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Federal Marijuana Bills Make Media Wave


federal marijuana bill polis blumenauer

By Romain Bonilla, Portland State University SSDP

Earlier this week, Representatives Jared Polis (D-CO) and Earl Blumenauer (D-OR) took a bold stand for marijuana law reform by introducing legislation to end federal marijuana prohibition. All too often laughed off by politicians, the majority of Americans supporting legalization can now rest assured that someone is voicing their concerns on Capitol Hill.

The media was quick to pick up on this story – it was covered in over a hundred news outletsavailable on the web, including the Wall Street JournalTime Magazine, and Rolling Stone - which gives us a good view of the overall media attitude towards drug law reform. As far as I’ve read, most of the coverage was fair, although a few articles stood out:

Meanwhile on Fox Business Channel, Kevin Sabet and Ethan Nadelmann went at it for a good five minutes on The Willis Report (YouTube link), gifting us with another episode of their ongoing saga of debates. While Nadelmann smiled as he praised the congressmen and their respective bills, Kevin Sabet’s rhetoric was weak, predictable, and noticeably more desperate.

His talking points included accusing the congressmen of doing it for the money, calling the end to prohibition an “extreme” policy, suggesting that people don’t go to jail for using marijuana, and some good-old gateway drug theory (a prohibitionist classic). In response to Nadelmann’s point that most Americans support reform, Sabet shamelessly insisted that “the mainstream on this issue” would rather keep going with marijuana prohibition. Gerri Willlis, host of The Willis Report, didn’t look convinced. The burden of proof, it seemed, was on Kevin Sabet.

The bills introduced by Jared Polis and Earl Blumenauer are affecting more than just Congress; they are affecting the public discourse about drug policy and how the issue is perceived by mainstream America. Stories such as this one further the media’s understanding of drug policy reform, which is necessary for reporters to call out fallacious arguments when they come up. As the media grows more critical of drug warriors, prohibitionist propaganda loses one of its main vehicles – and in turn, its credibility.

Check out Romain’s blog, there’s a ton of good stuff over there!


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Johnny Green


  1. Wow…, narrowed minded people trying to control other peoples leisure activities. The fact is that weed can relieve many of the symptoms that prescription drugs do. that means loses in revenue for many big drug companies. either way our government will never speak the truth. the public is starting to realize the governments manipulation of the media…, for example…, whats with the statistic of “the accident rate doubles your car crash risk”??? where does he get his information? Lets stop looking at the substance and start looking at the reasons why most of society is cool with weed. society issues that matter include…, no jobs (still), minimum wage barely rises but yet the price of everything around us is going up substantially. Is it a wonder that people seek some sort of escape. And DO NOT say its a gate way drug. You are a ignorant fool if you think that just because you get high off of marijuana that you would for some reason say…., hay…, I think i am going to go smoke some crack. The fact is drug dealers usually do not just sell one type of drug. And that is the gate way…, the gate u must walk through to get into your dealers yard. Stop hindering the progression of spirit, unity and presence. Live NOW or forever be deceased. Mans laws are fallible…, rise above to a higher knowledge. Listen to Immortal technique if you want knowledge in hip hop form…, but still read do…. peace!

  2. Let me see if I have this right……Alcohol was outlawed and from public pressure it became legal…No one saw alcohol as dangerous drug but the public continued to get it approved. Why? Because it was something that wasn’t going to stop people from getting and now that it is legal pay taxes on it. Now public pressure is asking for marijuana legalization. I don’t know any negative reactions to marijuana. I know there are a lot of deaths from alcohol. I am not aware of deaths from the use of marijuana. We all know that this plant has many many uses. From gas for your car to healing certain cancers. All prescription meds are NOT perfectly ok cause the Doctor prescribed it. I know that some are abused and have died from the use of it. I have never heard of a overdose of marijuana. Have you?

  3. Our Founding Fathers grew it, smoked it, fueled there homes and made there cloths from it. You could pay you’re taxes with it. If you owned land and did NOT grow it, you would be fined! Im just stating facts. That have been taken out of our History books!

  4. Kevin Sabat is just another busy body trying to make money off the Pot Debates. He has little credibility – same old tired arguments. I used to trust people to have good common sense about these things but that just doesn’t hold any more. Some people will follow blindly no matter how we try to educate them. Nadlemann has it DOWN, man! Love that dude:)

  5. Yet one more example of exactly why a well moderated and unbiased debate over this issue needs to be done on the national platform. When are these debates going to be in the public forum, away from the imposed bias of whichever media agent hosts the “show”? Everyone SAYS we need this debate…..who is organizing it?

  6. “The prestige of government has undoubtedly been lowered considerably by
    the Prohibition law. For nothing is more destructive of respect for the
    government and the law of the land than passing laws which cannot be
    enforced. It is an open secret that the dangerous increase of crime in
    this country is closely connected with this.” – ALBERT EINSTEIN.

    “Prohibition… goes beyond the bounds of reason in that it
    attempts to control mans’ appetite through legislation and makes a crime
    out of things that are not even crimes… A prohibition law strikes a
    blow at the very principles upon which our Government was founded. – ABRAHAM LINCOLN


    They just talk over this guy and folks need to take note of this – Fox is biased as hell and while

    is a bias on any side of a debate the people at fox generally talk over
    and shout over people they don’t agree with, that lady lets the
    prohibitionist talk but not the guy whos there talking about
    legalization -> that sort of thing is why cannabis is -still-

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