Pubdate: Fri, 15 Nov 2002
Source: Fox News Network (US)
Show: O'Reilly Factory
Copyright: 2002 Fox News Network, Inc.
Guest: Mark Stepnoski


O'REILLY: In the "Personal Story" segment tonight, former NFL star Mark
Stepnoski, who played for Dallas and Houston, has come out of the marijuana
closet and is on the advisory board of the National Organization for the
Reform of Marijuana Laws. 

He joins us now from Dallas. 

I bet you're getting some stares down there in Texas, aren't you? 

Mark Stepnoski, National Organization For The Reform Of Marijuana Laws:


O'REILLY: People surprised? 

STEPNOSKI: So far, so good. The feedback thus far has been very positive.

O'REILLY: Were you using pot while you were playing? 

STEPNOSKI: Yes, I had. You know, as an adult, I fully believe in NORML's,
you know, belief in responsible use by adults. 

O'REILLY: OK. So when you were playing for the Dallas Cowboys and the
Houston Oilers, you were -- now, were you using it on a daily basis? 

STEPNOSKI: No. No. It was just, you know, occasional responsible use. 

O'REILLY: OK. Did they drug test you back then? 

STEPNOSKI: Yes, drug testing's been a policy of the NFL for several years

O'REILLY: How'd you beat it? 

STEPNOSKI: Just by not taking the drug prior to the test. 

O'REILLY: OK. So you had it in your bloodstream for like two or three days.
Is that what it was? 

STEPNOSKI: You know, it was just a case of not, you know, using the drug
prior to getting tested. Again, you know, it all boils down to responsible

O'REILLY: OK. Most of the teammates using pot as well? 

STEPNOSKI: I can't really say. You know, that would be purely speculation on
my part. 

O'REILLY: But you knew some who were, obviously. 

STEPNOSKI: In some respects, you know, sports leagues are a microcosm of
society. So, certainly, there will be some drug use in the sports leagues,

O'REILLY: Yes, because I know, in the NBA, it's very, very common. They
don't drug test for marijuana there. 

STEPNOSKI: Now, in the "New York Times" today, there's a report. It says
nine-million Americans a year drive while under the influence of illegal
drugs, and you have to assume that marijuana is one of the major ones there.

Does that give you pause? 

STEPNOSKI: Yes, it does. However, I would be more concerned about the amount
of drunk driving taking place in America. I think that, you know, while
driving under the influence of any drug is not a good idea, I certainly
think, as far as priorities, drunk driving should be at the top of the list.

O'REILLY: But, you know, the marijuana initiatives have been voted down in
all states so far -- Arizona, Nevada, and Ohio this time around -- primarily
because people don't want more people behind the wheel with their
consciousness altered. But you and your fellow celebrities, Willie Nelson,
Bill Maher, Hunter Thompson, and Director Robert Altman, you want marijuana
to be more available, and I think you might have a debate there on the part
of most Americans no agreeing with you. What do you think? 

STEPNOSKI: Well, initially, we would like to see small -- the possession of
small amounts of marijuana decriminalized, and, ultimately, our goal is
legalization, and... 

O'REILLY: Right. 

STEPNOSKI: ... certainly, a majority of Americans do not favor arresting and
jailing marijuana smokers. 

O'REILLY: No, I think you're right there, and I'm for decriminalization, use
in your own home. You take it outside. I'd fine the heck out of you. 

But I think you guys overlook the danger behind the car and also the danger
to children because, if it's available in the 7-Eleven, you know some guys
are going to go down there and buy a whole bunch of weed and support their
weed habit by selling it to children. It's much easier to get if every
7-Eleven sells it. 

STEPNOSKI: Well, at the same time, though, in a recent government- sponsored
survey of 17- and 18-year-olds, 85 percent said that marijuana would be easy
to acquire. So, even though marijuana is illegal right now, it's fairly
ubiquitous among minors. 

O'REILLY: Yes, that's true. But it would be even more so among 12- and
13-year-olds because there the market would be concentrated. Instead now,
it's older teenagers and college students. But anyone under 21 would not be
able to buy it, so the market would dip down to them. 

And also what is very interesting is, in rehabilitation clinics, teenagers
on marijuana are more than every other substance including alcohol combined.

Doesn't that give you pause, Mr. Stepnoski? 

STEPNOSKI: It does not give me pause if you consider the statistics. Less
than 10 percent of first-time smokers of marijuana continue to use the drug.

O'REILLY: Yes, but that's a Soros study, and I don't believe that for a
second. But the study that we know is that more teenagers are in rehab for
pot than any other drug, including alcohol. I'll give you the last word. 

STEPNOSKI: Well, I really don't know what they would be rehabbing for. It's

O'REILLY: They want to stop smoking pot all the time and being intoxicated,

STEPNOSKI: It is not an addictive drug. It's far less dangerous than the
legal drugs like alcohol and tobacco. 

O'REILLY: All right. Check it out. You might want to rethink it. But we
appreciate you coming on.
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