By Allen St. Pierre
Unlike Tennessee Congressman Steve Cohen (who favors America having a fair and constitutionally consistent cannabis policy…), the current Speaker of the House of Representatives, John Boehner, simply does not get how hypocritical he is by favoring another 74 years of the failed federal Cannabis Prohibition, while at the same time, being a frequent consumer (and longtime political ally) of far more dangerous and deadly drugs like alcohol and tobacco.
A NORML supporter from Ohio named Todd recently used NORML’s webpage to contact his elected representative in Congress, who just so happens to be the Speaker of the House John Boehner, to encourage him to become a co-sponsor of the Ron Paul/Barney Frank bill to allow states to legalize cannabis for responsible adult use.
What Todd did was exactly what tens of thousands of other like-minded NORML supporters have done since late June, when H.R. 2306 was introduced: they contacted their member of Congress and asked them to support the passage of H.R. 2306.
What cannabis reformers and consumers really need to do now is to send hundreds of thousands of letters and emails to their members of Congress, and to, like Todd, not take ‘no’ for an answer, especially from hypocrites like Speaker Boehner, who maybe one of the capital’s most notorious tobacco addicts and consumer of hard liquor.
Last October at a fancy Washington restaurant in a section of town called ‘Barracks Row’, a week or so before his ascendency to the Speakership of the House, High Times’ associate publisher Rick Cusick and I watched Mr. Boehner (and five or six of his fellow Republican colleagues from the House, and one from the Senate) continuously leave their table–after rounds of shot glasses of hard liquor were consumed–to stand out in front of the establishment in a circle to smoke cigarettes. We witnessed this kind of excessive ‘drug’ consumption from Congressional leaders for over two hours.
Mr. Boehner, the son of a bar owner in Ohio, needs to get real and quick regarding losing his Reefer Madness about cannabis and to start treating cannabis consumers with the same respect and dignity that he wants afforded to him as a tobacco and alcohol consumer.
If not, then, based on his unscientific and non-sensible reply to his constituent in Ohio found below, the man should 1.) stop buying and consuming clearly deadly and dangerous drugs like hard booze and cigarettes and 2.) pass federal laws banning these unhealthy and unsafe products from people who’d be foolish enough to consume them.
NORML thanks ‘Todd’ from Ohio for being a stand up cannabis law reformer who is not keen to be governed by a hypocrite (who would have him consume drugs much, much less safe—and toxic—than cannabis. Just like him….).
Boehner writes below: “I am unalterably opposed to the legalization of marijuana or any other FDA Schedule I drug. I remain concerned that legalization will result in increased abuse of all varieties of drugs, including alcohol.”
Maybe the Speaker of the House is speaking for himself here as both thescience and my own personal experience is crystal clear here: When adults consume cannabis products they consume less—or no—alcohol products.
I, for one, have always publicly acknowledged that I consume far less alcohol (and don’t binge drink at all) if I have access to cannabis products.
Further, in the twenty years I’ve worked at NORML and convening dozens of major pro-reform conferences, fundraising parties and events I’ve watched bar managers, restaurant owners and hotel catering managers from coast-to-coast do major double and triple takes on our alcohol consumption bills, insisting that there must be some kind of billing error. When, in fact, if 500 cannabis consumers are attending a NORML soiree, we as a group consume 50%-75% less alcohol than similar size events.
At a large and famous San Francisco waterfront restaurant that hosted a NORML event a few years back, when I went into the manager’s office at the end of the night to settle the final bill and remit payment, he too was flabbergasted at the dearth of our large group’s alcohol consumption tab and wryly remarked to me: “No wonder ya’ll can’t get pot legalized, because, you’ll cut too deeply into the alcohol industry’s bottom line.”
The process to lobby your member of Congress is easy, free and necessary to finally—and once and for all—end Cannabis Prohibition in America.
Wed, Aug 24, 2011 at 1:19 PM, Congressman John Boehner wrote:
Thank you for contacting me regarding the legalization of marijuana. I appreciate hearing from you.
On June 23, 2011, Representative Barney Frank (D-MA) introduced H.R. 2306, the Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2011. H.R. 2306 would remove marijuana from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act to provide states with jurisdiction in the regulation of marijuana. H.R. 2306 has been referred to the House Committees on the Judiciary and Energy and Commerce for consideration.
According to the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), “research shows that marijuana use in its raw form is harmful and its average potency has tripled in the past 20 years.” ONDCP goes on to say that “studies also show teens are using the drug at earlier ages and the earlier a person begins to use drugs, the more likely they are to progress to more serious abuse and addiction.” In addition, the Department of Health and Human Services stated that “marijuana dependence in the U.S. population is higher than that for any other illicit drug and over 150,000 people who showed up voluntarily at treatment facilities in 2009 reported marijuana as their primary substance of abuse.”
As you know, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has classified marijuana, together with heroin, LSD, methamphetamines, hashish, and a number of other drugs as Schedule I drugs. According to the FDA, these drugs carry a high potential for dangerous abuse. To date, no clinical study of marijuana has progressed to the level required for approval by the FDA. Even more, the Department of Justice has reiterated its intent to enforce the Controlled Substances Act in states who have legalized marijuana for medicinal purposes.
I am unalterably opposed to the legalization of marijuana or any other FDA Schedule I drug. I remain concerned that legalization will result in increased abuse of all varieties of drugs, including alcohol.
Thank you again for contacting me with your thoughts. Please don’t hesitate to inform me of your concerns in the future. To sign up for email updates, I invite you to visit my website at http://johnboehner.house.gov.
John A. Boehner
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Dear John Boehner,
Wow thats a mouthful did someone write that for you. Your seriously trying to tell me that marijuana is as harmful as lsd, crack, methamphetamines, cocaine,legal sildenafil,merinol and other “chemicals” when marijuana is a plant which is nearly impossible to overdose. You sir are uninformed as are most of our “representatives”, who, are supposed to represent the interest of the people, but end up representing their own interests entirely. I would think that given our current economic crisis, it would be ideal to look objectively at every opportunity to decrease frivolous spending, and increase revenue. By legalizing and taxing marijuana on a federal level, the taxes alone are estimated at billions of dollars annually. Given the annual cost of the failed war on drugs and incarcerated nonviolent marijuana users, the annual savings plus revenue could reach in the hundreds of billions of dollarsNot to mention the tens of thousands of jobs legalizing marijuana would create. This is common sense knowledge and neither you nor the “F.D.A.” can tell me otherwise.
As for your statement ” I remain concerned that legalization will result in increased abuse of all varieties of drugs, including alcohol.” Please elaborate as I do not understand how the legalization and regulation of marijuana on a federal level, will result in increased abuse of other drugs and alcohol. Regulating marijuana will not only decrease it’s availability on the black market, but will also decrease its value, therefore being less available, and of less interest, to teens and other underage people.
On the subject of the Department of Health and Human Services statement that “marijuana dependence in the U.S. population is higher than that for any other illicit drug and over 150,000 people who showed up voluntarily at treatment facilities in 2009 reported marijuana as their primary substance of abuse.” What this statement does not tell you is that roughly 97% of these 150,000 people “voluntarily” showed up because they were given an ultimatum by the courts when found in possesion of marijuana, rather than face probation, or even worse, jail time.
How about the statement made by Francis Young, the D.E.A.s’ own judge, ”Marijuana in it’s natural form, is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man.” If marijuana is considered a schedule I narcotic with no medicinal benefits, why do we have Marinol, the synthetic form of T.H.C. (tetrahydrocannabinol), the main psycoactive substance found in marijuana?. And why is the “chemical” Marinol a schedule III drug, meaning it is considered to be non-narcotic and to have a low risk of physical or mental dependence, when it is another form of T.H.C.?. There has never been a documented human fatality from overdosing on tetrahydrocannabinol or cannabis in its natural form. However, the synthetic T.H.C. pill Marinol was cited by the FDA as being responsible for 4 of the 11,687 deaths from 17 different FDA approved drugs between January 1, 1997 to June 30, 2005.
I would appreciate a personal response from you, rather than one of your pre-writen responses. Thank you for your time.