Consequences of marijuana legalization

This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," March 12, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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O'REILLY: "FACTOR Follow Up Segment" tonight -- legalized pot. Colorado says it collected $2 million off pot sales in January, the first month of legalization out there. But I believe the amount of damage being done to Coloradoans in the form of addiction, driving problems, all these social ills will cost that state far more than it's taking in. Of course I could be wrong.

Joining us now from Washington, Patrick Kennedy former congressman from Rhode Island; and here in New York, Christopher Kennedy-Lawford, author of the book "What Addicts Know: 10 Lessons from Recovery to Benefit Everyone". Both men were substance abusers at one time.

So, Mr. Kennedy, I understand you're against the legalization of marijuana. Why?

PATRICK KENNEDY (D), FORMER CONGRESSMAN: Well, I have a mood disorder and I'm also in recovery because I'm also an addict. And with another drug being commercialized, one that actually has the for-profit motive of hooking new consumers. They are going to target teenagers. They are going to make their money off of people like myself who are addicts and I just don't think this is the kind of thing that makes our country stronger, families stronger and of course jeopardizes the public health at large.

O'REILLY: Ok. But the pro-pot people say it's not addictive, it's harmless, less harmful than alcohol and it's unfair to have alcohol legal and pot not. And you say.

KENNEDY: I say two wrongs don't make a right. And the marijuana today is in beverage form, it's in candy form, you can eat it. Now, I was an asthmatic so I didn't go down the route of marijuana. But if it were available to me today and I could have eaten it like they can out in Colorado it would have been a totally different game.

So this is a scary thing. People think that smoking a couple joins every other weekend. This is a whole new commercial industry. And that's what should frighten people is their profit motive will be to marketing this. We want demand reduction and yet this is going to be increasing the demand for addictive substance.


KENNEDY: That's my problem with it.

O'REILLY: Now Mr. Lawford, you are kind of a libertarian kind of guy, all right, but you are against the legalization of marijuana as well.

CHRISTOPHER KENNEDY LAWFORD, AUTHOR, "WHAT ADDICTS KNOW": Well, I'm primarily against it because of what it might do to our young people. The two most damaging drugs on the planet are both legal -- alcohol and nicotine. We don't need another legal drug. Legalization will increase prevalence. Our youth are at risk.

We have studies that demonstrate not only the addictive capabilities of marijuana but the difficulty in treating people who are addicted to marijuana. One in six young people smoke it chronically. Chronic use of marijuana obliterates ambition and leads to potential psychosis, all sorts of mood disorders. It's not a good drug. It's not a matter of policy to legalize.

O'REILLY: Ok. Now, both of you guys are Democrats and fairly liberal -- I mean I don't know your politics as precisely as I should, perhaps. But, the liberal wing, Mr. Lawford, they are the ones that are driving the legalization -- all right.

So you see in Colorado, for example, it breaks down and there are libertarians -- you know, not all -- there are libertarians who say it's ok. Why does the left so fervently want this substance? Is it Woodstock? Does it go back there?

LAWFORD: No. Medical marijuana was the initial way.

O'REILLY: That's the --


LAWFORD: I know I understand. George Soros pushed this thing primarily because of the inner city. That and it's true young African-American males are getting targeted by police departments in the inner city in terms of arrests to show cops how to do drug busts, basically. That's -- legalization is not the answer to that issue.

Bill All right. So that's why you think that the -- do you concur, Mr. Kennedy? Do you think it was a racial, social issue that drove the left to want it?

KENNEDY: Yes. I think it's driven by the racial. Keep in mind, African- Americans, minorities, are discriminated against throughout the justice system. So just by legalizing this, you are not going to get rid of the discrimination in the application of laws in this country. We should address that and make it a separate issue. Not conflate addressing incarceration with the decriminalization and legalization.

O'REILLY: Ok. But I will point out to both of you and you both made very good points tonight but I have to run that the neighborhoods that have been most impacted by drug addiction in this country have been black neighborhoods. All right?

LAWFORD: That we know of. We don't --

O'REILLY: Well, they have been. That crack epidemics when all of those mandatories were put in, that wiped out a generation and that's why it was there. I don't think --

KENNEDY: That's correct. And Bill --

O'REILLY: Go ahead.

KENNEDY: There are eight times as many liquor stores in minority neighborhoods than there are in white neighborhoods.

O'REILLY: You got it.

KENNEY: And the same thing is going to happen with legalized marijuana. It's going to target the most vulnerable in our country.

O'REILLY: Excellent point. I can't thank you guys enough for coming.

KENNEDY: Thanks Bill.

O'REILLY: And you guys -- excellent points.

LAWFORD: Thanks, Bill.

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