Drug Law

Shame on NPR for Spreading Dragonfly Lies on Prop 19

| by NORML
Shame on you, NPR. Shame.

This morning I was very excited to see National Public Radio (NPR) beginning week-long coverage of the debate over Proposition 19.  I was thrilled to see the hear installment, entitled “Legalized Pot’s Unlikely Supporters: Moms And Cops“, wondering whom I would hear from first.  Would it be police supporters like former Seattle police chief Norm Stamper or former Baltimore narcotics officer Neill Franklin?  Or would it be mom supporters like Oaksterdam’s Dale Sky Jones or NORML New Jersey’s Anne Davis?

So maybe you can understand my outrage when the first voice I hear is not a supporter, but rather Stoners Against Legalization‘s “Dragonfly de la Luz” spouting her outright lies about Prop 19.  Maybe you can further understand my disappointment in NPR that a 7:48 segment entitled “Legalized Pot’s Unlikely Supporters: Moms And Cops” would lead its first 4:20 (really?) with opponents, leaving the moms and cops with just 45% of the time in the segment (or 39% of the words in the written story, if you prefer).

I guess NPR is just following in the FOX News example of providing “both sides” of the debate – the truth and the lies.  Let’s just count how NPR managed to promote factual inaccuracies about Prop 19 just eight days before election:

Californians would be able to legally possess, process, share or transport only one ounce of pot. And they would be able to grow it only in a 25-square-foot area.

“These exotic strains that we know and love are going to quickly become obsolete because a 5-by-5 space is just not enough space to breed and experiment all these new strains,” she says. “It would be a real shame if we lost all of this variety.”

So, let’s see… when absolutely no personal marijuana growing is legal, we have great genetic diversity, but when it is legal for everyone to grow four-to-six plants in a 5-by-5 space, producing anywhere from 12-to-30 ounces of dried bud per season, exotic strains will go extinct?  Because people that are growing illegal larger plots for breeding are going to stop breaking the law when a 5-by-5 is legal?  Because all those growers with Prop 215 recs who can and will still be able to grow larger plots won’t do so anymore?  Because the companies that form to grow commercial marijuana won’t want to have as many brands as possible to entice customers?  Riiiiggghhht….

Proposition 19 allows local governments to license commercial marijuana companies, which worries self-professed stoners like de la Luz.  ”We’re kind of like anti-Wal-Mart and anti-McDonald’s,” she says. “So for them to try to sneak in and turn cannabis into a corporation, that’s disgusting.”

First of all, existing corporations, like Philip Morris and RJ Reynolds, long rumored to be waiting in the wings to take over the marijuana market, can’t.  Marijuana will still be federally illegal and the minute they touch Schedule I marijuana, the feds will have them in court to seize their assets.  It’s not as if the government doesn’t like hauling Big Tobacco into court.

Second, when some companies do begin commercial marijuana sales and production, they’re regulated and controlled by the localities, not the state.  So if you don’t like Wal-Mart, like many local communities don’t, you can keep them out.  If you do like marijuana companies but want to keep a close eye on them, you can work with your local officials.  Local control is exactly what big corporations don’t like.

This is the ultimate result of the illegal marijuana market "Dragonfly de la Luz" supports (Photo by AP)

Third, what’s so disgusting about companies creating jobs for Californians, paying taxes to help our citizenry, and not shooting up people in the streets over the marketing of marijuana?  You want to talk about disgusting, let’s talk about the illegal market that keeps pot prices at $15 per gram for medical marijuana patients.  Let’s talk about a million teens nationwide selling pot in the high schools.  Let’s talk about slaughtered beheaded Mexicans in the streets of Juarez.

“This particular cannabis, this Dr. Walker’s Daze, this beautiful frosty sativa bud I’m holding did not come from a licensed dispensary,” de la Luz tells him. “Under Prop 19, it would be illegal for me to possess and smoke this. It looks a lot more like freedom today in California than it would be if Prop 19 were to pass.”

“Why would it be illegal?” Ali Baba asks.

“Because Prop 19 prohibits possession of cannabis that was bought anywhere other than a licensed dispensary,” she explains.

So, “Dragonfly”, you bought marijuana from the black market?  Yes, that’s exactly what we want to make illegal, because your illegal dealer buddies aren’t checking kids’ ID’s.  But saying you couldn’t possess and smoke it is a flat-out lie.  Prop 19 allows you to possess and share one ounce of marijuana outside the home and the only way anyone could tell you bought it illegally is if you open your gaping maw and tell them.  Here are your options when the cop asks, “Miss ‘de la Luz’, where did you get that beautiful frosty sativa bud?”

  1. “I grew it.”
  2. “My friend gave it to me.”
  3. “I bought it at a Prop 19 store.”
  4. “I have my Prop 215 rec and bought it at a dispensary.”
  5. “I have my Prop 215 rec and this comes from my collective.”
  6. “I don’t answer police questions without my attorney present.”
  7. (silence)
  8. “I bought it illegally from an unlicensed weed dealer.”

Shame on NPR for spreading DragonfLIES.  Let’s hope the rest of the week’s segments are more truthful.