Pubdate: Fri, 18 Dec 2015
Source: Phoenix New Times (AZ)
Copyright: 2015 New Times, Inc.
Author: Ray Stern


Arizona Pot Prohibitionist Seth Leibsohn Says He Won't Really Debate in
Favor of Legalization Avriette A right-wing Sedona group advertises what
promises to be the throwdown of the year: A debate on the merits of
marijuana legalization between staunch pot prohibitionist Sheila Polk
on one side and fellow anti-marijuana activist Seth Leibsohn on the

Yes, you read that right: The group says Leibsohn will take a
pro-legalization stance in the debate.

Leibsohn, a conservative AM-radio talk-show host, is the chair of
Arizonans for Responsible Drug Policy, a group formed to combat an
adult-use legalization measure expected to be on the 2016 Arizona
ballot. Yavapai County Attorney Polk is the group's vice chair.

"Concerned Citizens for America Welcomes Sheila Polk . . . and Seth
Leibsohn in an open debate on 'Should Arizona Legalize Recreational
Marijuana?" states the announcement on CC4A's Facebook site, (see
below). "Ms. Polk will take the opposition position, Mr. Liebsohn
[sic] will take the proponent position."

The event, to be open to the public, is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on
January 7 at Canyon Trails Cowboy Church, 3132 White Bear Road, in
Sedona. Vape pens, edibles, the "results" of the 2010 Arizona Medical
Marijuana Act, the "trends in user-friendly Colorado" and other topics
related to cannabis are billed to be part of the discussion. According
to another announcement about the event on CC4A's website, A Panel of
Activist Millennials for the Verde Valley also is playing some role.

As entertaining as watching Leibsohn argue the pro side of marijuana
might be, Leibsohn and Melissa DeLaney, spokeswoman for the ARDP, say
the announced debate won't actually happen as described.

Prohibitionists Like Arizona County Attorneys Sheila Polk and Bill
Montgomery Insist That Pot Is Hurting People. All They Lack Is Real
Evidence Hardcore Pot Activists Want Marijuana Legalized in Arizona
Under Their Terms a=C2=80" or Not at All "Rest assured Seth is not debati
a pro-legalization stance in Sedona next month," said DeLaney, a GOP
insider who formed a PR company with consultant Sean Noble after
acting as Doug Ducey's spokeswoman before Ducey was elected governor
in November. "There was a misunderstanding on the setup."

DeLaney didn't respond to request to elaborate on how the
"misunderstanding" occurred.

A message to Concerned Citizens for America wasn't answered today. In
response to an e-mail from New Times, Leibsohn wrote: "More is being
made of this than need be. It's nothing. Just a wrong setup. That is
all. Truly."

New Times asked him who came up with the idea to have a debate between
him and Polk: "No clue," he responded. "I was asked to co-present with
Sheila . . . it's obviously being corrected. As I say a=C2=80" just some

Arizona Pot Prohibitionist Seth Leibsohn Says He Won't Really Debate
in Favor of Legalization So, no smackdown between him and Polk?

"The debate is off, you bet," he said, adding that he's not sure how
the format of the event will be different from what was advertised.
"We had them redo it . . . This was a case of me not paying attention
to what they scheduled once I agreed to participate."

As of this morning, however, the announcements hadn't been changed a=C2=80
a fact that infuriates legalization supporters.

The Arizona chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of
Marijuana Laws called on Polk to "immediately take down her fraudulent
promotion for an upcoming 'debate' on cannabis prohibition," says
NORML's Arizona director, Mikel Weisser.

Noting that Leibsohn recently represented an anti-legalization group
in a legitimate debate in April, Weisser said even suggesting that
Leibsohn would pretend to be pro-cannabis is "a blatant attempt to
misrepresent the structure of the event," adding, "What else is [Polk]
ready to lie about to get her way?"

One thing is certain: If Leibsohn doesn't take the pro-legalization
side of this event, then voters who attend will get a double dose of
Reefer Madness by both Leibsohn and Polk, whose arguments against
marijuana often are inaccurate.

For instance, during a June panel discussion about legalization at
Arizona State University, Polk misspoke about the level of support in
Colorado for legalization and claimed legalization in Colorado is a
"disaster" (a fact vehemently denied by Colorado Governor John
Hickenlooper, even though he's no fan of legalization).

She was derided by the panel's moderator when she blurted that federal
pot prohibition hasn't stymied research on cannabis.

Ironically, if Leibsohn was true to his conservative values, he would
talk the pro-legalization side. CC4A states prominently on its website
that it supports "Fiscal Responsibility, Free Markets and
Constitutionally Limited Government."
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MAP posted-by: Matt