Oct 152012
 October 15, 2012

ObamaFull replay of the entire press conference will be heard at 2pm and 5pm Pacific on http://radicalruss.com

Representatives of law enforcement and drug rehabilitation services joined former heads of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), National Institutes on Drug Abuse (NIDA), and the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP, known as “the drug czar”) in a teleconference for members of the press to reiterate their call for President Obama and Attorney General Holder to more forcefully and publicly oppose the marijuana legalization ballot measures in Washington, Oregon, and Colorado.

The teleconference was moderated by Peter Bensinger, a former DEA head under Presidents Ford, Carter, and Reagan, and currently CEO of Bensinger, DuPont & Associates (BDA), a privately owned professional services company that provides a wide range of consultation, training and employee assistance program services promoting a Drug-Free Workplace.  Bensinger explained that legalization of marijuana is expressly forbidden by federal law, the US Constitution, and decisions of the US Supreme Court.

Bensinger claimed that in the states that have legalized medical use of marijuana, accidents, teen use, addiction, and drug rehab admissions have all “skyrocketed”.  In fact, research shows that medical marijuana has not led to increased teen use.  ”Addiction” to marijuana, as reported by NIDA, affects 9% of first-time initiates, compared to 15% for alcohol and 32% for tobacco.  rehab admission have “skyrocketed” as use of drug courts has skyrocketed, which force people caught with marijuana to choose rehab or jail whether they have a dependence issue or not.  Finallywhile I don’t have the figures at hand for all the medical marijuana states, in Oregon our workplace injury, illness, and fatality rates are at their lowest recorded levels and nationwide auto accidents, injuries, and fatalities continue to decline even as more and more people have tried marijuana.  Bensinger explained that voters in California rejected Prop 19 to legalize marijuana in 2010 because they recognized the threat to public safety and and that it “flies in the face of federal law.”

Former Drug Czar John Walters, now Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President Hudson Institute, who once said “finding a first-time, non-violent offender in jail or prison for possession of marijuana is like finding a unicorn, they just don’t exist,” chimed in to remind the press that marijuana is the most prevalent of drugs for which people are seeking treatment.  He reiterated that 2.5 million people tried marijuana for the first time this year, more than those how tried cigarettes, and that more American teenagers now smoke marijuana than tobacco.  Walters did not address why that is the case, because marijuana smoking rates have held fairly steady while tobacco smoking rates have been on a rapid decline, despite being 3.5 times more addictive than marijuana and legally available to teenagers at age 18.

Walters also claimed that countries that have relaxed their marijuana laws, like Britain and The Netherlands, are now working to reverse those policies.  He did not comment on the British scientists who vigorously opposed stronger restrictions on marijuana enacted by a new conservative government and ignored the fact that The Netherlands and Portugal, which he noticeably ignored, have rates of hard drug use, adult marijuana use, and teen marijuana use that are much lower than in prohibitionist America.

A representative from “Chiefs of Police” warned about the public safety risks of legalization.  He claimed that Californians rejected Prop 19 because they realized the $1.5 billion they’d take in from taxes would be more than offset by the $4 billion in increased costs from traffic accidents, without citing any source for that claim.  He continued by emphasizing that the FDA has never said that marijuana is safe or effective medicine and that dispensaries in medical marijuana states attract crime and violence, despite reports from sheriffs in California and Colorado that this is not true.

The “chief of police” expressed that legalization would sanction marijuana as legally and socially acceptable and, if anything, we should be working to make it less accessible to kids.  He is apparently unaware that for decades, kids have found marijuana easier to buy than alcohol because drug dealers don’t check IDs.  He also called into question the need to legalize marijuana anyway, since “marijuana’s been decriminalized nearly everywhere and nobody’s rotting in a jail cell over marijuana.”  Except that marijuana is only decriminalized in fifteen states, 850,000 are arrested every year and spend at least some time in a jail cell awaiting booking and others end up doing anywhere from a few days to a few years in prison.

During questioning from the press, the prohibition supporters were asked about “worst case scenarios” from law enforcement at the federal level should any of these initiatives pass.  Bensinger explained that legalization would not generate tax revenues, because the sellers of marijuana won’t pay state taxes and put themselves in the federal crosshairs, ignoring, of course, the hundreds of medical marijuana dispensaries that are paying state taxes right now.

Dominic Holden from the Stranger asked if any of the prohibitionists believe America is safer overall following the repeal of alcohol prohibition and why would ending marijuana prohibition not also be a net public safety good?  Robert DuPont, former director of National Institutes of Drug Abuse and founder of Bensinger, DuPont and Associates, dodged the question by expressing that repeal of alcohol prohibition did increase use of alcohol and associated alcoholism problems.  Holden did not relent, asking again about the net good of repealing Prohibition as national public health policy, despite the harms individual drinkers might experience.  Bensinger interrupted and cut the conversation short by explaining that we weren’t here to get into a discussion about the history of alcohol prohibition.  Walters joined in by explaining that alcohol is legal and we have over 135 million alcohol drinkers; can you imagine the problems we’d have with over 100 million marijuana smokers (as if there are 74 million people not smoking pot now who would if it were legal.)

The press conference concluded with Bensinger taking pains to explain in response to numerous questions that this press conference wasn’t being held for political purposes or to “meddle” in state political affairs.  He then reminded everyone how important it is for the federal government to encourage people in Washington, Oregon, and Colorado to vote a certain way on a political issue in their state.

Article originally appeared on National Cannabis Coalition and republished with special permission

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About Russ Belville

I am the executive director of 420RADIO.org and host / producer of The Russ Belville Show - The Independent Voice of the Marijuana Nation at http://radicalruss.com - live from Portland, Oregon. I was the winner of The Search for the Next Great Progressive Talk Radio Star and a former host on XM Satellite Radio and Portland's AM 620 KPOJ. I was the Outreach Coordinator for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws from 2008-2012, which included lecturing all across America on marijuana legalization, writing political analysis for HIGH TIMES Magazine, and producing over 1,000 hours of video content for The NORML Network.
  • moldy

    Smoke and mirrors by these washed up fuck tards. I hope my fellow humans, stoner or not, can see through the bullshit.

  • johhny1

    Benslinger , Anslinger -Dupont/Hearst
    Anyone see the connection? political lobbyist
    Mix some fed agencys in there and see what a crock of shit you got brewing.
    Cant wait to find out about:
    ASA vs DEA
    today 10/16 2012

    • http://www.facebook.com/donald.parrish.351 Donald Parrish

      Read my comment to yours. You are right on about the Duponts, Harry Anslinger, Peter Bensinger, and Dr Robert Dupont after 80 years they are still at it……..opposed to the re-legalization of the Cannabis Hemp FOR THEIR PERSONAL MONETARY GAIN . Also, The U.S. Gov. has had a U.S. Patent on Marijuana for the past 10 years. They have been growing it in Mississippi since the late 1960′s. I call such politicians, the Duponts, Harry Anslinger and Peter Bensinger….all MONSTERS. They will all get theirs when they meet their maker, and they will deserve the horrific punishment they must endure during their soul evaluation, and especially what follows is their soul rejuvenation which will equal HELL for them. They CANNOT escape this deserving retribution.

  • http://www.facebook.com/donald.parrish.351 Donald Parrish

    Ok folks, here it is. THE REAL TRUTH!!! Read it and weep! You have to go back and take a look at History and how it often repeats itself, but to no avail as far as us learning from our mistakes, or deliberate acts by others for monetary gain.

    In the 1920′s (during Prohibition Era a Republican President (Herbert Hoover) appointed the nation’s first Drug Czar who was Harry Ansinger (a prominent very wealthy businessman). Anslinger had connections with the Dupont family who wanted the Marijuana plant banned in the U,S. because Hemp has a very valuable commodity for multiple uses. The Duponts owned or leased thousands of acres of trees which they used for pulp to make paper and Cannabis hemp was a threat to the Duponts business adventures. The Duoonts with the help of William Hearst were able after using numerous lies, fears to the public, political reasons and last but not least Racism and “Reefer Madness”. Ansliger went so low to say the “”Negroes look at white women twice when they use Marijuana. They were successful at getting Marijuana made “Illegal”, purely for their own benefit when they all lobbied Congress to pass the Hemp Act of 1937.

    Now, they are at it again. See Bensinger, Dupont and Associates. Peter Bensinger and Dr. Robert Dupont (sound familiar) born in 1936 are now still lobbying, to keep Marijuana a schedule 1 drug, Congress, the President, and Eric Holder. Holder (our current U.S. Attorney general) appointed by Obama was before that an attorney who represented and defended Purdue Pharmaceutical Company who produced Oxycontin (which has killed thousands of people)….will never re-schedule Marijuana form the same as heroin which is a schedule one drug, because Holder supports pharmaceutical companies over us the people.

    Also, Bensinger makes mention that the NAACP supports marijuana legalization. Sounds like Anslinger doesn’t he. Bensinger. Dupont and associates has a Subsidary Company known as PDRC (The Prescription Drug Research Center) which smells doesn’t it, since the huge Pharmaceutical companies have always been opposed to cannabis legalization as it would cut into their enormous profits.

    Google Harry Anslinger the Dupont family, Peter Benslinger and Dr Robert Dupont…what a tangled web they have woven themselves into, but they don’t care because they are already powerful. rich and arrogant.

    Vote YES to re-legalize Marijuana.

    I am a retired Federal cop (Special Agent-Criminal Investigator) with 30+years experience with honors and am qualified to expose these ruthless people for what they really are.