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May 01, 2011

An Abundance of Ironies

In yesterday’s entry (Pimping for Prohibition) I opined that the fledgling organization(s) ostensibly devoted to the idea that cannabis is medicine were already following the lead of Addiction and Pain Medicine “specialists” by preparing to sell out the patients they claim to represent.

To be clear; there is as yet no organization representing cannabis patients comparable to those claiming to speak for patients in chronic pain or people troubled by “addictions.” However, the problem facing the multiple organizations now representing “marijuana” users (as well as the users themselves) is Illegitimacy; primarily because of dogmatic federal insistence that simple possession of “marijuana” is a crime; a policy belied by both logic and the clinical scrutiny of a large number of chronic users who were interviewed systematically as part of their application for a "medical" designation. In essence, there is overwhelming evidence that the majority had initially become repeat users because of cannabis' efficacy as a user controlled anxiolytic.

The registry of just over four thousand patients reported in 2007 has since been expanded to over 6300. Equally helpful has been the enhanced quality of information provided by an increasing number seeking annual "renewals." There is simply no question that, in terms of both its humanitarian and intellectual consequences, "marijuana" prohibition has been a 40 year Public policy disaster on a par with the secret compromise by which chattel slavery became part of our Constitution in 1787.

That I seem to be the only one so far to seek the relevant data from applicants is a problem; but it's one that should be resolved as more qualified observers begin to ask the same questions; a process that should increase as more baby reach Medicare age.

To back up just a bit further, a prime example of the degree to which various "reform" organizations remain behind the reality curve can be understood by parsing the NORML (National Organization for Reform of Marijuana Laws) acronym. The organization was started by Keith Stroup, who was both a recent law school graduate and a “marijuana” smoker in the late Sixties who was so distressed by the wave of pot arrests then in progress that he started the organization with seed money from Hugh Hefner. His story, plus a description of NORML’s formative early years has been told by author and historian, Patrick Anderson: High in America, which can be read on-line in its entirety.

From an historical point of view, NORML was the first-ever full-time opposition to US drug prohibition as policy since its had been endorsed by the Supreme Court (through its Harrison decisions) during the second decade of the Twentieth Century. That becomes ironical once one realizes that a Prohibition Amendment banning commerce in alcohol went into effect in 1920 shortly after Harrison’s de facto prohibition of opiates and coca had been upheld by the Court for a second time following its passage in late 1914. That Harrison was not seen as prohibition by either the Court nor the general public is obvious. The probable reasons are that alcohol had been such a part of America’s social fabric from Colonial times on that it had not been considered a "drug," nor had its excessive use been regarded as sinful.

Most importantly, the same has never been true of agents considered to be addictive “drugs,” particularly when they were injected or smoked.

Stated as directly as possible: the American Public in 1920 seems to have been more likely to see drug use as a sin and drinking, even when excessive, as a variant of normal behavior. One test of the validity of that idea, might be to imagine how likely the election of either an atheist or a "druggie" to the Oval Office would be thought of in 2012.

Parenthetically, that such thoughts should be coming to mind in the present setting of Donald Trump's inane posturing, tragic weather events in the South and Midwest, and long-awaited news of Osama Bin-Laden's fate is nothing short of amazing.

It also seems like a very good time to take a break...

Doctor Tom

Posted by tjeffo at May 1, 2011 11:49 PM