"Know your enemy," wrote the ancient Chinese military strategist Sun Tzu in The Art of War: while it might be infuriating to listen to virulent, ill-informed anti-drug lobby rhetoric, it's still important to be aware of the most vocal opponents of legalization. Here are five of America's most outspoken prohibitionists.
1. Calvina L. Fay
Fay is Executive Director of Drug Free America Foundation and Save Our Society From Drugs (S.O.S.). Both organizations rely on histrionic scare tactics to counter legalization efforts. Fay has publicly slammed dispensaries as "criminal enterprises, making millions and operating under the guise of non-profit businesses," and which pose "a severe threat to our communities, just like pill mills. Pot shops may be worse because they are frequently run by criminals."
2. David Frum
Over his career as a journalist and author for Daily Beast, CNN, and Newsweek, Frum has spread anti-legalization rhetoric by "insist[ing] that Americans need the decision of marijuana policy made for them," as Mic.com's Abdullah Saeed notes. "David Frum regularly posts anti-pot rhetoric to his 100,000-plus Twitter followers, more than all of his Project SAM anti-pot cohort combined."
Marijuana use more than doubled between 2001-02 & 2012-2013. 3 of 10 mirajuana users manifest drug-dependency https://t.co/DeJv9KWYYZ— David Frum (@davidfrum) November 2, 2015
The marijuana industry is so committed to protecting minors that it now infuses pot into jujubes. http://t.co/1dngJW9pmV— David Frum (@davidfrum) February 1, 2014
3. Michele Leonhart
An American career law enforcement officer and the former Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)., Leonhart took over for Karen Tandy when she resigned during the Bush Administration in 2007. "Since then," according to High Times, "Leonhart's made headlines for her awful gaffes and mule-headed dedication to absolute marijuana prohibition."
4. Paul Chabot
According to Huffington Post, Chabot, a former drug advisor in the Clinton and Bush administrations, has consistently "defended the criminalization of marijuana," comparing users of the plant to those who commit heinous crimes against innocent people. When asked why we keep marijuana illegal, Chabot responded: "Why do we keep heroin, LSD, prostitution, child pornography illegal?"
5. Gov. Rick Scott
The Florida governor made headlines when he vowed in 2010 to force welfare applicants to undergo drug tests. When asked about his rationale for forcing the poor and disenfranchised to supply their bodily fluids without reason or suspicion, he offered this gem: "If you go apply for a job today, you are generally going to be drug tested. The people that are working are paying the taxes for people on welfare. Shouldn't the welfare people be held to the same standard?" The "welfare people" were ultimately vindicated: Scott's proposed testing plan was later ruled unconstitutional.
banner image: Flickr / Gage Skidmore