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June 01, 2008

Approaching Anniversaries and Rare Front-Page Coverage (Historical)

As the twelfth anniversary of Proposition 215, the fortieth year since Richard Nixon’s election to the Presidency, and the end of Dubya’s calamitous eight year reign draw ever closer, the San Francisco Chronicle finally took appropriate notice of the medical marijuana issue with a front page, above-the-fold story complete with color picture.

The bad news is that, as usual, the story missed the background reality that’s been driving the medical marijuana controversy since 1996 by focusing on the usual clueless arguments being offered by each side.

To be blunt, the federal position on the “marijuana” issue has been a lie ever since a Democratic Congress and President agreed with the absurd “reefer madness” campaign orchestrated by a Hoover Administration holdover named Harry Anslinger. The 1937 MTA was a total ban on both cannabis and hemp thinly disguised as a transfer tax. Whatever its “real” purpose, the law arguably violated the Tenth Amendment by expanding federal power; whether the responsibility for licensing physicians is regarded as “explicit” or “delegated.”

As has been inevitable with other prohibitions of desired products, that ban was ultimately followed by a lucrative criminal market; however in this instance, its development was unique: it wasn’t until the Sixties that the “reefer” banned by the MTA would be discovered as “pot” by millions of Baby Boomers who hadn’t been born until nine years after after the MTA was passed. That neither ONDCP or NORML take note of that delay is revealing.

Although the Chronicle story began by describing how ubiquitous and lucrative marijuana cultivation has become in Mendocino, it exhibited no curiosity about either its delayed market development or still-increasing popularity. I can’t fault them for that because I didn’t understand them myself until I started to take histories from market participants hoping to take advantage of Proposition 215.

Discovering that pot appeals to troubled teens because it’s a safe, effective, and user-controllable anxiolytic was relatively easy; what is proving more difficult has been understanding the surprisingly uniform and spontaneous denial exhibited by a reform community that seems just as taken with irrational doctrinaire arguments as their federal opposition. 

An afterthought: manipulating parental fear of "addiction" has long been the mainstay of drug war propaganda; an articulate industry insider relates how she discovered that
commonly prescribed anxiolytics can also exhibit a "potential for abuse"

Doctor Tom

Posted by tjeffo at June 1, 2008 06:27 PM