An In-Depth Study on The Failure of the War on Drugs


Gentle readers, it is far past the time that America must put aside the idiocy of “zero tolerance”, the government’s most ineffective weapon against its own citizens in their demented “War on Americans Who Use the Wrong Drugs”. Zero tolerance has only one real effect and that is to completely silence the debate that should continuously surround every question in America.

This issue is far too important to be left to the politicians and their owners in Corporate America to have any say in. The first are basically just too stupid to claim any control over what I put into my body and the second is simply too greedy and uncaring to have any thought but for the greater profits to be made in the prison and law enforcement industries. The question of how we, the people of this nation, want to deal with drugs and, in particular, marijuana must be reopened and this debate must be an informed one and must not depend on the pseudo-science and imaginary anecdotes that has become the sad hallmark of today’s “DARE” program.

Instead, we must depend only facts to make this important decision. Factual information is easily found and, if in doubt, can easily be discerned through investigation by independent scientists and researchers.

The History of Hemp and Marijuana in America

The cultivation of marijuana can be traced back over 400 years in America. It was used well into the 20th Century as a fiber, famed for its strength and durability when used for rope or shoes and even as clothing. It wasn’t until the 1920’s that it was recognized for its intoxication properties.

Almost immediately, the government began an Orwellian propaganda campaign against its use. Frightening and completely false stories were broadcast by the newly formed Federal Bureau of Narcotics and printed in tabloid newspapers of violent crimes and suicidal behavior by immigrants under the spell of marijuana. These lies eventually became the basis for the “Marihuana Tax Act of 1937”, which contained absolutely no factual information within its wording. This law also required all marijuana sold or grown to have a tax stamp attached or the product and transaction would be breaking federal law. In as much as the government refused to describe the appearance of or even print any of these stamps, the act had the intended result of completely criminalizing any facet of marijuana growth, sales or use.

Marijuana became widely used as an intoxicant during the “great social experiment” of alcohol prohibition in the 1920’s. As usual, the act of attempting to legislate morality in one area of American’s lives results in an increase of other acts that the same narrow-minded and ludicrous find “immoral” and which leads to another and then another law that tries to stamp out what Americans want to enjoy.

Sadly, the government tried three different strategies to stomp out marijuana use in America. The first was silence. It was believed that if the youth didn’t learn about marijuana then they would not smoke it out of curiosity or a feeling of experimentation. The Motion Picture Association of America banned any mention or reference to marijuana and all public schools were forbidden to discuss the issue. Naturally, this effort failed utterly to keep marijuana out of the public’s consciousness.

Next, anti-marijuana groups were employed that used the tactic of simple trying to scare potential users. Even such otherwise respected organizations as the American Journal of Medicine followed in lock step, publishing such baseless and unfounded warnings as “Marijuana users will suddenly turn with murderous violence upon whoever is nearest to them. They will run amuck with a knife, ax, gun, or anything else that is close at hand, and will kill or maim without reason.” F.T. Merrill of the Opium Research Committee wrote, “While numerous crimes [have been] traced to its abuse, its peculiar virulent effect, leading sometimes to insanity, makes its use dangerous to the individuals and to society in general ... [it] leads to uncontrollable irritability and violent rages, which in most forms cause assault and murder.”

Even the California police officer’s guide of the 1970’s continued to spread this propaganda, proclaiming, “Marijuana is the immediate and direct cause of the crime committed ... the user is very often dangerous to handle or control, has no fear, feels no pain, and may commit crimes of violence ... He may suddenly get the idea that his best friends or his own immediate family are about to take his life and proceed to kill them ... in fact, no act is too fantastic or horrible to the user of marijuana.”

In the 1950’s, when hysteria about the use of marijuana increased at the same time that its use decreased, the first mandatory sentence in America’s history was enacted that established ten years as the minimum time in prison for the mere act of possession and demanded the death penalty for anyone convicted of selling marijuana to a minor.

This idea that cruelly punishing an adult for smoking an herb has culminated in the insane and fascist “Three Strikes” laws. Taking all control for deciding the correct punishment to be meted out on a case by case basis from the courts, these draconian laws have, instead, filled our jails and prisons to over flowing with, often, non-violent users of marijuana. In fact, there are currently over 60,000 Americans incarcerated for the mere acts of possessing or using marijuana. The ultimate punishment that these idiotic laws force upon the judicial system is the death penalty for anyone found guilty of growing or managing plantations of 60,000 or more marijuana plants. Gentle readers, the state has decided that it can take the life of what basically comes down to someone who grows herbs on a farm. Just how sick is that?

The end result of all of this government interference and hysteria is such lunatic consequences as the 1,100% increase in drug arrests between 1980 and 1992, even though marijuana use drooped from 35% of all Americans using the drug at least once to a mere 13%. The increase in incarcerating truly violent offenders was only 50% during that same period.

This unimaginably enormous increase in arrests for marijuana use must be viewed through the lens of the true purpose of prisons and the judicial system. If these agencies are meant to keep Americans safe from those who would do them harm in the process of committing a crime, then the laws against marijuana are pointless, at best. Consider this; of all felons convicted of crimes related to marijuana possession, production and trafficking during the period between 1980 and 1992, 58% had no prior arrest history, 91% were not identified as organizers, leaders, managers or supervisors of drug-oriented organizations, and 92% did not own or possess a gun. How, exactly, these Americans can be viewed as a danger to anyone else is, I suppose, a question whose answer resides in the fetid and torpid minds of those forcing their sick moral visions on the rest of us.

What does all this cost you? Well, to confiscate $2 billion worth of marijuana, the federal government spends, in direct and indirect costs, over $30 billion of your tax money. This results in over 4 million Americans being arrested and 250,000 individuals being jailed for more than one year at a cost to your of tens and hundreds of billions of your tax dollars. Has all of this madness reduced the availability of marijuana in America? In every study performed since 1960, the number of arrests and the harshness of the sentencing has zero effect on the drug’s availability.

Finally, even Richard Nixon, never one to be held up as an example of a dope smoker’s best friend, initiated a study that, in 1972, concluded in the report “National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse” that private production and consumption of marijuana be made legal. They recommended the arrest and convictions only of those found to be trafficking or in the commercial production of marijuana. This study was read and accepted by Nixon, the Speaker of the House, the President of the Senate, and even by President Jimmy Carter, although heavy political pressure by right wing fanatics prevented him from making a concerted effort to reform marijuana laws. In fact, Carter’s acceptance of marijuana as something less than the pure evil that the Right demanded it be considered is one of the major reasons that the Right bought the election for their senile actor, Ronald Reagan.

Just a Couple of the Lies That the Government Just Can’t Let Go Of

Over sixty years the insane “Marihuana Tax Act of 1937”, the government continues to lie and misinform in its attempt to justify its insane war on Americans. Let’s look at just a few of the many lies and half-truths that can be found on just one government site, the National Institute on Drug Abuse. ( 9 )

Q.If a woman is pregnant and smokes marijuana, will it hurt the baby?

A. Doctors advise pregnant women not to use any drugs because they could harm the growing fetus. One animal study has linked marijuana use to loss of the fetus very early in pregnancy.

Let’s look more closely at this statement. The most important factor to understand about the lies our government tells is that they generally advertise the fact that they are lying. It’s almost like a child being caught in a lie, their very words and actions give them away.

The entire statement is based on just one animal study, not a study of humans, that “has linked” marijuana to the loss of the fetus. Perhaps they could do another study to see if drinking water “links” itself to this problem. Maybe eating too much fat or too little fat or breathing smog or, well, you get the picture. One study proves only that one study was done. The number of animals and offspring involved is never stated nor are any statistics from the control group (they did have a control group, didn’t they?).

This false and misleading statement is used to scare your children every day in their mandatory “DARE” classes (which, by the by, probably stands for Doesn’t Allow Real Evidence). They can’t see that it’s a lie but you can, I hope. You can help your children understand that the government can always be counted on to lie when they have no facts to support their stance. It is a truly life enhancing lesson for both parent and child, I can assure you.

Q. Can people become addicted to marijuana?

A. Yes. While not everyone who uses marijuana becomes addicted, when a user begins to seek out and take the drug compulsively, that person is said to be dependent or addicted to the drug.

Okay, this one is fairly easy, too. Does the act of seeking out other substances, say chocolate or ice cream or candy, make that person addicted to those substances. Of course not. It means that they enjoy, for whatever physical or psychological reason, that substance. Addiction is a process that entails need, not desire. It is one that results in withdrawal symptoms when the substance is not available, a process that has never been seen nor suspected in any truly independent study of a large group of marijuana users.

Again, by making a statement without proof, the government exposes their lies to those who really try to understand what is being conveyed.

There are many such childish and easily dismissed lies and half truths on nearly every government site out there. The government relies on the fact that the vast majority of Americans are, to put it bluntly, unable to think or to form opinions for themselves. Instead, these people just listen to the blather and nonsense coming out of their TVs and pretend that they have acquired information when all they have acquired is the government’s propaganda.

The Loss of Your Constitutional Rights

Okay, you now know some of the history and hysteria surrounding marijuana. Now let’s take a long look at the many freedoms guaranteed to us by the Constitution and the Bill of Rights that have been stolen from us during this sick period of our history.

First and foremost, the First Amendment to the Constitution guaranteed us,

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

Within this promise are two main areas that, while not completely taken from us, are made very difficult to exercise through the machinations of the “Zero Tolerance” mob and the fact that the very media which should be the source of a free flow of information is owned and controlled by those very conservatives who least desire free debate in America.

First, while we take for granted our right to free speech, when was the last time that you watched any program on television that offered unfettered access to the facts surrounding the issue of drugs in America? When was the last time that you heard of any open debate being conducted at any level of government, a debate which was meant to inform rather than offer more reasons to restrict access to information? By limiting the freedom of all Americans to obtain timely and factual information and to allow all Americans the right to openly debate the pros and cons of the issue of drugs, our government and their owners in the conservative media have greatly limited our freedom of speech on this question.

Second, the government completely ignores the desires of the people when the any facet of the issue is put to a democratic vote. Voters in many states have overwhelmingly adopted laws that allow the use of marijuana for medical reasons. The benefits of the use of marijuana for AIDS and cancer patients as well as Americans suffering from many other health problems has been proven to the satisfaction of the medical community and the AMA. Nevertheless, when a state such as California passed it’s state-wide initiative to legalize the medical use of marijuana, Prop. 215, the federal government stated quite clearly that the people’s voice would be ignored and the sick “War” would continue, only now the victims would be those suffering from the unnecessary side-effects of their diseases.

The Republican Attorney General of California even decided to storm what was being called a “Marijuana Club” that catered exclusively to the need for marijuana by the sick and dying. In what could only be described as just another sick reaction from just another "ignorant Republican", immediately after the passage of Prop. 215 California's own Attorney General Dan Lungren, immediately set up meetings with every law enforcement agency in the state and asked but one question, "How do we continue the War on Drugs in the face of Prop 215?" The agencies, nearly unanimously, stated that they would wait for clarification from the federal agencies and Congress before they acted against any of the new cottage industries that had sprouted up in the San Francisco area. Naturally, Lungren stood back and waited for the federal officials to clarify their positions, right? That is, indeed, a rhetorical question because, as this space has so often shown, the two words "Republican" and "intelligent" can seldom be found occupying the same space and time continuum.

Instead, Lungren informed the San Francisco Police Dept. that he wanted the clubs closed. Naturally, they refused since, one, they were more intelligent than he and, two, they simply stated that the law in California had changed and until it was found to be unconstitutional by a court of law, their oaths of office required them to uphold that law. Undaunted, Lungren then ordered the California Highway Patrol to do his atrocious bidding and, naturally, they refused for the same reasons given by the SFPD and added the rather obvious fact that the clubs were not on a California highway nor could they be expected to be there any time soon. Now furious, Lungren decided to just ignore the law and the courts entirely and went to the DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency) whose charter apparently has never included fealty to laws or the voice of the American people and who make Republican yahoos look reasonable on the subject of so-called illegal drugs. These thugs immediately donned their best riot gear (bullet proof vests, helmets with bullet proof visors, heavy steel-toed black boots), drove to their intended target in a battering ram type tank and, upon arrival, closed the glass front door that was standing open and then attacked it with hand held battering rams, breaking the glass in the windows and entrance door, flung middle aged and elderly men and women against the walls, handcuffed them and confiscated all of the shop's marijuana stock. These brave and noble officers dragged these defenseless and ill men and women to the nearest federal building where they were booked on charges of possession of a controlled substance and held until they could post bail. (Don't you feel just all warm and fuzzy knowing that those dangerous middle aged and elderly cancer and AIDS patients were rounded up by these brave men of our federal law enforcement?)

Obviously, the attempt by 56% of the voters in California to exercise their free speech by enacting this legislation and their attempt to petition their government for redress was silenced by this example of Gestapo tactics that are at the heart of the anti-drug lords.

So much for your First Amendment rights.

The Fourth Amendment guarantees you that,

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

The rights guaranteed in this section are pretty much a thing of the past, gentle readers.

First, your person is in no way protected in that your bodily fluids can be taken from you without even a hint of due process by the police, your employer, and even your school administration among so many others. ( 1 )

Next, your home can be entered on the flimsiest of excuses. If a person “suspected” by the police of possibly being involved in any crime enters your home, perhaps a friend of yourself or your children or even just an acquaintance from work or the neighborhood, or just based on an anonymous tip, ( 2 ) the police now have the right to forcefully enter your home and detain everyone there while they search the entire house without ever being required to explain the reason for their invasion nor the subject of their search. ( 3 ) They have the right to seize whatever strikes their fancy and, ultimately, can seize your home and all of its contents and sell them at auction by simply claiming that the home was used for the purposes of drug transactions. ( 4 )

Gentle readers, there is never any point in this process of taking your home and life away in which these same “law enforcement” officers have to even prove the validity of their claim and, if you are indigent and cannot afford an attorney, the law prohibits the appointment of appointed legal counsel. Instead, you must find some way to sue the agency in court in order to regain your property, a rather useless process should the property already be sold. Sadly, even should you sue in court, your chances of winning are minimal in that the asset seizure laws were written extremely loosely and you are expected, not to prove the guilt of the agency in taking away what is yours but, instead, you are expected to prove your innocence of any crimes or even complicity in any crime. In effect, you must prove a negative, a procedure that any first year science student will tell you is nearly impossible.

Again, there are no longer anything that even resembles “unreasonable searches and seizures nor is the concept of probable cause necessary for the police to have the immediate power to invade your home or auto or even your person.

So much for the Fourth Amendment and the freedoms and protections it once offered.

Now we’re at the Fifth Amendment, the one that once was the foundation of a democratic and free judicial system but which is, in most respects, long ago negated in the sick destruction of our rights.

Let’s look at entire section;

No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation."

The reality is, gentle readers, that you can be “compelled ... to be a witness against” yourself. The legal taking of your bodily fluids, in particular, contradicts this right in that you are not only being coerced to provide possible evidence against yourself but, as is too often the case, the evidence itself may be tested incorrectly, resulting in false positive readings which, again, you must prove to be false rather than the judicial system being required to prove to be indisputable.

Your right not to be “deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation” has been taken from you completely in that the asset seizure laws, as stated above, require you to prove your innocence and to force the government to restore your property rather than your innocence being assumed until your guilt is proven beyond a shadow of a doubt.

Your Sixth Amendment right to “Assistance of Counsel” for your defense is negated in a couple of ways. First, when the government steals all of your property and assets long before you spend your first moment in court answering the charges, your ability to secure the very best representation is severely if not fatally compromised. Second, should you find yourself unable to afford any defense counsel, the quality of counsel offered to indigent defendants is poor, at best, and in Texas, completely incompetent. Finally, should your property be seized by any law enforcement agency, you must sue that agency in order to regain that property but, should you be unable to afford counsel, the law bars any court from appointing counsel.

The Eighth Amendment, which reads, “Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines posed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted” is, again, completely negated through the cruel and unusual laws which allows your property to be seized and sold even should no charges ever be filed against you or even if you are acquitted of any crimes involving drugs.

Finally, the Tenth Amendment, which reads, “The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” has been repealed by Congressional fiat and proven by the situation explained above regarding the horrors exposed in California’s Prop. 215 fight.

The original Posse Comitatus Act of 1878 ( 5 ) made the use of the military in domestic law enforcement a criminal offense but that law was amended and your right to be free from the intrusion of the military in your lives in 1982. In fact, the law now allows the military many freedoms in their domestic operations that I’ll bet you have never heard a word about but that impacts your freedoms intensely. ( 6 )

America is even in the process of forcing new and completely unproved herbicides and genetically altered organisms on other nations in our sick plans to kill the marijuana and cocaine plants, themselves. As a condition of the billions of dollars America is wasting in Columbia, America’s contemptible “Drug Czar” ex-Gen. McCaffery and his slimy accomplices in Congress, is forcing that nation to spray its own citizens with what they label “...tested, environmentally safe mycoherbicides”. These same substances have been labeled by the Colombian Ombudsman for the Environment as “a great danger both for Colombian humans as well as for the Colombian environment and biodiversity.”

In order to manufacture this hellish garbage, McCaffrey ordered that the US biological warfare center be quietly reopened. The center had become famous for its part in the creation of Agent Orange and Agent Blue, the former a herbicide meant to destroy all plant life it was sprayed on, the latter meant as a plant specific herbicide, in this case it was used against the rice that the American military was certain was being used to supply the NFL (National Liberation Force, AKA the Viet Cong). Instead, Agent Blue was used so often that it caused massive areas in South Vietnam and North Vietnam to be afflicted with the deaths of millions of innocent civilians by starvation. This same center, you may recall, was closed down by President Richard Nixon as a part of the treaty banning biological warfare. Nevertheless, your government is now back in the business of creating biological weapons to be used against innocent men, women and children, all in the name of this useless and hateful war that America is waging around the world. ( 8 )

As you can all plainly see, you and I have given up the vast majority of those rights and freedoms that our founding fathers once thought paramount in importance to a free and just society but which have been stolen by the sick and single-minded imbeciles who believe there is no price too great for you and I to pay in order to satisfy their narrow-minded and moralistic visions of their perfect world. If, for no other reason, the War on Americans Who Use the Wrong Drugs must be terminated and the hundreds of thousands of prisoners from this insane war be freed and forgiven. Our rights and freedoms must not be stolen from us again.

Now that we have witnessed what we have already lost, let’s take a realistic and fact based look at the issue of marijuana, in particular.

The Reality That You Never Hear

In any debate, facts must be the basis of each argument. So far, in this one-sided “debate” concerning the dangers or virtues of marijuana, factual information has been completely missing.

According to one Dr. Lester Grinspoon, in over 5,000 years of medical and non-medical use marijuana has not caused a single overdose death. It has, in general, far fewer side effects than most prescription medicines.

Let’s first examine the psychological effects, first.

According to clinical studies such as those cited( 7 ), “Marijuana alone does not produce a psychosis lasting past the period of intoxication. For those who experience some mild form of marijuana-psychosis, the marijuana is not the cause but, rather, the individual was already prone to that psychosis.

In studies of cognitive effects on a marijuana user, there is little evidence that moderate users have any cognitive defects after the intoxication wears off.

In regards to psychomotor performance, the obvious has been determined and that is that individuals should not operate any dangerous machinery such as an automobile or airplane or any equipment requiring unimpaired attention.

Amotivational Syndrome is a phrase used to describe such things as dropping out of school or social activities, a lack of interest in school or employment or goal-oriented activities. While many people who could be described as having these traits smoke marijuana, there is absolutely no proof of a casual relationship between marijuana use and AS.

As for physiological harm, of all that is attributed to the use of marijuana by the government, only the act of smoking or inhaling that smoke causes harm to the user. In fact, the damage that smoking does to a user’s system is far less than the harm that a user experiences when smoking tobacco. As the quality of the intoxicants in marijuana increases, the damage due to the smoke actually decreases in as much as less smoke is inhaled in order to achieve the same “high”.

Looking at THC, the active ingredient of marijuana and the chief intoxicant, and its effects on the immune system, it is found that it increases certain types of immune system cells and decreases the number of other immune system cells. Overall, there is no proof that THC either weakens or strengthens a person’s immune system.

Smoking marijuana has similar effects to smoking tobacco in that both have been found to be a cause of lung diseases such as cancer and emphysema. However, as marijuana smokers inhale far smaller amounts of smoke over their lifetimes, these effects do not present a significant risk factor. As marijuana smokers grow older, though, further study will determine any actual long term risk.

However, there is a slight addictive reaction from tar in both tobacco and marijuana. There is a difference in the amount of tar that is deposited in the lungs since, while tobacco smokers take in far more tar over their lifetimes, marijuana smokers tend to deposit more tar in their lungs each time due to the fact that they tend to hold the smoke in their lungs longer.

While there is no evidence that marijuana causes any damages on the cellular level, people with immune system deficiencies may experience illnesses associated with fungi, bacteria, and tumor cells in the lungs.

In relation to bronchitis and bronchial tissue damage, marijuana smoking has been found to have the same harmful effects as tobacco smoke.

Finally, the risk to pregnant mothers who smoke marijuana is small but real. The most common effect is a reduction of approximately 3.4 ounces on average in birth weight. The children of mothers who smoke marijuana and tobacco exhibit a higher mutation rate than the children of non-smokers. Children born to mothers who use marijuana display detectable deficits in cognitive abilities up to the age of 5 at which point the differences between these children and children born to mothers who did not smoke marijuana disappears altogether. These cognitive difficulties may, however, also be related to the societal and personal environments in which the child is raised and the mother experienced before and after the birth.

In conclusion, marijuana is known to be far safer than either alcohol or tobacco when used in moderation. Its effects on the lungs is similar to tobacco’s but are generally less severe over the long term since the manner in which the two substances are used are different.

Results of More Lenient Drug Policies in Other Nations

The Netherlands has always maintained that drug use is a matter of “basic and principally a ... health and social well-being.” Their government, after acknowledging the absolute and utter failure of any efforts at legally requiring abstinence with the alternative of harsh punishment, redesigned their nation’s laws and approach to drugs.

Making a sharp distinction between “hard drugs”, such as heroin and cocaine and amphetamines, and “soft drugs”, such as marijuana and hashish, the nation created vastly different penalties for the use or each. While the act of manufacturing or transporting of the sales of any of the hard drugs carries extreme penalties, the use and possession of less than thirty grams (just over an ounce) of marijuana is a summary offense liable to a custodial sentence never to exceed one month.

The Dutch government has made it a national policy to treat the use of marijuana as a situation equal to the use of tobacco and alcohol. While admitting that each causes some level of a negative effect on their population, they firmly believe that those using these drugs should not suffer more damage from the legal restraints that from the use of the drug, itself. In other words, their policy of “harm reduction” relies on educating their citizens as to the components of a healthy lifestyle while leaving the choices up to the individual rather than any government functionaries. The nation has also created a de facto decriminalization of cannabis products by not actively enforcing even the minimal consequences of the use or possession. The Public Prosecutions Department, the equivalent of our Justice Department, gives highest priority to prosecuting trafficking and the lowest to possession. This leads to a situation where police will confiscate, but refrain from prosecuting, anyone found to possess .5 grams of hard drugs or 30 grams of any marijuana derivative unless the subject is also suspected of dealing or another drug-related offense.

Since the offenses of possession and trafficking carried such widely different penalties, with trafficking in hard drugs carrying the harshest of all penalties, the Dutch have successfully reduced the problems of so-called “gateway drugs” being abused by the simple act of separating the distribution paths.

This national policy of basically ignoring the use of small amounts of marijuana led to the establishment of “coffee shops” across the country. These shops offered marijuana as just another item on the menu and which is controlled not through fear but through the adoption of what the government christened the “Five Coffee Shop Rules”. These rules were, 1) coffee shops could not advertise, 2) they could not trade in any hard drugs, 3) they cannot sell to minors, 4) they cannot sell marijuana in quantities larger than 30 grams and, 5) they are held responsible for any public disturbances or nuisance on or near their property. Failure to follow these rules results in the loss of their license.

All coffee shops are licensed and no one with a police record may obtain one. These shops have become so common that, not only are their presence in a community taken for granted, but nearly all of their employees have been organized by unions.

The reality of the effects of the Dutch experience in regards to drugs must be closely and logically examined in relation to our squandered years in which millions of lives have been destroyed in the lost cause of ending marijuana use. The end results of America’s hateful attack on its own citizens is that the so-called “drug kingpins” are very seldom apprehended but hundreds of thousands of average Americans find their lives devastated because of our insane laws.

Voices of Reason Speak Out

Finally, there are many in America who realize that this War on Americans Who Use the Wrong Drugs has wrought nothing but destruction on our nation and its people. These are not the voices of the homeless or the drug addicted nor are they always voices of the left and progressive Americans. These voices come from across the entire political spectrum, expressing their belief that we, as a nation, must quickly and completely, alter our course and our laws.

Chuck Thomas, of the Washington, D. C. - based Marijuana Policy Project, states, “Since 1996, drug czar McCaffrey and his ilk have been trying to scare the American people by claiming that the medicinal marijuana initiatives would cause more adolescents to use marijuana. Clearly, this hasn’t happened. Teens obviously understand the difference between medicine and drug abuse.”

Rep. Tom Campbell (R-San Jose), one of the first Republicans to speak out against the war and in support of its victims, states “The most common reaction I get from my colleagues is, ’You’re absolutely right, but, boy, I’m not going to take that risk.”

One who is willing to take that risk is Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D - NY) who offers, “A fanatic is someone who redoubles his efforts when he’s forgotten his purpose. We need to question policymaker’s sanity when the purpose - in this case protecting people’s health - is forgotten in favor of a fanatical pursuit of the drug war.”

Ethan Nadelmann, director of the Lindesmith Center, a leading drug-policy institute, predicts, “Drug-policy reform is rapidly emerging as the movement for political and social justice of the new decade.”

Rep. Janice Schakowsky (D - Ill.), flatly states, “There is a growing acknowledgment that the drug war hasn’t worked.”

Her colleague, Rep. Ron Paul (R - Texas), agrees, saying, “The war on drugs is a total failure. It does more harm than good.”

Even college students, incensed with the 1998 Higher Education Act that completely disqualifies from receiving federal aid for college to anyone who has been convicted of simple marijuana possession but allows aid to those convicted of rape, robbery or even manslaughter, are speaking out. Kris Lotlikar, national director of Students for s Sensible Drug Policy, states, “It was this bill that got students active on the drug issue. They resent having their education dragged into drug-war politics.”

Even Arianna Huffington, once a firm conservative but now an voice for reason and clarity in her syndicated columns, has declared, “The government’s war on drugs has become a war on its own citizens.”

Facts About Marijuana Prohibition

During the entire history of the government’s “War on Drugs”, the perceived availability of marijuana has according to 85% of high school seniors has remained as “fairly easy” or “very easy” to obtain.

There have been over 12 million marijuana arrests in the United States since 1970, including 682,885 in 1998 alone. About 88% of all arrests were for simple possession - not manufacture or distribution.

Every comprehensive, objective government study that examined the marijuana phenomena has concluded that adults should not be criminalized for using marijuana.

Cultivation of even one plant is a federal offense that leads to a longer sentence than for the crimes of auto theft or manslaughter.

Approximately 60,000 American citizens are currently in prison or jail at this moment with another added every 45 seconds.

According to the group Stop Prisoner Rape, it’s estimated that a minimum of “290,000 males were victimized in jail every year, 192,000 of them penetrated ... Victims are more likely to be young, small, non-violent, first offenders, middle-class ...” It’s estimated that the failed war on marijuana costs America a minimum of $7.5 billion and possibly more than $9 billion every year.

Doctors are currently allowed to prescribe both cocaine and morphine but are barred from prescribing marijuana for any reason.

A federally funded Research Triangle Institute study of Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) found that students exposed to the program were no less likely to use drugs than students not involved in the program. The study concluded, “DARE could be taking the place of other, more beneficial drug use curricula that adolescents could be receiving.

Recent polls show that the majority of Americans favor treatment and education over law enforcement. By 53% to 34%, Americans view drug use as a public health problem best handled by prevention and treatment programs rather than as a crime to be punished.

Well known organizations that have endorsed medical access to marijuana include the AIDS Action Council, American Academy of Family Physicians, American Public Health Association, California Medical Association, California Society of Addiction Medicine, Lymphoma Foundation of America, National Association of People With AIDS, National Nurses Society on Addictions, the New England Journal of Medicine and many others.

Major editorial boards of newspapers across the country have endorsed medical access to marijuana including the Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, Miami Herald, New York Times, Orange County Register, USA TODAY and others.

Because criminalizing all aspects of marijuana, it follows that only the people involved in the production, transportation and distribution of the herb will be the most violent and those with the least respect for the lives and safety of others if it interferes with that process.

Prohibition invites corruption within the criminal justice system by giving these officials direct contact with tempting opportunities to accept bribes, steal and sell confiscated marijuana, and to plant evidence on others.

Prohibiting marijuana forces users into contact with dealers who may also sell far harder drugs. By allowing Americans to legally grow their own would result in a break in that contact and provide far fewer opportunities for users to be exposed to the temptations of harder drugs.

Prohibiting private usage of marijuana also results in tens of millions of Americans maintaining an attitude of complete disrespect for the law and the system of government that has become, itself, so corrupt and shows so little regard for its citizens.

Finally, by making private behavior subject to the whims and caprices of law enforcement controlled by political impulses that change as often as each election cycle, your Bill of Rights are constantly trampled on and your privacy invaded through the use of drug tests, phone taps, government informants, curbside garbage searches, military intervention, infrared heat detectors, and all of the another violations that occur every single minute of every single day that passes.

Conclusions

Gentle readers, the prohibition on marijuana has, indeed, caused far more harm to our society than any good it can claim. It has divided America, ruined the lives of tens of millions of otherwise completely law abiding people, created an atmosphere of violence and ethnic hatreds, and has cost the nation hundreds of billions of dollars that could have been spent on far more worthy aspects of our lives such as health care and education and child care and on and on.

Those who simply grow, possess and smoke marijuana, whether it be for medical or recreational reasons, are, in the vast majority, otherwise peaceful and productive citizens. Were the laws regarding marijuana equal to those in regards to alcohol and tobacco, tens of thousands of Americans would be at home with their families rather than languishing in jails and prisons being exposed to the most violent criminals and sexual predators in our criminal justice system. Were the laws regarding marijuana equal to tobacco and alcohol, the coffers of government at all levels would be filled with the taxes supplied on the sales of marijuana rather than by the ill-gotten gains through the theft of property through seizure laws. Were the laws equal, the American people would be able to focus their time, money and political attention on the real issues facing us like the bribing of our representatives by the wealthy and Corporate America, the pressing need for a national health care system, for better school funding at every grade level, and to alleviate the horrible dilemma of homeless families and children.

Folks, it is up to those of us who retain the ability to think independently and with insight to force this issue back into the public’s eye so that this rubbish of “zero tolerance” can be placed back into the trash heap that is the anti-marijuana fanatics and to open the debate in sensible terms for the first time in our sad history.

I urge you all to contact your representatives and demand that the debate about marijuana be reopened and that only factual, proven scientific information be allowed into these discussions. These talks must be open and before the public and must include input from all sides of the issue. Marijuana must be returned to the people’s control and the laws that trample upon our Constitutional laws abolished forever. There is no other way to return some small semblance of sanity to our society and some level of safety to our neighborhoods and our very homes.

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Copyright 7/15/00