Show: Marijuana Radio
McKenna: All right. Well, we’ve got Congressman Ron Paul on the phone. Hello?
Ron Paul: Hello.
McKenna: How are you?
DanK: The one and only.
Ron Paul: I’m just fine.
McKenna: Okay, we’re very excited to have you on this evening.
Stoner Circle: Yes, indeed.
McKenna: Thank you so much.
Stoner Circle: Thank you very much. You’re really outspoken about your opposition to the drug war and that’s one of the reasons we’re really pining to get you on.
Ron Paul: Well, good.
Stoner Circle: And do you think we’ll see an end to the drug war in our lifetime?
Ron Paul: You know, it’s funny I’m such a pessimist and cynic about government, but for many years, I’ve always said that, you know, someday the country will wake up and discover that Prohibition isn’t really a good idea, and we’re going to take a different attitude and it’s just going to be like overnight it’s going to happen. And I almost sense that we’re getting closer to that period of time. I might be overly optimistic about that, but that is essentially what happened, you know, in the 20s, in the late 20s, and then in 1932 in the presidential election that, I think, the Democrats came out first to say, “Hey, let’s repeal Prohibition”, you know, with alcohol because of all the side effects that Prohibition brought.
And then the Republicans joined in and it was just assumed, you know, we had enough and maybe they will come about it. It’s a little more difficult this time because it wasn’t quite so dramatic.
The only thing I marveled about was when they tried to do it with alcohol, they had enough respect for our Constitution that they actually amended the Constitution. They don’t do that any more. They just march on and they pass all these laws and make these decisions, so it’s not so easy and there’s so little respect for, you know, the rule of law that it has to change people’s attitude.
But I think it’s shifting. I think the fact that… I’ve spoken out on this for many, many years and it was always thought by my opponents that any idiot, that would be against the war on drugs, could never be elected to Congress.
Stoner Circle: Yes.
Ron Paul: I think the people are much further ahead than the US Congress on these issues.
Stoner Circle: And what is they are afraid of exactly, because I can’t reconcile it within myself why someone would just be afraid to talk seriously about an issue and just talk seriously about it.
Ron Paul: Well, it’s very simple. If you come out for a position like mine, generally speaking, then you have become pro-drug. Now, the one advantage I have is that everybody knows I’m not pro-drug, because a lot of people who would like to make this legal, would like just not to get prosecuted and I don’t mind that too much, but I’m really very much anti-drug usage.
And as a physician, I’m unlike a lot of other doctors. I don’t even like a lot of medications. You know, if I need anti-inflammatory, I think one Advil is plenty. Yet, I see people taking 2, 4, 6, 8 Advils a day and Tylenol about a ton and they risk a lot of things and doctors just prescribes Lortabs like they are going out of style, but I’m not that way.
I’m not pro-drug in any way whatsoever. I see this as a responsibility issue; who is responsible for sorting all this out? And I happen to think individuals should do it and if you have to have regulations or laws, that they should be more local and that they shouldn’t be federal under our Constitution.
So that, you know the state like California or other states say that, “You know, well, who knows? There might be benefit from marijuana and there is some, you know, we are going to change the law.”
I mean they don’t even respect the old tradition or the Constitution. It says that this was supposed to be a local issue and when you add this all up and think that there was not even a federal intervention on this until 1937 or 1938. Holy man, this thing is rather new in our history. So I approach this differently than some others, but it has also served me well because when individuals think that they can just beat me very easily in my race and say, “Oh, he’s against the drug war. What kind of an idiot he is? He’s going to give drugs to little kids. He’s going to give heroin to 12 year olds,” and you know, it just goes on and on.
But I think my medical background has helped me as my family and I am a conservative. I’m not perceived as somebody who is in the drug culture and, you know, I have kids and grandchildren and I don’t want them to be drug deps, because I think there’s a lot of danger in drugs.
But I think there’s probably a greater harm done by prescription drugs than there are by the illegal drugs. The illegal drugs cause a great deal of harm because there’s a preposterous war on drugs and I think that violence that has come from the war on drugs is really the big issue.
Stoner Circle: If I may, you brought up prescription drugs. I have a medical marijuana card because I have an enlarged prostate, which gives me discomfort, and I would like to know, in your opinion, does marijuana have medicinal value?
Ron Paul: I would assume so. You know, I wouldn’t go into a court of law as the expert and say that I’ve looked at every data, double blind study, and that is one of the hindrances of the whole war on drugs that, you know, most physicians do like to look at double blind studies and find out, but they are not there.
But if you are looking at it as a freedom issue, it’s irrelevant. You know, if you say it helps you and you’re not hurting me, I’m going to let you make your own choices about this.
But I personally think that there are some benefits, but I’m also very cautious that I don’t want to get careless on telling anybody that, “Oh, this is no big deal. I mean just because they are illegal, doesn’t mean there’s any danger to anybody.”
I think there’s danger to the illegal drugs and there’s danger to the legal drugs.
Stoner Circle: Yes.
Ron Paul: Anything we put in our mouth or in our lungs, we should be very cautious about.
DanK: Do you think that by ending the war on drugs that we are going to… do you also believe that will significantly cut down on organized crime and mob activity because I feel that has surrounded a lot around the illegal drug trade.
Ron Paul: Well, yeah, and I think we would save tens, if not hundreds of billions of dollars. First, the expenditures on the war on drugs, I mean we are talking about $40 billion a year, so we have spent hundreds of billions already, and we clutter our courts, we clutter our prisons, we have mandatory lifetime sentences to some individuals who are non-violent. At the same time, we let the violent criminals on the street.
I mean, the cost is unbelievable, so now, I think the violence on our borders, even today, is related to it. I mean just think of… I can’t stand our foreign policy in the Middle East, but it’s compounded by the fact that there’s illegal drugs being produced over there and people live off that and that motivates a lot of them.
If there were no grand profits to be made, there would be a lot of incentives to participate in all of this crime stuff and then, boy, it becomes so, so avoidable that people are killing each other just as they did over alcohol. I mean the gangs killed each other. I mean they used submachine guns. It was a very violent time of who got to sell their alcohol, and today it’s sort of irrelevant, you know.
And I think the kids are no more exposed. The kids are more exposed to marijuana than they are to alcohol.
McKenna: That’s definitely.
Ron Paul: They tell me that if there’s a 10-, 12-, 14-year-old, they can find marijuana, but they can’t find, you know, they can’t go in and buy beer and I think children do deserve some protection, but I just say, “Ahh, I just argue it should be at the local level.”
McKenna: Do you believe that legalizing and taxing medical marijuana could recover the recession?
Ron Paul: If it could help the recession?
McKenna: Yeah, if it could help us recover?
Ron Paul: Well, I don’t think so. The recession is much bigger than that, and even if it did, I wouldn’t… I don’t know if I get a case for legalizing something in order to tax it.
I want to reduce taxes. I want to get taxes off everything. I want to get rid of the income tax, the whole works.
Stoner Circle: Wow.
Ron Paul: So even if it did, that would the weakest argument I know to legalize marijuana because it would help the recession.
Stoner Circle: Congressman Paul.
Ron Paul: But I just don’t think it would do that much. That is a much bigger problem that has to do with huge deficits and the Federal Reserve and a lot of other things.
Stoner Circle: In the case of marijuana versus other drugs, we are all witness here and testify to a beautiful culture of music and great social lives we are having, even, I would say, spiritual […] using marijuana and stuff, so it breaks my heart that people are in jail. Do you think it’s inhumane to have people in jail for marijuana-related crimes?
Ron Paul: You know, I have frequently said this. You know that if we take somebody who lives in a state where marijuana has been legalized and they are sick and they used marijuana under state law and they either have cancer, AIDS, or something and they benefit by it, and then the compassionate conservatives come in and put him in jail, that is real compassion.
But once again, some of those value judgments that people make I may or may not agree with them, but that is not relevant because I think that is a personal choice. I hope I never have to use any drug to feel good about myself or about my life or anything else, but I don’t care if somebody else does as long as you don’t butt in and bother me and you don’t, you know, cause problems.
I imagine that almost anything used excessively could affect people around you, but when you know that the greatest danger out on the highway is alcohol.
Stoner Circle: Yes.
Ron Paul: People use alcohol. I have too many people I personally know that has been killed and I have never heard anybody charged and say, “Well, all I know is that guy was high on marijuana and that’s why he ran this kid over.”
And yet, ninety-nine times out a hundred if it’s some type of a drug, it’s probably alcohol that caused somebody, some innocent person to lose their life.
Stoner Circle: So you advocate more, obviously, for state powers and less government or federal government intervention in our lives that deal, if I’m correct. Is that correct?
Ron Paul: Yeah, I would argue that no matter what problem you have, which means that some of my positions, I might vote against a bill that the purpose sounds reasonable and maybe at a local level I might agree with. But if we are going to do anything, so you might… let’s say, you’re telling a position that you don’t think anybody should have any restrictions whatsoever on the use of marijuana or beer, and I might take a position at the state level that, you know, unless you are 18 or so, you shouldn’t drink beer and you shouldn’t be smoking marijuana and they passed a law, I may have more sympathy for that at the state level, but what I don’t like is the federal level.
But I always, whether it’s a state or the federal government, I always lean towards individual choices, family choices, local choices, and working through some of these problems, you know, through our churches and our social organizations locally rather than having any dictates.
To me the line is drawn with anybody who harms their friends, their neighbors. If somebody wants to take a risk and hurt themselves and I think, and like I said, all these things I can consider some risk in them whether it’s Tylenol or Advil or marijuana or heroine or anything else.
I just think that I personally like the idea of not putting those kind of things into my body.
DanK: So what’s it going to take to give the states more power. Like what can our listeners do to, you know, like help encourage that, because I feel like right now, I feel like the government is just trying to fix everything for us.
Ron Paul: Well, you have to have to ask for change and when a candidate comes up and said we’re going to have change, then you will vote for him. Then you find out they didn’t change anything.
DanK: Yeah, right.
Ron Paul: It looks like we are not getting any significant change on the war on drugs from Obama and he’s not changing the war on Afghanistan other than making it worse and advancing and invading another country.
But I think, you know, we started off with a bit of optimism by saying that maybe I think there will be a significant change, and I sense there is shift in attitude here, because Bill Delahunt from Massachusetts, the chairman of a subcommittee that I’m on and that has to do with oversight on foreign affairs and we are going to start to have hearings on this issue about the drug war and the danger of the drug war. And many times when we have very token votes in the Congress, so we don’t get a whole lot of votes supporting getting the federal government out the way, but people behind the scenes and they will talk to him and say, “We know you’re right about this stuff”. And I say, “but why do you vote that way?”
“Well, I get at home”. I said, “You’d go home and you’re going to explain it”, but they say “I don’t want to have to worry about going home because I don’t want to be pro-drugs”. It’s sort of like when I take a vote for the First Amendment and say no regulations on the Internet, then they say yeah, no vote on the Internet, and then you have to go home and explain to them why you support child pornography. You know, that sort of thing.
McKenna: Oh, yeah.
Stoner Circle: Yeah.
Ron Paul: So it’s always translated into something horrible and they are sort of they don’t want that job of explaining it to their constituents.
Stoner Circle: I know I want to ask one thing before we let you go here. You’re a congressman and, of course, you can’t advocate open lawbreaking, but in general, what do you think of civil disobedience?
Ron Paul: Well, talk about it and I’ve talked about it at my rallies that we will get to that point and I believe in peaceful disobedience, but people have to be very realistic. I imagine why I’m in Congress is because I’ve been chicken. You know, I didn’t want to go that way and if I did it in the courts, I went and decided to run for Congress to see if I can change the laws.
But, you know, there are a lot of people who practice civil disobedience when it comes to the monetary system and the tax system. The tax system is atrocious. Our rights are violated by the way they collect the income taxes, guilty under proven innocent and all those other things. But there are some people very dedicated and they go to prison, and I don’t even like that idea.
But I think the practice of peaceful civil disobedience are fine, I think, but people have to be willing. Just like Martin Luther King did. He had to go to prison and others would. And if you really touch a nerve, the government always takes the leader. If you believe in the Second Amendment and you practice that and say, “I have a right to own a gun, no matter what to defend myself.”
I mean the Second Amendment to me is as sacred as your right to decide about whether you are going to smoke marijuana, but if you practice civil disobedience in one, you have to recognize that other people might do it in other areas.
But then again, people may go to prison for this and everybody has a different way of doing it. My tact has always been to try to persuade people to change the law, but I think as this economy deteriorates, there’s going to be a lot of other things that people will have to make a decision on civil disobedience because we are going to have very, very much chaos and violence in our communities due to the disintegration of the economy and probably the collapse of the dollar.
So I think our financial system has only begun to become unwound.
Stoner Circle: Yeah.
Ron Paul: You know, the financial system has broken down, but the dollar is still hanging in there. When the dollar goes, that means that things are going to be really, really tough and a lot of people will have to make major decisions this way.
It’s important that there’s freedom of choices on marijuana. It will be a minor choice compared to what the economic calamities are going to be like.
Stoner Circle: Yeah, I was telling my dad earlier today. I can’t even fathom how this is going to work, because it’s beyond. I mean how can you spend money from people a hundred years in the future on policy today that there might be a silly policy, I don’t get it.
Ron Paul: No, and what happens is it shortens in a period of time. We used to always say that we’re passing off the debt to the future generation.
Stoner Circle: Yeah.
Ron Paul: But things are moving so quickly now. It’s the current generation that’s suffering, but the only thing is that they’re picking the victims and right now, the people who are getting bailed out or the guys who are running the show, you know, Goldman Sachs and the big banks —
Ron Paul: — they get all the money and the military-industrial complex gets it and now, you’re going to receive, many other people are going to receive the disadvantages immediately. It’s not going to take another generation.
McKenna: Do you think you’re going to run for President again?
Ron Paul: Well, I doubt it. I doubt it. I didn’t win last time. I didn’t even come close.
DanK: I was… I was…
Ron Paul: I don’t think I will be doing that.
McKenna: Okay, we’ve really supported you here.
Stoner Circle: Yeah.
Stoner Circle: I got your bumper sticker.
DanK: I was a strong supporter of you.
Ron Paul: Well, you better watch out. You saw what happened in Missouri. If you have a bumper sticker with my name on it, they said that was… you were going to be a suspect because you are a possible terrorist if you supported Ron Paul.
Stoner Circle: What.
McKenna: Oh, no.
Ron Paul: So you better watch out. You are going to think twice about whether or not you are going to identify with me.
DanK: Well, I still like you.
Stoner Circle: I’m proud to support the terrorist —
Stoner Circle: — in this case. I this case, I am.
DanK: In this case, in this specific case that we were referring to in Missouri.
McKenna: Well, thank you.
Ron Paul: Non-violence.
DanK: That’s right. That’s right.
Stoner Circle: Yes, yes.
Ron Paul: Okay.
DanK: Thank you very much, Congressman Ron.
McKenna: Thank you so much.
Stoner Circle: Thank you.
Ron Paul: Sure thing.
Stoner Circle: Peace out, sir.
DanK: Who said peace out to Dr. Ron?
Stoner Circle: I just did. I’m the hippest guy ever.
DanK: That guy.
McKenna: Well, that’s pretty cool. If you guys want to hear more about Ron Paul’s policies, go to RonPaul.com or CampaignforLiberty.com. They’ve got a lot of cool stuff on there.
McKenna: He’s a really neat guy. He really pushes for civil liberties and giving people their freedom of choice and that’s what we like around here.
DanK: He does indeed and I also want to point out how I enjoy his website. I am going to point this out to people. If you are going to have a website name with more than three words in it, put hyphens in there. Change for Liberty. [Campaign for Liberty]