How Not to Legalize Marijuana

Via reason, I’d like to introduce you to Antoine Blalock, who may be the worst activist in the history of drug policy reform:

Blalock drove to the Seventh District Police Station on Alabama Avenue S.E. in Washington, D.C., in May 2007. He pulled a handgun from the trunk and started firing, shooting in the air outside the station. Five shots. He shouted, according to court records, "The police should leave us alone and let us sell our weed!"

Blalock complied with demands to drop his gun -- and he did not stop there. He dropped his pants, standing naked before officers wrapped him up in a towel. [Law.com]

Dude, you’re not helping. Although I suppose if Antoine Blalock starts a blog, I might check it out.
Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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Failure?

I don't mean to be crass here, Scott, but Mr. Blalock has achieved the exact same result on a federal level (where the Controlled Substances Act is) as decades of what you apparently believe is proper activism in the reform movement. You and I both know that result is a big fat goose egg in positive change.

While you may find it proper to spend reform movement resources smugly exemplifying this man who obviously has mental issues, I find it proper to start showing signs that you are considering comments rationally criticizing major reform movement tactics, and use this priceless communications tool called comment threads as a means for a healthy discussion.

Prohibitionists believe drug prohibition needs to continue to create positive change.

The reform movement believes direct government convincing needs to continue to create positive change.

The facts clearly show that neither works.

How long is it going to take before you address that undeniable truth, and realize that a major shift in tactics is necessary?

I will grant you that some successes at the state and local level offer hope after decades of hard work in this movement, and constitute "cracks in the drug prohibition dam", but to beat the many very powerful entities strongly supporting drug prohibition, we need to take our game (if you will) to a new level, one that ignores the Antoine Blalock's of the world in favor of going into prohibitionist strongholds and embarrassing them in debates repeatedly as part of a serious effort to build a positive image in the minds of the mainstream public.

Sure we'll get booed at first, but the respect we will gain for constantly showing up on their turf and the resilience demonstrating maturity and strength will pay off greatly for our cause.

Please stop ignoring the obvious, or at the very least, correct me so I can learn something.

I agree with you

We MUST change the way we go about trying to get reform. We must take our argument to the people and the media. We have been pursuing what is termed insanity -- doing the same thing and expecting a different result. Not that I think continuing pressure on law-makers has no effect, eventually it does, when the presure becomes great enough. Our problem is there are not enough citizens applying that pressure, and in order to get more, we need to educate the citizenry. Attempting to educate the law-makers is, currently, an exercise in futility.

I'm pro-choice on EVERY THING!

puregenius's picture

Different paths to the same goal

You are right that we need more citizens applying the pressure. The problem is most citizens are not seeing the direct consequences that prohibition has on their daily lives and those of their families. Those that do will often attribute it to other causes. Skyrocketing health care costs hit people in a way the cannot be ignored. Tax season is the perfect time to show people how much smaller their tax bill would be without the drug war.

I split my time between contacting legislators and educating citizens. There is more than enough data to show that most citizens are ready to at least see cannabis policy change. Convincing legislators of that fact often proves difficult. More and more lawmakers are treating mass emails from interest groups as spam and summarily rejecting them.

Only the most dedicated advocates will take the time to copy and paste a form a letter into their lawmaker's web form.

Until more people are not only willing to agree with our positions, but act on them as well, targeting lawmakers will be of the most effective methods for producing change.

Public Relations

"The problem is most citizens are not seeing the direct consequences that prohibition has on their daily lives and those of their families. Those that do will often attribute it to other causes."

A skill used by public relations experts is to find a way to express something in a way that interests the public.

I think the prohibitionists, generally supported by the advertising industry (advertising and public relations relying on similar tactics at times), do a much better job finding that interest ('fear in not protecting their children from very dangerous drugs threatening to destroy our society' -- it's all deception, of course, but a lot of advertising is).

When you have that serious warning constantly coming out of the mouths of credible-looking (or otherwise credible) community leaders, it's very hard to publicly defeat it.

If the reform movement ever taps into a public nerve (with some kind of simple verbal "critical blow" against prohibitionist credibility while showing the light in ending drug prohibition), that could be lights out for drug prohibition.

Debate

"we need to take our game (if you will) to a new level, one that ignores the Antoine Blalock's of the world in favor of going into prohibitionist strongholds and embarrassing them in debates repeatedly as part of a serious effort to build a positive image in the minds of the mainstream public."

I agree. I've personally confronted John Walters, Nora Volkow, and current acting drug czar Ed Jurith during public appearances. So yes, we're already doing what you suggest. They are no strangers to criticism, however, and do not fall apart when challenged. Moreover, we can't debate them any more than we have been, because they seldom agree to debate. When they do, they get slaughtered, although they might not see it that way. Such events tend not to generate much press and fail to serve as a powerful public outreach mechanism. Their value is more subtle, at least in the venues we currently have access to. Regardless, I could spend hours providing examples of various reform groups doing exactly what you've suggested, but I'm not sure that would be a good use of resources.

As for discussing general criticism of the reform movement, I have no objection to you sharing whatever concerns you have. But I don't think it's fair to cite the continuation of the drug war as a sign of failure. By that reasoning, every movement is a failure...until it succeeds.

The new president has promised sentencing reform, needle exchange, and an end to medical marijuana raids. These are all issues that have been advanced by the lobbying efforts of the drug policy reform movement and we must now hold his feet to the fire to make sure we get what we were promised. If that happens, then our efforts will be vindicated as far as these issues are concerned.

We don't need less lobbying, we need more. We need more of a lot of things. But, for my part, I'm excited about where we are right now.

Image Really Counts

First, thank you for reading and replying. My goal isn't to trap you here in this thread. I suggest when someone raises a reasonable concern giving us (people who are not on the traditional reform movement front lines and therefore remain fairly blind) a chance to learn, that would make an excellent topic for your blog post (instead of the likes of Mr. Blalock, in which the cause is not advanced at all IMHO). This allows for an important public dialogue with your supporters that likely strengthens your efforts.

When I say debate, I mean two podiums on a stage side by side, not one prohibitionist looking strong on a stage while someone below looks up and challenges his beliefs with a quick, easy-to-smugly-duck question or two.

Prohibitionists are not getting "slaughtered". If they were, drug prohibition would be a sick joke in the public mainstream, the likes of Walters would be out of work, and prohibitionists would be booed off of every stage. Instead, our movement is considered by too many to be a sick joke, and we are the ones being generally booed.

While I understand drug prohibition is an omni-partisan issue, the traditional reform movement, dominated by Bush-is-stupid-even-though-he-beat-every-Democrat-he-faced Liberals (sorry about that), needs to understand that in the eyes of the public mainstream, we are irrational, political-left extremists, and that image makes it easy for the public mainstream to instantly dismiss us before we say a word. That's a serious image problem that must be firmly addressed, and that's what professional public relations is all about.

If prohibitionists refuse to debate, then that's the subject of a national "Why are prohibitionists afraid to debate us?" public relations campaign, one that runs strong until we get the national prime-time debate we need.

In that major debate, while firmly convincing the nation (with simple, 'duh-proof' phrases) that prohibitionists are entirely grounded in deception, we need to paint prohibitionists into a corner, putting them on the spot in front of the nation to answer a very tough question they can't duck without looking really bad. Do you have that question? I don't, but I bet it has something to do with liberty (in particular, sacrificing the written American foundation), something that most Americans (whether they like or hate drugs) at least publicly believes in.

I know that's difficult to understand for the George Soros supporters who want more regulations, more power taken out of the private sector and put into the public sector, despite the written American foundation. While I appreciate Mr. Soros' (I'm guessing generous) financial contribution to our cause, I highly recommend that each of you think very carefully about that support and the resulting national-foundation-destroying power abuse shift that will do nothing to heal the damage caused by power abuse in the public and private sectors.

Promises by Obama mean nothing. That man has clearly gone to both extremes on the drug prohibition issue to his convenience, claiming his greatest regret was his past drug use. How exactly are you going to hold his feet to the fire? Threatening to have roughly 10,000 - 1,000,000 people passionate about this issue not vote for him in the next election, noting most of them will still vote Democrat over fears of a Republican victory?

Do I really need to cite the definition of the word fail? Our failure is not a badge of shame. Our failure is a wake-up call to constantly improve our efforts until we succeed to "Stop The Drug War"!

Scott, we have a very serious power insufficiency, and we have to resolve that first for lobbying to be effective, because there is a very powerful group of entities lobbying against our lobbying efforts.

I'm happy for you in your excitement, but it raises the serious question about whether or not you really want to end drug prohibition, or do you just want to make a living fighting it in your own comfortable way?

Wow.

"or do you just want to make a living fighting it in your own comfortable way?"

How dare you. You have no clue all the sacrifices I've made to be here. I have no company credit card to say the least, my friend. If you knew us, you would never insinuate such things. Think about how it feels to donate hundreds of hours a year to this cause and then have my integrity questioned on my own blog. Save your venom for those on the other side of the aisle.

You and I are in violent agreement about the need for more debate. After all the time I've spent attending and documenting these events, I shouldn't have defend myself on this point. If you want me to use my energy and our resources effectively, don't make me write a dissertation about all the ways in which we've prioritized many of your prefered strategies in a thousand ways. The problem isn't that we aren't doing it, it's that it doesn't work as quickly or decisively as you think.

This takes time and it will take more time if we must respond to cynical accusations from our own supporters that we're deliberately failing to end the drug war because we're so f**king in love with our pathetic wages. 

Wow, Indeed.

You have also sacrificed your composure while actually ignoring every point I made.

The only venom is coming from you. My goal isn't to anger you. If I believed that you (or anyone else in the reform movement) have ever lacked integrity, I wouldn't waste my time here, Scott.

The only reason I'm pushing this button is while I may not know your sacrifices, I know the results, because I've spent countless hours in your world (including reading what you write everyday) and the prohibitionist one.

Are you telling me that I should never question dominant reform movement tactics here? That I should agree with your views for the sake of efficiency in continuing with those tactics, despite the clear and dissatisfying (at least to me) legal results after decades of applying those tactics?

You say that you've tried my suggestions, but that's not true. You show me one properly-conducted, professional public relations campaign at any point in the reform movement's history, and (assuming you come up with one) I'll show you an effort that is sorely lacking, not to be a disrespectful jerk, but because I really care about promptly defeating prohibitionists for the sake of liberty, truth, and the victims of this disastrous policy.

What I'm talking about requires a lot of focus, to a degree that the reform movement would have to do something that it has never done, pull back on the lobbying front due to limited resources, and exercise an all-out blitz of a national public relations campaign targeting mainstream America (including a strong push into Conservative territory) to create a positive public image in the mainstream for our movement, making it respectable for powerful private sector allies to give us the strength necessary to beat the very powerful prohibitionist opponents on the lobbying front.

This requires a serious change in presentation style to a professional one embraceable by the average American (including "Joe Six-Pack"), again not to be a disrespectful jerk, but a bipartisan style that the reform movement hasn't come close to presenting.

I'm not a naive fool misunderstanding the complexities of the serious challenge in defeating the prohibitionists.

Comforts are not all about money. The comfort I'm talking about is a strong focus on lobbying.

Feel free to reply, but I'm done here. It's clear that I will need to look elsewhere to have a rational and constructive discussion about the pros and cons of the reform and prohibitionist movements, and how we can make the most of limited resources to efficiently achieve success for everyone who wants to find a proper and effective solution to handling drug abuse in our society.

You need not worry about violence in agreement or disagreement as I'm off to pave my own path from scratch.

Good luck with your endeavors.

??

I don't see that Scott was deserving of your wrath, either. It was a tirade that was sounding very divisive, to me. You need to chill out!

Frustration

I apologize for failing to contain my frustration.

A group of smart people have insulted me by repeatedly ignoring my very rational disagreement with their main tactic, enhancing that frustration from what it was due to drug prohibition's dominant presence.

For the sake of ending drug prohibition in an efficient manner, I will repeat my rational disagreement here in peace, and see if anyone wants to address it:

We have a very serious power insufficiency relative to prohibitionists, and we have to resolve that first for lobbying to be effective, because there is a very powerful group of entities lobbying against our lobbying efforts.

Why would a politician, who makes decisions based on electability over righteousness, be swayed by our lobbying efforts over theirs?

blame game

Apology acceapted. I do understand your frustration! More than you will ever know! My spirit, too, has been crushed by another branch of the perverted political system.

And where does that blame really lie? Could it be a government that has become so bloated that only corruptible lobbying can even get a small voice heard by the the politicians' offices? They are not accountable to the general public. The legal system has become addicted to the income they get through governmental programs and theft of personal property (forfeitures). The police unions and private prison systems have a lot more clout than us. They have the people who are well employed and have enough extra money to help corrupt the system. Still comes back to the money!

Bright Light

What brought down the Nixon administration? Deep Throat exposing the corruption via The Washington Post.

All powerful people have one huge fear and that's losing their power.

When corruption forms the basis of power in the public or private sector, exposing that corruption prominently will instantly defeat that power, because these "credible" people usually disguise the corruption in a way appearing to help society.

I'm guessing that lawmakers leverage this to make deals in the halls of power (e.g. I won't expose you if you support my agenda).

Words fail to describe how far out on a limb prohibitionists have gone to maintain their corruption, and I think that's an excellent opportunity for us, if we can get on the national stage with them, forcing them into answering tough questions too difficult to duck.

We've seen signs that the mainstream media is coming around on the subject of drug prohibition, and I hope we can encourage the media to see the truly enormous amount of "newsworthy fuel" in exposing drug prohibition with journalists' much-desired sharp news angles, fuel they may latch onto during tough times for newspapers, etc.

We've seen cracks in the prohibitionist "dam". There must be something we can do to nudge it in a way snowballing it into a complete bursting of that dam?

LOL!

He's got heart and balls but no brain at all.

Unfortunately, if the Iraq,

Unfortunately, if the Iraq, Afghanistan, and current drug war at home have taught us anything, it's that guns are the negotiating tool of the United States. Bullets bring change, not diplomacy. This person at least got himself heard. Without the gun he was a nobody.

What'shappening?

This man is likely the first of many they are going to drive insane with the insanity called the "war on drugs"!! Frustration to the max!! They will probably say,"He was out of his mind on drugs". You know that is the way they do things!

Political Theater

Antoine Blalock has the right idea.  He just needs to refine his technique a bit.

The next time Mr. Blalock shoots off a few rounds in front of a police station, he should fire his gun into the ground or asphalt instead of the air.  Firing into the air is unsafe.

Also, he needs to get more people involved.  One person firing a gun and stripping naked while protesting the cannabis laws in front of a police station gets the whole drama dismissed by the media as some lone nut story.  Increasing the numbers of people makes the political theater an official demonstration, or maybe if one is really lucky even a riot—and therefore a better draw for the news hounds.

There is safety in numbers.  Get enough people together, and most of them can maintain later on they were just spectators.  It's a classic defense that's been used for decades.  Giving the credit where credit is due, it was Ambrose Bierce who defined a riot as "entertainment staged for the police by innocent bystanders."

Giordano

pcp

It sounds to me like the man was under the influence of pcp. I say this from experience and the fact that it's a pretty common drug in dc. The pulling down the pants was the giveaway. It will be interesting to find out what he says about this later. I don't know if they can determine this from blood tests because pcp stays in the system after the effects have worn off. I hope I'm wrong because the prohibs will just use this as ammo against reform.

Conservative powerlessness an opportunity

The poster who seems to have a Right orientation may b e on to something. The fact that the Right is in a power slump may force them to re-examine their present beliefs, beliefs that led to the Big Governm ent Conservatism of Bush. By any rational Right wing standard drugs are a legitimate marketed commodity and should not be prohibited by a "nanny State" Buckley, Friedman etc all saw the marijuana laws at least from a Libertarian perspective. The anti-prohibitionist movement got no respect until men like Ethan nadelman and Rob Kampia started wearing suits instead of tie-dydes. Image matters, and Americans are responsive to Right imagery, even if their politics don't always agree.The meme of "principled Conservatives are for ending cannabis prohibition is a powerful one.

Strong Foundation

I agree with what you said, which is no surprise since I'm that poster.

Drug prohibition is a bipartisan disaster, and I believe it will take a bipartisan effort to nationally expose the corruption to a degree demanding its end.

My political leanings vary (e.g. I support gun rights and gay marriage), but there's one consistency and that's my support for the written American foundation (the U.S. Declaration of Independence giving us our base principle including the unalienable right to liberty -- i.e. live and let live, and the Constitution putting that principle into law) which gives us our rule of law in our republic.

I sympathize with Liberals who want to help the poor and end abuse in the private sector, but our foundation has strict limits on our public servants' power for a very good reason, as we all know being on this side of the drug prohibition issue.

Our nation was established against power abuse exercised by government. Shifting power from the private sector to the public sector (e.g. nationalizing banks and health care), which undeniably means destroying our nation's foundation, will simply change who has the opportunity to abuse power, noting government doesn't have a good historical record here.

While I support a natural collective resulting from voluntary civilized behavior, the coercive collective (government controls us by coercion) never produces the intended everyone-is-equal results, because it always empowers and enriches the small group of people who make up the central authority.

An open and free society can only truly exist when education is advanced enough to be a truly effective means to prevent abuse in any of its forms (including drug abuse). The more effective education becomes, the less reason to apply coercive means instead, the more open and free we can all be.

Instead of looking to our public servants to lead us out of a crisis (arguably created by power abuse in both the private and public sectors), "We the people" as true leaders (according to our foundation) must lead ourselves out of crisis by exercising our rights responsibly (i.e. being mature). Healthy individualism is the only way to a healthy collectivism.

The more people exercise their rights responsibly, the better society naturally becomes.

People think that's naive. What's naive IMHO is thinking that more regulations, costly lines generating emotional friction at times creating a progression from frustration to anger to intentional abuse, are the way to eliminate abuse. We see the horrors resulting from these lines, including drug prohibition.

The powerful (private and public sector) are always fighting to create these lines to gain more power for themselves. The result of this fight gives us our real (and dynamic) definition of liberty, which is not an unalienable right as it should be. Again, drug prohibition exemplifies.

A major defeat for our foundation occurred in 1937, when our judicial branch failed under strong pressure from the other two branches, resulting in an abrupt and radical change in the judicial interpretation of the Commerce Clause, that change still in effect today, and is the only so-called connection drug prohibition has to our foundation.

This radical change is very dangerous, because it gives Congress the authority to regulate anything having a substantial affect on interstate commerce. Human thought, which determines what, why, when, where, and how we buy and sell, undeniably always has a substantial affect on interstate commerce. This radical change gives Congress the authority to selectively regulate human thought (if one uses marijuana, one is having a substantial affect on interstate commerce).

Liberals tend to like this radical change, because it gives them leverage to implement more government programs to attempt to offset power abuse in the private sector.

I apologize for the long comment (and this long sentence), but if I can help convince Liberals to turn away from this disastrous radical change, and convince Conservatives that they support this radical change too at times, and build a joint effort to restore our foundation by ridding ourselves of that radical change using drug prohibition as a brilliant example of the damage done, encouraging society to instead focus on reducing all forms of abuse by advancing effective education (a challenge that can be met and is a free society's only option), then I've done my duty as an American patriot working towards 'live and let live' (i.e. the unalienable right to liberty).

Whether you agree or disagree with me (or want to tear me apart in response to my out-of-line, frustration-induced wrath above), or are just interested to see where this goes, please visit the seed that is powerlessmedia.com and engage in a constructive discussion for society's sake. I apologize for my shameless self-promotion. I'm just determined to do my best to help society improve itself, because I want to live in a much better society.

Peace. Love. Liberty. Truth.

- Scott

Scott---we love you.

I know the time and heart you have put in our struggle and want to thank you most sincerely for all of it. God bless you and your tireless efforts!!!

Feeding the Bear.

That's what it was known as during the Cold War, and I think the term is well-applied here. Dissent amongst the ranks almost always serves to benefit the opposition.

Every movement has had to endure the embarrassment brought about by a few of its own members. The best we can do is ignore them; much as we should the unfortunate man described above.

Much damage is caused by those among us who agree with our opposition. A good example of this was when San Francisco imposed excessively strict guidelines for cannabis dispensaries, making it a difficult, lengthy, and expensive process to apply for a permit. Many dispensaries had to close. Some of our own people were saying that the regulations are good because the dispensaries that closed, "Were just in it for the money." While that may have been true for some, such statements harm the innocent, and fatten the Bear.

I have heard many patients publicly complain that other patients don't look ill, or appear too young; more snacks for the Bear. Why not presume that if one doesn't look ill, perhaps their medicine is working? They may have glaucoma or other non-apparent diagnosis. They could also be caregivers.

As we make progress toward ending this most futile, shameful, and longest war in US history, our opposition will become more desperate; the Bear will get hungrier. But unlike in any other war, those paid to fight it have nothing to lose but their jobs. Their surrender offers them no benefit.

We need to be more tolerant of one another, and maintain a united front. After all, we don't hear any of our opposition complaining that some of them are in it "just for the money".

The case of Mr. Blalock should cause less focus on marijuana, than on gun control. The weed wasn't the problem.

agreed!

I experienced the same thing, as those who experienced the above, erroneous assumptions about the patients.! The patients, in the waiting room, and receptionist, thought one patient was "drugged up". Sad thing is, when one is septic, one can look the same way. And, she was! And, she did! The sepsis was, cautiously, treated on an outpatient basis, because the patient was afraid to go the ER and be treated like a second class citizen. How could she expect any different, when she was so judged in an office, supposed to be full of other people suffering from chronic pain, like she was!

I, more than once, offered to take a patient off of their controlled medication because they thought someone in the waiting room did not deserve the same treatment. My attitude was, if my judgment was not good enough for the other patient, then maybe the one complaining did not deserve any treatment either! I would confront them with the fact, that if I were not to believe the other patients, then maybe I should not believe them either, and just stop treating everybody. ( I did. But not by my own choice!)

People should not be so quick to judge. Especially without all of the facts. Especially when they also don't have the educational background to do it. I did understand the above commentor's frustrations. The legal system works, way too, slowly!

Gun control is a problem as important as prohibition

The Second Amendment is as much a part of our foundational law as the right to liberty. There is a Constitutional Right for individuals to own and carry arms, including guns, the right is there for self defense, including defense against an overbearing government.

Those who advocate "gun control", or even worse to completely disarm the populace, are just as bad as prohibitionists, the only difference is the issue about which they intend to take our Rights.

As with the poster above who was frustrated with the snail's pace of reform, I also support gay marriage and reproductive choice, and am against polluting our own nest, tho I do not believe in Al Gore's version of "climate change, or in his "solutions" -- I prefer using the courts to take to task those whose polluting activities harm my property or my person over over-regulation of private property. I do not want the government telling me what size my toilet tank must be, how many windows I may place in my home, what I may feed my husband, or what I and hubby may choose to do in the bedroom. In other words, I am a libertarian thru and thru. Live and let live, never initiate force or fraud against another, and never take what isn't yours by right or by labor.

I'm pro-choice on EVERYTHING!

I thought the Blalock post provided welcome comic relief

(though his escapade could easily have ended tragically) but I do agree with the 1st post "failure" that going to prohibitionist strongholds is an important strategy to employ. If he or others can supply some good 'prohibitionist stronghold' links that we can post on, I'll be happy to give them my two cents.
This invaluable site has provided readers with such links to newspapers in so-called 'heartland' America repeatedly, giving us good opportunities to try to convince people to rethink the war on selected drugs, sometimes focusing on the cannabis part of it, which in some respects, such as public opinion/relative danger vs. alcohol/ability to grow in U.S., is an entirely separate issue from illegal hard drugs.

there are other interpretations of the second amendment

It sounds to me like it was talking about the right of people to belong to the well regulated militia and the right of those members to keep their militia weapons at home. These were important issues in Great Britain, the mother country, at the time, where there was a big issue over whether only members of the established church could belong to the militia and/or keep their militia weapons at home. Keep and bear arms sounds like a military term to me.

A little bit of clear thinking.

#1. In order to solve the problem you have to first understand what the problem is.

You people in "the movement " seem to think that the problem is PR, that is to say that the public perception of herb is negative.

Here drink some coffee, it may help as I tell you that the public is NOT against us. THE PUBLIC IS ALREADY WITH US! Consistently throughout the US, 60+% want to end the war on pot smokers and to allow people that need it to use it.

So you can throw out all the previous commentary on debating in smoky rooms and think harder: What is the problem? Why is the opposition so strong since '37? Who benefits from Illegal herb? FOLLOW THE MONEY!

One time I had a email back and forth with some top woman at NORMAL asking the same question; why 70 years of unrelenting opposition to this benign healer? She steadfastly claimed it was racism: that white people hate brown and black people so much they want to take away their only pleasure! [not her words] Are these people serious?

Step #1. Follow the money to find who and what your real opposition is! Its not hard to figure; As a plant Cannabis is the single most utilitarian industrial resource on the planet. And so........you had better sit down for this... the opposition is industrial! Industry doesn't want the competition! I could be wrong, what are your thoughts?

Can I warm that coffee up for you?

When you know what the problem is then you can more effectively design a solution.

Step 2. Next is to look for what tack has been more effective than others, the main one so far having been the civil liberties approach. Within the context of the actual opposition you may see WHY it has or has not been effective. For example, the only tack that has really worked is the medical usefulness approach...A cheap "industrial" matirel that can fill a real [medical] need in society.

But Hemp can fill MANY needs in society, and so the second most successful approach has been the HEMP industry, again because of its utility of this plant.

So this can lead to more focused thinking in general about cannabis. Is it a good time party drug plant, or is it the first and most useful plant ever domesticated, under girding the start and progress of civilization? Is it a funny flower we find in the woods or has human society had a near SYMBIOTIC relationship with this wise, subtle and generous being? I've read the literature.

Frankly, "Marijuana" is not a drug. It is a plant. I'm not smoking a drug here I'm smoking a plant. How's that for clear thinking? Now I know what I'm defending. I'm defending a plant, my buddy. Do I sound like I'm high?

Contains some 200 different psychoactive drugs if I'm not mistaken but the point is that it is an industrial resource from which drugs [amongst many other things] may be extracted with profit and positive effect for society. The public has already accepted the utility of the plant as a drug resource in surveys and elections. This fact points the way forward.

My advice is to abandon the civil liberties approach of "I have a right to waste my life!" or "Being a constant pothead hasn't changed me a bit! I'm exactly as I was when I was 16!" As laudable as those approaches may have been.

Emphasize the SUSTAINABLE industrial utility of this agricultural product. Concentrate precious energy in that direction. And if that doesn't work, go back to what we did in the sixties; sing naked.

I Agree

You sound like you're on quite the coffee ride yourself, but it's all good. Thank you for the coffee. I'll finish it while I comment.

Please correct me if I'm wrong, all you know-more-than-me types, but aren't voter initiatives a main reason for many if not most of the successes in drug law reduction (medical marijuana and decriminalization)?

When voters vote for drug law reductions, it's great for the reform movement, because in addition to the obvious benefit of law improvement, there is another conclusive piece of evidence to show that public support is real (and not some easy-to-put-thumb-on-scale poll that conservatives dismiss as liberal-bias).

While people seem to support some form of ending marijuana prohibition, people with influence are not passionate about the issue enough to wield an effective opposition against the powerful prohibitionists, and I have yet to see a whole lot of mainstream public support for ending drug prohibition (all drugs).

In other words, the public is kind of with us, but apparently not enough to get Congress acting on our behalf to end drug prohibition.

What really brings out the cynic in me is hemp is illegal even though it can't get you high. I would like to see farmers (like the ones in North Dakota) make a continuous strong push for hemp with a simple ad ("It doesn't get you high, and it helps us greatly help America, noting it played a strong supporting role in the Revolutionary War and World War II").

At the end of the day, I think it comes down to serious public humiliation against the prohibitionists, which is possible since their beliefs are entirely based on deception. Little by little, people are getting the message, especially online where we dominate the debate, and eventually prohibitionists will get what they, unlike us, deserve... demonization against them.

Drug prohibition is a massive bubble waiting to burst, too massive for prohibitionists to continue covering the lies. It's only a matter of time, but that shouldn't prevent us from doing everything we can to pop it now!

Now I'll put down my empty coffee mug, and press post comment.

Action alert

The Michael Phelps incident which has just came to light -- a pic of him smoking a bong back in Nov. He's apologizing all over the place for having "made a horrible mistake". Let us begin writing letters to editors and on blogs and everywhere we can telling him and the populace as a whole that he has done nothing for which he needs to apologize.

If the populace is truly with us, then they will take up the mantra, "you've done nothing wrong, Michael!" This could be a turning point, if we take the initiative to make it one.

I'm pro-choice on EVERYTHING!

blagh blagh blagh talk all you want

this guy might have been a fruitcake .but he was part right back in the 60s when the people were fed up with goverment pushing them around they picked up their rifles .some politicians hear better with theit brains splatterd all over .afterall they got rifles to and arn t afraid to shoot you.i dont believe in violence but i sure do believe in self defence.wtf

reminds me a little of a Dead Kennedys song

"if you demonstrate against someone we like
i'll slip on a wig and see if i can start a riot
transform into an angry mob
and then your leaders go to jail for my job"

from the song "I Am the Owl" from the album "Plastic Surgery Disasters"

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