Law & Politics

In this five minute news segment, The Young Turks shine a light on Mel and Better Sembler’s checkered history, who have bankrolled 95% of Smart Colorado‘s funding.

Lee Fang writes in The Nation:

Marijuana legalization would  harm kids, says Smart Colorado, a group advertising stock images of children along with messages asking for voters to reject Amendment 64, a ballot initiative this year to legalize and tax pot. Smart Colorado, led by former Republican Senate candidate Ken Buck and a team of Republican lobbyists and campaign operatives, hopes to drive down the popularity of Amendment 64 before Election Day. The supposedly family-friendly group, however, relies heavily on funds from a pair of controversial Republican fundraisers who once led a drug rehab center shut down over wide-ranging child abuse scandals.

If you reside in Colorado, please consider the motivations of groups like Smart Colorado, the human toll of their war on marijuana and vote on Election Day


Video Highlights: Who’s Fighting Marijuana Legalization In Colorado?

  • Smart Colorado is a anti-Amendment 64 group bankrolled by drug rehab center owners [beginning]
  • Chart: Mel & Betty Sembler have contributed $151,497 to Smart Colorado as of Sept 2012. [0:26 mark]
  • “Now did you catch that… they don’t want drugs legalized in Colorado because they run a drug rehab center” [0:37 mark]
  • The Semblers ran STRAIGHT, Inc. from 1976 to 1993 [0:55 mark]
  • After heat came on Mel & Betty, they started ‘Save Our Society from Drugs’ and a non-profit called ‘Drug Free America Foundationto replace STRAIGHT [1:05 mark]
  • STRAIGHT, Inc. had to be shut down because a former patient and counselor-turned-whistleblower said what was occurring there was “pure child abuse,”  “torture,” and “brutal beatings, rape and systematic psychological abuse.” [1:25 mark]
  • In their treatment of [alleged] drug addicts, former patients claimed they were kidnapped and held for months until they could escape. [2:02 mark]
  • The Nation said about their methods, “Unusual punishment, infliction of pain, humiliation, intimidation, ridicule, coercion, threats, mental abuse… and interference with daily living functions such as eating, sleeping, and toileting” [2:28 mark]
  • “Humble pants” was a form of mortifying torture by making kids wear “clothes stained with urine, feces and menstrual blood.” [2:47 mark]
  • Even with all these abuse allegations and scandals, the Semblers stayed influential and thrived by “greasing the right politicians” and were major contributors to Presidents George H.W. and W. Bush.[3:22 mark]
  • The rewards for inflicting this abuse: [3:43 mark]
    • Mel Sembler was rewarded for all this by becoming the ambassador to Italy in 2001
    • Betty Sembler was granted ‘honorary agent status’ by the DEA
    • The Semblers led anti-drug commissions and task forces on the state and federal level
    • They received $250,000 from taxpayers to oversee a drug-free workplace program, some of which can be nicely turned around to fight Amendment 64 [4:17 mark]