US MO: Ex-Fed, Pothead Butt Heads

Discussion in 'Marijuana News' started by RMJL, Sep 12, 2003.

  1. US MO: Ex-Fed, Pothead Butt Heads

    Newshawk: CannabisNews ( )
    Pubdate: Wed, 10 Sep 2003
    Source: Sedalia Democrat (MO)
    Copyright: The Sedalia Democrat 2003
    Author: Bill Medley


    Despite the lure of a free trip to Amsterdam, former Drug Enforcement Administration agent Robert Stutman turned down a chance Tuesday night to get high with the editor of High Times magazine.

    Mr. Stutman and the editor, Steve Hager, debated marijuana legalization before a sold-out crowd as part of the Stauffacher Artist and Lecturer Series on the State Fair Community College campus.

    Halfway through the debate, Mr. Hager, dressed in a T-shirt, denim jacket and jeans, tried to tempt Mr. Stutman to join him at the Cannabis Cup, a marijuana harvest festival scheduled for this fall in Amsterdam.

    "You eat great, you sleep great and you have the best sex of your life," Mr. Hager said in touting the benefits of marijuana.

    Mr. Stutman, wearing a polo shirt and khakis, rejected the offer and said he didn't think he'd have fun "hanging out with a bunch of 55-year-old hippies."

    But it wasn't all joking as the two discussed conflicting scientific studies, treatment for users and the historical background of hemp and other controlled substances in the United States.

    Mr. Hager said the value of hemp, from which marijuana is taken, was unparalleled to any other crop. He said a single marijuana seed, once planted and harvested, could provide someone with "free medicine for the rest of their life" and produce thousands of consumer goods, from paper to clothes.

    "Every farmer in Missouri can add this crop to their rotation, and it would be a benefit and a boon to Missouri," Mr. Hager said.

    Mr. Stutman, a DEA agent for 25 years, said several scientific journals had disputed the alleged benefits of medicinal marijuana and showed that it was five times more likely to cause cancer than cigarettes. He said that even though hemp is legal in Europe, no one buys clothes made from the material.

    "Just because God made it, doesn't make it good for us to use," Mr. Stutman said. "Any doctor who tells you smoking is good for you is a fool. Thirty years from now, some of you may have lung cancer and ask, 'Why me?' "

    Mr. Stutman warned that if marijuana were legalized, the number of people who use it would skyrocket, causing more accidents and an elevated need for treatment programs.

    "The fundamental question is: Do you want to live in a free society?" Mr. Hager countered. "I want to live in a society where people are free to make bad decisions. The drug war's a war. It's a war on our own people."

    Mr. Stutman said the public, courts and science were all against drug legalization.

    "If one of those three groups agree with him ... I will concede it should be legal," Mr. Stutman said. "We have a right in this country to limit our freedoms. There's no such thing as unlimited freedoms."

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