An interesting article appeared in the NY Times yesterday. Make Peace with Pot is written by Eric Schlosser where he sounds off on the failing War on Pot. He's also the author of Fast Food Nation and Reefer Madness. Here's a bit:
About 700,000 people were arrested in the United States for violating marijuana laws in 2002 (the most recent year for which statistics are available) — more than were arrested for heroin or cocaine. Almost 90 percent of these marijuana arrests were for simple possession, a crime that in most cases is a misdemeanor. But even a misdemeanor conviction can easily lead to time in jail, the suspension of a driver's license, the loss of a job. And in many states possession of an ounce is a felony. Those convicted of a marijuana felony, even if they are disabled, can be prohibited from receiving federal welfare payments or food stamps. Convicted murderers and rapists, however, are still eligible for those benefits.And this paragraph sums up exactly how I feel on the shadyness factor of the anti-pot movement in DC:
This year the White House's national antidrug media campaign will spend $170 million, working closely with the nonprofit Partnership for a Drug-Free America. The idea of a "drug-free America" may seem appealing. But it's hard to believe that anyone seriously hopes to achieve that goal in a nation where millions of children are routinely given Ritalin, antidepressants are prescribed to cure shyness, and the pharmaceutical industry aggressively promotes pills to help middle-aged men have sex. Clearly, some recreational drugs are thought to be O.K. Thus it isn't surprising that the Partnership for a Drug-Free America originally received much of its financing from cigarette, alcohol and pharmaceutical companies like Hoffmann-La Roche, Philip Morris, R. J. Reynolds and Anheuser-Busch.And some final points:
Here's an idea: people who smoke too much marijuana should be treated the same way as people who drink too much alcohol. They need help, not the threat of arrest, imprisonment and unemployment.
More important, denying a relatively safe, potentially useful medicine to patients is irrational and cruel. In 1972 a commission appointed by President Richard Nixon concluded that marijuana should be decriminalized in the United States. The commission's aim was not to encourage the use of marijuana, but to "demythologize it." Although Nixon rejected the commission's findings, they remain no less valid today: "For the vast majority of recreational users," the 2002 Canadian Senate committee found, "cannabis use presents no harmful consequences for physical, psychological or social well-being in either the short or long term."
The current war on marijuana is a monumental waste of money and a source of pointless misery. America's drug warriors, much like its marijuana smokers, seem under the spell of a powerful intoxicant. They are not thinking clearly.