Statement of Joseph White, Executive Director, Change the Climate

February 18, 2004

Government Censors Marijuana Reform Ads

WASHINGTON -- Change the Climate is an organization of parents and business executives who believe that current marijuana laws are harmful to our children and far too expensive in this time of local cutbacks and out-of-control deficits.  

Marijuana policy ads by Change the Climate seek to stimulate debate among citizens about how to reconsider marijuana laws so that we save billions of tax dollars and end the arrest of millions of our own children - arrests that result from something most politicians did when they were young.

Surveys show that vast majorities of Americans support the medical use of marijuana for sick family members and support using our criminal justice system for real criminals.  Citizens want to speak up and debate our current marijuana laws.

The federal government's response to open debate is censorship. The Office of National of Drug Control Policy and the Partnership for a Drug Free America's ads have done little to reduce marijuana experimentation by our youth.  In fact, government ads that associate marijuana use with terrorism and teen pregnancy are so far-fetched that teens are either amused or insulted.  It is time that we talk honestly with kids about marijuana.

Representative Istook's backdoor amendment proves that the Congress is willing to violate the Constitution in order to hide from citizens the most basic facts about the impact of our current drug laws.  Government censorship to quell criticism of its own policies should not be tolerated in the United States.

If politicians really want to reduce marijuana use by young people, then they should regulate and control it like alcohol and tobacco, instead of making it easily available on the mean streets of America.

Preventing the free exchange of ideas on marijuana is un-American.  It is time we consider new ways of thinking about marijuana issues by having an honest dialogue instead of continuing ineffective and wasteful government policies.

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