Obama administration floats trial balloon in New York Times (Updated)

There’s nothing this administration hates worse than leakers… except when it’s doing the leaking intentionally to use the media.

There’s no better tool for official leaks than the New York Times, which has a policy against using unnamed government sources — a policy that it ignores constantly.

Administration Weighs Legal Action Against States That Legalized Marijuana Use

WASHINGTON — Senior White House and Justice Department officials are considering plans for legal action against Colorado and Washington that could undermine voter-approved initiatives to legalize the recreational use of marijuana in those states, according to several people familiar with the deliberations.

Even as marijuana legalization supporters are celebrating their victories in the two states, the Obama administration has been holding high-level meetings since the election to debate the response of federal law enforcement agencies to the decriminalization efforts.


Federal officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter. Several cautioned that the issue had raised complex legal and policy considerations — including enforcement priorities, litigation strategy and the impact of international antidrug treaties — that remain unresolved, and that no decision was imminent.

The Obama administration declined to comment on the deliberations, but pointed to a statement the Justice Department issued on Wednesday — the day before the initiative took effect in Washington — in the name of the United States attorney in Seattle, Jenny A. Durkan. She warned Washington residents that the drug remained illegal.

The article goes on to explore some potentially extreme options with no indication that these specific options are being considered.

This appears to be a blatant political trial balloon using the New York Times to see what kinds of reactions there are and what political fallout might come from action… or inaction.

[Thanks, Tom]

Update: I wrote to Charlie Savage for some clarification on the story. In reading it, I couldn’t positively connect the specific options listed to the sources. It was inferred that those came from the sources, but not linked (and with the third one actually attributed to someone else, that also made me cautious about assuming).

He wrote back:

@DrugWarRant Yes, this is something they are mulling. Also, saw your blog re tool for planted trial balloon – you are, forgive me, paranoid.

So apparently, the unnamed sources did specify at least those first two rather outrageous options.

And yes, I am paranoid. But I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that, when considering either the history of this administration, the history of the drug war, or the history of the New York Times.

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74 Responses to Obama administration floats trial balloon in New York Times (Updated)

  1. Pingback: Drug War Rant: Obama administration floats trial balloon in New York Times « Drug WarRant | The Carceral State Journal

  2. allan says:


    Interesting this pops up as I’m sitting here working on a post-legalization Oped for my local rag.

    I’m tellin’ ya, now is the time. The 12:01 a.m. sparkup at the Spaced Needle is as fine a moment in history as the dumping of tea into Boston Harbor was back in the day. And that’s not hyperbole.

    We got laughed at for the FaceBook and YouTube Q&A and “Townhall.” Well Colorado and Washington weren’t a FB popularity contest. The CO and WA votes were a shot across DC’s bow.

    And now… now they can’t can’t get away with dodging the facts of the matter. We have the microphone thank you very much. And we’re making sense to the general public. The Ganja Katchina removed her mask… and hey, it’s auntie Hemp, not some evil demon. Like Pete said, the sky didn’t fall.

    Cannabis will have it’s day now, in the public view. I see my task now (and of course any/everybody else here) is to put the stake in the heart of Prohibition. We don’t have to defend the herb. I truly believe (and comments sections everywhere display the truth of this) this couch and all the other wwweb couches empower many, many people and the masses will cover that part. And meanwhile, our support is literally rising exponentially.

    Well, let’s put Prohibition afore the public eye too. IT is a lie, THE lie, a provable, historically documented lie. A manufactured fraud. Save for the prohibiting of, there is nothing to lie about, about pot. IT is what it is and like the hippie kids say, it’s all good.

    So my friends… they want feedback for their trial balloon (and I reckon several are drawing back bowstrings now, taking a bead on that balloon). Let ’em have it. Whatever it is. Do we need to send boxes of dictionaries with the “L” pages bookmarked?

    I think we also again need to raise Ethan Nadelmann’s question of civil disobedience. There are many of us out here trained, willing and feet-on-the-ground (with of course some gettin’ up time allowed for us old fo’k) ready.

    We’ve played very nice, for a long time. I think some indignation, repulsion, and focused anger would serve well about now. The media is pot hungry. Pot is hot. 2/3 of those under 35 would legalize. There’s no stopping this bus (bozos, inflate your shoes). What’re they gonna do? Use dogs and fire hoses again? Hardly.

    They’re puckered. They know pot was more popular in CO than Prez Barack “Choom” Obama. They saw Gary Johnson’s 1.3 million votes… the writing is on the wall. Of course it is on a dilapidated and crumbling wall… heh

    I mean really… what are they gonna do, arrest Washington and Colorado? They’ve lost the illusion of having a mandate.

    • Plant Down Babylon says:

      I’m pushin the envelope so hard, I have a case to make patients rights better, running thru the courts right now. It was a challenge to basically make the Kops obey the actual wording of the law, not their own opinion.

      The boys repelled down on my property this morning to exercise their futility and check my ‘compliancy’. They left with nothing other than a ‘thanks for stopping by’!

      How much does it cost for 4 copters and the manpower just to check for MMJ compliancy??!

      All we as individuals can do is wield our own little hammers and whack away at that wall!

      I’m committed every day

    • Windy says:

      LibertarianAmazon posted on REASON comments:
      “Obama says gay marriage is a state’s rights issue. And with marijuana – medical or recreational, he says it’s a federal issue.


    • allan says:

      had the oped done by noon and sent to the editor. He replied asking for brief bio so I think it will see print. I’ll post a link if so…

      Nothing earth shaking, just tap tap tapping on that wall. I went off from Pete’s “the sky’s not falling,” borrowed the Sam Adams quote Liam left (below) and used a bit from my comment above.

      It really is a group gig. Tap tap

  3. DonDig says:

    Great post Allan!
    I agree with you Pete on the trial balloon concept, but I think they’re ultimately going to have a really, really hard time squashing the electoral process that brought those initiatives into reality.
    ‘Sorry people, your votes don’t count on this one.’ Ultimately there may be a lot of gnashing of teeth, threats and posturing, (what else is new?), but I think it’s going to be an impossibly difficult cookie to sell, unless they’re willing to go for civil war, and I don’t see that happening.

  4. Nick says:

    “It’s a sticky wicket for Obama,”
    It called ‘Sticky” for a reason.

  5. This country is bankrupt. This would be the coup d’état for Obama. Why would a government make a move as insane as that? This would upset a lot of people. A majority of the country, as a matter of fact.

    Somebody at the White House level should give a damn, right? Like the guy we just elected?

    This make me quite angry just thinking about it. Guess I have to go think and calm down a bit.

  6. Is someone setting us up for a liquidation sale?

  7. Pete, one thing that strikes me is the names that appear on both lists.

    Honeywell is the biggest one.

    When I play roulette, its never a winning bet to play red and black both.

    I am sure the opposite seems to be true here.

    If you own the casino it wouldn’t matter either.

  8. claygooding says:

    Trial balloon indeed,,no comments. Fuck em,,we can just continue doing what we have been doing for 40 years allan, we can continue to spread the knowledge and the herb and they can continue to build prisons,,if they will build them,,we will come.

  9. darkcycle says:

    Well. They seem to be further behind than I thought. We had gone over those options here in discussions weeks ago. I am also heartened that they are proceeding (albeit slowly) to reach the same conclusions we have here.
    All I can say is if they go after low level users, they will have a hell of a time finding juries that will convict. If they really think that prohibition will survive a trip to the supreme court on it’s own merits, I can’t wait. But that’s just too dumb. And the backlash will be much uglier than the Obama administration seems to think. I’m not particularly worried about that.

    • claygooding says:

      4/20 lands on Saturday next year,,I think it is time for some good old protests,,not just in DC but at every state capitol and DC. It is time to get up from behind our keyboards and join others on the field of battle.

      Now to get some organization big enough and widespread enough to push for it.

  10. Dante says:

    If the Federal Government’s response to CO and WA is more of the same violent, ignorant and counter-productive SWAT raids – look out.

    We The People probably won’t take kindly to being told to sit down & shut up. I expect a huge backlash.

    In the end, a violent response from the Feds will quicken the death of the war on drugs.

  11. Duncan20903 says:


    Well yesterday was just chock-a-block with news. In addition to Washigton’s law taking effect both Arizona and New Jersey had their first dispensaries open for business and the lower house in the Czech Republic voted to legalize medicinal cannabis. Also in Washington a grower dispatched two rippers who tried to do a “home invasion” to their final reward. Who says there’s never any good news in the MSM?

    • Windy says:

      That incident in Puyallup, Duncan, the news media keeps trying to connect the two criminals’ armed invasion with the home owner’s marijuana grow, but judging from the appearance of the home it’s my guess they thought the dude was rich and would have a LOT of valuable stuff they could steal, I’ll bet they didn’t even know about the pot in the house.

  12. divadab says:

    The problem appears to me to be that the Obama Administration is treating the peoples’ vote as a challenge to its authority. Sort of how the British treated the voice of the Colonists.

    How far has our Republic gone down the road to authoritarianism when the people who are supposed to represent the people do all they can to subvert the will of the people?

    The house of cards will fall but it may get ugly. Obama is too weak to oppose the forces of authoritarianism.

  13. Duncan20903 says:


    Exactly what action can they take? They sure can’t force the repeal of the ballot initiatives. About the only thing that they can do is to cut Federal funding. No, they can’t take away all of a State’s Federal money. The SCOTUS has ruled that they can take a piece of the money away, but not enough that it would be coercive. I did stumble on that factoid within the last few weeks. The Colorado Legislature can’t make Amendment 64 go away. That requires a vote of the people with a 60% supermajority. IIRC the Washington Legislature could but not until 2014.

    The only weapon that the Feds have is political grandstanding and in doing so risk pissing off the majority of voters in both States. With both States being inclined to voting for Democrats it seems like something that a Democratic administration would avoid like the plague.

    IMO they’re talking the talk but it’s almost impossible for them to walk the walk. Even turning as nasty as possible and deciding to forgo the States’ electoral votes in 2016 they still can’t make these laws go away entirely as both have severability clauses.

    We won, and that’s got them extra confused and clueless. But they’re like chickens which were just decapitated…dead but unaware of that fact.

    • darkcycle says:

      That’s my takeaway too. I am predicting much posturing and little substance. They have the option of derailing the State’s regulation and vending schemes, but that’s about the extent of it.

      • Matthew Meyer says:

        Maybe that’s the choice they’ll make.

        If they block regulation of distribution, the current setup will remain; in the medical arena, opponents of reform have used the crime resulting from black market status to try to impugn the whole system (and the plant).

        Meanwhile, they can pick off low-hanging fruit for asset forfeiture, as they have been doing with medical.

        It just seems unlikely that enough of us will continue to tolerate that kind of treatment, in this Brave New World.

      • Duncan20903 says:


        I’m not even positive that they can strike down the retail distribution chains mapped out by the initiatives. Next summer will mark a full decade since the Medical Marijuana Program Act (SB-420) was signed into law in California. Federal law does not differentiate between medicinal patient protection and just plain choosing to enjoy cannabis. Don’t get me wrong, we’re moving into an extremely arcane place in the law, the interaction between sovereigns in a system of dual sovereignty and I’m not a lawyer. The other fly in the ointment is that the SCOTUS has demonstrated that it’s got no problem saying FTC in certain cases so we can’t just presume that they won’t just pull another Wickard v Filburn out of their asses.

        I might have missed something but IMO the only action that the Feds can take is to enforce their law on their own nickel and using their own resources, exactly what they’re doing in California and other States that offer protection to medicinal cannabis patients.

        • Matthew Meyer says:

          I think you’re right, Duncan. And Jacob Sullum agrees: http://tinyurl.com/bnhvvcx

          Legal action may not be so easy-peasy a solution for the feds as a lot of reporting suggests.

        • claygooding says:

          I saw one suggestion for Weed Trucks,,Ice cream style trucks that deliver or even bicycle deliveries,,the diversification and ingenuity is well documented,we could ask some tunnel experts for directions on underground gardens or just spread so much seed all over WA state that the DEA will have to recruit help,,anything to keep the dollars mounting up

        • SCOOBY says:

          Cheech & Chong already had the ice cream type truck covered in the movie “Nice Dreams”

  14. Liam says:

    Freedom is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the oppressed.
    (Martin Luther King, Jr.)

    It does not take a majority to prevail… but rather an irate, tireless minority, keen on setting brush fires of freedom in the minds of men.
    (Samuel Adams)

    And these feet be bound to the driest bush:

  15. Servetus says:

    The government that hesitates is lost.

    It’s not just the Washington and Colorado vote. The pending Court decision on scheduling marijuana hangs in the air like a rocket with a lit fuse. Any day now the feds may wake up and discover they’re not dealing with a drug anymore, but an herb.

    The whole thing is a definitely a quandary for big government, especially when no solution can be expected to emerge from a dysfunctional Congress. The feds have no moral justification with which to back their precious prohibition. Rather, they find themselves depicted as evil tyrants promoting a failed scheme of social control, one that has been common throughout history, and one that has always failed to achieve anything good or lasting. To top it off, the federal government is technically guilty of crimes against humanity for the way they’ve treated both addicts and casual users of drugs in the United States and abroad. The consequences of their stupidity, bigotry and greed have been staggering, from exacerbating HIV infection rates throughout the world, to providing an easy opportunity for people to be criminals, to criminalizing generations of otherwise productive citizens.

    The ideas being tossed about by the bureaucrats and the corporatists are probably much like those of survivors finding themselves in a lifeboat, alone on the churning high seas, desperate for someone to come and save them from the shark infested waters they’ve chummed with the blood of their victims. There will be no rescue boat coming for them. Only a shark-fest. Yum, yum.

  16. Bilbo, my 4-month-old puppy has bigger balls than Obama – and they haven’t even dropped yet.

  17. mikekinseattle says:


    I like the graphic of Obama playing whack-a-mole.

  18. Common Science says:

    Absolutely stirring post allan. But my goosebumps disappeared while reading the other NYT article – First Ounces of Marijuana Leave a New Jersey Dispensary:


    “They skulked in and out like criminals, shoulders hunched, heads down, declining to comment… The opening was all business, down to the pious name, the Greenleaf Compassion Center… the dispensary is in a down-at-the-heels section of the commercial strip reserved for offbeat and pariah businesses…”

    I find it hard to believe this article wasn’t written for the NY Post and by a different writer. Anemona Hartocollis has written over 1400 articles for the NYT, mosty concerning health and medicine. The last article she wrote regarding med mj was just two years ago. It took on a more conciliatory tone towards New Jersey’s medical marijuana’s status. She even revealed some of the obstacles that were being put in place to diminish the access to medical marijuana:


    “Ken Wolski, a registered nurse and chief executive officer of the Coalition for Medical Marijuana New Jersey, complained that doctors also had to “attest that they’ve provided education for the patients on the lack of scientific consensus for the use of medical marijuana.”

    “What kind of statement is that?” Mr. Wolski said. “The act found legitimate uses for marijuana therapy in a number of specified conditions.”

    Patients with a number of conditions would have access to two ounces a month with a potency of 10 percent tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the psychotropic chemical. Mr. Wolski estimated that two ounces would be enough for half of all patients, and he said pharmacies in the Netherlands distributed potencies of 13 percent and 18 percent THC.”

    Don’t mean to sound alarming but by my morning glance at the NYT today, I was struck by the notion that the Obama Administration could be going after the media with ‘federal security’ in mind. Their profession was the first one that had to submit to drug testing under the Reagan Administration’s zeal to pursue draconian drug policy by stopping liberal ideas about drugs reaching the general public.

    Tell me it isn’t possible to go that way again.

  19. Byddaf yn egluro: says:

    “Pete Guither sees the article as a trial balloon”


  20. Geronimo says:

    He is playing it smart. More states and municipalities need to address their pro position before the Feds can proceed. Doing so prematurely only encourages opposition and political opportunism for opposition. Pretty much the same game Obama is playing out in the Middle East. There, a US led initiative allied with Israel would be condemned. Once the situation there goes over the top and Israel is seriously attacked or threatened the administration will kick in and support Israel with worldwide support from allies. I think even the Netanyahu-Obama rift was calculated to this end. They can’t effectively act until popular and established support goes over the “red line”. They learned this lesson from the terrible backlash in support experienced during the Bush era. Granted, in the interim, others (Israelis, smokers) suffer but the outcome is ultimatelyore positive both in human and political terms. I can’t say it is right really, but I think it will be more effective and I believe that is the modus operandi.

    • Jose says:

      In other words it is smart not doing anything that would be representative of a leader.

      Or let other people do the work and then Obama can take credit for it?

      Your post is confusing.

    • Windy says:

      Israel does not need the USA, to be their bitch and haven’t for a very long time, that country is more than capable of both financially supporting and militarily defending itself and often commits aggression against other nations, including our own.

      • Duncan20903 says:

        How do I find out if my trees are OK? I’ve got 7 of them over there. I’ll be pixxed off if the Palestinians fuck up my trees. You wouldn’t like me if I was pixxed.

  21. Jose says:

    The war on drugs is becoming the equivalent of Hitler’s war on the Jews. It won’t be long until we get to 4 million dead and far more lives ruined.

    Half of medicaid could be cut if we replaced many of big pharma medicines with marijuana.

    Legalization restores the rule of law that was broken with the “drug war exception” in Justice Scalia’s minority opinion when the Supreme Court shredded the Constitution.

  22. Deep Dish says:

    Looks like the Washington Post is channeling the couch.

    I’ve seen some suggestions to the effect that the Times story is a “trial balloon.” The story doesn’t read that way to me — it looks more like there are very serious deliberations going on and that no one has any idea what will be decided in the end.


    Wouldn’t unsettled serious deliberations be the very reason for a trial balloon? It’s like playing a lifeline card at Who Wants To Be A Millionaire.

    • Tony Aroma says:

      This article says absolutely nothing that we don’t already know, that the Feds are considering their response. It’s not news until they make a decision or take some action. This is just a summary of what they COULD do, which has not changed since election day.

      • Deep Dish says:

        What we already know, sure, but the general public is a different story. Many people think federal supremacy triumphs over everything. According to a recent Public Policy Polling poll, 11% of Americans want marijuana to be legal but don’t think Obama should respect their opinion. The general public has a long way to go in understanding constitutional law. The Post article shines a light to the public that for all of the “clarity” of federal supremacy, the feds are cluelessly stumped.

    • Matthew Meyer says:

      “…if you care about this issue, the time to make your feelings known is right now.”

      Well, we are, and it sounds like people are listening!

  23. Pingback: TWOG (The War on Drugs) « The Dole Blog

  24. -Mona- says:

    “And yes, I am paranoid. But I don’t think there’s anything wrong with that, when considering either the history of this administration, the history of the drug war, or the history of the New York Times.”

    Understood, and I generally feel the same way. But Charlie Savage is known to be anything but a tool. One of the few journos at an Establishment venue about whom that can be said.

      • darkcycle says:

        I don’t think you’re paranoid. It’s a reasonable guess, and you’re not the only one who’s played around with that possibility. Myself, I think that response is “forgive me,” condescending. He may not be a tool, but he’s an asshole.

        • drwoo says:

          I don’t think it’s paranoia, I think they already know how the people feel about it. In the end they will do what they want, and or what they are paid to do.

        • Matthew Meyer says:

          Of course Charlie Savage doesn’t want to be someone’s tool. And of course Pete’s not paranoid.

          Charlie, if you think Pete is paranoid, or that his analysis of the very bizarre silence from the Obama administration is a conspiracy theory, you should spend some time reviewing the archive of this blog!

      • darkcycle says:

        Hey Pete: http://tinyurl.com/bxjk4v8
        Did they say “trial balloon? I’m SURE they said “trial balloon”….

        • Pete says:

          Yeah, I was far from the only one to read that article and get “trial balloon” out of it.

        • darkcycle says:

          Well, I suppose if the Times guy had said “yeah, they told me to say this” it would defeat the whole purpose of floating a trial balloon, wouldn’t it? Silly of me. 😉

  25. N.T. Greene says:

    Fun fact: At least in the New England edition, they mention this article on the front page but bury it on A20.

    It’s like they were told to bring it up, but not put it right in people’s faces. You know, they’re thinking of stomping on states’ rights. No big deal there. We’re just going to put it in a place where the casual news browser isn’t going to reach.

    As for the response from NYT: Sounds like you hit the nail on the head and that they don’t like the fact that someone picked up on it immediately.

    • claygooding says:

      Hell NT,,the couch usually has them figured out before the first comments are fired back at them and with the sniper squad here someone will nail them right where they stand.

      Where do we go for out think-tank checks?

      • N.T. Greene says:

        That’s the great part about finding a seat, really. Accuse us of being conspiracy theorists, go ahead.

        Then look at how often we have been right. Hmm. I sense that our opponents are having credibility problems.

    • N.T. Greene says:

      …or someone with an audience. You are no mere internet troll, that’s for sure.

      I am surprised he even addressed your post. There is something rather off about that to me — and calling you “paranoid”? Come on. All that really managed to do, for me at least, was heighten my suspicions. He kind of called you out. What is gained from that?

  26. CJ says:


    and everybody else

    please never forget

    in the immortal words of St. Cobain, patron of junkies whove lived in the grunge era of the united states of america, planet earth, A.D

    and I quoth the sermon of “Nevermind” Track 7 length 2:22,
    “Territorial Pissings”

    and Cobain said (in a vocal interlude/solo)

    “Just because your paranoid
    don’t mean they’re not
    after you.”

    heed the lessons my sisters and brothers in arms (not meant in the linked arms way but rather, literally, in the arm, slightly beyond skin deep, if you will. =) )

    but lest we forget

    we can’t lose, lol, the thought of drugs being illegal, and i said drugs in the classical context as in all drugs, not just one, god i hate the heroin populists, dont you guys? 😉 but seriously, cmon guys, lets not be stupid, being paranoid is fine, thats what we drug users do, one of our best rehearsed qualities in this era of prohibition – but while we’re the noted paranoids, we’re not the noted imbeciles, idiots, generally stupid people – that’d be our opponents.

    Seriously, consider this:

    these stupid bastards go around, throwing 10 billion dollars around, eradicating plants, killing drug sales people (the ones not licensed by Big Pharma) and all their silly little games. They do these silly things, waste all this money, we lot continue smoking our dope dope (as ginsberg said) and read about it and bang/smoke/sniff/swallow more dope dope and fight them back. What do they accomplish? Ok, for starters the worst damage they’ve done in lots of cases on a large scale is they’ve inconvenienced some of our brethren in other countries. In our own country? hahaha! yeah right! Like we’re ever gonna run out of supply.

    Whats more, on a small scale, they’ve sometimes killed a persons father, a persons son, a persons mother, daughter, what have you, and if your of the popular American religions, as most of these stupid bastards tend to be, well, they can’t escape the fact that, well, sorry, they’re gonna burn in eternal hell as we burn what we burn here in the real world, where, ya know, it kinda really counts.

    Whats more,
    figure this:

    these stupid bastards, our opponents, first of all, not only destined to lose as the Taira’s to the Minamoto, Baer to Braddock, Tyson to Douglas, Glam Rock to Grunge, Hip Hop to Classical Orchestra and Stage Music revival, whats more, lets think for a second of some of the trophies they get for their work

    Some of these morons get a street named after them, or a boulevard, avenue, a school, bla bla, whatever. You know, some of these idiots, destined for hell with blood stained hands as they may be, seem to think they may have an everlasting legacy of good, their great grand kids will one day for example, pass by “Robert H.W. Prohibition Drive” and think that is my ancestor, how great it is to be spurned from their sperm. Well, sorry to break it to them and their defenders, ehm, that’s not gonna happen.

    Look, something that even us reformists neglect to take into account is that the planet earth, its history, the history of earth, BC, AD, nations past present and future, the history that is forcibly taught to us around the world as kids, one of those, you know, universal things that all races and creeds share, the universal history of our very planet, what we have here today, so many things celebrated, so many thrings berated, as it were, the history of planet earth, all opinions aside, fact of the matter is, the near entirety of our universal history was lived and crafted in a world of NON PROHIBITION. I’ve said it before, but one of the most prosperous times and peaceful times on the planet were under the reign of the Roman Emperor Augustus, a huge fan of poppies whose subjects, as was the trendy in thing, did as he, and consumed them as well. It’s no coincidence.

    The point is, the majority of our universal existence was spent in times of global drug freedom. This prohibition of narcotics is a considerably new thing, when compared to everything else. You guys know the deal. Racism and the temperance movement had alot to do with it. Those persons who ignorantly hate what we do, those ignorant bastards who simply fear what we do. That’s what it truly is. They fear it. They are scared of it. They’re petrified of the pot leaf, they’re puny spaz needlephobics. They’re cowards. That’s it. Oh they’re not afraid of alcohol, and that’s fine because we all know booze is the worst thing for you, as has been pointed out with LEGIT SCIENTIFIC FACT, alcohol is worse for you than crack cocaine, (please noone mistake that for a slam on crack its not i love you my crack banging sisters and brothers and basing sisters and brothers, long live lemon juice.)

    What it is is, you guys know, sometimes people are in the right place at the right time, consider again, thousands of years of global drug legalization, no doubt cowards existed in all those times. No doubt people stood on their moral high horse, glass of moonshine at hand, drunk off their rocker saying “those damn pot smoking hippies!!!” *chugchugchug* “ban all marijuana!” its a matter of, despite thousands of years, enough cowards got together, right place right time and implemented their moral authority. We’re screwed because we were born in a time not too long after these bastards had their sway – unfortunately, unlike so many of our ancestors who could bang bundies by the dozen for 2 pennies a bag, we, are tasked with fixing the colossal screw up of these prohibitionists.

    Drug prohibition is no different from booze prohibition. The main difference is the preferences of the people. OK. So alcohol prohibition came and went. Nowadays they call it the “noble experiment” or whatever. That’s what drug prohibition is. You see, its not like in a few decades they can look at drug prohibition and say, “ah, well for the most part this has been a glorious success. A few minor problems, but we can fix them without any trouble.”

    Nooooooooooo….lol! Its more like “holy cow, this has been a total freakin’ nightmare. People are dying, suffering, generations wiped out, prisons over populated etc. etc. etc.” It was, is, and for not too much longer will be the colossal atrocity that it is. It’s clear to everybody without an invested interest in its continuance. It is an afront to human rights.

    There’s no way it can continue. It is inconceivable. I just mean, there is no way it can perpetuate itself forever, say, like, a policy of civil rights, where, pretty much weve never got to worry about global slavery of a given race ever again.

    In the words of the immortal 21st century prophet for profit, George Carlan, “mother nature invented human beings to create plastic.” After that, we’re useless to mother nature and in time she will wipe us out. Good for her. Couldn’t happen to a better species, no? My point is that drugs aren’t going anywhere. They can’t wipe out drug production. Any prohibition who thinks its fathomable is delusional. So it’ll always be there. So right there a prohibitionist more or less is stepping into the metaphorical “wrestling ring” with an unbeatable opponent. Like so many of the reformers say, their game of prohibition is nothing more than the carnival and arcade favorite, “bop a mole.”

    The idea, I think, is that policy is generally intended to help, right? Do good, right? Like, I dont know that policy is invented with the express purpose of hurting, i mean, in a general sense, naturally that’s not to be said of the Final Solution, for example. But I mean, I think the theory is that policy is supposed to help the general public… right? So prohibition does so much colossal damage on such a global scale it isn’t something that can be hidden. Oh they try. And listen, let’s be reasonable, it would take time for this to come out, and then it would take time to resonate with the public. Unfortunately, like, Nixon couldn’t declare “War on Drugs” and then all the profound destruction of prohibition could be surveyed within several months of his “declaration” and thereabouts we could correct it. Unfortunately, it takes years and years and years and the destruction, the death, the horrors, they pile up. It certainly doesn’t help when the people elected to help us are aware of it’s destruction but have an invested interest in perpetuating it – that delays the inevitable end of prohibition, no doubt.

    We had to sit through that piece of garbage Nancy Reagan. We had to sit through Clinton, who, bless him, only now, far too late, claims he made huge mistakes with the drug war and wishes he could go back in time and fix them. We had to sit through that jester of a moron Bush. Obama’s hypocrisy.

    There was a recent Quinnipiac poll and the headline to the article said “marijuana legalizatoin just a matter of time.” Well yes. I also read a recent article it said that pot was the most popular drug in the world, it gave a number of like 108 million pot enthusiasts (not addicts.) Opiates were 2 with 50. something % and then amphetamines and then cocaine (why coke was seperated from uppers, idk.) Its understandable to me why in this case pot is singled out and legalized first but prohibitoion of any drug results in the same thing, we all know these things, diversion to the black market, criminal profits, imprisonment etc. etc. the bottom line is, people do it anyway.

    All the results of prohibition are damaging. It does nothing but destroy and hurt. You know, to me, honestly, the real troubling thing about prohibition is the things like 12 step and the perpetuation of the AA dogma, misguided philosophy and audacious moral authority and life style codes, these things, thanks to prohibition, get smiled upon by the prohibition adminitration, and taken by the unsuspecting people as “right” well no, its not right, matter of freakin fact, its horribly flawed and downright wrong. If I were an administration with a prohibition policy, I would absolutely want the dissemination of a philosophy that not only reinforced prohibition, demanded abstinence but also promoted an indulgence of materialism. Take sex and money and the using of that money to buy clothes, houses, generally stimulating the economy, creating jobs, etc. etc. take these things out of AA/12 step and i think there’d be a marked drop in attendance. Of course the administration wants your pot money, my heroin money, going into the cauffers of mcdonalds, the gap, etc. etc. etc. To me, things like 12 step are the more considerable obstacles of the reformist.

    The simple fact off the matter is this, prohibition destroys, it kills. It is genocide in motion. We are becoming a planet of people increasingly more and more conscious and aware of this. In addition, we can never make light of the fact that prohibition, no matter wether you consider it’s birth the Harrison Narcotics Act, the International Opium Convention, Nixons speech, regardless of when you think it started, it is, in the grand scope of time, nevertheless, a new phenomina. Sure, prohibitions of different kinds have come and gone in different societies around the world throughout history but nothing the extent of this, and, obviously, noting that, it only accentuates my point; prohibitions may begin but they always end. Always. This is no different.

    Before I go and, in a sorta masochistic way, pierce my flesh with something pointed, winkwink nudgenudge, I just want to say something on a little personal level. I’ve lived all over the country as a nomadic opiate enthusiast. I have, been to other countries as well. Of all the various places I’ve been, I’ve spent the most of my years through the various times, collectively, in NYC. I am there now and have been for a few years and in spite of some plans to go back to England soon (where I qualify to live thanks to UKs treatise with the EU of which I’m a citizen) atleast for now, I’ll be in NYC for the forseeable future. For as long as I’ve liveed here, I have often had to travel the Harlem River Drive. In doing so, I’ve never failed to notice Keith Herring’s work, it pretty much stands right out and smacks you in the face. I’m talking about “Crack is Whack” park where his iconic work is done on the caged in handball court where the handball wall is covered with his “Crack Is Whack” piece.

    In passing “Crack is Whack” park, I remember many times, thinking of it, as a reformist, and considering it, I thought, wow… What are we up against? Look at that. Look at that! It’s just so ingrained in us. It’s so ingrained in this society. The hate the people have for us, for what we do, its just blood deep. What on earth are we up against?

    Needless to say, it would discourage me. I thought of it and it’s like the drug war’s proverbial Berlin Wall. The wall is synonymous with judgment. Misunderstanding, but while its iconic and, as an art lover, I do like Keith Herring alot, to me its a symbol of misunderstanding, hate, prejudice and most of all, prohibition. I understand that this may upset some people, I’m sorry. I dont mean to hurt anyone. I understand some are defensive of Herring, a victim of HIV but as a junkie I am all too conscious of HIV and the ravages it has on people like me. (BLEACH YOUR WORKS!!!) I also have no reason to doubt that Herring had the best of intentions with his “Crack is Whack” piece. Whats more, Keith Herring being a big deal artist in NYC during the crack epidemic, I have no doubt that he encountered crack and crack culture. With that said, I have to say that, I really dont think Keith Herring was a prejudice, ignorant person. I may be wrong, I just dont think he was. I just dont think Keith Herring understood the depth of what his “Crack Is Whack” piece was saying. I think if, for example, Pete, could have had a conversation with him about the ravages of prohibition, maybe Keith Herring would’ve said “Prohibition Is Whack” instead. But bear in mind, Herring was around for alot of Drug War propaganda. I have no reason to doubt that Herring probably witnessed the deterioration of persons close to him, and perhaps, blamed it on drugs. Just like I’ve been told over and over from misguided people in my own life, and I hope some of you can relate, that they’ve seen my deteroriation. Thing is, I know for me, nobody in my personal life ever knows when I’m on drugs. I dont know how it is for pot smokers, but tell me if its like this, I would like to know, in all honesty – but I know for heroin users, we get what I call the “once over” which is when you engage someone who is aware that you use opiates and is a look in their eyes, they engage you visually, check you out, to look for “signs” that you may be high. Does this also happen to pot smokers? Well it used to happen to me all the time, still does sometimes but they can never tell – they often express this to me too, “I can never tell.” So I beg to ask, is it the drug that caused deterioration, or is it the colossal fist of prohibition, pounding down on us, that caused it? I think it’s the latter. No, I know it’s the latter. I think Keith Herring, living and creating at a time of ripe prohibition propaganda, simply didn’t recognize that it wasn’t the drugs, but prohibition, causing the destruction. But I thought of “Crack is Whack Park” and the “Crack As Whack Wall” as something like a serious piece speaking out against, say, Spaghetti. “Spaghetti Is Whack Park” for example.

    Well, in further consideration, I recognize that, yes, the Berlin Wall fell. I have to say that this “Berlin Wall” of ours in NYC for reformists, Crack Is Whack park, it can be brought down and it will be brought down with the fall of education. Now I said I admired Herring’s art, and I do. Im not suggesting that, with the fall of prohibition, we’d actually want to destroy the wall, I think that, this disgusting genocide deserves something like the Holocaust museum. An attempt to forever teach and remind us and future generations of the horrors of prohibition. Crack Is Whack wall is a symbol of misunderstanding, I used to think the Crack Is Whack wall was a statement of how ingrained prohibition was, a statement of the immense size and immobility of the opponent, but its not. In practice, the wall will be moved to a prohibition museum and, ultimately, Crack Is Whack park will be renamed. Just like all the prohibitionists with their boulevards named after them, they who think they’re so freakin high and mighty and destined to go into the books of history as honorable men, no, they are simply going to be grouped together in one column, none but the very worst of the prohibitionists to be singled out, and, collectively labeled as a misguided group of men and women, whose lives were a very physical realization of the definition of insanity. The streets will be renamed Pete Guthier way. Richard Branson Drive. David Simon street. Francis Moraes Avenue etc. etc. etc. Their descendants wont pass by libraries named in their honor, but rather, bear an unfair burden of shame for the horrors their forebearers perpetuated. It’s only a matter of time. Trust me, I’m a junkie – and junkie’s never lie 😉

  27. Pingback: Considering A Hot Bear Balloon

  28. hamptonhistory says:

    Pete, you’re not paranoid. Remember what Chomsky said about the liberal media: It’s real, and its role is to inform Good Liberals exactly how far to go, and no farther. Charlie Savage is a propagandist and if you read his articles there’s an unmistakable POV in there, and it always approximates Obama’s.

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