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November 13, 2013

Why Obama Should Endorse Legal Cannabis ASAP

An interesting result of the recent off-year elections was another surge in demand for cannabis ("marijuana") legalization. Legal pot was more popular at the ballot box than the Tea Party, Right Wing politicians, and the (fading} reputation of Barack Obama, whose job approval rating fell to a new low.

Our struggling Prez- one of only 14 American chief executives to win in consecutive general elections- did so despite being perceived as Black and after openly admitting his own aggressive adolescent toking. He should have learned from that experience that such an admission is no longer the kiss of death it had been for Reagan nominee Douglas Ginsburg in 1987 after a tattle-tale NPR columnist disclosed his repetitive use.

In fact, a critical analysis of the progressive, albeit painfully slow, roll-back of state "marijuana" laws since California's passage Proposition 215 passed in 1996 suggests that a youth market had long existed and been growing steadily since the early Sixties. Indeed, it was that very market that had inspired the onerous Controlled_Substances_Act Richard Nixon and John Mitchell had convinced an ignorant Congress to pass in 1970.

That Nixon's law has been so assiduously enforced around the world since 1970 does not reflect well on the cognitive ability of our species. Even so, it's not the only destructive law ever enforced in "the Land of the Free" with near-catastrophic results. One needs only to recall that the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 helped propel our new nation into a catastrophic Civil War, which could easily have been fatal had it not been for Abraham Lincoln.

Instead of dealing with it honestly at their Constitutional Convention in 1787, our Virginia-dominated founders opted to punt, a decision W.E.B. Dubois would later observe, "opened a road that led directly to the Civil War."

In other words, the industrialization of British cotton production facilitated by invention of the cotton gin increased the demand for American raw cotton that it led to destructive monoculture and pressure for progressive Western expansion of slavery as new states were added to the Union: exactly the opposite of what had been predicted when the compromise was adopted.

Similarly, when the Warren Court nullified Harry Anslinger's Marijuana Tax Act in 1965, it could not possibly have known what enormous social and other changes that had overtaken the insignificant criminal market Anslinger had created with the MTA in 1937. Nor was the vibrant youth market for "psychedelics" that had sprung into existence following the experiments described by "beat" authors from the late Fifties onward. "Marijuana" didn't have to be imported; it could be grown locally. LSD could be produced in a lab.

The drugs themselves were not "addictive," but they encouraged the kind of independent thinking that was anathema to "all the President's men."

The next entries will deal with the amazing series of unintended consequences that have followed the Controlled Substances Act of 1970.

In a sense, they have been more far-reaching than any simple tweaking of a poorly conceived, ad-hoc policy should have produced, but they are both undeniable and responsible for a far-reaching cascade of evil consequences that will be hard to overcome.

Doctor Tom

Posted by tjeffo at November 13, 2013 09:38 PM