Maher Urges Crowd at NORML Convention 

Maher Urges Crowd at NORML Convention 
Posted by CN Staff on May 03, 2002 at 16:26:23 PT
By Don Hazen, AlterNet
Source: AlterNet
Speaking at the annual NORML Convention at the downtown Crown Plaza Hotel in San Francisco, talk-show celebrity Bill Maher told an appreciative crowd that "the only way marijuana will be legalized is if it becomes a killer like cigarettes, alcohol, or incompetent doctors." Maher's point obviously is that unlike other legal substances, marijuana never killed. Although Maher was kidding about getting himself killed, he was dead serious on the topic of drug reform. He admonished the crowd to get practical and operate in the real world. 
"We're in a war," he said, "and it's not like the war on terrorism where you win just by putting a flag on your car." He reminded people that the world has changed and our methods must change with it: " We have to devise tactics to make people benefit or think they benefit from drug reform. We have to put a human face on this campaign. Long gone is the time when people did things because they are right," Maher suggested that votes and money are the only incentives likely to motivate policymakers and elected officials to change the laws. The overwhelming irrationality of a drug war that targets someone whose only crime is smoking a joint continues to astound many Americans, who disagree with the policy. But according to Maher, they remain a huge, mostly silent majority. Unfortunately, the toll of pot-smoking victims continues to mount. There are currently more than half a million people in American jails because of drug possession, most of them for pot-related offenses. In New York, the Guiliani Administration arrested 50,000 pot smokers annually -- a humongous 2500% increase from the period under the previous Dinkins administration when the annual total was around 2,000. All that would change if Bill Maher gets his way. The fiesty, whippet-like Maher is perhaps the most visible advocate of drug policy sanity, and pot decriminalization in the U.S. "We suffer from complacency…we ignore and or deny the people who are in jail," he said. "Those half a million (arrested) for drug possession -- if that were a disease it would be an epidemic. And these people aren't even foreigners, they are Americans who are in jail. We should be intolerant of this injustice," Maher railed. "I want to see more anger. We shouldn't have to crawl into alleyways to smoke a joint. It is the triumph of the few and the ignorant. I'm tired of being treated as a criminal and a second class citizen," he said. Maher offered some strategies for possible success: "We should pursue this as a case of equal protection. I'm not kidding. Equal protection -- there needs to be equal protection with the guy who drinks six scotches ... Maybe we need to call pot a religion -- the Catholics get away with fucking kids and no cop knocked on the door of the rectory, all because it's a religion." Maher's performance at NORML gave the audience some insights into why his endangered TV show Politically Incorrect is a lightening rod. The Masher hopes Maher will stay on the tube because his voice is truly unique in our political culture. Complete Title: Maher Urges Crowd at NORML Convention To Try and Kill Him Source: AlterNetAuthor: Don Hazen, AlterNetPublished: May 3, 2002Copyright: 2002 Independent Media InstituteContact: info Web Site: Articles & Web Sites:NORML Advocates Cheer on Hallinan Pictures from NORML Conference Guys Inhaled - San Francisco Examiner, Bill Maher at NORML Conference 
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Comment #8 posted by dddd on May 06, 2002 at 07:20:06 PT
Airtime for an infomercial
..yup,,you could buy a 30 minute national infomercial,(probably at 3:30 in the morning),for about 200 thousand dollars. 
 If it could be done,,,someone would have done it....I remember hearing about people having trouble even getting newspapers to print things that criticize the war on drugs...Perhaps someone out there knows more about national TV slots... I think that any such ads are forbidden by dark,obscure powers ,FCC,,etc.. ..After all,If they're taking books out of the Library of Congress that are about Cannabis and drugs,then they are not going to let NORML,or George Soros buy some national airtime to exspose the drug war sham-scam!....dddd
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Comment #7 posted by dddd on May 06, 2002 at 06:52:54 PT
..It would be great to run TV ads that portrayed,,
,the brutality,corruption,and wreckless waste of the war on drugs..but,,,I seriously doubt that money could buy national network TV time for an anti drug war commercial....I dont know for sure,but if there are people out there who can afford to make an infomercial for ab busters,,vitamins,and kitchen utensils,,it cant be all that expensive. Nope, I'm afraid such commercials that were critical of the war on drugs would not be allowed., no matter how much money you had,...I'm going to check into it,and do a bit of research... If the federal government can buy time for it's propaganda,,there should be no reason why a citizen should not be able to purchase the airtime to speak out,,,that is,unless the government somehow controls the networks!..?.dddd
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Comment #6 posted by Ethan Russo MD on May 06, 2002 at 06:33:59 PT:
Your idea is excellent. You should try to contact DPF, NORML and MPP to see if they would support it.
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Comment #5 posted by Tigress58 on May 04, 2002 at 08:21:31 PT
Maybe Someone Should Run TV Slots 
On the innocent victims of the drug war:1. Innocent children and other citizens killed during DEAth raids, especially those that were in the name of forieture and unsubtantiated tips, and how murder of the innocent is ruled justified homicide;2. Minor possessions charges that landed an otherwise law abiding citizen in prison with their property forfieted, and the effects of the conviction after release;3. Property confiscation and forfieture that took place without charges being levied in the name of probable cause;4. The effects on children that are ripped from their families for no other reason than MJ use, and the economic impact on tax payers - Child endanagerment? No child abuse involved, the parents just smoke MJ, hold jobs, and are otherwise NORML law abiding citizens;5. What law enforcement does with forfiture property and why;6. Slots on politicians that have been known to be past users, or are present users, and accountability;7. Effects of the drug war in 3rd world countries, and the question of why the US thinks she has the right to interfer in the governments of other countries and the violation of human rights, when our own constititution is requiring otherwise, and a focus on discrimination laws, etc.;8. The right of a person to choose their own medication and treatment, as opposed to physician or clinical treatment, i.e. herbal remedies, vitamin therapy, the right to remain comfortable and die with peace of mind, the right to live as you believe so long as you don't harm others;9. Comparison of the death statistics between MJ, alcohol, tobacco, and prescription drugs, etc.10. The true history of why MJ was criminalized, i.e. discrimination, alcohol prohibition, etc.;11. Effects and comparison of decriminalization in Netherlands and other countries, crime rate stats, economic impact of continuing the war -v- legalization;The point is to undermine the lies that the government touts and expose the war for what it really is.
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Comment #4 posted by BGreen on May 04, 2002 at 05:33:08 PT
Maher ruffles feathers
I called the local ABC program director about the change in the PI timeslot, and he said the phones rang for three weeks after Maher said 'retarded people are like animals.'I didn't hear Maher say this, but it sounds like something he might say, trying to be funny like the comedian he is, but his improv is sometimes more distasteful than funny.
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Comment #3 posted by dddd on May 04, 2002 at 01:21:22 PT
Good points DanB
...But I gotta say,,that I totally agree with Bounce to the Ounce.......Bill Maher used to be alot more real when the show first started,,and he still has alot of good points,,,but I think he has become a pompous shithead in the last few years...especially after he got threatened by the corporate sponsors of ABC/Disney.......dddd
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Comment #2 posted by Dan B on May 04, 2002 at 01:06:18 PT:
We Are A Heterogeneous Movement
Reform of drug policy is an issue that crosses all political barriers. There are Republicans who believe in legalizing and regulating, and there are democrats who believe the same. Maher happens to be a Libertarian (and quite openly so). That means he is basically a Republican when it comes to fiscal issues and matters of foreign policy, but he also believes in personal freedom and the right of the individual to hold soveriegn power over his or her body. Frankly, I disagree with many of his beliefs on other matters too, but I agree with him on drug policy reform, so I count him as "one of us." We must not be a movement that is exclusive to opposing opinions on other matters. Our goal should be to build a network of support that is as politically diverse as possible. So, if a Democrats favors changing drug policies for the better, that should be seen as a great thing. Same thing if a Republican does, or (as is the case with Bill Maher) if a Libertarian does. And even if some war hawks favor ending the drug war, we should welcome them to vote their consciences on this matter.Of course, it is always okay to express disagreement, and I respect that right. I just wanted to make it known that however I feel about Bill Maher's stance on certain other issues, I respect that he has always had the guts to stand up for legalizing cannabis and ending the drug war. We need as many voices as possible in our favor, and I am glad that he has consistently been one of those very strong voices.Dan B
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Comment #1 posted by Bounce to the Ounce on May 03, 2002 at 17:43:43 PT
Bill Maher is obviously correct about legalization
but I have to say that he acts like a real pompous asshole when it comes to other subjects. Like a left wing Rush Limbaugh.
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