At a time when so many politicians seem out of touch with the realities of marijuana prohibition, Daylin Leach is a sight for sore eyes. He is a state senator from Pennsylvania who is running for Congress and he understands the consequences of marijuana prohibition.
For Father’s Day, the Marijuana Policy Project created a video called “Dear Dad” in which a young man talks to his father about his preferences after a long day’s work. He explains how they're a lot alike -- they both work hard and have good jobs -- but at the end of a long day he prefers to use marijuana instead of having a drink.
It is these types of conversations that are going to build the support needed to end marijuana prohibition. This video is an opportunity to show your dad, granddad, or any loved one that enjoying marijuana can be a relaxing activity much like having a glass of alcohol. It is a way to bridge the gap between generations and their understanding of marijuana and its objectively safer effects.
You can also find MPP’s "Dear Mom" video that addresses the same issue between a daughter and her mother. Send these videos to those you love to let them know you’re ready to talk about the choices you want to make.
On his wonderfully fair and balanced show on Thursday, Bill O’Reilly was nice enough to highlight our Top 50 Most Influential Marijuana Users list. He then started on a long rant, joined by his co-hosts, about the evils and deadly health risks associated with using marijuana. Apparently, these folks didn’t quite get the message.
O’Reilly seems to think that MPP just wants everyone to use marijuana, and that the organization “devotes its life to trying to convince you to get stoned and inebriated.” What he fails to understand, and what many supporters of prohibition refuse to believe, is that marijuana reform is not about getting high. It is about changing our obviously failed policies that put non-violent adults in jail while making it easier for young people to obtain. It is about changing the focus of law enforcement away from people who are already using marijuana and allowing police to focus on more serious crimes.
Papa Bear and friends also didn’t understand the message behind the list, which is that these influential marijuana users likely would not be where they are today had they been arrested for marijuana. How much human potential are we squandering when we arrest three quarters of a million people for marijuana possession every year, saddling them with a criminal record that limits their educational options and job opportunities?
After totally missing the point, the three pundits then proceeded to rattle off a long series of completely inaccurate and unsubstantiated talking points about how marijuana is deadly and will turn you into a zombie. They covered all the bases, too, from the debunked gateway theory to the “lazy stoner” myth.
It is really pretty sad, considering a brief look at MPP’s website would have clarified our mission for O’Reilly and provided all of them with actual scientific research on the effects of marijuana.
And we’re the lazy ones?
Here’s the video. Try not to throw anything through your screen.
Last week, a number of medical marijuana patients and supporters, including MPP’s Dan Riffle, were at the Maryland statehouse to testify on the need to protect medical marijuana patients from arrest.
Here is some TV coverage of the hearing:
The bill, sponsored by Sen. David Brinkley, is based on one of two draft bills proposed by members of Maryland’s medical marijuana workgroup. Only one version, the one suggested by Del. Dan Morhaim and MPP’s director of state policies Karen O’Keefe, would provide patients with safe and reliable access to their medicine.
Unfortunately, Gov. O’Malley has promised to veto the bill in its current form due to concerns of possible federal prosecution of state employees. To date, no state official has been charged with a crime for following medical marijuana laws. The bill is now being amended in an attempt to ease these unjustified concerns.
If you are one of the many people that showed your friends, co-workers, and family the video of Columbia, Mo. SWAT officers raiding the home of Jonathan Whitworth and shooting his dogs immediately after kicking in the door, then you helped make a real difference for the people of Columbia and elsewhere.
According to Ken Burton, police chief of Columbia, the public outcry that followed the release and viral spread of this disturbing video forced his department to make major changes to the way in which it uses its SWAT teams. The direct result of this has been that “dynamic entry” of the sort that led to the tragic events in the video has not been used for drug enforcement once in 2011!
This is a wonderful example of how information-sharing and public pressure can have a direct impact on the unjust and violent policies of the war on drugs. We have the power to change things for the better, and we have to use it. Simply sharing videos is not enough, however. We need to consistently engage anyone and everyone on the issues arising from the prohibition of marijuana, and keep doing so until the truth is impossible to ignore. This is a good start!
UPDATED: Shocking. That's the only word that comes to mind when seeing the video of Todd Blair, 45, gunned down by armed police storming his home on a no-knock raid in Utah last September. Blair, no doubt surprised by the sound of yelling and having his door kicked in, emerges from an interior doorway holding a golf club over his head. Before Blair can react, Sgt. Troy Burnett shoots him three times and Blair slumps to the floor dead.
No "drop the weapon," no "get down on the ground," just bang!, bang!, bang! It's a chilling scene that's over before it started, and all the police found was a small amount of marijuana and an empty vial alleged to have contained other drugs.
This type of raid won't come as a surprise to regular readers of our blog, of course. We see these stories all the time because they're playing out every day in this country at an alarming rate. Lives are ruined and lost, and for what? A few grams of marijuana? It's just another—albiet outrageous—example of how prohibition has failed as a policy at every conceivable turn. If videos like this aren't a sure sign that it's time to end marijuana prohibition and adopt sensible polices like taxation and regulation, then I'm not sure what is. (originally written by John Berry, with updates by Dusty Trice)
The 2010 mid-term elections are just 5 days away, so there is no better time to share this important message:
No adult should be punished for choosing something safer than alcohol.
We produced this powerful 30-second video to inspire you and everyone you share it with. It’s time to give adults the legal option to use a substance that is safer than alcohol – marijuana! Use this video to inspire your friends, family members, and co-workers to support efforts to tax and regulate marijuana similar to alcohol.
Aside from the fact that marijuana prohibition is a complete failure – 17 million Americans consume it regularly and surveys show that young people are able to obtain it more easily than alcohol or tobacco -- it also steers people toward our nation’s #1 most preferred recreational drug, alcohol, which happens to be more dangerous. While the danger that a food, drug, or activity pose is not sufficient reason to prohibit it, our laws should not punish people for making the rational choice to use a less harmful substance.
Currently, responsible adults who prefer to relax at the end of the day with marijuana must risk prosecution to do so. Getting arrested for a marijuana-related offense could mean a simple fine, but it could also mean losing your driver’s license, your federal student financial aid, your job, your children or your home. We waste billions of dollars every year on this failed policy that causes far more harm than marijuana itself.
It’s time for this to end.