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Marijuana Legalization Contingent at the Stewart/Colbert Rally

I am heading downtown after finishing this blog post, to join my cohorts in the drug policy contingent at the "Rally to Restore Sanity and/or Fear" this afternoon. There are hundreds of people we know are joining us, and we're hoping to recruit many more by handing out signs. The picture here is of signs that DPA made up for the occasion, a cartoon version of a recent John Stewart program where he commented that "the 'legalize pot' sign always shows up."

We've made signs up for the occasion, a huge number of them, reading "Yes on Prop 19." Our hope is to get on TV with them and help the Prop 19 voter turnout in California next week. Of course a lot of groups hope to get on TV today, and a lot of people will be there. But our side has done pretty well with coverage for this so far, including articles on CBS and Talking Points Memo, and thanks to George Soros there are Prop 19 ads actually running during Colbert's and Stewart's shows (at least in California), so maybe we will.

See an Alternet piece written by our friends Yair Tygiel of DPA and Stacia Cosner of SSDP, "Rally to Restore (Drug Policy) Sanity," and if you're in town stop by the office for pizza and Prop 19 phonebanking today between 3:00pm and midnight. And of course check back here for pictures.

Washington, DC
United States

Stop the Lies About Prop 19 -- It Will Help, Not Hurt, Medical Marijuana Patients

A small but loud group of medical marijuana businesses are in the media claiming that Prop 19, California's "tax and regulate" initiative to legalize marijuana, would make marijuana less available to medical patients. Their arguments are demonstrably false, but the media has mostly given them a pass on it. I have a piece on Huffington Post today that calls them out. Check it out and then comment there and/or here.

United States

Threatened Mexican Journalist Granted US Asylum

A Mexican journalist threatened by drug gangs said he had been granted political asylum in the United States to escape the drug trafficking organizations' increasingly violent campaign to silence the media.

Nation's First Medical Marijuana TV Commercial

While some California TV stations are censoring pro-legalization-of-marijuana ads, at least one Sacramento station has aired what is claimed to be the nation's first TV ad for marijuana itself:

CNN also covered the story.

Give up, prohibitionists. This one is so over.

Sacramento, CA
United States

Blast Hits Mexico's Televisa TV Station

Monterrey, NLE
Mexico's largest television broadcaster and the largest producer of Spanish language content in the world, Televisa, has come under attack by drug trafficking organizations in the northern city of Monterrey. Investigators say it was a warning for journalists to stay away from reporting on drug prohibition violence.
Press TV (Iran)

Jane Hamsher Talks Marijuana Legalization on MSNBC

Hey, watch this unbelievable video of firedoglake's Jane Hamsher hurling marijuana legalization like a hand grenade into the middle of the immigration debate:

…and everyone just nods in stunned agreement. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I sure haven't seen much coverage of marijuana policy on MSNBC recently, if ever. Is it necessary to tell them you'll be discussing immigration in order to get some airtime for legalization on the most left-leaning cable news network?

It's time to stop labeling marijuana reform as a liberal issue when FOX News has two pundits talking about it constantly, and MSNBC's got nothing to say.

Medical Marijuana Comment Approved on the Fresno Bee Opinion Talk Blog My local newspaper, The Fresno Bee, posted an entry in their Opinion Talk Blog asking, "What are your dumbest trends of the decade?" and continues: As this decade stumbles to a conclusion, media outlets have begun putting together their best and worst lists. So I'll join in with my picks of the dumbest trends of the decade, and I hope you'll add yours in the comments section. There are plenty of possibilities in this bizarre decade. I submitted the following comment about medical marijuana, and they included it: One of the dumbest trends of the decade has to be that city and county governments waste so much time and resources that could be better used to better their communities on trying to circumvent California State Medical Marijuana Laws. Proposition 215, also known as the Compassionate Use Act of 1996, was a California ballot proposition on the November 5, 1996 ballot regarding the medical use of marijuana. It passed with 5,382,915 (55.6%) votes in favor and 4,301,960 (44.4%) against. Here we are 13 years after the voters made it perfectly clear that sick and disabled people have the right to use marijuana as medicine so long as their doctor approves, and we might as well be back in the Nixon or Regan eras. Because California's medical marijuana laws are so clear on the rights that qualified patients have to grow, possess, transport and use marijuana medically, local government officials are resorting to such underhanded measures as twisting the wording of their zoning ordinances to exclude any business that has anything to do with medical marijuana. The will of the voters was made clear years ago! We have had S.B. 420 and the State Attorney General's Guidelines issued since then to clarify that medical marijuana patients have those rights! Wake up, local government officials! You were elected to represent the will of the people, now Do Your Job! That's just my I hope it helps.



It's Official: The Media is in Love With Marijuana Legalization

It all started last winter when, after decades of spoon-feeding the American public an infinite litany of anti-pot propaganda pieces, the press rather spontaneously discovered that it's better for business to talk about legalization instead. In an industry that was virtually devoid of voices for reform just a couple years ago, one can now scarcely find a prominent political pundit with anything nice to say about our marijuana laws.

This segment from This Week with George Stephanopoulos might be the best example yet:

Here, let's try to paraphrase that:

George Will: Legalizing marijuana will destroy the drug cartels.
John Podesta: It'll be legal once everyone figures out it can pay for health care.
Laura Ingram: Cancer patients, botox, whatever. Gimme some brownies!
Al Hunt: Now that my kids are all grown-up, I suppose I'm cool with it.
Cynthia Tucker: Really, we need to rethink all our drug laws, not just marijuana.

That's about as solid a bipartisan consensus as you'll ever see on a Sunday talk show, and you've gotta wonder how much longer the war on marijuana can survive in a political climate like this.

Amsterdam vs. Bill O'Reilly

O'Reilly said a couple pretty nasty things about the Dutch recently, prompting this delightful response from some genius on YouTube:

Now O'Reilly responds to the response, and check how he addresses the question of why rates of marijuana use are lower in the Netherlands than the U.S.:
Why have so many more people in the USA, where marijuana is illegal, tried it? 40% of people in the USA compared to 22.6%...

OREILLY (interrupting): The way they use statistics in the Netherlands is different, plus it's a much smaller country.
Huh? The guy just lies so reflexively, it's astonishing. Of course, by denying the validity of the statistics, he tacitly acknowledges that they would be significant if they were true. Well, they are true, Bill, which means all your paranoid fulminations about the horrors of legalization are nonsense.

I just hope he's right that the U.S. is on course to implement Dutch-style drug policies.

Remembrance: Walter Cronkite on the Drug War

Epilogue by Walter Cronkite at the close of ""The Drug Dilemma: War or Peace," The Cronkite Report, June 20, 1995:

Every American was shocked when Robert McNamara, one of the master architects of the Vietnam war, acknowledged that not only did he believe the war was, "wrong, terribly wrong," but that he thought so at the very time he was helping to wage it. That's a mistake we must not make in this 10th year of America's all-out War on Drugs.
Walter Cronkite
It's surely time for this nation to stop flying blind, stop accepting the assurances of politicians and other officials, that if we only keep doing what we are doing, add a little more cash, break down a few more doors, lock up a few more Jan Warrens and Nicole Richardsons, then we will see the light at the end of the tunnel. Victory will be ours.

Tonight we have seen a war that in its broad outline is not working. And we've seen some less war-like ideas that appear to hold promise. We've raised more questions than we've answered, because that's where the Drug War stands today. We're a confused people, desperately in need of answers and leadership. Legalization seems to many like too dangerous an experiment; to others, the War on Drugs, as it is now conducted, seems inhumane and too costly. Is there a middle ground?

Well, it seems to this reporter that the time has come for President Clinton to do what President Hoover did when prohibition was tearing the nation apart: appoint a bi-partisan commission of distinguished citizens, perhaps including some of the people we heard tonight, a blue-ribbon panel to re-appraise our drug policy right down to its very core, a commission with full investigative authority and the prestige and power to override bureaucratic concerns and political considerations.

Such a commission could help us focus our thinking, escape the cliches of the Drug War in favor of scientific fact, and more rationally analyze the real scope of the problem, answer the questions that bedevil us, and present a comprehensive drug policy for the future.

We cannot go into tomorrow with the same formulas that are failing today. We must not blindly add to the body count and the terrible cost of the War on Drugs, only to learn from another Robert McNamara 30 years from now that what we've been doing is, "wrong, terribly wrong."


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