D.A.R.E. Supported Marijuana Legalization (for a Bit)


I must admit that I get some pleasure when prohibitionists make mistakes. After years of Reefer Madness propaganda and the perpetuation of the “dumb stoner” stereotypes, it just makes me feel good when those that have pushed the Drug War upon the American public goof themselves. One of the best prohibitionist goofs of all-time was when Kevin Sabet, the so-called quarterback of the anti-marijuana legalization movement, forgot to secure the domain name of his campaign organization working to defeat a medical marijuana measure in Massachusetts. Once those “dumb stoner” activists discovered Sabet’s fumble, they pounced on it, spoofing his campaign website and medical marijuana cruised to victory. And prohibitionists goofed again, this time when D.A.R.E. supported marijuana legalization (for a bit) after the program’s news service wrongly placed a pro-legalization letter to the editor, by a LEAP member, on its website.

I saw headlines pop-up over the internet and blogosphere about D.A.R.E. supporting cannabis legalization and immediately felt that there must be some mistake. Sure enough, D.A.R.E. confirmed to the great Washington Post reporter Christopher Ingraham that they had made a mistake; the cherry on top of the ordeal is that D.A.R.E. wrongly referred to Ingraham as “Scott” in its response. D.A.R.E.’s mistakes are very telling at it demonstrates a certain amount of laziness to just publish anything on your website that isn’t properly screened when you are supposedly a prominent, qualified anti-drug program.

Of course, the biggest mistake is that our nation wastes time on D.A.R.E. in the first place. Young people today have the internet, they can find out the truth about the relative danger of drugs and can easily find out that the gateway theory has been debunked. The D.A.R.E. program has been found to be ineffective and yet our nation still squanders resources on the program. These kids today need the scientific truth about drugs, including the fact that they shouldn’t do any drugs until they are older because drugs can severely harm developing brains.  Utilizing tax dollars generated from cannabis legalization, Oregon will fund drug prevention programs that consider input from actual teenagers to help develop good messaging to prevent kids from using marijuana; programs like this are a good start, so long as the messaging is based on science and facts. However, the days of preaching Reefer Madness to kids are over; they just ain’t gonna buy it, even though we are all paying for it.



Anthony Johnson

Anthony, a longtime cannabis law reform advocate, was Chief Petitioner and co-author of Measure 91, Oregon's cannabis legalization effort. He served as director of both the New Approach Oregon and Vote Yes on 91 PACs, the political action committees responsible for the state's legalization campaign. As director of New Approach Oregon, Anthony continues to work towards effectively implementing the cannabis legalization system while protecting small business owners and the rights of patients. He sits on the Oregon Marijuana Rules Advisory Committee and fights for sensible rules at the legislature as well as city councils and county commissions across the state. Anthony helps cannabis business comply with Oregon's laws and advises advocates across the country. He also serves as content director of both the International Cannabis Business Conference and the Oregon Marijuana Business Conference, helping share the vision of moving the cannabis industry forward in a way that maintains the focus on keeping people out of prison and protecting patients. He was a member of the Oregon Health Authority Rules Advisory Committee, assisting the drafting of the administrative rules governing Oregon’s state-licensed medical marijuana facilities. He first co-authored and helped pass successful marijuana law reform measures while a law student at the University of Missouri-Columbia School of Law. He passed the Oregon Bar in 2005 and practiced criminal defense for two years before transitioning to working full-time in the political advocacy realm. His blogs on Marijuana Politics are personal in nature and don't speak for or reflect the opinions of any group or organization.