The federal government continues to wage an unethical war against medical marijuana. Despite the fact that overwhelming majorities of people disagree with this policy, no one seems willing to stand up for our rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Fortunately, we now have a chance to reverse the losing policies of the past 70 years. Candidates who campaign for legalization will be in-line with the views of over three-quarters of American voters.
I wrote this article in February of 2008.
I then broke the news in early August that:
So be sure and read that article after you read this one. We now need to put some firm and friendly pressure on Barack to follow through on his policy to end the Federal War on Medical Marijuana. Each state will then have the right to legalize, regulate, and tax as they see fit. Wow – seems like a win for all!!
Now that Obama has become president we need to hold him to his promise that he will eliminate government programs that do not work. The war on marijuana is clearly an economic and ethical failure. Read my latest plea and start contacting our new leaders!!
One of the best things about Barack Obama is that he is honest and real. Does not try to cover up his past and will admit if he makes mistakes. There is a recent article from the New York Times written by Serge F. Kovaleski on Feb. 9, 2008. The article, “Friends: Drugs a bit part in Obama’s young life,” includes interviews with old college friends who remember the Democratic hopeful as a model of moderation.
Given his early experience I am confident that Senator Obama can finally end the ineffective and unethical federal war against medical marijuana which has been approved in a growing number (15) of states. He also will show compassion toward the millions of young people – particularly minorities – who have been hurt by this war against our own citizens.
Here are some of the highlights of this article. Then I offer more interpretation and justification for Obama to take a courageous and ultimately very popular position. Come on Barack – be a REAL leader and tell us that you will end the federal war against marijuana. As always, enjoy the funny pix!!
Nearly three decades ago, Barack Obama stood out on the small campus of Occidental College in Los Angeles for his eloquence, intellect and activism against apartheid in South Africa. But Mr. Obama, then known as Barry, also joined in the party scene.
Years later in his 1995 memoir, he mentioned smoking “reefer” in “the dorm room of some brother” and talked about “getting high.” Before Occidental, he indulged in marijuana, alcohol and sometimes cocaine as a high school student in Hawaii, according to the book. He made “some bad decisions” as a teenager involving drugs and drinking, Senator Obama, now a presidential candidate, told high school students in New Hampshire last November…
Mr. Obama, of Illinois, has never quantified his illicit drug use or provided many details. He wrote about his two years at Occidental, a predominantly white liberal arts college, as a gradual but profound awakening from a slumber of indifference that gave rise to his activism there and his fears that drugs could lead him to addiction or apathy, as they had for many other black men…
In more than three dozen interviews, friends, classmates and mentors from his high school and Occidental recalled Mr. Obama as being grounded, motivated and poised, someone who did not appear to be grappling with any drug problems and seemed to dabble only with marijuana.
Vinai Thummalapally, a former California State University student who became friendly with Mr. Obama in college, remembered him as a model of moderation — jogging in the morning, playing pickup basketball at the gym, hitting the books and socializing. “If someone passed him a joint, he would take a drag. We’d smoke or have one extra beer, but he would not even do as much as other people on campus,” recounted Mr. Thummalapally, an Obama fund-raiser. “He was not even close to being a party animal.” … (SKIPPED A LOT)
In his freshman year at Occidental, Mr. Obama and his dormitory mates would gather around a couch in the hallway of their floor while stereos blasted songs by bands like the Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, the B-52’s and the Flying Lizards. The conversations revolved around topics like the Soviet Union’s invasion of Afghanistan, President Jimmy Carter’s proposed revival of draft registration and the energy crisis…
While he would sometimes attend parties held by black students and Latinos, Amiekoleh Usafi, a classmate who also spoke at the rally, recalled seeing him at parties put together by the political and artistic set. Ms. Usafi, whose name at Occidental was Kim Kimbrew, said the most she saw Mr. Obama indulging in were cigarettes and beer. “I would never say that he was a druggie, and there were plenty there,” she said. “He was too cool for all that.”
So clearly we can hope Obama will be able to clearly see the right way out of this mess. Instead of claiming as the Clintons do that they “did not inhale,” Barack Obama needs to get real with us about how he will end the wasteful war on weed. He has given some strong signals that he will stop the madness given that he has actually admitted that marijuana has benefits. Bet he would say it helped him through some difficult decisions and transitions. He also realizes that the drug war unfairly hurts minority youth. He also seems to agree that it is not a national issue – but one left to the states — 14 of which have already approved medical marijuana. However, watch for Hillary the Hypocrite to continue stigmatized his views on marijuana as being soft on drugs.
In fact, almost everyone has privately agreed for decades that marijuana should no longer be illegal. The last time it took up the issue, the US Supreme Court reluctantly sided with the Bush administration in overturning the rights of two terminally ill patients from California. Their decision directly challenged congress to deal with this untenable situation in a comprehensive manner. The US Supreme Court ruling upholding the power of the federal government to ban medical use of marijuana has been soundly rejected by public opinion and consumer behavior.
The bong is now in the hands of the next president and congress – both of which will finally be Democratic. Clearly public opinion has been strongly behind decriminalization for decades. If marijuana users and supporter were to come out of the closet, they would see how much power they have in numbers. In fact, groups like NORML and the Marijuana Policy Project have been working diligently for years trying to support American’s rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Politicians who admit they know what it is like to “get high” will garner greater public support than those who maintain that the war on weed is working.
The US congress has never shown the political courage to set things right. As I explain in another BLOG, the most hypocritical position comes from House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi. She represents northern California marijuana growers who are licensed by her state to supply medical marijuana. As a result, California supplies billions of dollars of medical-grade marijuana to the rest of the country on the black market. Everyone needs to put pressure on her directly to simply be fair. We also need to stand up for our freedom of religion, speech and public assembly. Start getting high in public together at 4:20.
So given the overwhelming support among citizens for marijuana reform, why does it remain illegal? For almost a century, large pharmaceutical, chemical, paper, and alcohol corporations have waged an aggressive attack on this natural plant because it will dramatically affect all their businesses (which are based on non-renewable petroleum resources.) These are the major sponsors of the Partnership for a Drug Free America and the DARE program that falsely target marijuana as a “gateway drug.” In fact, most young people start with alcohol and tobacco.
The pharmaceutical corporations are aware of the huge potential of medical marijuana to replace many of their more toxic compounds. Problem for big drug companies is they have no way to patent the products and make money. The same is true with the booze companies who are responsible for countless deaths worldwide. Young people are unanimous when asked – they would drink less if marijuana were legally available. Even law enforcement officers acknowledge that they would rather deal with stoners than drunks behind the wheel. Booze causes domestic violence, smoking pot together promotes reasoning.
Societies determine which substances are acceptable and which are deviant. In fact, even opium and cocaine were all legal in the United States until the drug companies stomped them out. Other cultures (including Muslims and Hindis) prohibit consumption of alcohol; but generally encourage cannabis consumption. Since our troops in the Middle East have no access to alcohol, marijuana use is widespread among our soldiers (just as it was in Viet Nam.) Americans at home should have the same rights as our soldiers and those Muslim people who are now being force-fed this corporate brand of democracy.
It seems foolish to focus our scarce law enforcement resources on the wide-open borders we have with Canada and Mexico (not to mention California). Money spent on stopping the tidal wave of weed would be better spent on dealing with immigration issues and homeland security. Canadian liquor producers and the mob profited from the US market during the other failed attempt at legislating morality via prohibition. Once marijuana is legal, some of the billions spent might actually go to benefit American farmers and tax payers – not to mention cancer patients. Currently all the money cannabis consumers spend is taken up in the black market.
We have been waging a losing “War on Weed” against our own citizens for seven decades. Enough is enough. Our jails are filled with people whose only crime was possession of a plant that has been grown and used freely for thousands of years. In fact, most of those jailed for drug offenses are young, poor and minority. Of course, the prison, drug testing, and counseling industries have a strong vested interest in keeping marijuana illegal.
The real challenge of marijuana is to the capitalist system itself. People who get high tend to be more skeptical and less likely to fall lock-step onto these degrading treadmills. Hemp was a major industrial crop in the US until Henry Ainslinger (one of Joe McCarthy’s cronies) decided it was a threat to a radical right-wing, corporate, agenda. We see the same push now from the ultra conservative Bush regime who want to eliminate many of our civil liberties by prohibiting actions that encourage citizens to think for themselves or question authority.
The Bush regime refused to open up and get real with the American people about the First Family’s past and present use of alcohol and drugs. We know Bush had serious personal problems with drugs and alcohol — and some suggest he has been drinking again. Allegations abound about the first daughters’ continuing use of illegal drugs. Rumors persist that the First Lady was actually a marijuana dealer in college. As long as marijuana remains illegal — all members of the first family, cabinet and staff should submit to regular drug tests that must then be made available to the American people.
Only a fool or a hypocrite would continue to wage a losing war against a plant that most people realize is safe and beneficial. Marijuana does much less harm than the currently promoted substances (alcohol and tobacco.) The federal government must stop wasting our limited resources on a war against our own people that mainly hurts the young and poor. Time to use that money and personnel to rebuild our country.
This is simply another way in which the radical, right-wing, Republican regime has been so out of touch with the needs and wishes of the people. The corporate machine and its US government pawns should be afraid of the power of marijuana. People who smoke pot and watch the Daily Show quickly see through all the lies and actually become happy. As Bob Marley said, “The more man smoke herb, the faster Babylon will fall.” That is the true challenge and potential of marijuana. Think of all the other amazing musicians, artists and spiritual leaders who enjoyed the many beneifts of marijuana!! Pix below Bob are of Jerry Garcia, Jimi Hendrix, and Peter Tosh.