« Is History Catching up with the Drug War? | Main | Logical Insights re: Illogical Behavior »

December 05, 2012

Beyond Legalization

I’m going to assume that the recent public announcement- however muted- that two Democratic ex-Presidents, are willing to label the drug war a failure signals its ultimate replacement as both US and global policy, thus it’s not too soon to think about what should replace it.

I’m also going to assume that if the “legalization” process becomes incremental, the first drug to be legalized would be cannabis, thus it's important to decide just how it will be dealt with. In that respect, it will be important to avoid the compromises that have so often dominated in the aftermath of other bitter struggles. All too often, old mistakes have been allowed to survive to the point where they again undo whatever new “peace” emerges.

Perhaps the two best modern examples of that tragedy are American: after both our Revolutionary and Civil Wars: the nominal “winners” retained the racist beliefs that had allowed chattel slavery to play a critical role in the economy of their day. These are matters of historical fact; and while it’s not possible to assign blame to any one actor or group, I would contend it is possible to recognize a dominant behavioral imperative that, if uncorrected, could easily lead to a similar disaster. Just in passing, Hitler and Nazism are extreme modern examples of a similar tragedy; thus it's hardly a unique phenomenon.

Following the American Revolution, the noble expression of egalitarianism in Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence (“all men are created equal”) was undone by the compromise with chattel slavery that followed in 1787, a decision that W.E.B. Dubois would later say (1896) “opened a road that led directly to the Civil War.”

As is now obvious, without Lincoln, The US might have been balkanized and history would have certainly been different. Thus has humanity lurched unpredictably from one watershed moment to another since we learned how to record our past in writing.

To pursue the American example a bit further, the tragic assassination of Lincoln at the very beginning of his second term prevented whatever plan he had for Reconstruction from being realized. Instead, Segregation emerged, a policy based on the same racism that had originally justified Slavery, but even more oppressive in practice. It would be another seven decades before the Civil Rights Act would (grudgingly) turn Jefferson’s lofty rhetoric into (still unrealized) reality. Ironically, we now have a nominally black President who experienced the anxiolytic benefits of inhaled cannabis as an adolescent (albeit apparently without fully understanding them).

In the meantime, the lessons of history have been accumulating at a dizzying rate. The one saving grace is that modern Science has given us tools to analyze history in ways that were never possible before and we have yet to become so contentious as to resort to nuclear war; thus we still have a chance to share our home planet without risking its destruction.

To cut to the chase, cannabis, a complex herbal remedy that eventually emerged as the demon drug of Nixon’s drug war, can now be recognized as a single therapeutic source that, if honestly studied and developed, has the potential to mitigate the anxieties of modern life more safely and effectively than any of the agents now being pushed so aggressively by our pharmaceutical industry. As an added bonus, in its edible form, it mitigates chronic pain as effectively as opioids.

To hobble its “legal” debut with the ignorant prejudices and calumnies of John Mitchell and Richard Nixon at this particular time in history would be a tragedy beyond measure.

Doctor Tom

Posted by tjeffo at December 5, 2012 08:38 PM