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  • by Allen St. Pierre, Former NORML Executive Director June 30, 2008

    And How It Informs About Who Supports Cannabis Prohibition…

    “Supporting marijuana use is an example of domestic terrorism—it puts the public at great risk and threatens the very fabric of our society.” -Ron Brooks, President of National Narcotics Officers’ Association, 4/11/08

    In my many annual public appearances and media interviews advocating for cannabis law reforms, the question will often arise ‘if NORML and the other drug policy reform groups are right that there are safe and viable alternatives to cannabis prohibition laws, who then opposes you in trying to amend current state and federal laws?’

    The recent political endorsement given to former Republican congressman and ardent drug warrior Doug Ose by the National Narcotics Officers’ Association (NNOA) provides a handy opportunity that helps reveal exactly who are America’s prohibitionists and what are their motivations against ending cannabis prohibition.

    Who Actually Supports (Or Profits From) Cannabis Prohibition?
    At this juncture having worked over 17 years at NORML/NORML Foundation, my standard reply, without achieving doctoral dissertation length is 1.) There are five basic subgroups of Americans who strongly oppose any reforms in cannabis laws, and 2.) These subgroups constantly seek to deepen and enhance prohibition laws, i.e., politically and culturally oppose citizens and organizations who don’t favor prohibition laws; advocate for greater criminal sanctions and fewer civil liberties (more penalties, longer prison sentences, higher fines, and more of the ‘Big Three Ps’: police/prosecutors/prisons) and civil penalties (forfeiture, drivers license suspension, loss of child custody for parents who consume cannabis, denial of college loans to students busted for pot, removal from public-assisted living housing, etc…).

    The Five Pillars Of Pot Prohibition
    For all intent and purposes, in my opinion, educators, religious leaders, health organizations, military leadership, business and insurance institutions, and economists are not rabid supporters of cannabis prohibition per se. However, the five subgroups of Americans who do support rigorous cannabis prohibition laws and penalties are: (more…)