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January 22, 2011

A Breath of Fresh Air

The carnage in Mexico tragically provoked by the Bush-Cheney Administration's thoughtless 2006 request of newly elected President Calderon to “clean up” drug smuggling along the US-Mexican border shows no sign of abating. But there is hopeful evidence that at least one person in a position to influence policy has been paying attention and has (at least partially) changed his mind. This blog has long asked how such a stupid and destructive “War” on Drugs could fool so many allegedly bright humans for so long; thus I have learned not to become too hopeful. However, Time Magazine’s confirmation that Vicente Fox (Calderon’s immediate predecessor) has had a change of heart is encouraging.

However, we’ve been here before: a similar announcement by the late Wm. F. Buckley Jr. in 1995: that the drug war was a failure, had provoked excitement, but follow-up was disappointingly slow (although it may have helped passage of California’s Proposition 215 later the next year). Buckley’s main reason for changing his mind was that he saw the drug war as ineffective. Fox’s is essentially the same; plus his nation’s appalling bloodshed. However, both men were careful to add that they didn’t “approve” of drug use. In that respect, they may have touched on the main reason a stupid policy has been politically correct for so long: it has been successfully cloaked as Public Health for some and a Moral Imperative for others through equally false, but widely accepted, notions about “addiction.”

Most repetitive drug use is not a disease; nor is it a sin. The urge to try drugs during adolescence is a complex behavior suggestive of symptoms that appear to be implanted in vulnerable children between ages 4 and 11. Furthermore, not all arbitrarily designated “drugs of abuse” are the same; some (including alcohol and cigarettes) are considerably more dangerous than others. Some illegal drugs (especially cannabis) are popular because they relieve troublesome symptoms more safely and effectively than others, including legal Pharmaceutical products.

Such conclusions weren’t remotely possible before a large sample of illegal cannabis users were grudgingly allowed to consult with physicians after a California initiative passed in 1996. Although my data has yet to be replicated, the passage of similar initiatives in several other states since 1996 suggests that cannabis (“marijuana”) is popular all over the country, a situation that should call for more unbiased research rather than more spending on the ineffective punishment of people who are more likely to be victims of dysfunctional or absent parenting than born criminals.

Doctor Tom

Posted by tjeffo at January 22, 2011 09:38 PM