Governor Defends Drug Legalization

Governor Defends Drug Legalization
Posted by FoM on April 08, 2002 at 09:08:52 PT
By Michael A. Cupuano, Contributing Writer 
Source: Harvard Crimson 
The United States should scrap its war on drugs, legalize marijuana and radically change the way it handles drug offenders, outspoken Gov. Gary E. Johnson (R-N.M.) said in a speech this weekend. “The war on drugs is an absolute, miserable failure,” he said. Discussing national drug reform policy before a standing-room-only crowd in Sever Hall on Saturday, Johnson said drugs like marijuana should be treated just like tobacco or alcohol. 
If drugs were legalized—and then taxed and regulated by the federal government—fatalities due to drug abuse would decrease, he said, much as drinking-related deaths fell after the repeal of Prohibition in the 1930s. “Overdose is killing us because of prohibition,” he said. “It is prohibition that is increasing death, disease and crime.” It should always be illegal to sell drugs to children and commit crimes while under the influence of controlled substances. But Johnson said he does not believe the government should regulate citizens’ private behavior, including whether they do drugs in their own homes. At age 49, Johnson participates in an endurance competition called the Ironman and said he plans to run the Boston Marathon this year. And as an athlete, he said, he does not advise the use of marijuana—or even other substances like alcohol and coffee. “My message to my own children is, don’t do drugs,” he said. “But also, don’t drink. Don’t do sugar. Don’t do Coca-Cola.” But he said he still supports decriminalization of marijuana. Even without messages advocating the use of marijuana, he said, about 800 million Americans would experiment with the drug during his lifetime. He said laws and enforcement techniques discriminate against minority groups. Every year about 800,000 people are arrested on marijuana charges—half of them Hispanic, he said. If drugs were legalized, formal government regulation would eliminate the chance that heroin or cocaine are laced with more dangerous chemicals, he added. He also lambasted a Department of Education policy that allows college students who have been convicted of violent crimes to reapply for federal aid but not those convicted on drug violations. An amendment to this policy that would allow convicted drug offenders to reapply is currently under consideration in the House of Representatives, sponsored by Rep. Barney Frank ’61-’62 (D-Mass.). Johnson criticized mandatory sentencing laws for drug offenses, saying a bill he signed in New Mexico giving judges control over sentencing could serve as a model for drug policy reform. Other measures from his state could contribute to larger reforms, Johnson said, such as syringe exchange laws, which could cut down on the spread of disease among intravenous drug users. Johnson was joined in his attacks on current drug policies by Lester Grinspoon, associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School. “The war on drugs is a colossal failure, but it gallops on nonetheless,” Grinspoon said. Grinspoon spoke in defense of marijuana’s soothing properties when used on a medical prescription. He said protease inhibitors, drugs that help combat AIDS, cause extreme nausea—and taking marijuana eliminates this side-effect and allows people afflicted with the disease to eat without discomfort. But marijuana currently cannot be tested for medicinal purposes since it falls on the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Schedule 1 list—for drugs that are considered to have no medical use. Testing can only begin if it is moved onto the FDA’s Schedule 2, a classification for drugs that the agency believes might have medicinal value. But since the cost of testing a drug could be as high as $800 million, Grinspoon said he did not think many drug companies would pay for the necessary tests. Marijuana is a plant—and therefore cannot be patented—so companies would be unlikely to help recoup their testing expenses, he said. The forum was sponsored by The Harvard Coalition for Drug Policy Reform and the Institute of Politics. Source: Harvard Crimson (MA Edu)Author: Michael A. Cupuano, Contributing Writer Published: Monday, April 08, 2002Copyright: 2002 The Harvard Crimson, Inc.Contact: letters thecrimson.comWebsite: Articles & Web Site:Marijuana The Forbidden Medicine Reconsidered Hints That Drug Reform Will Be His Career Nixon Tapes Show Why US Outlawed Pot
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Comment #4 posted by Nuevo Mexican on April 09, 2002 at 00:48:39 PT
Johnson Rocks, and bushie too....well...
Sharon ignores pretzel boys wining: stop it now, please, oh, c'mon...I said pull out! 
Meanwhile the west sits around while hundreds are massacred in Palestinian refugee camps, women and children and the elderly strapped to tanks and forced to act as human shields for the Israeli goon squads. I am not anti-israeli, only anti Israeli government, and anti U.S. government. not anti-American. Let me make that clear. But in no way can I sit back and let anyone get away with mass murder, if I can do anything to help stop it. The suicide bombings are the reaction to hopelessness and years of butcher sharons' getting away with the murder of thousands in refugee camps years ago. There is no justification for violence of any kind, and the state santionced genocide of Hitlerian proportions is what we all fear taking place in America....well it is happening right now! Read these reports from Palestine and tell me this is made up. Wait a month for all the gruesome details and all American will vomit from knowing our tax dollarts support this madman to the tune of 3 billion a year! Does anyone care? Or are we so numb to our fellow man as 'mericans'(as jr. would say) that we don't even speak out when atrocities are taking place. I referring to the majority of Americans, not C-News readers. I would help if everyone contacted their Senators and expressed there outrage. Here are some reports from Jerusalem
Please ignore the anti-semitic post as Cointelpro is all over Indymedia these days, who knows, Joyce is probably Cointelpro too!
Some must reads:
We need to get cannabis to these people for their medical crises, any suggestions? Medics in Nam would have soldiers smoke a joint first thing, as it helped immediately! 
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Comment #3 posted by PAUL PETERSON on April 08, 2002 at 11:18:55 PT:
Great Article, Great Speakers, Great Message
These two men mean a great deal to the future of freedoms in America. Lester Grinspoon has been, for 30 years, a beacon of light and of reason, where he mostly walked alone through all of these dark years. He has weathered the worst, and remained a staunch supporter. 50 million people in this country, on the other hand, have mostly hidden in their homes, also alone, in silence, in fear, with these stazi-nazi drug police peddling fear onto their very doorsteps. Today, as we meet the new century, we see hope that more voices come forward each year, each month, each week, each day, and this very forum is an important meeting place. In fact, the more people that come forward Like Les Grinspoon (for 30 years now!) and Gary Johnson (for 10 years now?) the safer it is for others to come forward, and this trend must and is and will continue! The very groundfires that have been set all over the west coast (thanks to people like Gary Johnson) and the east coast (thanks to people like Les Grinspoon), and the two most important English speaking nations of the world (England & Canada) can not help to "burn" hotter and hotter, especially where those despotic knee-jerk repressive-oppressive guys in our own government (no names-I can think easily of three or four in that gang of three or four) that like to use religion to foist jail upon people that might rather stay with their families in peace, continue to rhetoric louder and louder.Just take solace that in the Calfornia primaries, some 8 guys that bantered rhetoric were ousted handily, even in the wake of the rancous clang of the gong of the gang of three or four! Just take solace that in the very town of the clang of the gong of the gang of three or four, a federal district court judge stood for justice, for FREEDOM OF SPEECH, in the very same town of the gang of nine, that even now crafts an agenda to snuff that very same fire of freedom.Just also take solace, that although one of the gang of three or four, even misspoke about a law that has been misspelled, and misapplied, and rattled his very saber to bewitch the state legislature of the very state that ceded control of the very land grant for the very place that the very town exists where the gang of three or four now lives and breaths, to pivotally affect the duly ordained and mandated political process of a sovereign state still, by his thus unwarranted bantering, even to where he may have broken the and some law, or so malapplied the laws of this land thence, he may by so doing actually spelled his own doom, from what source or venue I know not now, or yet.This truly is a great time, for a great nation, for a great people, and once again, I commend the strong efforts of both of these men, that should have already set an example for all of us, and each of us, and we all should take up this gauntlet and carry forth hence with greater vigor, direct, and forceful aplenty from the strength of the call posted thus, eh? Thank you again both of you for your inspiration over time.
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Comment #2 posted by greenfox on April 08, 2002 at 11:12:18 PT
Here is the key to cannabis prohibition:
Marijuana is a plant—and therefore cannot be patented—so companies would be unlikely to help recoup their testing expenses, he said.There it is, folks. That is "*THE*" reason for marijuana prohibition. Look no further, there it is. In black and white, plain as the morning sky and the setting sun. sly in green, and...oh fuck it.. you know the rest...-gf
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Comment #1 posted by Craiggoth on April 08, 2002 at 10:28:33 PT
Its about time that our poor, zero-drug tolerated americans had somebody sticking up for them! Go Gary!
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