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A False and Embarrassing Press Release from the Deputy Drug Czar

For your amusement, I've posted the full text of a press release the Drug Czar's office sent out last week in opposition to a marijuana decriminalization bill in New Hampshire. I disagree with it, of course, but that is not why I've posted it. I share this because it is so filled with factual and grammatical errors that I'm told NH legislators have been forwarding it around and laughing at it. (sorry, no link)

Press Release
Wednesday, March 19, 2008

STATEMENT FROM DEPUTY "DRUG CZAR"
SCOTT M. BURNS ON MARIJUANA
DECRIMINALIZATION EFFORTS IN
NEW HAMPSHIRE

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, Scott M. Burns, Deputy Director for the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), made the following statement regarding marijuana decriminalization legislation, which is currently being debated in New Hampshire.

"Decriminalizing the illegal and highly addictive drug – marijuana – sends the wrong message to New Hampshire's youth, students, parents, public health officials, and the law-enforcement community.

"The supporters of decriminalizing marijuana are fooling themselves if they believe the manufacturing, possession, and/or distribution of 1.25 ounces or – over 90 marijuana joints – is good public policy.

"Decriminalizing marijuana – the drug which sends the most of America's youth into substance abuse treatment and recovery – is a dangerous first step towards complete drug legalization. In fact, marijuana sends the highest percentage of New Hampshire residents into drug treatment than any other illicit drug.

"The last thing New Hampshire need is more drugs, drug users, and drug dealers on their streets and communities – further straining limited law enforcement manpower and resources.

I strongly urge responsible leaders in New Hampshire to stop any effort to decriminalize or legalize the highly addictive drug marijuana."

To learn more about the dangers of marijuana use, please visit:
http://www.ondcp.gov/drugfact/marijuana

Not a word of this is true, of course, but the highlight is the 3rd paragraph in which Burns reveals utter confusion about what the bill even says. The proposed law decriminalizes possession of up to 0.25 ounces of marijuana. It does not decriminalize up to 1.25 ounces and it applies only to possession, not manufacture or sales. Burns is either lying, or he is just dramatically and embarrassingly wrong.

Furthermore, 1.25 ounces isn't 90 joints anyway. An average joint is a gram, so 1.25 ounces is 35 joints, give or take. Since the bill in question decriminalizes only 0.25 ounces, however, we're really talking about just 7 joints. Nothing could be more typical of our friends at the Drug Czar's office than to claim that 7 joints = 90 joints.

Finally, we learn that marijuana must remain illegal because so many people in New Hampshire are in treatment for it. This isn't a lie necessarily, but it is pretty funny. How many of those people were forced into treatment following a marijuana arrest that wouldn’t have happened under the proposed law? We are arresting people for marijuana, forcing them into treatment, then citing those stats as evidence that marijuana is addictive and that we should be allowed to arrest people for having it. That is how stupid the modern marijuana debate has become.

Fact and fiction aside, the whole thing is just ugly to read. Its grammar and sentence structure are reminiscent of the incoherent anti-drug rants one might find on this blog after a big link draws hostile attention. Could they be written by the same person?

"In fact, marijuana sends the highest percentage of New Hampshire residents into drug treatment than any other illicit drug."

"The last thing New Hampshire need is more drugs, drug users, and drug dealers on their streets and communities – further straining limited law enforcement manpower and resources."

It's usually best not to get too caught up in correcting the grammar of one's opposition, and in most cases I'd consider that an indulgent and childish distraction from the real matters at hand. In this case, though, I think the high-schoolish tone in which the Deputy Drug Czar addresses politicians and the press is just lazy and disrespectful. Factual errors and bad writing are ubiquitous in any political debate, but when it arrives on White House letterhead, questions about basic competence merge with the broader ideological conflict.

Location: 
United States
Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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A few pertinent facts

That Burns is lying should be no surprise, of course, but for the record --

a) According to the latest federal report, 58% of those in treatment for marijuana "abuse or dependence" were there because of criminal justice referrals. This is a vastly higher percentage than for highly addictive drugs like heroin.

b) The same federal report notes that 36% of those in treatment for marijuana abuse or dependence used marijuana zero times in the month prior to entering treatment, and more than half used it 3 times or less. These are addicts???

Bruce Mirken
www.mpp.org

Scott Burns, go have another drink of America's favorite drug

You alcohol supremacist bigot.

LIES LIES LIES

WHERE DOES THE GOVERMENT FIND THESE LIARS FOR GODS SAKE AT LEAST TRY AND GIVE RESPONSIBLE ANSWERS .KIDS KNOW THESE GUYS ARE FULL OF CRAP

What the Drug Czar doesn't want you to know

I’m not saying cannabis is completely benign or for children (unless authorized by a doctor) but if it wasn’t a relatively safe and effective medicine (Decriminalization should reflect this knowledge) do you think The American College of Physicians, 124,000 strong, would have released a position paper in Feb 08 endorsing its medicinal value and the request to the Federal Government to reschedule it from a schedule 1 drug to “a more appropriate schedule”?

To see the paper Google > American College of Physicians Marijuana.

The mainstream media is doing their best to bury the ACP paper so tell all you can about it!

“All truths pass through three stages. First it is ridiculed; second, it is violently opposed; third, it is accepted as self-evident.” We’re almost there!

I'd also like to point out

"The last thing New Hampshire need is more drugs, drug users, and drug dealers on their streets and communities – further straining limited law enforcement manpower and resources."

If marijuana was legalized instead of just decriminalized and produced and controlled by the government like alcohol and tobacco then we wouldn't have ANY marijuana drug dealers on the street. It would also be a lot harder for kids to get it just like alcohol and tobacco currently are.

"sends the wrong message to New Hampshire's youth, students, parents, public health officials, and the law-enforcement community"

How about sending the wrong message to our youth by telling them marijuana is in the same drug class as heroin, cocaine and crack? Perhaps we should start telling the government their absurd drug classification of weed is the reason people try these other, much more harmful drugs. "Well I tried a joint the other day and that didn't make me lose my mind and the government says weed is just as bad as cocaine so it probably won't make me lose my mind either..."

Ignorance in action people - there's your taxpayers dollars directly condemning democracy at work...

What makes you think you would get more drug users?

The fact is if you legalized marijuana you would have less illegal drug users. You would have means of controlling the sale of marijuana to minors that does not exist now. You would not falsely label someone a criminal for smoking marijuana. Society would stop lying to its youth about marijuana being in and class, or form with cocaine or heroin. Controlling all aspects of procurement of marijuana by fees and licensing would promote a taxpaying legal industry. With far less problems on society then tobacco or alcohol have will continue to cause. The comment below tells of how a young mans life is ruined for paraphernalia. That is so far right is it totally wrong!

It's His Job Description

Above, you stated "Burns is either lying, or he is just dramatically and embarrassingly wrong.

Well, you know the answer to that question. It's BOTH!

Why would the sub-underling have to tell the truth when his boss's job description, as codified by the Senate, requires that he lie to the public?

Drug Czar Job Description:
http://www.whitehousedrugpolicy.gov/about/98reauthorization.html

Check the following portion of the Act:
Sect. 704, sub-para (12)

Truth from the ONDCP office? Not without a "rewrite!"

Response

I believed all the propaganda and speculatory evidence shoved in my face when I was a teenager. I didn't try pot until college and quickly realized how naive and just wrong prohibition and its supporters are. Then I became a victim of our totalitarian drug policy, I got busted only for paraphernalia but still lost my scholarship, was evicted from my dorm and cited a restraining order with a $1,100 fine stacked on top. Marijuana is wholesome and those who use it are not criminals and don't deserve to treated as such. College students shouldn't be denied an education nor honest, hardworking people a livelyhood for pot offenses.

Recovery from Drug Treatment

"Decriminalizing marijuana – the drug which sends the most of America's youth into substance abuse treatment and recovery – is a dangerous first step towards complete drug legalization.

So if marijuana is decriminalized, then heroin (and all other illicit drugs) will be legalized?  Talk about non sequiturs. Mr. Burns needs to burn one and straighten out his head.

Actually, if crack and all other illicit drugs were to be “legalized,” then it’s presumed there would have to be a fairly good consensus for doing so.  It’s not going to happen based on one person’s whim, or simply because marijuana, the most benign euphoriant consumed by humans, is rendered persecution-free.

Also, it’s not marijuana that “sends the most [sic] of America’s youth into substance abuse treatment and recovery.”  Rather, it’s a judiciary that believes its own hype.

Giordano

How does Mr Burns account for the Netherlands experience?

Marijuana use in the Netherlands is half what it is in the US. How does Mr Burns account for that? Prohibitionists need to justify their position with results, not with innuendo -- and of course they cannot do that.

I read one Dutchman's account of his girlfriend's trip to America. He said she didn't smoke pot at home, but did so in th US. When he asked her why, she told him because it was a little "naughty" and therefore more exciting.

Forbidden fruit is more enticing. Quick, someone tell the drug czar! Oh wait, never mind, he doesn't care about the truth. I almost forgot. Quick, someone tell the senate! Someone tell the house!

Drug Czar comments

All that remains of Anslinger's campaign and the machine gun tax stamp law seems to be right on que here. Highly addictive? This man was appointed to his office because??? I pray it is not because of his ability to distinguish science from social heresay. Yes, poeple love pot, it continues to be the most profitable cash crop in the nation; beating all other crops combined. If he wanted to deal in facts he might note that there is a difference between addictions and cravings. Yes, some crave a drink or two. Do you crave that burning sensation? Do you crave that awful feeling in the stomach? No, you crave that ritual, that feeling, unwinding after a long day's work or with a group friend. Alcohol and weed are, in this light, the same addictive nature. We ARE addicted to that feeling of ingesting things that feel good. Withdrawals?? yeah if you beat your body up with enough of anything, you are going to feel pretty crummy. Take a bunch of vitamin c tabs and then suddenly stop, guess what, you might get scurvy. Eat red meat all day, and you will pay for it in the end (the rear end).

It is important to distinguish between mental addiction ( that is; no chemical dependency, but intesnse desire for the effects) and actual dependency (herion and other analgesic narcotics), where actual physical withdrawals occur without the drug.

If New Hampshire has so many problem with weed, lets consult the often misinterpreted DAWN database. Let's see, overdoses on pot this year? And evey year before that? 0! that is so strange, where is the scourge we have been hearing so much about?

Thanx to quick thinking political dynamos and good old fashioned racism, Anslinger managed to do what the higher ups wanted- getr rid of all the mexicans clogging up the bread lines during the great depression. And they couldn't even develop legislation for it. Luckily, a law concerning machine gun sales involving tax stamps and self incriminatiion came about. Who would like to know the first person to go to jail because of the law? Was it a job stealing mexican that the southern legislature dispised? No, it was a white farmer doing what his government told him to. That is all pretty ironic.....

Prohibitionists remain antagonistic to a free society!

Ask any law enforcement official which domestic situation they'd prefer to avoid:

1) An individual or group high on liquid drugs... alcohol?
2) An individual or group high on marijuana?

Does anyone really doubt which drug has the statistically higher ratio of violence & death... even though marijuana smokers face much harsher penalties... including longer prison terms and forfeiture of assets... a drunk person would have to kill somebody to perhaps warrant such justice!

Suggest the following to any prohibitionist, or their legions of stooges & enforcers, and they'll try to kill or incarcerate you... and never mention their intellectual terrorism or they'll sympathetically proclaim you another poor 'paranoid delusional'... another victim of Satan's smoke... in desperate need of the type of compassion & rehabilitation that only an overcrowded massive prison system can provide!

Suggest that the 1st drug war, the Prohibition against 'liquid intoxicants' (the drug of choice of our European immigrants and ancestors... also the original 'gateway drug' ) which officially started in 1919 with the 18th amendment came about exactly the same way as the 2nd drug war, the Prohibition against marijuana... amazingly fast political actions by a radical Progressive Prohibition Movement (PPM)... how fast a responsible & vigilant citizen may wonder... less then 6 hours and no prior committee meetings!

If you're not immediately arrested or shot for your Gnostic rants, or hedonistically libertine crimes against their children and society at large, perhaps because your 'accusers' find you amusing.... like a cat with a wounded mouse or bird... they'll allow you to continue with your conspiracy theories.

EXCEPT... your lawyers sage advice starts to become audible through the cognitive dissonance dissipating inside your newly numbed skull... previously drowning out rational thought and hampering critical thinking (professionals commonly refer to this as 'caveman mode')... he's screaming at you to 'ZIP IT' --- because your 'accusers' will use everything you say and they make up against you, etc, etc...!

Most cops are unwilling stooges of the current Progressive Prohibition Movement! Cops are given great discretionary powers and it's unwise to provoke someone who may be and/or act sympathetic. However, zealot sects like the DEA are trained to react violently against 'druggies', however peaceful, however responsible, even vital, to their existence.

Facts confuse and threaten prohibitionists, and, they should fear the wealth of information and knowledge the few libertarian minded among us possess... not to mention the criminal implications the equally illegal 2nd drug war carries! If only we could get the justice dept to do it's job and strike down illegal laws... as it did when it struck down the 1st drug war in 1933.

I believe it's also long past time to start holding those responsible... accountable... for their serious crimes ... regardless of title or stature... had the supreme court held the PPM responsible for their crimes in 1933 when they repealed drug prohibition... we wouldn't be fighting these dangerous delusional criminals now!

But the fundamentalist PPM remains alive, newly energized, and enabled today thanks to her immortal allies: fear, ignorance, certitude, copious amounts of hypocrisy, and the heavy hand of the police state... so beloved by moralists and the purveyors of gods & governments!

Prohibitionists remain antagonistic and dangerous to a modern egalitarian society... their delusions, desperations, paranoia's, pretenses, and proclamations make them more deceitful, disgusting, and criminal then ever.

Billy B. Blunt
Tacoma, WA

Continuing a sordid tradition

Remember our first drug czar? He said, "There are 100,000 total marijuana smokers in the US, and most are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos, and entertainers. Their Satanic music, jazz, and swing, result from marijuana use. This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers, and any others." What a nice, enlightened guy.

I live in Minneapolis, and just in our county, we have ten arrests per day for first-time DWI offenders. Unless held overnight to dry out, none get jail time.

Our #2 local crime is domestic assault; it's alcohol-related more than half of the time. Ask a criminal attorney around here, and they'll say more than half of _all_ crimes involve alcohol. Without it, many would be out of work.

Keeping alcohol legal keeps the courts busy, and permits the opportunity to send more people to jail, because drunk people are very likely to cause damage, commit crimes, and otherwise generally disturb the peace. Minnesota further encourages this by prohibiting sales at liquor stores past ten p.m., so the drinker with poor planning must go to the bars, out in public.

Legalizing cannabis, by contrast, would greatly limit the powers of the courts. Cannabis users generally have no other reason to enter the criminal system. We don't fight. We don't break things. We drive safer. So the legalization of alcohol, and the prohibition of cannabis, serve the same purpose: to bring more people into the criminal "justice" system, and into jails and prisons.

And, still, a drug conviction is the only crime that will preclude federal funding for college loans. Free legal advice, if you get caught with a joint, and want to go to college: punch the cop in the face, and plead guilty to that in exchange for dropping the drug charge.

Originally, the bill did provide for 1.25 ounces

See this article: http://www.nashuatelegraph.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080325/OPINI...

The bill was amended to reduce the amount from 1.25 ounces to 0.25 ounces.

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