With Erin Burnett on CNN: marijuana legalization

You won’t see the lead-in with the Cheech & Chong references, but I think – without being excessively grim – I managed to convert what was supposed to be ha-ha-meet-the-pot-czar segment into a little bit of a teaching opportunity.

The question about my own use or non-use of pot always comes up, and I always answer the same way, with a polite (I hope) “None of your business.” I don’t think there’s any ill will involved in asking the question: journalists simply want to “place” their sources culturally on the hippie-to-jock spectrum. But I want to resist the whole idea that drug policy should be a clash of cultural identities rather than a serious discussion of harms and benefits.

Author: Mark Kleiman

Professor of Public Policy at the NYU Marron Institute for Urban Management and editor of the Journal of Drug Policy Analysis. Teaches about the methods of policy analysis about drug abuse control and crime control policy, working out the implications of two principles: that swift and certain sanctions don't have to be severe to be effective, and that well-designed threats usually don't have to be carried out. Books: Drugs and Drug Policy: What Everyone Needs to Know (with Jonathan Caulkins and Angela Hawken) When Brute Force Fails: How to Have Less Crime and Less Punishment (Princeton, 2009; named one of the "books of the year" by The Economist Against Excess: Drug Policy for Results (Basic, 1993) Marijuana: Costs of Abuse, Costs of Control (Greenwood, 1989) UCLA Homepage Curriculum Vitae Contact: Markarkleiman-at-gmail.com

40 thoughts on “With Erin Burnett on CNN: marijuana legalization”

  1. I don’t think there’s any ill will involved in asking the question: journalists simply want to “place” their sources culturally on the hippie-to-jock spectrum. But I want to resist the whole idea that drug policy should be a clash of cultural identities rather than a serious discussion of harms and benefits.

    Maybe, the question is for the sake of knowing whether one has had firsthand experience of the behavioral activity that one’s trying to police.

    1. daksya wrote:
      “Maybe, the question is for the sake of knowing whether one has had firsthand experience of the behavioral activity that one’s trying to police.”

      Could be. But the press generally doesn’t ask prohibitionists whether they have any “firsthand experience.” Sure as heck no asked those racists who passed prohibition in 1936 whether they had any “firsthand experience.” In fact, in this country it’s often assumed you have no “firsthand experience” with walking in the shoes of those you are paid to oppress. Sure as heck none of those slaveholders wanted to walk in their slaves’ shoes….oh, that’s right, no shoes. Neither does the modern replacement for the slavedriver, the federal DEA and the local narc, have any interest in seeing things from the eyes of others. Lets hope the changes we’re seeing tend to bring real morality to the surface, not Uncle Sam’s fake morality of legalism…

      Personally, I think Mark hits a problem that is very much like a nail on the head with a hammer of logic. The “clash of cultures” approach is why our country has been going in circles politically for the last 40 years. We’d be a lot better of with consensus building for good policy, instead of careening down the road of political ruin with politicians trying to outdo each other in how many of their fellow Americans they can manage to lock up. We can kick them in the knew or…

      Just start acting like adult ourselves, because they’re sure not. It’s like they’re trapped in some bad video game they refuse to quit playing. All that’s really needed at this point to win is to have a simple message that “war is over” and let’s all work for what comes next. The other side is scared, but let’s offer THEM all amnesty and get on with it.

      Yep, we have met the enemy and he is us. A mature national discussion about pot might be the start of a productive national discussion of other conflicts, where the 1% is happy to get us to find reasons to hate our fellow Americans for perfectly stupid reasons.

      I do question Mark’s tendency to to put “harms” before “benefits” in his formulation. Realistically, we already experience most of the “harms” given that problem users have no supply issues and availability is not an issue for most, either. As for benefits, most are enjoyed in secret now, but legalization will capture those benefits more directly and accountability than with the present state of political madness we call the “drug war.” That’s probably where Mark and I have more conflicts, but also where smart people can come to majoritarian solutions.

      1. The “federal DEA and the local narc” are the modern replacement for the slave-driver. Are you on drugs or something? Anyway, you have an interesting, if somewhat warped, perspective on things.

      2. You didn’t equate slavery with the cultivation of a natural plant, did you? Because if that is true, then you are not fit to participate in this conversation.

        1. I think he was equating modern prohibition laws with the power exerted by slave owners to keep treating blacks as inferior — the parallels are many, especially in light of the fact that most people caught up in the drug war are black even though whites (and every other race) use cannabis and other illegal drugs at the same or higher rates. Tarentino also recently compared the two, saying our failed drug war is equivalent to modern day slavery. In places like Texas and Alabama, where sentences are harsh and felons are commonly used for dirt-cheap labor, the only real difference between now and a hundred years ago is every once in a while somebody white or another color gets their life upended by infamous “mandatory minimums”. (a.k.a., the bread and butter of Dick Cheney and his fellow investors in our prison industrial complex.) Meaning a comparison to Nazi ideals and actions doesn’t seem out of line to me at this point, either…

    2. I’m not sure I understand how one’s first hand experience of smoking dope would make a difference. I think what we saw was the difference between journalism/policy making/thinking and entertainment. I think Mark made some excellent points and kept the conversation on point and at a fairly high level for cable television.

      Slightly off topic: The one point that Mark didn’t address was how Washington (the state) is going to formulate or implement any sort of policy without an explicit negative framework to allow the traffic in marijuana to be permitted but controlled. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, if you don’t have record-keeping and inspection requirements; requirements limiting retailers to licensed sources; a strict and strictly enforced requirement for audit trails for both marijuana and cash; the requirement that all purchases be invoiced and paid by check and all money be run through bank accounts, etc. it will be impossible to achieve any of the objective that Mark has been talking about.

      Yet all of these things require the cooperation of banks (to create audit trails and control over the product) and owners of real property (so that the places where regulated activities take place can be licensed and inspected) and other businesses which are certain to be worried about the money laundering and asset forfeiture. Absent a legislative created safe harbor for people and entities in compliance with the state law, I would be very surprised if a bank would knowingly open an account for a trafficker in narcotics, with or without a state license. How, for example, should the bank or the licensed marijuana trafficker fill out a CTR when dropping off a load of cash from their retail outlets? To answer truthfully is to admit to a federal crime. To lie is to commit the federal crime of perjury. And for the bank to accept the CTR is an admission of money laundering and other banking crimes (if the CTR is completed truthfully then the bank has actual knowledge that the cash being deposited is the proceeds of narcotics trafficking; if the bank accepts the falsified CTR but probably knows the true source of the money then the bank is guilty of money laundering and structuring).

      And, as previously observed, all of these people and entities need to file accurate tax returns. The licensed marijuana grower/distributor/retailer must declare that his income is from growing or selling illegal narcotics. The landlord that he’s renting a facility to people who grow/distribute/sell marijuana. So unless there is also a marijuana equivalent of the “gambling tax stamp” that allows people involved in the state-authorized marijuana trade to file federal and state tax returns either (effectively) under seal as with the “gambling tax stamp” or openly as part of a safe harbor, I see a lot of people and companies sticking their necks out and hoping against hope that the federal axe won’t fall or they basically stay out in the cold in which case you’ve got the wild west coming to Washington as the legal and “regulated” trafficking intermingles (perhaps diverting legally grown drugs to other states) or else comes into conflict.

      The whole regulatory structure is vulnerable to anybody at DEA or Main Justice or a local US attorney that wants some publicity or that is genuinely convinced that the Washington experiment is a bad idea.

      1. I’m not sure I understand how one’s first hand experience of smoking dope would make a difference.

        It would be associated with having a more intimate and possibly nuanced understanding of the activity, especially relevant here considering that drug effect is a phenomenal event privileged to the subject, and that a lot of (mis)conceptions of drug effect hinge on the supposed character and power of the event.

        1. Your argument doesn’t seem intuitively correct. As I understand it, nothing that Mark and his colleagues have been asked to analyze involves the effects of marijuana but rather they are engaged in designing (or making suggestions about) what are essentially regulatory mechanisms for implementing the Washington law. All value judgments about marijuana have already been made by the people.

          Perhaps in some abstract sense a former trucker might feel more connected to the work of the ICC but holding a Class A CDL wouldn’t make you more qualified to design a legal system governing disputes between shippers and trucking companies over damaged goods. Just as not having experience with trucking would be disqualifying. Similarly, one needn’t have been a gambler to work for the Gaming Control Board designing an accounting system to prevent skimming from the counting rooms.

          I don’t see how anybody’s personal experiences with marijuana would contribute to or detract from the job of implementing the Washington law effectively.

          1. My comment wasn’t directly related to Mark et al’s acute assignment but to the general class of drug policy advocates and analysts.

            In any case, BOTEC’s task does include “identify the regulatory choices to be made… restrictions on products and marketing..sanctioning violations

            Those activities are modulated by value judgements.

          2. umm, now that I’ve actually seen the CNN clip, the Prof explains it himself that if he says no, then it implies he doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Of course, then he talks about the irrelevance to his contracted task, although I’m not sure the full scope of BOTEC’s work is limited to statistical modeling, number projections and plant assays.

          3. “… nothing that Mark and his colleagues have been asked to analyze involves the effects of marijuana but rather they are engaged in designing (or making suggestions about) what are essentially regulatory mechanisms …”

            In my experience, those who haven’t tried cannabis often imagine it is like alcohol or sedatives or some other psychoactive substance with which they are familiar, or some other drug they have heard about, like LSD. One often reads prohibitionists referring to being high on cannabis as being “impaired” or “inebriated” or “out of your mind” or hallucinating. First hand experience driving under the influence, for example, would give policy makers a better understanding of the effects of cannabis on driving ability. Same story with experiencing the withdrawal symptoms of cannabis, or lack thereof, or the lack of an urge to move on to heroin.

            “The concern lies in the fact that parents are generally unaware of marijuana’s increasing potency, and thus, do not assess their child’s potential marijuana use given the current situation …. It is our belief that a drug is a drug. For example, we know that one dose of high-potency marijuana is equivalent to one dose of LSD.” – Supt. Tim Quigley, RCMP “Taking a Balanced Approach: Canada’s Drug Policy from the National Police Perspective”

      2. Mitch raises many valid questions. It is not a question of how we feel about Cannabis – whether or not it is a narcotic at all is irrelevant, because that is how it is currently classed. Banks and dispensaries do not work together knowingly. It works. Yet, in this state-regulated situation, I cannot imagine a cash only business being successful, or practical for the aims of the law. Here is what I hope happens. I hope the DEA makes an official announcement of a lawsuit. At that time, the little smathering of states with legalization and medical cannabis bills in the works will light up like wildfire, and the DEA will not be able to stop it. At the very least, it will be legal or decriminalized all over the place, in quite a few more states, even if a state regulated business is not able to thrive. Eventually, you’d think the Feds would have to cave, but they are literally bound to some kind of quasi-religion where any admission of failure in the drug war is tantamount to releasing half of the police power prohibition forces have worldwide. Prohibitionists have a quasi-religion, but they just don’t acknowledge it as such. Many of them come from a religious background, and those who don’t seem to bear the psychological imprints – in which constantly warring with an enemy combatant is written into their programming. They cannot help but erect scapegoats, and attack them. The concept of personal responsibility is parroted loudly, but obviously not truly understood. Prohibiting Witchcraft (in many cases, a smart midwife knowledgable in herbalism), Prohibiting Science, Prohibiting Sex, in later centuries – Prohibiting Alcohol, Hell – they even prohibited entire cultures. In Germany, they prohibited Jews, if you think about it. Prohibition has many faces, Cannabis prohibition is a testament to the DIHYDROGEN MONOXIDE effect. (google it if you are not familiar) It’s as if we are under a tragic spell that repeats itself age after age.

      3. We need to be careful of not falling into the trap of prohibitionist thinking here.

        Let’s consider the fact that those who outlawed it and many of those who currently enforce prohibition have no experience with marijuana. What’s the problem with that? Well, in some cases no problem, if they approach the topic with an open mind. But they don’t. Why?

        They look at the law. It says you should get 5 or 10 years in prison for cannabis possession with intent/whatever. The logical person, who is also not too inquisitive, takes that at face value. There MUST be a reason for that, right? says the logical thinker. On the scale of social evils, it must rate a punishment/whatever that is at least 10 times harsher than, for instance, alcohol, a legal drug they are likely familiar with. There MUST be an empirical reason for the starkly higher sentence, because our government doesn’t do things on a whim, right?

        Sometimes the gov’t does do things on a whim. And sometimes they do it based on things more vile. Sometimes they do both. Take the longtime disparity in crack vs powder cocaine sentencing at 100:1. Crack has to be that much more of a danger, right? Ah, you are naive… and sio is the whim/whatever motivation from Congress on things like this. Perfectly legal, even if boneheaded and racist and since adjusted to, what 16:1? and still boneheaded and racist.

        But we’re talking reefer, so why raise that? Because pot was the first example (well, opium was actually, but let’s keep the argument here simple, as including arguing about racism against the Chinese simply reinforces my argument) of these racial disparities between what is considered culturally acceptable intoxicants and what are intoxicants that cross racial lines and thus rate far more severe legal violence against the transgressor. At the time it was outlawed, cannabis was the African-American and Latino/Latina version of opium, pure and simple, and folks were afraid it would infect Whites! OMG!

        Seriously, virtually _anyone_ with personal experience with both alcohol and cannabis will tell you that you’re 100 times more likely to do stupid/dangerous stuff on beer than on reefer in the course of normal use. For serious abuse on either, the disparity probably is 1,000:1. Yet the legal disparity runs the other way! Maybe this is something you’d prefer to ignore, based on your reaction to my comment that the “drug war” is the modern institution of slavery.

        But most folks with only alcohol experience and who meet our “logical if not inquisitive” standard think, “‘Geez, I know what a slobbering drunk I am after a few beers, and being underage or prone to get behind the wheel, I could get 30 days in the county or something similar if I got busted for some dumb thing. But if I get caught with an oz, I could get 5 years! So I sure don’t want to smoke any weed, because I’m going to be 60 times as wasted as the last Sat. night at the bar. No Way!”

        I know, bad math, bad chemistry, whatever, but that’s how folks think among the great unwashed who don’t know what a joke justice seems like to someone who does have personal experience with cannabis. That’s how bad, stupid, racist, unenforceable, passive-aggressive, jerkwater, ignorant, holier-than-thou laws like we have re cannabis survive.

        That’s why I think it’d be a good idea to ask the “drug warriors” what their experience is with cannabis, too, as a matter or course. I totally agree with Mark that he should just take a pass on such questions as irrelevant — and so should those representing the other side, if they so choose. Then the ground is a little more level, if you think through the various implications of Yes, No, or No Comment and the arguments and positions they might make and take.

        1. This is an important comment. People should read it.

          I think Mark could have safely taken the same line as Gary Johnson: “I used to smoke the stuff a long, long, long time ago. I haven’t smoked it in this decade or the last decade or the one before that. It’s not the right choice for me at this time. Can we move on to a more relevant question?”

          Kleiman shouldn’t have answered the question as if the Feds would’ve come down and arrested him since he, of all people, knows that that’s untrue.”

  2. Why are you worried about export?

    I would have thought neighbouring states were insulated because of cannabis prohibitions within those states.

    You claim that “everything in that [the DEA] statement was true”.

    Why would taxing every single cannabis user in WA at the point of sale cause cannabis use to increase? What percentage of cannabis users in WA were fined prior to the passage of I-502?

    Why would the lawfully availability of cannabis encourage cannabis use if they were are affixed with health warnings like the ones on tobacco products?

    If the DEA statement is true and the lawful availability of drugs promotes drug use, why has the prevalence of smoking declined by rougly 30% between 1999 to 2010 in WA?

  3. The worst side effects of pot is being arrested. The damage inflicted by the government is life-long.

    I’ve had over 300 letters printed in our conservative paper – IssaLand! – with over 70K circulation. My tone is very Liberal, and my subject matter widespread, but I NEVER defended pot because I felt it would taint my message to very conservative readers.

  4. Great answers and superb way of handling the interview!

    This isn’t a joke and I was impressed at how you kept the segment informative and hit the important points. Well done.

  5. Dang, Kleiman, I must admit you give a great interview.

    I’m still never going to forgive you for your Op-Ed opposing Prop 19 in the L.A. Times.

    I know that this will cost you many nights of lost sleep.

  6. Mark, don’t worry. The beard puts you on the hippie side of the spectrum, no matter what.

    1. Or maybe the redneck side (just kidding). I read someplace (may be an urban legend, of course) that neither prosecutors nor defense attorneys want guys with beards on juries. Prosecutors are afraid they’ve got a hippie who will vote to acquit everyone. and defenders are afraid they’ve got a redneck who will vote to convict everyone.

      1. Maybe both sides are afraid they’ve got a militant Islamist who will vote to chop off the accused’s hand.

  7. The bedrock the foundation of the legalization movement stands on, is in eliminating the black market, reducing our youths access to cannabis by eliminating those that would sell cannabis to them, those who have other things like heroin or meth too.
    This can not be stressed enough. Far too many of what I will call Randian thinking people seem to be in key decision making positions, and they believe that high taxes to keep prices high may reduce consumption, so it is better to keep prices high, even though that means keeping the black market. Their estimates of harm are generated by looking at tobacco and alcohol, which have absolutely nothing to do with cannabis at all on any level.
    This belief would keep the cartels in business, keep the off shore flow of cash flowing, increase violence, and still require the same amount of policing or more than before legalization happened. It is wrong on so many levels and issues that it is amazing intelligent people ever even considered such absurd actions. This idea is someone revolted at the idea the product might be legal, writing controls for the legal product.
    It is time for a serious discussion, but how do you have such a discussion with someone that has to guess what your words mean? Whether or not someone has tried or uses cannabis is very much a valid question for those engaged in writing the regulations for a legal marketplace.
    Logic says to tax it at a percentage designed to allow the price to drop, and to encourage an active market so that prices will drop, making Mexican Brick Weed worthless in the US, defeating unregulated sales, marijuana funded crime or gangs, cartels, and cutting the offshore flow of cash out of our economy. It simply destroys the illegal distribution system and the security risks created by that massive illegal distribution conduit. Logic says to put it behind the counter where an ID is required to purchase it, and then punishing those who go on to give it to our children. Logic says that to remove the harms created by prohibition, that you have to stop trying to prohibit it.
    This subject is far too complex to can into a short post, but having those that had to be forced by law to regulate it, or to stop locking people in cages over it, to design the legalization scheme is self defeating behavior.

      1. I see you did not participate in the Rand Corporation Webinar on this topic. If you had, you would have understood the Randian comment.

        1. Sorry, I thought you were using the word “Randian” as in “Ayn Rand.” My misunderstanding. I apologize.

          1. Apology accepted gladly!
            I am a medical marijuana patient in a place where that is still against the law. I use cannabis so I do not have to use Oxycodone. My bottle of Oxycodone was a month supply months ago, and it is still over half full. The people that do not understand that decision don’t understand much on this issue.
            I spend every single day hunting for the news about legalization and medical usage, and I then post the cream of what I find on a message board based in St. Louis. I am considered a nut case there, but people read what I post, even if they do not respond much.
            I started a few months ago to study cannabis in a very real fashion, and I have spent 5 hours minimum a day since reading studies, articles, or watching videos on the subject. I have even studied current methods of growing medicinal cannabis, since only when a person truly understands a subject, are they freed from those who would twist and rationalize their way to different answers that support a belief system that has nothing to do with the question at hand.
            I am older, and I find it completely unbelievable that in 2013, I could be arrested and imprisoned for making solid healthy medical decisions for myself, or for pursuing the path that has the chance of creating the least damage, and that works for me.
            In the Rand hosted presentation and discussion, they seemed to think that high taxes to keep prices from falling would prevent more users from starting to use cannabis, and that this idea was better than eliminating the black market that sells to our children. Such rationalized insanity is how we got to where we are today, and does not support or prepare a way out of where we are today on this issue. This idea leads to another I have seen stated recently. One group seems to think that we do not have a drug problem as much as we have too much money available to us as a people, and that reducing wages making everyone tighten their belt, while keeping the prices of cannabis high, was the way to handle the cannabis problem. Price it out of usage.
            These ideas threaten to destroy the budding legalization movement, and to make cannabis medicine cost as much as pharmaceutical medicines do. It is a design created by those that do not support legalization, but are forced to design regulations for legalization, so the regulations they propose actually extend prohibition into the legal market place, creating completely unneeded expenses and hardships for those that would use cannabis medicines. I find those that support such “reform” to be more dangerous than those that oppose any legalization.

          2. *chuckle* I figured it was Rand Co., not AR, so glad to get it confirmed.

            On the other hand — speaking of only several references I’ve read to it and not having time to read it in trying to get my own stuff out the door — if Rand thinks it’s going to be possible to force consumers to pay high prices “because it’s good for ’em” for government limited corporate weed, and take the place of the cartels harvesting the revenue, then they actually do deserve to be lumped in with Ayn Rand and her merry band of moral-economic sloths.

            It just won’t work.

            Trying to transform the existing “drug war” complex into a marijuana regulatory bureaucracy is a hopeless endeavor doomed to absolute and abject failure.

            Look, grant people the RIGHT to grow their own at a REASONABLE level — no more than 25 mature plants at any one time, no tax, just like beer, which it’s less dangerous than and which is treated exactly that way. Encourage small, loosely regulated (other than keeping it safe, healthy, and tax-paying) cooperatives and small businesses. Leave the door open to the corporation, but in a closely regulated manner that puts THEM in a closely regulated environment and you’ve got something people will accept as legit. Anything else and you’re simply encouraging people to resist more aggressively.

            Remember, this is America and we are talking about freedom, human rights, and whether the government can actually retain the respect of the populace without finding itself in deep-doo-doo. The Republicans and Democrats are deeply split internally on this. Whoever is smart will get in front of this soon, lead it to a successful conclusion and we’ll get on to more difficult to solve problems.

            On the other hand, attempts to take back with regulations what was the expressed will of the people, ridiculous and intrusive regs and rules imposing on a right and freedom, unreasonable taxes, lack of support from the government for people facing discrimination for responsibly exercising their rights..I could go on, but my point is that people are really fed up, they see things moving so they can still stay patient for awhile, but unless things move along fairly and expeditiously to national repeal of prohibition, marijuana may indeed be responsible for a peaceful revolution and overhaul of American politics that will make the death of the Whigs look like child’s play.

            One need only consider our GLBT allies and comrades. What they faced was illegality, too, until the last couple of decades. Yes, just like stoners are now, every GLBT person in this country understood the government was invested in making them illegal, in crushing them under its jackboot. Guess what? They mobilized and resisted and won repeal of virtually all legal sanctions against them, with the military falling and marriage equality soon to be accomplished. They are Americans and they will resist efforts to take away their human rights. Finally, it looks like even the Reps are starting to see the political math. A few cultural yahoos cling to their crazy beliefs, but now marriage equality is winning at the election box, not just in courts where judges pay more attention to the Constitution than legislators do. Most of us are just fine with anyone, no matter what their gender, and will vote that way.

            Now, I won’t bother starting an argument about specific numbers, but I think it’s safe to say that there most likely are more stoners than GLBT persons in this country. Exact numbers don’t matter. But we know that it’s just been in the last couple of years where GLBT people could win at the ballot box. In the case of those who want cannabis legalization, we’ve actually been ahead of our GLBT allies and comrades when we could get access to the ballot box. Cali was 1996 and things just reached the peak where voters said legalize it. In effect, the two movements are at pretty much the same place at the ballot box in terms of overall wins, but even though stoners and their allies remain illegal, they are gaining even higher levels of support.

            This is a country where blockheads often think that groups of people gaining freedom somehow do so at the expense of the freedom of others. “If black folks get legal status with something, why it has to be at the expense of a deserving white person, right?” No! WE all gain and find our own freedoms strengthened when more among us have theirs recognized.

            More freedom results in more freedom, period. So there is no reason that GLBT should enjoy their too long awaiting freedoms and rights without desiring stoners to do so also. Same thing with lots of others, because that’s why this movement of suppressed, yet resistant, persecuted, but growing, and who are good folks just like everybody else, will achieve victory in the near future. Those who stand in our way will pay a political price if they continue much past where we are now — a clear view of a marijuana majority. Let’s all act like grown-ups, make reasonable, common sense rules, and smoke the peace pipe, for those who partake. We’ll be a much better country after we get this behind us with a minimum of bitterness.

            Thee is no going back, no “Prohibition Light” that will be acceptable.

            War is over.

            RAND needs to put some smart folks on staff. They’re really slipping. If they had ideas like this back during the Cold War, we’d all be speaking Russian and driving Ladas right now.

  8. It is 2013. Once upon a time we could put a man on the moon and talk to him with a two-second delay.
    Is there some fricking reason why these Cable News companies can’t eliminate the ridiculous latency across several hundred miles?

    Also, her semi-snarky question at the start could be reinterpreted: By what right do you hold the chalk? Readers here know the history of that trope.
    Kleiman was thus over-prepared for that one. He was like Willie Mays sitting on a fastball from Warren Spahn.

    One more thing: A UFO goes behind you at the 1:25 mark…

    1. Think Geosynchronous satellites. At 22,199 miles above Earth’s surface, that’s lots more miles.

      1. Did Kleiman actually see that woman’s face. Was he videoconferencing?
        Or was he looking into a video camera and responding to audio sent on a long dumb round trip?
        Either way, if this wasn’t live TV, why not just have the two conduct an interview over a land line and then sync up the video and audio feeds when done?
        Surely there is a way to do that…
        All it would take is a little less laziness from cable company heads like Roger Ailes to make it so.

  9. Well done! When news is funded by entertainment, TV hosts are paid to make ‘serious’ disappear in favor of kiss and giggles. How to do what you did and make it work in an environment built on 10 second sound bites should get at least an hour lecture in most professional schools.

  10. I think Bill Maher pointed this out: the cable news folks need to stop pot smoking like it’s some sort of naughty, transgressive, wink-wink act, akin to joining the mile-high club, and talk about its use and effects like adults.

  11. The assumption that first-hand experience equals tolerance is a bad one. (Not calling out anyone here on that, to be clear – though I don’t think, from, er, first-hand experience, that marijuana is anything like harmless for some people.)
    Talk to people in AA and you’ll find plenty of support for restrictions on alcohol use – not usually to the level of outright prohibition, but stuff that non-alcoholics might find extreme: punitive taxation, license requirements to buy booze, that kind of thing.

    Anyway, thanks, Dr. K, for your smart performance in a dumb-ish setting, and especially for your pointing out that alcohol is a drug.

  12. Totally unbiased, of course, but I thought you kicked ass: made clear how and why she was asking the wrong questions without making her look or feel foolish. Bravo.

    1. She did feel foolish but only through self-realization. (lots of “hmms” when she realized he wasn’t rising to the bait) But then she attempted to belittle him with her over riding and “a little delay there” comment.

      Anyway we are moving forward with practical safe policy. And it is “foot in mouth” moments like these that actually move public awareness forward. Bravo to Mr. Kleiman.

  13. We recently had a senator reverse, well at least part, of his public position against gay rights. Solely based on his “newly revised” experience with his son.

    It’s a good thing to know from experience what one is dealing with.

    And yess fake news networks like CNN will destroy anyone who says so publicly.

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