Archive for the ‘ron paul’ category

New York Times OpDoc: A True Satire Of The War on Some Drugs

April 27th, 2013

While there is nothing genuinely funny about a seventy-five year prohibition on cannabis that has arrested over 25 million cannabis consumers, making fun of the failed policy never goes out of style, especially when done right, with aplomb, which the NORML staff occasionally highlights on an otherwise serious-minded public policy blog.

While over a week-old it would seem a crime itself not to share this New York Times so-called OpDoc (where videos rather than guest columns are submitted). The Gregory Brothers, a quartet of video artists from Brooklyn, absolutely skew the disparity between American society’s hypocritical legal vs illegal drug paradigm.

They accomplish this by very humorous employment of auto-tune and eye-rolling use of politicians’ own words about the now near universally acknowledged failed war on some drugs.

Check out former Congressman Ron Paul, New York governor Andrew Cuomo and New Jersey governor Chris Christie (with intentional help from Kevin Smith and Jason Mewes of ‘Jay and Silent Bob’ fame) sing in a way, about a subject matter, they surely didn’t intend t00 when they opened their mouths and spoke the truth about an unpopular public policy (which, ironically, is what elected policymakers are supposed to do in democracies).

You can watch the video here.

Enjoy!

Barney Frank: “We should press our advantage.”

December 28th, 2012

frank1

I attended a progressive event with MPP’s Morgan Fox in D.C. last Tuesday, where Congressmen John Conyers (D-MI) and Barney Frank (D-MA) both spoke.

Unsolicited — in front of the 60 or 70 activists and opinion leaders in attendance — Rep. Conyers made an off-handed criticism of the drug war, which was nice to hear.

And Rep. Frank spent most of his time at the microphone talking about the marriage-equality victories on November 6 in four states, saying a few times that the gay-rights community “must press our advantage.”

In other words, if the political momentum is on your side, you should use that momentum.

After their remarks, I chatted with Rep. Frank one-on-one.  (This would surely be the last time I speak to him before he retires from the U.S. House in January.)  After congratulating me on our wins in Colorado and Washington on November 6, he said to me, “We must press our advantage.”

In fact, that’s what we’re going to do with a new slate of ballot initiatives for November 2016, as well as congressional legislation to allow states to determine their own marijuana policies without federal interference.

I want to thank Congressmen Barney Frank and Ron Paul (R-TX) for their service in the U.S. House; both men are retiring on the same day, as it turns out.  They’ve made a wonderful contribution to the marijuana-policy-reform movement through their legislative leadership over the last three decades.

Gary Johnson Calls Attention to Marijuana Prohibition

September 10th, 2012

Gary Johnson, this year’s Libertarian Party candidate for president, spoke at a rally on Tuesday outside the Democratic National Convention. He criticized both President Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney for avoiding one of the nation’s most important political issues. Obama has laughed off or ignored persistent questions about marijuana legalization, while Romney is equally dismissive, calling the issue insignificant.

During his two terms as governor of New Mexico, Johnson established himself as the highest-ranking public official to call for a dramatic shift in the nation’s drug laws. He explains that during his two terms, he applied a cost-benefit analysis to every issue. Regarding costs of the war on drugs, he has cited the United States’ world-record incarceration rate and the fact that approximately half of current criminal justice expenditures deal with drug cases.

On his campaign website, the former governor also refers to the harms of alcohol prohibition and the parallel harms of current drug prohibitions, including the enrichment of organized crime and the associated violence. The site clearly states his support for legalizing marijuana, specifying that the federal government should “end its prohibition mandate” and allow the states to determine their own policies. This is one area where he agrees with former Republican presidential contender and libertarian icon Ron Paul, to whom he has compared himself and whose supporters he may be courting. Although he does not explicitly call for legalization of other drugs, he does refer to drug abuse as a public health issue rather than a criminal justice problem, making reference to the decriminalization which is in effect in Portugal and presenting it as a model for the U.S. to consider.

Johnson’s support in national polling remains quite low, and his name has often been omitted from the polls. It is likely that he will be excluded from the presidential debates, which does not bode will for his chances of ultimately winning the presidency. However, Johnson is the most prominent advocate of drug policy reform in the race and is expected to be on the ballot in all 50 states. Support of even 5% puts him at the top of the pack of third parties, as it dwarfs the best-ever presidential results for both the Libertarian Party itself and the Green Party, whose candidate Ralph Nader won 2.7% in the 2000 elections. His position in the race not only makes him a significant figure in the drug policy reform movement, but should work to raise public awareness of the issue and to improve the prospects for real reform.

Not Very Metal: Megadeth Frontman Endorses Rick Santorum

February 19th, 2012

UPDATE: Dave Mustaine has clarified his position, saying that he likes Santorum but does not officially “endorse” him.

 

I was shocked to learn that Dave Mustaine, the singer of Megadeth, endorsed Rick Santorum for president.

If you’re not a fan of heavy metal, you might not know that Megadeth is one of the most popular metal bands of all time — and they’re certainly one of the most political bands in any music genre.  Dave Mustaine actually covered the presidential race for MTV News in 1996.

As one of two MPP staffers who regularly  listens to heavy metal, I can say with confidence that Dave Mustaine should have endorsed Ron Paul — if Mustaine wanted to be at all representative of his fans.

Disciples of heavy metal are disproportionately libertarians:  The anti-authority music lyrics go hand-in-hand with the anti-authoritarian policy positions of libertarians like Ron Paul.

Also, fans of heavy metal are more likely to be marijuana users than the average citizen.  (If you don’t believe me, go to an Ozzy Osbourne concert and breathe deeply.)  So when Mustaine endorses Rick Santorum, Mustaine is basically saying that it is just fine with him if literally millions of his fans continue to face arrest … for doing no harm to others.

On principal, Mustaine should have endorsed Ron Paul. And, even if only for selfish reasons, Mustaine should not have endorsed Rick Santorum, who seeks to incarcerate a large portion of the people who pay Mustaine’s salary.

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Cops Who Support Legalizing Marijuana to Question Presidential Candidates

January 5th, 2012
 Polls Show More Americans Support Legalizing Marijuana Than Oppose It

 CONCORD, NH -- Several active duty and retired members of law enforcement will question presidential candidates on the campaign trail in New Hampshire today and tomorrow about the failed war on drugs they've been asked to wage.

"As an active duty jail superintendent, I've seen how the drug war doesn't do anything to reduce drug abuse but does cause a host of other problems, from prison overcrowding to a violent black market controlled by gangs and cartels," said Richard Van Wickler, the serving corrections superintendent in Cheshire County, NH and a board member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP). "For a long time this issue has been treated like a third rail by politicians, but polls now show that voters overwhelmingly agree that the drug war is a failure and that a new direction is sorely needed."

WHO: Cheshire County, NH Corrections Superintendent Richard Van Wickler; Plainfield, CT Chief of Police Robert Hoffman and other law enforcement officials

WHAT: Panel discussion and questioning of presidential candidates on ending the war on drugs

WHEN: All day Thursday and Friday, January 5-6; Panel discussion at 1:00 PM Thursday

WHERE: 2012 College Convention; Grappone Conference Center; 70 Constitution Ave.; Concord, NH (1:00 PM Thurs discussion panel in Merrimack Room).

Gallup has been asking Americans about marijuana legalization for more than 40 years. This October, for the first time ever, the firm found that more Americans support legalizing marijuana than oppose it (50%-46%). The support for legalization is up from 36% five years ago and just 25% in the late nineties. According to Zogby, three out of four Americans believe the overall war on drugs has been a failure.

Among the Republican candidates, only Ron Paul has forcefully called for an end to the drug war. Gov. Rick Perry and Gov. Jon Hunstman have said that states should be allowed to legalize medical marijuana without federal interference. Newt Gingrich, when asked by a woman in New Hampshire this week whether she should be arrested for her drug use, said, "No, you shouldn't be arrested for recreational drug use but you also shouldn't do it." President Obama, while opposing legalization, has said that it is "an entirely legitimate topic for debate."

In questioning the Republican contenders after their speeches at the 2012 College Convention (http://www.nec.edu/college-convention), the pro-legalization police officers hope to get more candidates on the record about the ineffectiveness and harms of the war on drugs, and to demonstrate that advocating for an end to prohibition is an increasingly viable political strategy.

Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) represents police, prosecutors, judges, prison wardens, federal agents and others who want to legalize and regulate drugs after fighting on the front lines of the "war on drugs" and learning firsthand that prohibition only serves to worsen addiction and violence. More info at http://www.CopsSayLegalizeDrugs.com.

#       #       #

NEWS ADVISORY: January 5, 2012
CONTACT: Tom Angell - (202) 557-4979 or media@leap.cc


Truth Separates Paul and Gingrich After Iowa Caucus

January 4th, 2012

Ron Paul may have achieved something of a victory by coming in third in the Iowa caucus yesterday, which is something few political wonks could have imagined a couple of months ago. Still, something should be said for the fact that he maintained his firm stance against the drug war after being narrowly beaten by candidates who are absolutely against marijuana reform.

In an early morning interview, Paul renewed his call to end federal interference in state marijuana laws and repeatedly called the drug war a failure. He even went so far as to call it a worse failure than alcohol prohibition! And according to Paul, his performance at the Iowa caucus proves that many Americans agree with him and are fed up.

Here’s the video, courtesy of Huffington Post.

And then we have Newt Gingrich. Earlier today at a press conference in New Hampshire, an SSDP member asked the candidate how he felt about states’ rights and how the Founding Fathers would have felt about growing marijuana.

Here’s the video:

Huh. So this is what a self-styled “historian” thinks.

“I think Jefferson and George Washington would strongly discourage you from growing marijuana, and their tactics to stop you would be more violent than they would be today.”

While there is no evidence to suggest that George Washington or Thomas Jefferson actually used marijuana (despite what you may have heard in Dazed and Confused), there is plenty of evidence that they both grew hemp and supported its cultivation throughout the country.

There is also no evidence that they would have supported violent tactics against American citizens for growing a plant. That sounds like something King George would have done.

Gingrich is all about it, though. Over the years, he has repeatedly supported creating insanely draconian punishments for drug offenses, even going so far as to push for the death penalty for smugglers. He recently suggested making our drug policies closer to those of Singapore.

So when faced with a loss to a candidate whose supporters often rally around the intent of the Founding Fathers, Gingrich decides to rewrite history to make it sound like men who rebelled against tyranny would support his tyrannical policy stances.

People care about honesty. Maybe that explains why Ron Paul beat Gingrich by eight points last night.

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Ron Paul Argues for Ending Prohibition on “The Tonight Show”

December 19th, 2011

People who are familiar with Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul have probably heard him speak about the need to end marijuana prohibition in the past. In fact, he mentions it quite often these days. Considering that only one other Republican candidate shares this opinion, it isn’t unusual to hear Paul bring this up in debate. Not only does this set him apart from the other candidates, but it is very telling to hear the rest of the field claim to be “conservatives” in favor of limited government and personal freedom, while supporting what is arguably the most intrusive, expensive, and wasteful government policy in existence.

This weekend, however, Ron Paul shared that message with a significant portion of America while speaking with Jay Leno on “The Tonight Show.” Judging from the audience response (not to mention a recent Gallup poll that shows a majority of voters support making marijuana legal), the need to end marijuana prohibition is becoming more obvious.

Perhaps this is why Ron Paul stands a very good chance of winning the Iowa primary.

Here is the entire interview. The section on prohibition starts at 6:35. Stay tuned until the end and see longtime MPP supporter Joe Rogan make an appearance!

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Bostonians Toke Up In Defense Of Marijuana Usage

September 19th, 2011
Thousands of pro-marijuana Bostonians attended the 22nd annual Freedom Rally, commonly known as “Hempfest,” on the Boston Common Saturday afternoon to listen to live music and protest for federal legalization of marijuana. Since cannabis was decriminalized in Massachusetts in 2008, making it illegal to arrest anyone carrying up to one ounce of marijuana, Hempfest has [...]

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

September 15th, 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.

Sincerely,

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.

Sincerely,

Todd

Ask the Republican Candidates Where They Stand on Cannabis Reform

September 12th, 2011

Google and Fox News will host a debate between Republican primary candidates in Orlando on September 22nd. Similar to the “social media townhalls” President Obama has previously hosted, this debate will consist exclusively of questions submitted by the public. This forum provides advocates with a unique opportunity to put these presidential hopefuls on record regarding their position on marijuana law reform.

NORML has submitted a question for consideration:

“As president, would you stand up for states’ rights by ending federal marijuana prohibition and allow them to experiment with models of decriminalization and legalization without federal interference?”

Here is how you can voice your support and promote this question:

Step 1: Go to Fox News’ Youtube page here.

Step 2: Click the “Vote” tab at the top of the page.

Step 3: In the topics box, select “Social Issues”

Step 4: Click “Video Questions.”

Step 5: You should see our video question towards the top of the list, look for the NORML logo in the thumbnail. Click the thumbs up icon next to the question.

The current line up of candidates have gone to great lengths to distance themselves from the current policies of President Obama, yet most have remained silent on the topic of marijuana law reform (that is, of course, excluding Ron Paul). Take a moment of your time to vote up our question, if these candidates want your vote, don’t you deserve to know where they stand on cannabis?