Monday, May 21, 2012

Pot calling the kettle black...

So, in the last few months, at least five clinics that dispensed medical marijuana, which is allowed under California law, have been forced to close because of a campaign by the federal Justice Department. And someone is finally calling them out on it.
The San Francisco Democratic Party adopted a resolution yesterday demanding that President Obama, Attorney General Eric Holder, and U.S. Attorney Melinda Haag "cease all Federal actions in San Francisco immediately, respect State and local laws, and stop the closure of City-permitted medical cannabis facilities"...

At least 5 permitted San Francisco dispensaries have been forced to close in the last few months as a result of the Obama administration's heightened attack in California. The operators and landlords of these and several more dispensaries were threatened with federal criminal prosecution and asset forfeiture in an effort to shut down access points for the city's tens of thousands of qualified patients. San Francisco has been especially hard hit since October, when California's four U.S. Attorneys escalated an already vigorous federal campaign against medical marijuana.

The DCCC argues that, "the U. S. Attorneys in California are not targeting individuals and organizations that are operating outside of the law, but instead are aggressively persecuting a peaceful and regulated community, wasting Federal resources in using a series of threatening tactics to shut down regulated access to medical cannabis across the state of California." The DCCC also accuses the federal government of "depriving...the State of California [of] much needed tax revenue."
We already know that the War on Marijuana wastes billions of dollars every year (that's just marijuana, by the way), and has accomplished exactly nothing, by anyone's estimation. (And, incidentally, despite Obama's support for medical marijuana during his campaign, his record as president has not been good on the subject.)

Although it's difficult to justify the continued waste of money and resources that the government's battle on the Demon Weed entails, it does occasionally give us some fascinating insights into the minds of the people opposing it.

But rather than pointing out the failed logic in the anti-marijuana arguments, or comparing marijuana and alcohol, someone should probably remember the fact that the prohibition of pot was initially a racist concept.

The early arguments against marijuana weren't that it would "destroy the fabric of society as we know it!" In fact, pot had been prescribed by doctors for many years.
Marijuana was listed in the United States Pharmacopeia from 1850 until 1942 and was prescribed for various conditions including labor pains, nausea, and rheumatism. Its use as an intoxicant was also commonplace from the 1850s to the 1930s. A campaign conducted in the 1930s by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Narcotics (now the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs) sought to portray marijuana as a powerful, addicting substance that would lead users into narcotics addiction. It is still considered a "gateway" drug by some authorities.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2007
Care to guess what makes it a "gateway drug"? The fact that it's illegal.

There are no reputable studies that link marijuana use to the use of other drugs, except for one pesky little fact: buying marijuana puts you in contact with people who sell those other drugs. So they're suddenly accessible to you. That's it. That's the sum total of the reasons that make marijuana a "gateway drug."

You see, what happened was, in 1931, Treasury Secretary Andrew Mellon appointed his soon to be nephew-in-law, Henry J. Anslinger, to head the newly formed Beaureau of Narcotics. And why did Anslinger, a former prohibitionist, decide that it was this naturally-occurring herb that was to blame for all of society's ills? Well, in his words:
There are 100,000 total marijuana smokers in the US, and most are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos, and entertainers. Their Satanic music, jazz, and swing, result from marijuana use. This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers, and any others... Reefer makes darkies think they're as good as white men.
Not that he was the only one who felt that way. William Randolph Hearst, when he wasn't starting wars, was fairly outspoken himself.
Marihuana influences Negroes to to look at white people in the eye, step on white men's shadows and look at a white woman twice.
(To be honest, Hearst had a second reason to declare war on marijuana - it makes a cheap, renewable source of paper, and Hearst was heavily invested in the logging industry.)

Perhaps when you consider the quality of people who celebrated the arrest of pot smokers by pouring themselves a drink, a few other questions might occur to you about the War on Drugs.

1 comment:

Steven said...

Great stuff! I enjoyed the article and shared it to my Facebook page.