The Drug War Should Be Over, Because We Lost

The next time you see a kid in a just say no to drugs t-shirt, I want you to substitute, in your minds eye, the confederate flag because both are emblematic of the loosing side in a war- and just as the south was on the wrong side of the moral equation in the civil war, so too are defenders of our decades long failed war on drugs.

cure-cancerThe reason the benefits of medical marijuana are not more widely known is that the federal government thinks it would send the wrong message to children. This, according to Caltech Physicists’ John Schwarz, who, during a speech given at the medical marijuana conference last week said  “If All Science Were Run Like Marijuana Research, Creationists Would Control Paleontology”. Putting aside for a moment, the fact that flat earth religious Regressives already hold far too much sway over the way our children get educated – or rather brainwashed – in this country- what could possibly be the federal government’s objection to letting the public know that about the health benefits of medical marijuana?

As Nicole Flatow at Think Progress reports,

During an address before a medical marijuana conference, John H. Schwartz explained how the Drug enforcement Association and National Institute on Drug Abuse act as a “tag team” to censor science, with NIDA holding a monopoly over legal access to cannabis for research, and the DEA refusing to reconsider the drug’s designation in the Controlled Substances Act as a dangerous substance with no medical value on the basis that sufficient research does not exist.

See how that catch 22 works?

The government has blocked research even though it has long been aware of marijuana’s potential to shrink aggressive cancer cells because, according to John Schwartz- it would “send the wrong message to children”.

For everyone who is now suffering, will suffer in the future, or who knows loved one who has suffered from cancer, this wrong message to children argument is of little comfort, I’m sure. The logic, of course, comes from the ill-conceived war on drugs. I say ill-conceived because what Nelson Rockefeller launched, and what Nancy Reagan championed in the war on drugs gave us two incredibly harmful things – no I’m sorry- two ideas, put into action that are literally killing people: First this ridiculous idea that pot is a gateway or slippery slope drug, and that people who smoke pot are more likely to do harmful addicting drugs like crack or the rich white (and less criminalized version) of cocaine. But correlation is not causation, and pot is no more a slippery slope than puberty. I can just as easily say that people who go through puberty are more likely to use cocaine and have that statement be true, without a shred of evidence that puberty causes cocaine use. It is this kind of institutional stupidity that is behind the “protect the children” argument. Another incredibly destructive monster that flew out of the Pandora’s box that is our war on drugs is the prison industrial complex. Earlier I mentioned former NY Gov. Nelson Rockefeller, whose eponymous Rockefeller laws served as the blueprint for the strict mandatory sentencing of victimless crimes that the majority of drug violations, in fact are, and have resulted in an explosion in the prison population to the point that the U.S., with 5% of the global population has 25% of the global prison population. One of 4 people imprisoned on the planet earth creates a behemoth of an industry an industry where the economic incentive for local state and federal authorities – not to mention an growing number of private corporate interests- is to imprison more people and keep them there longer.

The greed behind the profit motive that is keeping people is jail is directly linked, in ways direct and poetic, to a cancer that is eating at us all. It is time to wave the white flag and admit defeat in the war on drugs. It was the wrong fight, and in creating victims out of victimless crimes, we have lost this war.

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