National Public Radio

  • by Allen St. Pierre, Former NORML Executive Director February 2, 2014

    The Super Bowl bet between Washington and Colorado NORML chapters, along with interviews with NORML board members Rick Steves and Kevin Oliver from Washington, was featured this morning on NBC’s Today Show. Additionally, Marketplace, heard on National Public Radio, also covered NORML chapter wager and the fact that the two teams competing for NFL title are from the states with legal cannabis sales.

  • by Allen St. Pierre, Former NORML Executive Director August 9, 2013

    In an interview earlier this week with National Public Radio, US Attorney General Eric Holder publicly acknowledged the obvious:

    -There are too many citizens in prison on low level drug charges

    -The mandatory minimum sentencing guidelines employed by the federal government should be reformed

    -The inherent outcome of the federal criminal justice system affirms serious racial disparities exist


    Holder: “The war on drugs is now 30, 40 years old. There have been a lot of unintended consequences. There’s been a decimation of certain communities, in particular communities of color.”

    “[W]e can certainly change our enforcement priorities, and so we have some control in that way,” Holder said. “How we deploy our agents, what we tell our prosecutors to charge, but I think this would be best done if the executive branch and the legislative branch work together to look at this whole issue and come up with changes that are acceptable to both.”

    Listen to interview here.

    The Drug Policy Alliance has multiple suggestions on how President Obama and Attorney General Holder ‘can go big’ in their last three years in office to substantively reform the failed war on some drugs.

  • by Allen St. Pierre, Former NORML Executive Director December 5, 2012

    On what sounded more like ‘National Pot Radio’ than good ol’ National Public Radio, a two-part series today on the morning and afternoon shows did a good job casting light and answering questions the public has about when and how WA State’s new cannabis legalization laws are going to be implemented.

    Listen to first installment on Morning Edition.

    Listen to second installment on All Things Considered.

  • by Allen St. Pierre, Former NORML Executive Director May 24, 2012

    Going back to at least 1998, NORML has been receiving complaints from parents and students that while the state where the university is located has legalized medical cannabis use and possession, because of the federal government’s recalcitrance and ‘flat earth’ view on cannabis’ medical utility, the student is threatened with sanctions or expulsion if they get caught with a lawful medicine.

    Seventeen states and the District of Columbia have legalized medical cannabis, more states are expected to soon join the cohort. The issue of medical cannabis on campus is a real and serious one.

    National Public Radio examines the growing and untenable friction between state and federal laws regarding cannabis, with a profile from southern Maine.



  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director June 14, 2010

    For decades, proponents of marijuana prohibition have argued that the enactment of cannabis decriminalization or legalization — or in some cases, just the mere act of talking about legalization — will adversely impact the public’s use of marijuana or young people’s attitudes toward it.

    In fact, over time the allegation that ending prohibition will inevitably increase marijuana use and societal harms has become our opposition’s primary talking pointeven though there exists no evidence of this supposed cause-and-effect scenario anywhere in the world!

    In March I published a white paper, Real World Ramifications of Cannabis Legalization and Decriminalization, summarizing the bulk of this evidence — gleaned from studies published in America and throughout the world. Included among them was the recent World Health Organization paper that concluded that the United States possesses the highest levels of illicit drug use among any nation in the world, while simultaneously imposing some of the globe’s harshest drug law penalties and enforcement.

    Nonetheless, opponents of sensible marijuana law reform — such as those leading the charge against the passage of California’s 2010 Control and Tax Cannabis Initiative — continue to publicly make this false claim.

    That is why it is refreshing to see National Public Radio, in their latest in an ongoing series of stories on the marijuana movement, take John Lovell — a lobbyist for California police chiefs — to task for claiming that passage of this November’s statewide initiative would inevitably increase use. It will not — and John Lovell knows it.

    And now the rest of America knows it too.

    Do Looser Laws Make Pot More Popular? Not So Far
    via NPR

    Marijuana use is not on the rise.

    At least, that’s the gist of the National Survey on Drug Use and Health done every year by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. In 2008 — the most recent data available — 6.1 percent of Americans 12 and older admitted using marijuana in the previous month.

    In absolute terms, that number is probably low; after all, this survey asks people to admit to using illegal drugs. But the real significance of the number is that it’s steady — it’s been hovering right around 6 percent since 2002. Drug researchers say the real percentage may be higher, but it’s probably holding steady, too.

    And yet, during those same years, marijuana has been edging toward legitimacy. States with medical marijuana laws have made it possible for thousands of people to buy pot over the counter, in actual stores. Some police departments have started de-emphasizing marijuana arrests.

    Critics of liberalization believe this inevitably leads to greater consumption.

    “It’s axiomatic,” says John Lovell, a lobbyist for California police chiefs. He’s also helping to organize the campaign against an initiative in California to make marijuana legal for adults.

    “Anytime you take a product — any product — from a less convenient sales forum to a more convenient sales forum, use increases,” Lovell says.

    But cities where marijuana have been liberalized have not seen a spike in consumption, so far. In 2003, voters in Seattle made marijuana the “lowest law enforcement priority” for city police. Researchers tracked the results. Caleb Banta-Green studies drug use trends at the University of Washington’s Alcohol and Drug Abuse Institute. He says self-reported consumption and pot-related emergency room visits remained flat, before, during and after the initiative went into effect.

    Banta-Green says he gets similar reports from drug researchers in other cities.

    “I’m not hearing stories on a regular basis that, ‘There was liberalization in marijuana policies, and soon afterwards, usage rates increased dramatically,’ ” he says.

    Read the full story here.

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