« The Consequences of Drug War Ignorance | Main | Don’t call it “Victory” yet; but it’s probably the beginning of the end. »

February 27, 2011

Annals of Culpable Ignorance, Denial, & Human Folly

Although Harry Anslinger isn’t as well known to Americans as he once was, his place in history seems secure: he was the federal bureaucrat behind the clumsy “Reefer Madness” campaign that added the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 to the Harrison Act of 1914, thus compounding the modern drug war’s burden of credibility and testing our contemporary powers of denial. In a world where a sovereign head of state can deny the Holocaust and various assorted autocrats can get away with murdering their own people under color of “sovereignty,” the drug war may seem a minor embarrassment, but its mistaken precepts have ruined countless individual lives and its continued primacy as a favored policy is an indictment of America’s intellectual honesty to anyone with an understanding of clinical Medicine and a modicum of that quality.

Anslinger, by declaring, without credible evidence, that cannabis was a menace to youth, unwittingly set the stage for a youthful drug culture that exploded without warning after millions of Baby Boomers discovered the anxiolytic properties of inhaled “weed,” and the expansion of consciousness enabled by psychedelics in the Sixties. Unfortunately, the American President best positioned to respond to that youthful outburst was the insecure and vindictive Richard Nixon. His administration quickly came up with the CSA, an almost perfect legislative folly which, through an ironic twist of fate had already been promulgated as a UN treaty by none other than the indomitable Mr. Anslinger (thus possession of a small amount of herbal cannabis has been grounds for arrest in every global port of entry since 1964).

Most distressing is that modern variants of the Anslinger-Nixon whopper are still lavishly supported, not only by NIDA, but by other medical agencies of the US federal government. The first example of such gratuitous “mission creep” was the FDA's 2006 statement that just happened to coincide with the NORML convention in April 2006, a coincidence our lap-dog press pretended not to notice.

An unexpected bonus of searching for further FDA malfeasance is evidence confirming both drug warriors and reformers have remained unaware of the difference between inhaled pot and edibles since well before Nixon. A recent press release revealed that both sides endorse edibles without taking any notice of their inherent difficulties (or benefits).

An obvious question becomes, why is "non-smoked” cannabis better? Is smoking a sin? Also, when will pharmacologists get around to designing studies that explain the clinical differences between a joint and a pot brownie? Finally, when will NIDA and the DEA realize they had missed an important clinical detail from well before the Nixon era? Is it because the whole CSA, especially Schedule 1, was simply an exercise in imagination that was simply tacked on to the false assumptions made in Harrison and the MTA?

Doctor Tom

Posted by tjeffo at February 27, 2011 07:30 PM