Cato, Cannabis, Conference and Coalescing For Reforms

  • by Allen St. Pierre, Former NORML Executive Director November 14, 2011

    Joining my colleagues and friends Morgan Fox of Marijuana Policy Project, Paul Armentano of NORML and Norman Stamper of LEAP, I’m an honored contributor to a series of essays published by the Cato Institute’s Unbound series on the topic of cannabis law reform and the war on some drugs.

    My essay examines 1) identifying concerns for reformers, 2) why cannabis law reform enjoys ever-increasing public support, 3) who supports continuing cannabis prohibition and 4) what are some steps to hasten reforms.

    Many thanks to Cato’s Jason Kuznicki for inviting an array of contemporary essays from the perspectives of active reformers!

    Allen St. Pierre, executive director, NORML, November 11, 2011:

    With so many onerous institutional discriminations and restrictions—and the price of medical cannabis remaining inordinately high because of the existence of cannabis Prohibition—patients who genuinely need access to this low toxicity, naturally occurring herbal medicine would be far better served by ending cannabis Prohibition entirely than in trying to carve out special legal exemptions to the existing Prohibition.

    The other essays in the series from Fox, Armentano and Stamper are found here.

    Speaking of Cato, tomorrow they’re hosting what I hope is a news-making conference in Washington, D.C. that examines the growing tide of public wont and scientific research in support around the world for a different direction then ‘prohibition’ laws for currently illicit drugs like cannabis, instead favoring the emerging public health and criminal justice doctrine of ‘harm reduction’.

    The line up of speakers and topics should not be ignored by the media and policymakers as Cato has assembled an impressive line-up:

    Former President, Brazil, Fernando Henrique Cardoso
    Former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mexico, Jorge Castaneda
    Speaker of the House of Deputies, Uruguay, Luis Alberto Lacalle Pou
    Wall Street Journal, Editorial Board Member and Columnist, Mary Anastasia O’Grady
    Columnist Glenn Greenwald
    Law Professor and LEAP board member, Leigh Maddox
    Drug Policy Alliance, Director, Ethan Nadelmann, Ph.D
    Daily Caller, Editor, Tucker Carlson

    Video messages are expected from former President, Mexico, Vicente Fox and former US Secretary of State, George Schultz.

    Looks like you can watch the conference at Cato Live!

    19 responses to “Cato, Cannabis, Conference and Coalescing For Reforms”

    1. Anonymous says:

      Do these speakers have trillions of dollars ?
      Pharma., alcohol, oil & tobacco does .
      They win again .
      We lose .

      We’re talking mass genocide around the globe with over 60,000 dead in, Mexico alone . All this over a senseless drug ( Marijuana ) war fueled by their lust for money and greed . They know of no afterlife . Their thought is money and dominance over the World .They have lost their love of human life .

    2. Brandon says:

      Pot is the new black.

    3. Joshua Logue says:

      One thing that I disagree with in this article is that it doesn’t have to be from the bottom up… If we get a president who will place an executive order for the descheduling of marijuana from the schedule of narcotics, then we have won 50% of the war (the federal side), then we can work it from the bottom up for local legalization…

      Gary Johnson has not only a) been a proponent for marijuana legalization since 1999 (while he was still governor of NM), and b) promised the immediate descheduling of marijuana, but he has also c) promised to pardon those incarcerated due to non-violent drug offenses.

      I 100% agree that we need more super rich people than George Soros funding our cause. Anyone? Please? It sickens me that I have to stand on the Soros side of the fence waving his flag… especially since I stand clearly on the other side of the fence burning that same flag when it comes to issues of the second Amendment…

    4. Greg says:

      Keep doing what we’re doing and we’ll keep getting what we’re getting. No democrat or republican will stand for the people against the corporate powers which enslave us. If you want something different vote the Green party into office and watch how fast the world begins to resemble the best we can imagine. From ending the drug war (as well as the other culture wars we’ve been fighting since the birth of our nation) to ending our addiction to oil, and remodeling our educational system, to name but a few the Green party is the key to the change we demand. for he past century we’ve voted for only democrats or republicans and our nation has sunk deeper into the muck with each election. Break the chains of the two party system. break the chains that bind us.

    5. TheOracle says:

      It is a nice line-up, but I think it falls short. I love the fact that it addresses cannabis in the Middle East, especially Afghanistan, where some of the world’s best cannabis comes from.

      However, I am disappointed NOT to see any names from the U.N. like Yury Fedotov or anyone else from the U.N. who can clear the way for legalization. We have this shit whereby countries that want to legalize can not because of international treaties and international law. What bullshit!

      Blurb from UNODC site on Fedotov:

      Mr. Yury Fedotov: appointed to United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and Director-General of the United Nations Office in Vienna (UNOV) on 9 July 2010. He holds the rank of Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations. . . . Mr. Fedotov is a career diplomat.

      Just get the U.N. on board. Then, let’s surf this wave.

    6. […] NORML Blog, Marijuana Law Reform Share and Enjoy: […]

    7. bob says:

      Marijuana, in its natural form, is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man.


      Doesn’t science also prove that Cannabis laws are crimes against humanity?

    8. JC says:

      I read Allen St Pierre’s essay and it is great, I have a question on his point on people getting better organized via the internet etc. I already do not support candidates that are prohibitionists, where do you find ones that are for legalization? I have signed petitions that i assume are sent to my reps from NORML and other like minded organizations, have written emails directly to my reps, and get no response on this issue.
      The only thing I can see as proof positive on this are the cosponsors of HR 2306 which has grown to 19 as of today. I wonder if there is another way to find pro cannabis candidates. (if there are any in FL let me know)
      Just for the record, I am not a single issue voter, as I saw another poster a while back get admonished for saying Ron Paul is the answer, it is just that some of my favorite issues are interrelated to Cannabis reform,i.e. Jobs, Environment(Hemp) and Medicine, not to mention freedom.
      Thanks again to NORML and all its members.