Wednesday, March 22, 2006

They Never Listen 

Show me a government commissioned panel that doesn't adhere to the government's wisdom, and I'll show you a panel that is ignored.

Case in point, today* is the 34th Anniversay of the finding by the National Commission on Marijuana and Drug Abuse that there should be no legal penalties for possession of Marijuana. Society shouldn't condone its use, but the government shouldn't be punishing people for doing it.
Marihuana's relative potential for harm to the vast majority of individual users and its actual impact on society does not justify a social policy designed to seek out and firmly punish those who use it.... This position also is consistent with the estimate by law enforcement personnel that the elimination of use is unattainable.

In the case of experimental or intermittent use of marihuana, there is room for individual judgment. Some members of our society believe the decision to use marihuana is an immoral decision. However, even during Prohibition, when many people were concerned about the evils associated with excessive use of alcohol, possession for personal use was never outlawed federally and was made illegal in only five States. [emphasis added]

Indeed, we suspect that the moral contempt in which some of our citizens hold the marihuana user is related to other behavior or other attitudes assumed to be associated with use of the drug. All of our data suggest that the moral views of the overwhelming majority of marihuana users are in general accord with those of the larger society.
Or, in other words, government get out of our personal lives and deal with real problems, like crime and poverty. The government of the time -- Richard Nixon's Administartion and the current Congress -- and every government since, has decided to ignore the recommendations and, nearly two generations later, we still have the useless, resource-wasting War on (Some) Drugs, even as the big Pharmaceutical companies do their best to turn children and adults into (legally) drugged-out zombies, addicted to expensive medications designed to treat possible specious conditions.

All the while as marijuana seems to work just as well for many of those conditions, with fewer side effects and much lower production cost. But that's probably the key to it, isn't it? I mean, if pot were legal, anybody could grow it in their closet, and so some big companies lose out on a lot of money...

Which is really a straw man agrument, since it would be quite easy to legalize use and possession, but not manufacture -- exactly how alcohol is regulated nowadays. (I have no idea whether anybody who wants to can grow tobacco and make cigarettes, although I have a feeling, because of the history of government subsidies to tobacco farmers, that it is also prohibited to the individual.)

Anyway, when it comes to marijuana in this country, the hypocrisy is deafening. Safer than tobocco or alcohol, the kind of high that leads to warm fuzzies instead of fist-fights, a boon to cancer and AIDS patients... nah. Couldn't be anything worthwhile to it, could there?
* I'm actually posting this on March 22nd. I don't know why the post date is showing up as the 23rd. But the anniversay date is today; the report came out on March 22, 1972.

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