MSNBC Transcripts: The Abrams Report’ - Nevada Pot

MSNBC Transcripts: The Abrams Report’ - Nevada Pot
Posted by CN Staff on August 09, 2002 at 08:36:18 PT
Transcripts of Thursday’s Show - August 8, 2002
Source: MSNBC
Coming up: Nevada considering legalizing pot. We’ll talk about it in a moment.    (COMMERCIAL BREAK)    ABRAMS: Coming up: Making marijuana legal, one state wants to do it. And its top police association says: “Go ahead. Fine with us.” We’ll take up that in our “Justice Roundtable.” Plus, Erin Brockovich joins us to talk about her latest fight-but first, the latest news. 
(NEWS BREAK)    ANNOUNCER: Live from the David Westerfield murder trial in San Diego, here’s Dan Abrams.    ABRAMS: Welcome back.    We’re still waiting to see if there will be a verdict in the David Westerfield trial. We’ll bring it to you if and when there is.    Our judicial roundtable is ready to fight a round, this one on the war on drugs. That’s because stores selling packs of legal marijuana could be fighting casinos for space on the Las Vegas Strip this fall thanks to an initiative backed this week by Nevada’s largest police organization.    On November 4, Nevada voters will decide whether adults will be allowed to have up to 3 ounces of legal pot, with the drug to be sold and taxed in stores, licensed by the state. Anti-drug groups hate the proposal. But this week, the Board of the Nevada Conference of Police and Sheriffs voted unanimously to back it.    Well, why? Let’s ask them.    With me for that is Andy Anderson, president of the Nevada Conference of Police and Sheriffs.    Mr. Anderson, thanks a lot for coming on the program.    You know, when you think of police and sheriffs organizations, you don’t ordinarily think of an organization that would support an effort to legalize pot. Why are you doing it?    ANDY ANDERSON, NEVADA CONFERENCE OF POLICE AND SHERIFFS: Well, we’re not really-we’re not endorsing the abuse of pot or encouraging it to be used at all.    What we’re saying is that we’ve had a trend here in Nevada to where we’re kind of decriminalizing the possession of marijuana. Last year in our legislature, we passed a law saying that if you have got less than an ounce, it’s now not just a misdemeanor; it’s a misdemeanor that gets only a citation and not even an arrest. We aren’t-what we’re saying...    (CROSSTALK)    ANDERSON: What? Go ahead.    ABRAMS: I was just going to say, isn’t the issue for you, though, resources, the fact that you want to be able to have your people spending time on issues that you think are far more important?    ANDERSON: Yes. And that’s what I was getting to.    I was getting to the fact that it’s not that we endorse it, but we spend a lot of time making arrests for possession. I’m talking small possession charges, not the ones for intent to sell. It takes us off the street for several hours. And depending on what kind of night you have got going, it could be up to half-a-shift.    We feel that, since most of these cases aren’t being prosecuted by the district attorney’s office, then why are we wasting our time making these arrests, when we could be better served staying in our district and responding to calls of service or even emergency type of situations. So that’s what it’s all about. It’s prioritizing our resources.    ABRAMS: What do you make of the argument that: All right, we understand you. We get you. We appreciate your limited resources. Why not keep it illegal and just say to the police and sheriffs around the state: “Look, don’t bother too much with pot cases. It’s still illegal. If it comes up, we’ll deal with it, but just don’t really enforce it”?    Why not leave it on the books and just make it an issue of enforcement?    ANDERSON: Well, I think what you’ve got is, then you start having an equality on enforcement.    You have got a law on the books that you can use. And then, if you’re in one county or one part of town, you may or may not get arrested. But in the other part of town, you may get arrested. What you’re talking about is an equity issue here. How do you have a law on the books that you tell people, “Don’t enforce the law”? If you’re going to tell them that, take the law off the books. And that’s the whole question here.    ABRAMS: And I’ve got to tell you, I really do agree with you on this particular issue.    I’m going to be talking in a moment to President Clinton’s former drug czar, General Barry McCaffrey, who I don’t think is going to agree with you. And what he’s going to say is-I assume-is, he’s going to say:    “Look, marijuana, drugs are dangerous. They are bad for society. They lead to the use of other drugs. Their sale, particularly when you’re talking about larger sales, lead to very dangerous situations. And we should be nipping it at the bud, so to speak.”    ANDERSON: And I can appreciate what he’s saying. And I know where he’s coming from.    The thing is, is that, right now, it’s against the law. Do you know that-and I can’t verify this with a whole bunch of people-but I’ve talked to some kids and I heard that it’s easier for a high school kid to buy a baggie of marijuana than it is a six-pack of beer. Well, I’ll asked my daughter that. And she’s now 23 and total against marijuana. But she said: “You know, dad, you’re right. When I went to high school, you could buy marijuana easier than you could a six-pack of beer.”    So, although we’re saying we don’t want to make the arrests, I think what we’ve got to do is, we’ve got to go make an attempt to regulate it better. I’m talking about pass some laws that make it a little bit harsher for people that sell it. Ban it from the public, so you can’t smoke it anywhere you have public access. And if you find marijuana on a guy in a high school or a school, make that a felony and prosecute him accordingly.    (CROSSTALK)    ABRAMS: Let me ask very quickly. We had a technical problem with Richard Gammick before, a DA out there.    Mr. Gammick sorry about that. We apologize.    Very quickly, I think you’ve been hearing the end of what Mr. Anderson has been saying, about, look, the fact is that the police don’t want to waste their time anymore with enforcing small-time pot arrests. They would rather be fighting terrorism and dealing with more important issues. What do you make of that?    RICHARD GAMMICK, WASHOE COUNTY DISTRICT ATTORNEY: Well, we got a lot of laws on the books that the police may feel are wasting their time. I have a real hard time understanding any of this logic at all. I have almost 30 years in law enforcement in one respect or another, to include being a street officer.    Let me show you what we’re talking about here. Mr. Anderson said that they’re not advocating the legalization of pot? Then what are they doing? The proposition says, 1, 2, 3 ounces of pot are legal. What more can I say? This is almost 90 cigarettes, 90 cigarettes of marijuana, that this proposition wants to legalize for people to carry around with them.    So, I’m not sure what they’re advocating here. If they’re coming out in support of this proposition, that’s what they’re doing. They’re legalizing pot.    ABRAMS: Mr. Anderson, your response?    ANDERSON: Well, my response is, is that, last year alone, the state legislature came out and said that if you have less than an ounce, we’re going to give you a ticket, complimentary to a speeding ticket or a parking ticket.    And what we’re talking about is the difference between 1 ounce and 3 ounces. So now, if you have got an ounce-and-a-half, I take you to jail and book you on a felony charge. If you have got less than an ounce, I write you a citation. And it’s not even reflecting as a criminal prosecution or anything like that. I mean, there’s some inequities there.    ABRAMS: But address specifically-Mr. Gammick says the bottom line is, you’re calling for it to be made legal. Just call a spade a spade.    ANDERSON: Right.    And the thing is, the regulations are, what it means is that, if you’re 21 years, you’re a responsible adult, you can smoke it in your house. You can’t smoke it in the public. You can’t drive under the influence of it. And you can’t sell it to kids. That’s still against the law.    Now, the 3 ounces there, I mean, I’ve heard the argument that, hey, if a guy has got 3 ounces, he’s going to be selling it. Well, I don’t really believe that a guy possessing 3 ounces of marijuana is your typical drug dealer and he’s got it for sale.    ABRAMS: All right, final word, Mr. Gammick.    GAMMICK: You know, it’s amazing. I get about 30 seconds here, compared to a whole lot of time on the other side to try to get my points across.    ABRAMS: Sir, I apologize. We had a technical problem. I apologize.    GAMMICK: My point are here, this is an addictive drug. This is an illegal drug. We’re telling our children: “It’s a bad drug. It’s bad for you to do this. Oh, by the way, we’re going to legalize it so people can smoke their dope.”    We have laws against children smoking now. We’re real good at enforcing those. See how many children are smoking anyway, even though we have the laws. We have laws against driving and drinking. That’s going over real big, too. We have laws against these things that they take the exceptions here, and say that we’re going to make these illegal. But, at the same time, we’re still legalizing drugs. That’s the bottom line here.    This is a dangerous, addictive drug. It is a gateway drug. And we’re just coming through, saying, “Let’s make it legal because it’s no big deal.” Well, you need to read some information and learn about this drug before you say it’s no big deal.    I am extremely disappointed. The grounds for law enforcement and the oath I took said we are to protect the public. And for the officers in this situation to say, “We’re too busy to do that,” with all of the discretion they have on the street to make those determinations whether or not they’re going to arrest, is just plain wrong. Some things are wrong. And this is it. Even with the 1 ounce, it is still a misdemeanor crime in this state.    ABRAMS: All right, Mr. Gammick, I think our next guest is probably going to agree with you.    What are you going to do with that pot, by the way? You got 3 ounces of it there.    GAMMICK: I’m going to show it to everybody that will look at it, so they can see just how much we’re talking about here.    ABRAMS: Fair enough.    Mr. Gammick, again, I apologize to you about the technical problem we had. And I appreciate you coming on the program-Mr. Anderson as well.    (CROSSTALK)    ABRAMS: Let’s check in with former drug czar General Barry McCaffrey, who I think is going to agree with Mr. Gammick with regard to a number of these issues.    General, great to see you on the program again.    You heard the argument. What’s your position?    RET. GEN. BARRY MCCAFFREY, FORMER DRUG CZAR: Dan, let me make my own case, for starters.    (LAUGHTER)    ABRAMS: Please. Please.    MCCAFFREY: I think the debate misses the point.    The point is, five million Americans are chronically addicted to illegal drugs. The point is, for the first time in the last eight years, we’ve had drug use among young people dropping drastically. The rate to which they use alcohol, cigarettes, marijuana is going down.    The PRIDE survey just came out. What we care about is having adolescents who are stoned, drunk, dazed, pregnant, HIV-positive, dead in traffic accidents. I’ll bet there haven’t been 10 people arrested in their own home in Nevada smoking an ounce of pot by themselves. It’s a nonsense argument. We want high social disapproval of drug use to include marijuana.    ABRAMS: But here’s the problem, General, is that you’ve just listed alcohol and cigarettes, which are both legal products. They are legal.    MCCAFFREY: Not for...    ABRAMS: And it’s...    MCCAFFREY: Excuse me.    They are not legal for a 12-year-old to be drunk on pot and beer.    ABRAMS: But no one is talking about-wait a sec. Wait a sec. Wait a sec, general. No one is talking about making marijuana legal.    MCCAFFREY: No, that’s what I was talking about.    ABRAMS: Well, OK, fair enough.    But no one is considering, in Nevada, making marijuana legal for children. The issue there is making marijuana legal for adults.    MCCAFFREY: Dan, this is it malarkey.    If 3 ounces of possession is made legal in that state, we will turn Nevada, statewide, into the equivalent of Amsterdam. And they’re not going to like it. The NYPD enforces turnstile jumping, graffiti, lipping off and harassing tourists. Lots of little laws are enforced not with jail time, for God’s sake, but they try and enforce public order and security.    Now, I don’t think anybody is arguing for arresting and jailing some teenager with two joints on him. We are talking, though, about children, about society, and about understanding that marijuana is a dangerous drug.    ABRAMS: And I’m just still not clear at the difference between alcohol, because alcohol is dangerous, too. It’s dangerous for children and it’s dangerous for adults.    MCCAFFREY: Well, the moral argument between methamphetamines and beer may be one you want to make. I don’t.    If you go to Dr. David Smith, Haight Ashbury clinic, San Francisco, and say, “What do you think about pot?” he would tell you: “We’re worried about it. We take 300 kids off the street a month whose primary source of drug abuse is marijuana. We actually don’t want our truck drivers, airline pilots, eye surgeons, and adolescents using marijuana.”    ABRAMS: General McCaffrey, you make your case far better than I do when I’m trying to describe how you’re going to say it. So thanks a lot for coming on the program and making it yourself. As always, it’s great to see you on the show. And we hope to have you back again soon.    MCCAFFREY: OK, Dan. THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED. Transcription Copyright 2002 FDCH-eMedia - Federal Document Clearing House, Inc. - eMediaMillWorks, Inc. Complete Transcripts: MSNBC (US Web)Published: July 18, 2002Copyright: 2002 MSNBCContact: letters msnbc.comWebsite: Articles & Web Sites:NRLE Policy Project Blitzer Reports Transcripts: Legalize Pot? Transcripts: Pot Legalization in Nevada
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Comment #8 posted by Dan B on August 09, 2002 at 16:01:12 PT:
From Richard Gammick in this article:The proposition says, 1, 2, 3 ounces of pot are legal. What more can I say? This is almost 90 cigarettes, 90 cigarettes of marijuana, that this proposition wants to legalize for people to carry around with them. and from Todd Raybuck, narcotics detective, Las Vegas Police:Additionally, it's enough to roll not 100, 200 but more than 250 marijuana cigarettes. And Mr. Rogers is proposing that every Nevadan over the age of 21 years of age can carry this in their pockets on the street of Nevada. And that's absurd. (see from"One ounce is a lot for personal use; 3 ounces is ridiculous," Undersheriff Richard Winget said. "You can make 120 marijuana cigarettes with 3 ounces. That's not for individual use; that amount is for dealing."One very clear indication that the "justice" system is broken is when an undersheriff, a narc detective, and a district attorney, all campaigning for the same side of the issue, can't get a simple ratio correct. How many joints in an ounce? Multiply by three, and that is what you get for three ounces. That number should be the same for everyone in the system. If these were dealers and not narcs, I'd definitely be buying from Todd Raybuck--and I'd demand enough weed per ounce to make at least 80 joints. What large ounces those would have to be!Dan B
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Comment #7 posted by Jose Melendez on August 09, 2002 at 14:07:43 PT
Arrest Prohibition
Just because they can keep a straight face does NOT mean they are speaking the truth..."I am not a doctor, but there is no medical evidence that marijuana works," said Matt Sandoval, a prosecutor from Las Vegas and president of the New Mexico District Attorneys Association.""There is not a shred of scientific evidence that shows that smoked marijuana is useful or needed," said Drug Czar Barry McCaffrey on August 16, 1996, in The San Francisco Chronicle. if he had deliberately given an order to destroy documents to "subvert governmental investigations," (fired Enron auditor David) Duncan invoked his constitutional right to silence."...the moral argument between methamphetamines and beer may be one you want to make. I don’t." MADD, PUBLIC HEALTH COALITION URGE CONGRESS TO "JUST SAY NO" TO ALCOHOL INDUSTRY EFFORTS TO EXCLUDE ALCOHOL FROM MASSIVE YOUTH ANTI-DRUG AD CAMPAIGN Will Congress Cave in to Pressure from National Beer Wholesalers Association and Partnership for a Drug-Free America by Allowing Billion-Dollar Youth Anti-Drug Campaign to Ignore No. 1 Drug of Choice Among Young People - Alcohol?? WASHINGTON, D.C. (June 7, 1999) --- Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and a broad-based public health coalition today urged the Congress to "just say no" to efforts by the National Beer Wholesalers Association, the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, and friends of the alcohol industry in Congress, who are fighting to exclude alcohol * the No. 1 drug of choice among young people * from the most comprehensive and expensive taxpayer-funded, youth anti-drug advertising campaign in U.S. history. The ONDCP, under the direction of General McCaffrey, is conducting a federally-funded, five-year, billion-dollar primetime advertising campaign, in coordination with the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, to urge the youth of America not to use drugs. MADD and other health and safety advocates believe that this effort is "tragically flawed" in that not one penny of the taxpayer money is used to combat underage use and abuse of alcohol. Earlier this year, when General McCaffrey appeared before the House Appropriations committee, he was asked to include alcohol in the paid portion of this campaign. He said he would not do so, because the legislation creating the campaign and authorizing his office was unclear as to whether he could address alcohol. He maintained that he was only authorized to address illicit drugs. However, since the passage of the 21 uniform minimum drinking age in 1984, it has been illegal for those under the age of 21 to purchase or publicly possess alcohol. "Alcohol is an illicit drug for Americans under the legal minimum drinking age of 21," said Karolyn Nunnallee, National President of MADD. "Failure of this nation's drug policy to address alcohol and underage drinking will turn this so-called war on drugs into another Vietnam." MADD and a broadly based coalition of more than 75 organizations support including underage drinking prevention in ONDCP's "Anti-Drug Youth Media Campaign." The coalition includes the American Medical Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Public Health Association, the Center for Science in the Public Interest, and the Crime Prevention Council. The House Appropriations Committee is expected to vote on related legislation as early as this week that would open up the five-year, billion-dollar media campaign to messages aimed at preventing underage drinking. "Alcohol kills six times more young people in our country than all other illicit drugs combined, and it is the primary gateway drug for other illicit drug use," Nunnallee added. "Including alcohol and underage drinking messages in this most massive youth anti-drug media campaign will enhance the overall effectiveness of the program, not dilute it." U.S. Reps. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-CA) and Frank Wolf (R-VA) are sponsoring an amendment before the House Appropriations Committee that removes all impediments cited by ONDCP to include underage drinking prevention messages in the primetime ad campaign. Appropriations Committee member Rep. Anne Northup (R-KY), the National Beer Wholesalers Association and the Partnership for a Drug-Free America are leading the effort to kill the Roybal-Allard / Wolf amendment. v "The National Beer Wholesalers Association can do something MADD by law cannot: lavish campaign contributions on Members of Congress," said Nunnallee. "The debate over this legislation is yet another said example of 'money talks,' and it's about time the taxpayers who are paying for this billion-dollar ad campaign take back their government." The National Beer Wholesalers Association fought proposed lifesaving legislation last year to lower the drunk driving limit nationwide to .08 percent. A recent Harvard School of Public Health College Alcohol Study showed that student binge drinking is the single most serious public health problem confronting American youth. Half of all college students surveyed who drank alcohol were binge drinkers. Of the students who drank, 20 percent drank on 10 or more occasions in the past month and 36 percent admitted they drove after drinking. A 1996 survey by the American Medical Association found that 33 percent of 19 and 20 year olds consume at least four alcoholic beverages on an average night, and 20 percent have six or more drinks. "We are outraged by the efforts of the alcoholic-beverage industry, particularly the beer wholesalers, to discourage the inclusion of anti-alcohol messages in the federal government's largest and most ambitious non-military advertising campaign to date," said George Hacker, Director of Alcohol Policies Project at the Center for Science in the Public Interest. "For goodness sake, these are our children." According to the Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, in 1994 underage drinking killed 6,350 youth ages 12-20, while illicit drug use killed 980. (The most recent year when such figures are available.) "It is very sad that the Partnership for a Drug-Free America appears interested in only a partial drug-free America for youth," Nunnallee said. "The partnership is refusing to open its eyes to the brutal truth that the earlier the onset of alcohol use, the greater the increased risk of other illicit drug use. We can only surmise that representatives of the Partnership from the advertising and media industries are more concerned about keeping their major alcohol industry clients happy than keeping our kids safe, healthy and alive." Brendan Brogan, 18, is the Youth Member of MADD's National Board who became active in the fight against underage drinking after surviving a drinking binge at age 14 that left him temporarily comatose. "It is not a surprise that young people view alcohol as a so-called safe alternative to illicit drugs when they are waking up to ads that dazzle and delight by equating the popping of a cold one with beauty, sex appeal, acceptance, success and self esteem," Brogan said. " This irresponsible alcohol marketing blatantly targeting youth comes from the same people in the beer industry that are now trying to set the drug control policy in our country." Last month, MADD contacted the White House to ask their position on this issue. MADD was informed that President Clinton had "no position." On May 26th, MADD President Nunnallee sent a letter to the President and the Vice President, and to date there has been no response from the White House. Also addressing today's news conference was Carl Soderstrom, M.D., Professor of Surgery at the University of Maryland Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore. Dr. Soderstrom spoke of the widespread prevalence of alcohol in death and injury cases of young Americans resulting from blunt force and penetrating trauma. Source: Mothers Against Drunk Driving
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Comment #6 posted by Industrial Strength on August 09, 2002 at 10:25:33 PT
National Geographic
I know it's off topic, but I absolutely love National Geographic shows. I don't know if it's a Canadian thing, but we actually have a "National Geographic Channel" here now. One of my favorite channels. I love nature shows when I'm feeling closer to Jah.
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Comment #5 posted by BGreen on August 09, 2002 at 10:17:49 PT
It's a partnership between Microsoft and NBC TV
It's a lot like CNN, except they sometimes show repackaged repeats of Dateline stories and National Geographic programs in addition to the news.Donahue on MSNBC has been a really great show so far.
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Comment #4 posted by Industrial Strength on August 09, 2002 at 10:12:12 PT
Is that a good network? The CRTC won't allow it, which is moronic because they allow CNN.
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Comment #3 posted by Industrial Strength on August 09, 2002 at 10:10:53 PT
McCaffery actually called pot a methamphetamine. Argh.
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Comment #2 posted by BGreen on August 09, 2002 at 09:18:27 PT
More from Dr. Smith
For example, there has been an increase not just in the use of highly publicized drugs, such as marijuana, psychedelics, and amphetamines, but also in the use of alcohol and tobacco. It turns out that the number one predictor of whether an adolescent will experiment with an illicit, psychoactive drug is whether they are involved with alcohol or tobacco during adolescence. In our public policy debates, we separate alcohol and tobacco from the "illicit" drugs, ignoring the fact that for teenagers, alcohol is an illegal drug. The only group that has shown much progress has been the older age groups, and there, some progress has been compromised by an increasing use of prescription, psychoactive drugs.
The Social and Economic Consequences of Addiction in America
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Comment #1 posted by BGreen on August 09, 2002 at 09:11:53 PT
Look at what Dr. David Smith really says!
Dr. David E. Smith sees storm clouds ahead. He thinks American health care has become a disaster, and says it's time the Clinton administration admitted the obvious -- the war on drugs is tearing society apart."The drug war has failed," Smith said. "It's a racist war, and it's corrupting the system. We need a new policy -- decriminalization." Smith was having a cup of Sumatra and a sweet roll in a coffee house on Haight Street, a couple of blocks from the funky Victorian house at 409 Clayton Street where he has worked in the same third- floor walkup office since Richard Nixon's first term as president.
Doctor to the Just-Say-Yes Generation
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