« A Letter from the Gulag...and my Reply | Main | More from the Gulag »

May 03, 2007

Prescription for Bettering Society, a proposal by Dustin Costa

By working to benefit society as a whole, the concept of ‘medical marijuana,’ if coupled creatively with such use as California Law already allows, has the potential to play a much bigger role than the one local police and the DEA are now trying to restrict it to,  one that would also be in sharp contrast to a drug war that has had an opposite effect and actually made society worse.

 Specifically, marijuana has been found to be extraordinarily effective at weaning substance abusers from hard drugs and alcohol; a small, but increasing number of doctors also realize it’s an alternative to alcohol and  other ‘abused’ substances. A program created to take advantage of that quality of Marijuana, by showing  just how effective it is in that role, would be the fastest way to rehabilitate pot's false public image. In other words, medical marijuana care-givers and their patients now have it within their power to show the world that it’s not merely a healer of individuals, but has considerable capacity for healing society as well.

Imagine that, Marijuana making a better America. I know many of us always felt that pot had the potential to do great things. Just believing that isn't enough. We are up against a cultural juggernaut; the Robber Barons who brought us Reefer Madness have also created a, law enforcement establislhment addicted to easy tax dollars and heavy tactics. But they are vulnerable; the truth is that the war on drugs has been a disaster. Instead of wiping out substance abuse as intended, substance abuse has remained steady, with about 1% of the American population suffering serious addiction problems at any one time. That fraction hasn't changed in one hundred years, according to CA NORML.The drug war, has achieved no positive results, despite its nearly 70 billion dollar a year expense (according to Walter Cronkite). In fact, the war on drugs has turned America into the world’s biggest per capita jailer of its own citizens, with the total growing by 1,000 new prisoners per week.

So how does Marijuana become the hero that saves the day? How does Marijuana reverse a cultural bias against it that took decades to create? How can Marijuana reduce prison populations, dependence on hard drugs or alcohol or, for that matter,  the growth of gangs and even domestic violence? I believe, there's a way to show how. It would require courage, compassion, and shrewd management, but I'm convinced it could be done

So, here it is. I call it Pot 4 Meth.

Run ads or find some other way of recruiting potential participants. The message would be simply this; "If you have a problem with alcohol, cocaine, heroin, Methadone or methametamine, and are currently being drug tested by Probation, you can volunteer to use Marijuana instead. We will provide a doctor’s recommendation and enough medical grade  cannabis for your needs on a weekly basis, subject only to the same clean drug screens required by Probation. One or more days of volunteer service per week to help support of the organization could be added.

The cannabis would have to be provided by the same activists now providing it through whatever distribution networks still exist, and those participating would have to interview candidates carefully to select the best prospects. Particpants would also have to understand how essential their cooperation would be.

Those selected would be given a doctor's recommendation for
the express purpose of diverting them from whatever substance they’d gotten in trouble for abusing;  Probatiion would be notified, and if not cooperative, a court order granting participants permission to possess and use cannabis could be obtained (yeah, the Judge has to do it). At this point, Probation would be compelled to cooperate.

Probation usuallly requires drug testing twice a week, so the Caregiver should dole out meds in two or three day quantities, and only to participants with clean, current drug screens.

Volunteering would be a way to show good intentions toward the community at large. Volunteers could be employed in a variety of projects, community clean-up, restoration such as graffitti removal, or helping the disabled, etc.

A shrewd caregiver whose aim is the betterment of society would construct their programs in ways that encourage participants to remain involved after their Probation ends. This is just one way to showi bow Marijuana can help create a better society. It’s an idea that invites more ideas; for example, the need to make a program financially self-sustaining could by a cadre of volunteers. This could have the effect of turning volunteers into paid employees.

The quickest way to gain social acceptance for Medical Marijuana is to show how it can benefit all of society. While it’s true tbat Marijuana should be permitted on purely humanitarian grounds, the fact that it remains a black market drug will continue to bedevil us until we can trump fraudulent claims that it’s a menace to society, and its medical use just a screen for a black market. A program like this could grow quickly and also show who’s telling the truth; a truth that can embarrass our opponents and, more importantly, set us free.    

Just an idea     

Dustin Costa, a.k.a. dc greenhouse

Posted by tjeffo at May 3, 2007 06:43 PM