Thank You, Mr. Emery: The War Is Over and We Have Won!

June 4, 2009 – In an article entitled “Canada’s ‘Prince of Pot’ at war with US drug war“, the Associated Press portrays Marc Emery’s extradition case as being all but over. The other two defendants have already pled guilty, and Emery himself expects to be in a U.S. cell by August. The article even includes a statement from Emery concerning what would happen were he to die in U.S. custody. Thankfully, the AP also gave Mr. Emery the final words on the subject:

“I had a very good reason for selling those seeds,” he said. “I wanted to defeat the U.S. war on drugs.”

Although this particular article does not give Emery credit for defeating the U.S. “War on Drugs”; its title implies the author is well aware that our nation’s decades-long war was officially terminated not long ago. As consensus begins to emerge that drug abuse is not as dangerous as unenforceable drug laws, top officials in our government have now declared that there is no longer any U.S.-sponsored “War on Drugs.” In fact, here is a direct quote from our newly appointed drug czar; which is also the title of the article: “I’ve Ended The War On Drugs.”

Although there have been no major policy changes yet; articles such as the ones above and below offer proof that change is now immanent. The solutions have not yet been clearly defined, but thanks to the efforts of people like Marc Emery–and charitable organizations like, for example, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition–we now have a much better understanding of the problems we truly face.

How Serious Is Obama About Ending Failed ‘War On Drugs’?

“..Regardless of whether one is a ‘drug warrior’ or a ‘drug legalizer,” writes Bob Barr in the May 25thAtlanta Journal Constitution, “it is difficult if not impossible to defend the 38-year old war on drugs as a success.” That’s because, “Illicit drugs are every bit as easy to score on America’s streets and in her schools now as they were more than three decades ago. Last year, just under 84% of the 12th graders considered that marijuana was ‘very easy’ or ‘fairly easy’ to obtain; virtually the same as in a 1975 survey…”

“..Gloria Killian, of Pasadena, founder and executive director of ACWIP, estimates “Eighty percent of (the 11,600) women in California’s prisons are in there for nonviolent drug offenses. Most low-level drug offenders are addicts and need treatment. It’s a medical problem. It’s a mental health problem…”

The article makes a number of good points, but for Marc Emery and cannabis users throughout the world; “it” is a far safer alternative to alcohol or tobacco. For cancer patients, “it” can be life-saving and/or life-giving medicine. And for followers of Judaism,Hinduism, Buddhism and practically every major faith; “it” has been the vehicle of divine inspiration and celebrated healing.

Bob Dylan, Bob Marley, John Lennon, Bruce Lee and countless other celebrated artists were known to enjoy the herb; as were the likes of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and many other “founding fathers.” And, try as they have–with our tax dollars, of course–the National Institute on Drug Abuse(NIDA), DEA and many other acronyms receiving public funds have never even proven cannabis use to cause cancer. Or to impair driving, for that matter: At least one study found the cannabis-influenced drivers to actually be safer than the sober drivers, much like the study which showed that cannabis use in the workplace had a “protective effect.”

Yet our government’s official stance regarding the plant, cannabis sativa, is sill unchanged: marihuana–a Mexican slang term originally adopted to confuse those familiar with cannabis–is a Schedule I Narcotic, which implies that the drug be both chemically addictive and have absolutely no medical use. Of course all scientific studies and government statistics run counter to these claims, but apparently such inconsistencies matter not to those in charge. Or rather, they didn’t used to.

Beyond the promises made by our new Pres., the Supreme Court has done such things as allow the use of DMT for spiritual purposes and deny a case brought against medical marijuana in two California counties. At least three justices have also compared our current prohibition to alcohol prohibition (in the sense that it has produced more harm than good), indicating that they already understand the broader implications behind the above mentioned rulings. Some of which are laid out in the article quoted below, “Put That in Your Pipe and Smoke it.”

“..The decision has vast implications, considering that 12 other states have similar laws and efforts to completely legalize marijuana are increasing. This decision was a significant step because it acknowledges that marijuana has possible medicinal benefits, establishes state authority and indicates increasing popular acceptance of the drug…”

“..The decision backs the power of the state. Marijuana laws at the federal and state levels conflict, and this time the Supreme Court’s action favors the state of California. This gives California, and other states in a similar situation, the chance to allow medical marijuana use.

The more power the states have, the more likely the legalization of marijuana will become. With increased independence, California will be able to pass a legalization bill allowing the taxation of marijuana sales to people above a certain age. The country will watch as the first working model of a state with legal non-medical marijuana comes into focus. The speculation will finally end. People who have always said that legalizing marijuana will cause drug use to skyrocket will see that the state will not crumble and the world will not implode. In the meantime, crime and violence surrounding marijuana sales will be drastically reduced and the state will gain billions in tax revenue. A more regulated system will also reduce the dangers of getting marijuana laced with undesired substances…”

To the Victor Go the Spoils

According to a quote from Antonio Mara Costa, Director of the UN Office for Drugs and Crime, “We must have the courage to look at a dramatic, unintended consequence of drug control: The emergence of a criminal market of staggering proportions.” (emphasis is my own)

At the same time certain factions of our government are spending all of their (our) resources to bring down Marc Emery for selling seeds, Mexico has gotten far worse than previously imaginable. Not that we aren’t sending plenty of U.S. guns and money down there to combat the problem, which is exacerbated immensely by that very same flow of U.S. guns and money…

For these reasons and many others, the Latin American Commission on Drugs and Democracy has recommended the decriminalization of all drugs. Like the brave, heroic men and women of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition; the Latin American Commission–which includes 17 prominent, respected leaders from both Central and South America–has declared the use of addictive drugs not to be a criminal issue, but rather a health concern.

Marc Emery has long been a champion of cannabis, but it is important to note that his battle has been against the infamous War on Drugs in its entirety. Unlike so many industrial hemp and medical marijuana activists who refuse (for whatever reason) to look at the bigger picture, Emery and a growing number of experts from various fields and backgrounds have come to the same simple conclusion: the War on Drugs has gotta go. And so it finally has, according to no less than the drug czar himself.

Should we not expect that the methods of this war be done away with now that the ‘battle’ is over?

This mean there will no longer be millions of non-violent drug users sitting in prison eating three squares a day while I (and way too many others) struggle just to pay our taxes and put food on the table. This means that the production of industrial hemp will no longer be against the law, but instead will be the poster child for a worldwide movement towards sustainable energy, construction and healthy food production. This also means that our men and women in Law Enforcement will be able to protect and serve the citizens far more effectively, instead of spending trillions with absolutely no long-term results.

Although it is easy to get carried away discussing the endless negative consequences of this (failed) war, it is far more important to focus on the benefits of learning from common sense. Now that we have the benefit of hindsight, it seems obvious that this beast was the outcome of Eisenhower’s (and FDR’s?) dreaded “Military Industrial Complex.” But a number of the questions this type of thinking can often lead to are daunting to say the least.

For starters, if so many of us (myself included) can actually be convinced that a plant is somehow “evil”, then what else have we fallen for? Where else has this government of ours gone terribly astray? Of course there are far too many possibilities for this to be anything but a rhetorical question for the purposes of this article, however our recent victory should yield a number of clues for identifying other problems and implementing effective solutions through cooperation and grassroots efforts. Once President Obama and Congress acknowledge the facts, this failed war becomes a resounding affirmation of both democracy and the American spirit which politicians love so dearly to remind us about in their speeches.

Addiction, however, is not such a straight-forward problem to address. A person can be effectively addicted to any number of bad habits which have nothing to do with ‘drugs’, such as: television, video games, sports, driving (which I also consider a sport) and of course caffeine–which is a drug that has serious effects, especially on kids. Yet it is nearly impossible to find anything marketed for children that is not loaded with either caffeine and/or sugar (perhaps the most addictive drug of all, other than the opposite sex, of course…)

As far as clinical addiction goes, it is worth mentioning a forthcoming book from a Harvard psychologist–which claims that “New research suggests it’s a choice.“ Not that I agree completely with the author’s stance, but it proves what anyone who’s ever been addicted to nicotine (or petroleum) knows all too well: some choices are much harder than others.

Global Civilization on the brink (The Dominant Animal, Paul R. Ehrich and Anne He. Ehrich)

–prioritizing environmental issues… what’s happening on Wall Street, “that’s trivial crap…”

The Dominant Animal by Paul R. Ehrlich and Anne H. Ehrlich from Island Press on Vimeo.

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