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September 2005
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The czar is stark naked

Silja J.A. Talvi of In These Times gives us an outstanding article at Alternet:
Smoked Out.
Although the author stumbles slightly with an unsupported lung cancer reference (which I correct in the comments there), this is an outstanding indictment of the war on marijuana (and a delightful read).
A couple of highlights:

In many ways, modern-day government hysteria about the dangers of marijuana is far more distorted and far-fetched than the scare tactics that were employed under Harry J. Anslinger’s reign at the Federal Bureau of Narcotics.[…]

With all of this knowledge available to the federal government, the extremist position of the ONDCP isn’t just nonsensical, it actually sounds more and more like the product of truly paranoid, delusional thinking.

Whatever the reasons behind this kind of thinking, we do know that the ONDCP and successive presidential administrations since Nixon’s reign have been deadly serious about supporting this agenda, leaving no room for debate, much less any form of dissent. The extreme extent to which pot (and pot smokers) have been criminalized over the last few decades has had the effect of skewing what marijuana really is and isn’t capable of doing to a person. […]

In an interview with Seattle Post-Intelligencer columnist Joel Connelly, Mayor Campbell put it as matter-of-frankly as possible: Drug czars are the most ill-informed people in government … [John Walters] is pushing an agenda that doesn’t fit in the real world. He’s in denial.”

He’s right, and the U.S. war on marijuana (and on illicit substances in general) is an abject failure. The emperor is wearing no clothes whatsoever; we should be willing to call his bluff.

Go read the whole thing.

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