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Tommy Chong's Prosecutor Says He Should Have Gotten More Jail Time

Mary Beth Buchanan, easily the nastiest federal prosecutor in the nation, has finally resigned her post. Yet, even as lovers of justice across the country celebrate her long-overdue departure (and pray she won't run for elected office), Buchanan has managed to turn our stomachs for what will hopefully be the last time:

On her last day in office, Buchanan says her only regret during her tenure was accepting a plea from Tommy Chong. [KDKA.com]

Such pure arrogance is really something to behold. Every legal textbook in the country should display her picture beside the term "malicious prosecution," as the railroading of Tommy Chong is a mere footnote within a career defined by gratuitous excesses.

Of course, Tommy was amused to hear that Buchanan still holds a grudge against him. The feeling is mutual:

"I'm honored to be Mary Beth's only regret. Now does she regret going after me? Or does she regret that I never got enough time? I tend to think she wishes she'd never heard my name. I have become her legacy. Mary Beth Loose Cannon is now looking for a job. She blew her last job busting me. Karma is so sweet! She's looking for a work while Cheech and I start our second multi-million dollar tour thanks to the publicity she created for us! Thank you Mary Beth - may you find peace and happiness in your search for your soul." [CelebStoner

I dunno, Tommy. You might wanna keep the floodlights on at night, just in case. If we know one thing about Mary Beth Buchanan, it’s that she never ever stops. She could be lurking in your bushes at this very moment, drunk with fury and looking to finish what she started.

Cheech and Chong vs. Bill O'Reilly: Worst Interview Ever

Boy, O'Reilly really knows how to suck the humor out of a room:

This should never have been allowed to take place. Bill O'Reilly shouldn't be allowed anywhere these guys, or anyone else who's ever been remotely funny at any point in modern history.

And if anyone can think of a legal way to make O'Reilly stop saying things like this, please share:
O'REILLY: We found out that in San Francisco, which leads the league in marijuana clinics, medical marijuana clinics, a lot of hard-core drug addicts go in there, buy the pot and sell it to kids so they can buy their heroin and meth and everything else.

CHONG: Sell it to kids?


CHONG: Where did you get that information?

O'REILLY: We got it from our undercover people.
Yeah, right. This is one of those social problems that you'll only hear about on the O'Reilly Factor because it only exists in the twisted mind of Bill O'Reilly.

Michael Phelps and Marijuana Legalization

Phelps resumed competition this weekend, prompting Jim Caple at ESPN to call for a debate on legalizing marijuana:

We need to hear all sides, as part of a serious discussion on this subject, and then make a rational decision about whether marijuana should be legal in this country.

What we do not need is to waste any more energy fretting over a college-age athlete smoking pot and the negative lesson it sends to the nation's youth. Otherwise the negative message kids will learn from Phelps' bong hit is this: Adults are too busy shouting about meaningless crap to intelligently discuss what is actually important.

Damn straight. I'm assuming, of course, that he's referring to those who condemned Phelps and not those of us who launched an angry boycott against Kellogg's. Because that was totally necessary.

Arnold Schwarzenegger Calls for Marijuana Legalization Debate

Considering that he vetoed a hemp bill in 2006, this is about as good a statement as I would expect from him:

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger says California should study other nations' experiences in legalizing and taxing marijuana, although he is not supporting the idea.

He says it's time to debate proposals such as a bill introduced in the state Legislature earlier this year that would treat marijuana like alcohol.

State Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, a San Francisco Democrat, says taxing marijuana at $50 per ounce would bring more than $1 billion a year to the state.

Schwarzenegger said during a Tuesday news conference that "it's time for debate" on the idea. [NBC]

I like what's happening with this "let's debate it" line we keep hearing lately. It's a way for public officials to show interest in the subject without alienating anyone who feels strongly about the issue. Perhaps it has come to the Governator's attention that 56% of Californians support legalizing marijuana.

Considering the famous Schwarzenegger-smoking-pot video that's all over the web, some will accuse him of hypocrisy should his position ultimately fall anywhere short of outright support for legalization. Still, it's notable in and of itself that we're beginning to see politicians shifting away from knee-jerk opposition to reform, in favor of the more open-minded position of endorsing a debate on the subject.

Joe Biden's Daughter Allegedly Caught on Video Snorting Cocaine

The New York Post dropped a bombshell over the weekend:

A "friend" of Vice President Joseph Biden's daughter, Ashley, is attempting to hawk a videotape that he claims shows her snorting cocaine at a house party this month in Delaware.

The video, which the shooter initially hoped to sell for $2 million before scaling back his price to $400,000, shows a 20-something woman with light skin and long brown hair taking a red straw from her mouth, bending over a desk, inserting the straw into her nostril and snorting lines of white powder.

Thus far, no media outlet has purchased the video, and Huffington Post is reporting that it was filmed without consent. As to whether the tape is authentic, we'll have to wait and see, but my gut tells me the Biden family would be making noise right now if this were all a big hoax. They haven’t said anything.

Despite the greed and nastiness that brought this matter to our attention, we're now confronted with yet another major celebrity drug use scandal that is far from typical. If, in fact, Joe Biden's daughter is a cocaine user, there will be a very public conversation in which the vice president's history of aggressive drug war posturing will be juxtaposed against the drug use taking place in his own family. As the administration pushes a hardline response to the drug war violence in Mexico, Ashley Biden could easily become symbolic of the American drug user whose disposable income subsidizes the cartels and renders our enforcement efforts impotent.

Like the Michael Phelps saga, it's a story that tells itself and requires little to no narration from advocates for drug policy reform. Ashley will rightly be perceived as the victim of an unscrupulous associate who violated her privacy for personal gain. Her alleged drug use shouldn't (and hopefully won't) ruin her career. Who knows, maybe she could become president some day. So long as the vast and infinitely clumsy arm of the law doesn’t get involved here, no one's life needs to be ruined. Stay tuned.

Why Are Democrats Barking About Rush Limbaugh's Drug Use?

National Review Online has a good point here. Obama's past drug use was rightfully declared off-limits during the campaign. Everyone on the left seemed to agree that was appropriate, so bludgeoning Limbaugh over his own drug use is lame.

You could make a decent argument that Limbaugh's behavior was more shocking (in light of this wildly hypocritical statement, for example), but that's really beside the point. The fact that past drug use is no longer a landmine on the campaign trail is an encouraging signal that our political culture has matured beyond the finger-wagging of the past. If we want it to stay that way, then there must be a bi-partisan truce when it comes to trashing someone's character for using drugs.

If you're actually discussing drug policy, that might be different, but just blatantly citing past drug use as evidence that someone's an asshole is not cool. This isn't about Rush Limbaugh, it's about moving beyond the "I didn't inhale" era so that we can have public discussions of drugs and drug policy that aren’t politicized and perverted to the point of absurdity.

Kellogg's Stock Takes Big Hit After Phelps Bong Controversy

I'm no expert on the stock market, but this doesn’t look good for Kellogg's:

Kellogg Co. Stock -- February 2009:

As the chart shows, the company's stock took an immediate dive following its decision to drop Michael Phelps over the infamous bong hit photo. What began as a coordinated boycott by drug reform organizations quickly escalated into a full-blown media frenzy as major news outlets picked up the story. Pot-friendly websites like Digg.com began directing massive traffic to news coverage that was critical of Kellogg's anti-marijuana posturing, thereby increasing the campaign's visibility among likely supporters.

The cumulative impact of all this negative publicity is helpfully illustrated by The Vanno Reputation Index, which monitors the public image of leading corporations:
Out of the 5,600 company reputations Vanno monitors, Kellogg ranked ninth before it booted Phelps. Now it's ranked 83. Not even an industry-wide peanut scare inflicted as much damage on the food company's reputation. [Business Insider]

In the current economic climate, it would be silly to think we're solely responsible for Kellogg's falling stock. Still, the Vanno data clearly shows that we've dealt a substantial blow to the company's reputation at the worst possible time. Whether or not we actually had a considerable impact on Kellogg's bottom line is beside the point. What matters is that we sent an unprecedented message to corporate America that reefer madness is bad for business.

For far too long now, the drug war has been sustained by a corporate culture that embraces anti-drug propaganda at every turn. Just as our press and politicians have struggled to come to terms with evolving public attitudes about drugs and drug policy, corporate America has remained enslaved by the tired mindset that a healthy public image is best secured through hardline anti-drug posturing.

The Phelps saga may soon be regarded as the moment when all of that changed, the unforeseeable, yet inevitable moment when the invisible hand of America's marijuana culture finally became a fist.

Update: Many have pointed out, and I agree, that Kellogg's falling stock is much better explained by the economy than the boycott. I thought I did a sufficient job of drawing this distinction in the post, but I can understand how the title and tone of the overall post might lead some to conclude otherwise. So for the record: the point of the post is not that the marijuana reform community crashed Kellogg's stock. I don't believe that to be true. The point is that our message gains much better traction at a moment like this. The last thing Kellogg's wants is a highly publicized boycott in the middle of an economic crisis.

I've been skeptical of previous boycott proposals that have circulated among reformers in the past, but this effort has been a massive success. In terms of media coverage and the subsequent slaughter of Kellogg's corporate reputation ranking, we couldn't have asked for a more visible impact than we've managed to achieve.

Just because Kellogg's hasn't formally surrendered to us somehow doesn't mean we didn't kick their ass. I'm sure they are utterly stunned by the backlash they received, and that's what matters.

VIDEO: Michael Phelps and marijuana

Dear friends:

MPP's John Berry made this 30-second video about Michael Phelps and the hypocrisy surrounding the reaction to the photo of him smoking marijuana. Take a look, and please forward it to your friends.

And if you haven't already signed MPP's petition pledging to boycott Kellogg's products until the company changes its decision to drop Phelps as an endorser, please visit MPP's action center here and fill out the easy online form. You can also call Kellogg's at (800) 962-1413.


Rob Kampia
Executive Director
Marijuana Policy Project
Washington, D.C.

P.S. As I've mentioned in previous alerts, a major philanthropist has committed to match the first $2.35 million that MPP can raise from the rest of the planet in 2009. This means that your donation today will be doubled.

Update: Kellogg's on Michael Phelps

You Can Make a Difference



Dear friends,

Thanks to you, the campaign against Kellogg's for dumping Michael Phelps has gotten the media's attention.  We've been the subject of hundreds of news articles, as well as a segment on CNN.

Now is your chance to increase the heat! We've swamped Kellogg's with comments on their phone lines, and now we can make sure they listen by sending an email urging them to retract their statement on Phelps.

DPA Network has already contacted Kellogg's asking for a meeting, and I'll let you know what we hear. With thousands of drug policy reformers like you taking action, they'll have to respond.

Believe it or not, a South Carolina sheriff is considering going after Phelps himself and has already arrested eight people associated with the party last fall at which he was photographed. So it's more important than ever to stand with Phelps and make our voices heard.

There should be no more marijuana arrests for Michael Phelps or anyone else. And Kellogg's should renew their contract with him. Contact them today to keep this concern at the forefront of Kellogg's -- and the public's -- minds.


Ethan Nadelmann
Executive Director
Drug Policy Alliance Network

Michael Phelps Saga: "Send a Strong Message" to USA Swimming

[Courtesy of SAFER] Tell them to reinstate Michael Phelps and stop driving athletes to drink! http://salsa.wiredforchange.com/o/5559/t/4030/campaign.jsp?campaign_KEY=... USA Swimming suspended the 14-time Olympic gold medalist following the publication of a photo showing him using marijuana at an off-season party. USA Swimming was not required to punish Phelps, according to Executive Director Chuck Wielgus, but it "decided to send a strong message to Michael..." That message: athletes must only use alcohol when they party, and they will be punished if they make the safer choice to use marijuana instead. After all, the 23-year-old swimmer would never have been punished had he been photographed chugging Budweiser beer -- an official sponsor of the U.S. Olympic Committee. If you agree Michael Phelps should be reinstated and that athletes should not be driven to drink, please take a second to click on the following link and "send a strong message" to Chuck Wielgus and USA Swimming: http://salsa.wiredforchange.com/o/5559/t/4030/campaign.jsp?campaign_KEY=... Mason Tvert, Executive Director SAFER ⎮ SAFER Voter Education Fund office: 303-861-0033 ⎮ fax: 303-861-0915 [email protected]http://www.SAFERchoice.org

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