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Cowards: Democratic Front-Runners Reject Marijuana Law Reform

Critics of marijuana policy reform are fond of dismissing the idea as a liberal fantasy. Unfortunately, last night's Democratic Presidential Debate revealed that the party's so-called leaders would still rather play politics than stand up for the 800,000+ Americans that are needlessly arrested each year for the world's pettiest crime:
Tim Russert: Senator Dodd, you went on the Bill Maher show last month and said that you were for decriminalizing marijuana. Is there anyone here who disagrees with Senator Dodd in decriminalizing marijuana? [MSNBC]
Clinton, Obama, Richardson, Biden, and Edwards all raised their hands. Only Dennis Kucinich stood with Senator Dodd on this important question. John Edwards was quick on the draw, pulling out the oldest pro-drug war line in the book:
Russert: Senator Edwards, why?

Edwards: Because I think it sends the wrong signal to young people. And I think the president of the United States has a responsibility to ensure that we're sending the right signals to young people.
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome once again to the brain-dead world of mainstream drug war politics. It is a peculiar place where we ruin real lives in order to send fake messages. It is a vacant echo chamber in which those speaking the truth are singled out for ridicule, attention seekers spew tiresome incoherencies, and the rest cower embarrassed behind their podiums praying never again to be asked such a horrible thing.

Shameful and cowardly as their responses may be, the democratic front-runners were clearly sidelined by Russert's cheap hackery. Drug policy is so much more than a yes or no question, and this drive-by shooting approach to the marijuana debate trivializes the issue and obscures any diversity of opinion. I am saddened, but not at all surprised, that this question provoked this response when asked this way.

If we've learned anything from the brutal war that's been waged in our names for far too long, it is that many of our leaders would sooner allow it to continue for decades than speak one word of the truth that stands naked before us all.

With that in mind, I'm asking all of you to do something. Find out when the candidates are speaking in your area and attend the events. Bring friends. Bring a video camera. Dress well and arrive early. Sit where you can be seen and raise your hand high just a moment before they open the floor to questions. Ask whatever you like. Maybe something like this:
Senator/Governor/Congressman _______,

Over 800,000 Americans were arrested for marijuana this year. Some went to jail. Others lost their jobs, lost custody of their children, lost their driver's licenses, lost public housing, lost financial aid for college, the list goes on. Many people think these punishments are more damaging than the drug itself.

What do you think the punishment should be for someone who uses marijuana?

It is one thing to say you don't support marijuana decrim. It is quite another to describe how specifically you would go about destroying the lives of the millions of Americans who enjoy marijuana. Let's find out where they really stand on this issue.

(This blog post was published by's lobbying arm, the Drug Reform Coordination Network, which also shares the cost of maintaining this web site. DRCNet Foundation takes no positions on candidates for public office, in compliance with section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code, and does not pay for reporting that could be interpreted or misinterpreted as doing so.)

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Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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More Questions … or Just Ask Why

There are other questions that can be used to query presidential candidates. These questions can be detailed in ways that override any rehearsed response to a more familiar drug reform argument, and in ways that are more likely to produce a more candid and interesting response.

One question might be “why is there so much disagreement and discrepancy between the results of verified scientific research on illicit drugs and the current policies of the federal and state governments regarding drug enforcement?”

Or one might ask “why does the ONDCP have written into its charter the legal right to lie to the public on drug issues?”

Each of the questions above accomplishes several things. First, they insert a specific concept (i.e., deception, lack of scientific credibility, etc) into the public discourse about the drug war. In rhetoric these queries are labeled “complex questions” of the sort: “have you stopped beating your wife?”

But still, each question also makes a statement, a sound bite, if you will. And the question, if it can even be answered by candidates, is likely to test the depth of knowledge of each candidate regarding the drug war.

I’d love to see the results. Keep in mind always: “Words have wings”—Aristotle.


political meetings

In the mid 70's we had the provincial government in B.C. try to push through a law that would have made the mere fact that a person was a known drug addict enough to put them in a treatment facility for the insidious indefinite period of time.A few of us got together and attended their meetings and fed questions to the press.(they wouldn't answer us once they became aware of who we were)The question periods went from 5 minuits to no minuits as they had no answers to our questions and even the press guys could see it.They abandoned their efforts fairly quickly,I think there were only three meetings.Truth,they can't stand the truth.Couldn't resist that.Fact is,prohibitionists have nothing new to say and when confronted with even the most trifling of truth,they lose their appetite for discussion.What I'm trying to say is that it doesn't hurt to confront these people.You never know when you just might reach one of them.I think the fact that Dodd and Kucinic get it is a plus.

Why the focus on Democrats?

Without a doubt, the strongest supporter of marijuana legalization running for president right now is Dr. Ron Paul, a Republican (though he ran before as a Libertarian). As a congressman, he has consistently voted against the drug war (as he did against the Patriot Act and the war in Iraq). Don't let his party fool you-- he's the only candidate in the race who truly stands for freedom. Check out

Dodd said the right thing in that one interview, but what has he done on the issue in the senate? NOTHING AT ALL

Paul and Kucinich are the only real deals in the race-- no one who uderstands the issues presented on this web site should even consider supporting anyone else. If you're anti-drug war and support big government, vote for Kucinich. If you're anti-drug war and support limited government and personal freedon, vote for Paul.

Any other vote is a vote for more of the same. Just look at the record under Bill Clinton!

a clarification

"If you're anti-drug war and support big government, vote for Kucinich. If you're anti-drug war and support limited government and personal freedon [sic], vote for Paul."

Just because you would like "big government" that provides directly to its people through a single-payer health care system and indirectly by ensuring worker and product safety, doesn't mean you're not for personal freedom. They're not mutually exclusive.

Ron Paul, for personal freedom...

Unless you find yourself needing to terminate a pregnancy legally. Here is what he says about the issue:

I am also the prime sponsor of HR 300, which would negate the effect of Roe v Wade by removing the ability of federal courts to interfere with state legislation to protect life. This is a practical, direct approach to ending federal court tyranny which threatens our constitutional republic and has caused the deaths of 45 million of the unborn.

No thanks. I've always thought that control of one's body should be absolute, in fact that's why I believe the drug war should be terminated.

Ron Paul

I posted the original post about "why the focus on the Democrats?" I just want to say that my intention wasn't to support any particular candidate, just to point out that the two candidates who have rational and clearly-articulated positions against the drug war and in favor of decriminalization are currently second-tier candidates at best. Either people aren't paying attention, or they don't care enough about the issue to let it affect their presidential preference.

I wasn't trying to spam the thread in favor of Paul. If you don't like him but hate this stupid war on freedom, vote for Kucinich. If you don't like either of them, vote Libertarian (where Kubby will probably get the nomination).

So, I apologize if the previous post came across as partisan. My only intention was to point out the contradiction between strongly supporting decriminalization and supporting any of the top-tier candidates.

Re: Anon HR300

Hey Anon, I am also "pro-choice", a woman, and was initially concerned about Paul's position on abortion. However after researching him and talking to some of his supporters, I learned that his position on abortion is more personal, and that as president he would not seek to put a ban on abortion. His desire to repeal of Roe v. Wade with HR300 is based on the conviction that these types of decisions should be left up to the states to legislate. He is a big supporter of states rights - hence the wanting to end the war on drugs and allowing states to define their own individual laws on this issue as well. I'm looking at Kucinich or Paul because I am just so sick of the drug war, iraq war, and all the other policies that are so damaging this country. I just wanted to say that I understand your apprehension for Paul's stance on abortion, however like I said he understands that the majority of this country would not support a ban on women's right to choose and so he would never put a federal ban on abortion as president (a ban would also go against his support for states-rights). In fact since Ron Paul tends to look towards market solutions for problems, I am pretty confident that as long as there is a demand for abortion, then there will be an availability - even if it's left to the states to regulate. This is pretty much the same philosophy he has with drugs - end any federal legislation (i.e. the war on drugs and criminalization of drugs) and then leave it up to the states to legislate and regulate in the marketplace. I urge you to do some more research on both these candidates though, I'm not trying to come across as partisan or pitching for any candidate, but we do have a common goal of reforming the drug laws and I think either Kucinich or Paul (or like previous poster stated, the libertarian candidate) are the best chances for drug policy reform. Who knows maybe the two could form a joint ticket Paul/Kucinich (or Kucinich/Paul) - better start cleaning out those offices, DEA!


Election Reform

Instant Ranked Voting (IRV)

Big Government and Small Government

How do you define big and small government? Government is government. Democrats started social services like Social Security and Medicare for the elderly and disabled. Are well needed social services big government? I don't think so. If it was up to the Republicans, the elderly and disabled people would starve. And yes marijuana should be legal because it hurts no one including the person using it. Alcohol and pharmaceuticals do far more damage to people than marijuana. What keeps is illegal is getting past the "propaganda" about marijuana that the "administrative" part of the federal government still wants to believe and that propaganda from the old movie of "Reefer Madness" is still buried in the subconscious of that part of the federal government. What a shame!! And shame on the Hearst Publishing Company from starting this propaganda to run the hemp industry out of business so the oil and cotton industries could rule. What is even more shameful is the ignorance of the administrative part of the government not to admit that industrial hemp and marijuana aren't the same although they come from the same plant. Bush has got to be the worst in reinforcing this madness. I would like to see if the next president will fess up to the truth.

Dude grow your own

Just grow it, roll it, don't distribute it. Simple. The feds are retarded and conservative, yes, but thats why small personal grows can flourish and transform perceptions that its associated with trafficking and dangerous black market activities. See on ways to get started.

Grow you own?

Many of us do not want to spend years in prison for having five plants in the basement! What advice would you have for people like that! Engage brain first, then use the mouth!? You are labled as one of the distributors the minute your plants are up! We need change, not subversive hiding!

End the Drug War, End the

End the Drug War, End the Iraq War, End the Tax War!

Vote Ron Paul 2008!

Be sure to register as a Republican and vote for Dr. Paul in the primaries so we can get him on the general election ballot.
Vote Ron Paul 2008!


I'm a Democrat, but unless Dennis Kucinich gets the Democratic nomination,If ROn Paul gets the Republican nomination, or runs as a third party candidate, I'll vote for him.

Political choices and marijuana

I believe there are NO valid choices in the upcoming election. I also feel that it no longer matters, since the Supreme Court theft of the presidential election of 2000.
Pity that revolution is no longer possible due to computerized population control.
George Orwell had it right; he was just a little early.

One of our many pitfalls...

"I believe there are NO valid choices in the upcoming election."

Aside from fear from persecution for speaking out in favor of marijuana reform (which is something we all must unfortunately put up with until the laws change), apathy and cynicism are the two biggest personal factors holding back the movement to legalize marijuana. Why exactly do you "believe" there are no valid choices? This just shows that you haven't bothered to put in any time to get involved in the political process, and that you simply feel there's no point. There are almost 20 candidates on either side of the isle, and you can't find a single person who you agree with on some level? I just think that's ridiculous.

Drug Laws In the USA

Unfortuntally, I live in one of the worst states in the U.S. for the enforcement of the archaic drug laws ie., Utah! However, even the physicians have been put in an awkward position throughout the nation. Controlled substances are placed in 5 different schedules; the criteria supposdly are the abuseable amount, and the ability for some medical use. Marijuana is placed in schedule 1, along with heroin and MDMA. We all know that it fits neither the lack of medical use and that it has none of the qualities of the other Schedule1 drugs, which are all illicit and illegal. Even cocaine is in the Schedule 2, which allows dentists and other physicians to use it when neccesary. The DEA has an extreme amount of overused power, funding, and has nothing better to with their time than hassle some cancer patient with nausea fom using MJ for their nausea, which we all know works! So my heart goes out to Dodd for having the courage to stand against them.

A little to add

Adding to the lecture on what is and is not medicinally effective...

1) Acetyl-morphine better know as HEROIN. It is obvious, by the name, that it is just another form of opiod, that could be used for what it was initially intended, treating severe pain! It was placed on the list because of the addiction (social) problems it caused when (early 20th century) people did not know the opiods were addictive! We should be smarter than that, now.

2) MDMA has been used in Europe for the treatment of social anxiety disorder and other similar problems.

3) LSD has been studied, before it went class I , which essentially stops all research. Essentially the cops are deciding what is the best medication to use. Acetyl-morphine is likely the cheapest opiod in the world, when it prices are not hyper-inflated by the black market!

4) everyone knows the government is supplying some THC to selected individuals for "medicinal" use! But, then again, only they claim to be omniscient in, knowing who should get it! But, still, if it is the cops making the decisions, we know the outcome. Just like giving the peanut bag to the elephant to hold, does not make any sense!

But lets forget it all, and just keep on torturing those in chronic pain. It is fun to see them squirm!

It's diacetyl-morphine(heroin)

At least that's what it said on all my warrants.Of course it also said the Queen wanted my ass and I don't think she knows I exist.I'm happy to say that was thirty years ago but I can still remember it vividly.Now I've got a messed up spine(lower three lumbar vertebrae are fused into a lump),and I can't find a doctor with the courage to prescribe a decent painkiller.I guess that's a twisted form of government imposed kharma.

Fortunately, CA Dr's are willing to post their names on the net!

If you need some MJ for that backache or cancer tx, etc., just come to San Francisco! They have physicians who will give you a script and you can get it filled right on Haight St. (Of course, ware a flower in your hair when you enter the CITY!) Just look on the net for Docs. who haven't been corrupted by the laws so deadly enforced in Utah, known well for it's rightwing leaning by the last presidential vote for Bush And Cheney.

vote not to the one's opposing it

Clinton,bama,edwards are truly against the will of the people! If they feel this way,then they are not the one's to run our country! People of this country feel that this leaf should not carry the pentality of jail! I pray you asses are not elected to run our country! Remember--we the people--you are not the people,but against the people!You 3 think only of MONEY! Anyone of you that goes against the people should step down! Americans are not for your pleasure to destory!

this line made me

this line made me laugh.

Edwards: Because I think it sends the wrong signal to young people. And I think the president of the United States has a responsibility to ensure that we're sending the right signals to young people.

what signals? how to be a lying, cheating, murdering f**kwit who can not make decisions alone and is hell bent on invading country's for they're natural resources while offending people and creating a bad name for a good country............sounds like a really good signal to be sending to the kids!

dont smoke weed to relax.....kill people and get a lobotomy, then you can be just like me, a useless c**t

holymusic55's picture


I live in Alaska. Many straight people I know have never even tried MJ, don't personally know any stoners (that they are aware of) and the only visual in their mind that they have is a
lazy, unmotivated, mindless vegetable who lives in a cloud of pot induced euphoria all day every day. This is the extreme stereotype that many nonusers have. But with many pot users in the closet, understandably depending on what state you live in, they have no other opportunity to know otherwise.
I have talked with many physicians over the years on their opinion of MJ, and they unanimously agree that it should be legalized and treated as a medical issue. But when you ask them if they could provide a medical MJ prescription, they look terrified and say it would be professional suicide for them. It really is up to users who are productive citizens to come out of the closet, depending on each individual circumstance, as much as each individual is able to.
Perceptions of MJ users won't change until nonusers get to know us on a personal level. In the last 50 years, I have seen a real tilt away from acceptance of alcohol and tobacco as harmless and toward MJ as a nonharmful practice. Especially by this generation coming up.

Reform laws

Drug laws need a major overhaul, both at the federal and state levels. I live in New Jersey, and the laws are so outdated and archaic. Too many people end up in jail, crowding the prisons and the system is very injust (sp?), especially towards blacks and Hispanics. I looked up the state laws, and perhaps the only states with laws harsher are Utah, Delaware, and Florida.

I really do hope that within the next 15-25 years, there is a major shift in the attitude of the public towards the use of marijuana.


We're not morons.We know how lucky we are that by accident of birth we live on the greatest continent in the world,OK?That doesn't mean we don't have the right to point out the faults in our collective systems(I'm Canadian).It doesn't alter the lies and the waste in the drug policies of our countries nor does it negate our duty to do everything in our power to end the insanity before it destroys any more of the freedoms we hold so dear.TM


Could you please post a link to the actual statement from the Obama campaign. I find nothing at all about this new stance on the official Obama web site. To me, that means he can deny that he has said anything. Since he is a lawyer, a politician and a member of one of the two lying thieving dominance parties I believe only what I can prove about him.

I respect you and DRCNet but I am a retired journalist and I believe nothing that I have not personally verified.

I remember in the 2004 campaign where Kerry had underlings make statements about his pot position that he never made himself. A lot of wishful and hopeful thinking pot reformers took this at face value and promoted Kerry as a pot reform candidate when the fact was that Kerry himself never said any such thing and his record in the senate clearly was that of a staunch drug warrior. Now, presumably, we have Kerry advising and supporting Obama on the same issue and again there are unverifiable statements that raise hopes without actually saying anything.



You might also try Google for "Obama marijuana stance".
Would have thought a retired reporter could easily dig this one out...

grow your own think twice they dont attack cancer people 4nothin

An End to Racism in America?

Think twice, when they can demonize the T. Edison’s,
T. Jefferson’s, George Washington’s and Henry Fords of our day, all illegal drug users. Then we can’t have equality. Are we really supposed to believe that New Orleans has to live with crime violence and poverty while Amsterdam Holland can operate peacefully and profitably? While they control the crave from the nicotine patch to their Parkinson’s drug. Are we to believe that they can’t take the profit out of the drug war? They lie, cheat and steal ripping off the people for their genetic, neurological, historical, and medical necessities as these bounty hunters for the medical monopoly hide in the background criminalizing us for barring arms against their harms (the crave) as they claim to be exempt from the TEN COMMANDMENTS because the foreign owned pharmaceutical companies are paying them. The drug war is the Talibomb way to justify torture and destroy our cities, as they deny a whole population the right of law. Meaning they can rip off the illegal drug user or run him broke and if he calls the cops he’s the one who goes to jail. When they make excuses for denying the peoples will out in California attacking cancer and Aids patients for weed are we really suppose to believe it’s just the immoral black that gets hooked to their drugs? When they are allowed, encouraged to disrupt the criminal, the criminal being the peaceful pot smoker are we really suppose to believe its just the drug user they are working to run broke? What ever happened to the world famous gas light square, all the small business of the 1950 and 1960s? until we stop turning a blind eye to the crimes that are committed against our rejects, until we see that its not just the immoral American movie star that continue to get hooked to their drugs or that the Berkley elite or Berkley subversive is not the only ones being sabotaged by these armed combatants dressed as civilians then the racisms, the harassment, the robberies, crime and violence will continue to make ghettos out of our cities. Pray for all people and their needs not the needs dictated by these gods in white coats and their fraudulent science as they claim that its not how hard one works, that all the science, all the money in the world according to them can never make a building safe for a smoker and nonsmoker to peacefully coexist. Until we accept that the “power over the plants and animals” granted in the first page of the Holy Scriptures, that “Gods nature and his natural goodness” is declared in the DECLERATION OF INDEPENDENCE and we stop this drug war then we can stop the racism and persecution in the name of the foreign owned pharmaceutical companies and their Arab supporters. READ MORE IN


İRC :/server

They want a civil war... Give it to them.

Give them DC. Let them control that country. They are no longer listening to the citizens. This is our country, and every statistic shows that they have failed. Don't let them continue to destroy what we own. It is not in our best interest, if it continues to destroy our lives, while it makes their lives better. Show us the proof, that it is better.

Violent crime, continues to rise. None related to marijuana.(Failed)
Adult use, continues to rise. (Failed)
Kids/Teens, are hanging with crack-heads to get marijuana, and have no interest in beer-guts and beer-farts. (Failed)
"Legal" drugs, continue to be abused by, "Prescribed", individuals. (Failed)
Lies and deceptions, continue to be published on official government websites, twisting the reality of marijuana. (Failed)
Propaganda without complete facts, continues to circulate, funded by government dollars/taxes. (Failed)
States, still allowed to re-write laws that already exist and are stated as federal laws, over-penalizing people for the same crimes. (Failed)
Federal government, fails to recognize an over-ruled local acceptance of the state controlling body's decision to allow citizens under watch, claiming that they are criminals using marijuana for medical reasons. (Failed)

The message they are sending to kids/young-people/teens, is...
"You are stupid, and we will destroy your life, to fund ours, when you get older, and try marijuana or get sick and can't afford legal drugs that have a high risk of killing you."

The message you are sending to your country/citizens/adults/voters, is...
"We don't care what you want. It is what we need, to get what we want."

Obama and Marijuana


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