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Ex-prosecutor warns legalizing pot sets dangerous precedent

RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) — As the stigma of pot use softens and more states legalize it, educators and enforcers at the Chesterfield SAFE symposium at VCU deliver a stern message: the drug is toxic.

Monte Stiles, a former federal prosecutor, says legalizing pot is setting a dangerous precedent and says the deep pocketed big pot industry is lying about its benefits.

“The legalization path is the absolute wrong path to go,” says Stiles. “I want them to understand that there are forces behind the legalization effort that don’t have the best interest in children or communities.”

Allison Taylor and Brandon Petock can speak from experience about the dangers of marijuana. Both are recovering addicts with the McShin Foundation and say pot can lead you down a path of destruction.

“When you’re involved with marijuana you’re involved with people it leads to other things it definitely does,” says Taylor from Mechanicsville.

“Believe me when I say it leads to worse things. I believe it is a gateway drug,” says Petock from Henrico.

According to a recent SAFE survey of 8th, 10th and 12th graders in Chesterfield pot is more popular than cigarettes and easier to buy than smokes and alcohol.

“That is why we are having this conference to explain the negative aspects of marijuana and will be more accessible to youth,” says Regina Whitsett with Substance Abuse Free Environment, Inc.

While critics say legalizing marijuana would only introduce a drug culture and mean more impaired people in society, others argue the current drug policy just doesn’t work and it’s time for a change.

Jurriaan van den Hurk with Students for Sensible Drug Policy wants to clear the air when it comes to pot use.

“We are in favor of a drug policy from a public health standpoint,” says van den Hurk. “We just feel the current approach with prohibition isn’t achieving the goal, so we just feel it is time for a different approach.”

Former federal prosecutor and drug educator, Monte Stiles says “We’re not just saying no to this we’re saying yes to life because life is too awesome to waste it on (pot).”

They don’t see eye to eye, but both sides agree that the marijuana issue is growing one in Virginia.

Do you think Virginia should legalize medicinal marijuana? Sound off in the comments section below. 

 

26 comments

    • Brian Kelly B Bizzle

      There is absolutely no doubt now that the majority of Americans want to completely legalize marijuana nationwide. Our numbers grow on a daily basis.

      The prohibitionist view on marijuana is the viewpoint of a minority of Americans.. It is based upon decades of lies and propaganda.

      Each and every tired old lie they have propagated has been thoroughly proven false by both science and society.

      Their tired old rhetoric no longer holds any validity. The majority of Americans have seen through the sham of marijuana prohibition in this day and age. The number of prohibitionists left shrinks on a daily basis.

      With their credibility shattered, and their not so hidden agendas visible to a much wiser public, what’s left for a marijuana prohibitionist to do?

      Maybe, just come to terms with the fact that Marijuana Legalization Nationwide is an inevitable reality that’s approaching much sooner than prohibitionists think, and there is nothing they can do to stop it!

      Legalize Nationwide!…and Support All Marijuana Legalization Efforts!

  • troy

    yeah,this has become a weekly story from local media.get a new angle,will you.You idiots really think just because something is against the law people will not do it?and from a lawyer who made or makes a fortune off people who break the law?wow.Next they will be interviewing pain med doctors about how this is bad for their business.

  • athynz

    It is a gateway drug only if one is weak minded. I’ve toked a bit and I have not had the desire or “need” to try anything else. Heck alcohol is far more addictive than pot.

    • Brian Kelly B Bizzle

      @”You people are pathetic. Go get a job”

      Pathetic like Carl Sagan and Bill Gates? Are they the pathetic, jobless marijuana users you speak of?

      Or are you referring to several presidents of the USA?

      .Name calling and stereotyping. It’s all that prohibitionists have left to offer society since virtually every piece of marijuana propaganda out there has been thoroughly debunked and completely dismissed by a smarter than prohibitionists thought public.

      Nobody can provide a real reason to continue the “War on Marijuana” because there isn’t one.

      You know, a little live and let live goes a real long way in ensuring a long, stress and anger free life. If you don’t like marijuana, then by all means don’t use it. Allow others to make their own choices about marijuana.

      The government has no business attempting to legislate morality by creating victim-less “crimes” because it simply doesn’t work and has already cost the taxpayers over a trillion dollars.

  • happierheathen

    The gateway effect is a myth that was debunked a long, long time ago, and the people legal pot would expose you to would be shopkeepers, not black market dealers. You can’t walk into a pot shop in Colorado and get a quarter ounce with a side of crystal meth, but you could easily fill that order on the street in Richmond.

    But think of the children! As soon as you remove all of the toxic chemicals, poisons, and guns from your house, we’ll talk about the cannabis in my house (where no children live anyway). Until then, shut up and go away because you’re a hypocrite.

    If you want opinions about the alleged toxicity of the plant, talk to scientists who’ve studied it objectively, not down-and-out addicts who are so stunningly brilliant that they’ve just spent several years ruining their lives with hard drugs. I feel for those folks, I truly do, but I’m not going to seek medical advice from them.

  • jim

    The bigest problem with illegal drugs is having to hang out with criminals to get them. If prohibition is ended then that part of the problem goes away. The fact that some drug enforcement people lose their jobs is just collateral damage; go find a productive job people.

  • clew

    lol people who currently getting paid to put people away for a plant are the one up there. to the to rehab people pot is not a gate way drug, the gate way is the trap house or the corner you have to go to for it. if it were legal as alcohol(who has much worse effect and long term health problems) you would not be around people who are trying to sell you other drugs. take it out of the trap out and there is no trap… lastly toxic ? tell that to willy nelson aite now have a great day :)

  • Brian Kelly B Bizzle

    There is absolutely no doubt now that the majority of Americans want to completely legalize marijuana nationwide. Our numbers grow on a daily basis.

    The prohibitionist view on marijuana is the viewpoint of a minority of Americans.. It is based upon decades of lies and propaganda.

    Each and every tired old lie they have propagated has been thoroughly proven false by both science and society.

    Their tired old rhetoric no longer holds any validity. The majority of Americans have seen through the sham of marijuana prohibition in this day and age. The number of prohibitionists left shrinks on a daily basis.

    With their credibility shattered, and their not so hidden agendas visible to a much wiser public, what’s left for a marijuana prohibitionist to do?

    Maybe, just come to terms with the fact that Marijuana Legalization Nationwide is an inevitable reality that’s approaching much sooner than prohibitionists think, and there is nothing they can do to stop it!

    Legalize Nationwide!…and Support All Marijuana Legalization Efforts!

  • me

    If everything is so Liberally Rosy why is society seeking to escape into mind altering drugs and designer alcohol frenzy?

  • Gerry

    Legalize it and tax the heck out of it. Then put the money in the general fund. No rosey outreach /awareness programs!

  • AJ

    No I don’t think it should be legalized. The active agents in cannabis have already been isolated and can be provided in lozenge form; the affects of the active compounds in cannabis on developing brains (at 18 most people’s brains ARE still developing) is negative, it serves no useful function except to numb a person’s emotions ( like the vilified nicotine, which in the 50 ‘ s was advertised as beneficial too kids); the raising of the crop wastes valuable agricultural resources that could better utilized raising food crops; and it has yet to be seen if the revenue gained won’t be lost to treatment for those who WISH to quit, or have become addicted, and for social programs for secondary and tertiary fallout (effects) from over-use. But a selfish and hedonistic couple of generations (X-ers, AND THEIR spawn) Cannot STOP THINK ING About their own lusts and desires over community good – unless of course it gets them something for free…

    • Joe

      The government pays for fields to go unturned for the sake of keeping prices roughly static. Your statement regarding agricultural usage is rather moot.

      ” it serves no useful function except to numb a person’s emotions”

      What? Are you talking about prescription opiates?

      “it has yet to be seen if the revenue gained won’t be lost to treatment for those who WISH to quit, or have become addicted, and for social programs for secondary and tertiary fallout (effects) from over-use.”

      Do a cursory search for chemical dependency ratings and see where cannabis falls. From the likelihood of your stance thus far, you’d likely benefit from some self education.

      ” But a selfish and hedonistic couple of generations (X-ers, AND THEIR spawn) Cannot STOP THINK ING About their own lusts and desires over community good – unless of course it gets them something for free”

      Community good? What is good for all individuals is good for the community. Enforcing other’s failed ideals unto all individuals without regard for the desire of the individual…sweet branch of communism you have there Mao.

  • Courtney

    It should be legal nationwide!!! It is no worse than alcohol. I am not saying you can not be addicted to it, but I know too many people that smoke it and live productive lives. Which includes holding down good jobs and owning their own business. These people can go away on vacations where they can not smoke and do not end up with withdrawals from not being able to smoke. All drugs & alcohol effect people differently. You have to know what your body can handle and what it can’t. I also do not believe that it leads to harder drugs. What’s the difference in coming home and having a drink or smoking a little pot, other than one is legal and one is not.

  • Joe

    “Monte Stiles, a former federal prosecutor, says legalizing pot is setting a dangerous precedent and says the deep pocketed big pot industry is lying about its benefits.”

    Deep pocketed pot industry? No, no where near as big as the law/prison/legal system industry. Private prisons with contracts to hold as near to max prisoners at all times?

    Wake. Up.

  • Courtney

    I would also much rather smoke something that is natural than take a synthetic pill that can do much more harm to me. Our government has no problem approving medicines that will treat one problem, but can cause 25 more…..just love watching drug commercials on tv, lol!!

  • Error

    Why is it even debated anymore? Legalize it, and free people sentenced to YEARS of prison for simple POSESSION. Enough is enough.

  • Manalishi.

    Question,,,, I don’t smoke it, but really don’t care who does. Should we as adults allow minors to do it? It’s an easy problem to debate the legalization, I’m just saying that we should explore all the boundaries just like alcohol. Since the proponents of legalization say “just tax it” should we instill the same penalties for home growers as we do for Moonshiners and Bootleggers? Let’s air it out ant see what comes of it before we do it as stupid as Colorado.

    Colorado is averaging $400 per ounce plus over 25% tax. Are they developing an underground economy similar to the illicit market already?

  • Mike

    If alcohol is legal so should marijuana. But personally niether should be. Alcohol is a much more dangerous drug.People should go to a rehab center for alcoholics and just see what it does to a person, the family and everyone that individual encounters. Alcohol destroys lives,never seen a pot head as agressive as alcoholics .So if your going to have one legal why not the other.

  • Kilgore Trout

    SAFE is a sham. I knew it when the group said that 90% of Chesterfield school kids were huffing. Then a year later they said “Oh we have it down to 10% They get 100s of thousands of dollars in grants for the little they do – search for media exposure.
    Someone said hypocrites, you nailed it. You might want to add con artists to that as well. It’s not even about the pot issue, it’s about their activities, especially when Wayne Frith (local founder) was a drunk.
    It never ceases to amaze me…

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