Will The Supreme Court Separate Drug Speech?

Will The Supreme Court Separate Drug Speech?
Posted by CN Staff on March 23, 2007 at 15:57:34 PT
By Daniel Abrahamson, AlterNet
Source: AlterNet 
Washington, DC -- On Monday, March 19, the Supreme Court heard a case concerning the scope of student speech in public high schools. The case, Morse v. Frederick, involved an 18 year old high school student who was punished by school officials for displaying a banner on a sidewalk across the street from his school. The banner was destroyed and the student was suspended because officials believed the banner, which read "Bong Hits 4 Jesus," touted a pro-drug message in violation of the school's anti-drug policy.
The case has the potential to impact a wide swath of student expression. The Court, however, could walk a narrower path and carve out as undeserving of constitutional protection just one type of speech: drug speech. Based on the justices' questioning at oral argument, it appears that a majority of the Court may be inclined to refashion the Nancy Reagan's mantra "Just Say No" into "Don't Even Say It," when it comes to student speech that references drugs.One of the most disturbing features of the Supreme Court argument was the fact that most of the justices appear to believe that because drugs in high schools are a scourge worth combating, student speech about drugs -- and by extension drug policy -- is likely to encourage student drug use. The justices, in other words, equated student speech about drugs with drug use itself, and a majority may permit school administrators to censor the former in the hopes of snuffing out the latter.But this conflation of speech and conduct is unwarranted and dangerous. It was telling that the very same Ken Starr, who argued in favor of student censorship appeared on the Supreme Court steps for media interviews along with former Drug Czar Barry McCaffrey who, a decade ago, warned physicians who spoke about the potential medical benefits of marijuana that they "sent the wrong message" to youth. McCaffrey was so convinced that physician speech would incite adolescent drug use that he threatened to punish doctors who recommended medical marijuana to their sick and dying patients. The federal courts struck down McCaffrey's plan because it violated doctors' First Amendment rights. Studies now show that adolescent marijuana use is actually lower in those states that protect the cultivation and use of marijuana for medical purposes.To date, neither the government, nor schools nor the media have succeeded in crafting messages that actually prevent the use of alcohol and other drugs among students. As the independent U.S. Government Accountability Office found, after investigating the most widespread prevention program of all time, there is "no significant differences in illicit drug use between students who received DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) and students who did not." The GAO also panned the Drug Czar's billion dollar Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign, concluding that the now infamous TV and radio spots, including those equating adolescent drug use with terrorism were "not effective in reducing youth drug use."These facts are not an argument about the futility of prevention education, but rather about the futility of censorship. What should matter most is that the message actually induces its audience to engage in less harmful behavior. History has repeatedly shown the opposite: that censorship has been ineffective in advancing governmental interests.School censorship of speech about drugs is a profoundly bad drug abuse prevention strategy. A student sitting at a personal computer can retrieve 22 million websites by typing in the word "marijuana" into a search engine -- with those of the White House Office of National Drug Policy and Drug Policy Alliance, organizations advocating disparate policy views, among the first appearing. As those who study adolescent drug attitudes recognize, strategies that deny that students' right to hear a range of opinions -- from friends, adults or the media -- do not work. Nor do those that discount students' intelligence and experience, or that lack candor and credibility. In short, curtailing student speech bears no reasonable relationship to reducing drug use.Students are especially affected by -- and distinctly qualified to speak about -- a number of drug policies that are the subject of intense debate: the lengthy sentencing laws that incarcerate hundreds of thousands of parents, siblings and friends; the mounting data impugning random student drug testing; widespread racial inequities in the enforcement of drug laws; and the increasing difficulty grandparents to obtain adequate pain relief. Students have a unique perspective on many of these important issues and society has a strong interest in hearing from them.A Supreme Court decision saying that because adolescent drug use is bad adolescent discourse about drugs is unworthy, or less worthy, of constitutional protection would be a serious blow to First Amendment principles. But such a ruling would also enshrine in national law a needlessly cynical view of the abilities and responsibilities of high school students to discuss timely, albeit controversial matters. It is irresponsible to ignore what high school students actually think, know, and believe about drugs or to punish them because high school officials do not like what they have to say. We do so at our peril. Complete Title: Will the Supreme Court Separate "Drug Speech" from Free Speech?Daniel Abrahamson is Director of Legal Affairs for the Drug Policy Alliance. Source: AlterNet (US)Author:  Daniel Abrahamson, AlterNetPublished: March 23, 2007Copyright: 2007 Independent Media InstituteContact: letters Website: Articles & Web Site:Drug Policy Alliance Precedent 4 Student Speech Schooler's Fun Unites Right and Left in Smoke At The High Court 
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Comment #15 posted by Had Enough on March 24, 2007 at 09:27:58 PT
Talk’n Bout, My Generation.
We Sure Won’t Back Down!!!The powers that be has had their turn, and look at what happened.It’s our turn at the helm.
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Comment #14 posted by Toker00 on March 24, 2007 at 09:05:16 PT
Had Enough
Born to be Wild. Not jailed. Not pushed into labor camps. Ungoverned. Not persecuted. Not prosecuted. Born to OBEY THE LAWS OF NATURE, not the Rule of Man. Every generation since ours has also been victims to the above abuses of power. If a generation is 18 years, then we are over two generations STRONG. Against two generations before us who have been two generations WRONG. We are entering the first year of the THIRD generation, since The Controlled Substances Act and the War on Drugs began, to be it's victims. Our numbers are enormous. That is why we are going to see REAL change in the near future. They are simply being outnumbered. That, and because Truth Seekers WON'T BACK DOWN!Toke. 
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Comment #13 posted by Had Enough on March 24, 2007 at 07:06:05 PT
Born to Be Wild
Just an observation.Every generation since, has felt that song was meant for them.John Kay and Steppenwolf sure did leave a landmark for society.DON'T STEP ON THE GRASS, SAM
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Comment #12 posted by Toker00 on March 24, 2007 at 06:59:35 PT
We need to encircle
the Capitals of the World and walk into their Halls, embrace them and tell them: NO MORE! GOVERNMENT IS OVER! We are FREE and we don't need you anymore because NO MORE! WAR IS OVER! We need to encircle the entire planet and embrace it and say: NO MORE! RULE OF MAN IS OVER! NO MORE! WAR IS OVER! FREE AT LAST! FREE AT LAST! THANK GOD ALMIGHTY WE ARE FREE AT LAST! WAGE PEACE ON WAR (If you want it.)Toke.  
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Comment #11 posted by Had Enough on March 24, 2007 at 06:23:04 PT
Take the world in a love embrace
Fire all of your guns at onceAnd explode into space… to enter the Wolves Den.
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Comment #10 posted by Toker00 on March 24, 2007 at 06:00:56 PT
How do we stop this? How do we "arrest" our government? Bush/Cheney are going to read this as Iranian aggression and their trigger finger is going to flinch. It's time for all the People of the World to encircle their military bases. It's time for Mothers, Wives, Sister and Daughters to walk onto these bases and take the hand of the Men they love and tell them NO MORE! WAR IS OVER! Fathers, Sons, Husbands and Brothers need to walk onto these bases and just start letting the air out of every tire they see, puncture every radiator, slice every water, hydraulic oil or air hose you can, then embrace our Family of God and tell them: NO MORE! WAR IS OVER! We need to encircle every ammunition plant and do the same thing. We need to encircle our Police Stations and tell them: NO MORE! WAR ON DRUGS IS OVER! Walk up and embrace every Cop you see and tell them: FOREVER! NO MORE! WAR ON DRUGS IS OVER! As these tears stream down my face and my throat is being choked with emotions I can't explain, I beg you all! WAGE PEACE ON WAR!TAKE THE WORLD IN A LOVE EMBRACE!Toker00 
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Comment #9 posted by Had Enough on March 24, 2007 at 05:47:02 PT
Link in Comment #1
A few tid bits.“The Independent, which had successfully campaigned to decriminalize the drug in Britain, published a March 18 editorial apologizing for having misled the public. The words, "Cannabis: An Apology," appeared in large letters on page one. The apology quoted Professor Neil McKeganey of Glasgow University's Centre for Drug Misuse Research as saying, "Society has seriously underestimated how dangerous cannabis really is. We could well see over the next 10 years increasing numbers of young people in serious difficulties." The Independent also quoted Robin Murray, professor of psychiatry at London's Institute of Psychiatry and an editor of Marijuana and Madness, a scientific work linking marijuana to various psychotic disorders.” and…“But the dangers associated with marijuana go far beyond mental confusion and acting like a buffoon. It destroys a person's productive capacity and can help make people either wards of the state, unable to take care of themselves, or criminals. We are increasingly hearing of notorious criminal cases in which marijuana has been a factor. One case, from Richardson's home state of New Mexico, involved the boy who shot his family on a ranch owned by Sam Donaldson. He was a marijuana user. The Discovery Times cable channel just re-aired a documentary about the murder of 12-year-old Polly Klass, who was abducted from a slumber party. Career criminal Richard Allen Davis was convicted of the crime and sentenced to death. But many are not aware that he said that he had been high on marijuana when he killed the girl. Davis had previously been convicted of possessing marijuana.”at the end…“But Steven Steiner of Americans for Drug Free Youth, who established the Soros Monitor website, is not afraid of Soros and his lackeys. When Soros was preparing for a 2004 speech before the National Press Club in Washington, Steiner grabbed the microphone in an effort to explain why Soros-supported drug legalization would only make the drug problem worse. Steiner was roughed up and led away, suffering a dislocated shoulder, a punch to the back, threats of more physical violence, and five hours in the hospital undergoing X-rays and other tests. 
Accuracy in Media called the hospitalization of Steiner one of the most underreported or buried stories of 2004, even though it had occurred before a roomful of journalists. 
At the National Press Club event, Steiner had held up a photo of his dead son, a victim of drugs. Today's tragedy is that more such victims are being created in the name of helping the sick and dying. Our media are complicit in this dangerous campaign of lies and deceit.”
 I kicked on a link in the side of the page that said “Who We Are” and this is what came up. Accuracy In Media is a non-profit, grassroots citizens watchdog of the news media that critiques botched and bungled news stories and sets the record straight on important issues that have received slanted coverage.This piece is by Cliff Kincaid | March 23, 2007All the elements of the “Reefer Madness” flick.Anslinger, & Co sure would be proud of this."How many murders, suicides, robberies, criminal assaults, holdups, burglaries and deeds of maniacal insanity it causes each year, especially among the young, can only be conjectured...No one knows, when he places a marijuana cigarette to his lips, whether he will become a joyous reveller in a musical heaven, a mad insensate, a calm philosopher, or a murderer..."HARRY J ANSLINGER commissioner of the US Bureau of Narcotics 1930 1962"There are 100,000 total marijuana smokers in the US, and most are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos and entertainers. Their Satanic music, jazz and swing, result from marijuana usage. This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers and any others."Harry Anslinger, U.S. Commissioner of Narcotics, testifying to Congress on why marijuana should be made illegal,1937. (Marijuana Tax Act, signed Aug. 2, 1937; effective Oct. 1, 1937.)"The size of the lie is a definite factor in causing it to be believed, for the vast masses of the nation are in the depths of their hearts more easily deceived than they are consciously and intentionally bad. The primitive simplicity of their minds renders them a more easy prey to a big lie than a small one, for they themselves often tell little lies but would be ashamed to tell a big one.""All propaganda must be so popular and on such an intellectual level, that even the most stupid of those towards whom it is directed will understand it. Therefore, the intellectual level of the propaganda must be lower the larger the number of people who are to be influenced by it."From Benito Mussolini contributing to the "London Sunday Express," December 8, 1935
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Comment #8 posted by mayan on March 24, 2007 at 05:16:17 PT
Report says British sailors held in Tehran: UK Troops Illegally Entered Waters:
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Comment #7 posted by Toker00 on March 23, 2007 at 20:06:12 PT
In other words mayan,
the pansies are being looked at and groomed for participation in a False Flag State Sponsored Terrorist Attack like all the others. Groomed like Bush and Blair. Groomed like Bill and Hillary. But on the opposite end of the power chain. The CIA Bottom Feeders manipulated by the Anti-Humans creating false fear to scare the last remaining shred of Humanity into submission. It ain't gonna happen. Somethings going to stop it. I don't know what, it's just a hunch, but something is going to backfire. Karma.Toke.  
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Comment #6 posted by ekim on March 23, 2007 at 19:46:44 PT
Hear a LEAP Speaker near you--- or invite one
 Mar 24 07 Liberty Seminar 01:15 PM Jim Watkin Windsor Ontario Canada 
 University Campus, University of Windsor Vanier Hall Link to information about seminar: Mar 24 07 First Unitarian Society of Ithaca 07:00 PM Peter Christ Ithaca New York USA 
 Web site: Mar 24 07 New Jersey Libertarian Party Convention 04:00 PM Fred Martens Atlantic City New Jersey USA 
 Bayside Resorts Quality Inn Website: Mar 27 07 Clark University, Speakers Forum 08:00 PM Jack Cole Worcester Massachusetts USA 
 Johnson Auditorium, Sackler Science Center.  950 Main St, Worcester, MA 01610 Mar 27 07 Valley Economic Alliance 08:30 AM David Doddridge Van Nuys California USA 
 Web site: Mar 29 07 Northlake Georgia Rotary 12:15 PM Jason Fisher Stone Mountain Georgia USA 
 Smoke Rise Golf & Country Club Mar 29 07 Burlington Kiwanis 12:00 PM Jim Byron Burlington Washington USA 
 Alfy’s Pizza Mar 29 07 University of Illinois SSDP Drug Policy Panel Discussion 07:00 PM Greg Francisco Bloomington/Normal Illinois USA 
 Co-panelists include Peter Guither (DrugWarRan) and George Pappas, (Former SSDP member) director of IDEAL Mar 29 07 Franklin Pierce College 06:00 PM Bradley Jardis Ringe New Hampshire USA 
 Franklin Pierce College, Ringe, New Hampshire; Cheshire Community Room, 3rd floor, Cheshire Building. Directions: when get to campus, follow one way road around the campus. Cheshire is large brick building on left. Could mapquest from stgarting location to 20 College Road, Ringe, NH 03461. Mar 29 07 Queens University 05:30 PM Peter Christ Kingston Ontario Canada 
 sponsored by concerned students of QU. Bio-Sciences Complex, Room 1102
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Comment #5 posted by Toker00 on March 23, 2007 at 19:41:56 PT
The angles on this are endless...
What about when a student wants to talk about the legal drug alcohol? The school system also discourages promotion of alcohol use by students, which is, according to a new British study, the fifth most dangerous drug available for use, legal or illegal. Will they be suspended for talking about his dad's joke: BUD(weiser) hits for Jesus? How would they determine if a student was referring to BUD(Sweet-leaf) or BUD(weiser)? Would they end that argument by suspending them for promoting Jesus to use an even more dangerous drug than cannabis? Budweiser will probably come out with a stupid beer commercial about BUD HITS FOR DALE. (NASCAR)BUD HITS FOR JOHN! Yeah, you know which BUD and you know which JOHN.Toke. 
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Comment #4 posted by John Tyler on March 23, 2007 at 19:07:09 PT
It's our duty to discuss the laws
Nibble, nibble away goes our freedoms. If students cannot question or discuss some of our law because it might go against this or that policy, where will it stop? Will they be banned from discussing other government polices too. Everyone knows that legislatures everywhere pass some really dumb, stupid, cynical, and self serving laws all of the time. Will it be that when a law is passed no one will be allowed to discuss it? If this were true we would still have slavery. Women could not own property or vote, etc.,etc. No. Time, circumstance and social conditions warrant the constant review of our laws through discussion and debate even in high school. Social progress depends on reviewing the laws and making adjustments when they are warranted. Limiting our freedom does not help the cause of freedom.    Before that day comes maybe someone should have an essay contest on “What bong hits 4 Jesus” means to me. The best essay would win a nice bong, of course, with a picture of Jesus on it. OK, picture optional.
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Comment #3 posted by mayan on March 23, 2007 at 18:23:17 PT
Get Ready
Interpol official warns of bioterror threat: the above linked article...Mar 20, 2007 (CIDRAP News) – Interpol's top official said yesterday that evidence collected from terrorists suggests that international law enforcement agencies should be ready to respond to chemical and biological attacks. (cont.) Get ready for another inside job!
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Comment #2 posted by mayan on March 23, 2007 at 17:59:55 PT
9/11 Truth has entered the mainstream full-throttle. The cat is finally out of the bag so watch the fascists panick as they launch their desperate smear campaign. The internet will see that it backires! It is imperative that we all spread the news to EVERYONE we know. The fascists are incredibly desperate at this moment and will become more so in the following days! Now is when we begin to take back our country.“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they attack you, then you win.” - Mahatma GandhiTHE WAY OUT IS THE WAY IN...Fox Bully O'Reilly Says Loose Change Will Destroy Sheen: News Threatens Sheen & Cuban Not to Make Film: Gibson attacks Loose Change, Charlie Sheen in one-sided report: Unleashes Attack Dogs On Walters Over O'Donnell 9/11 Comments: Scarborough and Glenn Beck Attack Rosie O'Donnell Over Recent 9/11 Comments:'Donnell Attack Dogs Are Bushite Neo-Cons On The Payroll:
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Comment #1 posted by FoM on March 23, 2007 at 17:20:13 PT
George Soros and the Dope Lobby
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