The War On Drugs: Tragic, Corrupt, And Time For It To Be Over

The war on drugs
The war on drugs is a war is an abysmal failure by any measure.

We’re not losing the War on Drugs, we’re perpetrating it against our own people and those of other countries, in South America and around the globe.  It’s not just a dismal failure, it’s a cash cow for big pharmaceutical companies, gun manufacturers, tobacco and alcohol sales, and the prison industrial complex.

We privatize prisons that make more money the more business they do.  And doing good business means housing more prisoners for longer periods of time. Despite the fact an increasing number of prisons are becoming privatized, they’re still government funded, we’re just outsourcing the work to private companies.  We’re hiring their services, and in return we’re incarcerating more of our citizens than any other country in the world.

Prohibition Does Not Work.  It’s An Invasion Of Freedom And Fosters Crime

Richard Nixon declared the ‘War On Drugs’ in 1971, but the war started long before that.  We’re all familiar with how well prohibition on alcohol from 1920-1933 and how well that turned out.  The equivalent of modern day drug cartels sprung up over night and made great sums of profit, enabling them to buy politicians, create a black market with often corrupt police forces, which resulted in a perfect environment for organized crime to run rampant.  It was a failed project and now the alcohol industry is as respected, and ingrained into our society as just about any other.

Alcohol And Tobacco:  The Hypocrisy Alone Should End The Debate

To begin painting perspective, about 100,000 people die from alcohol  related causes a year, with about 25,000 of those involving drunk drivers and innocent victims.  World wide statistics show up to 2.5 million alcohol related deaths a year.

In 1865 Washington Duke began commercializing cigarettes on his 300 acre farm in Raleigh, North Carolina.  He marketed hand rolled cigarettes to soldiers at the end of the Civil War.  One can easily imagine how well they took off; no one telling you it was bad to smoke – on the contrary, they said it cleaned the lungs out.  In hard times it was good to have the constant companionship of a smoke to help ward off the tragedy and hardship of the time.  For another layer of perspective, in the US tobacco related deaths are estimated around 440,000 a year.  Also worthy of note are the 100,000 people who die due to pharmaceuticals each year.

Everyone Knows About The Argument That No One Dies From Smoking Marijuana, But Somehow That Fact Goes Unappreciated

Humans have interacted with cannabis for thousands of years, and it is the one substance that comes to mind that can not kill you.  Not one person in recorded history has died of a cannabis overdose.  The plant has been used from Chinese medicine to a vehicle of altering consciousness to our ancestors.  The plant has a rich history, and it is not by coincidence that we have cannabinoid receptors throughout our body and brain.  This is evidence that this plant has been not only with Man as we know ourselves to be now, but our distant ancestors, to earlier mammals still.

Legalizing marijuana, regulating it and taxing it seems like the most obvious direction to move.  It appears inevitable now that the legalization, regulation and taxation of cannabis for medicinal and recreational use will become increasingly popular throughout the States as each election season inexorably comes and goes.

What Possible Motives Then Could There Be To Prohibit It’s Use?

In 1937 in the United States, the Marijuana Tax Act was passed and prohibited the production of hemp in addition to cannabis.  They were thorough, even the name they chose to give the herb was done with racist intent.  The word Marijuana was chosen over Cannabis due to the fact Marijuana was associated with Mexican speaking Americans who in their language pronounce it marihuana or mariguana.

Andrew Mellon, Randolf Hurst and the Dupont family had a vested interest in ensuring hemp did not enter into the market.  Hearst was heavily invested in timber, and it just so happened at the time that papery pulp was required for news printer presses.  Hemp, a far cheaper material to employ in production was a direct threat, not only to his holdings in timber, but to his news paper empire.  He would have to get all new machines, and start competing with companies that before did not have the capital to enter the market place with the costs as they were.  Mellon and the Dupont family were heavily invested in a new synthetic fiber, nylon.  This material could stand in place of hemp, and again, under the weight of diminished profits resorted to demonizing a plant people smoked to enjoy recreational as well as for medicinal purposes.

Propaganda At Work: Associating Cannabis With Rape And Murder

Propaganda of the most insidious kind was unleashed on the public.  Well well known and particularly insidious piece was a movie called ‘Reefer Madness’.  The firm portrayed marijuana smokers as fiends rapists and murderers.  Racism in the form of spreading the fear that black men would rape white woman was also rampant in the campaign against cannabis.

Here’s a short clip that spells out the militant way the corporations and the government ensured people were brainwashed into believing marijuana was just about the worst thing in the world.

 

What Arguments Then Are Left to Warrant This Continued Prohibition That Causes So Much Human Suffering And Costs A Fortune

Perhaps the strongest argument  in opposition to cannabis being legalized has retreated to the desperate rhetoric, ‘Marijuana causes mental illness and destroys people’s minds’.  Forget for a moment that most of the music, movies, and art in general that you treasure most was at least partially inspired by one intoxicant or another, and that many of today’s most brilliant minds in business and science have used mind expanding intoxicants, the evidence linking marijuana to mental illness is not compelling.  There are studies that show those who have schizophrenic tendencies tend to smoke pot more, but this hasn’t been established as a casual link.  It’s just as possible people who suffer from this mental condition find cannabis to be their medicine of choice to reduce anxiety and lessen the torture inflicted on them by their minds.

Concerns Worth Addressing

I will concede smoking marijuana – although in ingesting it through food many such problems are bypassed -can’t be good for your lungs, discounting the fact Michael Phelps won an absurd amount of gold medals.  It can also lower ambitions, but in others it stimulates creativity and insight.  Often the ambitions it lowers are ones that may not have been what you were truly interested in.  Or maybe it’s a sad story, and you were a promising candidate for an exciting opportunity in a cutting edge field, but you didn’t try hard because you smoked a lot of pot.  That is completely possible and I’m sure it happens on some scale.   There is also evidence suggesting using marijuana chronically while the brain is still in development can impact one’s emotional progress, and other measures of achievement such as the variance of 1-4 points on an IQ test.

What Should The Legal Age Be For Recreational  Cannabis Use?

It is better to abstain from, or use marijuana at an early age, but in the adult mind – ideally over 25, though I would have it legal at 18.  They’re going to smoke it anyway, they’ve been smoking it, they just won’t be criminals, associating with criminals, and avoiding taxes. That age might seem radical, but consider in context to the fact I’m in Australia right now, and that’s the legal drinking age.  I’ve always thought it was crazy the government would send you across the world to fight in a war years prior to considering you mature enough to have an alcoholic beverage.

A Rather Complex Plant, One Word Does No Justice

One more note on the subject of mental health.  There’s hundreds of active compounds in cannabis and this  fact is often used to scare people, but herbs are balanced in nature by their complexity, and not carcinogenic  in comparison to most of the chemicals we ingest in many forms in our every day life.  THC and CBDs are two of the best known psychoactive compounds in the plant.  It’s true today’s cannabis is stronger on the ratio of THC, and this is due to hydroponics, instead of growing it outside in the sun.  CBDs have been shown to have anti-psychotic effects.  If Cannabis was regulated medical grade strains could be more easily researched and  refined into strands with different, but predictable and consistent psychoactive and medicinal properties.

Cannabis Has Medicinal Properties And To Argue Otherwise Is To Be An Obstinate Jackass

Most people are by now convinced cannabis has many medical applications, so I won’t bother much with making that point.  I would like to think I don’t have to.  But suffice to say, cannabis helps to provide pain relief and increased quality of life against many afflictions such as the side effects of chemotherapy, glaucoma, and those suffering chronic pain or stress for various reasons.

It could well prove in the not so distant future that with legalization there will be less dependence on the pharmaceutical companies, less crime associated with the black market, and less non violent drug offenders not becoming hardened criminals following a prison stint.    Consequences of legalization would also include increased  revenue to create jobs to fix  roads. bridges, and any other crumbling infrastructure that would still be useful.  These jobs would further boost the economy, as money in the hands of the middle class gets spent, and far more often locally, than tax breaks for corporations and the extraordinarily wealth.

A Comically Hypocritical Reason Not To Legalize Cannabis

One argument painful to hear is that we already have enough legal drugs to choose from that are dong us harm, so the last thing we want is more.  Well maybe more people would stop smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol if they could get pot legally.  Maybe not.  But sugar and caffeine are more addicting and responsible for a far broader and concerning range of negative health effects than cannabis.   And why do those in power get to choose their favorite drugs, when ironically they are  the deadliest and least mind expanding of them all; alcohol and tobacco.  The money we’d save, the human suffering we would avoid, would be monumental if we did not treat drug dependence or addiction as a crime.  It is a health issue, and if a person is under the influence of a substance they choose to take and commit a violent crime, they should be tried accordingly for that crime – but not because they’re high, but because they committed a violent crime.

The Winds Of Change: Will Common Consensus And Economical Impact End The War On Drugs?

The tide is turning on this issue as recent elections and polls have shown.  In the wake of the last election Washington and Colorado had legalized marijuana, though on the federal level it remains against the law.  How this plays out will be crucial, but Americans are tired of this war.  It’s not just the gross and wasteful costs, they tire of their neighbors and family being persecuted for using a drug that is not necessarily their own preference.  The absurdity is clear; the neighbor to your right might smoke pot and be relatively healthy, while the neighbor to your left loves sugar and caffeine, and might be dying from it.

The War on Drugs is another distraction to keep people divided, to maximize profits within the pharmaceutical companies, the prison industrial complex and any already legal fiber or intoxicant companies that might stand lose profits when faced with new competition in the form of hemp, medicinal and recreational cannabis. Our representatives overwhelmingly don’t have our interests at heart.  They care chiefly, gleefully or out of perceived necessity, about the demands of their donors, lest they miss out on future campaign contributions and an extremely high paying job as a lobbyist when they leave office.

The Tough Questions That Follow

Eventually, when politicians feel it’s safe, the steps to end the prohibition on cannabis will be taken on a larger and faster scale throughout the US.  But then will come the tougher question.  What about the hard drugs?  This is an article in and of itself, but take Portugal.  They made all drugs legal and regulated them, treating them as a health concern rather than a criminal matter, and their drug usage plummeted.  If we only legalize marijuana that will not fully diminish the power of the drug cartels and our internal black markets, but it does cut off a sizable branch of their business.   To get deeper into that core we would need to legalize and regulate all drugs in a manner similar to Portugal.  While that might be the best solution in the end, for now the country, in so many ways, could benefit from the legalization, regulation and taxation of cannabis.

I appreciate you taking the time to read the article, so please enjoy one minute and fifty four seconds of Bill Hicks.

4 thoughts on “The War On Drugs: Tragic, Corrupt, And Time For It To Be Over”

  1. Marijuana is far less dangerous than alcohol or tobacco. Around 50,000 people die each year from alcohol poisoning. Similarly, more than 400,000 deaths each year are attributed to tobacco smoking. By comparison, marijuana is nontoxic and cannot cause death by overdose. According to the prestigious European medical journal, The Lancet, “The smoking of cannabis, even long-term, is not harmful to health. … It would be reasonable to judge cannabis as less of a threat … than alcohol or tobacco.”

    1. Needless to say, Chloe, I agree. One would have to do some impressive mental gymnastics to come up with an even halfway coherent argument as to why cannabis is more harmful than tobacco or alcohol.

  2. Hi Kelsey, thanks for the reply. I just did a quick search on google using the words, ‘American Medical Association on Marijuana’, and found the following conclusion from the source:

    Report 3 of the Council on Science and Public Health (I-09)
    Use of Cannabis for Medicinal Purposes
    (Resolutions 910, I-08; 921, I-08; and 229, A-09)

    “Conclusions. Results of short term controlled trials indicate that smoked cannabis reduces neuropathic pain, improves appetite and caloric intake especially in patients with reduced muscle mass, and may relieve spasticity and pain in patients with multiple sclerosis. However, the patchwork of state-based systems that have been established for “medical marijuana” is woefully inadequate in establishing even rudimentary safeguards that normally would be applied to the appropriate clinical use of psychoactive substances. The future of cannabinoid-based medicine lies in the rapidly evolving field of botanical drug substance development, as well as the design of molecules that target various aspects of the endocannabinoid system. To the extent that rescheduling marijuana out of Schedule I will benefit this effort, such a move can be supported.”

    I could have chosen something more endearing to my premise, but I thought it was fair to pick at random and see what I found. There is merit in medical marijuana, which has been widely accepted now in the US, and even recreational use – when the electorate are polled, are moving steadily towards legalization. What is quite important to me is the fact that the States incarcerates citizens more than any other country in the world per capita. Far too many of these ‘criminals’ are there because they smoked, or were involved in the trade of a plant that has never killed anyone. Alcohol and Cigarettes aren’t glowing with medical benefit, and kill by the hundreds of thousands – though you can apparently use a cigarette a day to help with irritable bowel syndrome, which I found out watching an episode of House, and researching it after. Alcohol of course can be used for sterilization, and perhaps a few other medical applications.. but no argument can be made for either legal substance regarding medicinal use that equals the cases put forth for the use of cannabis.

  3. against smoked medical cannabis stating that, “marijuana has a high potential for abuse, has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, and has a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision.” The National Institute on Drug Abuse NIDA state that “Marijuana itself is an unlikely medication candidate for several reasons: (1) it is an unpurified plant containing numerous chemicals with unknown health effects; (2) it is typically consumed by smoking further contributing to potential adverse effects; and (3) its cognitive impairing effects may limit its utility”.

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