Lawrence O’Donnell on legalization

An outstanding rant on marijuana legalization and the latest Gallup poll by Lawrence O’Donnell on MSNBC.

You have to sit through a commercial and MSNBC’s slow loading, but I think it’s worth it.

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56 Responses to Lawrence O’Donnell on legalization

  1. kaptinemo says:

    Damn, beat me to it! 🙂

  2. kaptinemo says:

    Finally, finally all that tweaking the noses of the self-described cognoscenti about their hypocritical silence on cannabis reform has paid off. Now, if we can just get more pundits to state the painfully obvious…

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  4. Stoner J says:

    Outstanding! We will continue to progress and someday (hopefully while I’m still alive), we’ll be able to legally enjoy a toke on our front porch without threat of interference or arrest.

  5. claygooding says:

    I can’t beleive this,,MSNBC calling for legalization by breaking out the shame card,after 40 years of laughing at,puns at every newscast about pot and they are one of the reasons the shame has lasted so long.

    • Jules says:

      I can believe this no problem. Media is amoralistic. They neither support nor appose things based on right and wrong, they do it using a cost benefit analysis based on public support. Steve Jobs once said when he was young he believed the media was trying to brain wash people but as he aged he realized the media is merely giving people what they want, providing goods and services they know will be consumed. Why support something when it might offend the majority of your viewers? Now that the tipping point is within sight there is no fear of losing consumers because those who are and will be purchasing their media in the future are on board with cannabis legalization. So the smart thing to do is jump on board a wagon you know is racing to the finish line. Makes perfect sense.

    • kaptinemo says:

      Don’t celebrate too soon. The titter factor is still alive and well.

      What has to happen is that more of this reverse-tittering has to take place, where the prohibs are (deservedly!) mocked at every turn. No more free rides, no more of the media types not pursuing hard questions and not challenging prohib lies, no more allowing the prohib to sit safe and snug in some studio while a reformer is sitting in another; face-to-face and toe-to-toe and speaking-truth-to-power is needed now.

      O’Donnell’s fired the first shot across the bow in a very meaningful way. But prohibs, being a dim and arrogant lot, rarely can get the message right off the bat. More ammo will be needed.

      • allan says:

        Don’t celebrate too soon. The titter factor is still alive and well.

        Indeed… in fact in last night’s NBC Evening News, Brian Williams ended his bit on the 50% polling number (and yes I was surprised to see that on MSM national evening news) with the glib “support is at an all time high.”

        I’m considering starting an organization – the Cannabist Boycott Intitiative – that would focus on rallying behind supporting businesses and calling for international, national and local boycotts of those Prohibition supporting businesses. CBI could target… oh… say, Papa John’s for protest one weekend…

        While I’m only spoofing (I just like the idea of being able to approach a business and say “we’re from CBI”) I am also serious. Supporting a boycott can be done from the comfort of the couch, it would hardly even require putting down the Cheetos for a second or 10 – and the doing of boycotting just means NOT buying something and maybe going so far (if one desired) to tell the business they are being boycotted w/ an email or phone call.

        I’m sure most Papa John’s have a public sidewalk close by… (if there is a Papa John’s in Turlock, CA a protest might even draw Linda out for some more YouTube footage with which to scare our children. It worked with my kids… “omg dad, who IS that?”. I’m sure any Papa John’s would welcome Linda’s eloquent public support with open arms).

        And here’s a kinda off topic (but not) question… if it is shocking that some 40,000 people have died in the last few years in Mexico from Drug War violence why isn’t the farmers’ suicide wave in India (250,000 over the last 10 – 15 years) shocking anyone? Or the thousands of starving? You all do realize that when legalization arrives, the real work has hardly just begun? That there will be/should be little resting on laurels…

        • claygooding says:

          Allan,,we have years of work ahead of us getting rid of all the laws put in place just for the war on some drugs,because LEO’s and prosecutors hate to turn a bad law loose.

      • Jules says:

        That is the beauty of the tipping point in any system though. Everything that you said must happen we will be seeing unfold soon. Once a simple majority has been reached in a system that is guided by a bell curve the downward slope becomes not only inevitable but accelerated. This is due to the fact that two or more primary variables have a direct correlation forcing each other further and further down the slope. The reform of alcohol prohibition is the perfect example, the difference between the amount of time it took to build up national support against it compared to the amount of time it took that support to actually repeal it shows exactly what I mean. Cannabis prohibition will be the same. Because as much as it seems like the entire government is conspiring to keep cannabis illegal, that is not true. There is a small group of individuals who benefit from the status quo regarding prohibition and supporting that group is a much larger group that only benefits from the status quo because it is largely popular. The larger group benefits not from prohibition but from appeasing the people in order to keep themselves in a position that alots them access to money and power. When it is no longer largely popular the larger group shifts away from the status quo and follows the majority. They shift not because there is no money to be made in prohibition but because it is better to ensure election and get less initial money and power with the possibility to build up to more in new ways then it is to risk losing election in the hopes of more money and power at the start. If they cannot change your mind and they require you to get what they want they follow you in a manor that seems like they are leading you. When one stops to realize that the two republican candidates who have been leading the polls are able to do so while openly supporting a state’s right to legalize marijuana this point becomes glaringly obvious.

        The unfortunate truth though is that on the much larger bell curve of full drug prohibition reform the reform of cannabis is only another step towards the apex of that curve. So in regards to full drug law reform there are still many hard battles that will need to be won. Even worse is that we will see the same thing that happened after the repeal of alcohol prohibition after the repeal of cannabis prohibition. Those who benefit from prohibition will jump onto another substance or multiples and dig their claws in even deeper in the hopes of a new permanent home. Which means another battle starts after this one ends. And I for one welcome that battle with open arms.

        Keep up all the good work people!

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  7. darkcycle says:

    Really…a surprise from MSNBC. They have been no friend of the legalization movement.

  8. Ben says:

    WOW, that’s good! Now, let’s hear it from Maddow!

  9. Servetus says:

    Now that pro-legalization has hit the magic 50th-percentile, talking heads can feel safe they are promoting the majority view. Any political moves involving genuine intestinal fortitude and a real action plan will still have to come from reformers.

  10. Dante says:

    Cap’n wrote:
    “No more free rides, no more of the media types not pursuing hard questions and not challenging prohib lies”

    Oh, if only. I honestly believe most media types know that prohibition is the problem but for some reason they continue to parrot the LE line – Drugs r bad, mmm-k?

    The reason is money. The media, like most industries, is entirely populated by selfish, money-grubbing whores (no offense). When they make more money telling our version of the story (rather than the DEA’s version) the media types will become anti-prohibitionists.

    Well-paid anti-prohibitionists, at that.

    • Benjamin says:

      “The reason is money. The media, like most industries, is entirely populated by selfish, money-grubbing whores (no offense).”

      I actually think the money is what going to bring us more and more progress. Some people were a little dismayed at Gary Johnson’s wording when he said pot smokers may be the largest untapped voting bloc, since not all anti-prohibitionists smoke weed, but he’s basically got the right idea. Untapped voting blocs are like deposits of fine minerals waiting to be put to use. It’s only a matter of time before somebody comes along and decides to mine it for profit.

  11. pfroehlich2004 says:

    That was the sound of a sledgehammer connecting with a wall. So good I had to watch it twice!

  12. Jim Gillam says:

    Outstanding! Lawrence, your words ring so true and you are right on point with millions of Americans! Thank you for telling it like it is!

    Your new fan,

    Jim Gillam

  13. vickyvampire says:

    Yeah WOW I usually can not stand Laurence O’Donnell do not agree with him on much but bravo sir.

  14. claygooding says:

    The sympathy card,delivered in the form that O’Donnell did it with undeniable truths,will require some kind of response from the ONDCP,,can anyone see what color the smoke is coming from the fires,,and has anyone ordered Papa Johns pizza over there yet?

    • kaptinemo says:

      Given what O’Donnell said about the intelligence level of those who continue to favor prohibition in the face of its’ proven failure, an ONDCP response is going to have to be pretty agile and combative…and they lost their best propagandist (Sabet) a while ago.

      Oh, to be a fly on the wall in one of their offices right now. The gauntlet they have always feared has been thrown down. A popular media figure is calling them out, saying publicly their entire raison d’etre is invalid. It’s now raise or call, and they have nothing to bluff with.

  15. vickyvampire says:

    Laurence should next report on this it cost more to eradicate and fight the war against poppies in Afghanistan than if US just purchased their whole crop for the year.WOW.

    • Duncan20903 says:

      The problem with that idea is that Afghanistan is not the only place on the planet where opium can be farmed. If the US were to buy their crop or pay them to not grow it, supply will still rise to meet demand. That’s a law you just can’t break, like the law of gravity. I think it would be appropriate to start calling this phenomenon The Whac-a-Mole Law of Prohibition.

      • allan says:

        Arianna Huffington in 2000, Arizona Daily Star:

        It’s as if we’ve learned nothing from the military lessons of the past. Or from the drug-war failures so far. As Kevin Zeese of Common Sense for Drug Policy points out: “No eradication or interdiction program in the past 35 years has had any serious impact on the supply of illegal drugs in the U.S.”

        When we shut down marijuana imports in the ’80s, the traffickers simply shifted to cocaine. And when we put the clamps on Peruvian coke in the early ’90s, the cartels just moved their base of operation to Colombia. It’s what Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, has called a “whack-a-mole” policy — alluding to the game in which you hammer a mole down in one hole and it pops up in another.

        Arianna used it again the next day in another 2000 Oped (Newark Morning Ledger), it was used in a review of Traffic and Jonah Goldberg (National Review editor) used it in a NR Oped 2001.

        It is one of the best examples of the way the drug war works, easily visualized and recognizable as a game never to be won.

        It disappointed me to find I never used it in any of my LTEs or Opeds. I’ll havta fix that.

        And I guess I’m gonna havta go visit somebody w/ a HS connection soz I can check this out.

      • AeronwyRemembers says:

        “The Whac-a-Mole Law of Prohibition.”

  16. darkcycle says:

    Hey Divadab….wha happen? I was at the “Woods” today and I think I set a new record for Bellingham…A whole hour without seeing a tall bearded guy in Cargo pants. (this is B’ham, that description matches 35% of the population!)
    ‘Nuther time?

  17. Mike says:

    Keep speaking the truth brother.

  18. Scott says:

    As one commenter above rightfully pointed out, the mainstream media generally feeds the public what they want to eat information-wise (even if extremely biased), while deceiving the public into believing their reporting is unbiased and complete.

    It is that deception that has seriously hurt society, and will continue to do so until the next generation of journalists can purify their service in a way the public appreciates (create a better service for a better audience — an increasingly healthier synergy).

    The blogosphere has demonstrated that lying simply will not be tolerated, and I believe it is a major reason for the boost in support for cannabis’ legality.

    What is clear in the continued 0% public servant support is there are powerful forces at work, perhaps sending public servants threats against their health, if they vote to repeal Cannabis Prohibition. Such heavy corruption is the only thing that makes sense. For example, what else could possibly take a presidential candidate who stated the war on drugs is an “utter failure” to the presidential position that increases support for that war?

    The enemy is obviously very strong, but they will never survive the power of the public majority against them (as history has repeatedly shown).

    When the mainstream media starts seriously challenging prohibitionist credibility, the horrible realization that the “good guys” for decades have engaged in evil, selfish acts will hopefully create more influence to discourage people from condoning legally defining risk.

    Education (enhanced by entertainment), not coercion, is the only option when it comes to reducing risk in a nation in which liberty is defined as an unalienable right.

  19. Duncan20903 says:

    A rising star of the Know Nothing prohibitionist brigade is Dennis Romero:

    That article is surprisingly free of hysterical rhetoric. Don’t be fooled. Mr. Romero is a foaming at the mouth Know Nothing.

    He does respond to comments made under his stories.

  20. Francis says:

    I love the references to “getting high” on alcohol. I was just thinking about the ways in which the prohibs attempt to rhetorically separate “drugs” and “alcohol” (in order to make the hypocrisy of the whole enterprise less glaring). Of course, the most obvious example is found in the very use of the terms “drugs” and “alcohol.” “Drugs” is almost always used to mean drugs other than alcohol, which is generally referred to separately. (The phrase “drugs and alcohol” is the linguistic equivalent of “dogs and labrador retrievers.”) Alcohol gets you “drunk.” All other drugs get you “high.” The buddy who sells you your weed is a “drug dealer.” The girl who sells you your booze is a “cashier.” People “use” drugs. People “drink,” “consume,” or “enjoy” alcohol. Any others come to mind?

  21. claygooding says:

    Happy hour,,where you too get the chance to talk to Ralph for half price , he lives in the porcelain throne.

  22. Duncan20903 says:

    Could we please try to get over our hatred of the Republican Party? We have enough people in our cohort to secure the Republican nomination for Gary Johnson.

    Can’t cats voluntarily herd for something demonstrably to their benefit?

    Now here’s a class act. No petrified stupid stoner jokes but there is one very clever acknowledgment in a style any extremely passive aggressive person would admire. See if you can spot it. First person to do so gets 12 bonus brownie points.

    GOP Presidential Candidate Gary Johnson Would Consider Full Pardon For Marijuana Offenders

    By Alex Seitz-Wald on Oct 19, 2011 at 4:20 pm

    GOP presidential candidate Gary Johnson told reporters today that he would consider issue “a full presidential pardon” for every non-violent marijuana convicted under current drug laws if elected. Asked by blogger Darren Richardson if he would consider such a move, the libertarian former governor of New Mexico — who called himself “part of the marijuana movement, forever” and has acknowledged using marijuana — said he would, comparing the prohibition on marijuana the prohibition of alcohol:

    JOHNSON: Yes. … After prohibition of alcohol was repealed, one of the untold stories was of all the pardons that went out to all those people who had been convicted or were serving jail sentences for trading in alcohol. I think that same phenomenon accompanies legalizing marijuana and what I call rational drug policy, which starts with looking at the drug problem or the drug issue first as a health issue rather a criminal justice issue.

    • darkcycle says:

      Would be lovely, wouldn’t it?
      But lets be fair, at this point I hate the D’s MORE than the R’s. After all, the D’s lied to me and sold me out. The R’s, they sold me out, but at least they were straight up that that was their plan.
      We were drowning, Obama promised us all life preservers, then tossed out a big bag of anvils.

    • claygooding says:

      It matters not who the president is,until we remove the bought and paid for legislators in our congress,there will be no change. Congress has to pass reform before any president can sign it.

      No incumbents,ever again,until we get our congress back.
      Throw the good out with the bad,get the message across that there will be no more “good ol boys” cliques and require every candidate we elect to sign an agreement with the voters to put term limits on their offices.

      It is time to flush DC out and run a roto rooter through it.

  23. Francis says:

    I gotta say I’m feeling pretty darn optimistic right now about the prospects for cannabis legalization in the near future. If the “tipping point” hasn’t been reached yet, it certainly feels extremely close. Take another look at the graph of that Gallup poll that goes back to 1969. As recently as the mid-nineties, only a quarter of the U.S. population said they thought marijuana should be legal versus 73 percent opposed. That’s an absolutely amazing swing in opinion in only 15 years. And the pace of change actually appears to have accelerated in the past few years. Humans are herd animals. There are many people whose opposition to legalization stems from the simple desire to stay with the herd. As opinion continues to shift and that shift continues to be recognized, more and more of those people will wake up to the fact that the herd has moved — and move right along with it. We all know that the prohibs can’t win a debate on the issue. One only needs to read the comments on any random marijuana-related article to see that. For years, their entire strategy has been to avoid a debate by dismissing calls for reform as “childish” / “fringe” / “self-evidently absurd.” That’s not working anymore.

    • Duncan20903 says:

      Francis, haven’t you heard the theory that the reason that support for re-legalization has skyrocketed in large part because of the advent of the Internet, allowing us to communicate and compare notes with one another as well as promote our ability to immediately counter the bald faced lies, half truths and hysterical rhetoric of the Know Nothing prohibitionists with facts, logic, and civilized discussion? Yes, yes, correlation does not necessarily indicate causation but causation will cause correlation pretty much 100% of the time. It really is nice to argue with the truth being our number 1 friend.

      • darkcycle says:

        “Yes, yes, correlation does not necessarily indicate causation but causation will cause correlation pretty much 100% of the time.”
        Duncan, you don’t mind if I use that do you? (and as long as we’re comparing notes, is it yours, may I quote you? 😉 )

      • Francis says:

        Yep, I’ve heard that theory and I think it’s spot-on. It certainly tracks my own experience. I first got interested in reform after reading (more or less on a lark) “Marijuana is Safer: So Why Are We Driving People To Drink?” (Saw a review of it online and then downloaded the e-book — thanks Internet!) I got even more interested in the issue after stumbling across this blog.

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  25. Ed Dunkle says:

    As soon as 70% of the american public favors legalization, Obama will have the guts to change it to Schedule II drug.

  26. Chris says:

    I wish I could say I was still watching the evening news with my parents and we all just had spirited discussion about the events on the news. We never did that anyway, but I’m sitting here today watching this online. Of course, I have my bong in one hand (because it’s harmless, I’m told) so none of this is out of the ordinary or shocking to me. I started coming to this site right at the tipping point, and from my limited experience it looks downhill from here. High thought: Obama is trying to bring this issue to head by agitating the medical marijuana community. Prohibition won’t last once that upper age bracket and their long held views are gone.

  27. claygooding says:

    If Forbes magazine and MSNBC are running articles and segments about legalization,,corporations and the rich are becoming interested in the money,,these people follow the money and are gravitating towards marijuana because the only liquid market right now is the drug market.

    And the corporations looking at it don’t care if big pharmacy or prison industries lose money,,if they can make some.

    • Duncan20903 says:


      I dismiss the thought that the ‘masters of the universe’ are conspiring in some magnificent way based on my observations in the late 1990s when I had the opportunity to observe them closely. Those people would cut their own mother’s carotid if the price was right. They’d cut someone else’s mother’s throat for half that amount. They really don’t care from who’s pockets they take their profits. The thought of them conspiring together and not cutting each other’s throats is simply laughable.

      The only thing I have to say is two words: Lehman Brothers.

  28. txpeloton says:

    Marijuana is a ‘term’ with a 104 word definition. Sign this petition to demand a simple definition of marijuana which actually shows respect for our Constitution. Marijuana will stay in Schedule 1, but cannabis will be legalized.

  29. darkcycle says:

    Ummm…Let me see if I get that line of reasoning…So in order to change the current injustice of marijuana laws, the Merciful President (who really has legalization as his goal), is locking up providers of medication to sick people? After sending a message (via the Ogden memo) that he would NOT waste federal resources doing so? After these people registered their businesses, invested in storefronts and began to pay taxes as the above board, legal enterprises they believed that they were? The same Merciful President whose administration has presided over more MMJ actions that the Bush administration?
    Yet really, it’s some kind of ninth dimensional chess game that we mere mortals cannot understand, and all part of his plan to legalize marijuana and give us all ponies?
    Well, Chris, I’m sure you’re a very nice young man. Remember, after you take that giant BT and hold it until your lungs explode, you should take a couple of deep breaths and let the Oxygen return to your brain before germinating any ideas.
    And as for those “ponies” the President has been passing around, Chris, don’t go for it. They’re not ponies at all. Duncan tells me they’re small horses. And mine won’t give back my television remote. All it wants to do anymore is watch replays of the Obama Inauguration and cry uncontrollably. I’m fucking tired of it.

    • darkcycle says:

      Oops, I was replying to Chris…

    • Chris says:

      I never said he was interested in legalization, only that he wanted the issue to finally come to the point where a decision is made by the public. He only did more of what the public wanted before, but now the public wants something different. I hope he doesn’t consider using that in his re-election campaign though.

  30. muggles says:

    I am impressed…thanks

  31. Paul says:

    Yep, that was really good, thanks for posting that.

  32. Ed Dunkle says:

    Why the LA Times came out against Prop 19?
    George Skelton.

    • darkcycle says:

      Baahhh…I hate those. It’s hard to not respond to those. But it has topped 125 comments, and everything i would have said has been hit. Ahhh, not gonna waste time. Well….maybe a quickie…

  33. claygooding says:

    lol,,I told him to shut up,,because a reporter or prohibitionist does not have the training to tell me an organization made up of Doctors doesn’t know what they are talking about.

  34. DdC says:

    MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell Slams Politicians for Opposing Marijuana Legalization
    By Scott Morgan, Stop The Drug War – Thursday, October 20 2011
    I’m sure I’ve never seen anything quite like this on MSNBC and it’s about time.

    If I’m correct in assuming that MSNBC has until now avoided this sort of subject matter for fear of being branded as a bunch of liberal hippies, then I’m grateful to see the network getting over it. Face it, people are going to say that about MSNBC regardless of what the network does or does not say about marijuana policy, or anything else for that matter. Fortunately, this way MSNBC can at least score points with its viewership, which is 104% in favor of legalization according to the latest polling data.

    As for the substance of the whole thing, I suppose O’Donnell is on target in trashing the drunken hypocrisy of our political culture, but when he promises that the wholesale arrests of marijuana users will continue for that very reason, I wonder if he let his frustration take the fun out of the story. What matters here is that the American people are finally in favor of legalizing marijuana and that’s a positive indicator of what the future holds for the fight to reform marijuana laws.

    One’s failures of policy is anothers profit from the policy.

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