• Congressman Garrett (VA-R)

  • Gov. Chris Christy (NJ-R)

  • Colorado 2012

  • California Field Work, Prop 19

Stories from the week of January 7, 2011

COPs on the Hill

End game coming:  This Wednesday I arranged* a meeting with Congressman Polis’ office (D-CO) which ended up including reps all DC based organization which want to repeal federal prohibition of marijuana. (MPP, SSDP, DPA, NORML and COPs).  After 30 minutes with the primary aide on this issue, the Congressman came in for the last 20 minutes.  More happened here which I can not disclose.*

Early this session it will happen(late this month, early Feb.) &  I will let you know immediately when the US House has a bill to repeal fed MJ prohibition.  Also, I will take that bill to the 6 (six) Senate offices whose aides have said they will bring it to their boss for a possible companion bill in the Senate.  I am encouraged that so many Senate offices will even consider this… and I am just getting started on the Senate side.   Recall I work the Senate from December to March & the House the rest of the year.

Keep in mind = don’t get too excited >> from introduction to the President signing a bill nearly always takes a number of years.   On the other hand, this type of bill, when signed by the President, will shift the battle to the States – where it belongs.   And we will go home to Texas.

*in the past I would NOT toot my horn about what I did but now that I have raise $$, with reluctance, I will start doing this.

Homework done and turned in:  This week I gave 3 briefing papers (1. How youth are harmed by MJ prohibition. 2) How prohibition hurts business. 3) How prohibition hurts America in general) to the legislative aide of a New England Senator I mentioned before the New Year.  Main paper on MJ is at the bottom  (8 minute read).  Many thanks to Eric Sterling, Jerry Epstein, Paul Armentano, Steve Fox and Dr. Mitch Earlywine for their review and many edits which made this effort shine like a new penny, IMHO.

I will let you know if the aide passed it on the prohibitionist Senator.

*disclose – teilen

A star is born:  A staffer I did not know stopped me in the Longworth café this week, saying he had seen my foto in Reason magazine (February edition).  Ah shucks.  Here is the foto by the way which was spread over two entire pages.  The foto is so large, you can read the buckle: LONG RIDER

COPs 2nd year stats to date:

TV appearances: 12 (ABC, CBS, NBC and FOX, cable) 

Newspaper stories: 6 dailes, 3 weeklies

Radio appearances: 6

Published LTE: 6 (one this week)

37 presentations to Congressional staffers: one this week

2 VIP (Member of Congress) presentations: one this week  

Consider being a member of COPs at $30.00 or more per year.    Add your voice to those who agree that Modern Prohibition/War on Drugs is the most destructive, dysfunctional and immoral policy since slavery & Jim Crow.  Go to: www.CitizensOpposingProhibition.org and click on Donate/Join – by credit card or check.


Harm to Youth Due to Marijuana Prohibition

SUMMARY:   Although the intent of marijuana prohibition was to limit the ability of youth to buy it, this result has not been achieved, quite the contrary.   Since 1975 teens in government surveys report that marijuana is readily available and easier to obtain than alcohol.    Teen use has recently overtaken their consumption of tobacco.  The strength of marijuana has increased.    By these metrics, prohibition has been at best a failure and perhaps made the situation worse.

As law enforcement has increased its marijuana arrests (new record number of arrests for simple possession in 2009), the result has been more teens have suffered and died than need be.   Detectives assigned to marijuana enforcement arrest no pedophiles and those possessing child porn.   Road officers have caught fewer deadly DUIs, due to more and more time spent searching cars for marijuana.    Teens have been murdered after they took the job option of selling marijuana.  College tuition has risen dramatically in the past twenty (20) years, as tax money was diverted to increase prison populations due in part to marijuana prohibition.  Those teens unlucky enough to have been caught are burdened by a life-long, drug-related criminal record which restricts their ability to get a job, a student loan, a license, a credit card etc. 

 Personal Safety.   Child cyber pornography continues to be a serious threat to little boys and girls in America.  Per Senator Biden’s hearing in April of 2008, law enforcement so under-resources this problem that only 2% (12,000) of these criminals were caught in 2008.   Per recent news, that figure is now 4% per year are caught.   At the end of 2008 about 190,000 little boys and girls were still in the home of a sexually abusive parent or guardian.   This while the police arrested 800,000 for marijuana crimes, mostly possession. 

Many teens are subjected to random drug tests to play sports, etc.   They all know that consuming alcohol or even meth and cocaine on Friday night will allow them a ‘clean’ urine on Monday morning.  Marijuana, since it is fat soluble, will show up on a urine test on Monday.   Thus, many teens choose the much more dangerous alcohol over the use of marijuana. 

Prohibition creates tens of thousands of part and full-time jobs for teens to sell pot.   No legal job available to teens is as easy to obtain or as rewarding.   Teens sell pot for profit and or to be popular with their peer group.  This can end up with them having a criminal record, in prison or dead.   Although not broken down by drug, SAMHSA reported in 2005 that 900,000 teens were selling prohibited drugs. 

The vast majority of teens who are getting high or “partying” choose between alcohol and marijuana. Marijuana use is actually safer than alcohol for the user, those nearby and the community. Consumption does not provoke aggressive or violent behavior. On average, those teens who use marijuana in place of alcohol have better health outcomes: no overdose deaths from marijuana; far fewer homicides, suicides, rapes, assaults, car crashes, and other problems caused by drinking & not by marijuana.    We need to make unwanted but inevitable experimentation less risky.

Marijuana use does NOT increase use of harder drugs. The last federal study concluded that marijuana was the “terminus” illegal drug for 72 percent of users.    The most recent research in 1999 done by the Institute of Medicine (division of the National Institute of Health) concluded, “There is no evidence that marijuana serves as a stepping stone [to other drugs] on the basis of its particular physiological effect.”     96% of marijuana smokers never try heroin.  One of prohibition’s greatest dangers is having a teen meet a drug dealer to buy marijuana and be offered a low cost or free sample of drugs like heroin.   Or, the dealer puts meth or heroin into the marijuana to hook the teen on the much more dangerous and expensive drug.  This does happen.

NOTE:  If marijuana were legal for adults, teens would buy it from older siblings or other adults, much like alcohol reaches teens.   This would continue to be against the law, similar to an adult can not furnish alcohol to a minor.  The advantage of legal, regulated and taxed marijuana is the adult would provide the teen pure marijuana inspected by the government.   The older sibling would not offer the teen other drugs for sale, certainly no free or low cost samples of hard drugs.

Also, the consumption of alcohol causes the death of more teens than all other drugs combined.    If marijuana were legal for adults, educators could put the proper focus on what is by far the biggest drug threat to teens – alcohol.

Minority youth are severely impacted:  Studies show these groups use at about same rate, but youth of color are stopped, searched and arrested at rates as high as four times the white rate. Former police chiefs – George Napper of Atlanta, Anthony Bouza of Minneapolis and Norman Stamper of Seattle – have criticized this outrageous feature of marijuana enforcement.

 Prohibition causes disrespect for all laws.  Teens see the hypocrisy of marijuana being illegal, while cigarettes, alcohol, Oxycodone, Valium & Prozac are legal.  Young adults who have their cars or persons illegally searched by over-zealous police become bitter and don’t respect the law.   The long-term damage to our society of developing contempt for law and authority at an early age is hard to measure, but evolves into lack of respect for government and the Congress, and admiration for outlaws.

Educational costs.    Tuition costs at colleges are much higher, as states fund narcotics units and then build more prisons to hold those they arrest.  Thus fewer young people can attend or they are burdened with huge debts upon graduation.   Many students now graduate with the equivalent of a home mortgage.  

The best studies have shown that the criminal justice system in 2009 spent about 12 billion to enforce marijuana prohibition and about 6 billion in taxes was not collected from its sale.  This money was unavailable for pressing public purposes of all kinds. The money is truly lost in the sense that its expenditure fails to accomplish any worthwhile public purpose.

Long term consequences:   President Jimmy Carter told Congress in 1977, “Penalties against drug use should not be more damaging to an individual than the use of the drug itself.   Nowhere is this clearer than in the laws against the possession of marijuana in private for personal use.”  This ball and chain follows the young person all the way thru life, decreasing their ability to obtain good employment and wages.  When Michael Phelps the swimmer was arrested as a drunk driver, that crime was no problem for Kellogg.  However, his smoking cannabis lost him a million dollar contract. 

Has marijuana prohibition protected our teens from using it?   No.  Those who support prohibition have testified that marijuana would become easier for teens to buy, if legal for adults.   The federal government reports that marijuana “is readily available to America’s youth.”   How could it become easier to obtain than “readily available?”

Would more teens try it, if it were legal for adults i.e. send the wrong message?  No.  Medical doctors –board certified in addiction psychology –  have stated that at least as many teens try marijuana because of the glamour and excitement factors created by its prohibition, as are deterred by it being illegal for everyone.   

Respectfully submitted, 

Detective Officer Howard Wooldridge (retired)

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