United States: Dr. Ron Paul and Stephen Baldwin Debate Marijuana Legalization on Larry King
By Ms Sylence Dogood, Hemp News Staff
This editorial is in regards to the video (posted above) of the debate about the Legalization of Marijuana between Congressman Ron Paul (R) and Actor Stephen Baldwin.
When can we find someone who will debate against medical marijuana and/or legalization and regulation of marijuana for adults who actually has actually read any research, studies, and statistics which back up their arguments? This time the chosen spokesperson is the actor, Stephen Baldwin. Wait, what? Stephen Baldwin? Is he an expert in anything other than sophomoric comedy?
I understand the need for debate on the issue, as the act of debate fleshes out all ideas from contributing individuals and all aspects are put out on the table. However, finding competent representatives of the anti-marijuana campaign who are actually versed in factual evidence seems to be a difficult task. As expected, Baldwin represents in much the same manner as any other person I have heard speaking against the legalization of marijuana. The anti-marijuana campaign continues to use ancient propaganda from the days of Harry Anslinger, hanging on to the idea that marijuana is a dangerous drug, is a gateway to “harder drugs,” and society would be worse off with its legalization. They usually have very little hard evidence to back up their claims, and in this instance, Baldwin even contradicts his own anti-marijuana stance.
Congressman Ron Paul was a nice choice for the pro-legalization side, and it seems the moderator, Joy Behar, thought so as well. She spent a majority of the debate listening to Paul’s comments, and asked thought provoking questions to solicit information from him. Since this writer is a member of the pro-legalization camp, it was nice to see a moderator be so supportive in hearing Paul’s arguments, and even a bit funny to see Baldwin forced to simply sit and listen to his opposition, without being given much time to even respond. Yes, it may be a bit one-sided, but when the anti-legalization camp comes up with any hard evidence to support their claims, maybe they’ll have something worth saying (and worth listening to).
This writer has a couple of questions… First, what is a faith-based conservative perspective? Why does Baldwin represent himself this way? My suspicion is that he has “reformed” his ways in order to advance publicly, less for personal reasons and more for his personal image. Yes, people change and I understand that. Maybe he has found religion. However, his statement that he is coming from a “faith-based conservative perspective” makes it sound like he speaks for all faiths, all religious groups. Is his faith superior to the faith of those that believe in the legalization of marijuana? I think he needs to go back to Genesis and re-learn the passage that says, as humans, we were given “all seed-bearing plants”.
If marijuana is so dangerous, why is the punishment for possession worse than the effects of actual consumption? The marijuana plant has been shown in studies to be less harmful than almost every other legal prescription, over-the-counter medication, or recreational substance available. “Marijuana leads to doing worse things,” states Baldwin.
Oh dear. Those anti-Cannabis campers are leaning on the “gateway drug” argument again. What about nicotine, alcohol, and the myriad of prescription pain meds that numerous people are addicted to? Is going to the doctor a gateway to drugs? Seeing your specialist is likely the most popular gateway to harder drugs…Vicodin, Valium, Oxycodone, Xanex, Medical Meth…all of which are shown to have much more devastating side effects than the smoking, vaporization, or eating of marijuana.
Then Baldwin’s contradiction: “Well, again, you know, there is, you know, not a whole lot of research to back up the fact that there aren’t alternatives even to that…there are lots of pain, pain relieving practices that people can study… when if in fact there are people that do have success with it, then if prescribed, under a controlled situation, then yes, obviously that makes a lot of sense.” I’m not really sure what he was talking about in this statement, other than the fact that he finishes his sentence in support of medical marijuana. I wonder what are Mr. Baldwin’s examples of “alternative pain practices”? Is he talking about pills that the doctor prescribed, like the ones listed above? Or is he talking about a regular yoga practice? Maybe some Lamaze breathing, to help those suffering “breathe through the pain” and deal with it naturally? What is his definition of these alternatives for those who choose the natural medicine of Cannabis? I am under the impression that medical marijuana patients are already using the “alternative” medicine.
How silly that the hundreds of thousands of patients that will testify to the efficacy of marijuana are ignored or deemed “druggies”. People fighting against the legalization of marijuana say there’s no evidence, but if you know a medical marijuana patient, you’ve witnessed the evidence. How sad that innocent people are put in jail and hundreds of billions of taxpayer dollars are wasted on old and outdated propaganda and lies. What a travesty that we cannot rejuvenate our floundering economy by legalizing and regulating marijuana for medical and recreational use (for adults) and give industrial hemp a new life on our American farms.
Even when given the final word, the only thing Baldwin comes up with is “Are there a lot of marijuana smoking Ron Paul supporters?” For a debate, it seems a ridiculous question for a final statement. No factual evidence, no convincing argument, but a joke. Maybe there are many Paul supporters who smoke marijuana…but they are not criminals. They are normal people, with regular lives, who understand and appreciate the value of a safe and natural medicine.
The anti-marijuana campaign must stop. The politics and policies surrounding Cannabis sativa are rife with lies, lobbying, and propaganda. Say no to prohibition. Legalize. Regulate. Educate.