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November 02, 2009

A Belated Assertion of Priority

Several recent entries reviewed the creation of federal marijuana prohibition (a.k.a. the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937) out of whole cloth via a deceptive transfer tax, the same mechanism that had been used 23 years earlier to launch its equally dishonest prototype, the Harrison Narcotic Act. Fifteen years after passage of the MTA, when Harry Anslinger, the man most responsible for that abomination, was approaching senility, he was allowed to end his career as the first-ever UN High Commissioner of Narcotics; thus his never-validated slander of a useful plant suddenly became (and remains today) global policy by default. In the same vein, the Supreme Court’s 1969 invalidation of Timothy Leary’s 1965 pot conviction proved another bit of execrable timing because it provided the Nixon Administration with an excuse to rewrite existing drug laws and thus arrogate enormous additional powers to the policy. Beyond the highly fanciful reasons used to justify Schedule One, the CSA’s inclusion of cannabis and several other potentially useful agents like LSD on the same list has blocked any study of them as therapeutic agents. Even worse, the CSA provided a simplified mechanism by which a scientific ignoramus like the average Attorney General (think John Ashcroft or his successor) is free to add additional agents to Schedule One without any need for legislative, let alone scientific, approval.

Ironically, just as ratification of the Single Convention treaty was taking place in the mid-Sixties, American and British baby boomers were discovering the unique appeal of “reefer” as an inhaled anxiolytic, a phenomenon that would not be identified and documented by my clinical research for another thirty years. Finally, and perhaps most ironic from my point of view: Nixon’s rejection of any study of pot’s medical potential, as recommended by his own select committee in 1972, meant that my opportunistic study of pot use by Proposition 215 applicants in California would become the first such study ever published in "peer-reviewed" literature.

Doctor Tom

Posted by tjeffo at November 2, 2009 04:21 PM