Thursday, October 22, 2009

LEAP Member Moskos Debates Clinton Drug Czar on CNN

Peter Moskos, a former Baltimore cop and LEAP speaker (and, oh yeah, a prolific criminal justice blogger), appeared on Lou Dobbs's CNN show this evening with The Cato Institute's Tim Lynch and former Clinton administration "drug czar" Barry McCaffrey. The topic was the federal government's new medical marijuana policy, but Peter did a good job focusing the discussion on ending prohibition.

Here's the embedded video:

Way to make the case that making drugs illegal means that they are not and can not be regulated and controlled, Peter!

And, oh yeah, how come Barry McCaffrey is pretending he doesn't remember threatening to strip doctors of their medical licenses just for discussing medical marijuana with their patients?


  1. Great job Peter! As a moderator, he did a much better job at balancing the speaking time of his guests. Seems to me the recent interview that included Neil F. was grossly tilted towards the "Drug Free America" lady who yacked on and on.

    He kind of got attack-oriented at the end, but you handled it well.

  2. Ugh, Dobbs' pigeonholing at the end was uncalled for. Why do radio and TV hosts always do that? They invent this line of questioning in their head that's clearly designed to paint the interviewee into some envisioned rhetorical corner.

    Anyway. Good job by Peter and Tim. And, even with Dobbs' adversarial tone at the end, I'm seeing a tectnoic shift in media coverage. It wasn't long ago that the segment above would have featured two prohibitionists and one person in favor of reform. That equation has flipped. The end is near for marijuana prohibition.

    (By the way, has LEAP considered focusing on marijuana legalization in the short term? I know that the organization is deeply committed to a general end to the failed practice of prohibition -- something I support fully -- but sometimes I wonder if the best tactic is to take advantage of the present ground swell around marijuana, and to focus specifically on that for the time being. A chink in the armor and all that. Just curious.)

  3. Opinions from the likes of Barry McCaffrey and his ilk are increasingly being seen for just what they are: nonsense. McCaffrey should take the advice from another general: Generals don't retire, they just fade away.

    That being said, as long as we continue the incremental approach to drug policy reform, exemplified by medical marijuana, and not pursue the important and more forceful argument of repealing drug prohibition and replacing it with a regulated market to control the sale and distribution of drugs, similar to what we now have for alcohol and tobacco, we will continue fighting small wars at the expense of winning the larger war: repealing drug prohibition.

  4. I disagree Daniel. Polling data on recreational marijuana legalization clearly shows the importance of incremental reform. Without the medical movement as a starting point, do you really think national support for general legalization would be pushing 50%? Here's a great article on the importance of "baby steps":

  5. Dobbs' pigeonholing at the end was uncalled for. Why do radio and TV hosts always do that?

    I think a few reasons:
    1) This is my show and I'll say what we're going to talk about!
    2) He might have thought he was going to catch Peter in a sticky wicket.
    3) He may not have liked Peter's professorial statement about focusing on marijuana, and thus (see # 1).

  6. I love getting the ol' dirty eyeball from Lou!

    I think Lou just thought it was fun and good TV. It's his thing.

    And hell, I've been eye-fucked by tougher mofos than Lou Dobbs.

    Lou was actually quite nice. Once the cameras were off, I think he was even starting to apologize for being so harsh. I waved him off and told him it was "good stuff."

    Now if I could just find a better fitting jacket.

  7. Posted by: kpmsprtd

    What would it take to convince someone like Gen. McCaffrey to actually consider alternatives? He seems completely incapable of changing his set beliefs.

    The pie chart was scary. We've got a near-50/50 split between those who are open-minded and those who are close-minded. Maybe they really are okay with an America where 50% of the people guard the other 50% in prison cells...

  8. This was a fantastic segment. Lou Dobbs' audience is exactly the kind of group that LEAP is trying to reach.

    Kpmsprtd - welcome to the blog! I am curious as to what kpmsprtd stands for?

  9. And hell, I've been eye-fucked by tougher mofos than Lou Dobbs.

    Haha, I don't doubt it for a second Peter! Your comment sounds like something straight out of The Wire by the way. Love it.

    And again, great job with the interview, hope to see more of you on the airwaves.


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