Third Party & Independents Archives

Exclusive Interview with Green Party Gubernatorial Candidate in Connecticut Cliff Thornton: Part Four

The following is the fourth and final part in an exclusive interview with Green Party Gubernatorial candidate in Connecticut Cliff Thornton.

Rhodes: If elected what will be your priorities for the first ninety days in office?

Thornton: During the first ninety days in office the first things that I would do would be to institute programs such as heroin maintenance, cocaine maintenance and methamphetamine maintenance to show the people in great detail how they have been misled on this particular drug problem. Once I do that I think than I can go ahead and issue a statement calling for the outright legalization of hemp. This is to get things rolling, this is to get people talking about things, and than we can start to allocate increased monies for education. And hopefully this would bring about the tax base that is much more expansive than it is right now, through hemp.

Rhodes: Although the war in Iraq is a federal issue, and not an issue which specifically concerns the states, what affect do you think your opinions on the war have had on your campaign for governor?

Thornton: Well I think they have had some impact. Now what we are doing with this war in Iraq is basically that it is being fought by the National Guard, or a large portion there of. What I would do is to stop troops from going from the state of Connecticut that are in the National Guard. The National Guard is for the states in case of emergencies, and if in fact a state has an emergency where are the troops that can help the state with this emergency, they are not there they are fighting the war in Iraq.

So if elected one of the other things I would do in the first ninety days is to tell the President of the United States we are no longer going to supply you with troops for Iraq. Secondly those troops that belong to Connecticut, when their tour of duty is up or if they want to come home early I am going to grant that to them, if I have that type of power I am not sure about that as far as bringing them home early. But I am sure I have the right to stop them from going.

When we start to look at the civil engineers reports of 2005, Connecticut got a D+ in the infrastructure: there is something like three hundred damns, four hundred and fifty bridges, sixty eight percent of the school buildings in this state have some sort of major defection, so we are talking about a looming crisis and we can see it coming.

When we had these heavy rains we had here three or four weeks ago we saw what could happen, many damns are near falling away a lot of these damns are just being held up by wood. That can’t be, we need to take a serious look at our infrastructure, and when we run into a crisis like this the National Guard is supposed to be mobilized to help. Right now however Connecticut is terribly undermanned, if in fact we have a National Guard anymore in Connecticut because they are all out fighting in Iraq. So this war, well I don’t think we should be there.

Rhodes: Currently cannabis is classified as a Schedule 1 drug, meaning that as defined by the federal government it shall not be available medically. This Schedule 1 status has helped to classify, in the minds of millions as well as legally, cannabis with the likes of heroin and other opium derivatives. What are your thoughts on medicinal cannabis, as well as the effect this classification has had on the legal status of cannabis?

Thornton: Well let me just say this that cannabis is being made illegal because of hemp, that is what I thoroughly and honestly believe. Cannabis works medicinally for a lot of people, it works for people who didn’t think it would work for them. When I was young the older people who had medical problems a lot of them smoked cannabis for arthritis and other medical problems, because it helped them with it. So, cannabis medicinally is a very good medicine. They have in Jamaica this cannabis tea, for people who cannot smoke, that is said to help people.

Cannabis works for a lot of people, and I think that is a no-brainer if it works for you and you are sick I think you should have it. But the federal government does not want it legal because of the hemp. It’s not so much the cannabis, because we know cannabis is not an addicting or harmful drug as opposed to some of the other drugs that people can be prescribed for medical purposes. Now cocaine, cocaine is a Schedule 2 drug, meaning it can be prescribed for medicinal purposes. It is used for blood clotting. Methamphetamines are also used in some medical products. So the whole thing is a sham.

Note: Yes for those of you that do not know cocaine is a schedule two drug and can be prescribed medically as defined under federal law.

Rhodes: Going back to your last answer, in you saying that hemp is the primary cause for cannabis being illegal. Personally I come from the side of the argument which sees cannabis as being illegal because of racial aspects. Such as when one looks back at the history of it in the early 1900s it was seen as something that only Mexicans and southern blacks used, and this was really used by the Federal Bureau of Narcotics (FBN) to demonize it in the minds of white America. Also if you look at the further history when considering other drugs, opium was tied by racial aspects to Asians, crack tied by racial aspects to blacks. Can you talk about the racial aspects of not only cannabis but of the war on drugs in general?

Thornton: Well your right when you say that race was used as a vehicle. In the early parts of this country it was really out in the open, there was nothing thought of to string up blacks and literally tie them up and kill them and people would stand by and do very little about it. So race is definitely a vehicle used to sway the people and their thinking. It is still happening today, but it is done more so on a subliminal level than in the past when it was very overt.

It is still there though, and it is still very prominent and that is why I made that statement earlier on about how you have to understand how these concepts work and what these terms mean to come to grips with it. I mean a lot of people will say it is not true and that it doesn’t work that way, but when you look at what you said about Harry Anslinger (head of the FBN until 1962) and Harry Anslinger worked with Randolph Hearst who was the giant mogul at the time who owned a great deal of the papers in this country, he also controlled much of the logging interest in this country and hemp threatened this.

You have got to understand that before 1933 ninety percent of the world’s paper came from hemp, and so he saw a threat to his industry. Thus he saw the way to get to hemp was through cannabis and the racial identity of the user in this country. I mean this country got off on the wrong foot with the Declaration of Independence when it said that blacks were three fifths of a citizen. So it is pretty evident that race has played a dominant role both objectively and subjectively throughout this country’s history, and especially with the war on drugs.

You can see how disproportionately blacks have been jailed for the same crimes whites commit. I mean just look at recently in the state of Connecticut where we had the mayor of Bridgeport and it was found out that he was using cocaine, but they have done virtually nothing to remove him from office.

And let me say this, places and people like the NAACP, the Jesse Jackson’s, the Al Sharpton’s, Cornell West, and whoever else who are supposedly leading the black community, have become gatekeepers for the perpetuation of racism and classism and white privilege in this country. They have virtually sold out, and when you look at the voting in the federal Congress among blacks they are voting right along with whites that are initiating programs that hurt blacks and browns and poor whites. So essentially they have become a non entity in helping blacks and browns and poor whites in this country. Understand this, this is how apartheid stayed in South Africa for so long, because the blacks in South Africa had a small segment put up front to instead do the bidding for the white minority, and it is the same thing here. It is pathetic, I am willing to go on record in saying that the NAACP, the Urban League, the Black Church and the clergy being included, they are part of the problem and not part of the solution.

Previous parts in this series:
Part One:
Part Two:
Part Three:

Cliff Thornton Official Campaign Website:

Green Party of Connecticut:

Green Party of the United States:

Posted by Richard Rhodes at September 10, 2006 6:09 PM
Comment #180472

Richard, Thornton has what a large majority of Americans would consider ‘radical’ notions. He laid out a complex and sophisticated strategy for outlawing hemp in the first place. What he doesn’t seem to realize is, that it will take just such an equally complex and sophisticated strategy to return libertarian values to the people regarding choice and responsibility for what they ingest into their own bodies. That, or a huge amount of overwhelming data demonstrating ending the drug war will not result in a deterioration of society from within.

As for the national guard angle, its an interesting approach, but, doesn’t address the President’s legal power to nationalize the national guard, thereby, preempting the states from having a say in the matter.

The real tragedy regarding cannabis is, the law turns a blind eye to some users and not to others based on horrendously discriminatory and highly personal law enforcement reasons, having nothing to do with the laws of our land.

Posted by: David R. Remer at September 11, 2006 2:12 PM
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