I was at my sister's, with my niece, as my sister was at the hospital having her second child, when I saw the Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowski on the Lehrer Hour. He was publicizing a recent National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) study, which found increased drug use among American teens. I found it curious that Czar Kerlikowski spent the entire segment talking about the scourge of marijuana, making little of the studys conclusion that Ecstasy and pharmaceutical abuse is up as well.
Looking into it, I found a 2008 Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) pamphlet called MARIJUANA: THE CAUSE OF ALL DRUG ABUSE. The cause? Reading through this pamphlet, and NIDA and DEA websites, it occurred to me that, if someone hopes to sound authoritative on a subject, and make sense, it helps to have some understanding of the subject. One wonders what kind of damage is required in the brain, to suggest that marijuana smoke is "50-70% more cancerous than tobacco smoke," while not being able to point to one cancer death anywhere, ever, attributable to marijuana, while the National Cancer Institute tells us, of the 438,000 deaths directly attributable to tobacco smoke, 40% are due to cancer?
I thought smoking pot was supposed to screw up your brain?
The stance of the Government on Cannabis can only make sense if you know nothing about the plant. Learning about the plant coincides with learning a truth about the State.
There are four primary reasons Cannabis is illegal. And not just illegal, but the focus of our Government's war on drugs, a civil war, Americans against Americans.
I. There are as many as 200 different medical conditions that respond favorably to marijuana. There is no known plant or compound that is so widely beneficial, with so much potential for market share. Or rather, as it can be grown indoors or outdoors just about anywhere in the United States, it is a market share eliminator. Pharmaceutical companies are the second most powerful lobby in America, behind the Oil Industry. They will do whatever is necessary to maintain control of that market share.
II. Hemp, the unsmokeable variety of Cannabis, is without question the most useful plant on the planet. It is so useful, so flexible, it could be the raw material for a multi-trillion dollar tier of industries, from paper, to food, to clothing, to bio-fuel, to housing material, etc. It can grow just about anywhere, and it does not require herbicides. It would also compete with corn for room in the fields, which means all of corporate Agri-business and most industrial food producers align against hemp, as do logging interests.
III. There are, according to the DEA, 45,000 people in federal jails on marijuana convictions. That does not include state, county and private facilities. There are more than 500,000 marijuana arrests each year. Marijuana laws keep law enforcement and prosecutors busy, and jails full. In addition, treatment facilities benefit from an influx of "offenders", often under-age, who are given a choice between jail and treatment. An industry has sprung up around drug testing, though the only thing such tests are likely to find is marijuana, as nearly everything else (being more objectionable) leaves the body more quickly; and there is no evidence of any kind that shows a decrease in work-production among those who smoke marijuana.
IV. Smoking pot makes people peaceful. Ronald Reagan called it "the most dangerous drug in America," not because the plant is dangerous, but because it can help people stop, think and consider, which is dangerous for the State. Had we all puffed in 1979, we might have reconsidered the idea of turning American Democracy into Plutocratic Empire. It's hard to build and maintain Empire if the people desire peace. Felony marijuana convictions disenfranchise the poor and the peaceful, preventing them from voting. That, and simple marijuana possession, under the statutes of the State, is cause for the State to confiscate everything you own. A constant reminder to those who tend toward peace - we the State have established and maintain the power to destroy you.
Suppose I want to make hemp paper. I can import hemp from Canada, or the European Union, but I cannot buy it from a farmer in the United States? Why? This is a free enterprise system, yes?
The violence of the marijuana trade would decrease to non-existent within a year, if it was legal to grow. But that is not the point, if you are the State. It is instructive that the only people who want to keep marijuana illegal, more than the experts at the NIDA, or Law Enforcement, or big Ag or pharmaceutical peddlers, are big time drug dealers. The flower of Cannabis sativa, marijuana, which is the flower of a weed, is as much as $3000-4000 a pound, more if you sell it by the eighth ounce. It would be about $10 a pound if anyone could grow it, without fear of having their life destroyed by the State.
Hemp is so valuable in real terms that it may prove to be incredibly important to local economies in an age without abundant fossil fuels. American ingenuity loosed on that plant would transform the culture dramatically, in a healthy way. It may prove to be such a prolific plant, that when fully established as a commodity, it could help provide local sustainability and autonomy, even help put an end to the dominance of the centralized Nation-State.
Cannabis prohibition, top to bottom, is a lie. No Republic that rests so fundamentally upon a lie can stand. It is not a Republic when the State perpetuates such a lie. A government that practices such a lie is not fully legitimate. A democracy beholden to such a lie is not fully mature.
We can all agree, smoking marijuana under the age of 18 is not a good idea, at least not in daily abundance. Under observance, for understanding, in a sacred way, is something else entirely. This however, takes maturity to understand, accept and teach, maturity made criminal by the State. The cultural ninnie would rather demonize than understand in a mature fashion, which only makes a thing more attractive to young people who are not attracted to hypocrisy and self-righteousness.
The criminal status of marijuana, because it rests on a lie, makes the growing, selling and smoking of it an act of defiance against tyranny. Though all things in moderation, sayeth the wise sage. Growing, selling or smoking becomes less political the greater the profit, the greater the consumption. With exceptions, of course. Medicinally, I trust you to know what you need. For profit, are you out to feed your family, or are you after bling?
The criminal status of marijuana, because it rests on a lie, makes the prosecution of those laws subject to conscience. But what is conscience, to one whose livelihood depends upon the maintenance of a lie?