tv Mc Laughlin Group CBS January 5, 2014 6:30am-7:01am EST
mclaughlin group,ed american original for over three decades, the sharpest minds, best sources, hardest talk. >> issue 1, everybody must get stoned. ♪ well, i would not be so all alone, everybody must get stoned. ♪ >> sales have taken place in our country for decades and all that money goes into the hands of the underground market and cartels. that stops today. >> on january 1st, new year's day, colorado became the first state in the country to legalize the sale of recreational marijuana. those over 21 can purchase pot at 24 stores around the state. colorado residents can legally possess 1 ounce of the drug, and each adult has the right to grow 6 cannabis plants. non-residents can possess one quarter of an ounce, but they can't legally take it across
state lines. this decriminalization of marijuana in colorado is the result of a citizen referendum and so on opening day for pot sales, people in denver waited in line for up to three hours. later this year another state, washington will follow suit with colorado's pot legalization. but under a more restrictive regimen. retail sales of the drug will be permitted but subject to a statewide annual production limit of 40 metric tons of marijuana. unlike in colorado washington does not trust its citizens to grow their own pot. nationwide supporters of legalization say pot sales will have positive effects like one take money of the hands of criminal organizations. two create jobs, three boost state revenue. colorado officials currently estimate sales may hit $400 million generating 67 million in tax revenue. on the other hand, critics of
pot legalization point out that federal law, u.s. law, still bans the cultivation and sale and possession of marijuana. on the federal level, the obama administration's official position vis-a-vis quote unquote renegade states is not interference. is the era of pot prohibition coming to an end or are colorado and washington on a collision course with the federal government. >> i think it is to a degree coming to an end. which means there will be more pot heads and more high school dropouts and more automobile accidents involving marijuana but there's no doubt there'this deeply libertarian trend. on the left it favors same-sex marriage, gambling, even prostitution legalization of all of these things which used to be considered vices and because of the revenue involved and the beliefs that individuals should have autonomy and on the right
there's a libertarianism where everybody has to have his ar-15 rifle and its 30 round clip. this is the sentiment in the country, i think, sort of a decline of community and the rise of the idea of the autonomists and privileged self, and this is a trend and it's going to continue. >> eleanor. >> well, i think it's a state's rights, the voice of a people which is something that conservatives generally support. i think you can list a lot of positive things that will come out of the legalization of a substance that's being used and a substance that's less harmful than alcohol and tobacco which over a long-term creates a huge public health issue because of lung cancer and such. i think it was pretty dramatic when the obama administration, when eric holder the attorney general called the governor of colorado and washington state and said the federal government would not interfere, but the federal government has issued a bunch of guidelines for u.s.
attorneys around the country if drug lords start using legal marijuana as a cover for other business and there are other examples where you would get federal interference. this is like gay marriage. this is a sentiment arising from the states, it is bubbling up, coming to washington. washington is playing catch up, and i do think that the war on marijuana is over. >> can you move that non- interference of washington and tell colorado that where that could lead that would be antagonistic to some public policy. >> it could lead to wider legalization, but john this issue has moved extremely slowly and incrementally. okay. you open with bob dylan about everybody must be get stone stoned. that was song 40, 50 years ago and here we are with one state that's legalizing marijuana and another that is about to, and
then we have medical marijuana which is kind of a legal limbo. there's a possibility in the coming three years that this will expand because the obama administration is no longer going to be facing reelection and this is a less political issue. if you'll recall in his first term, the opposite occurred. obama administration's justice department called rhode island, new england state that talked about legalizing medical marijuana and did the opposite, said if you're going to do it we'll start cracking down on closing places. what the federal government says does have an impact and there's a possibility that if the administration has swung the other way that over the next two, three years we'll see it change. >> it undermines compliance with federal law, true or false? >> it does. the fact now is you have dispensaries in california where the people who run them can't have bank accounts
because they run afoul of federal money laundering laws so they're gathering cash and becoming prey to thugs who know they have cash. this is going to have to be dealt with by the federal government at one point or another and my hope and we're going to be writing about this in the washington monthly is we'll have federal legislation that makes sure that this is done in a way that minimizes the bad health outcomes, the public health outcomes. >> paul, dream on. >> okay. uruguay, we're talking about a country now in south america. listen to this. in december the south american nation of uruguay became the first country in the world to legalize marijuana. uruguay's senate voted to create a system to license private companies to grow marijuana. with sales and distribution controlled by the state. individuals may cultivate, possess and use limited quantities of the drug.
uruguay's president jose mohica promoted legalization as the best way to curb the violence that has plagued latin america in the war on drugs. other latin american countries may follow suit, notably, bailees, chili, columbia, guatemala and mexico. >> if marijuana is legalized widely where does that leave the notorious drug cartels. i ask you guys. >> i think it presents challenges for drug cartels that make money trafficking marijuana into the united states, but i don't necessarily think that it affects the landscape of illegal drug crime. i mean, look, this is marijuana. we're not talking about the biggest most profitable thing for the cartels which is cocaine, heroin, for a harder drugs that aren't about to be legalized anytime soon. a point on uruguay as well,
having been around montevideo and down there covering the story in the last decade, you are gay uruguay has led the narrative that a u.s. policy had created what they called a balloon effect, and all it did was control columbian cartels but the problem of drug violence spread, so their policies in uruguay are -- >> uruguay had one of the lowest crime rates in latin america and in recent years those rates have been going up, and they attribute it to the drug trade, and so they basically are sidelining the business about marijuana, which was huge, because they want to get rid of the drug lords without going after them with guns, and their law has only been in effect for barely a month so we don't know how the experiment is going to play out, but conversations are starting everywhere about legalization, and that's
positive. >> marijuana's a gateway drug and you have powerful cartels. the cartels say look, let's pour our marijuana into the united states, undercut these guys. we got a certain measure of legalization. i think it's going to be a real incentive for the cartels to get in the business of moving marijuana and their other drugs here. the point is what i think is going to happen is i do agree it's best to just be done by state by state so that you can have a national backlash if it doesn't work out. >> you don't think american drug producers can beat the latin america drug producers. you're not a patriot [ laughter ] >> pat has stumbled into an interesting point, and it reminds me of young kennedy, who is of the opinion that marijuana is an escalated drug. it's just opening the door to all types of. >> it's like beer before booze. >> cocaine, heroin, method,
ecstasy, spice. >> john, you and i started drinking beer when we were 15, or 16 or 17 you were drinking hard whiskey. it's an entry drug, a gateway drug. >> yeah, but it's out there. >> what are the cartels going to have left? the cartels are going to have what? >> cocaine,. >> heroin, methamphetamine, ecstasy, spice and similar drugs. unless kennedy is right and that's going to be eaten away too. what is mankind going to become? >> you're draining some of the profits from a part of their business and you're regulating something that's already being used and states that are starved for cash are going to jump on this. >> that's the escalator drug right, the states are going to want to have all this money and that's why we're going to get national drug legislation. >> did not mention the fact that in areas of the united states where prescription drugs that have opioids in them are more available than marijuana,
high school kids are for more likely to troy opioid than marijuana. the idea it's this gateway drug, if you make marijuana more available then kids are more likely to try that. >> i don't think the kids are going to say get me an opioid. i think do you have some pot is more likely to be the question. >> give me the year where all tissue. >> would you rather have your kids addicted to opioids or smoking a little marijuana. >> i do do the beer and the jack daniels later. >> all 50 states will they all legalize recreational marijuana and if so how many years will it take? >> it's not going to be all 50 states. it's going to be like same-sex marriage. >> do you agree with that? >> right. in utah where mormonism is prevalent they don't everyone allow caffeine or permit caffeine in their religion. >> we're talking about recreational marijuana, how
many states. >> how many states. >> how long will it take for all the states. >> i think a decade or so. >> more than 100 years for every state. >> i think you'll have the majority of states in ten years. >> what is that? >> well, 235,. >> at least 26. >> my information is by the year 2025, recreational marijuana will be legal in all 50 states. when we come back, why not clemency for edward snowden.
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issue 2, whistleblower or felon. the editorial board of the new york times has decisively weighed in on the case of edward snowden, the former nsa, that's national security agency, contractor who seven monthsing a leaked reames of information about nsa's surveillance programs to the press, and by proxy to the world. mr. snowden fled the u.s., first to hong kong, then to moscow where he has temporary asylum. the u.s. government has charged mr. snowden with espionage and theft. this past thursday the new york times described mr. snowden as a whistleblower, not a criminal. "considering the enormous value
of information he has revealed mr. snowden deserves better than a life of permanent exile fear and flight. he may have committed a crime to do so but he has done his country a great service. it is time for the united states to offer mr. snowden a plea bargain or some form of clemency that would allow limb to return home. they would at least substantially reduce punishment in light of his role as a whistleblower and a life advocating for greater privacy and far stronger oversight of the intelligence community. the new york times takes the nsa to task with details of its abuses and shaky legal reasoning and concludes "when someone reveals that government officials have routinely and deliberately broken the law, that person should not face life in prison at the hands of the same government. that's why rick legit who leads the nsa task force on the
snowden leek told cbs news that he would consider amnesty if mr. snowden would stop any additional leaks. >> it's worth having a conversation about. i would need assurances that the remainder of the data would be secure and my bar would be very high. >> the times continue, and it's why president obama should tell his aides to begin finding a way to end mr. snowden's vilification and give him an incentive to return home" question, will president obama relent and offer mr. snowden some form of clemency? >> he might. the nsa official that you just showed on the screen told 60 minutes that he would consider a plea bargain or clemency in exchange for assurances that the data that's been captured by snowden is now secure. what's fascinating is the government really has no idea of exactly what he has, and they're worried what else might be out there, and i think if
you look at most people, they regard snowden maybe not heroic whistleblower but not a trader who should spend the rest of his life in jail. i think there's plenty of room for negotiation and there's three more years before the president leaves office. >> the guy broke the law, broke faith with the american people, with the nation. he committed the crime and he ought to do the time. if the president gave clemency or a pardonnen to snowden you'd have resignation through the national security agency. >> nobody's talking about a pardon. >> and i think you'd have a firestorm and among some grass root democrats as well and would put at risk the democratic candidate in 2016 if hillary clinton approved of any kind of pardon. >> nobody's talking about a par ton. >> this is a very volatile issue right now, more so than eleanor realizes. >> if hillary approved of obama's pardon of snowden she would have problems in 2016
because grass root democrats would be deeply offended. they're very patriotic folks. >> i think it's a very hot issue. i think it's on the other side. i think you see more people advocating on behalf of what he said and angry at the government. >> they're the ones who want to legalize marijuana too. >> again, you kept using the pardon. nobody's talking about a pardon. they're talking about a plea bargain, which is routine in criminal case asks he could -- and he could serve a length of time. it doesn't have to be 15 years or his life. it could be, you know, 10. >> edward snowden has made these massive revelations and it's almost a sea shift in the u.s. intelligence community but he is just the latest now who is leaking this information, and we can debate whether he's a traitor or a whistleblower. this issue transcends ideological positions because it's new, and it involves the evolution of communications and the evolution of concepts of
secrecy. edward snowden falls into the camp of julian assange and there will be another one in two years and this whole discussion about whether or not we trust as americans our government to participate in spying activities of this scale is the bigger question. >> self-interest of the u.s. government is to get under control what he has, and if that involves negotiations and a plea bargain i don't think that's a bad deal, all of the politics aside. >> clemency for snowden -- >> people in the country should be. >> clemency for snowden and you will get more snowdens. >> is it in president obama's character to reverse cause under pressure? >> you know, reverse course, i don't know that he has said absolutely, he hasn't closed the door, and you know, i think he has said that snowden broke the law and should come back and face charges. he can come back and face charges. >> what more do you want, you said he broke the law.
>> and then you can have -- again, plea bargains go on every day in courtrooms. >> it is absolutely in president obama's political nature to change course as it is with most politicians and that's a big problem with our government right now as it was with the bush administration before. obama already changed course. he came out in california when this story was blowing up and basically said we're not doing this and then the leaks come out and he's going to put a panel together to investigate how deep it was. >> who has stuck his or her neck out in defending the behavior of the nsa in trying to get control of this. dianne feinstein. >> the new york times. there's a conflict of interest between journalists and whistle blowers. take ellsbury and the pentagon papers. he could have gone to jail for 35 years and the new york times
gets a pulitzer prize for printing this stuff. thunderstorm a conflict of interest. >> i think what daniel ellsbury was best for the country and that came out around the time water gate was emerging. >> it was the year before. it was 1971. >> the problem with edward snowden is it's kind of a mixed bag here. it's undoubtically some of his leaks about the metta leaks and internal surveillance caught the government red handed in its inability to oversee what the nsa was doing. on the other hand these revelations about some of the nsa foreign spying like spying on foreign governments did significant diplomatic disadvantage to the state department, none of that was necessarily patriotic or helpful and i think it hurts his case for some kind of clemency or plea bargain. >> what do the polls show? >> do the polls show a percentage of the public that
still thinks snowden betrayed the country? >> the majority think he's a whistleblower. >> half the country city thinks he betrayed the country. is this something obama is going to turn around by a par ton. >> no, pardon, nobody's talking about a pardon. >> i don't think there will be a plea bargain. >> i can't imagine him doing that either. >> this is a guy who's gone after a lot of whistle blowers. he's not going to -- >> i can't imagine snowden serving ten years instead of 50. >> he's not going to relent on this. >> why would he do it john? what is in it for obama to give clemency or a pardon. >> to secure the data -- >> very cogently and persuasively in that long editorial in the new york times. >> he's going to ask me what is in it for me if i do it. >> the times makes it the right thing to do. you understand? can you appreciate that? [ laughter ] >> to secure the data that he
has and that the government does not know how much more he has. that's what's in it for -- i mean, that's why i would want to make some sort of a plea bargain with him to get him back to this country. so you can secure that data, and the nsa official has said that. that's not -- i didn't invent that. >> yes, i know. the nsa person said this on television this week. he would consider pardon. >> not pardon. everybody keeps using pardon. nobody's going to pardon him. he's going to serve time. he's going to serve time. if he comes back he's going to serve time. the question is is somebody 30 years old going to serve 10 years, 20 years, 50 years. there's a lot of leeway. >> final question. will obama cut any slack for snowden, as you see this developing, yes or no? >> no. >> no. >> possibly. >> maybe. >> maybe. >> what is this. evasion central? >> i think we n'dot know.
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