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January 13, 2011

Questions Answered: #1

The first question listed as needing an answer in yesterday's entry was:

How did such an intrinsically stupid policy ever get started?

The answer begins with the Harrison Act of 1914 and the Supreme Court of that era. By upholding it in a series of narrow decisions rendered between 1917 and 1919, the Court unwittingly opened the door to what it should have seen as an unconstitutional intrusion by government into individual liberty. That error was facilitated by several factors: the then-recent prominence of drug addiction as a new social problem and the (uninformed) beliefs by the Court that addiction is a “disease.” Also that physicians could not be trusted to treat it properly. Essentially, the law they upheld assumed that federal agents with police powers would be more reliable than physicians in the treatment of “addiction.” They thus voted to uphold Harrison in both the Jin Fuey Moy (1917) and Webb (1919) cases.

Ironically, the Court later reversed itself completely in the Linder case (1925) but, unfortunately, no challenge to Harrison ever materialized. Thus for all practical purposes, Harrison remained both law and policy under Harry Anslinger’s reign over the FBN until his Marijuana Tax Act was also declared unconstitutional in 1969.

Thus, in 1970, the sweeping Controlled Substances Act drafted by the Nixon Administration replaced both Harrison and the MTA, perpetuating not one but two, unconstitutional invasions of individual rights under cover of Public Health and the need to regulate interstate commerce. Nevertheless our present Supreme Court chose to rule narrowly on the Raich case on the basis of a (totally unrelated) World War Two case. Thus once again, has an errant policy escaped meaningful judicial review while continuing to inflict great harm on innumerable individuals and the social fabric of both American and global society.

Equally ironically, when unbiased medical scrutiny of that policy was finally enabled by passage of Proposition 215 some 82 years after Harrison, most full-time "reformers" (many of whom had been using cannabis illegally since adolescence) rejected compelling clinical evidence that inhaled cannabis is actually safer and more effective anxiolytic therapy than any of the legal medicines produced for that purpose by Big Pharma.

Doctor Tom

Posted by tjeffo at January 13, 2011 06:48 PM