« More From the Gray Market | Main | How a Mistaken Drug Policy is Distorting Reality »

July 25, 2008

Additional Thoughts About "Dr.Kush"

The last entry, like many others, was written on the run, primarily because I think fleeting opportunities to score political points should be taken advantage of ASAP. One impression I didn’t want to leave, however, was that I was dissing “Dr Kush;” far from it. Yesterday afternoon, I was fortunate to have enough time to read it more slowly and discover that not only did Samuels provide useful information about the evolving medical gray market, his detailed observations of people (some known personally, and others easily recognized as types) both updated what I know and enhanced my understanding of key relationships between cognition and insight.

To deal with market concepts: it’s obvious that before demand can develop, a product must be introduced to potential consumers. Although no mass market for “reefer” existed in 1937, its illegality soon produced some interesting consequences. The first was in World War Two when the government had to seek a replacement for hemp. That both generated a film documenting the hemp-marijuana nexus and helped to create a tax-supported police boondoggle that continues to this day.

Once we understand that hemp was a fungible commodity and “reefer” (inhaled cannabis) a specific product thought of (erroneously in 1937) as a mere intoxicant, it’s understandable that its popularity with adolescents would be seen as confirming the fears Anslinger had used to justify the Marijuana Tax Act. Nor did those fears work against the improbable election of Richard Nixon in 1968, or public acceptance of his 1969 war on drugs.

It’s ironic that the election of Nixon, who remains deeply unpopular, has contributed so much to the cultural polarization that still dominates US politics: although the obvious emotional fault line is the Sixties and the first Baby Boomers are just about to reach retirement age, our political and law enforcement biases still clearly reflect those of the Silent Majority Nixon successfully appealed to for support almost forty years ago.

The real question for Americans is, how much costly failure will be tolerated before an obviously silly policy can be scrapped?

Doctor Tom

Posted by tjeffo at July 25, 2008 10:53 PM