(Denver WestWord) The focus of this dust-up is “Allen St. Pierre on Medical Marijuana,” published by Steve Bloom’s Celebstoner.com website on January 5. The piece, on view in its entirety below, begins with a bold statement: “Defending the ‘medical’ cannabis industry is so yesterday. Why not acknowledge the political and legal farce it is and focus on the real problem at hand: ending cannabis prohibition?” From there, St. Pierre describes medical marijuana as a “sham” on par with prescription alcohol during the 1920s liquor-prohibition era, accuses the MMJ industry of opposing broader legalization efforts like California’s Proposition 19, and maintains that cannabis consumers should be able to get “good, affordable cannabis products without having to go through the insult and expense of ‘qualifying’ as a ‘medical’ patient by paying physicians and/or the state for some kind of get-out-of-jail-free card.”
In the wake of these words, Edson, his wife Georgia and Mile High NORML director Scott Greene have resigned from the organization. But while the post makes it seem as if St. Pierre wrote an essay on the topic with the intention of widely disseminating his views, these remarks were never meant for public consumption. Instead, they were written as a note to James Clark, a California-based attorney who’s part of a LISTSERV for the NORML legal committee — an electronic mailing list whose members include approximately 450 lawyers across the country.
After receiving the material from Edson, Bloom says he got in touch with St. Pierre to make sure the comments were genuine, and gave St. Pierre the opportunity to edit them.
“I wrote back and said, ‘I don’t want to edit something people have seen. It would make it look like I was changing what I said,’” St. Pierre recalls.
Nonetheless, some edits were made — but by Bloom, not St. Pierre. Bloom took out small portions that specifically referred to Clark, including this line: “James, you can certainly choose to defend a system that benefits those who are largely gaming the system.” The original document is also on view below, providing the opportunity to compare and contrast.
“I also said I’d rather [Bloom] not publish it, because it was an internal discussion — just a dashed-off note,” St. Pierre continues. “And he said, ‘I think I’m going to publish it as is.’ And I said, ‘I hope you put it in the proper context.’ But then it gets published, and it has my name on it and the note, and that’s all. So a reader would probably think I was trying to be unnecessarily provocative.”
Here is the LISTSERVE piece in its entirety. I’ve used
strikeout to indicate the portions that Bloom removed and boldface to indicate the additions Bloom made… you can decide if the edits changed the tone of this private email response on a specific topic to a specific lawyer:
Allen St. Pierre on Medical Marijuana
Kicking my friends or encouraging them to please wake up from their hazy field of dreams?
Defending the ‘medical’ cannabis industry is so yesterday
(unless you’ve been hired to legally defend a dispensary or to establish one…). Why not acknowledge the political and legal farce it is and focus on the REALreal problem at hand …: ending Cannabis Prohibition?
The law and court precedents are fairly clear here.
…Self-preservation (yes) …., large scale cultivation and sales (no).
It is just this simple.
The numerous actions by the feds and state govts in the last two weeks make this abundantly clear:
*ATF memo (no Second Amendment rights for patients)
*Feds crack down on banks doing business with CBCs (cannabis buyer’s clubs)
*Feds send forfeiture notice to CBC landlords
*Feds send warnings to local CBCs that they must move or shut because they’re within 1,000 of federally subsidized school
*IRS 280E decision against HHC (can the current retail industry survive this blow?)
*Feds send shut down notices to 25% of the CBCs in San Diego
MOREmore re-assertion of primacy will we get today from the feds?
If this were the 1920s,
youradvocacy of thetoday’s ‘medical’ cannabis industry of todaywould sound like a lawyer back then fronting for the legal sellers of ‘prescription’ alcohol during Alcohol Prohibition. (whoThe med-pot industry, of course, opposedopposes actual legalization …just likesuch as last year’s Prop 19, which was also opposed by the pot prohibitionprofiteering communities in the state’s northern ‘grow’ counties).
Prescriptive alcohol was a sham then, the ‘medical’ cannabis industry (not medical cannabis itself) is largely a sham now.
Is this news? NORML, and lawyers like Bill Panzer, have been warning ganjapreneurs and their legal counsel at our seminars and conferences about this political and legal box canyon since at least 2002.
Cannabis consumers, who NORML represents, want good, affordable cannabis products without having to go through the insult and expense of
having to ‘qualify’qualifying as a ‘medical’ patient by paying physicians and/or the state for some kind of ‘get out of jail free’ card.
How intellectually honest is all of this?
James, you can certainly choose to defend a system that benefits those who are largely gaming the system, however,NORML prefers to take a more honest and transparent approach that advocates that cannabis should be legal for all adult consumers, including healthy ones.
Allen St. Pierre is the executive director of NORML
So what you have here is Allen writing a response on a private LISTSERVE to a lawyer who questioned Allen’s posting of an op-ed by a California cop that described medical marijuana in California as a farce and a sham. Then another lawyer in Colorado who defends the medmj industry took offense, feeling Allen was demeaning his clients. This is back in October. Then that Colorado lawyer takes the text off the private LISTSERVE and begins distributing it to as many people as he can as part of his own agenda to discredit Allen. Steve Bloom finally takes takes the bait this month and splashes the edited, out-of-context email all over his website as if it were a public pronouncement from NORML, leading to re-posts on other cannabis websites and countless angry denunciations and spirited defenses in the comments sections.
These actions were taken by people who considered themselves proponents of legalization and big supporters of NORML. Gosh, with friends like these…