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August 17, 2008

What the Drug War Reveals about Human Nature

In the words of the Controlled Substances Act of 1970, certain agents can be designated as “drugs of abuse,” and placed on Schedule One by the Attorney General because:

(A) The drug or other substance has high potential for abuse.

(B) The drug or other substance has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States.

(C) There is a lack of accepted safety for use of the drug or other substance under medical supervision.

Possession of any listed agent by anyone other than a peace officer licensed to handle them thus becomes presumptive evidence of criminal behavior and grounds for immediate arrest.

Since 1970, various Attorneys General have added other agents to Schedule One through administrative procedures allowed by the CSA. Congress is not required to vote and the decisions have usually been made “in house” by the DEA with prompt approval from HEW and the FDA

Ironically that same list really constitutes a powerful argument for repeal of the CSA, particularly as it applies to cannabis (“marijuana") because:

A) The reasons given lack supporting clinical evidence; and have recently been shown to be directly contradicted by medical histories taken from long-term cannabis users.

B) The CSA’s 1970 ban on cannabis simply reinstated the ban contrived by the MTA without any review of the reasons provided in 1937 or the “logic” behind them (which was ridiculous, even by the standards of 1937 Pharmacology).

C) Although the CSA includes a provision for rescheduling cannabis, the history of such efforts, beginning with Nixon’s summary rejection of the Shafer Commission’s report and continuing for 38 years, is one of grotesque bureaucratic dishonesty on behalf of a failing policy.

D) In that setting, and the facts that American policy had already been been globalized by UN treaty when the CSA was passed, and has since remained the unquestioned international standard, should raise serious questions about the intellectual honesty and leadership qualities of the entire species.

In other words, our penchant for lying to ourselves and to each other, together with our continued acceptance of the adverse consequences of our dishonesty, may have already compromised our ability to deal with rapid climate change, whether produced by nuclear war or our relentless demands for polluting forms of energy.

The reason is easy enough to understand: there may be too many of us to change course fast enough.

Doctor Tom

Posted by tjeffo at August 17, 2008 06:39 PM