American Morning

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April 14th, 2009
03:00 PM ET

We Listen!

Here’s your daily recap of the best feedback we got from YOU today. Continue the conversation below. And remember, keep it brief, and keep it clean. Thanks!

On Tuesday, AM viewers voiced their enthusiastic approval of marijuana legalization. The few dissenters lobbied fervently against such change:

  • David: The best thing would be to legalize pot. It takes it out of the hands of the drug lords that deal the harmful drugs like Heroin, Cocaine and meth. Plus it can be taxed and that is fair. Nobody has EVER overdosed on pot! Anyone that disagrees with this is ignorant of the issue. You statement that pot is a big part of the Mexican drug trade is untrue. Most is grown in the USA or B.C. now.
  • Berotte813: I am truly angry that anchors would even mentioned to legalized drugs. Legalizing would be chaos. If Kiran Chetry for example is under the drug influence, do you think she would be able to deliver the news properly? She propably would hallucinate about the camera man being a bear or a snake. In short, people with influence of drugs are fatal for the society. People at work would be like zombies, talking, walking, flying, and killing people is just going to be normal. NO!! is my answer.

What’s your take on the argument in favor of drug legalization? Is it the best way to solve our deficit issues and get farmers working again? Do you believe that law enforcement officials want to keep drugs illegal to provide “job security” for themselves? Are you in agreement with the second viewer above who worries that people will be come “zombies”?

The segment on the supposed rift between President Obama and Vice-President Biden was angriy received by viewers:

  • Sharon: Unbelievable. You manufactured a whole segment on the vice president of the United States based on an SNL skit and a comment/lie made by right wing buffoon Karl Rove. The News You Can Trust. Riiigghhttttttt. No wonder your ratings are in the toilet.
  • Nels: What was the point of your segment that there is a rift between Biden and Obama? There was not even close to being any evidence presented of it. You might as well instead have included a segment of Joe Biden robbing a bank. You would have had as much evidence. And how could you include a segment of Karl Rove accusing Biden of being a liar without including a disclaimer of Karl Rove's own problems of telling the truth. You do recall that he had to go to a grand jury 5 times to get his story straight, dont you? How do you expect us to take CNN seriously when you put out rumours as facts?

How did you feel about the segment regarding the “rift” between President Obama and VP Biden? Do you believe such an issue exists or are you in agreement with the viewers above that the problem is “manufactured” by the media or right wing conservatives?

Lastly, the segment on other countries’ tax structures was blasted by the audience:

  • Jay: Come on Am Morning You guys can do better than this can't you? Most of the countries that you listed that pay higher taxes provide a lot more services or better said, The people from those countries get more for their buck than We do. From the World class Free Colleges to health care, vacations, pensions, retirement All kind of services for their buck. And note that these countries are healther, smarter, and more productive, than Americans are. I mean, tell the whole store if you are going to tell the story, or is that too much truth reporting for CNN?

Do you feel Americans pay too much in taxes for the services we receive? Is the tax stucture in our country unfair? Would you be willing to pay substantially more in taxes if you could be certain of receiving such services as free college and health care?


Filed under: We Listen
soundoff (17 Responses)
  1. Bernice

    Louise, I am sorry sweetie. Do you actually have any clue how many people are actually driving while "under the influence" of cannabis every day that goes by today?? Too many for us to count!! They already are on the highways sweetie! It would not change much at all and even if it did, I see where there would be no change on this issue. People are not "Zombies" dear! Only the ignorant people who need educated on the plant are "Zombies"! Most are highly educated people who just ended up taking a bad rap due to the lies told about them ...by thier own gov. They need to study the subject so they can see that most of what they were taught ... are nothing more than mere "myths". You should be worried about cellphone use while driving dear! That would be a better "driver" to be discussing here! They are the dangerous highway drivers! Please take the extra time however to educate on the wonderful plant and its many great uses, other than smoking!

    April 18, 2009 at 5:41 am |
  2. Tyler

    "Berotte813: I am truly angry that anchors would even mentioned to legalized drugs. Legalizing would be chaos. If Kiran Chetry for example is under the drug influence, do you think she would be able to deliver the news properly? She propably would hallucinate about the camera man being a bear or a snake. In short, people with influence of drugs are fatal for the society. People at work would be like zombies, talking, walking, flying, and killing people is just going to be normal. NO!! is my answer."

    This comment truly angers me. Berotte813, do you really not think it's possible for people to keep their WORK and LEISURE activities separate? Just because alcohol is legal, does that mean American coming into work drunk every day? No. If people don't want to take their jobs seriously, there's plenty of other people out there who will. And since when do all drugs make you hallucinate and kill people? Marijuana is a very mellow drug that makes the majority of its users peaceful, happy, and less stressed. It is by far a less dangerous drug than alcohol, as it's not possible to overdose and is far less addicting!

    And Elmer Antonio, who posted above me, you really think that addicting fuels our crave for marijuana? It doesn't. Responsible adults enjoy kicking back and smoking a joint in the privacy of their own home, it's that simple. Alcohol is legal and more addicting than marijuana, but we don't have a nation full of alcoholics, do we?

    The point is, people are going to continue to want drugs no matter if they are legal or illegal. Teaching kids lies about the "dangers" or marijuana at a young age is not going to stop the majority of them from learning the truth when they grow older. We can fight it all we want, we ARE NOT going to significantly curb drug use. As long as it is illegal, we will have an underground drug market where gangs and criminals profit instead of our economy. Yes, it is as stupid as it sounds. Stop the nonsense!

    April 15, 2009 at 5:39 pm |
  3. Dudley

    Just to keep the conversation going, I'm passing along this editorial from LEAP. And I hope CNN will consider adding Mr. Cole, as well as the folks from NORML, as guest speaker experts as part of your coverage on this critical issue. Below is the editorial.

    The war against the "War on Drugs" is really starting to heat up.
    Law Enforcement Against Prohibition has spent the last two years asking every single congressional office to take a thorough look at the failure of our drug laws, and now it is happening!

    Recently on Capitol Hill, Sen. Jim Webb (D-Virginia) introduced a bill to create a blue ribbon commission to initiate a comprehensive review of America's criminal justice and drug policies. The commission will spend eighteen months studying all aspects of the criminal justice system, report the findings to Congress and offer tangible recommendations for reform, including, possibly, an end to the cruel drug laws that send too many people to prison for too long.

    But that's only if we build enough support to pass this important legislation.

    We've made it easy for you to contact your legislators about supporting Sen. Webb's bill. All you have to do is go to http://www.DrugWarDebate.com and enter in your contact information. Edit the pre-written letter if you want, and click send. Then, use our automated system to let your friends know that they can take action too. That's it.

    If enough of us put this already-bipartisan legislation on our senators' and representatives' radar screens, we can and will make a difference.

    The United States is the number one incarcerator in the world, with one out of every one hundred American adults behind bars. Sadly, the lion's share of this insane level of incarceration is driven by drug prohibition.

    Our current policies are not serving the public interest, and the results have been devastating: since the inception of the "war on drugs," more than 38 million arrests have been made for nonviolent drug offenses. Under Sen. Webb's legislation, the commission will, among other things, "make recommendations for changes in policies and laws designed to....restructure the approach to criminalization of, and incarceration as a result of the possession or use of illegal drugs."

    A thorough examination of the criminal justice system as it relates to the failed "war on drugs" will go a long way toward awakening more policymakers about the reasons for reform, and Sen. Webb's efforts are exactly what we need right now. Please visit http://www.DrugWarDebate.com today to contact your senators and representatives, asking them to support S. 714, the National Criminal Justice Act of 2009.

    We can't do it without your help!

    Jack Cole
    Executive Director
    Law Enforcement Against Prohibition

    April 15, 2009 at 10:46 am |
  4. RANDY F.

    I would like to know what happened to the subject of the taxpayers paying for NANCY PELOSY &HUBBYS vacation to ITALY ! I for one think she owes the U.S.PEOPLE a full refund on this trip ! To many tax dollars are spent on officals fun trips . We have a Sec. of State who is suppose to visit for deplomocy . we don't need a member of congress to waste any more money we need a stop put to IT . I am a retired coal miner and I am tired of paying for their pleasure trips .

    April 15, 2009 at 9:56 am |
  5. Gail McLean

    CNN thank you for giving us the opportunity to speak. I'd personnally like to see you have the folks from NORML, as well as Jack Herer, the man who wrote the history of the cannabis plant as your guests to tell the truth about this plant. You've had some great people on in favor of ending prohibition and we are grateful to them. But the people I've mentioned have spent literally decades fighting this cause and it would be great to see you have them on.
    I want you to know I am addicted to CNN. Thanks again for giving us the opportunity to bring an important issue to the fore front.

    April 15, 2009 at 8:27 am |
  6. Justin R

    Ok, for whoever is reading this, I imagine your tired of hearing comments on the drug thing. I won't disappoint! Anyway, I disagree with the comment about how other countries with higher taxes get "more bang for their buck" with free universities Heath care etc. I imagine he was thinking specifically about Canada and France. Strange as it may seem, I'm a citizen of both countries. I can tell you, it's not so great. At all. Universities (at least some, like mcgill) in Canada are very good, but not free at all (ok, 10000ish dollars is relatively cheap for a US private university) and as for France, there is quite a large gap between regular universities (for which tuition is practically free, yes) and the grandes écoles (which are very difficult to get in to and often require preperatory classes after secondary school). But then again the educational budget is ENOURMOUS. As for health care, it's not so great in France, in Canada either. We rarely keep the best doctors, and suffer a crippling lack of beds, hospitals and nurses.. But you can always pay for private care!
    Finally, universal health care in Canada is a big joke. Everyone has insurance, and the government doesent cover dental, eye care etc.
    There's no such thing as a nanny state paradise, you just make yourselves miserable- look at France (country of the rights of man, hah!).
    Just make a system that half-works and keep your privacy- usually better anyway.

    Ok, that was very convoluted..

    April 15, 2009 at 8:25 am |
  7. Robert Keister, II

    Why does the Potus make such light or humor about legalizing drugs? I say legalize every type of drugs, regulate and tax the hell out of it, and take the power out of the drug lords and gangs out of it. This would raise tremendous revenue , stop the bleeding and violence along the border. It would also relieve the crowded prisons and create jobs. A War on Drugs?
    We shouldn't have a "war" on anything! In the county I live in, we voted to legalize marijuana for medical usage. I was critically ill last summer and was given a suppository with cannabis in it and boy what a difference it made to my appetite. Obama practically laughed off the question of marijuana use as a source of revenue (after admitting he'd used marijuana and cocaine himself). So many positives, so few negative about legalizing all drugs.

    Bob from Michigan

    April 15, 2009 at 8:20 am |
  8. Louise

    One thing that bothers me about the legalization of drugs is the thought of the increase in people who will feel there's no problem with driving under the influence. What will be the legal limit? How would an officer on a highway do to measure if you are withing the legal limit? Today, open alcohol containers are elegal, but someone smoking pot in a closed vehicle can cause the driver (and any other occupants) to be just as high as the user. I don't feel any drugs should be legalized until all of these things (and their ramifications) are seriously considered.

    April 15, 2009 at 7:59 am |
  9. Dudley

    I'm also with the pro marijuana proponents. The war on drugs is a bad joke that is draining our country of money and manpower that could be used much better elsewhere.

    Those who believe law enforcement is against legalization of drugs because of job security couldn't be more wrong. To see for yourself check out the Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (www.LEAP.com) website. Even they believe we're fighting a loosing battle, and feel legalization is the answer.

    April 15, 2009 at 7:32 am |
  10. Darron

    When kids are getting kidnapped and schools terrorized by random shooters our government should spend our tax money on protecting our citizens from our citizens rather than trying to protect us from ourselves. The drug war is a waste of tax money legalizing marijuana would allow our police force to be more productive and proactive. If other hard drugs are bought into this country thats our own fault we are advanced enough to stop anything we want from getting into the country. Cigarette and alcohol companies don't want people getting high without an addiction and nobody in the government wants to tell the US citizens we have been being doped about marijuana all the while locking people up and destoying lives and familys.

    April 15, 2009 at 7:16 am |
  11. Mark

    less harmful*

    April 15, 2009 at 2:25 am |
  12. Mark

    Legalization IS an urgent issue. People are sitting in prisons for usage of a time and time again proven less harmless drug than tobacco or any other drug including your cup of coffee for that matter.

    April 15, 2009 at 2:24 am |
  13. captain crunch

    I am with the pro Marijuana proponents on this issue.

    I believe control and regulation over this non-lethal substance should be looked as with great care. Looking at the facts given to then president Nixon we can see that the effects of marijuana are not at all life threatening, as a matter of fact more people die from asprin with respect to direct use than marijuana, but I digress. The notion that if Marijuana was made legal would hinder the ability of the commen citizen to fuction is just ideodic, people wouldn't do that for the same reason you don't take nyquil before you go to work etc.

    In closing I'd like to add that while drugs such as meth, opiets and the like are dangerous, deadly, and would be a mennice on society an overlook of the criminilization of marijuana is overdue, just, and fair with the respect to opinions from the masses.

    April 15, 2009 at 2:04 am |
  14. Elmer Antonio

    The problem with drugs is not the cartels. The problem is the US consumer who demands that grug and the sellers on the streets of this nation who profit from the sale of those drugs.
    The problem is the corruptive politicians and law enforcing officers who have been letting this drugs come into this country in the last two decades.
    Drugs are addictive and thats why this nation is demanding more evvery day. The cartels know that and they know that this country has enough money to pay for those addcitive drugs at whatever cost.
    Thats why they become ingenous at means of getting the drugs acrossthe borders.
    The cartels are just rich people( professionals and mliitary men from here and from other countries) who see drugs as nothing but a business that will make them rich because there will always be idiots in the US who think that drugs are fun.

    April 15, 2009 at 1:11 am |
  15. Deborah AKA The Vocal Citizen

    In a nation whose national past times are sponsored by beer companies and tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars are spent every year to cater alcohol for White House functions, it is beyond time for the federal laws against non-fatal cannabis to be lifted.

    As far as the claim that legalizing cannabis would create "zombies", I have a dose of reality for that viewer: Most experts agree that the people who will use legalized cannabis ALREADY use illegal cannabis. The number will not increase; the 30 or so million regular cannabis users will simply come "out of the pot closet" once the risk of arrest is gone.

    Please sign the petition for a national vote on the issue:
    http://criminaljustice.change.org/actions/view/national_vote_on_legalization_of_cannabis

    April 15, 2009 at 12:17 am |
  16. Serenden J Whitaker

    well to be honest i think marijuana should have been legalized a long time ago, but the crimes and economic crisis’ we face today stronger pushes the issue on whether or not to legalize it(marijuana). Today millions of Americans smoke marijuana and as a result of it being illegal many of those Americans are arrested. the monthly cost for one persons imprisonment is around $1000-$2000. Unless a person is a dealer, the marijuana offender is usually a non-violent offender and probably doesn’t even have a record, but we pay the same amount for them as we do for a sexual offender or murderer, although im for legalization, a fine would be better because your requireing the offender to PAY MONEY to the state.

    Drug cartels, if we legalized marijuana i don’t believe people would give money to people who use it for power to kill and purchase more guns, instead i think people would be more inclined to spend money on a product where the money goes to rehab programs or education or what ever that state wishes to use the money for. Drug dealers in our own country would lose money because a person would be able to purchase marijuana safely and they can be sure that its not laced with another drug. In general crime would decrease dramatically because of the legalization of marijuana, and a few good programs could be funded through the revenue generated from the product.

    The economy, ha, its a shame that something has to make money in order to be considered for legalization. what the govt. doesn’t know is that there is numerous ways of generating money from cannabis(marijuana plant) for example: textile, feed, paper, clothes, skin care products, insulation, cooking herbs, medicine, bedding and so on, you get the picture, but its not only the money u can make from producing things out of the plant, u can create jobs for farmers and factory workers who will grow and harvest the plant and fabricate the product the factory is producing, and this can be done across the country. Export revenue can also be generated to countries that have already legalized marijuana such as Holland and Australia or other countries that are debating the same subject like Canada who seems as though they will legalize it.

    Lastly, to those who think the effects of marijuana are hazardous, being polite, your just plain wrong. all recent studies show no harm done to the lung, brain, heart or any other organ for that matter. There was one study on a monkey that showed that he lost some mrain activity that had to due with his memory, but that test has been proven to be irrelevant since new study shown that only when the person is “high” does he/she lose sense of memory, little if lost any, and that loss is temporary, as long as your “high”. Alcohol has a more damaging effect on the brain.. if you drink too much you’ll die, if your a heavy alcoholic your body becomes dependent on alcohol there for you need to be detoxified, numerous car accidents are a result of its ingestion and driving. Cigarettes, don’t get me started on how many people die a day due to its extremely harmful toxins, and you don’t even have to be the one smoking it to develop the diseases, but since the govt. can make money off it its okay… just put a warning label on it…

    i love this country, but it seems like this country is more concerned with making money than the well being of its citizens. Aspirin, Tylenol, morphine, alcohol, cigarettes, fat pills, pregnancy pills, all of these and so much more are readily available to the public and can be found at your local liquor store or grocery market. Just about all, if not all, of the over the counter drugs have side effects, and they usually include; diarrhea, nausea, dizziness, vomiting, birth defects, and so on, we all know what alcohol and cigarettes do, but all these things are legal, why? because the govt. is in full control of regulation and revenue, but since marijuana is a plant and can be home grown(lets not mention that it almost doesn’t have side effects except for hunger, happiness, and sleepiness, depending on your mood) the govt. feels like it wouldn’t make as much money and it remains illegal. so let me get this straight, you would rather me buy something that might kill me legally, than legalize a product that hasn’t had a single use related death, because you make more money off the drug that can kill me?

    *what a government, it shows they really care about you.*

    oh if you want to know some facts on the uses and tests go here

    http://www.drugpolicy.org/marijuana/factsmyths/

    peace and love to you all

    P.S.
    if your someone who believes in the legalization of marijuana, please bring intelligent arguments to the table, the ones who just ramble make marijuana look bad when in fact that’s not true. show that you have an education and be productive, if all us pot heads could show that we are indeed intelligent marijuana smokers we would be shutting up the ones who say it makes you stupid… so bring the argument to action by displaying pride, confidence, intelligence, drive and success, not ignorant rambling or rioting.

    April 14, 2009 at 6:57 pm |
  17. RoseBud

    Cannabis can support 90% of the World energy needs! Legalize weed it comes from a seed!!! Cannabis Cures Cancer – Cannabis = Tree of Life – Cannabis = #1 Fuel, #1 Fiber, #1 Paper, #1 Food, #1 Medicine – Educate Yourself – Helping the Earth is Helping Yourself and if we don't do something to protect it who will?
    Cannabis can reverse the Green House effect

    April 14, 2009 at 4:05 pm |