William Bennett and Robert White join Power Line to discuss their new book, Going to Pot: Why the Rush to Legalize Marijuana is Harming America. BUnknownennett and White trace how marijuana has gone from the days of Reefer Madness to being legalized in four states, with more expected to follow. Their research-driven book has some disturbing information about how marijuana leads to abnormal brain development and they argue more Americans should be hesitant to jump on the legalization bandwagon. For more information about the book, visit their website.

Then the Power Line team looks at some of the events of the week, including President Obama’s summit on countering violence extremism. By failing to call ISIS an Islamic group, is the United States underestimating the threat the group poses?

 

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  1. Larry3435 Inactive
    Larry3435
    @Larry3435

    I’m sorry, but I can’t pass on this one.  America faces more existential threats than I can count, and nowhere on the list is Sean Penn getting stoned; or anyone else getting stoned for that matter.  I smoked the stuff twice in the 70’s.  I haven’t smoked it since, for one simple reason:  Scotch exists.  But Bill Bennett needs to find a time machine and travel forward to 1971.  After he gets past the terrifying threat of witchcraft, of course.

    • #1
  2. user_409996 Member
    user_409996
    @

    Larry3435:I’m sorry, but I can’t pass on this one. America faces more existential threats than I can count, and nowhere on the list is Sean Penn getting stoned; or anyone else getting stoned for that matter. I smoked the stuff twice in the 70′s. I haven’t smoked it since, for one simple reason: Scotch exists. But Bill Bennett needs to find a time machine and travel forward to 1971. After he gets past the terrifying threat of witchcraft, of course.

    I do take your point Larry.

    But what if Sean Penn and his old friend Keanu Reeves get stoned, climb in the old phone booth and, say, go back to 1787 and mess around with writing of the Constitution.

    • #2
  3. Nick Stuart Inactive
    Nick Stuart
    @NickStuart

    Mr. Bennett wants to enjoy his vices, he doesn’t want you to enjoy yours.

    Let him drop 100 lbs or so, give up alcohol and gambling, then get back to us with his thoughts on marijuana.

    • #3
  4. user_409996 Member
    user_409996
    @

    When I was in my freshman year at college, there were two guys in the room next to me who hit the bong a lot.  It wasn’t so much the smoking weed that was the problem, but the way they were relaxed about other things that they maybe should have taken more seriously.  Maybe the pot smoking was a symptom rather than a cause.  But I have met people who drank who seemed to know what to take seriously more than the pot smokers.

    • #4
  5. user_138562 Moderator
    user_138562
    @RandyWeivoda

    Boy, I love the subtitle of that book.  The rush to legalize marijuana?  Marijuana has been around for a long time and people have been debating whether it should be legal or not for my whole life.  How much longer should the voters wait before giving people a little bit of freedom back?

    • #5
  6. Ricochet Member
    Ricochet
    @

    Edward Smith:When I was in my freshman year at college, there were two guys in the room next to me who hit the bong a lot. It wasn’t so much the smoking weed that was the problem, but the way they were relaxed about other things that they maybe should have taken more seriously. Maybe the pot smoking was a symptom rather than a cause. But I have met people who drank who seemed to know what to take seriously more than the pot smokers.

    That’s funny. I had a similar experience with two guys in the room next to me! Only they liked iced cream, And Pizza! Now before you say these things are harmless, think again because they became fat. And lazy. They stayed in their room  and watched Oprah and could barely lumber to class. Maybe the sweets were a symptom rather than a cause, but I know people who drank coffee who seemed to have their lives a lot more together.

    • #6
  7. Ricochet Member
    Ricochet
    @

    Randy Weivoda:Boy, I love the subtitle of that book. The rush to legalize marijuana? Marijuana has been around for a long time and people have been debating whether it should be legal or not for my whole life. How much longer should the voters wait before giving people a little bit of freedom back?

    And what about the main title! Clever!

    Do they really think that one more book bashing weed through spurious research and anecdotal information is going to change anything? These people CAUSED this ‘problem’ if it is a problem, out of being unable to make distinctions, out of being heavy-handed and narrow-minded, out of lying and not knowing what they are talking about and out of promoting irrational fear. Now when overwhelming number of people are laughing at them because of their absurd notions, they come out with a new book. Hilarious.

    • #7
  8. user_44643 Inactive
    user_44643
    @MikeLaRoche

    I have no sympathy for pot or pot smokers. Marijuana is for losers. Always has been, always will be.

    Count me with William Bennett on this one.

    • #8
  9. user_138562 Moderator
    user_138562
    @RandyWeivoda

    Mike LaRoche:I have no sympathy for pot or pot smokers. Marijuana is for losers. Always has been, always will be.

    Count me with William Bennett on this one.

    That’s what I used to think.  Then as time went by I discovered that quite a few normal, church-going, middle class people I knew had occasionally smoked pot.

    • #9
  10. Butters Inactive
    Butters
    @CommodoreBTC

    Bill Bennett is living in an alternate universe where big government conservatism hasn’t been discredited.

    I also have no sympathy for pot smokers. But I’m not interested in my tax dollars being used to investigate, adjudicate, and incarcerate morons that want to fry their brains. I want those resources used to protect my rights.

    • #10
  11. user_409996 Member
    user_409996
    @

    Franco:

    Edward Smith:When I was in my freshman year at college, there were two guys in the room next to me who hit the bong a lot. It wasn’t so much the smoking weed that was the problem, but the way they were relaxed about other things that they maybe should have taken more seriously. Maybe the pot smoking was a symptom rather than a cause. But I have met people who drank who seemed to know what to take seriously more than the pot smokers.

    That’s funny. I had a similar experience with two guys in the room next to me! Only they liked iced cream, And Pizza! Now before you say these things are harmless, think again because they became fat. And lazy. They stayed in their room and watched Oprah and could barely lumber to class. Maybe the sweets were a symptom rather than a cause, but I know people who drank coffee who seemed to have their lives a lot more together.

    Franco, the Fat people I have known were not the same as the Baked people I have known.  Fat people can diet and exercise their way past the James Franco (no offense – he has the same last name as you) state of mind sooner than James Franco seems either inclined or able to do so.

    Now, as to that James Franco state of mind is more a James Franco thing or a Pot thing, I cannot say.  I can say that any talk of James Franco being an actor of merit is slipping into the past pretty fast.

    The effects of Alcohol abuse are more dramatic in a grand guignol kind of way than those of Marijuana abuse.  The image of Inspector Morse vomited up blood in the bathroom still lingers in my mind, and the dessicated look of long time drinkers (that could also have to do with the Cigarette smoking that often accompanies drinking) is something of a hallmark.  But the look in the eye of someone who is permanently Baked is just as alarming, as far as I am concerned.

    • #11
  12. Ricochet Inactive
    Ricochet
    @GoldwatersRevenge

    Never smoked pot, never will. Not a wise choice for anyone but let’s not kid ourselves. Pot is virtually legal now. A savvy teenagers can got into almost any town in the U.S. and within an hour make a hit. Let’s not keep wringing our hands over the drug crimes in Mexico when our money fuels the traffic and our failure to enforce our drug laws perpetuates the market. Either enforce the law or legalize pot and make some good use of the tax revenue. The pot heads will get their smokes either way.

    • #12
  13. Ricochet Inactive
    Ricochet
    @KermitHoffpauir

    Marijuana is the Number 1 reason we have to import blue collar industrial construction workers.  Not enough white boys can pass the safety screening.  This has nothing to do with legalities.  Accessibility is only making it worse.

    This is why we have to flare a 1 trillion feet per year of natural gas produced along with oil in the Bakken area.  We don’t have the workers to install the production process equipment required.

    This is why there is a projected shortage of workers to the tune of 2 million by 2017 in Texas and Louisiana and will have to import construction workers.

    This is why there has been a shortage of industrial construction workers of 15 years running.

    This is why our shipyards and offshore oil/gas production facilities are built and maintained by imported labor and has been for 2 decades.

    • #13
  14. Ricochet Member
    Ricochet
    @

    Ok, no more snark, I promise. I listened to the segment on the podcast and I want to take another angle here and be serious.

    This issue is a political loser on many levels. Let’s stipulate that weed is harmful. Let’s agree that medical marijuana is abused by many who are just recreational users. Let’s stipulate that there are idiots like Maureen Dowd who know nothing about the subtle effects of marijuana will take too many bites when she doesn’t “feel anything” trying it out for the first time alone in a hotel room as she huddles in a paranoid fetal position for 8 hours thinking she was dead. Yes there should be warnings and dosages  and labels. Weed should not be ingested in large quantities by people with psychological problems such as Ms. Dowd. I’ve read her columns.

    Before I get to why railing against marijuana is a political loser on every level, I want to point out that Bennet and White have been against legalization, decriminalization as well as reduction in category (THC is is the highest category of illegality along with heroin, meth and cocaine and carries with it the same penalties) for 40 years now, and they are now warning us that today’s weed is not the same stuff your dad smoked in college, it’s much stronger. Oh, you mean back when Bennet was as against it in 1975 as now it was relatively harmless?  Got it.

    What we have here is a failed propaganda war that has finally come home to roost. It matters little what studies are presented at this point, almost everyone associated  with the anti-pot crowd has, by this time, lost all credibility.

    In an environment where nearly everything is ‘bad’ for you and causes cancer, or makes you fat and gives you a heart attack, where objects like guns are considered so dangerous they need to be outlawed for private use, where children must wear bike helmets and can’t play in a playground without adult supervision or the parents will be arrested, where gambling is legal everywhere and actively promoted by the State (Problem ? Call 1800-GAMBLER), where another drug, alcohol, takes tens of thousands of lives, fuels crime (also not recommended in high doses for people with psychological problems) ruins families, cause divorce, abandonment suicide, homicide and more, the scourge of pot, doesn’t register as something especially threatening, and here is why:

    Everybody smokes pot. Oh, not everybody, that’s a bit of an overstatement. But it is extraordinarily prevalent and pervasive in the United States. Of those who don’t actively or casually partake, many more have tried it. The anecdotal information every American has is overwhelming. And most of that information contradicts the scare-mongers outright. Oh sure, there are stories about people jumping out of windows and such, but these people have come to see as outliers and exceptions because most of us know too many ‘ordinary’ people who smoke. There are scary stories about everything. Gambling addiction, alcohol and drunk driving and alcohol-fueled homicides and assaults, accidents involving firearms. The story of Johnny who didn’t use his bike helmet and is now brain-dead. We are all bombarded by this kind of information, and we know these are ALL exceptions. We know there are millions of guns out there, we know we escaped brain death riding our bikes around our neighborhoods with no protection, we know our Aunt Ethel likes to take the bus to Atlantic City and play the nickel slots now and then. And we all drink, don’t we?

    While everyone knows of ordinary, productive, psychologically stable people in their lives who smoke, there are also those prominent people who have tried the stuff and either weren’t impressed, stopped, went through a short or long phase, or actually continue to smoke on occasion. Our last three Presidents have all admitted to trying the stuff, and scores of other successful, driven people including Jeb Bush, Sarah Palin, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs -just too many to mention.

    Prominent athletes from every sport have indulged in all levels from dabbling to chronic use with little apparent effect on their drive or performance.

    Don’t get me started on musicians. If a musician doesn’t smoke pot, at least on occasion, it means only that he/she doesn’t like the stuff. Creative people -not just the failed writers and poets – but successful, driven ,intelligent people who work harder and have more responsibilities than most average Americans, either actively smoke pot, or simply don’t care for the stuff. I hesitate to compare smoking pot with alcohol. I could say just like alcohol, there are plenty of people who drink and are ‘normal’ too. But I won’t because alcohol is far worse in effect, in addicting properties, and on social interaction that pot could ever be. But I’ll pretend I think they are comparable just for arguments’ sake.

    So while we all know pot can be harmful to some, we also know that generally, it’s like everything else . People are saying either consciously or subconsciously, What’s the big deal?

    When you combine the overall impression people have with how laws and law enforcement act, there’s a real disconnect. Moreover, the sheer numbers of people (tens of millions) who are somehow able to obtain a constant supply at a reasonable price tells anyone who has taken an Economics 101 class that the supply lines are not being effectively cut or squeezed by the millions spent on law enforcement. It seems to me , and a lot of other people, that if you can’t enforce these laws properly, it’s time to look at the laws. We see this affects police deployments and priorities and it affects citizens interaction and respect for laws and police.

    So we have the worst of all worlds. Pot use has not been reduced in any age group. Hundreds of thousands of people have legal problems from getting caught with the stuff, a huge black market thrives, respect for law and police officers erode, and Republicans can’t get elected because they refuse to bend on this issue.

    If these Republicans like Bennet could provide a plan for getting the smoke back into the bong, I could see some merit in their arguments.On a cold practical level it’s not going to happen. Not now. Yes there are and will be problems with implementing these new laws but we are not going where Bennet wants to take us. And, thinking about it, where can he take us, back to 1970? 1930 when it was just black folk and jazz musicians?  He may as well try to resurrect alcohol prohibition. It’s the same-old scaremongering that no one listens to any more. Bennet and White are living in a more elaborate fantasy world than any stereotypical stoner-dude high on ganja could even imagine.

    • #14
  15. Tom Meyer Member
    Tom Meyer
    @tommeyer

    I’ve listened to the section with Bennet and White (getting to the rest of it shortly; fun show). I’ve two deep frustrations:

    • The discussion is overwhelmingly about use by minors and heavy use. Now, these are both genuinely important topics and legalizers tend to be overly dismissive of them. But to not discuss casual adult use at all is like having a discussion about alcohol that focuses solely on alcoholics without even discussing the possibility of responsible drinkers.
    • Many of the problems they identify — high potency, lack of warning labels, etc. — strike me as flowing more from prohibition and poor regulation than anything else.
    • #15
  16. Ricochet Inactive
    Ricochet
    @APW

    I don’t know. Dope for the dope I carry that in my brain. Who trusts anybody about Anything!
    If I were to vote I’d vote let’s not rush don’t ask don’t tell there are more important things like setting people who are alive, on fire.

    • #16
  17. Yeah...ok. Inactive
    Yeah...ok.
    @Yeahok

    Bennet must have gotten an advance and he had to write a book about something.

    Powerline guys are just returning a favor and giving a guy a place to plug his book.

    I think their mention of how the feds messed up with the Monihayn report was a dog whistle that Powerline might concede that marijuana could be a problem but there is no way in hell that government can “do” anything that does not cause more harm than good;

    • #17
  18. PHCheese Inactive
    PHCheese
    @PHCheese

    I have never smoked pot but I am a cigarette addict. I have not had a cigarette in 33 years. When I quit I was smoking 3 packs a day ,sometimes 5 on the weekends. I know that I would not be writing this if I would have continued much longer. My doctor told me I had counteracted most of the effects of smoking by running everyday. He also told me my luck would run out if I continued. I am now seventy but doubt if I would have made it to fifty. We have all lived the campaign against tobacco and have seen its use decline, thank goodness.
    My point is why would anyone think that pot would be any less destructive not only one’s body but also there brain. Pot apologists and there arguments are no different than the tobacco arguments in the 40,50′ and sixties.

    • #18
  19. user_923420 Inactive
    user_923420
    @RonKean

    Mr. Bennett,

    There are many who’ve been smoking pot since it mainstreamed in 1968 or 1969.

    I don’t believe it’s an addiction since I think there’s no withdrawal besides maybe mild melancholy.

    Millions of seniors who’ve had pot and been without,who attribute creative periods to smoking or who’ve experienced pleasing sensations want to continue at the risk of serious prosecution, fines, and other legal problems. That’s why there’s little resistance.

    So, again we must care for other people’s children.

    I’ve had luck with my boys and I wish the same for everybody else but we have to weigh what is in our own self interest and in other people’s and make choices.

    You’re patriotic and you care about people. So do I to an extent.  Good luck to you.

    :- )

    • #19
  20. user_409996 Member
    user_409996
    @

    I want to live in a country where people who smoke Marijuana but keep that in balance with living a responsible life don’t need to worry about the law, the same way responsible drinkers can.

    Abuse of Marijuana and Alcohol can both lead to the kind of mistakes that can cause the abusers to lose their jobs or go to jail.  Responsible users of Alcohol know this and don’t deny it.  Responsible users of Marijuana probably do as well.

    I do wish that those advocates of legalizing Marijuana who go around suggesting that Marijuana use is harmless would stop.  Marijuana alters the mind.  Any subtance that alters the mind is potentially dangerous.

    • #20
  21. Ricochet Member
    Ricochet
    @

    Edward Smith:I do wish that those advocates of legalizing Marijuana who go around suggesting that Marijuana use is harmless would stop. Marijuana alters the mind. Any subtance that alters the mind is potentially dangerous.

    First, everything in the world is potentially dangerous.

    You may not be able to understand this question, since your mind has never been altered by marijuana or psychedelics, and I’m by no means encouraging you to partake, because your fear of losing control would probably lead to a very bad experience, but how do you know that your ‘unaltered’ mind is in it’s optimal state? You can take this as a philosophical question outside the drug debate if you wish.

    One thing I have discovered taking various substances, that we all live in various types of altered states, and a lot of people don’t even know it. Television addiction and immersion, hero-worship, workaholism, sex addiction/fixation, are all ‘altered states’ and the sad thing is most people call this ‘normal’ and sane. Is it really sane to watch or care about the Kardashians for example?

    • #21
  22. PHCheese Inactive
    PHCheese
    @PHCheese

    Franco, I think Ricochet Kardashians watchers are a very short list. Just saying.

    • #22
  23. Ricochet Member
    Ricochet
    @

    PHCheese:Franco, I think Ricochet Kardashians watchers are a very short list. Just saying.

    I’m just saying there all kinds of altered states, many of which aren’t considered altered. I wasn’t talking about Ricochetti, although here I am with my broken leg posting like crazy. Addicted to the scroll. I should be more productive. Haven’t been drinking or smoking for weeks. It’s always something. My head is clear…or is it?:)

    • #23
  24. Spin Coolidge
    Spin
    @Spin

    Most of this conversation is extraneous.  It simply comes down to this (or should):  if someone smokes a fatty, does that infringe upon my personal rights?  If it doesn’t, then of course there should be no law against it.

    It’s fine to put out a book warning people of the dangers of this activity or that.  But as has been noted, this issue is far bigger than just marijuana.   We live in a world of hyper-regulation, where no action is too small to be above the notice of the state.

    • #24
  25. user_138562 Moderator
    user_138562
    @RandyWeivoda

    I listened to the podcast last night.  Lots of points I agree with have already been raised in others’ comments, so I won’t go ever the old ground.  I thought it was odd that one of the guys on the podcast said that more states may change their laws by referendum or legislative fiat.  Legislative fiat?  I’ve heard of judicial fiat, where a court decides to interpret a law to read what they wish it said instead of what it actually says.  I’ve heard of executive fiat, where a president or governor usurps the authority of Congress or a state legislature.  But what the heck is legislative fiat?  Isn’t it not just the prerogative, but the actual duty of legislatures to . . . you know, legislate?

    Apparently whichever guy said that seems to think the legitimate function of a state legislature is only to put restrictions on people and there’s something not quite legitimate about relinquishing some state authority and allowing the citizens a little more freedom to make their own choices.

    They also talked about doctors over-prescribing marijuana.  I’m sure there are some doctors who are.  Setting aside marijuana and looking at prescription pain pills, how many doctors have patients living in chronic pain, because they’re afraid that if they prescribe too many pain pills they will be investigated by the government?  I have more faith in doctors diagnosing conditions and prescribing medicine, than I do in William Bennet and friends.

    • #25
  26. Pete EE Member
    Pete EE
    @PeteEE

    Most of the discussion so far is just blowing smoke. One guy says teenagers can already get it so legalization is no big deal. One says normal adults smoke it. No one has facts ergo no one has a clue.

    The scandal I see is that an experiment is unfolding with some very big potential consequences and the data collection stinks.

    That the state governors are not making information collection a priority and that pot’s proponents don’t care tells me that they don’t want real data. They, like me, doubt that statistics will support the story they tell. Their arguments are a pretense for their agenda.

    • #26
  27. Ricochet Member
    Ricochet
    @

    Pete EE:Most of the discussion so far is just blowing smoke. One guy says teenagers can already get it so legalization is no big deal. One says normal adults smoke it. No one has facts ergo no one has a clue.

    The scandal I see is that an experiment is unfolding with some very big potential consequences and the data collection stinks.

    That the state governors are not making information collection a priority and that pot’s proponents don’t care tells me that they don’t want real data. They, like me, doubt that statistics will support the story they tell. Their arguments are a pretense for their agenda.

    Well you have hit on another of my most despised argument fallacies. The demand data when the claims are patently obvious. This silly trick is pulled out, in what I can only imagine is desperation, when the evidence is so overwhelming and obvious to everyone that no one needs to cite ‘studies’ and data points. Normal adults don’t smoke it? You want data for that? Teens can’t already easily obtain weed? You need data for that? Who has pretenses for an agenda? Deny the obvious and pretend that you are making the ‘scientific’ argument? Doesn’t fly.

    And, Pete, it’s interesting that you seem to be unable to distinguish between legalization ‘proponents’ and those who simply  believe that law enforcement has been spectacularly unsuccessful over the last 40 years and that  the fear-mongers like Bennet seem oblivious to that fact and wish to continue the farce to feel better about themselves.

    If you worship the god of Data so much, Google is a click away. What most of the commenters here are saying is obvious. Some I may disagree with myself, but let me give you another data point for your collection: comments at Ricochet and elsewhere are for the most part opinions – including yours above. Ironic that it is your opinion that there should be more data, but there is no data cited in your comment.

    • #27
  28. user_409996 Member
    user_409996
    @

    Franco, I will let Johnny Cash do my talking for me.

    Just because a some people are able to use Marijuana without negative effects on their lives does not mean that Marijuana is not a substance that should be used casually.

    Oh, and back in my college days I sampled Hawaiian Bud (several times), Hashish (just the once), got drunk more than once (passing out only once – in front of people I would not recognize today if I tripped over their dead bodies on the street, and would not want to acknowledge anyhow), and even snorted some Probably Wodgy Cocaine in a messy run-down house being rented by a couple of seniors I knew for a semester.

    You know how when you have a really nasty head & chest cold that blocks you up north & south like the Panama Canal with foundered ships on the the Pacific & Atlantic ports and in the middle besides?  When you’re blocked up so bad there’s actually capillaries bursting in your sinuses and red mixed with the dark & congealed green?  That feels better than Dry Cocaine going up your nose into your Sinuses.

    I steered clear of Ecstasy.  There was a girl in one of those dorms who always had a permanently Baked look about her.  I later learned that she had performed Fellatio at least once on every male resident of that dorm except me over the course of two semesters.  She had more Zits per Square Inch of Face than any girl I have ever seen since then.  I cannot imagine the state of mind I would have to be in to want a face like like bobbing up and down on my groin.

    There’s only one way I want to undergo a mind-altering experience now – and that is by following Our Lord & Saviour Jesus Christ.  There’s no hangover, no sense of emptiness or deflation after you walk with Jesus.

    • #28
  29. Ricochet Member
    Ricochet
    @

    Well, Edward, you are certainly entitled to your opinion and choice of what you wish to ingest or not. In a way though, you make my point (at least in part). You have smoked several times, apparently strong stuff, did not become addicted, it did not seem to affect you negatively (lucky though you didn’t get caught) like millions of people decided it wasn’t for you and somehow it all worked out. You even found Jesus. So you DO know what an alternate state of consciousness is! I stand corrected.

    I am not being an advocate for weed, I’m am being an advocate for sanity and realistic laws. In my lengthy comment I stipulated all these things. The question remains what exactly are these people going to do about the fact they have lost the propaganda war, lost the drug war and are merely harassing people and not solving the problem? Pretending these new laws and the new weed is a scourge is meaningless. Writing yet another book about the perils of Mary Jane? Absurd. They can no better outlaw weed as they can outlaw oral sex. And lucky they don’t read these comments, I don’t want to give them any ideas.

    • #29
  30. user_409996 Member
    user_409996
    @

    Oh, I’d let Marijuana be legal, and leave the user who can keep it casual and safe alone.

    But I’d let the Stoners who can’t hold down a decent job stand alongside the Sloppy Drunks who can’t own a car and don’t have a wife and kids to go home to anymore because they took up residence in the bottle, and the Degenerate Gambler who is in much the same state.

    I would let them be the examples of what any casual user of Marijuana can just as easily become, and might only avoid becoming through the Grace of God.

    I would let them suffer the consequences of their addiction unabated until they go on the wagon and stay on the wagon.  Hopefully, it won’t be in a federal or state penitentiary that they finally get on the wagon.  But if that is where they find the wagon, that is on them.

    • #30
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