A recent story on KJCT, the Grand Junction, Colorado, ABC affiliate (click on "Amendment 44 Legal Marijuana Conference"), shows that federal, state, and local drug warriors are working hard to defeat Colorado's marijuana legalization initiative. The Office of National Drug Control Policy dispatched Deputy Director Scott Burns to a press conference where he and other law enforcement officials urged voters to reject the measure. The report, which reminds me why I don't watch local news, is worth viewing in its entirety, so you don't miss the dramatizations of pot smoking and drug dealing the station inserted to illustrate the threat posed by the initiative. The spokesman for the initiative campaign, Mason Tvert, does a good job of responding to the drug warriors' allegations, but the slant of the story is obvious. The reporter closes with, "Until the November general elections, all we can do is wait and see whether Colorado will truly become the Mile High State." And yes, he emphasizes Mile instead of High, making the lame play on words even lamer. But you get the idea: If the initiative passes, everyone in Colorado will be stoned all the time.
My favorite moment is when Mesa County District Attorney Pete Hautzinger claims "I virtually never see a possession of marijuana case that doesn't also involve methamphetamine….I don't know about the 'gateway' stuff, but I know there's a link, because I see it every day, folks, and that troubles me greatly." Tvert replies that any link between marijuana and methamphetamine is largely a product of the black market. In truth, it's mainly a product of Hautzinger's imagination. Yes, some people who smoke pot also use methamphetamine. But contrary to Hautzinger's implication, the overlap is small. In the latest National Survey on Drug Use and Health, more than 10 percent of respondents said they'd used marijuana in the previous year, compared to 0.5 percent who said they'd used meth. So at most, 5 percent of the pot smokers were also meth users.
[Thanks to NORML's Allen St. Pierre for the tip.]