Monday, June 18, 2007

The Catch-22 of Drug Law Reform

Those who are working for reform of our nation's drug laws are out-moneyed, out-gunned, and out-numbered by those waging it. Clearly, the citizens have no prayer of ever out-gunning the government, and the vast majority of drug reformers are actually un-paid volunteers. Interest in putting an end to the drug war is nowhere near as widespread as it needs to be, thus the money that is available is quite limited, and in no case will ever be likely to number in the tens of billions of dollars spent annually by our government to continue waging the war itself. If enough people cared, then certainly more money could be available. Clearly, then, we need to get more people to care about the drug war and then become pissed off enough to help do something about it.

The time honored way to do that, of course, is to get a poster child or two from the group on whose behalf assistance is sought, and to get those very people to work en masse on their own behalf. Since the drug war is being waged primarily against marijuana users, you'd think that marijuana users would be fully engaged in seeking their own emancipation. Sadly, you'd be wrong. This cause is one that just doesn't get much attention or sympathy from the general public, and those who do step forward risk losing everything they have in life as their reward for doing so at the moment. Of course, by not stepping forward and allowing the situation to deteriorate at an ever accelerating rate, it is increasingly likely that every marijuana user will one day be caught and cast aside as a societal reject. Damned if you do -- fucked if you don't. Catch-22.

People can't stand up because it's too dangerous, but not standing up is allowing it to get even worse even faster. So, we slowly die, hoping somebody will figure out what to do. We have to make it "safe" to say out loud that you have used marijuana and/or still do. The absolute most effective way to counter the stereotypes and claims of "damages" due to using marijuana is for those who do use it to stand up and say two simple things: "Yep, I do (did) it, so what?" and "When is all that bad stuff supposed to happen to me?" There is no one in a better position to counter claims about every angle used by the prohibitionists than the millions upon millions of pot-using Americans silently letting their liberty bleed into history.

So, given that it is so dangerous to stand up, yet also so dangerous to not do so, what is the answer? There are two large drug reform organizations alleged to be working toward making America safer for marijuana users: the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) and the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML). What are they doing to make America safer for marijuana users? MPP spends a lot of time throwing parties at the Playboy mansion, including a past one celebrating their 10th anniversary. In every one of those 10 years (and counting), another new record number of marijuana arrests was achieved. Meanwhile these folks are crowing about trying to pass medical marijuana laws in states where the entire population is lower than the number of annual marijuana arrests. Nice work, folks!

And why does MPP even exist? NORML was set up to specifically address making marijuana legal -- back in the early 1970's! Sad to say that in NORML's 30+ years of existence there is a 30+ year history of yet another new record number of marijuana arrests. To paraphrase Hudson in the movie "Aliens" just after first contact: maybe you haven't been paying attention for the past three decades, but we keep getting our asses kicked!

More arrests, more lives ruined. More drug testing, more lives ruined. More student drug testing, more dangerous drugs used instead. Marijuana users remain pariahs and will continue to be seen that way until a core of "average pot smokers" can rise to challenge the stereotypes. Theoretically, that's what NORML was founded to do -- and at the state and local levels they're doing a pretty decent job here and there. However, at the federal level, NORML is essentially ineffective and meaningless. In terms of making life easier and "safer" for America's pot smokers, we have to face the facts: you're failing.

You'd think that when some celebrity gets caught with marijuana that it would help open the door to "normalizing" the behavior -- and indeed, NORML does make an occasional attempt to get that sort of person to help. There are a few problems with that though: first, the people who get caught tend to value their careers more than they have the desire to be a spokesperson for marijuana use (what with "the children" out there and all); and second, most of the ones who get caught really don't make very good spokespersons in the first place. So where do we turn? How do we get the marijuana user to be looked on as a "normal" person if there are no normal people rising up and saying that they use marijuana?

As luck would have it, Americans tend to take things into their own hands when they aren't seeing progress, and there are literally hundreds of organizations and individuals that have started making their own attempts at getting attention drawn to the plight of marijuana users. Some of them started because they got caught, while others simply got fed-up enough for whatever reasons that they decided to try to make a difference personally. Why did these people strike out on their own if there are already two organizations supposedly working on their behalf? [Three, actually, but I'm going to do a separate piece on the Drug Policy "Alliance."] I suggest it is a vote of "no confidence" -- a vote with which I must agree, and one of the reasons why I started doing the work I've done.

Neither MPP nor NORML is accomplishing anything truly useful for the plight of the marijuana user. The witch hunt continues with increasing ferocity year after year, in large part because there are no examples on the national level with which to counter the allegations of the drug czar and his war machine with regard to marijuana, its effects and its users. There is only the same sickeningly stupid merry-go-round of claim and counter-claim. Oops, and another new record number of marijuana arrests every year.

If we're going to get anywhere, we need credible people to rise to the challenge and directly counter all of the mythology and bullshit. Fortunately, a small number of people have come forward to act as examples of "normal" people who just happen to use marijuana, and two great places to find them are Dr Lester Grinspoon's "Marijuana Uses" -- featuring commentaries about marijuana use from those who have actually used it; and Mikki Norris's "Cannabis Consumers Campaign" -- where a growing number of people have "outed" themselves as good, honest, hard-working people who just happen to enjoy using marijuana. But what is still missing is an effective way to gain positive attention from the media -- especially on a large scale.

The only consistent attention that traditional media have paid to the marijuana users occurs in the form of derisive smirking, and the usual "stupid stoner" jokes. If you really believe that running for election under the banner of the "Marijuana Party" is ever going to be looked at as anything other than a joke, I really don't know what to tell you. There is very little good to be achieved by such acts.

We need positive media attention, and we need millions of people to get involved. The "leaders" are currently failing at both. Something tells me that doing the same crap over and over is a bad idea -- it is. I suggest that rather than literally pissing away what little resources are available on "some day we'll get there" bullshit -- like crowing about five more votes on the Hinchey-Rohrbacher bill, or the latest "medical marijuana" initiative in another sparsely populated state -- it's time to get seriously proactive. There is no reason in the world that we should be fucking with people who inhale plant smoke -- or do anything else to themselves, for that matter. Period. It really is that simple. If the plant smokers would pull together, they'd win this game easily. But they can't -- because it's too dangerous, and the "leaders" aren't doing anything to inspire courageous acts among them.

Will we continue to twist in the wind, setting record arrest numbers while the parties rage on at the Playboy Mansion? Will the current director of NORML retire 30 years from now, as did the first one -- meaning the war still raged on? Will the "leaders" rise to the occasion and start exhibiting the courage that is required of "leaders?" Can they give the pot smokers something to believe in -- so that they actually would rise to the challenge before us?

More drug testing. More drug arrests. More lives ruined. More families destroyed. More drug laws. More children turning in their parents. On and on for decade after goddam decade. Gentlemen, enough is enough! You need to up your game (at least I hope you aren't actually showing us your A-game right now). Get your acts together and seize the moment: that's what "leaders" do.

49 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hey man I just briefly read your blog and found it interesting, although I live in Canada and pot laws are seriously rarely enforced to what I've experienced, although I keep my habits pretty low key. But I'm glad someone at least has the courage to write about the damn subject so keep writing and getting the subject out there.

Cheers, Mike from Canada

P.S. love the posted at 4:20pm

anti-drugwar czar said...

hi mike,

thanks man! but be careful -- even up there in the great white north the U.S. drug war has its tentacles reaching into your government too.

you guys have maintained your sanity a lot better overall, but there realy is no limit to what the prohibitionists will do.

unless we stop them, of course ;^)

b

Allan Erickson said...

So... uh... b... you mean that to date our pro-ganja orgs have been ineffective? Wow. I'm... shocked! [rolls eyes]

I'm so disgusted by it all (having been fighting this shit since I posted the first NORML "legalize Marijuana" stickers back in 1974 on my Air Force base in Thailand) I'm about ready to give up dpr work. The drug war ruined a great job, a job I should now be in my 13th year at, and I'm sooo at the end of my rope, dude...

Love your 'tude dude! Glad your on my side and a friend to boot. Rock on, kick ass, excellent rant.

anti-drugwar czar said...

hi allan,

thanks brother -- i do what i can. although it should be clear by now that if i'm the one doing all the work and coming up with all the ideas, that i should be in charge!

anybody know how we depose one of the "leaders?" it looks to me like they have a sweet "employed-for-life" game plan going on.

we're in a war, so don't give up allan -- i'm also heading into financial oblivion (career, house, life savings all sacrificed in the name of ending this horseshit) because of my efforts, but if we don't do it, who will?

i swore my life in the defense of liberty, so i guess i can't complain about losing all my worldy goods in the process.

but i can defintely light fires under the asses of people pretending to be "leaders."

b

brentandrews said...

Nice post. I'm surprised by the depth of your work. Fight on and fight hard, Brian; it's good to have you on our side. - TBA

anti-drugwar czar said...

thanks brent!

i will do my best to keep doing everything in my power to help fix this.

but actually it's the millions out there on whose behalf i labor that will actually make it all happen.

what they need is something to believe in, and a couple of someones to really lead them.

i'm available ;^)

b

Howm Grone J said...

Scathing b!

You talk purtier than a $20 whore!
(stolen from Blazing Saddles...)

I feel the same frustration that you do b. But What is a working man to do... It is a tough catch 22 that the public is caught up in.
good thing for peple like you who are doing the work that angels do.
I dont live in the US but Hash and grass is still illegal and if caught it is a bit of jail time...

Keep up the good fight!
Howm Grone J
ADP ABR Tokie Tokie

Richard J. Schimelfenig said...

My name is Richard Schimelfenig. I was a news shooter for a local CNN affiliate in Delaware (First State News - now defunct) for nearly a decade. I was also the chief tech at the Fels Planetarium in Philly as well as an exhibit tech for three theaters.

I joined the Philly Class Action Lawsuit for Therapeutic Cannabis early on (I was exhibit tech at the Franklin Institute at the time).

I am also the president of the Delaware Cannabis Society, and I was teaching classes in constitutional law to disadvantaged people.

I tried to work with NORML several times. During one set of protests in DC, NORML made a commitment to send me there as a journalist to videotape a large event, but they pulled out at the last second with no rational explaination. MPP has made several forays into Delaware tryin to sell thier carpetbagger mentality, but refuse to work with me (I represent the largest, longest established, most active drug law reform group in the state - most other groups were created by our members).

About 10 years ago, I was assaulted in my home by two cops, Mathew Drake and Brian Unger; both known for thier brutality. The physical and psychological damage I suffered at thier hands was immense. Although I was not under arrest, Drake tortured me for over three hours. As a result, I am permanently disabled. My spine is a wasteland, as Unger held me on the ground while Drake jumped up and down on my spine with his knees.

Except for a few isolated people I knew in the movement, NOT ONE MAJOR GROUP came to stand by my side. I had not committed any crime. Drake even said that he was assaulting me to shut me up, and made it clear that he wanted to kill me.

But, not NORML nor MPP stood by my side. NORML's sole response was to send me an outdated list of no longer affiliated lawyers who had no interest in my case. MPP never responded.

The second thing that happened was, when I returned to work after three months of recuperation, I was fired from the Fels Planetarium. Although I knoe for a fact that the grants supporting my position were still in place, they lied and said that they were eliminating my position (funny, they hired someone else almost immediately).

Again, NO ONE stood by my side to help in any way.

Ten years later, I still can not get a job. I got a near-full scholarship to go to film school at Temple University (one of the top four film schools). I was on the presidneet's list.

I still can not get work.

NORML and MPP are like a podunk, inbred village, where the children get stupider with each generation. Maybe I was never a high profile sports figure, but I am certainly what should have been a poster child.

Because of my activism, because I stood up to tell the truth, I was violently assaulted and tortured. My life is in ruins. I can not even afford to go to a doctor. I live every moment in pain so severe that sometimes my legs collapse under me no longer able to withstand the pain.

Somewhere out there are people who are fellow drug law reformers/harm reductionists with resources (like work for pay) that I would still be able to dullfill and am more than willing to take on.

MPP's response? Despite my forming and running the most active, longest existing law reform group, despite being an actual, field proven video journalist and documentary maker, depite my other professional achievcements, they want me to prove, before they give me money or even a job, that I have made a difference.

NORML is so twisted that they would rather argue with me and lie that they never heard of me, in spite of DCS being a NORML chapter in the past (I have always been the pres).

Worst still is the response I get from the grassroots. Whenever we run an advertisement in High Time or elsewhere, we get a huge response. Everyone wants to come to our rallies and music festivals. But no one wants to actually do the woprk it takes to make it happen. No one wants to go on lobbying trips. They consistently say, what a great job we are doing - keep it up. But, the only support we get is mouth action. No one comes to planning meetings, no one will go lobbying, no one will take advantage of the many media or other opportnities we are able to create. Not the grassroots, not NORML, not MPP.

Even my work with Cures Not Wars is growing tedious and unfullfilling. Run along with Dana Beal, Marc Emery, and affiliated with the Hippie Museum, they have many resources.

WIth a huge speakers bureau at thier disposal, they do not seem able to commit any speakers to local efforts unless WE come up with thousands of dollars. Most of the people involved have more money than I've seen in my lifetime, but apparently CNW can not see fit to help groups like ours in any meaningful way.

If we had access to any of the celebrities that NORML, MPP or CNW have at thier disposal, I could do things with them that would make a big impact on Delaware politics.

I can not even pay my own rent. I am at the point of resignation that things will never change, not only becuase of the huge governmental obstacles, but also because of the territorial pissings of NORML, MPP and CNW. They make me feel like I have wasted my dedication to drug law reform and harm reduction with thier selfish, penny ante mentalities.

The problem is apparently pretty widespread, too. Many activists like myself have withdraw from activism in the last couple of years. Our efforts simply, have gone unrewarded and unsupported in any way.

The flakes and pseudo-activists like Americans for Medical Rights or whatever they call themselves, are given more attention than the people who have been doing the real grassroots work.

I'm about done. I can barely pay attention to drug law reform any longer. All it has done is distanced me from my family and community, led to me being tortured by cops, fired for my activism and blackballed, and ignored by the very groups who should be focusing our energy and supporting those like me who have voluntarily given up thier lives for liberty.

Imagine, if you will, how the American Revolution would have gone if critical financing and support had been withheld from Jefferson, Washington, et al just because those with the money wanted to see undefined "results" before they would provide that support. Imagine how the battles would have been different if the grassrotts cheered Washington and the Minutemen, but refused to join the ranks or participate in a meaningful way.

Imagine, an American Revolution lasting four decades, but never really getting off the ground because those in the position to help never really did so.

anti-drugwar czar said...

yo howm grone,

$20 eh -- damn i'm good!

thanks for weighing in my friend. you are certainly out there doing a shitload of stuff yourself and have been kind enough to support me in a number of ways.

the common man needs to do a few things -- not the least of which is to become fully informed and able to help teach the gentle unwashed out there. they need to apply pressure to the "leaders" too -- let them know they aren't getting it done and we aren't satisfied.

hell, if just one in every 25 pot smokers would merely send me $1 it would make it possible for me to do this for as long as it takes.

b

anti-drugwar czar said...

nice rant richard!

your story echoes my own (without the beating, fortunately) and that of so many other disenchanted reformers.

our "leaders" suck and they need to hear it.

i emailed all the guilty parties in my post (as usual -- i don't hide ANYTHING i'm doing), and i hope they have the balls to read the post and these responses.

but fuck them if they don't. they need to pull their heads out of their asses and quit pissing on the people they claim they represent, and whom they allegedly want to rise up and be counted.

i rose -- they don't give a shit.

to top it all off, i never actually asked them for anything other than some publicity and the chance to place my talents at their disposal.

for cryin' out loud: i was a career intelligence analyst and IT guru (there's a reason i show up at the top on search engine results, ya know), and i'm actually a "genius" to boot. if they don't give a shit about me and what i'm bringing to the table, then what am i supposed to tell the "average" pot smoker out there?

oh wait, they will "let" us help -- they'll take our money.

b

Anonymous said...

Part of the problem is that neither side in general feels very threatened. Yes, there are the too many occasional horror stories like Richard's and others who have been tortured due to their stand, and other innocents who have been caught in the crossfire, and even those who have died due to the government's policies and enforcement, but there are also so many people who use with no fear of being caught or punished (the percentage of users who are ever subject to the criminal justice system are so small...) that it is difficult to garner any widespread protests.

And the government is bolstered by that.

At least during alcohol prohibition there were terrible side effects of blindness and death from drinking methanol instead of ethonal (or worse), and the rumrunners and mobsters were killing people right and left. But with marijuana there is almost no chance of not getting good stuff (at worst you get oregano if you are really stupid). The paraquat scare was short-lived, and although the trade is illegal, it is mostly benign.

So people who stay low-key are not worried about law enforcement, so there really isn't any incentive to step forward, and lots of reasons not to step forward.

It's not that I would like the consequences to be equivalent to what happened during alcohol prohibition, but I don't know what short of that will spur people to support the legalization movement. It seems that people are complacent about the current status quo and unwilling to rock the boat. And I can't really blame them. Here I am posting anonymously for the same reason. Were I single, I would be more likely to stand up and be counted, but my wife is severely paranoid and I'm not going to risk her well-being (whether or not her fears are well founded), so anonymous I stay for the most part.

Back in 1977 I thought marijuana would be legal in 10 years, and all other drugs legal in 20. Now it's 30 years later and in some ways things are better, but the momentum just doesn't seem to be there. If I knew for sure that something would really be effective, I would support it. But all I can do is support those I agree with and hope that eventually one or more will be effective.

anti-drugwar czar said...

hi anonymous,

thanks for weighing in. yes, of course, everyone has a great reason to not risk everything they have in life. but the problem with that approach is that it is simply a matter time before they nail every single one of us.

that's why it is so important to get support to the people who do.
and why your comment serves as another indictment of the "leadership."

you may think it's safer to hide -- and today that is true. but the future doesn't look all that good if you folks don't start helping to defend your own interests.

b

Harry Stottle said...

I have a quibble. And, in a sense, it's aimed as much at your other respondents as at your original article.

In a nutshell you're attacking the "leaders" in a manner which suggests that all we need is new leaders.

This is an attitude I'm trying to expose and undermine as part of my fight to define and promote the introduction of real democracy. The citizens of the Western World today believe they live in democracies when all they really do is elect their dictators. They are actively encouraged, by the "Manufacturers of Consent" to believe that all democracy consists of is making that choice once every few years of who you are going to allow to dictate the laws until the next time. If you don't like what the dictator does in his session, no problem, you are freely entitled to choose another dictator next time.

Real democracy doesn't exist unless the citizens are participating fully in the decision making process. Only Athens ever got close to that. And the very real problem we have in even turning back in the direction of real democracy is in fact identical to the problem we have within the narrow confines of the War on Drugs. For whatever reason (Dangers, as you describe, or just Apathy - which, frankly, seems to me to be the dominant factor), even those oppressed by the current regime can't be bothered or cajoled into getting off their arses to do something about it.

It is tempting to imagine that "if only" we could find charismatic leaders to stand up and be counted, set an example, confront the tyrants head on etc etc, that the cowered masses would rise up in their millions to rally behind them. The problem with that approach is that it only produces the appearance of change. At base, you still have sheeple being led "meek and obedient, down well trodden corridors, into the valley of steel". And once that leadership has been deposed - usually because we finally recognise that it has undergone its inevitable psychotic transformation into believing that it is superior to its "herd" - the sheeple quite happily just follow the next leader in whichever direction they are going.

This can work, in the short term, by forcing changes in the laws. But the problem is far deeper than merely achieving the right to consume cannabis without state persecution. What matters is getting individual citizens to recognise and act upon the illegitimacy of the entire political process which can produce results like the War on Drugs, or worse, the War in Iraq.

The solution isn't, therefore, better leadership; it is the abolition of leadership and the introduction of democracy.

I'm aware, of course, that this analysis appears to make the situation even worse. We have little enough hope of winning the right to cannabis consumption, let alone the truly revolutionary changes implied by real democracy. But that's not the conclusion I want you to draw.

We don't give up just because we recognise that we're in a bigger war and we've already taken hundreds of thousands of casualties. We tell their stories. They are the martyrs of our movement. If people aren't already outraged by the illicit restrictions on their liberty, they should certainly be moved to action by stories like Richard's.

But this is a long war. In a sense it has been going on for over two and a half thousand years. So our expectations must be realistic. Nothing we can do could win this struggle overnight.

By all means we need to continue each and every fight for liberty wherever the battle lines are drawn. But we have to recognise that each of these battles relies not on inspirational leadership - the absence of which then paralyzes and demoralizes the troops - but on getting the troops to accept their equal status and importance in the struggle. Our "duty" is not to find and follow new and better leaders, but to collaborate to defend our common interests, to march against the common enemy, to rescue and care for our fallen comrades, to educate or de-condition those whose minds have not yet been sealed shut by the enemy propaganda and, above all, to provide the light of hope to the oppressed.

The perennial problem is that we who favour Liberty are always less united than our opposition. I believe, however, that the web offers potential solutions to that problem and that in the end, Liberty will triumph because it is more intelligent than the alternatives.

Harry

anti-drugwar czar said...

nice one harry!

while i agree that this is not a case of simply getting "better" leaders, without charismatic people to champion the ideas, and without a battle plan, nothing can be accomplished.

so call it "inspiration" if you'd like, rather than leadership. the point is not to find someone to blindly follow: it is to find someone who clearly has the gameplan and qualities to accomplish the mission. and who will lay down the challenge and a coherent way to achieve it.

yes, absolutely, the internet is a critical element in our success, and you and i both are already exercising that venue, as are a lot of others. so, what do we do?

where's the plan? where are the idea people and the coordinators? who figures out the prioritizations and use of limited resources? that's what "leadership" is for.

i hope it's obvious that i'm not sitting in a corner pining for "leadership" -- what i'm doing is demanding that those who call themselves our "leaders" earn the title -- or get the hell out of the way so the job can be accomplished.

and ultimately, humans are herd creatures -- that must be catch-33.

b

Harry Stottle said...

I certainly agree that "without a battle plan, nothing can be accomplished." But it doesn't require a special leader to formulate such plans or to implement them. There are no physical barriers to any ad hoc group planning and acting collectively. I don't, for example, believe that there are any leaders out there who are significantly better qualified than you or I to formulate the plans. I do accept that there are people much more likely to attract support than you or I for such plans, but that's a different - "presentational" - issue. And even that presentational strategy can be the result of the democratic process. Take a look, for example, at how the various "Green" movements organise themselves to avoid hierarchies. They've achieved quite a lot without charismatic leadership.

"so call it "inspiration" if you'd like, rather than leadership"

Much better!

"where's the plan?"

all over the web!

"where are the idea people"

ditto

"and the coordinators? who figures out the prioritizations and use of limited resources? that's what "leadership" is for."

No. That's what democracy is for. We might nominate or hire "Project Managers" to advise us and to coordinate and manage those resources. We might even nominate or hire charismatic personalities to present our public case; but the policy and executive decisions, particularly on priorities, need to involve us all.

Anonymous said...

One thing I've been active with, which is easily available to every reader of this blog, is to write just THREE people. Those three people are your State Representative and your two State Senators in Washington. You can use their own websites for the email contact.

I ask a simple question and make a simple statement at the same time.

"What is your position on the medical marijuana issue? I need to know your voting idea in order to arrange mine for your next election! You see, I'm not concerned with Iraq, terror, borders, immigrants nor Social Security. My concern is for personal freedom, as 'suggested' by the Founding Fathers of the US Constitution.

Your vote directs MY vote!"

Believe me, they notice this. If more would follow suit, things might start rolling. Those who make the rules are placed in office by US. WE have to understand that WE can also REMOVE them from their moneypits. No great movement began without a single voice. In this case, a single vote can mushroom (sic) into a landslide for one who agrees with us.

THAT'S where change comes from. Not our puny lobbying groups. Hold the candidates feet to the fire. Why isn't this question asked of all the Presidential Candidates at the Debates? Because no one will proffer the question to those doing the questioning, in the numbers needed. That's why.

THREE PEOPLE to start. Is this asking too much of our brothers and sisters? If so, we're doomed to failure.

anti-drugwar czar said...

i have no argument with your points harry. but i clearly cannot be acused of "waiting" for leaders to appear. those who act are de facto "leaders" --and yes, there are plenty of people out there dong their own thign who need to be corralled and focused on maximizing the resources they bring.

the central point of my post, is simply that those who deign to call themselves "leaders" act like leaders. and in the event that they can't deliver, that they step aside and stop interfering in true progress.

i certainly consider myself a "leader" -- even though i don't have a multi-million dollar useless non-profit enterprise to keep in business. i simply set an example and provide the ammo for others to come help.

i wait for no one. but i will continue to insist that those who pretend to be "leaders" step up to the plate -- and that is the point of my screed: not that we can't accomplish anything by ourselves, but that the ones claiming to be the voice of teh "stoners" out there are doing a really shitty job and need to up their game (if they actually are even capable of doing so).

b

anti-drugwar czar said...

anonymous --

i agree in priniciple about writing to the legislators. however, until significant numbers of people do it, they can (and do) simply ignore us. and clearly the politicians need to have their feet held to the fire -- but which fire?

medical pot or any other "drug-specific" approach simply isn't going to get us anywhere. what we need to do (as harry has been insistent about) is to get people to relly get it that this is about fundamental rights.

we all have the absolute right to do things to ourselves free of punishment by the state. period.

so, yeah, let's start holding the politicians to account for the fact that they so blatantly act against every principle this once great nation is alleged to stand for.

don't ask them for their position on medical marijuana -- instead ask them why we use military force to punish people for what they do to themselves. is your typical recreational pot smoker so dangerous that they need to be killed?

ask them why they would seek to amend the Constitution to specifically deny rights to gay people.

ask them why they don't understand that their job is to protect the rights of everyone -- not to selectively strip them away.

and ask everyone you come into contact with why they sit mute and allow their government to wage war against our own people.

it isn't about drugs -- it's about free will. it's about living up the idea that we are all equals. all we need to do is live as though we actually believe in our own declared purpose.

the whole world is watching us -- and we don't look so pretty in the harsh glare of daylight. that's why they don't believe that we will honor their rights, respect their cultures, or ensure that they may practice their religious beliefs without us trying to convert them to "christianity." we don't even live up to the idea of equality among ourselves.

b

DaveT said...

What's up Brian, Harry. I wanted to do dramatic things for reform, but I started this band and am still working on my doctorate (I intend to graduate at the end of 2008). Of course, I defend drug reform and freedom on an individual level whenever I can.

I agree that dramatic action and order could help the movement greatly and should be vigorously sought as you are doing, but don't underestimate the slow march of time. The dawn of the Internet, in particular, may prove to be just the catalyst for change that we need. For now at least, your average netizen seems to be far better informed than anyone else in the country.

anti-drugwar czar said...

hi davet!

yep, the internet is absolutely critical and it allows us to group together and work way more effectively. ooh, and we can do it for "free."

indeed, one of the more critical aspects of our ability to succeed is for everyone to realize that we're actually involved in an information war.

we all know that the data speaks the truth that the prohibitionists don't want exposed -- our job is to get the message out to people who think they don't need to care.

b

Anonymous said...

Even commenting on the net is scary. They could be tracking the sites I visit, reading my email. There was a story a few months ago about a guy that wrote his state congressman in support of a medical marijuana bill and got a rude letter back threatening to turn him in to local police! A woman was raided & arrested after sending a letter to the editor of her local paper about medical marijuana. That's why I love the LEAP guys -- they are pretty safe from this crap. They bring a message to people (that don't care about drug users or their rights) that prohibition has a direct negative influence on all of society, through the violence of the black market, corruption of the police, increase in drug use & addiction, etc.

I have great respect for guys like you and Pete Guither, normal folks who stick their necks out for everyone. Another drug war horror story from Richard...I shake my head and fight back tears and wish I could do more to help. I'm "working poor" and not a celebrity. I educate myself and others whenever I can and sent a small contribution to Ron Paul, but I'm getting older and live in a draconian drug law state. What to do, indeed.

anti-drugwar czar said...

hi anonymous --

yes they could be tracking everything that everyone does -- hell some news reporting and some of the stunts the government has already pulled indicate that it's more likely than not.

the good news, though, is that they are probably a bit too busy to chase after everyone. hell, for the life of me, the only reason i can think of why they haven't come after me full bore is that they really can't afford to give me any publicity ;^)

if you're already educating yourself and spreading the word to others, you are helping. most of what needs to be done doesn't really involve going "public" in the grand sense -- it's more important to let those closest to you know that they have a really good reason to start paying attention and help put an end to it all.

and keep asking the "right" questions: i.e. don't ask people if they favor "letting" people have access to medical marijuana -- ask them why they are supoporting inflicting military-style violence against people for smoking plants.

it's a witch hunt, pure and simple -- so let's make that as obvious as we possibly can.

b

Anonymous said...

Yes, just framing the argument is very important. One defense of the drug war I've heard from someone who isn't anti-pot, but is a concerned mother, is: But if you legalize it then drug lords will take over! Too many people are totally clueless when it comes to econonics. They just have a hard time wrapping their heads around the concept of regulation and how black markets cannot compete with reasonably regulated legal markets. So I ask her, Do you know of a problem with Anheuser-Busch or Jack Daniels hanging around schools pushing alcohol to kids & using them as mules? No! That only happens under prohibition. Alcohol was once considered a dangerous illegal drug, too. What happened to the moonshiners?

I don't know how you could organize it, but I wonder if you could get some media attention with a live Vigil for lost promise type gathering in front of the Supreme Court building or some such place. People like Richard and loved ones of those on Pete's page, LEAP folks, journalists like Carlos Miller etc. telling their stories, holding pics & bannners. Totally peaceful, on our side at least. Of course it's hard to ask people who have already paid such a price to go back to the front lines.

anti-drugwar czar said...

it really is hard to believe that people don't seem to make the connection that alcohol is a drug, and that prohibition causes way more problems than drug abuse. that, and the whole idea that somehow all hell will break loose if stuff like heroin were made legally available. yes, of course, we're all just sitting around salivating and waiting for the government to "approve" it, so we can all be junkies -- yeee haw!

love the idea about doing a vigil in d.c. -- i can't volunteer to do the organizing etc, but i'm only two and a half hours away, so i can certainly get there.

b

DaveT said...

an information war... yes, that's exactly what this is. we live in an ostensibly free country, because most people in it believe they are free.

Taylor said...

I’m going to briefly defend the MPP. I don’t work for them but I am a dues paying member because I believe they are actually doing something.

You make the claim that they haven’t done anything for marijuana users based on the sole figure that arrests have gone up. Just because arrests go up year after year does not mean the MPP has not done anything for marijuana users. You are using a single measurement, but you are not looking at it from a long-term perspective. Medical marijuana has a purpose behind it. It helps the sick get their medicine, and it also shows the public that a sick person can use marijuana and tolerate it. This gives a more realistic image as to what marijuana really is and counters the image that the government portrays marijuana as. If it was not for the medical marijuana issue, the only media attention that marijuana would receive is “Joe is busted with 20 pounds of marijuana going across the Mexican border.” It would be nothing but negative news. I say this not to credit MPP for all the medical marijuana passes, but to emphasize that them focusing on it isn’t all bad. Medical marijuana has also generated studies on the positive effects that marijuana can have and protected sick people from state and local arrest in 12+ states.

MPP lobbied in Vermont, Hawaii, and Rhode Island and got state officials to pass their laws. They passed a medical marijuana ballot initiative in Montana as well. You make the point they pick small states, but that’s for a reason. It costs MORE money to run a campaign in a largely populated state since you have to collect MORE signatures and have to pay MORE to reach all the people through ads. Smaller states are cheaper to run campaigns for, and since people like yourself and others are giving up on the MPP, they have less money to work with than they would if you continued to give them a small portion of your income. MPP provided funding for the litigation the kept marijuana legal for adults in Alaska. That’s progress. MPP spent around a mil to pass Nevada legalization for adults. It failed with 44% of the vote and they intend to try again after public perception has changed some more, yet you fault them for more effectively allocating their money to help sick people.

You talk about legalizing all drugs; well every ballot initiative of recreational marijuana legalization for adults has failed because the public doesn’t want it. Take a guess how legalizing harder drugs would go. Even in western states, the public simply does not want it. The only way to change that is to change public perception to more accurately reflect what the substance is. What is your proposal to do that? You think urging people on this blog is going to make everyone that uses marijuana to sacrifice their future careers and their future of their families?

I understand your frustration, but I think you are being counter productive. Our legalization organizations can’t get much done because they don’t have any money. You fault them for not having any money and implicitly urge people not do give them money. It’s a vicious circle.

anti-drugwar czar said...

hi taylor,

thanks for weighing in. yeah, i made the mistake of sending them money too. then i got better.

sorry my friend, but the way to change the public perception of marijuana and its users involves standing up and demanding that society stop punishing people for doing things to themselves.

as to what the public is "ready" for -- more than anything else they are ready to be challenged to do the right thing and leave each other the fuck alone. it's the "american" thing to do, and about time for americans to start acting like we believe all that bullshit we claim to be about.

i don't know about you but i think 231 years is more than enough time to figure that out. instead of asking people if they're "ready" to "allow" people to use pot, try asking them why they support using military force, automatic weapons fire and jail against plant smokers. context is king.

i'm tired of waiting, i'm tired of idiotic half-assed measures, and i throw my hat in with the growing chorus of voices who are calling for the complete end of prohibition. nothing else is acceptable.

on that i will not budge -- everyone is to be treated as an equal. puinishing people for what they do to themselves is tyranny. and i've sworn to defend us against that.

making marijuana legal for medical purposes does absolutely nothing to alter the fate of the casual pot smoker or, more importantly, the carnage of the drug war.

there is only one solution -- and mpp doesn't have it. indeed, they tend to hold the recreational smokers at arms length too -- if you haven't figured that out yet, do some more reading.

one final note: in 1974 there were 24 states with medical marijuana laws. they all thought that was the way to do it back then too. so now they want me to praise them because now there are 12? horseshit!

any money you think you should send to mpp, i'd advise you to send to LEAP instead. they get standing ovations by telling people to end the drug war and make all the drugs legal.

the public is more than ready -- and the rotarians, lion's clubs, vfw's etc that LEAP is telling their message to are the very people that mpp and the other hop-a-long cheese eating surrender monkeys would have us believe would "never support it."

i call it the way i see it -- and mpp is a self-aggrandizing band of idiots wasting our limited and valuable resources.


b

anti-drugwar czar said...

Taylor left this comment and I accidentally clobbered it -- sorry.

[start]
"one final note: in 1974 there were 24 states with medical marijuana laws. they all thought that was the way to do it back then too. so now they want me to praise them because now there are 12? horseshit!"

Those medical marijuana laws never went into effect because they used the word "prescription" rather than recommend, which has the legal implication that the drug must be approved by the FDA. Many of those state programs required the Federal government to supply the marijuana to the state, which the Feds refused to do. 12 states have passed effective medical marijuana laws compared to ZERO before. That is progress. I explained in my other post with a link to my blog why medical marijuana is an important issue for everyone, including people that want the drug war to end all together.

You say it's the american thing to do to legalize all drugs. I have to ask what you mean by that. If you are referring to body ownership and unalienable rights, not every American believes in those things. Some have accepted other ethical theories besides rights theories. I support drug regulation/taxation based on utilitarian grounds.

"don't know about you but i think 231 years is more than enough time to figure that out."

Drugs such as cocaine etc.. were legal once upon a time. 231 years is an exaggeration.

"
there is only one solution -- and mpp doesn't have it. indeed, they tend to hold the recreational smokers at arms length too -- if you haven't figured that out yet, do some more reading."

What do you mean by this? How is spending millions of dollars on legalizing marijuana for recreational purposes holding marijuana users at arms' length?

"any money you think you should send to mpp, i'd advise you to send to LEAP instead. they get standing ovations by telling people to end the drug war and make all the drugs legal."

I like LEAP, but I believe if anything is going to happen for the better, marijuana will come first.

"the public is more than ready -- and the rotarians, lion's clubs, vfw's etc that LEAP is telling their message to are the very people that mpp and the other hop-a-long cheese eating surrender monkeys would have us believe would "never support it.""

The public is not more than ready. Look at public polling. A 2005 gallop poll showed only 36% of Americans support marijuana legalization. Support for drug legalization overall would amount to about 1/5 of the population. How is it that everyone's ready again? We have to educate the public. How do you plan on doing that?
[end]

anti-drugwar czar said...

sorry taylor, but i'm not waiting another forty years hoping that some day our government will stop using military force to subdue plant smokers.

the "231 years" refers to the declaration of independence -- so how much longer do you think it should take to figure out what "equal" means?

p.s. cocaine, meth and a lot of other drugs are already "legal" -- for medical purposes. so how is med-pot going to do anything to help those 750,000 people arrested for pot every year?

the question to pose to the american people is not whether or not they favor recreational marijuana use -- the question to ask them is why they still support the carnage of our 100+ year drug war. ask them how, as "equals," we are empowered to punish people for doing things to themselves. this isn't about drugs, my friend -- you need to understand that.

yes, the way forward is to educate them -- i call it drugwar rehab, and i've been busting my ass for the past seven years making it as easy as possible for anyone who cares to help to find the ammo and arguments they need to get the job done. it's work that the "leaders" someone never figured out needed to be done. but how the hell can you spend decades arguing back and forth without ever bothering to collect all the data and put it in one place?

go visit my main website http://www.briancbennett.com

and here's an easy way to find all the ammo:

http://www.briancbennett.com/pagelist.htm

so what are you doing help?

b

Anonymous said...

The only way to avoid this undeniable eventual reality is to bring the full bucket of science that proves the web of life in a court of law and in challenging gov's unconstitutional claimed jurisdiction that would and has allowed for the outlawing and or the private ownership of life itself = DNA.



Government has no argument to justify a compelling interest that would override and or overrule the facts of the web of life that are now proved by science.



The only possible excuses for doing anything less than bringing the full scope of science to bare in the courts of law must be either ignorance, malfeasance, or a sell out to the false reality that props up these unconstitutional laws at the root of their jurisdictional claim and one would only surrender to such over money.



Don't let these orgs screw you and us all out of our birthright of natural inheritance.

The science of the web of life says that you and cannabis are undeniably interconnected

With everything that ever was or ever will be, that means you are relatives.



Don't let these orgs separate you from who and what you are in order to play nice with a system that is failing to the point of self destruction.



Please don't be fooled by what you read coming from these orgs described as good news or progress because what they are doing is akin to a wolf dressed in sheep's clothing regardless if they know or not.



You are the only thing that can redirect the direction of these orgs into doing the right thing.



Its as easy as sending them emails or calling them and letting them know you wont stand for them doing anything less than the right thing at this critical time in human history.



Tell them that "The overwhelming bulk of scientific evidence supports" the fact of the existence of the web of life and that if that science is combined with the 9th amendment to the bill of rights and brought to bare in federal court there will be no more outlawing of nature or gene splicing it into a privately owned Frankenstein slaves for profit.

Anonymous said...

I am a federal marijuana patient, one of the few left. I wish to keep my name anonymous for safety reasons....

Well to start I feel the orgs you mentioned are in the business. They are there to pay salaries and so specific things. Norml to lobby, and mpp to lobby. They are not teaching orgs. I feel the people in each state do the work, and I have been at at least 3 state congresss where the name of either was enough to stop the bill. Having said that ...... I am in favor of people who band together and make small differences till they are big one.
You are welcome to use what I said do I appreciate not using my name . These people are cut throat involved in making their names. I am no longer prepared to fight them.Now I am worried about just my personal life ,staying warm and eating. I have been wiped out by those who do not value anyone's accomplishment unless they can claim it. An old saying that fits. Never grade a mans performance on hi own opinion. Especially when his salary depends on it.

I am old, and sick, and I have been fighting both sides to continue. The worst part is that I watched as certain ones actually back tracked all we had done.
But when in a fight I do not want any more smart people on my back. They are of little help on your back with a knife to stick in when you ar doing too good. ut mostly I believe these folks just have little sense. and no intention of ever helping the sick. That is the difference between them and you. and they know most have been propagandized to the point that they just follow...

No senator or representative gives a damn what the orgs think. Someone from dc or wanting to go there is not my idea of who is changing things state by state, and I do not care what 'they' say.. Nor do your reps think so. You are (the people) Keep on teaching ,as people learn they see who is doing what.. And there is a lot to see..

Someone who works as hard raising funds as do the orgs now working us, is not concentrating on the problems of the people enough . Someone might need to do that job. But that should be their job. raising and distributing, not raise and pay salaries to raise some more.

For me there is no fight and I have decided I want no more. Too many stabs in the back as well as I am ill (because my meds work so well, most people Think I should look like their vision of death warmed over and addicted to heroin.

Watch who is doing alot, spending alot and doing things the way they want and asking others to pay for it. Payment both in cash and Kudos. Just more divisio etc. If I could fight just my enemies I would be glad to Continent with the positioning, wild claims and treachery I encountered in the organized leadership of the orgs.

Disgruntled activist said...

I used to be a NORML member and one of the people who started a NORML state of Florida chapter in the early to mid nineties, when there was none.
FUCK NORML! They didn't do shit to help their people back then and they don't give a shit now, unless there is money to be made for them.
MONEY.....THAT IS ALL THAT THEY CARE ABOUT!
You don't know how good it is to read your posts, and others who are taking a truly informed and seemingly honest approach to a cause that is dividing far too many people.
~~~~~One Love

Greg in Washington said...

You all better think twice about who ya'll are supporting' and who's salaries you're paying. I don't get paid to fight This fight, so why should they? I don't get funded to have huge partied for what I do, so why should they? It doesn't take money to fight this fight. It takes dedication and passion. Something we all should have in this or we shouldn't be in it. Think about it. These people have many many supporters. I believe Cannabis should have and could have been decriminalized a long time ago. But who would have fat pockets then? No one, so why get decrim when they can get paid to have the best pot around, no worry about getting busted and party it up living the rockstar celebrity life with the celebrities on their right hand? Think about how much money these people raise a year. Now think about the accomplishments they've made in comparison? It's no laughing matter. People are losing money to people who do not have their best interest at heart. I supported the orgs for years. And I can't even get a response from them. Tells me how important my support is to them. I am done with supporting organizations that will not do what is right. If you don't like it maybe you're just not paying attention. I am getting letters left and right from people in support of these orgs that are sounding like they've just been brainwashed by them...They're all generic sounding about how I should be supporting the orgs who want and need my money. This is what I laugh at. These people don't even pay attention to what is the real issues. They just follow these orgs like sheep because.....Because why is what I want to know? Do your research people. Before you give money to anyone research them, research the issues and see what they are really doing to help. Cannabis has been a crime since the 1930's. There have been many groups to come and go since then and not all of them were asking for money. When you find a group who wants no money, nothing but support and dedicated workers, how can you say their just crazy and don't know what they're talking about? Have you not done the research yourself? Read below, and my last two posts, and tell me there is no threat against cannabis. If you do, you are clearly not paying any attention at all and are of no use to the cannabis movement until you can educate yourself on what you are trying to free and the real threats against it. Cannabis is a plant, a part of nature put here by the almighty for us to use. No governments, no laws can stop us from that and they obviously don't stop us. You cannot stop what the almighty created, it's against going against the creator to do that. This nation is founded upon Christianity. So how can the U.S. government, who for the most part claims they are Christians go against God? Because that is exactly what they're doing when outlawing nature. Think about that for a minute....OUTLAWING NATURE? How the hell can you outlaw nature? It's nature. It's not your decision to do that. It's Gods and God wants it here or he wouldn't have created it with so many wonderful purposes including saving the world by reversing greenhouse effect and putting a stop to global warming....

Anonymous said...

An email exchange that includes Kieth Stroup (NORML)
From: "Rev. Tom Brown"
To: religiousfreedomnow@hotmail.com
Subject: NORML helps us NOT !
Date: Sat, 02 Jun 2007 16:38:07 -0500


Greetings to All!

Here is an e-mail exchange to and from Keith Stroup of NORML about the religious defense to pot charges. It is so enlightenting. Hope you enjoy and learn who to support.

One Love revtombrown

PS Keith also screwed us in California in 1971 by refusing to support our initiative to legalize marijuana. Without NORML we got the initiative on the ballot in 1972 and got 36% of the vote in favor. We can only speculate why Keith Stroup and NORML are so obstinate in refusing to support credible answers to pot prohibition, we can only wonder why!



From: Carl Olsen < carl-olsen@mchsi.com>
Date: Fri, 25 May 2007 09:30:13 -0500
To: , "'Allen St. Pierre'"
Subject: Interrogatories to Parties - FRCP 33

Hi Keith and Allen,

The federal defendants are saying that recognizing a right to use marijuana
as a sacrament would render the marijuana laws unenforceable. On the other
hand, they claim I have not established a credible threat of injury, as if
the marijuana laws would not be enforced if I were to use marijuana as my
sacrament.

It seems to me that the marijuana laws are unenforceable already and I would
like to send some written interrogatories to the federal defendants asking
them to admit it. Can you help me with the wording?

Carl Olsen
Ethiopian Zion Coptic Church

515-288-5798

"The period of greatest gain in knowledge and experience
is the most difficult period in one's life."
~ Dalai Lama
______________________________

From: Keith Stroup [mailto:keith@norml.org] ..:NAMESPACE PREFIX = MAILTO />
Sent: Friday, May 25, 2007 9:55 AM
To: Carl Olsen; Allen St. Pierre
Subject: Re: Interrogatories to Parties - FRCP 33

Carl:

I'm afraid you are asking the blind to help the blind; I have very little
experience in drafting pleadings.

Also, with so many projects demanding time and attention, this one just does
not appear worthwhile to me. I cannot see it ever helping anyone, although I
understand your continuing interest in the matter.

Sorry to disappoint, but religious use is not a priority of mine.
Regards,

Keith

Keith Stroup, Esq.
NORML Legal Counsel
keith@norml.org
www.norml.org
______________________________________________

From: Carl Olsen
Date: Fri, 25 May 2007 13:05:55 -0500
To: 'Keith Stroup' < keith@norml.org>, "'Allen St. Pierre'"
Cc: "'Rev. Tom Brown'" , 'Jeff Brown'

Subject: RE: Interrogatories to Parties - FRCP 33

Keith,

You've got to be kidding. The government thinks this case could bring
prohibition to a screeching halt. If I lose, it's my dime. If I win, you
and everyone else will benefit. But I certainly appreciate you informing me
of what a closed mind you have. I won't bother you again.

Carl
__________________________________________________

From: Keith Stroup [mailto:keith@norml.org]
Sent: Friday, May 25, 2007 1:38 PM
To: Carl Olsen; Allen St. Pierre
Cc: 'Rev. Tom Brown'; 'Jeff Brown'
Subject: Re: Interrogatories to Parties - FRCP 33

Carl:

I've noticed all the progress you have made (NOT) with this religious use
argument over the years. How could I have missed the fear on the part of the
government.

Get a grip on reality.

Keith

Keith Stroup, Esq.
NORML Legal Counsel
keith@norml.org
www.norml.org
_______________________________________________

From: Amanda C. Feeley [mailto:goatgirl123@gmail.com ]
Sent: Friday, May 25, 2007 4:38 PM
To: keith@norml.org; allen@norml.org; revtombrown@hotmail.com ; jab@lcia.com;
iowa@iowamedicalmarijuana.org; carl.olsen@iowamedicalmarijuana.org
Subject: Fwd: Interrogatories to Parties - FRCP 33

Mr. Stroup,

Would this be similar to all the progress NORML has made on their arguments
on this issue over the last 30 years? Med. patients are still getting busted
by the feds. Casual users are still being jailed. Religious people are still
being denied their first amendment rights. First amendment rights are
probably the strongest argument for the repeal of prohibition.

If you don't have the time, surely you know someone who might, or who might
be able to direct Carl in the right direction. Just because religious use is
not a priority of yours, doesn't mean we can't help each other.

We have to stand together or else in another 30 years we will be in the same
place we are now. Spinning our wheels.
Do the right thing.
Amanda C. Feeley
________________________________________________

From: Carl Olsen
Date: Fri, 25 May 2007
To: 'Keith Stroup' < keith@norml.org>, "'Allen St. Pierre'"
Cc: "'Rev. Tom Brown'" , 'Jeff Brown'

Subject: RE: Interrogatories to Parties - FRCP 33

Dear Keith and Allen,

And, I might ask, what was Keith Stroup doing down there in Miami at the
headquarters of the Ethiopian Zion Coptic Church in the 1970s when the
Ethiopian Zion Coptic Church was throwing away millions of dollars trying to
defend itself in state and federal court. What could have been the
attraction?

As the Florida state court said long ago:

"The Ethiopian Zion Coptic Church is centuries old and has regularly used
cannabis as its sacrament." Town v. State ex rel. Reno, 877 So.2d 648 (Fla.
1979).

Carl Olsen

Drew Simmons said...

I agree and can relate to almost everything that has been said within the blog rant and comments! People are waking up to the truth and reallities of the organiztions that are supposed to be working for us ! I have very harsh feelings for MPP and NORML, they ignored my offers for help, and my ideas for change! They gladly accepted the $5 a month that I was donating to them tho. With the money that these orgs have there could have been over a thousand court cases fought and won to defeat the unconstitutional laws against cannabis. We could feel safe right now in our own homes if these orgs were truly working for us the people, they are war profiteers! My apology's go to all of the great people working within these orgs, I hope you will see who you are working for one day sooner rather than later..

Drew

anti-drugwar czar said...

Wow!

first, i'd like to thank all of you for taking the time to share your thoughts and horror stories. i'm glad to hear that i'm not alone and to have all of you validate what i've spent so much time and effort trying to do.

we have a tremendous task before us and it's clear that we are in agreement that the self-proclaimed "leaders" are a bunch of useless jackasses who have succeeded only in creating job security and a retirement plan for themselves. or perhaps not ;^)

as several of you have pointed out, bureacracy is a paralyzing force, not an energizing one, and i am doing my best to help provide the energized people with the kinds of ammo they need to really get this job done.

we don't need to keep adding more layers of non-profit organizations to the pile, and we don't really need much money to accomplish a great deal. what we need is a game plan, some real leadership, and the dedicated efforts of people like you folks.

i'll continue doing my best to deliver what we need, and i know i can count on you to help. i invite all of you to email me (b2@briancbennett.com) so i can keep you informed about what i'm working on.

to the federal medical marijuana patient: i truly am honored by your taking the time to come to my little sandbox and contribute. i'm sorry that so many people have let you down and certainly understand your desire to simply live out the rest of your life in peace rather than continuing to be disappointed by those claiming to be fighting for your interests.

one of the things i'm really worried about with the current push for med-pot laws is that the governemnt will cut off your program -- after all, if there really is no medical value in smoked marijuana, then they can't very well continue to supply you with it.

i promise i'll keep pedalling as hard as i can to help set things right again, and i will continue to try to set an example so we can either force the self-proclaimed "leaders" to get their shit together, or (better yet) get the hell out of the way.

i've sacrificied literally everything i have (well, had) in life to tackle this job -- and i took the risk because i knew you folks were out there and that the essential work just wasn't being done by the "leaders."

they have pretty much ignored me just as they have ignored you -- that was a huge mistake and is unforgivable. it's time to make them sign up for unemployment along with their fascist cohorts on the "other" side.

we truly have everything we need -- so let's make it happen!

b

Anonymous said...

My husband is a grass roots person who has "Come out of the Closet" at his own peril to spread the truth about this malicious and destructive drug war and the lies our government spreads about marijuana users. Here's a link to his website and myspace page

kopproductions.com

http://kopproductions.com/main.html

http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendid=15317662&MyToken=f89e2dd4-f5b9-4a3e-9af3-2692d9821d41
KEEP UP THE GREAT WORK YOU ARE DOING, YOU ARE NOT ALONE!!!

Texas said...

The beginning of the Catch-22 blog hits the nail on the head with several points.

". . the money that is available is quite limited, and in no case will ever be likely to number in the tens of billions of dollars spent annually by our government to continue waging the war itself."

ONDCP alone, according to their website, spent $12.6 BILLION.

"Clearly, the citizens have no prayer of ever out-gunning the government, and the vast majority of drug reformers are actually un-paid volunteers."

The sad part about this statement is that the citizens are largely funding the govt's astronomical budget for the "war on drugs."
And yes the vast majority of drug reformers ARE actually un-paid volunteers. And how can "un-paid volunteers" contribute monetarily to this cause, as is badly needed?
And you're very correct to point out that marijuana users,

". . who do step forward risk losing everything they have in life as their reward for doing so at the moment. Of course, by not stepping forward and allowing the situation to deteriorate at an ever accelerating rate, it is increasingly likely that every marijuana user will one day be caught . . "

But, I can't believe you at once proclaim that,

"If enough people cared, then certainly more money could be available. Clearly, then, we need to get more people to care about the drug war and then become pissed off enough to help do something about it."

Then, you turn around and claim MPP has had all kinds of playboy parties and done nothing??
According to MPP, the 2007 Playboy Mansion Party was the 2nd party there. And they did the second Playboy party because the first one raised $170,000!! The 2007 Playboy Party cashed in $150,000!! This is a one day event.
So, in order for MPP to raise $10 BILLION, (in order to even up the playing field with the feds) that would theoretically take 62,500 Playboy parties!!
Or, every single person in the United States (estimated to be around 300 BILLION) could give 3 or 4 cents!!
BUT WAIT!!!
That 3-4 cents is already going to ONDCP!!
You say patting each other on the back is counterproductive??
How do you think that organizations help keep their morale up??
Oh yeah, by blogging.

By the way, without the playboy party, MPP would need 2857 George Soros type contributors to raise a measly (by ONDCP's standards) $10 BILLION!!!!!!

And when Taylor points out that MPP has had a hand in SEVERAL states passing medical marijuana laws, you just blow that off as no progress.
You, of all people, should know what kind of time, effort, AND money it takes to pass new laws, such as a medical marijuana law (much less an all-out decriminalization bill).

I personally went to the capitol in Austin, TX, and gave testimony in favor of a decrim bill this year. A freaking SHERRIFF gave testimony in SUPPORT of this decriminalization bill for gods' sake!!! And you know what happened to the bill?? It didn't even get a vote in the committee it was assigned to.
Now, this "lobby day" was an all-day affair. I had to take off work for an entire day, and like you said,

"the vast majority of drug reformers are actually un-paid volunteers."

As am I.
NORML did not, and does not, pay me anything. I raise awareness, interest, and yes money; for NORML.
Now, you can look up National NORML's budget online, as they are filed w/ the govt at a non-profit org. And NORML doesn't have a Soros. All we have are people like me and my friends/volunteers. Yes, there are salaries paid by NORML to some of the directors etc. But how do you expect people who work FULL TIME (I work 20-40 hrs/week with NORML) for an org (any org), to make a living??
You said it yourself, it takes money to move the "movement" forward, but it also takes money to live your life in our society.

What I want to know is this:

What do you think you're accomplishing by attacking the legalization orgs, other than splintering the very movement we all are working for?

Do you really think that bashing the biggest, best known, legalization orgs will actually help the legalization movement??

Not everyone is gonna be happy with what MPP, NORML, DPA, or ASA (or anyone else for that matter)are doing. But the fact remains that it's not surprising that we're losing when you consider the government spends literally TENS OF THOUSANDS times what we as a group spend.

And the fact is, if you claim that the $340,000 raised for the movement in 2 days by MPP at the playboy mansion is nothing/worthless, then you better eat your entire insinuation that money makes a difference.

And if you think that you can do better than MPP, you better be able to raise $340,000 in 2 days, from somewhere legal.

That's all I have to say on this,
Please come back to the movement, and quit working against it!!

Josh S.
Director, Texas NORML
http://www.texasnorml.org/
http://www.myspace.com/texasnorml

Texas said...

Hey, please disclaimer that I messed up the numbers on some of that other comment I left, if you decide to post it. It should have been all 300 MILLION, and everyone would have to pay 33-34 cents. OOPS!

TX NORML

anti-drugwar czar said...

hi josh,

thanks for your comments -- i really appreciate the time and effort you took to respond.

i'm getting tired of pointing out how the "progress" we're being told we are making is an illusion. back in 1974 there were 24 states with medical marijauan laws -- now there are 12. how do you measure "success?" sounds like you measure it the same way as the turds claiming that the latest big bust is "clear evidence that the war on drugs is working."

worse, if NORML had been effective at all, then why in the world does MPP even exist? even worse than that -- do you realize how FEW people (incredibly enough, even pot smokers) even know what NORML is?

now for the fun part: you accuse me of trying to "splinter the movement" -- what a laugh! there are hundreds of organizations out there josh -- i had nothing to do with splintering anything.

seriously, if you think that i'm powerful enough to splinter an already broken "movement" then i'll have to take that as a compliment -- it must mean that i'm powerful enough to do the job that actually needs to be done: pulling everyone together in the same direction towad the one goal that matters -- end the fucking war.

so my advice to you is to first recognize that we are getting our asses kicked in large part because there are too many little groups out there each acting in their own self-interest.

second, to understand that this isn't actually about drugs, and that the vast majority of people don't give a shit about potheads; and third to hold the feet of those who call themselves "leaders" to the fire until they figure out that they are the ones splintering the "movement" (it isn't really much of a movement if you are paying attention); and third to demand that these "leaders" observe the dictum to "lead, follow or get the fuck out of the way."

so, josh, stop accusing me of working against the movement and try to start working on the movement that matters: ending the practice of tyranny against our citizens.

or are you just one of the people out there who only gives a shit about pot and will gladly pile on the tweakers, crackheads and junkies after you get what you want?

if you want there to be a movement you need to first stop pretending that i'm the one who splintered everything -- i'm the one demanding we all pull together. and not for one little stupid "cause" that benefits hardly anyone -- but to the only cause that really matters: ending the fucking WAR being waged against our own goddam citizens over how they play with themselves!

and that my friend is all i have to say about it. so you go tell your pals in norml and mpp to get their shit together and try working together -- 'cause i will not stop calling attention to the failures being pawned off as "success" -- from either side of the debate.

tell them to keep reading the rant below titled face it, you're a legalizer until it sinks in. they clearly need to attend drugwar rehab.

and thanks for letting me know that they really are afraid of me. i'm not here to play patty-cake: i'm here to win a war.

b

Josh said...

I never said they are afraid of anyone's afraid of you, it's just disappointing to see someone with your potential wasting all your time accomplishing NOTHING on this little blogspot.
"we need to pull together"

Take a look at yourself and what you're doing, and it's very apparent that your trying to push people AWAY from each other.

Just because there are hundreds (or thousands) of small groups out there fighting for this movement, doesn't mean they're trying to trash each other as you are doing.

You can't even respond to the facts I present about how MPP is raising hundreds of thousands of dollars, while you waste your (and everyone else including myself who bothers to put their 2 cents in) so called anti drug war rants helping NOTHING! You are not helping the fight against the drug war, no matter what you ego tells you.

First you say in your blog that it's because there isn't enough support/money that we're losing, (which I said was correct), but when I point out that the orgs you are bashing are raising all this money (and you're working against that), you then make a claim like this,

"we are getting our asses kicked in large part because there are too many little groups out there each acting in their own self-interest."

Again I ask you, what good are you doing with this blog??
Are YOU raising any money for this fight? Or are you just fighting against the very thing you claim to be supporting??
From what I see, it's the latter.

All I'm saying is, you are not helping whatsoever by making the outlandish accusations you have.
If you would quit focusing on what you perceive to be wrong with these orgs, and focus on,

". . ending the practice of tyranny against our citizens."

It would do a helluva lot more good. I work my ass off trying to end the misconceptions, tyrrany, police state, etc etc, but it really irks me when someone claims to be doing the same, but then proceeds to attempt to discredit orgs that are doing the real work and heavy lifting, i.e. working with the govt to change the laws.
If you think that by trying to convince people to not give money to the legalization orgs, that you are helping things, you've got a very twisted sense of logic.

First you say it's because there isn't enough money. When I point out that the orgs are raising real money, (but still thousands of times less than the govt spends) and people like you are actually working to lessen the fundraising ability, then you change your tune about what why we're losing??

As I said at the beginning, these orgs are not afraid of you, and why should they be? You've got a little blog, with comments from several dozen people, including a few who question your motives.

The reason that we're focused on marijuana is that the bulk of drug arrests are perpetrated on it's users. If we tried to focus on everything at once we'd be even further behind.

But, it would be nice to have people like you, with knowledge of the basic ideas, to actually help move us forward instead bitching, moaning, and complaining about how much better you could do it, and how you're pissed that you can't have a party at the playboy manision or whatever you're pissed about. Quit pointing fingers/blame and do something more constructive with your time and your blog.

Josh
Texas NORML

anti-drugwar czar said...

hey josh, thanks for the laugh. seriously, i almost spit my coffee all over the place!

here's my homepage:

http://www.briancbennett.com

here's the sitemap:

http://www.briancbennett.com/pagelist.htm

here's what people say about my work:

http://www.briancbennett.com/comments.htm

how much more can i do for you?

b

anti-drugwar czar said...

oops, i forgot something you ought to find useful since you only give a shit about pot:

http://www.briancbennett.com/print/notscary.pdf

it's a tri-fold brochure that makes the case for pot rather well -- covers all the angles, has quotes from the "drug czar" juxtaposed against graphics that clearly show he's full of shit, lays out all the source information for the acedemically inclined, and makes it really, really easy to see how minuscule a "problem" pot use actually is.

it was inspired by the work i did when i built this page: http://www.briancbennett.com/charts/nutshell-marijuana.htm

print it out and mail it to people who send you business reply envelopes -- it's a great way to take it to people who otherwise don't care and would never find out about any of it.

b

Jill said...

Great blog- I enjoyed reading all you have to say. You are right on. Our only chance right now is RON PAUL. Please people give him your support. He realizes what a ridiculous waste the 'War on Drugs' is.

anti-drugwar czar said...

hi jill,

thanks for the kind thoughts. i certainly think it wise to support ron paul since he is bringing a bit of sanity to the table, but i don't believe he is our only chance. both he and dennis kucinich have the guts to say what needs to be said, but the political climate is not exactly favorable at the moment to those who express truth and sanity.

we have another election cycle before us in which puppets posing as leaders will win the nominations for their respective parties, one of whom will emerge victorious next november. it sucks, but that's the way it is at the moment.

i believe that what we need to focus on in the near term -- i would argue our true hope -- is to get our fellow americans to start paying attention and get them to understand that our most cherished values are rapidly being squashed out of our society in the name of phantom enemies.

we need to make it "safe" for politicians to stand up and do the right thing -- they will only do that when we demand it of them and it can be seen as politically expedient.

so i suggest to everyone and anyone who wants to put an end to this nightmare that we focus our attention on the public at large. once we have sufficient numbers of them on our side, then we will have a chance to get the political animals lined up to do the right thing.

we need to act like "Americans" -- now more than ever.

b

Anonymous said...

No Deaths attributed to Marijuana-Tell These 4 Children's Parents Potcreeps

Those who patrol streets and highways, know that the consequences of marijuana-impaired driving can be tragic. For example, four children and their van driver-nicknamed Smokey by the children for his regular marijuana smoking-died in April 2002 when a Tippy Toes Learning Academy van veered off a freeway and hit a concrete bridge abutment. He was found at the crash scene with marijuana in his pocket.

Anonymous said...

You'll probably not post the last
Your singing to the potcreep choir.
You people are worse than freddie crooger

anti-drugwar czar said...

HI anonymous,

Obviously you are wrong -- I do allow all posts that aren't spam.

You say "marijuana-impaired driving can be tragic" -- so? Driving can be tragic -- and hell, since you obviously aren't paying attention, it may surprise you to learn that life itself is tragic. It always ends in death. Oops.

Marijuana itself is involved in an extremely small number of deaths -- and the vast majority of users do not suffer (nor inflict) any consequences on either themselves or others.

So learn a little -- it will help you avoid looking like an uneducated drooling fool.

P.S. it's Freddy "Kreuger," ya dumbass!

Bye.

B

Vad said...

@Anonymous re. impaired driving

You consider us worse than Freddy Krueger, presumably because you have this wild, irrational fear that if pot was legalized you'd observe an explosion not only in use but in car accidents (and planes and space shuttles and we al remember the ugly driving in Star Trek: Nemesis...).

This expectation is not supported by actual facts. Holland has had de facto legalized marijuana since 1976. They have fewer users than the European average and a whole lot fewer than in the USA. Holland had no explosion in either use, abuse or impaired driving. Dutch people smoke less than Americans - which incidentally doesn't argue very well for your wish to maintain Prohibition.

In relation to the topic of the post you clearly illustrate how biased the discussion about drugs is.

Driving while drunk is already prohibited, because the combination of drinking and driving is bad, but alcohol in itself is not illegal.

Yet with characteristic zeal you speak of pot in a way that makes it stand out as "something special", as something that should be treated totally different than other things.

That's why you end up using one standard for pot while using another for alcohol. I'm fairly sure you don't think of yourself as Worse than Freddy Krueger, because you support legal alcohol.

If you weren't such a cop, and if all those smoking pot weren't such cowards (yet who can blame them?) you would have quite a few friends who actually smoke pot or who has tried it without ever causing trouble or getting into it. Face it, due to job (or blind belief in those patrolling the roads) you have access to only a small, incomplete picture of the whole, hence you are biased.

What's worse is that your black'n'white medieval model is being used to cast anyone using those specific drugs as the Absolute Evil, and as such you firmly believe that you can suspend all normal consideration for those people, the Constitutional Rights and any other moral obligation you normally feel towards your fellow human being.

So in your zeal to do away with the potheads and druggies you not only become an evil greater than those your fight, but right there ... you LIKE IT!

Well, I guess it's off to the gas chambers. And btw, I always wanted to say this in an internet discussion:

You, Sir, are worse than Hitler! :P

That said I would really recommend you lay down that badge and try to get to know some of the many people who smoke pot. Talk with them, and not just AT them like you're used to. They're no different than your average Joe who like a beer and a drink once in a while.