Pubdate: Fri, 14 Jul 2000
Source: Journal Gazette (IN)
Copyright: 2000 Journal Gazette
Contact:  600 W. Main Street, Ft. Wayne, IN. 46802
Fax: (219) 461-8648
Author: Joyce Nalepka,
Note: Joyce Nalepka was president of the national drug prevention
organization that former First Lady Nancy Reagan chaired, the National
Federation of Parents for Drug-Free Youth.


A June 30 article by Sylvia A. Smith, "Souder battles medical-marijuana
laws," deserves a spotlight. Congressman Souder has chosen to go into very
tough territory in an effort to stop the march toward drug legalization and
more harm to America's youth. I'd like to offer parents and grandparents the
rest of the story.

For over 20 years, I have battled the drug legalizers in several arenas.
However, closing drug paraphernalia shops was easy for us compared to the
battle against their misinformation campaign that Congressman Souder will
have to wage.

Keith Stroup, founder of the National Organization for the Reform of
Marijuana Laws (NORML), who was quoted broadly in your article, is
considered by parents to be the "father of the American marijuana epidemic
among youth."

In March, l977, the House Select Committee on Narcotics Abuse and Control
held hearings on marijuana. Stroup was called to testify. Though NORML
claims it doesn't encourage youthful pot use, when Stroup was questioned by
a former congressman who stated, "It just concerned me when you (Stroup)
said, 'I would favor an absolutely open market, with no age controls, no
street controls,' '' Stroup replied, "That's
my position."

Medical Marijuana Hoax

The first time I encountered Stroup's pro-pot propaganda regarding the
medical marijuana cigarette hoax was from an article in the Emory University
student newspaper. Stroup stated, "We are trying to get marijuana
reclassified medically. If we do that, we'll be using the issue as a red
herring to give marijuana a good name. That's our way of getting to them
just like the paraphernalia laws are their way of getting to us."

In a letter to the editor of High Times Magazine that same year, Stroup
wrote: "There is no particular evidence that even those few young people who
smoke a great deal of marijuana necessarily hurt themselves or reduce their
level of performance, academic or otherwise." Stroup also offered, "Not only
have I been a regular marijuana smoker for nearly 10 years, but I expect I
will continue to be one for the next 10 years." This magazine was read by
thousands of young people who believed Stroup and passed the misinformation
on to their peers.

Stroup was part of the marijuana smoke-ins and other events that glamorized
pot. When NORML linked up with the paraphernalia manufacturers, they became
more visible because the paraphernalia manufacturers were making large
contributions to NORML to further their goals.

Two former congressmen, one a Republican, one a Democrat, conducted an
inquiry about NORML in an attempt to have one of its board members removed
from the advisory board of the National Institutes of Drug Abuse (NIDA), the
nation's largest tax-supported government agency established to educate the
nation about drug abuse. In a four-page letter to NIDA's director, they
stated the following:

"NORML not only stands for the legalization of marijuana, but for the
ultimate legalization of all drug use. But it is not just a matter of having
some wrong-headed convictions about the absolute right of the individual to
use whatever drugs his fancy turns him to. By every meaningful standard,
NORML has to be considered a militant organizational arm of the drug culture
in this country, working in close collusion with the paraphernalia industry,
the drug culture magazines and, to a certain extent, even the traffickers.

In NORML's l0th Anniversary news-letter, Stroup is quoted: "Most drug
sellers today are decent people; they should not be treated like violent
criminals." Today, their mantra includes horror stories about marijuana
users in jail for simple possession. Time after time, we've checked the
facts with the courts and their "sob story heroes" have felonies, felonies
with guns, homes converted into virtual pot farms, and yes, even murders.

'Safe' Crack Smoking

Today, they and their tentacle organization such as the Drug Policy
Foundation have multimillions of dollars from George Soros, John Sperling
and Peter Lewis. They tout such ideas as "harm reduction." The Drug Policy
Foundation has developed a "safe crack smoking pipe" with an insulated stem
so you can smoke crack without burning or cutting your lips. And the brain?

HIV/AIDS patients have been pushed to the forefront as part of NORML's
campaign to legalize marijuana cigarettes under the hoax they are medicine.
However, the National Institutes of Health has said, "People with HIV and
others whose immune systems are impaired should avoid marijuana."

A little common sense might tell us that a person with a disease such as
AIDS, which affects the immune system and from which the cause of death is
frequently AIDS-related pneumonia, would be well advised not to smoke

Congressman Souder has taken on a formidable adversary. In an attempt to
silence him, the legalizers will likely target him as they have done others
in the past. He deserves to hear the voices of parents and grandparents who
know instinctively, "Pot is good for nothing."

Finally, we thank the citizens of Congressman Souder's district for sending
us not only a leader but a leader with a brass backbone.
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