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Monday, August 28, 2006
Does this mean the left will love her now?Margaret Somerville, the McGill ethicist who was booed at Ryerson over her professional opinion regarding gay marriage/child rearing, has pronounced that the closure of safe injection sites would be unethical.
"In my view it would not be acceptable simply to say 'we don't agree with drug abuse,' " Somerville said Monday.
"It can't be simply, 'We have a political platform and our platform is nobody is going to be helped in any way in terms of drug addiction behaviour or illness.' That would be wrong in my view."
The site, called Insite, has an annual operating cost of $2 million that is paid for by the provincial government.
It will close Sept. 12 unless the Conservative government renews an exemption under Canada's drug laws that allows it to operate legally.
I neither agree nor disagree with the concept of a safe injection site. I have no shame in admitting to being a NIMBY where such things are concerned, but I also believe that if junkies want to off themselves, they should be given every opportunity to do so, with as little risk to you and I as possible.
My interest in blogging this story is my curiosity about the way the left will react. Will they suddenly decide they love Somerville because she is standing up for one of their pet causes? Or do druggies rank lower than homosexuals on the caring activist scale?
It will be interesting to see how this plays out over the next two weeks.
Posted by RightGirl on August 28, 2006 in Canadian Politics | Permalink
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Well, my money lies with her continued banishment from Wackeyworld. The dolts will not tolerate anything other than total indoctrination and anyone that tries to walk the line is ostracized.
What is more interesting is the entire concept of the government supplying and financing an area where criminals can congregate to commit criminal acts. The “illness” and “addiction” factors aside, this money is spent to “assist” these people? I’m willing to shoulder and accept the cost of rehab but will never agree with the idea that illegal acts should be sanctioned and financed by the state. We truly have lost our way.
Posted by: Harry | 2006-08-28 8:59:34 PM
It's true, it's a nonsense. We should rather ask Vancouver about how to deal with drug addicts...
Posted by: Marc | 2006-08-28 9:53:15 PM
Since the left knows only what they hate and since they themselves are still blameless and in a state of perfection according to their own delusions and deceptions, she will never be forgiven.
It's just not in their programming.
Posted by: Set you free | 2006-08-28 10:11:45 PM
how about this scenario:
Legalize the use of drugs, ANY drug. Put a tax on it to offset any costs that may rise through it and apply the same ruls to Drug use as you would to Alcohol (e.g. drunk driving).
This way you would remove the stigma of people doing something illegal, you would remove the interest of gangs to be in the business and you can probably get farmers to grow the raw ingridents which will give them money.
Or do you really think people will ever stop doing drugs just because it's legal now?
Posted by: Snowrunner | 2006-08-28 10:31:36 PM
I'm on Snowrunner's side with this one.
Posted by: Speller | 2006-08-28 10:51:59 PM
They will stop doing drugs eventually if you pick them up and force them to dry out every time they are found doing drugs. Perhaps some of them will off themselves even sooner rather than be forced to continually dry out.
Or perhaps the ones who are not too far gone will stay dry and get a life.
Appeasment is appeasement and it's get's you nowhere.
Plus when people are on some of the drugs that they do, they become psychotic and very dangerous. Some drunks can be dangerous too, but it less likely. They are all a danger when they get loaded and drive.
So far, as a society, we are going down the road of surrender to drugs, alcohol, petty crime, gangs, graffiti, street racing, hit and run etc.
We seem to feel that we can only attempt appeasement and occasional wrist slapping more for show than anything else. Certainly not control.
I don't suggest we start using muslim methods of dealing with the deviants, but when deviancy becomes the norm we no long have civil society, we have anarchy.
I am not with Snow bunny on this one. I think we should get tough or get ready to be armed and live in bunkers in the future.
There is not question that the quality of person in Canada is declining as is the quality of life. High standard of living is not quality of life.
We have been in rapid decline since Trudeau.
It is very sad.
Posted by: Duke | 2006-08-28 11:15:59 PM
I would add this ... by the time a user finally has had enough and will dry out, they are so far gone mentally and physically that all they can become is a welfare zombie that spends a lot of time in medical system. They cannot work or pay taxes or do much of use other than help out in soup kitchens once in a while.
What is a life worth living?
Posted by: Duke | 2006-08-28 11:18:07 PM
So can any drug warriors link to genuine information backing up Duke's above assertions?
Surely there is some evidence that such conditions as Duke supposes existed prior to the enactment of drug prohibition, right?
Posted by: Speller | 2006-08-28 11:27:46 PM
> Appeasment is appeasement and it's get's you
You call it Appeasment, I call it a business opportunity.
> So far, as a society, we are going down the road
> of surrender to drugs, alcohol, petty crime,
> gangs, graffiti, street racing, hit and run etc.
Wow, we also lost the war on sex.... Maybe we should get people who are on Welfare to follow singles around and make sure they don't have any intercourse that isn't strictly for procreation? I mean it is a SIN after all and will bring the world to an end, right after we run out of drugs and booze.
Oh, and as for mucking with my Nick, nice to see that you have to "neaten" my name in order to feel superior, well Duke, where is it lacking? Come on, you can tell us. Be a big boy and stand to your faults.
Posted by: Snowrunner | 2006-08-28 11:50:05 PM
I almost hate to say it, but from a public-health perspective, the safe-injection sites are a good idea. Forcing hard-core addicts to share needles -- and AIDS, and hepatitis -- in a garbage-and-feces strewn alley just to assuage those who are unaware of the extent and the intractability of the problem, is just a bad idea.
BTW, I think Stephen Harper could help seriously sway undecideds, especially in Vancouver and other urban centres, and turn them on to his fundamental decency and integrity and practicality, by coming out in support of the injections sites and needle exchanges. What are those opposed going to do -- switch to the NDP?
Posted by: EBD | 2006-08-29 12:02:54 AM
John Stuart Mill said: "Neither one person, nor any number of persons, is warranted in saying to another human creature of ripe years that he shall not do with his life for his own benefit what he chooses to do with it. All errors he is likely to commit against advice and warning are far outweighed by the evil of allowing others to constrain him to do what they deem his good."
I agree, therefore I agree that people should be able to do whatever drugs they want, with the following proviso:
Thomas Jefferson said, "Of liberty I would say that, in the whole plenitude of its extent, it is unobstructed action according to our will. But rightful liberty is unobstructed action according to our will within limits drawn around us by the equal rights of others. I do not add 'within the limits of the law,' because law is often but the tyrant's will, and always so when it violates the right of an individual."
I agree, therefore I disagree that people who do too much drugs should be able to pawn off their problems on the taxpayer. Let them die in the gutters I say! Yes I'm kidding, but ask yourselves, why is it that we no longer have any asylums, or poor-houses? It's because of the professional ambulance chasers, I say!
The ultimate solution to the problem, though I have no prescription on how to get there, is to convince everone who enjoys various kinds of drugs, from coffee & tea to LSD, to TAKE SMALL QUANTITIES. Past some small quantity, MORE IS NOT BETTER. Every adult knows that, only some are irresponsible about it.
And part two of the problem is to GET A JOB AND PAY YOUR OWN DAMN BILLS.
As Julia Child said, "I, for one, would much rather swoon over a few thin slices of prime beefsteak, or one small serving of chocolate mousse, or a sliver of foie gras than indulge to the full on such nonentities as fat-free gelatin puddings. If you're afraid of butter, as many people are nowadays," she said in one of her last television shows, "just put in cream!" she proclaimed, with a twinkle in her eye. “Because of media hype and woefully inadequate information, too many people nowadays are deathly afraid of their food, and what does fear of food do to the digestive system? 'Red meat and gin'" was her rallying cry when the food world's puritans dared to promise long life through nervous nutrition, and [she] scorned grilled vegetables as "burnt and undercooked at the same time. The pleasures of the table — that lovely old-fashioned phrase — depict food as an art form, as a delightful part of civilized life. In spite of food fads, fitness programs, and health concerns, we must never lose sight of a beautifully conceived meal. Life is to be joyous, and joy comes from sensory pleasures shared with others."
Drugs are like that too, in my opinion, sorry Julia for borrowing you shtick. A cup of coffee, a cigar, a glass of port, a joint, &c, all are better spent shared with others. Too many people, I think, use things like that to make excuses for themselves, instead of to do better by themselves. Although there is a degree to which, it can be argued, they need a hand up, there is also a degree to which it can be argued that what they need is a good smack upside the head.
Posted by: Vitruvius | 2006-08-29 12:41:47 AM
Well said Vitruvius. May I recommend that you click the link I have provided above? It is very good reading.
"this country is hooked on the notion of prohibition."
The Sociology of Prohibition
The History of the Non-Medical Use of Drugs in the United States
by Charles Whitebread
A Speech to the California Judges Association 1995 annual conference
Posted by: Speller | 2006-08-29 12:58:25 AM
NOTE: M.S. was correct marriage the word is for a man and a woman exclusive union. Marriage needs to be explain to the Canadian public./-Marriage is for uniting the two human genders which is the complete human genders set. Secondly for natural procreation and a mom and a dad for and with kids. Also compliaments a man and a woman commited bond. History,tradition,Spirituality and naturalism all confirm marriage is a exclusive male and female union.
Posted by: Larry | 2006-08-29 5:29:20 AM
The socialist horde and all the left wing in Canada extol Cuba as some sort of worker's paradise. One will not find any addicts in Cuba
-Castro deals very harshly with criminals to begin with and will not tolerate drug use under any circumstance. Several years ago he shot several of his General Officers who had served in Angola and considred "heros" because they were
engaged in the drug trade with Columbians.
Posted by: Jack MacLeod | 2006-08-29 5:45:22 AM
That's a very good point Jack. The socialists, when they're not in power, are very shrill in their support of issues that might be argued to be harmful to the existing society and economy. All part of their destructive revolution I guess. But watch out if they ever take power. Drug addicts will then find out what the 'collective' really thinks of them.
I have similar thoughts when I see Jack Layton out on the street petting homeless people on the head. If socialists ever seize power those homeless people will likely find themselves in rehab camps up north in the great outdoors - healthy physical labour and a wholesome simple diet - socialist governments have always found a gulag system cuts right to the chase when it comes to a lot of social problems.
Posted by: anon | 2006-08-29 7:28:51 AM
Thank you Snowrunner!!
It's so simple!! Put a tax on drugs! Then, addicts will cheerfully line up to legally pay the (higher) price! Drugs will thereafter NEVER be smuggled in to Canada illegally! Everything will be legal and 'above-board'!
I can't believe we never thought of this before!! Bravo Snowrunner - you are a true Canadian braintrust!!
Posted by: Mary | 2006-08-29 8:15:25 AM
We made a lot of business trips to Cuba over the past decade hoping to link Canadian aircraft maintenance operations to provide service for Air Cubana. Got to know a lot of Cubans, of my age. They are great hosts but have been totally repressed. I noticed one day near the Eastern beaches area that Castro was on the main street
in a "Jeep" with his bodyguards. Said to my lady, the bodyguards are not Cuban - they were in fact East German. Russian Military pilots we met there, gave us a good overview of what they thought of Castro. Castro in fact ruined the vibrant Cuban economy, and it has never recovered
-have observed the NDP for years who continue to be totally out of touch with reality. Rae almost put Ontario out of business (I lived in Toronto at the time) it was a disaster. Mike Harris is very unpopular in our left wing media, but he turned Ontario around - was there at the time. Ontario got lucky. MacLeod
Posted by: Jack MacLeod | 2006-08-29 8:31:34 AM
I'm foursquare behind Duke on this one.
He explained it succinctly, much better than I could have done.
Posted by: Ralph Rattfuc | 2006-08-29 8:33:24 AM
"this country is hooked on the notion of prohibition."
The Sociology of Prohibition
The History of the Non-Medical Use of Drugs in the United States
by Charles Whitebread
A Speech to the California Judges Association 1995 annual conference
This session is going to be about the history of the non-medical use of drugs. Let me say that, because this is going to be a story, that I think will interest you quite a bit. The topic is the history of the non-medical use of drugs and I think you ought to know what my credentials are for talking about this topic. As you may know, before I taught at the University of Southern California, I taught at the University of Virginia for fifteen years, from 1968 to 1981. In that time period, the very first major piece that I wrote was a piece entitled, "The Forbidden Fruit and the Tree of Knowledge - The Legal History of marijuana in the United States." I wrote it with Professor Richard Bonnie, still of the faculty of the University of Virginia. It was published in the Virginia Law Review in October of 1970 and I must say that our piece was the Virginia Law Review in October of 1970. The piece was 450 pages long. It got a ton of national attention because no one had ever done the legal history of marijuana before. As a result of that, Professor Bonnie was named the Deputy Director of the National Commission on marijuana and Drug Abuse and I was a consultant to that commission.
As a result of Richard's two year executive directorship of the National Commission in 1971 and 1972 he and I were given access to both the open and the closed files of what was then called the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs, what had historically been called the Federal Bureau of Narcotics and what today is called the Drug Enforcement Agency. Based upon our access to those files, both open and closed, we wrote a book called "The marijuana Conviction- The Legal History of Drugs in the United States" and that book went through six printings at the University of Virginia press before being sold out primarily in sales to my friends at the FBI over the years. It is based upon that work that I bring you this story.
If you are interested in the non-medical use of drugs in this country, the time to go back to is 1900, and in some ways the most important thing I am going to say to you guys I will say first. That is, that in 1900 there were far more people addicted to drugs in this country than there are today. Depending upon whose judgment, or whose assessment, you accept there were between two and five percent of the entire adult population of the United States addicted to drugs in 1900.
Now, there were two principal causes of this dramatic level of drug addiction at the turn of the century. The first cause was the use of morphine and its various derivatives in legitimate medical operations. You know as late as 1900 particularly in areas where medical resources were scarce it was not at all uncommon for you to say, let's say you would have appendicitis, you would go into the hospital, and you would get morphine as a pain killer during the operation, you would be given morphine further after the operation and you would come out of the hospital with no appendix but addicted to morphine.
The use of morphine in battlefield operations during the Civil War was so extensive that, by 1880, so many Union veterans were addicted to morphine that the popular press referred to morphinism as the "soldier's disease". Now I will say, being from Virginia as I am, that the Confederate veterans didn't have any problems about being addicted to morphine because the South was too poor to have any, and therefore battlefield operations on the Confederate Army were simply done by chopping off the relevant limb while they drank a little whiskey. But the Northern troops heavily found themselves, as the result of battlefield operations and the use of morphine, addicted to morphine.
Now, the other fact that I think that is so interesting about drug addiction at the turn of the century, as opposed to today is who the addicts were, because they were the exact opposite of who you would think most likely to be an addict today. If I were to ask you in terms of statistical groups who is most likely to be involved with drugs today, you would say a young person, a male, who lives in the city and who may be a minority group member. That is the exact opposite of who was most likely to be addicted to drugs at the turn of the century.
In terms of statistical groups, who was most likely to be addicted to drugs at the turn of the century? A rural living, middle-aged white woman. The use of morphine in medical operations does not explain the much higher incidence of drug addiction among women. What does is the second cause of the high level of addiction at the turn of the century - the growth and development of what we now call the "patent medicine" industry.
I think some of you, maybe from watching Westerns on TV if nothing else are aware that, again, as late as 1900, in areas, particularly rural areas where medical resources were scarce, it was typical for itinerant salesmen, not themselves doctors, to cruise around the countryside offering potions and elixirs of all sorts advertised in the most flamboyant kinds of terms. "Doctor Smith's Oil, Good for What Ails You," or "Doctor Smith's Oil, Good for Man or Beast."
Well, what the purveyors of these medicines did not tell their purchasers, was that later, when these patent medicines were tested, many of them proved to be up to fifty percent morphine by volume.
Now, what that meant, as I have always thought, was the most significant thing about the high morphine content in patent medicines was it meant they tended to live up to their advertising. Because no matter what is wrong with you, or your beast, you are going to feel a whole lot better after a couple of slugs of an elixir that is fifty percent morphine. So there was this tendency to think "Wow! This stuff works." Down you could go to the general store and get more of it and it could be sold to you directly over the counter. Now, for reasons that we weren't able to full research, but for reasons, I think, probably associated with the role of women rural societies then patent medicines were much more appealing to women than to men and account for the much higher incidence of drug addiction in 1900 among women than among men.
If you want to see a relatively current portrayal of a woman addicted to patent medicine you might think of Eugene O'Neil's play "A Long Day's Journey Into Night." The mother figure there, the one that was played by Katherine Hepburn in the movies was addicted to patent medicines. In any event, the use of morphine in medical operations and the sale of patent medicines accounted for a dramatic level of addiction. Again, between two and five percent of the entire adult population of the United States was addicted to drugs as late as 1900.
Now if my first point is that there was a lot more addiction in 1900 than there is today and that the people who were addicted are quite a different group than the group we would be thinking of today, my next point would be that if you look at drug addiction in 1900, what's the number one way in which it is different than drug addiction today? Answer: Almost all addiction at the turn of the century was accidental.
People became involved with drugs they did not know that they were taking, that they did not know the impact of. The first point, then, is that there was more drug addiction than there is now and most of it was accidental. Then the single law which has done the most in this country to reduce the level of drug addiction is none of the criminal laws we have ever passed. The single law that reduced drug addiction the most was the 1906 Pure Food and Drug Act.
The Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906 did three things:
1). It created the Food and Drug Administration in Washington that must approve all foods and drugs meant for human consumption. The very first impact of that was that the patent medicines were not approved for human consumption once they were tested.
2) The Pure Food and Drug Act said that certain drugs could only be sold on prescription.
3) The Pure Food and Drug Act, (and you know, this is still true today, go look in your medicine chest) requires that any drug that can be potentially habit-forming say so on it's label. "Warning - May be habit forming." The labeling requirements, the prescription requirements, and the refusal to approve the patent medicines basically put the patent medicine business out of business and reduced that dramatic source of accidental addiction. The Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906, not a criminal law, did more to reduce the level of addiction than any other single statute we have passed in all of the times from then to now.
The very first criminal law at the Federal level in this country to criminalize the non-medical use of drugs came in 1914. It was called the Harrison Act and there are only three things about the Harrison Act that we need to focus on today.
Number one is the date. Did you hear the date, 1914? Some of you may have come this morning thinking that we have used the criminal law to deal with the non-medical use of drugs since the beginning of the Republic or something. That is not true. The entire experiment of using the criminal sanction to deal with the non-medical use of drugs really began in this country in 1914 with the Harrison Act.
The second interesting thing about the Harrison Act was the drugs to which it applied, because it applied to almost none of the drugs we would be concerned about today. The Harrison Act applied to opium, morphine and its various derivatives, and the derivatives of the coca leaf like cocaine. No mention anywhere there of amphetamines, barbiturates, marijuana, hashish, hallucinogenic drugs of any kind. The Harrison Act applied only to opium, morphine and its various derivatives and derivatives of the coca leaf like cocaine.
The third and most interesting thing for you all as judges about the Harrison Act was its structure, because the structure of this law was very peculiar and became the model for every single piece of Federal legislation from 1914 right straight through 1969. And what was that model?
It was called the Harrison Tax Act. You know, the drafters of the Harrison Act said very clearly on the floor of Congress what it was they wanted to achieve. They had two goals. They wanted to regulate the medical use of these drugs and they wanted to criminalize the non-medical use of these drugs. They had one problem. Look at the date - 1914. 1914 was probably the high water mark of the constitutional doctrine we today call "states' rights" and, therefore, it was widely thought Congress did not have the power, number one, to regulate a particular profession, and number two, that Congress did not have the power to pass what was, and is still known, as a general criminal law. That's why there were so few Federal Crimes until very recently.
In the face of possible Constitutional opposition to what they wanted to do, the people in Congress who supported the Harrison Act came up with a novel idea. That is, they would masquerade this whole thing as though it were a tax. To show you how it worked, can I use some hypothetical figures to show you how this alleged tax worked?
There were two taxes. The first (and again, these figures aren't accurate but they will do to show the idea) tax was paid by doctors. It was a dollar a year and the doctors, in exchange for paying that one dollar tax, got a stamp from the Government that allowed them to prescribe these drugs for their patients so long as they followed the regulations in the statute. Do you see that by the payment of that one dollar tax, we have the doctors regulated? The doctors have to follow the regulations in the statute. And there was a second tax. (and again, these are hypothetical figures but they will show you how it worked.) was a tax of a thousand dollars of every single non-medical exchange of every one of these drugs. Well, since nobody was going to pay a thousand dollars in tax to exchange something which, in 1914, even in large quantities was worth about five dollars, the second tax wasn't a tax either, it was a criminal prohibition. Now just to be sure you guys understand this, and I am sure you do, but just to make sure, let's say that in 1915 somebody was found, let's say, in possession of an ounce of cocaine out here on the street. What would be the Federal crime? Not possession of cocaine, or possession of a controlled substance. What was the crime? Tax evasion.
And do you see what a wicked web that is going to be? As a quick preview, where then are we going to put the law enforcement arm for the criminalization of drugs for over forty years - in what department? The Treasury Department. Why, we are just out there collecting taxes and I will show you how that works in a minute.
If you understand that taxing scheme then you understand why the national marijuana prohibition of 1937 was called the marijuana Tax Act. But before we get to that next big piece of Federal legislation, the marijuana prohibition of 1937, I would like to take a little detour, if I may, into an analysis of the early state marijuana laws passed in this country from 1915 to 1937.
Let me pause to tell you this. When Professor Bonnie and I set out to try, to track the legal history of marijuana in this country, we were shocked that nobody had ever done that work before. And, secondly, the few people who had even conjectured about it went back to the 1937 Federal Act and said "Well, there's the beginning of it." No. If you go back to 1937, that fails to take account of the fact that, in the period from 1915 to 1937, some 27 states passed criminal laws against the use of marijuana. What Professor Bonnie and I did was, unique to our work, to go back to the legislative records in those states and back to the newspapers in the state capitols at the time these laws were passed to try to find out what motivated these 27 states to enact criminal laws against the use of marijuana. What we found was that the 27 states divided into three groups by explanation.
The first group of states to have marijuana laws in that part of the century were Rocky Mountain and southwestern states. By that, I mean Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Montana. You didn't have to go anywhere but to the legislative records to find out what had motivated those marijuana laws. The only thing you need to know to understand the early marijuana laws in the southwest and Rocky Mountain areas of this country is to know, that in the period just after 1914, into all of those areas was a substantial migration of Mexicans. They had come across the border in search of better economic conditions, they worked heavily as rural laborers, beet field workers, cotton pickers, things of that sort. And with them, they had brought marijuana.
Basically, none of the white people in these states knew anything about marijuana, and I make a distinction between white people and Mexicans to reflect a distinction that any legislator in one of these states at the time would have made. And all you had to do to find out what motivated the marijuana laws in the Rocky mountain and southwestern states was to go to the legislative records themselves. Probably the best single statement was the statement of a proponent of Texas first marijuana law. He said on the floor of the Texas Senate, and I quote, "All Mexicans are crazy, and this stuff (referring to marijuana) is what makes them crazy." Or, as the proponent of Montana's first marijuana law said, (and imagine this on the floor of the state legislature) and I quote, "Give one of these Mexican beet field workers a couple of puffs on a marijuana cigarette and he thinks he is in the bullring at Barcelona."
Well, there is was, you didn't have to look another foot as you went from state to state right on the floor of the state legislature. And so what was the genesis for the early state marijuana laws in the Rocky Mountain and southwestern areas of this country? It wasn't hostility to the drug, it was hostility to the newly arrived Mexican community that used it.
A second group of states that had criminal laws against the use of marijuana were in the Northeast, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York - had one and then repealed it and then had one again - New Jersey. Well, clearly no hypothesis about Mexican immigration will explain the genesis of those laws because, as you know, the Northeast has never had, still doesn't really, any substantial Mexican-American population. So we had to dig a little deeper to find the genesis of those laws. We had to go not only to the legislative records but to the newspapers in the state capitols at the time these laws were passed and what we found, in the early marijuana laws in the Northeast, we labeled the "fear of substitution." If I may, let me paraphrase an editorial from the New York Times in 1919 so we will get exactly the flavor of this fear of substitution.
The New York Times in an editorial in 1919 said, "No one here in New York uses this drug marijuana. We have only just heard about it from down in the Southwest," and here comes the substitution. "But," said the New York Times, "we had better prohibit its use before it gets here. Otherwise" - here's the substitution concept - "all the heroin and hard narcotics addicts cut off from their drug by the Harrison Act and all the alcohol drinkers cut off from their drug by 1919 alcohol Prohibition will substitute this new and unknown drug marijuana for the drugs they used to use."
Well, from state to state, on the theory that this newly encountered drug marijuana would be substituted by the hard narcotics addicts or by the alcohol drinkers for their previous drug that had been prohibited, state to state this fear of substitution carried, and that accounted for 26 of the 27 states - that is, either the anti-Mexican sentiment in the Southwest and Rocky Mountain areas or fear of substitution in the Northeast. That accounted for 26 of the 27 states, and there was only one state left over. It was the most important state for us because it was the first state ever to enact a criminal law against the use of marijuana and it was the state of Utah.
Now, if you have been hearing this story and you have been playing along with me, you think "Oh, wait a minute, Whitebread, Utah fits exactly with Colorado, Montana, - it must have been the Mexicans."
Well, that's what I thought at first. But we went and did a careful study of the actual immigration pattern and found, to our surprise, that Utah didn't have then, and doesn't have now, a really substantial Mexican-American population. So it had to be something else.
Come on folks, if it had to be something else, what do you think it might have been? Are you thinking what I was thinking - that it must have had something to do with the single thing which makes Utah unique in American history - its association with the Mormon church.
With help from some people in Salt Lake City, associated with the Mormon Church and the Mormon National Tabernacle in Washington - with their help and a lot of work we found out what the genesis was of the first marijuana law in this country. Yes, it was directly connected to the history of Utah and Mormonism and it went like this.
I think that a lot of you know that, in its earliest days, the Mormon church permitted its male members to have more than one wife - polygamy. Do you all know that in 1876, in a case called Reynolds against the United States, the United States Supreme Court said that Mormons were free to believe what they wanted, but they were not free to practice polygamy in this country. Well, who do you think enforced that ruling of the Supreme Court in 1876? At the end of the line, who enforces all rulings of the Supreme Court? Answer: the state and local police. And who were they in Utah then? All Mormons, and so nothing happened for many years. Those who wanted to live polygamously continued to do so.
In 1910, the Mormon Church in synod in Salt Lake City decreed polygamy to be a religious mistake and it was banned as a matter of the Mormon religion. Once that happened, there was a crackdown on people who wanted to live in what they called "the traditional way." So, just after 1910, a fairly large number of Mormons left the state of Utah, and indeed left the United States altogether and moved into northwest Mexico. They wrote a lot about what they wanted to accomplish in Mexico. They wanted to set up communities where they were basically going to convert the Indians, the Mexicans, and what they referred to as "the heathen" in the neighborhood to Mormonism. By 1914, they had had very little luck with the heathen, but our research shows now beyond question that the heathen had a little luck with them. What happened apparently - now some of you who may be members of the church, you know that there are still substantial Mormon communities in northwest Mexico - was that, by and large most of the Mormons were not happy there, the religion had not done well there, they didn't feel comfortable there, they wanted to go back to Utah where there friends were and after 1914 did.
And with them, the Indians had given them marijuana. Now once you get somebody back in Utah with the marijuana it all becomes very easy, doesn't it? You know that the Mormon Church has always been opposed to the use of euphoriants of any kind. So, somebody saw them with the marijuana, and in August of 1915 the Church, meeting again in synod in Salt Lake City decreed the use of marijuana contrary to the Mormon religion and then - and this is how things were in Utah in those days - in October of 1915, the state legislature met and enacted every religious prohibition as a criminal law and we had the first criminal law in this country's history against the use of marijuana.
That digression into the early state marijuana laws aside, we will now get back on the Federal track, the year is 1937 and we get the national marijuana prohibition - the marijuana Tax Act.
Now, first again, does everybody see the date, 1937? You may have thought that we have had a national marijuana prohibition for a very long time. Frankly, we haven't.
The marijuana prohibition is part and parcel of that era which is now being rejected rather generally - the New Deal era in Washington in the late 30s.
Number two, you know, don't you, that whenever Congress is going to pass a law, they hold hearings. And you have seen these hearings. The hearings can be extremely voluminous, they go on and on, they have days and days of hearings. Well, may I say, that the hearings on the national marijuana prohibition were very brief indeed. The hearings on the national marijuana prohibition lasted one hour, on each of two mornings and since the hearings were so brief I can tell you almost exactly what was said to support the national marijuana prohibition.
Now, in doing this one at the FBI Academy, I didn't tell them this story, but I am going to tell you this story. You want to know how brief the hearings were on the national marijuana prohibition?
When we asked at the Library of Congress for a copy of the hearings, to the shock of the Library of Congress, none could be found. We went "What?" It took them four months to finally honor our request because - are you ready for this? - the hearings were so brief that the volume had slid down inside the side shelf of the bookcase and was so thin it had slid right down to the bottom inside the bookshelf. That's how brief they were.
Are you ready for this? They had to break the bookshelf open because it had slid down inside. There were three bodies of testimony at the hearings on the national marijuana prohibition.
The first testimony came from Commissioner Harry Anslinger, the newly named Commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics. Now, I think some of you know that in the late 20s and early 30s in this country there were two Federal police agencies created, the FBI and the FBN - the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the Federal Bureau of Narcotics.
In our book, I talk at great length about how different the history of these two organizations really are.
But, the two organizations, the FBI and the FBN had some surface similarities and one of them was that a single individual headed each of them for a very long time. In the case of the FBI, it was J. Edgar Hoover, and in the case of the FBN it was Harry Anslinger, who was the Commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics from 1930 until 1962.
Commissioner Anslinger gave the Government testimony and I will quote him directly. By the way, he was not working from a text that he had written. He was working from a text that had been written for him by a District Attorney in New Orleans, a guy named Stanley. Reading directly from Mr. Stanley's work, Commissioner Anslinger told the Congressmen at the hearings, and I quote, "marijuana is an addictive drug which produces in its users insanity, criminality, and death." That was the Government testimony to support the marijuana prohibition from the Commissioner.
The next body of testimony - remember all of this took a total of two hours -- uh .. You understand what the idea was, don't you? The idea was to prohibit the cultivation of hemp in America. You all know, because there has been some initiative here in California that hemp has other uses than its euphoriant use. For one, hemp has always been used to make rope. Number two, the resins of the hemp plant are used as bases for paints and varnishes. And, finally, the seeds of the hemp plant are widely used in bird seed. Since these industries were going to be affected the next body of testimony came from the industrial spokesmen who represented these industries. The first person was the rope guy. The rope guy told a fascinating story - it really is fascinating - the growth of a hemp to make rope was a principle cash crop right where I am from, Northern Virginia and Southern Maryland at the time of the Revolutionary War. But, said the rope guy, by about 1820 it got cheaper to import the hemp we needed to make rope from the Far East and so now in 1937 we don't grow any more hemp to make rope in this country - it isn't needed anymore.
If you heard that story, there are two things about it that I found fascinating. Number one, it explains the long-standing rumor that our forefathers had something to do with marijuana. Yes, they did - they grew it. Hemp was the principal crop at Mount Vernon. It was a secondary crop at Monticello. Now, of course, in our research we did not find any evidence that any of our forefathers had used the hemp plant for euphoriant purposes, but they did grow it.
The second part of that story that, to me is even more interesting is - did you see the date again - 1937? What did the rope guy say? We can get all the hemp we need to make rope from the Far East, we don't grow it hear anymore because we don't need to.
Five years later, 1942, we are cut off from our sources of hemp in the Far East. We need a lot of hemp to outfit our ships for World War II, rope for the ships, and therefore, the Federal Government, as some of you know, went into the business of growing hemp on gigantic farms throughout the Midwest and the South to make rope to outfit the ships for World War II.
So, even to this day, if you are from the Midwest you will always meet the people who say, "Gosh, hemp grows all along the railroad tracks." Well, it does. Why? Because these huge farms existed all during World War II.
But, the rope people didn't care. The paint and varnish people said "We can use something else." And, of the industrial spokesmen, only the birdseed people balked. The birdseed people were the ones who balked and the birdseed person was asked, "Couldn't you use some other seed?"
These are all, by the way, direct quotes from the hearings. The answer the birdseed guy gave was, "No, Congressman, we couldn't. We have never found another seed that makes a birds coat so lustrous or makes them sing so much."
So, on the ground that the birdseed people needed it - did you know that the birdseed people both got and kept an exemption from the marijuana Tax Act right through this very day for so-called "denatured seeds"?
In any event, there was Anslinger's testimony, there was the industrial testimony - there was only one body of testimony left at these brief hearings and it was medical. There were two pieces of medical evidence introduced with regard to the marijuana prohibition.
The first came from a pharmacologist at Temple University who claimed that he had injected the active ingredient in marijuana into the brains of 300 dogs, and two of those dogs had died. When asked by the Congressmen, and I quote, "Doctor, did you choose dogs for the similarity of their reactions to that of humans?" The answer of the pharmacologist was, "I wouldn't know, I am not a dog psychologist."
Well, the active ingredient in marijuana was first synthesized in a laboratory in Holland after World War II. So what it was this pharmacologist injected into these dogs we will never know, but it almost certainly was not the active ingredient in marijuana.
The other piece of medical testimony came from a man named Dr. William C. Woodward. Dr. Woodward was both a lawyer and a doctor and he was Chief Counsel to the American Medical Association. Dr. Woodward came to testify at the behest of the American Medical Association saying, and I quote, "The American Medical Association knows of no evidence that marijuana is a dangerous drug."
What's amazing is not whether that's true or not. What's amazing is what the Congressmen then said to him. Immediately upon his saying, and I quote again, "The American Medical Association knows of no evidence that marijuana is a dangerous drug.," one of the Congressmen said, "Doctor, if you can't say something good about what we are trying to do, why don't you go home?"
That's an exact quote. The next Congressman said, "Doctor, if you haven't got something better to say than that, we are sick of hearing you." Now, the interesting question for us is not about the medical evidence. The most fascinating question is: why was this legal counsel to the most prestigious group of doctors in the United States treated in such a high-handed way? And the answer makes a principle thesis of my work - and that is - you've seen it, you've been living it the last ten years. The history of drugs in this country perfectly mirrors the history of this country.
So look at the date - 1937 - what's going on in this country? Well, a lot of things, but the number one thing was that, in 1936, President Franklin Roosevelt was reelected in the largest landslide election in this country's history till then. He brought with him two Democrats for every Republican, all, or almost all of them pledged to that package of economic and social reform legislation we today call the New Deal.
And, did you know that the American Medical Association, from 1932, straight through 1937, had systematically opposed every single piece of New Deal legislation. So that, by 1937, this committee, heavily made up of New Deal Democrats is simply sick of hearing them: "Doctor, if you can't say something good about what we are trying to do, why don't you go home?"
So, over the objection of the American Medical Association, the bill passed out of committee and on to the floor of Congress. Now, some of you may think that the debate on the floor of Congress was more extensive on the marijuana prohibition. It wasn't. It lasted one minute and thirty-two seconds by my count and, as such, I will give it to you verbatim.
The entire debate on the national marijuana prohibition was as follows - and, by the way, if you had grown up in Washington, DC as I had you would appreciate this date. Are you ready? The bill was brought on to the floor of the House of Representatives - there never was any Senate debate on it not one word - 5:45 Friday afternoon, August 20. Now, in pre-air-conditioning Washington, who was on the floor of the House? Who was on the floor of the House? Not very many people.
Speaker Sam Rayburn called for the bill to be passed on "tellers." Does everyone know "tellers"? Did you know that for the vast bulk of legislation in this country, there is not a recorded vote. It is simply, more people walk past this point than walk past that point and it passes - it's called "tellers." They were getting ready to pass this thing on tellers without discussion and without a recorded vote when one of the few Republicans left in Congress, a guy from upstate New York, stood up and asked two questions, which constituted the entire debate on the national marijuana prohibition. "Mr. Speaker, what is this bill about?"
To which Speaker Rayburn replied, "I don't know. It has something to do with a thing called marijuana. I think it's a narcotic of some kind."
Undaunted, the guy from Upstate New York asked a second question, which was as important to the Republicans as it was unimportant to the Democrats. "Mr. Speaker, does the American Medical Association support this bill?" In one of the most remarkable things I have ever found in any research, a guy who was on the committee, and who later went on to become a Supreme Court Justice, stood up and - do you remember? The AMA guy was named William C. Woodward - a member of the committee who had supported the bill leaped to his feet and he said, "Their Doctor Wentworth came down here. They support this bill 100 percent." It wasn't true, but it was good enough for the Republicans. They sat down and the bill passed on tellers, without a recorded vote.
In the Senate there never was any debate or a recorded vote, and the bill went to President Roosevelt's desk and he signed it and we had the national marijuana prohibition.
Now, the next step in our story is the period from 1938 to 1951. I have three stories to tell you about 1938 to 1951.
The first of them. Immediately after the passage of the national marijuana prohibition, Commissioner Anslinger decided to hold a conference of all the people who knew something about marijuana - a big national conference. He invited forty-two people to this conference. As part our research for the book, we found the exact transcript of this conference. Ready?
The first morning of the conference of the forty-two people that Commissioner Anslinger invited to talk about marijuana, 39 of them got up and said some version of "Gee, Commissioner Anslinger, I don't know why you asked me to this conference, I don't know anything about marijuana." That left three people. Dr. Woodward and his assistant - you know what they thought.
That left one person - the pharmacologist from Temple University - the guy with the dogs.
And what do you think happened as a result of that conference? Commissioner Anslinger named the pharmacologist from Temple University the Official Expert of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics about marijuana, a position the guy held until 1962. Now, the irony of trying to find out what the drug did after it had been prohibited - finding out that only one person agrees with you - and naming him the Official Expert, speaks for itself.
The next story from this time period was a particular favorite of the police groups to whom I spoke at the FBI Academy, because it is a law enforcement story.
After national marijuana prohibition was passed, Commissioner Anslinger found out, or got reports, that certain people were violating the national marijuana prohibition and using marijuana and, unfortunately for them, they fell into an identifiable occupational group. Who were flouting the marijuana prohibition? Jazz musicians. And so, in 1947, Commissioner Anslinger sent out a letter, I quote it verbatim, "Dear Agent So-and-so, Please prepare all cases in your jurisdiction involving musicians in violation of the marijuana laws. We will have a great national round-up arrest of all such persons on a single day. I will let you know what day."
That letter went out on, I think, October 24, 1947. The responses by the resident agents were all in the file. My favorite - at the bottom line, there wasn't a single resident agent who didn't have reservations about this idea - came from the Hollywood agent. This is the exact letter of the FBN agent in charge in Hollywood.
"Dear Commissioner Anslinger, I have your letter of October 24. Please be advised that the musical community here in Hollywood are unionized and very tight we have been unable to get an informant inside it. So, at the present time, we have no cases involving musicians in violation of the marijuana laws."
For the next year and a half, Commissioner Anslinger got those kinds of letters. He never acknowledged any of the problems that the agents said they were having with this idea and always wrote them back the same letter.
"Dear Agent so-and-so, Glad to hear you are working hard to give effect to my directive of October 24, 1947. We will (and he always underlined the word 'will') have a great national round-up arrest of musicians in violation of the marijuana laws all on a single day. Don't worry, I will let you know what day."
This went on - and, of course, you know that some jazz musicians were, in fact, arrested in the late 40's - this all went on until it ended just the way it began - with something that Anslinger said. I don't see anybody in here really old enough to appreciate this point, but Commissioner Anslinger was testifying before a Senate Committee in 1948. He was saying, "I need more agents." And, of course, the Senators asked him why.
"Because there are people out there violating the marijuana laws." Well, you know what the Senators asked - "Who?"
And in a moment that every Government employee should avoid like the plague, Anslinger first said, "Musicians." But then he looked up at that Senate committee and he gave them a little piece of his heart and said the single line which provoked the most response in this country's history about the non-medical use of drugs. Anslinger said, "And I don't mean good musicians, I mean jazz musicians."
Friends, there is no way to tell you what a torrent ensued. Within 24 hours, 76 newspaper editorials slammed him, including special editions the then booming trade press of the jazz music industry. With three days, the Department of the Treasury had received fifteen thousand letters. bunches of them were still in bags when I got there - never been opened at all. I opened a few. Here was a typical one, and it was darling.
"Dear Commissioner Anslinger,
I applaud your efforts to rid America of the scourge of narcotics addiction. If you are as ill-informed about that as you are about music, however, you will never succeed."
One of the things that we had access to that really was fun was the Commissioner's own appointment book for all of his years. And, five days after he says "I don't mean good musicians, I mean jazz musicians," there is a notation: 10 AM - appointment with the Secretary of the Treasury." Well, I don't know what happened at that appointment, but from that appointment on, no mention is ever made again of the great national round-up arrest of musicians in violation of the marijuana laws all on a single day, much to the delight of the agents who never had any heart for it in the first place.
The final story from this period is my favorite story from this period, by far, and, again, there is simply nobody here who is really old enough to appreciate this story. You know, if you talk to your parents - that's the generation we really need to talk to - people who were adults during the late 30's and 40's. And you talk to them about marijuana in particular you would be amazed at the amazing reputation that marijuana has among the generation ahead of you as to what it does to its users.
In the late 30's and early 40's marijuana was routinely referred to as "the killer drug," "the assassin of youth." You all know "reefer madness," right? Where did these extraordinary stories that circulated in this country about what marijuana would do to its users come from?
The conventional wisdom is that Anslinger put them over on Americans in his effort to compete with Hoover for empire-building, etc. I have to say, in some fairness, that one of the things that our research did, in some sense, was to rehabilitate Commissioner Anslinger. Yes, there was some of that but, basically, it wasn't just that Anslinger was trying to dupe people.
The terrific reputation that marijuana got in the late '30s and early '40s stemmed from something Anslinger had said. Does everybody remember what Anslinger said about the drug? "Marijuana is an addictive drug which produces in its users insanity, criminality, and death."
Well, this time the magic word - come along lawyers out there, where's the magic word? - Insanity. Marijuana use, said the government, would produce insanity.
And, sure enough, in the late '30s and early '40s, in five really flamboyant murder trials, the defendant's sole defense was that he - or, in the most famous of them, she - was not guilty by reason of insanity for having used marijuana prior to the commission of the crime.
All right, it's time to take you guys back to class here. If you are going to put on an insanity defense, what do you need? You need two things, don't you? Number one, you need an Expert Witness.
Where, oh where, in this story, are we going to find an expert witness? Here it comes - sure enough - the guy from Temple University - the guy with the dogs. I promise you, you are not going to believe this.
In the most famous of these trials, what happened was two women jumped on a Newark, New Jersey bus and shot and killed and robbed the bus driver. They put on the marijuana insanity defense. The defense called the pharmacologist, and of course, you know how to do this now, you put the expert on, you say "Doctor, did you do all of this experimentation and so on?" You qualify your expert. "Did you write all about it?" "Yes, and I did the dogs" and now he is an expert. Now you ask him what? You ask the doctor "What have you done with the drug?" And he said, and I quote, "I've experimented with the dogs, I have written something about it and" - are you ready - "I have used the drug myself."
What do you ask him next? "Doctor, when you used the drug, what happened?" With all the press present at this flamboyant murder trial in Newark New Jersey, in 1938, the pharmacologist said, and I quote, in response to the question "When you used the drug, what happened?," his exact response was: "After two puffs on a marijuana cigarette, I was turned into a bat."
He wasn't done yet. He testified that he flew around the room for fifteen minutes and then found himself at the bottom of a two-hundred-foot high ink well Well, friends, that sells a lot of papers. What do you think the Newark Star Ledger headlines the next day, October 12, 1938? "Killer Drug Turns Doctor to Bat!"
What else do we need to put on an insanity defense? We need the defendant's testimony - himself or herself. OK, you put defendant on the stand, what do you ask? "What happened on the night of . ."
"Oh, I used marijuana."
"And then what happened?"
And, if the defendant wants to get off, what is he or she going to say? "It made me crazy."
You know what the women testified? In Newark they testified, and I quote, "After two puffs on a marijuana cigarette my incisor teeth grew six inches long and dripped with blood."
This was the craziest business you ever saw. Every one of these so-called marijuana insanity defenses were successful.
The one in New York was just outlandish. Two police officers were shot and killed in cold blood. The defendant puts on the marijuana insanity defense and, in that case, there was never even any testimony that the defendant had even used marijuana. The testimony in the New York case was that, from the time the bag of marijuana came into his room it gave off "homicidal vibrations," so he started killing dogs, cats, and ultimately two police officers.
Commissioner Anslinger, sitting in Washington, seeing these marijuana insanity defenses, one after another successful, he writes to the pharmacologist from Temple University and says, "If you don't stop testifying for the defense in these matters, we are going to revoke your status as the Official Expert of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics." He didn't want to lose his status, so he stopped testifying, nobody else would testify that marijuana had turned them into a bat, and so these insanity defenses were over but not before marijuana had gotten quite a reputation, indeed.
The next step - and now we are going to move very quickly here - in 1951. We get a whole new drug law called the Boggs Act and it is important to us for only two reasons.
Number one, it reflects what I am going to call the formula for drug legislation in this country. Here is the formula. The formula really is always the same, think about it in our lifetime.
The formula is that someone, and by the way, that someone is usually the media, perceive an increase in drug use. What's the answer? The answer in the history of this country is always the same - a new criminal law with harsher penalties in every single offense category.
Where did the perception come from this time? Well, if you have ever seen movies from this time period like High School Confidential, the perception was that kids in high school were starting to use drugs. What's the answer? The answer is always the same. The Boggs Act of 1951 quadrupled the penalties in every single offense category and, by the way, the Boggs Act had a whole new rationale for the marijuana prohibition.
Do you remember the old rationale - that marijuana was an addictive drug which caused in its users insanity, criminality, and death? Just before Anslinger was to testify on the Boggs Act, the doctor who ran for the Government the Lexington, Kentucky narcotics rehabilitation clinic testified ahead of Anslinger and testified that the medical community knew that marijuana wasn't an addictive drug,. It doesn't produce death, or insanity, and instead of producing criminality, it probably produces passivity, said the doctor.
Who was the next witness? Anslinger. And, if you see, that the rug had been pulled out from under everything he had said in the 1937 hearings to support the marijuana prohibition. In what I call a really slick Federal shuffle - Anslinger, you know, had been bitten bad enough by what he said, he didn't want that again - he said, the doctor is right, marijuana - he always believed, by the way, that there was something in marijuana which produced criminality - is not an addictive drug, it doesn't produce insanity or death but it is "the certain first step on the road to heroin addiction." And the notion that marijuana was the stepping stone to heroin became, in 1951, the sole rationale for the national marijuana prohibition. It was the first time that marijuana was lumped with all the other drugs and not treated separately, and we multiply the penalties in every offense category.
By the way, I told you that the history of drug legislation reflects the history of the country. 1951, what's going on? The Korean War, the Cold War. It didn't take the press a minute to see this perceived use in drug use among high school kids our "foreign enemies," using drugs to subvert the American young. In our book, we have ten or fifteen great political cartoons. My favorite is a guy with a big Fu Man Chu (mustache) labeled "Oriental Communism." He has a big needle marked "Dope" and he has the American kids lying down - "Free World" it is marked. There it was - that our foreign enemies were going to use drugs to subvert the American young. What did we do? We passed a new law that increased the penalties in every offense category by a factor of four.
Well, now once you buy it, the ball is going to roll like crazy.
1956, we get another new drug law, called the Daniel Act, named for Senator Price Daniel of Texas. It is important to us for only two reasons. One, it perfectly reflects the formula again. What is the formula? Somebody perceives and increase in drug use in this country and the answer is always a new criminal law with harsher penalties in every offense category.
Where did the perception in 1956 come from that there was an increase in drug use? Answer: Anybody remember 1956? In 1956, we had the first set ever of televised Senate hearings. And whose hearings were they? They were the hearings of Senator Estes Kefauver of Tennessee about organized crime in America.
These hearings, which everybody watched on their little sets showed two things that we all know today, but it sure made their socks roll up and down then. Number one, there is organized crime in America and number two, it makes all its money selling drugs. There it was, that was all the perception we needed. We passed the Daniel Act which increased the penalties in every offense category, that had just been increased times four - times eight. With the passage of each of these acts, the states passed little Boggs acts, and little Daniel acts, so that in the period 1958 to 1969, in the Commonwealth of Virginia, and Virginia was typical, the most heavily penalized crime in the Commonwealth was possession of marijuana, or any other drug.
It led to a mandatory minimum sentence of twenty years, no part of which you were eligible for parole or probation, and as to no part of it were you eligible for a suspended sentence.
Just to show you where it was, in the same time period first degree murder in Virginia had a mandatory minimum sentence of fifteen years. Rape, a mandatory minimum sentence of ten years. Possession of marijuana - not to mention sales of marijuana with its mandatory minimum of forty years - mandatory minimum of twenty years.
That is the situation in 1969 when we have a new drug law, the first one in this country's history that does not follow the formula. It is the 1969 Dangerous Substances Act. For he first time in this country's history, we have a perception of an increase in drug use during the Sixties, but instead of raising the penalties, we lower them. And, further, in the Dangerous Substances Act of 1969, for the first time we finally abandon the so-called "taxing" mythology.
In the 1969 Act, what the Federal law does is, it takes all the drugs we know - if you can't fill in this next blank, you are in trouble - except two - which two? Which two are never going to be mentioned? Nicotine and alcohol. But, other than nicotine and alcohol - every other drug.
By the way, I tried this with the FBI for twenty years and they wouldn't listen, and you won't listen either but, I am going to try. If you are going to go out and talk about drugs and whatever you are going to do with drugs, will you please discard the entirely antiquated and erroneous word "narcotics." Narcotics are drugs that put people to sleep. Almost all of the drugs that we are interested in today don't do that.
So, in 1969, the Dangerous Substances Act gave up the effort to define what are narcotic drugs. What the 1969 act did, and what most state laws still do, is to classify all drugs except nicotine and alcohol by two criteria. What is the drug's medical use? And, what is the drug's potential for abuse?
We put all the drugs, by those two criteria, in schedules, and then we tie the penalties for possession, possession with intent to sell, sale, and sale to a minor to the schedule of the drug in question. Now, again, I am no good at this anymore, I have not kept up with the drug laws, I don't know who is in what schedule, and many states have abandoned the schedule but, to give you a flavor of it: The first schedule, Schedule One Drugs were drugs that had little or no medical use and a high potential for abuse. What's going to go in there? LSD, marijuana, hashish, they are all in Schedule One - little or no medical use and a high potential for abuse.
Then you get some medical use, high potential for abuse - what do you want there? Barbiturates, amphetamines,.
Then we are going to get what? High medical use and high potential for abuse. Morphine, codeine. Codeine is the best one because codeine is in almost every single prescription cough medicine and it is addictive as can be. Then you go on down and get the antibiotics - high medical use, almost no potential for abuse, and there you are.
Once you schedule your drugs, you then tie the penalties for the drugs to the schedule and then, because in 1969 they wanted to reduce the marijuana penalties they had to deal with marijuana separately and did so.
But the 1969 act important for two reasons again: One, we abandoned the taxing mythology and; two, it was the first law in this country's history that, instead of raising the penalties in every offense category, lowered them. Well, then you know what happened. We get the War on Drugs. You know how it all went down. We got perceptions in the 80s that there was an increase in drug use, a great dramatic decision to declare war on drugs and, predominantly, war on drug users.
What I want to say to you is this, and this is where I think some of you are going to be a little surprised. You know as much about that process as I do. You watched it. You saw how we had one law after another, raising the penalties so that as late as 1990, thirty percent of the minority group population of the City of Baltimore who are male and between 20 and 29 are under court supervision for drugs. Thirty percent, that's the number you are looking for.
The War on Drugs, a very interesting war, because why? It was cheap to fight. It was cheap to fight at first - why? You heard me in the "Recent Decisions" talk. What was last year's big moment, and the year before? The change in cheap and easy forfeiture. Criminal forfeiture was used to make this a costless war. That is, easy forfeiture from those who were caught allowed us to pay for the war in that way. I think we are going to have some real questions about whether people want to pay for the war on drugs through their taxes because now the Court has made forfeiture much, much more difficult in their overall concern for property rights.
But here is what I think may surprise some of you. You guys know as much about the War on Drugs as I do. I didn't come hear to talk, or to harangue, or to give you any opinions on that point. I think it speaks for itself. It is a failure and I think it will be judged as a failure. What I wanted to bring you instead was, instead of talking about that that everybody is talking about - and you guys will ultimately resolve it and you guys are the ones who are seeing all the drug cases, day in and day out, and always will, until this changes. But, what I thought I could bring you was the part of the story you hadn't heard - how we got to where we were when the War on Drugs was declared.
And one other thing I want to do with you this morning, and that's this - I want to say one thing. To tell you the real truth, my interest isn't in drugs, or in the criminalization of drugs although I think we should abolish the criminal penalties for drugs, and deal with it as the Europeans do in a medical way, but who cares? That's an opinion.
What interests me though, isn't drugs. What interests me is that larger issue, and the reason that I wrote the piece, and the reason they were my tenure pieces, I am interested in a much larger issue, and that is the idea of Prohibition - the use of criminal law to criminalize conduct that a large number of us seem to want to engage in.
And, for my purposes, - now, Professor Bonnie went on to be associated with NIDA and with all kinds of drug-related organizations and continues to be interested in the drug laws - I am not. My interest is in criminal prohibitions and, for my purposes, as a criminal law scholar, we could have used any prohibition - alcohol prohibition, the prohibition against gambling that exists still in many states. How about the prohibition in England from 1840 to 1880 against the drinking of gin? Not drinking, just gin - got it? We could have used any of these prohibitions. We didn't. We chose the marijuana prohibition because the story had never been told - and it is an amazing story.
We could have used any of these prohibitions. We could have used the alcohol prohibition. The reason we didn't is because so much good stuff has been written about it. And are you aware of this? That every single - you know how fashionable it is to think that scholars can never agree? - Don't you believe that - Every single person who has ever written seriously about the national alcohol prohibition agrees on why it collapsed. Why?
Because it violated that iron law of Prohibitions. What is the iron law of Prohibitions? Prohibitions are always enacted by US, to govern the conduct of THEM. Do you have me? Take the alcohol prohibition. Every single person who has ever written about it agrees on why it collapsed.
Large numbers of people supported the idea of prohibition who were not themselves, opposed to drinking. Do you have me? What? The right answer to that one is Huh? Want to hear it again?
Large numbers of people supported the idea of prohibition who were not themselves, opposed to drinking. Want to see it?
Let me give you an example, 1919. You are a Republican in upstate New York. Whether you drink, or you don't, you are for the alcohol prohibition because it will close the licensed saloons in the City of New York which you view to be the corrupt patronage and power base of the Democratic Party in New York. So almost every Republican in New York was in favor of national alcohol prohibition. And, as soon as it passed, what do you think they said? "Well, what do you know? Success. Let's have a drink." That's what they thought, "let's have a drink." "Let's drink to this." A great success, you see.
Do you understand me? Huge numbers of people in this country were in favor of national alcohol prohibition who were not themselves opposed to drinking. I just want to go back to the prohibition against the drinking of gin. How could a country prohibit just the drinking of gin, not the drinking of anything else for forty years? Answer: The rich people drank whiskey and the poor people drank what? - gin. Do you see it?
Let's try the gambling prohibition. You know when I came to Virginia, this was a very lively issue, the gambling prohibition. By the way, I think it's a lively issue in California. Are you ready for it?
Have you ever seen the rhetoric that goes around the gambling prohibition? You know what it is. Look, we have had a good time. We have been together yesterday, we have been together today, I have known a lot of you guys for ages. How about after the talk, we have a minute or two, let's go on up to your room and we will play a little nickel, dime, quarter poker. Want to play some poker this afternoon? Why not? It's a nice thing to do.
Would we be outraged if the California State Police came barreling through the door and arrested us for violation of California's prohibition on gambling? Of course we would. Because, who is not supposed to gamble? Oh, you know who is not supposed to gamble - them poor people, that's who. My God, they will spend the milk money. They don't know how to control it. They can't handle it. But us? We know what we are doing.
That's it. Every criminal prohibition has that same touch to it, doesn't it? It is enacted by US and it always regulates the conduct of THEM. And so, if you understand that is the name of the game, you don't have to ask me, or any of the other people which prohibitions will be abolished and which ones won't because you will always know. The iron law of prohibitions - all of them - is that they are passed by an identifiable US to control the conduct of an identifiable THEM.
And a prohibition is absolutely done for when it does what? Comes back and bothers US. If, at any time, in any way, that prohibition comes back and bothers us, we will get rid of it for sure, every doggone time. Look at the alcohol prohibition if you want a quick example. As long as it is only THEM - you know, them criminals, them crazy people, them young people, them minority group members - we are fine. But any prohibition that comes back and bothers US is done for.
Let's just try the marijuana prohibition as a quick one. Who do you think was arrested 650,000 strong two years ago for violation of the marijuana laws? Do you think it was all minority group members? Nope. It was not. It was some very identifiable children of US - children of the middle class. You don't have to answer my opinion. No prohibition will stand - ever - when it comes back and penalizes our children - the children of US who enacted it. And in fact, do you have any real doubt about that? Do you know what a fabulous sociological study we will be if we become the first society in the history of the world to penalize the sons and daughters of the wealthy class? Unheard of.
And so, yeah, we will continue the War on Drugs for a while until everybody sees its patent bankruptcy. But, let me say that I am not confident that good sense will prevail. Why? Because we love this idea of prohibition. We really do. We love it in this country. And so I will tell you what I predict. You will always know which ones are going out and which ones are coming in. And, can't you see the one coming right over the hill? Well, folks, we are going to have a new prohibition because we love this idea that we can solve difficult medical, economic, and social problems by the simple enactment of a criminal law. We adore this, and of course, you judges work it out, we have solved our problem. Do you have it? Our problem is over with the enactment of the law. You and the cops work it out, but we have solved our problem.
Here comes the new one? What's it going to be? No, it won't be guns, this one starts easy. This one is the Surgeon General has what? - Determined - not "we want a little more checking it out," not "we need a few more studies," not "reasonable people disagree" - "The Surgeon General has determined that the smoking of cigarettes will kill you."
Now, all you need, and here is my formula, for a new prohibition every time is what? We need an intractable, difficult, social, economic, or medical problem. But that is not enough. There has to be another thing. It has to divide by class - by social or economic class, between US and THEM. And so, here it comes.
You know the Federal Government has been spending a lot of money since 1968 trying to persuade us not to smoke. And, indeed, the absolute numbers on smoking have declined very little. But, you know who has quit smoking, don't you? In gigantic numbers? The college-educated, that's who. The college-educated, that's who doesn't smoke. Who are they? Tomorrow's what? Movers and kickers, that's who. Tomorrow's movers and kickers don't smoke. Who does smoke? Oh, you know who smokes out of all proportion to their numbers in the society - it is the people standing in your criminal courtrooms, that's who. Who are they? Tomorrow's moved and kicked, that's who.
And, there it is friends, once it divides between the movers and kickers and the moved and kicked it is all over and it will be all over very shortly.
It starts with "You know, they shouldn't smoke, they are killing themselves." Then it turns, as it has - you see the ads out here - "They shouldn't smoke, they are killing us." And pretty soon, that class division will happen, we will have the legislatures full of tomorrow's movers and kickers and they are going to say just what they are going to say any time now. "You know, this has just gotta stop, and we got an answer for it." We are going to have a criminal statute that forbids the manufacture, sale, or possession of tobacco cigarettes, or tobacco products period.
You know that the cigarette companies are expecting it. What have they been doing? They have been shifting all of their operations out of the United States and diversifying like crazy. Where are they going to sell their cigarettes? In China, that's where. And they are already moving, because they see it and I see it.
Ready? What are we going to have? You know what we are going to have. One day - when's it gonna happen, ten years, fifteen? - some legislator will get up and, just as though it had never been said before, "You know we gotta solve this smoking problem and I got a solution - a criminal prohibition against the manufacture, sale, or possession of tobacco cigarettes." And then you know what happens. Then everybody who did want a cigarette here today, if there is anyone here who smokes, you are going to have to hide in the bathroom. And cigarettes are no longer going to be three dollars a pack, they are going to be three dollars a piece. And who's going to sell them to you? Who will always sell them to you? The people who will sell you anything - organized crime. You got the concept, we will go through the whole darn thing again because I am telling you this country is hooked on the notion of prohibition.
Let me conclude, and again this is my prediction - I will tell you I don't think it is subject to opinion. Just look at it. Just take a look at what has happened now and what will happen. I will tell you how inexorable it is. If we get together here in the year 2005, I will bet you that it is as likely as not that the possession of marijuana may not be criminal in this state. But the manufacture, sale, and possession of tobacco will be, and why? Because we love this idea of prohibitions, we can't live without them. They are our very favorite thing because we know how to solve difficult, social, economic, and medical problems - a new criminal law with harsher penalties in every category for everybody.
Posted by: Speller | 2006-08-29 9:00:28 AM
I see so much violence over Cigarettes and Alcohol every single Day in Canada's street.
In fact, the other day I saw someone blow up a liquorstore because they tried to get rid of the competition.
Oh, hold on, that didn't happen, wonder why?
Point is, people will always do drugs, so why make it illegal and foster a black market that is rive with violence? It is not only the addicts that suffer but also the people who (for example) live near a Grow-Op, or get caught in a Gang fight over territory.
But I guess we're once again in a NYMBY situation, where you condem everybody while sipping on your 100 Dollar Bottle of Wine feeling smuck about the fact that you don't do drugs, right Mary?
Posted by: Snowrunner | 2006-08-29 9:01:06 AM
The idea that people are in any event going to break drug laws and therefore we should just take those laws off the books is ludicrous logic. By that logic, we may as well remove ALL laws from the books because people are going to break the laws anyway. What absolute foolishness.
Posted by: John Luft | 2006-08-29 9:01:50 AM
People break drug laws because the laws and their supporters are fascist.
These laws criminalize otherwise upstanding citizens.
The victims of most crime go to the police for help against the criminals. The victims of drug crime are victims of the law itself.
Posted by: Speller | 2006-08-29 9:06:32 AM
So if doing drugs is bad and you're full enforcement, why can we still buy Cigarettes and Alcohol legally once we met certain requirements (pretty much the only requirement is age)?
If we follow your logic we should ban it too, remember how that worked out last time that was tried?
Posted by: Snowrunner | 2006-08-29 9:20:13 AM
The drugs won't be more expensive because it is the fact that they're illegal that has driven the price up to begin with. Drugs would be cheap if legal. Tax would be added to bring the price back up. This would mean that the government would have more revenue to offset the costs of treating people.
You would also have a savings in law enforcement because you wouldn't have dealers and users in jail, you wouldn't have as many robberies, you wouldn't have the medical costs of treating people crippled in drive-by shootings over drug turfs...
The reason for legalizing drugs and not legalizing a lot of other things is that when you do drugs, you are not harming someone else - at least not any more than prescription drug addicts and alcoholics. Drug use is not the same as theft or rape.
There is also the hypocrisy factor. What makes pot worse than alcohol? You have some jackass sipping his brandy and smoking his $90 cigar complaining of all "those" people doing drugs. It's more than hypocrisy, it's brainless. I prefer port and cigars. Some other people like to smoke a j. Who am I to say that my vices are acceptable and yours are not?
As a libertarian, I just don't see why the government has the RIGHT to ban drugs. Who thinks it a good idea to give big brother control over what you do to yourself? The government should protect us from criminals who would victimize us. They have no right to "save us from ourselves." I have no faith that big brother knows best.
What I see from government is that year after year, more things are banned, more things are regulated, more laws are passed. When did a government ever announce that they were going to repeal, scrap or lessen the amount of laws and interferences in your life?
The government just gets bigger and more cumbersome. It moves into ever greater intrusions into your life. Just because it's incremental and gradual doesn't make the violation of your personal sovereignty any less offensive.
If they tried to pass all of that crap all at once there would have been revolution. But a little here, a little there, people get used to it over time. It's high time we took our lives back from the mandarins and social engineers and hypocrites. It high time we demanded to live our own lives.
Posted by: Warwick | 2006-08-29 9:45:52 AM
It would be implausible if Prime Minister’s Harper’s alleged, and sometimes disingenuous, conservative government renewed the federal exemption to Sect. 56 of the Control Drugs and Substance Act (CDSA), and thereby continue to authorize, encourage and promote drug addiction in Vancouver pursuant to the Insite Program.
The Conservative party which consistently talks tough with respect to crime can exemplify its authenticity to conservatism by eradicating this despicable, criminal behavior. Vancouver must not continue to be the only North America location which sanctions and sponsors drug addiction while charging tax payers almost two million dollars to create more sick, crime promoting criminals.
Renewal of the CDSA exemption would validate that Canadians have not really changed governments, just left-wing politicians; and that legitimate small-c conservatives don’t have any alternative other than to remain at home on Election Day.
Posted by: Machiavelli | 2006-08-29 10:00:17 AM
The real Machiavelli would understand politics a lot better. He wouldn't misunderstand the facts as you have.
There is a difference between left and libertarian, between advocates of big government and small. There is nothing in the legalization of drugs or the exemptions of injection sites that violates the principles of small-government conservatism.
Even if you are a so-con and merely want to replace big, intrusive left-wing government with big, intrusive soc-con government, there is a difference in degree and quality in the government of the CPC and that of the Liberals. If you don't see it, you aren't smart enough to vote - so indeed, stay home.
Posted by: Warwick | 2006-08-29 10:08:40 AM
It was the Left wing Liberals in Canada and the Left wing Democrats in the U.S. who put the Drug Prohibition laws in place. It would be a conservative move to repeal them.
The people who enacted the Drug Prohibition laws in the 1930s were admirers of Adolph Hitler and practitioners of the ideology known as Eugenics.
Real conservatives would repeal those laws. They were put in place because of racism. The history of it is above for ANYONE who cares to be educated on the subject and speak with any knowledge.
Posted by: Speller | 2006-08-29 10:11:33 AM
Nobody would force you to take drugs just because they are legal, nobody forces you to smoke or drink alcohol either.
Safe Injection Sites have been around in Europe (e.g. the Netherlands) for a long time and they HAVE made an impact, they have removed needles from play grounds and limit the spread of blood spread infectious deceases.
Even if you do NOT agree with legalizing drugs, to give people who are addicted a safe place, both for them and for the community they live in as well, is a good idea.
If you have more than one injection site the size of it wouldn't really matter that much either.
The "NIMBY" crowd always amazes me, a few years ago they were activly rallying against a women shelter because it may impact their property values.
Posted by: Snowrunner | 2006-08-29 10:21:10 AM
Sorry if I'm repetitive on any of this.
Saw an A&E show the other day about this entire issue as it applied to historical experience in the USA.
Without getting into chapter and verse, the US Constitution expressly stated the government had no right to say which chemicals individuals put in their bodies.
And, that law was in fact on the books for about 150 of the US's 230-some years of existence.
What prompted the change was the opiate and derivative markets by which houswives became increasingly addicted to heroin.
The constitutional rights were somehow circumvented (I was dozing off at the time) through the taxation system.
In any event, I'm unsure about what to make about the recent story in the National Post that links had detected higher levels of schizophrenia among marijuana users.
Comes as no surprise to me. I've given that stuff up a long time ago but I do notice personality changes among dopers over time ... some become noticably more paranoid.
Fill your lungs and veins all you like ... it's your life.
Posted by: Set you free | 2006-08-29 10:31:08 AM
> In any event, I'm unsure about what to make about
> the recent story in the National Post that links
> had detected higher levels of schizophrenia among
> marijuana users.
If that is the case this is interesting, but (as I haven't read the article) is it that people who take MJ are just more likely to already have Schizophrenia (and are drawn to it because of it) or does MJ activly foster it?
Posted by: Snowrunner | 2006-08-29 10:34:23 AM
I have posted the History of the Non-Medical use of Drugs above for ANYONE who cares to speak with some knowledge about it.
Posted by: Speller | 2006-08-29 10:34:37 AM
In Canada, the first drug laws were passed to harrass the Chinese who were big on smoking Opium. It's still considered a racist act.
Posted by: Warwick | 2006-08-29 10:36:19 AM
Labeling marijuana a dangerous drug in 1937 prevented any scientific research from ever being done on it's nature and effects.
Posted by: Speller | 2006-08-29 10:38:58 AM
I believe the article said medical researchers have established a link that shows a higher incidence of schizophrenia among MJ users than among the general population.
But you do pose an interesting perpective on whether schizophrenics are attracted to MJ.
Posted by: Set you free | 2006-08-29 10:39:04 AM
For whatever it's worth, they taught in psych class at university (all the hotties were in psych classes!) that the mentally ill will often smoke and do drugs as a way of "self-medicating" themselves.
I don't believe everything the shrinks have to say so take it for what it is...
Posted by: Warwick | 2006-08-29 10:39:54 AM
Patients diagnosed with schizophrenia are highly likely to be diagnosed with other disorders. The lifetime prevalence of substance abuse is typically around 40%. Comorbidity is also high with clinical depression, anxiety disorders, social problems, and a generally decreased life expectancy is also present. Patients diagnosed with schizophrenia typically live 10-12 years less than their healthy counterparts, owing to increased physical health problems and a high suicide rate.
Posted by: Speller | 2006-08-29 10:43:57 AM
without an answer to that question though the statement is pretty much useless as it doesn't establish if MJ is dangerous now or not.
If it does cause Schizophrenia than obviously that is a concern, if it doens't (and that seems to be the general opinion these days) then banning it is pretty much overkill.
Posted by: Snowrunner | 2006-08-29 10:46:03 AM
Those with depression and manic depression are also likely to self-medicate with alcohol (I speak from family experience, not because of a study, just so's you know), so it is a very interesting thought.
Posted by: RightGirl | 2006-08-29 10:49:27 AM
In Amsterdam, everybody knows that illegal Drugs and prostitution are highly "tolerate".
**Did U notice that Amsterdam is maybe the SAFER place to live in Europe ?
I'm not saying they are an exemple but hey, it's showing me that when the state is "controling" problems like these with tolerance and appropriated actions, it can result as a very clean city with the lowest crime rate around...
Posted by: Marc | 2006-08-29 11:00:20 AM
I've lived in Amsterdam for a while, one of the things I observed once was a girl sitting at the side of the street, shooting up. Two cops came by and waited with her to make sure she didn't OD, they then collected the needle and syringe and gave a her a new one.
Crime in Amsterdam in general seems to be low, the only thing that is happening on a regular basis is pick pocketing of tourists, but you have that at every major tourist attraction.
Interesting to note is that a few years ago a US Broadcaster was having a "drug special" and they also went to the Netherlands where MJ is legal and other drugs are pretty much losely enforced.
They had people saying that yes, occasoinally they do MJ, but no more than if it would be illegal, if anything LESS often as there is no "forbidden fruit" thing going on.
They then went out to "proof" that you can get ANY drug in Amsterdam, despite the legalization of MJ (they claimed that supporters of legal MJ were saying that if you give MJ no other drugs would be needed). Of course they could find a dealer right outside the coffee shop.
What was interesting in this though was the Dutch Healthminister they interviewed, she basically stated that it is the Governments believe that they should legalize ALL drugs to take the crime aspect away from it, but the US is putting political pressure on the Netherlands NOT to do it.
Posted by: Snowrunner | 2006-08-29 11:05:03 AM
Let's put it this way.
We're not all made out of some cookie-cutter mold.
My son is borderline asperger's, so the chemicals interactions in his brain affect the way he perceives the world.
I had a bout of depression last summer in which I was horizontal for about two months. During that time, I quit smoking and did not have a drop of booze while the docs tried to kick seratonin levels back up again. I got off that crap as fast as I could.
Other than decongestants when I have a runny nose and am about to get on the plane, it's no drugs for me ... including aspirin. I just figure it's not worth the side effects.
As Spock would say, it seems illogical to treat depression with a depressant.
Strangely, though, I'm a happy drunk. How a depressant can give you a sense of hapiness, I have no idea. Guess I'm fundamentally way too happy.
Whiskey does bring out some violent tendencies, but vodka as I tell my wife, is a Russian aphordisiac.
It is interesting, though, how people deal with the challenges thrown at them in their daily lives.
Drugs and booze never have solved the fundamentals of the unresolved issue. They're just a temporary escape.
But in the spirit of individual liberty, people have to figure it out for themselves ... not through the actions of the Nanny State.
Authorities tell us there is a crime/drug link.
I know that I don't hold up the bank so I can buy some booze, but if drugs were made affordable through legalization, does that mean one of the unintended consequences would be a lower crime rate? I dunno.
Posted by: Set you free | 2006-08-29 11:21:46 AM
A lower crime rate should be part of the intended effects of the repeal of drug prohibition.
A lower profile of the state intruding in our lives should be another.
Drug prohibition is fascist, it was enacted by fascists, and is supported today by fascists.
Posted by: Speller | 2006-08-29 11:31:11 AM
Legality/illegality is a bit of a separate issue from that of safe-injection sites, which falls more into the category of a public health issue. Hepatitis in particular can easily spread into the surrounding communities. One can easily avoid the sort of activities which transmit AIDS if one wanted to, whereas you could get hepatitis by merely being on a packed bus with someone who has it.
On the legalization issue, I would suggest that those who support the complete legalization of all drugs are putting principle over reality. Take crystal meth, for example, which is made from drain cleaner and anti-freeze among other things, often by goofs in trailer-labs; apart from being devastatingly addictive, it causes serious, lasting damage to the user's brain, to serotonin levels and so on.
There's sort of a window in the teenage years where kids tend to do things they wouldn't do a few years later; witness the crystal-meth "outbreak" in Drayton Valley among teenagers, many of whom had been high-achieving students. It's in society's best interests to crack down on manufacturers and dealers of crystal meth, not only to limit availability but also to give pause to kids who might otherwise try the substance if it weren't for the threat of serious penalties.
Posted by: EBD | 2006-08-29 11:53:26 AM
Solution to drug problem is simple. Avoid rhetorical chatter. Treat it like cancer, seek out the source, operate if necessay e.g. 'cut the sucker out.
Then its a done seal.
Posted by: Frico | 2006-08-29 12:09:30 PM
When alcohol prohibition was in place people made reflux condensers using the copper gas lines from old cars. The gas lines were lined with lead and when they were used to distill alcohol the lead was leached into the alcohol and made people go blind, among other things.
When prohibition was repealed people went back to drinking adult beverages from reputable distilleries.
The source of synthesized drugs themselves will be safe and regulated with legalization.
Sure people sniff gasoline today, sometimes pam or model airplane glue, but that doesn't make the case that they should ban these substances just because there are some abuses, let alone jail the retailers at the point of a gun.
Posted by: Speller | 2006-08-29 12:25:41 PM
Oh, I forgot to mention that anyone with enough money, including children can obtain enough alcohol to sit down and drink themselves to death in a single sitting.
Should the police be arresting Mary Anne at the local liquor outlet for being a drug dealer just because some weakling was raised without being taught moderation or self control or some idiot is neglecting their kid?
The drug warriors should push for regulation in who can and who can't have a baby and raise it up. Take the Eugenic ideology all the way to it's Nazi conclusions ya fascist low watt social engineers. Power to the State, eh?
Or you might just take some responsibility for your own lives and the lives of your dependents and keep your noses out of the lives of others.
Posted by: Speller | 2006-08-29 12:41:00 PM
You make some good points, Speller, particularly about alcohol prohibition, but don't forget that alcohol is a naturally occuring substance. When our hardscrabble ancestors two-thousand years ago had a basket full of fruit -- which was only ripe and available for a short time each year -- it would eventually ferment, which not only preserved the fruit for a longer time but also loosened the tongue and not incidentally inspired the crazy-legs dance and a lot of local raids.
Marijuanna, as another example, is a simple plant, or a weed if you prefer, which is consumed in unprocessed form. Like alcohol, it's not really comparable to drain-cleaner/anti-freeze-based trailer-manufactured substances. It's hard to imagine government regulators making sure that only name-brand, well manufactured drain-cleaners and anti-freeze go into the finished product, or that they would distribute it or liscense distribution. The idea itself is debatable, I guess, but it's just not going to happen.
I know people sniff glue and gas, and that we would (should) never regulate those substances because of that, but that falls under the category of "hey, what can you do about it?" Crystal Meth, IMHO, is a different thing altogether.
Posted by: EBD | 2006-08-29 12:45:14 PM
Crystal Meth is mainly made out of Sudafed.
Posted by: Speller | 2006-08-29 12:48:46 PM
LSD25 is an extraction of rye ergot.
Posted by: Speller | 2006-08-29 12:50:09 PM
Wow, what does that have to do with the legalization of drugs? That there is a law on the books in Ontario that allows this is the problem, not the legalization of drugs per-se.
Otherwise why isn't everybody forced to smoke and dirnk alcohol?
A lot of drugs are "naturally occuring". Sure Alochol exists when fruits ferment (or rather the fruit sugar), but in that way it isn't really fit for "mass consumption" you need a distillery to get it going, so by that logic Alcohol is just as illegal as Pot (which does not require processing beyond drying) or any other drug that goes through an upgrading process.
Posted by: Snowrunner | 2006-08-29 12:59:58 PM
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