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April 29, 2012

A Politically Incorrect Study; Challenging a President

When I realized, relatively early in the course of screening Cannabis applicants in 2001, that all were chronic users to one degree or another, I saw the examinations required by Proposition 215 as an opportunity to learn about what had impelled them to become "heads." At the time I was actually embarrassed at how slowly I'd tumbled to that opportunity, but thinking about it almost ten years later, I realize that although the basic intuition had been correct; I'd been laughably naive to think an objective study would please either side of the "legalization" debate because it turns out that, even now, neither has the requisite objectivity to recognize the glaring errors embedded in their own positions.

Beyond that, their mistakes have not been identical; the federal error, more profound and longer in the making, has been their attempt to enforce a policy of criminal prohibition that can only fail. Thus they have become progressively adept at rationalizing the expensive failures they can neither recognize nor admit.

The errors and false assumptions of "reform" are more recent and easier to understand; for one thing, most reformers were not alive when Anslinger retired, or even when his MTA was overturned by the Warren Court in 1969. Thus the Mitchell-Nixon Controlled Substances Act of 1970. was their powerful ruling paradigm. Their goal was correspondingly timid: carving out a limited medical exception for "medical" marijuana while continuing to agree that "recreational" use should be punished as before. They were so unprepared for any possibility that youthful pot use could be effective self-medication for common emotional problems that they rejected it out of hand and sadly, have not looked further at the evidence; a position that appears vindicated by the absence of similar studies and the obvious interest of most "pot docs" in revenue.

Thus I've spent nearly 10 years simply unraveling the intertwined errors afflicting both sides in the legalization debate: although the federal position is weaker and must ultimately fail, it can probably hold out for quite a while because it's supported by the law, fear, tax dollars, and a host of powerful vested interests.

Last night, I was heartened by a rare breath of fresh air when Jimmy Kimmel twitted the President about DEA raids and reminded him that pot smokers also vote.

However the early media response has been disappointing: the usual unfocused confusion and denial. With each passing month I see a last-minute Obama epiphany as progressively less likely; it's even possible enough pot smokers will either sit out the election or vote against him to elect a clueless religious fundamentalist as his successor. It's happened before.

Doctor Tom

Posted by tjeffo at April 29, 2012 10:37 PM