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May 19, 2012

Headless in Mexico

The recent grotesque murders in Mexico, that (finally) caught the bemused attention of CNN, are a result of poverty and desperation; fallout from a brutal turf war over the smuggling of “marijuana” and other drugs that has been assiduously ignored by both governments for years; each for its own reasons. Another painful irony is that the most popular drug now being smuggled into the US is “marijuana,” the most benign of all "substances" on the DEA's forbidden "schedule one." In fact, were it not illegal, an honest Pharmaceutical industry could almost certainly have come up with a panoply of cannabis-based drugs that would be safer and more effective than the flood of synthetics touted in "ask your doctor" TV ads as palliation for the same symptoms: stress, insomnia, depression, and trouble focusing.

As an added bonus, herbal cannabis also relieves a plethora of somatic symptoms: various types of chronic pain, chronic diarrhea, whether caused by ulcerative colitis, Crohn's disease, or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). It also predictably lowers intaocular pressure in Glaucoma and effectively controls nausea; whether produced by cancer chemotherapy, antiretroviral drugs,or associated with migraine. Equally sadly, the generations of psychiatrists and psychologists whose "peer-reviewed" literature has been co-opted by NIDA since 1974 have had severely restricted choices for the treatment of vexing emotional symptoms.

Even less well known is suggestive evidence furnished by a study of cannabis users that many symptoms of stress can be traced to emotional trauma unwittingly inflicted within the family during childhood.

Although Mexico's prohibition-related murders only began in earnest in the late Nineties, their historical roots extend back to the utopian beliefs that persuaded bible-thumping Nineteenth Century US fundamentalists that prohibiting the sale of alcohol could succeed. That effort, an ignominious failure, was abandoned in 1933, but its failure was never officially conceded. Instead, the equally feckless federal policy of drug prohibition has not only survived, it has attained the status of a federal sacred cow- beyond the reach of Presidents, Congress, and the Judiciary. The policy's early survival is attributable to a dominant federal bureaucrat, Harry Anslinger Director of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics from 1930 to 1962.

At about the time of Anslinger's retirement in 1962, a then largely unnoticed demographic phenomenon was already well underway; it began with VJ Day and would continue through 1964: the Baby Boom. As the huge crop of post-war babies began reaching maturity, it fell under the influence of a small coterie of literary shamans who were writing about their experiences with newly available consciousness-expanding drugs (psychedelics), including the inhaled form of cannabis that had been demonized by Anslinger as "marijuana." To Boomer parents, it may well have seemed that blowhard Harry actually knew what he was talking about.

In any event, the generation gap between the youthful "drug culture" and their “moral majority” elders led to a 1968 disaster: the election of the most insecure President in US history, a development which, in conjunction with a rare Supreme Court moment of clarity, quickly produced another tragedy: Anslinger’s Marijuana Tax Act was replaced by the even more invidious Controlled Substances Act. The CSA was almost demonic; although as historically bereft of scientific support as the MTA, it was promptly approved and immediately began empowering UN-mandated global drug prohibition through a treaty dating back to Anslinger.

Thus, as a bewildering footnote to history, we now have global drug prohibition supporting robust illegal markets in arms, drugs, and disadvantaged people that collectively generate billions of dollars a year. UN endorsement of the laws that enable those markets suggests that the human capacity for denial may be the greatest single threat to the long term survival of our species.

A recent example, familiar to anyone who has read history, was the acceptance of Adolph Hitler's racist doctrines by a German polity that was arguably as well educated and technically capable as any in Europe; yet enthusiastically followed Hitler into World War Two and national near-destruction less than seven years after his appointment as Chancellor.

However German acceptance of Hitler's policy was motivated, it led directly to World War Two. Paradoxically, it was only because his grandiosity led him to overreach that the threat he represented was ended by military defeat.

That the drug war's opponents have been both cut in on its profits and successfully scapegoated makes its ultimate termination less certain and more difficult to even conceptualize. Apropos of legality, it's probably significant that the German populace wasn’t required to actively support Nazism in 1935; only to accept the the Nuremberg laws by which Hitler consolidated the total power that encouraged him to invade Poland on September 1, 1939.

The tortuous path from the false doctrine of "Reefer Madness" to decapitated corpses in a Mexican mass grave has been more tortuous and slower to evolve, but the risks to our species may be even greater, given the planet's huge human population and degree of interdependence.

As for timing, we should remember that 11 months before the invasion of Poland, the British Prime Minister promised "peace in our time."

Doctor Tom

Posted by tjeffo at May 19, 2012 03:43 PM