Partisan Leftists Sow Seeds of Division In America’s Heartland Regarding Cannabis Reform

The marijuana legalization movement has built a tremendous deal of momentum in recent years, but partisan leftists can’t help but ruin a good thing.

Trish Bertrand, an anti-capitalist activist who advocates regulating and restricting the marijuana industry in her state, held up a sign saying “COPS AND THE KKK GO HAND IN HAND” at a protest in Springfield last month. With Missouri cannabis lobbyists working diligently to gain law enforcement support toward legalizing medical marijuana, her disgraceful move could drive a stake through the heart of the entire reform effort in the Show Me State.

Bertrand is the President of the Springfield chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML). She was removed from her post at New Approach Missouri after her shameful, divisive actions became known to the public. Additionally, Bertrand claimed that fellow marijuana activists were aligned with alt-right due to their association with close Trump ally and long-time GOP operative, Roger Stone, who is leading a bipartisan cannabis reform effort across the country.

“In Missouri Roger Stone’s presence on cannabis has been a unifying presence, not a divisive one,” said Eapen Thampy, the leader of Americans for Forfeiture Reform, to The Liberty Conservative. He has been involved in cannabis reform politics in Missouri for many years.

Thampy is a libertarian-leaning Republican who helped to fundraise within the cannabis reform community for Rand Paul’s presidential campaign last year. Although he is happy to reach across the aisle to work with Democrats and liberals on like-minded issues such as ending cannabis prohibition and civil asset forfeiture, he has found that those on the opposite side of the political arena are not nearly as amenable to the idea of putting differences aside and working together.

“We’ve seen conservatives unite with libertarians and liberals to achieve a common goal of ending prohibition in 2018 and it’s being done with the support of law enforcement that sees that cannabis policy reform allows for fundamental improvements in the practice of law enforcement,” Thampy said. “This is real change for the people of Missouri and we hope that our friends on the West Coast can join us in celebrating that.”

While most drug policy groups have claimed to be non-partisan throughout the years, they have shown their true colors since the election of Trump. Organizations with close ties to George Soros – such as the Drug Policy Alliance and the Drug Reform Coordination Network – have focused their ire on the President and the GOP to the point of superseding and undermining the alleged focus of their organizations.

It remains to be seen if the cannabis community can put this pettiness behind them, and unite for the benefit of the millions of Americans suffering due to prohibition.


  1. I’m not sure why our former intern Shane sees our organization as unduly focusing our ire on Donald Trump and the Republicans, and he’s offered no examples here to back that up. It’s true that I personally view Trump as an historic disaster and an evil influence to be fought against vigorously, as Shane and many others know through my Facebook posts. But that is simply being realistic about Trump. Shane worked here during the Bush years, but a look at our archive shows that we lavishly poured criticism on Bill Clinton’s second drug czar, Barry McCaffrey, whenever we could, and that we didn’t shy away from criticism of Clinton himself, nor even of Al Gore during his presidential run.

    As far as the organization goes, we do write about what Trump and his Cabinet members do, and about what Republicans in Congress and elsewhere do. But Trump is the president, and Republicans hold the majority in both chambers of Congress. Of course we’re going to write about them. Along with the numerous depradations that Trump and some Republicans have committed that affect drug policy, we also report consistently on efforts by Rand Paul, Dana Rohrabacher, Justin Amash and others to keep things moving in a better direction. We’ve consistently noted that Paul Ryan advocates compassionate sentencing reform, and that most Republicans seem to at this point, but have been stymied by regressive committee chairs and bad actors like Jeff Sessions. I don’t know why we should or how we would make Trump or other Republicans look better than they actually are on the issue right now.

    Some of the depradations by Trump, Sessions and others that I referred to above include:

    – Trump suggesting that police officers bash suspects’ heads on car door frames when arresting them.
    – Trump praising Philippine President Duterte’s bloody drug war in which police and vigilantes have killed more than 12,000 people.
    – Trump calling for tougher sentencing as part of fighting heroin abuse, a recommendation not made by his task force on the subject.
    – Sessions directing prosecutors to seek the maximum possible sentences in most cases.
    – Sessions restarting a federal program that allows police to evade their states’ restrictions on asset forfeiture.
    – Sessions asking Congress to not renew the limited protection for medical marijuana providers that Reps. Rohrabacher and Blumenauer are trying to get renew.
    – House Republican leadership not allowing Rohrabacher and Blumenauer’s amendment to be voted on this year, dramatically increasing the chances that it will go away.
    – Sessions’ DOJ denying DEA’s request to increase the growing of research marijuana and allow it to be used for research.
    – Trump pardoning Sheriff Arpaio from his conviction for defying a judge’s order to stop having his department do racial profiling, which is an attack by Trump on constitutional governance.

    There are probably more that I’m not thinking of. It’s true that they haven’t moved against legalized marijuana yet, and we don’t know if they will, but they might.

    As far as Roger Stone goes, his record makes him a highly problematic character, including on race issues. I have no criticism for Eapen or others who feel they should work with him on marijuana reform due to his access to the president. But I do support the efforts of those who got him booted from the conference panel, and we’re not going to work with him. There are legitimate differences of opinion on this.

    I urge liberty-minded individuals of all political stripes to be realistic about the administration that is in the White House right now. And I urge casting a skeptical eye on the narratives that abound on the right about what the advocacy groups’ real agenda is — that’s just not an edifying way of thinking about things, in my opinion.

    – David Borden, Executive Director, (DRCNet)

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