Accuracy in Media

Rhode Island Governor Donald L. Carcieri has vetoed a “medical marijuana” bill, saying it would encourage marijuana use and criminal activity. His veto comes as an anti-drug group has released dramatic video footage of a marijuana activist declaring that he uses dope for a health problem that he doesn’t really have. The bottom line for this activist, Ed Rosenthal, is that “I like to get high. Marijuana is fun.” The video has the potential of dealing a major blow to the “medical marijuana” movement, largely funded by billionaire George Soros.

The video footage, posted at the website, gives the lie to the claim that we often see in the media that smoking marijuana is a legitimate medical treatment for people with diseases. Rosenthal, who was associated with High Times magazine for many years, is shown speaking to dozens of marijuana activists. “With all the talk about medical marijuana, I have to tell you that I also use marijuana medically (laughter),” he says. “I have a latent glaucoma, which has never been diagnosed (more laughter). And the reason why it has never been diagnosed is because I’ve been treating it (laughter)?But there is a reason why I do use it.  And that is because I like to get high. (cheers, applause). Marijuana is fun.”

The video proves that “medical marijuana” is a joke to those on the inside of the pro-pot movement who realize that getting the public and the media to accept the notion that smoking marijuana alleviates health problems is a major step down the road to complete legalization of dope. In fact, another video excerpt shows Richard Cowan, former director of NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws), saying that “The key to it [legalization] is medical access because once you have hundreds of thousands of people using marijuana medically under medical supervision the whole scam is going to be blown?Once there’s medical access and if we continue to do what we have to do-and we will-then we’ll get full legalization.”

Cowan says that his reference to “scam” is a comment on the anti-marijuana “prohibition” movement. He stands by his remarks that the widespread use of marijuana on medical grounds “would hasten the full legalization of cannabis for non-medical use.” He is quick to say, however, that he is not associated with the “medical marijuana” movement funded by billionaire George Soros. “I have never met Soros, I get no money from him, and have never sought any personally,” he says. Cowan currently operates a pro-marijuana website.

Steven Steiner, who runs the anti-Soros website,, and the DAMMAD (Dads and Mad Moms Against Drug Dealers) organization, was in the National Press Club audience last October 28 when Soros was preparing to deliver a Bush-bashing speech just a few days before the election. Steiner walked to the podium and attempted to say a few words about his son, who had died of a drug overdose. He was quickly surrounded and led away, where he was thrown into a door, injured and hospitalized. His hospital bill was $670. Steiner created his website to provide current news on the most prominent drug legalizer in the world. He believes that “medical marijuana” is a fraud designed to usher in full drug legalization, and that the video he has posted on proves the case.

But will the major media report on the explosive and shocking comments on the tape? Most of the media, several states-and 161 members of the House-have bought into the notion that smoking marijuana somehow has medical benefits. That was the number of House members who voted on June 15 to prohibit the Department of Justice from spending any money arresting or prosecuting users of “medical marijuana.” But the Steiner video is just the latest evidence that “medical marijuana” is just a front for the illegal drug movement and that it exploits sick people.

Six days after that House vote, federal authorities announced the results of an investigation which determined that “medical marijuana” clubs and dispensaries in California had been used as a cover for international drug dealing and money laundering.  The problem emerged after California voters passed a 1996 proposition allowing the use of marijuana for so-called medical purposes. One suspect, Enrique Chan, told an undercover agent that if the drug traffickers got arrested and prosecuted for dealing dope they could beat the rap by bringing in “really sick patients with cancer” who were using marijuana and “have them sit on the stand for you.” He said that “no jury is gonna try, is gonna convict you.” While sick people were being cynically exploited by the dopers, Chan estimated that only about half the people buying the marijuana actually claimed to be sick. The rest, like Ed Rosenthal, just wanted to get high.

The video also sheds some light on a Soros-funded organization called the Drug Policy Alliance. It shows Marsha Rosenbaum, director of the Drug Policy Alliance in San Francisco, providing a rather shocking view of how to educate children about drugs.

Rosenbaum says, “I think first drugs are inherently neither hard nor soft, good nor bad?Another assumption has to be that total abstinence from drug use, even if that’s what we want, is unrealistic?Controlled drug use is possible?The first thing I would assign is Andrew Weil’s book Chocolate to Morphine, which is a classic. It simply outlines pretty much every drug kids come across. And talks about not good drugs not bad drugs, relationships with drugs. He describes them. And I think that’s how we need to start?Finally, and probably most radical, I think a goal of harm-reduction education would be to utilize positive role models. I think it would be very useful in a drug education program for people with non-problematic drug experience to talk to them. All the time my friend Craig Reinarman is always saying, you know, why is it that they always bring in addicts to talk to kids about drugs. It’s like bringing someone in who failed at it to tell them how to do it or how not to do it. That just doesn’t make any
sense. What if we had people who had used drugs for a long time in a controlled rational way-didn’t get into trouble with drugs-to impart some of this information to kids-how they could do that.”

At first, when I asked Rosenbaum for a comment on these remarks, she said that I did not have permission to use or quote them. When I replied that I wasn’t seeking permission but only wanted her further comment or clarification, she called back to say that “If these are my words, I must have said them a long time ago. I’d like to think I’m more articulate now. I can’t remember the context.” On the matter of using “controlled” drug users as role models for kids, she asked, “Are you sure I said those words?” In any case, she said that her perspective has “evolved” and she has “learned a lot.” She added, “That particular quote is not what I would want to say at this particular moment.”

Rosenbaum said her position is that young people “need to be given comprehensive science-based information” about drugs because they “make their own decisions, despite our best efforts.” 

On her website, devoted to a “reality-based” approach to drug education, she features a letter to her own son Johnny about illegal drugs. Rosenbaum urges him to abstain. But if he doesn’t abstain and chooses to “experiment,” she recommends that he learn as much as he can “and use common sense.” She adds, “And please, Johnny, use moderation.”

Rosenbaum spoke to AIM after delivering a “Teens and Drugs” presentation at the national conference of the PTA.

Ready to fight back against media bias?
Join us by donating to AIM today.


Comments are turned off for this article.