress member (almost) sends the exact same message pretty much. “Marijuana is dangerous, its not approved by the FDA, yada yada yada”

      It shows how ignorant they are when there is hard proof of the benefits of cannabis and proof that keeping it illegal is expensive and not productive.

    8. Justin says:

      Failure of America. Really why does he start out by saying “Thank you for contacting me regarding the legalization of marijuana. I appreciate hearing from you.”

      I want to stop him and kick him out of his job. Instead of saying thank you why can’t it be discussed, we don’t need this screwbag telling us that marijuana is harmful in a study he found. How about he let the people decide for a chance, because I can’t find it to be harmful in any way. Peanuts are more dangerous and even water using the same principle.

      I know what I want but some guy who never tried smoking pot or would ever be willing to try is getting paid to keep it’s status illegal based off some random garbage that obviously has no truths.

      American people want it legal, you get the money, we get our peace of mind.

      The people who don’t want it legal come take a look at what it can do for people instead of focusing on negatives and exaggerating everything. Look at alcohol or cigs I hate the smell of cigs, and alcohol gives me hangovers. I love the smell of pot because there are so many varieties just like the coffee but coffee is OK to drink. Quit making us stay in the prison of your world, America is huge and the cultural difference is huge. Let us be who we are so we can progress finally. Plus don’t tell me the US wouldn’t mind an extra 17 Billion a year in pure profit while giving farmers in America green jobs.

    9. Owen says:

      Great job Todd. Thank you!

      John “Its my party and I’ll cry if I want to” Boehner is a drug addict and a hypocrite. Piece of shit…….

    10. Suzanne says:

      Thank you! Very well written Todd. It’s pretty easy to see where he (Boehner) is coming from, being the son of a bar owner. I too, now that I can grow my own marijuana for consumption, rarely drink alcohol. My family thanks me, my children are happier, I am happier around them, I am happier period. How is that wrong? My pursuit of happiness has somewhat been reached. Very thankful to be a Californian, but equality for those who choose a safer alternative to poison still needs to be acheived. Thank you for being another voice not affraid to speak out. We all thank you, and thank you NORML (and your supporters)!!!