An Awesome Marijuana Debate on the McLaughlin Group

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When you're seeing a discussion like this on the McLaughlin Group, you know marijuana reform has gone mainstream:



On a program that's frequently characterized by fervent debate and hostile exchanges, often to the point of being unbearable, the guests actually seem to be largely in agreement about moving beyond marijuana prohibition. Wow. We've come a long, long way.

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Boy the opposition is getting weak.

My summary:
National review guy: it's backdoor legalisation, but that's good. It's also very useful as a medicine.
Clarence Page (Chicago Tribune): Hell, it's not even back door anymore, it's front door, and that's good. In a side comment he mentions which breed of cannabis he prefers.
Monica Crowley (Washington Times): Obama has to stay away from the issue because it's too touchy. She comes across as a prohibitionist, but she clearly doesn't feel comfortable taking a strong position. She says we have to stop people from doing it as entertainment, and that it's "widely perceived as a gateway drug".
Eleanor Clift (Newsweek): Legalizing marijuana is a good idea, but politically perilous. We're getting there though. Too much emotion "on both sides".

The gateway drug thing annoys me because it's hard to combat. Too few people understand the difference between correlation and causality. Just because something is perceived as true, doesn't make it true.

E. Clift's comments are particularly telling. "Too much emotion on both sides". If we want to get forward with our movement, we have to diffuse the emotionality of the issue and cast it as a rational one.

www.glenstark.net

Clarence Page mentioned which type of weed he prefers?!

Good for him. I've always liked his unusually polite approach to discussing public policy, maybe it's connected to his preference for the mellow weed.

Drew B's picture

Pondering the Pundits

Clarence Page has come out for legalizing (at least) marijuana before, this wasn't his first set of comments on the matter, I think. I'm sure I read an essay he wrote online about legalizing marijuana.

Eleanor Clift had some great things to say, but then when casting things in terms of Obama accomplishing something, it all came crashing down as Barack was, more-or-less, categorized as spineless.

Monica Crowley, I am not sure I've ever agreed with this woman. Where's the big Italian-looking guy who dressed to the nines and sat in that seat? Anyway, she seemed like many Republicans, caught between their beliefs of less govt./keeping the govt. out of individual's private lives, and caving in to the hypocritical head-beating "Christians," some of which are an overly-vocal minority. Her uneducated and hollow arguments sound like "what can I say now to please my fans." Gateway theory, dang! Woman do your homework!

Rich Lowry wrong; state-by-state is a last resort, only needed because of cowed and cowardly leaders at the Fed level. Such disrespect for his learned (and deceased) mentor!

Those are my thoughts based on my recollection of seeing it Saturday.

I'll watch the clip above again…

Prohibition is over, now we're onto health care reform..

why does it seem like this debate always gets limited to marijuana when groups such as LEAP and the Latin American Commission on Drugs and Democracy, among others, recommend a complete end to the current drug prohibition laws in favor of a health-based approach. Roughly the same position the U.N. seems to now be taking, and getting awfully close to the latest statements from our own drug czar.

Those asking for a debate or change in laws should perhaps focus on fine-tuning this approach to ensure that our constitutional rights to grow medicinal and even entheogenic (like DMT, psilocybin mushrooms, peyote..) plants are once again upheld by Congress. We don't even need to call it legalization, because all that's required is a removal of the most racist and horrific atrocity that our government is (hopefully) still directly responsible for.

All we need is an open, honest debate and to follow the guide of scientific discovery--which has been in full swing for some time now, decades if your name happens to be Dr. Rick Strassman--someone our President might want to ask a few questions regarding addiction treatment.

Hopefully a former Constitutional Law Professor can understand that the changes required to once again honor the voice of science and reason will not always be easy. But, in the case of ending the drug war (beyond just its name), doing so will save the government billions, if not trillions of dollars. Or, rather, will allow the government to use our TAXPAYER MONEY to finance something other than a war waged directly against any citizens who do not conform to the dominant (white, European-influenced) American culture of the late twentieth century.

Why discuss cannabis seperately

The answer is very obvious: it's the strongest and easiest drug to argue. Although it would be nice to immediately repeal drug prohibition, and begin experimenting with alternatives, it's unlikely to happen in the next couple of years.

The U.S. Drug war is part of the overall cultural war in the U.S. Remember that something like 40% of the U.S. believes in young earth creationism. I.e. they believe the earth is less than 10,000 years old, despite all the evidence to the contrary.

That same population is a pretty fanatic voting block, and explains why Bush was able to hold office so long despite being such a worthless president. They see drug prohibition as an important part in keeping America a "christian nation", and they see ending prohibition as inviting Babylon. Rational arguments are useless with this population, and they're such a large homogeneous voting block (easily manipulated too), that rational social change in the U.S. is challenging.

That's where pres obama is doing a pretty fantastic job. He's fighting the culture ware adiabatically, by shifting the cutural standards, and the legal system that supports that culture, so gradually that the christian right doesn't get mobilized. More significantly, he takes care not to tip any of the rational 50-60% percent of the population into their camp.

That's why it's important that we be rational and strategic in our methods and arguments. We need to come across as the inclusive, smart, calm side of the debate. This shows the prohibitionists as the raving loonies that they are.

People get impatient waiting for change, but I think we have to accept that positive social change in the United States will have to be evolutionary, not revolutionary. If we were to have a revolution it would be the right wing-nuts that come out on top, since they have all the guns.

So, let's win the cannabis front, and stop throwing harmless grass users and growers in prison. When that fight is done, we can work on the other drugs with high medical and cultural value and low risk (ecstacy and psychadelics for example). Along the way, let's try to find the best rational approach to handling, and minimizing the damage inflicted by, really harmful drugs like heroin.

Repealing Cannabis prohibition will help with the other prohibition problems. A victory in legalizing cannabis doesn't detract from the movement to saner drug policy. It is in fact an important step in that direction, and provides cultural and legislative momentum in that direction.

www.glenstark.net

the reasons why many of my comments are limited to marijuana

are that, first of all, it deserves separate consideration, on its own merits, from hard drugs and from psychedelics (which are a separate category of their own, in my view), and second of all, there's a real chance for some states that allow law to be made by referendum to legalize weed in 2010. I just don't see legalization of anything else happening that quickly, the polling numbers are not nearly as encouraging for legalizing other illegal drugs. At this point I'm not paying any particular attention to Congress or Obama on marijuana legalization or any other drug legalization, I don't even expect any action from them on medical marijuana even though Pelosi is supposedly a big supporter. I'm looking to the states that allow the people to make law directly, bypassing the useless, special interest owned pols. That's how medical marijuana got on the scoreboard, It still might be illegal everywhere if referendums didn't exist.

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