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May 23, 2009

Thanks, Google!

One of many frustrations I’ve encountered in trying to educate people about what I’ve been learning about the drug war from the structured interviews of pot applicants I’ve been conducting for over seven years is that most people are too distracted by their own problems to focus on what they are hearing; it’s a problem that has been increasing in both scope and intensity as culture accumulates, one which, for those of us who spend too much time on the web, is epitomized by Google.

For the great majority who aren’t obsessed by information and don’t have the time to conduct endless searches, talking about an abstraction like the “illegal marijuana market” just doesn’t cut it; precisely because it can conjure up completely different images from those intended.

While composing the most recent entry, I came across a new Google feature called Timeline, which can literally create a graphic image from the enormous amount of material already entered in Google archives.

When I googled marijuana arrests, and then selected Timeline view from among the options, I was rewarded with both a graph and a linked collection of relevant web pages. While not the whole answer, it does go a long way toward simplifying the main message I’m trying to get across: any policy as obviously unable to confront its own history must eventually lose all credibility.

Our main problem then becomes one of endurance: how long can our society tolerate such an obviously stupid and dishonest public policy as the war on drugs?

Doctor Tom

Posted by tjeffo at May 23, 2009 05:48 PM