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November 03, 2013

A Surprising Development Put into Perspective

Yesterday, I was surprised to see an optimistic email from NORML to its members and supporters citing a somewhat positive article in Bloomberg News suggesting that legislation to "legalize" cannabis ("marijuana") might be just around the corner. Upon reading it however, I don't agree, primarily because its data is from the same old sources: more a reflection of the ignorance that has prevailed since the 1970 Controlled Substances Act launched the blatant deception that quickly evolved into an (international) "war on drugs" with a familiar cast: Drug "Producing" and "Transporting" nations, all afflicted with higher crime rates and more violence than their less involved neighbors. Not to mention the disasters at home: prison growth, Swat raids and lives destroyed on the basis of irresponsible false assumptions.

After California's Proposition 215 passed in 1996, a steadily expanding medical marijuana phenomenon- either by initiative or direct legislation- has been extended to twenty US states, but cannabis is still illegal at the federal level and in all UN member nations by International treaty.

I began actively oppossing America's drug war in 1995 and have had an opportunity to collect data from over 7000 Californians seeking approval of their "medical" use since 2001. Thus I've been able to compare clinical data from admitted users with the conflicting information supplied by both policy enforcers and their opponents in "reform."

What has impressed me most is the disparity in their claims: both with each other and with my data. For example, neither of the opposing sides provide demographics on the huge illegal market both are focused on. My data show it was very thin until the 60s when Boomers born right after WW2 suddenly developed a interest in cannabis that has been sustained ever since, leading to today's huge modern market which has been expanding into the Medicare demographic since 2010.

I've never seen a coherent explanation of that important phenomenon: a glaring failure by the 2 agencies Richard Nixon created to suppress that market in '73 and '74 respectively: just another of the many shortcomings casting great doubt on their frequently asserted "expertise."

Also, the timeline of events leading to passage of the CSA in 1970 confirms that the nullification of Anslinger's Marijuana Tax Act by the Warren Court in 1969 provided Nixon and Mitchell with both motive and opportunity to punish the young hippies then demonstrating against the increasingly bloody and ultimately futile Vietnam war just as Nixon was trying to control it with the succession of devastating attacks on Laos and Cambodia that ultimately failed to prevent North Vietnamese victory in 1973.

Thus our now 42 year drug war can be seen as collateral damage from the war crimes committed by Nixon and Henry Kissinger in their effort to Vietnamize American failure between 1969 and'73.

This is a prelude to why I don't think Congress will vote to legalize cannabis. There is too much negative history to admit, to say nothing of our deep commitment to folly and the huge lobbies that have grown rich on four decades of drug war failure.

It would ultimately be better to emulate the Supreme Court strategy of Brown V Topeka, the protracted cluster of Civil Rights cases required to undo Plessy V Ferguson. It will be daunting, but the still-unrecognized benefits of legal cannabis in an unfettered market would allow development to its full therapeutic potential. OTH, grudging "mini-legalization" would maintain the absurd stigma that still inhibits its use and precludes honest research.

The bottom line is that "pot" is even better than realized; it would be tragic to concede any of its many benefits for the sake of softening a harsh truth. More, later.

Doctor Tom

Posted by tjeffo at November 3, 2013 02:32 AM