April 06, 2014
Unwitting Suicide by PolicyBased on even rudimentary analysis of its 43 year history, America’s "war on drugs," which skated on non-existent intellectual and scientific ice from its very beginning has compiled an amazing record of failure: our steadily expanding prison population and the enormous cost of the "drug crime" it creates, not to mention the human and social damage it does to designated "addicts" and their families. Our drug policy is long overdue for an unbiased critical analysis.
However honest scrutiny of the drug war will be impossible until the lobbying power of the many US and foreign government agencies that have come to depend on it has been neutralized sufficiently to permit it.
Dwight Eisenhower's warning about the growing power of the "Military Industrial Complex" was too late to prevent a "Cold War," but was justified because the mutual hostility between Communism and ourselves was real, as indicated by the Soviet deployment of missiles in Cuba. Kennedy's impromptu negotiations with Krushchev clearly avoided a nuclear exchange in 1962. That the danger is still there is implicit in Putin's posturing in the Crimea and the Ukraine. Thankfully, the planet has been spared a third hostile nuclear detonation.
On the other hand, the fear of "addiction" hyped by the Nixon Administration in the late Sixties to justify the legislation that became a "war on drugs" was imaginary. Its cynical continuation in support of a destructive policy is more indicative of our human gullibility and the willingness of our political leaders to exploit fear to their advantage no matter what human or environmental damage may result; tendencies exemplified by Hitler and his modern imitators from Stalin to Saddam, also confirmed throughout human history. One way or another, slavery has been justified ever since since Aristotle.
In fact, if one were trying to create an almost foolproof method for inducing the unwitting suicide of Homo sapiens as a species, America's drug war would be an excellent model.
Needless to say, this analysis isn't likely to become popular overnight. However, the slowly increasing popularity of marijuana in the US and elsewhere is reason to hope that our slide into the insanity of drug prohibition may be reversible in time to preserve our planet for a more "natural" disaster– another Yellowstone eruption, for example.
March 29, 2014
What Applicant Demographics RevealOne of several things I discovered shortly after starting to take medical histories from people seeking my "recommendation" to use cannabis medically (cannabis applicants) in accordance with Proposition 215 was their division into 2 groups based on year of birth. Fewer than 5% of all the 7200 applicants I've seen since November 2001 were born before 1946. That unexpected finding helps establish origins of the huge modern market for "marijuana" that inspired Richard Nixon's Controlled Substances Act after the Warren Court unexpectedly struck down the Marijuana Tax Act pf 1937.
That early pot smokers were so predominantly “Baby Boomers” was also unexpected and raises its own questions: what had encouraged so many "boomers" to discover cannabis, a drug that had been poorly understood when first outlawed by the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937?
We know from the dearth of press coverage devoted to "marijuana" between 1937 and the early Sixties that its market must have remained small until the Sixties when members of the newly emergent Counterculture began challenging the norms of the Eisenhower Fifties become the first ever mass market for a "Drug of “Abuse” in history and- quite likely the same young people Nixon was targeting with the "War on Drugs" implemented with the CSA in 1970. Those same applicant demographics also reveal when adolescent boomers first began trying pot in large numbers; also when they liked it well enough to begin growing it domestically.
In a word, California "medical users" reflect the huge modern market that began when the oldest baby boomers began aging into adolescence in the early 60s. It has obviously aged into Medicare right along with them as a thriving illegal market for "weed" that has been sustaining itself as it has matured into a senior market and continues to defy the best efforts of global police forces to suppress it.
Could it be that we have something to learn from questioning those satisfied customers– not as "addicts" who are defying a foolish law but as rational people with good reasons for their continued use of an illegal drug at significant personal risk?