Marijuana Policy Project

ASA Responds to Mark Kleiman's Criticism

Kleiman: "I despise the dishonesty of phony ’patients,’ crooked doctors, greedy vendors and their political front-people."

Update: After reading this article, Mark Kleiman added a footnote to his:

"ASA points to a case in Western Washington where five people, all with medical marijuana recommendations, are being prosecuted federally for growing 74 (or, some sources say, 68) plants, supposedly for their own use. Washington law permits 15 plants per patient, but also sets a limit of 45 plants total for a collective grow, so whether what this group was doing in fact fit within state law isn’t clear.

"While the charge is 'conspiracy to produce and distribute,' it doesn’t appear that the federal authorities have alleged that the group was selling cannabis rather than merely using it. Assuming a fairly modest yield of 100 grams per plant, one harvest per year, and very heavy consumption of 3.5 grams per day per user, an individual might actually succeed in using that much cannabis personally. They’re facing additional charges for having firearms (apparently just hunting rifles), which is legal by itself but an aggravation of a drug-trafficking charge.

"If all the facts are as asserted by the defense, this case seems to be one of serious prosecutorial over-reach, which is not an unknown phenomenon. I’m glad the original post said that federal prosectuions were 'almost always' (rather than 'always') for more than the grower could possibly use.

"If the ASA ad had used a photo of the defendants in this case, it would have been (sort of) accurate to say that Representatives voting against the Rohrbacher provision were voting to send 'patients like this' to prison. It still wouldn’t have been entirely accurate, since nothing in the Rohrbacher provision would disallow such a prosecution, which after all does not “prevent” Washington from administering its medical-marijuana law.

"But in fact the ad used the photo of a four-year-old epilepsy patient and his mother: a much more emotionally moving image. The problem is that there is no such federal case. That’s what the ASA director calls 'political strategy.' I’m a simpler soul, so I just call it 'lying.' So far, my score on getting other advocates of cannabis legalization to criticize it is zero."

Kleiman further tells CelebStoner in an email: "I have great respect for actual patients, and have argued strenuously for freeing up clinical research to develop medicines that can help them. My contempt is reserved for those who have created, and continue to operate and profit from, a system of mostly fake medical recommendations serving non-medical users and resellers. It's possible to support legal access to cannabis without respect to medical need and also to despise the dishonesty of phony 'patients,' crooked doctors, greedy vendors and their political front-people."


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Steve Bloom

Steve Bloom

Publisher of, former editor of High Times and Freedom Leaf and co-author of Pot Culture and Reefer Movie Madness.