US Attorney: Drug War “Obscene”, I’d Rather Prosecute Pedophiles
ASPEN, Colorado – Attorneys from across the country gathered at The Gant Resort in Aspen, Colorado, and heard a former federal US Attorney for the state of Kansas refer to the war on drugs as “obscene”in a moving tale of how his own office prosecuted a family friend for marijuana trafficking.
The NORML Aspen Legal Seminar is an annual gathering for criminal defense and business lawyers to brush up on their knowledge of marijuana-related case law and court decisions. Barry Grissom, the retired US Attorney, spoke on his perspective from the federal level about our marijuana prohibition laws.
Speaking to the state of medical marijuana in America, Grissom said, “What we have is an unjust set of rules and laws in this country that not only keeps folks – a dear friend of mine and my wife, her mother, in Lawrence, Kansas, last week, in incredible pain, she’s a sweet lady, and she wanted to ask her doctor for heroin – ‘I just need something for pain’. And that was a classic case of somebody who should have had an opportunity to have a physician say, ‘Well, maybe there’s something natural here that we can help you with to ease your pain.”
Later in his talk, he discusses how marijuana prohibition ensnared a dear family friend, a young lady who nearly reached the Olympics as a swimmer. Describing the drug war as “obscene”, Grissom went on to decry the waste of resources involved in prosecuting marijuana crimes. “My rule of thumb in Kansas when I was there… If you pull somebody over… and he’s got a hundred pounds of dope… I don’t care… again, resources… I got bigger fish to fry. I’ve got guys who have images on computers of 2-, 3-, 4-year-olds being orally and anally raped – I want those guys. That’s where I want to spend my money.”
The seminar also featured a welcome from the Pitkin County Sheriff, Joe DiSalvo, who discussed the early pitfalls in marijuana legalization, including dealing with edibles and tourists who over-purchase for their weekend trips.
Columbia neuroscientist and author of “High Price” Dr. Carl Hart delivered his presentation on how he’s re-thought the relationship between humans and drugs after his two decades of research. One particularly compelling segment of his talk explored the similarities between cocaine and crack, as well as meth and Adderall.
NORML’s Deputy Director Paul Armentano gave a compelling lecture on the double standard faced by marijuana in the court of public opinion compared to any other drug that has been approved by the FDA. With laser precision he targets the common complaints from opponents of medical marijuana and shoots them down with the latest science.
Other attorneys delivered presentations on matters as diverse as consumer protection, family law, federal court challenges to legalization, industrial hemp, estate planning, and asset forfeiture. The three-day seminar was topped off with famed defense attorney Gerry Goldstein’s presentation on the important 4th Amendment decisions from the Supreme Court, with a segment devoted to the examination of the legacy of the late Justice Antonin Scalia.