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Federal Official Gets Blasted By Politicians At Marijuana Hearing

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congress marijuanaOffice of National Drug Control Policy Deputy Director Michael Botticelli testified about the Obama administration’s marijuana policy to the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform today in a hearing that at times got quite heated. Botticelli defended Obama administration policies Chairman John Mica (R-FL) called “fractured” and “schizophrenic,” saying the administration is dedicated to treating marijuana use as a public health issue rather than a law enforcement matter. That statement was questioned by other Congressmembers who cited the 750,000 arrests and billions of dollars spent by states every year on law enforcement intervention.

The most heated exchange, however, came after Botticelli refused to answer questions about marijuana’s relative safety as compared with cocaine, methamphetamine and tobacco, all of which are less stringently regulated under the Controlled Substances Act than marijuana (nicotine, a legal drug, does not appear on the schedule). Rep. Steve Cohen (D-TN) commented that despite Botticelli’s talk of educational programs, until he was able to speak about the real harms of drugs rather than spouting inaccurate propaganda, children would not hear the message. He then opined whether a friend who had died of a heroin overdose would still be alive if he had received real education on the dangers of the drug. Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) went even further, calling ONDCP’s refusal to realistically discuss drug use “part of the problem.”

“I don’t think people should smoke marijuana. Every drug-including those you get from your doctor-has real harms. But if you educate people about those harms and how to minimize them, you diminish their impact and ensure that your warnings will be heeded,” commented Law Enforcement Against Prohibition executive director Major Neill Franklin (Ret.). “Part of the ridiculous logic of the war on drugs is that even when asked a direct question by members of Congress, the head of the agency tasked with administering our drug policy cannot answer truthfully questions that could save lives.”

The hearing focused largely on the racial disparities engendered by the unequal enforcement of marijuana laws, the lifelong impact of marijuana convictions (which, unlike murder and other violent crimes can disqualify a person from receiving some federal student loans as well as other legal entitlements), the failure of the drug war to reduce use, the money wasted on prohibition, misplaced law enforcement priorities, and the right of states to govern themselves.

“It’s time criminal justice professionals stop being motivated by politics and start being motivated to do what is best for the American people,” added Lieutenant Commander Diane Goldstein (Ret.), a LEAP board member.

Source: Law Enforcement Against Prohibitionmake a donation

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20 Comments

  1. @disqus_aylaMHydQ6:disqus
    This is a weed blog for people to express they’re views on a particular article. You trying to sell this bulls@#$ is exactly what is wrong with the movement to legalize marijuana. Your not helping the cause.

  2. Besides showing the Drug Czar and the fraudulent marijuana prohibition in their true lights, much was accomplished strategically.

    All talk of marijuana being dangerous enough to cause an overdose death is now off the table. The ONDCP admits that any deaths are unknown of, and would be “extremely rare.”

    Most of Botticelli’s speaking boiled down to agreeing to no causation of death, while saying there are other harms that make marijuana dangerous.

    He briefly threw out increased potency, driving threats, the straw man argument about children consuming pot, etc.

    At the next hearing, the ONDCP should be asked, “What do you believe is the biggest harm of marijuana?”

    Then thoroughly dismantle the propaganda point, demanding an acknowledgement of the truth.
    We’ll soon be down to the fact marijuana has no significant harms for responsible adults.

  3. Here in n.e. Ohio, opiate prescription pain killer addiction has become an epidemic. And that shit is legal. Alcohol related deaths are through the roof.Alcohol is still legal. People have even overdosed on caffeine. Why is this plant still demonized and still up for debate. Is our government still sold on the propaganda brought on by the lumber industry 85 years ago. It was just abunch of greed fueled, racist, ill-informed mumbo jumbo! Just legalize it and tax it so we can go back to important matters like job creation, decreasing the amount of welfare recipients, and not wasting tax payer dollars by sticking your nose in other countries affairs.

  4. Notorious for their bloodthirsty courtship, black widow spiders are identified by the colored markings on their black bodies.

  5. Intergalactic Pimp on

    If the Republican Party wants to clean up in 2014/16, they should embrace legalization. I think whichever party embraces first would dominate.

  6. The ONDCP and DEA marijuana policies are indefensible and irrational. That’s why officials from these agencies can’t come up with a coherent response to simple questions. To insure legalization, all we have to do is put these people on national TV and let them talk.

  7. It is time to spout the obvious. Marijuana reform WILL happen, the republicans see the potential for making money so they will pass legislation to legalize pot. And all the medical benefits will come to light.

  8. Here’s a link to the full 1.5 hour long grilling. I highly suggest watching the whole thing. I kinda feel bad for the ONDCP guy, I wouldn’t want to have to be on that side of the debate. Then again the debate should be over soon. :-)
    http://www.c-span.org/video/?317590-1/MarijuanaPo
    NOTE: you need flash player to watch the cspan video. If your on an android phone use dolphin browser…It worked for me on a galaxy s4, or just search youtube for “ONDCP” and filter to see only videos from this week.

  9. “Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” Albert Einstein, brainyquote.com

  10. IMHO, the most important part of the hearing was when Rep Gerry Connolly (D-VA) forced Botticelli to admit that alcohol is more dangerous than cannabis.

    CONNOLLY: “Is it not a scientific fact that there is nothing comparable with marijuana? And I’m not saying it is good or bad, but when we look at deaths and illnesses, alcohol, other hard drugs are certainly, even prescription drugs, are a threat to public health in a way that just isolated marijuana is not. Isn’t that a scientific fact? Or do you dispute that fact?”

    BOTTICELLI: “I don’t dispute that fact.”

    He doesn’t dispute THAT FACT.
    Now let’s see some changes to the CSA to reflect THAT FACT.

  11. I am waiting for the day when Mr. O’Reilly is outed for having an affair with Nancy Pelosi. (Or, even better, with Rush and/or Rupert Murdoch.)

  12. anal distroyer on

    I’m waiting for one day to see one of Bill O’Reilly “guest” to turn around to punch him or deliver the well deserved Fuck you on live TV

  13. Ask every politician their position on marijuana. Don’t vote for those that continue the prohibition.

  14. O’Reilly is just a mouthpiece. If Obama is scared of the right, he’s probably scared of someone with a lot more money and power.

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