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The new default position. Start with the ban.

Both Jacob Sullum and Scott Morgan Phil Smith catch a continuing disturbing trend in political circles. It’s kind of a shoot-first and ask-questions-later approach, except this is a ban-first and study-it-later philosophy.

Sullum (in a good report on Salvia):

A couple of years ago, John Bulloch watched an alarming report on an Atlanta TV station about an exotic-sounding drug called Salvia divinorum. Bulloch had never heard of the plant, a psychoactive relative of sage that the Mazatec Indians of Oaxaca, Mexico, have used for centuries in healing and divination rituals. […]

Bulloch—a Republican state senator who represents the area around Ochlocknee, Georgia, a tiny town near the Florida border—was astounded. “I thought, ‘Why hasn’t somebody already jumped on this?’ ” he told the Florida Times-Union in March 2007. “I hurriedly got legislative counsel to draft the bill”—legislation making it a misdemeanor to grow, sell, or possess salvia. […]

Bulloch’s approach to salvia—ban first, ask questions later—epitomizes how drug policy is made in America.

Phil Smith:

Kansas state Rep. Peggy Mast (R-Emporia) had never heard of K-2 before being approached by a local newspaper reporting on the phenomenon last week, but that didn’t stop her from being ready to criminalize it. “I would be very happy to sponsor a bill to make this illegal,” she said. […]

“I don’t think the public should have ready access to anything that has not been studied,” Mast said.

That last sentence is frightening. Where does that kind of world-view come from?

I guess we’ll just have to make the universe illegal and legalize it one item at a time. I know some of you have been asking for air. We’re working on it, and should have a definitively study from the FDA on that in a couple of years.

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16 comments to The new default position. Start with the ban.

  • kaptinemo

    Actually, given the nature of drug prohibition itself, this ‘trend’ has been in operation since the beginning of Humanity, probably going back as far as when ‘magic mushrooms’ were discovered. There’s always been this kind of Apollonian knee-jerk reaction with regards to anything that upsets the status quo as much as the Dionysian practice of taking psychotropics evidently does this society.

    The problem has always been that those who seek to further their understanding of themselves, each other and their world inevitably come into conflict with those whose modus operandi is fear and control. Such people fear the world, and seek to control it. That this is usually coupled with the use of violence to maintain enforcement of the status quo is a given.

    The rationale for doing so is usually excused through the assumption of superior knowledge and wisdom on the part of those implementing that violence, and that to fail to use violence in enforcing the dictates that follow from that supposedly superior knowledge is to risk societal breakdown – which, of course, would lead to the dethronement of those professing that supposedly superior knowledge. Something such people in all societies throughout human history were keenly aware of. Hence their almost unthinking, reflexive desire to ban anything that threatens that ‘knowledge’…and thus, in reality, maintain government-sanctioned ignorance.

    Hardly original, I know, but we have had many new ‘faces’ here who may have not had academic exposure to this concept, but who’ve understood it instinctively, courtesy of having witnessed the dynamic in operation and experienced its’ results first-hand by being harmed by that ignorance-motivated violence.

    And, with Salvia, we see that process happening all too clearly…

  • Bruce

    Excellent Kaptin
    “Ready, Fire, Aim”
    lol
    Although I am avidly anti-prohibition, I do find myself in agreement with the need for some level of “control’
    After all we don’t want airline pilots imbibing handfulls of magic shrooms and then seeing two runways before them on approach for landing.
    Perhaps some of the old common sense wisdom could be brought into play. There was an old airforce saying regarding alcohol; ‘Eight hours from bottle to throttle.’
    …same for others with a bit of a twist;
    Ten hours from joint to point
    24 from coke to yoke
    36 from shroom to vroom?

  • Dreau Preau

    Oh God.

    Having just come back from an all-night spree of research to write a paper on the origins of marijuana prohibition, I am extremely disturbed by how similar the story of Salvia sounds to that of Marijuana in the early stages of fear-mongering.

    Will these people ever learn? It is so hard to repress a feeling of hatred when I hear things like what Mast had to say. Can these people really mean good? Is it even possible that they are actually good people? It’s just so hard to understand, that a person’s good intentions could become so perverted.

    I thought that we were moving in the direction of reason and logic in this country, then a politician has to go and say something like that, as though making something illegal couldn’t have far-reaching repercussions! I’m only 21 and I feel wiser than these elected officials!

    “Why hasn’t anybody jumped on this”?! Is it like a game for these people, to toy with the lives of their citizens?!

    AAAAAAH!

    Okay… I’m done. I just needed to vent some…

    Does anyone know of something that might be done to help curb these stupid legislative practices?

  • ph0ed1n

    The new default position is 180 degrees from the unalienable right to liberty demanded by the written foundation of the United States.

    Americans in general do not understand our written foundation, thanks apparently to our educational system which only asks grade school students, who generally could care less about rights and government power, to memorize small portions of it for the following week’s exam.

    The written American foundation should be thoroughly explained to, and carefully debated among, every American at the college level. The supreme law of the land that is our Constitution should be a prominent part of any discussion on any issue.

    For example, where in the written American foundation is the authority for our government to be involved in marriage at all, regardless of who it is between? No where.

    Such proper collegiate education would prevent the large portion of our society who believe that our Constitution is a “living document” subject to evolving generational interpretation, which is impossible as that would negate the need for Article V, the mandatory amendment process.

    The burden of proof should always rest with those who oppose unalienable rights to prove that an act, not the abuse (or potential abuse) of that act, infringes upon another person’s rights.

    Until Americans broadly understand that, our so-called public servants will continue expanding their power wrongfully in all sorts of directions to “protect our children”, “create or save jobs”, “improve morality”, etc.

    Until Americans broadly understand that, the Supreme Court will avoid serious humiliation by ruling that “to regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states, and with the Indian tribes” (i.e. the commerce clause in our Constitution) is the constitutional authority to ban the free growth, distribution, and possession of cannabis, all within the same state.

  • R.O.E.

    ph0ed1n : thats what I like to see, show the people and hopefully they will start to lead rather than follow.

  • claygooding

    IT IS NOT JUST THE BANNING OF THE DRUGS THAT GETS LEGISLATORS “FIRED UP”.
    With the present trend,it is anything that allows them to rule your life. They want complete command of everything we do that gives people any kind of pleasure. They just haven’t figured out how to stop us from screwing,,,,yet.
    But they probably have studies going,checking the possibilities.
    And as we have seen for the last 40 years,any drug banning that increases the loads on the justice system,is easily funded. Even if it doesn’t work.

  • DavesNotHere

    This is EXACTLY what Barack Obama did after a boy died that had used ephedrine in Illinois. EXACTLY!!! Barack Obama then used his political capital to lead an immediate charge to ban ephedrine and the ephedra plant and lock people in cages that possess it.

    I’m sure the Chicago Democrat government employee union thugs threw Obama all kinds of money after he made sure their budgets were increased to fight the scourge of the ephedra plant. The liberals and their union dominated prison patronage armies are the main force behind prohibition at this point. That’s where all the prohibition money is coming from the last decade.

    Just like the teachers unions, the prison system unions have no problem buying off both sides of the aisle and the Republicans are just as likely to be bought and paid for as the Democrats. That’s established and assumed.

  • DavesNotHere

    Dreau Preau – Step 1 is to stop voting for them.

    ph0ed1n – Teachers unions “don’t want no” legitimate Consitution talk in their government employee union monopoly schools. And all those government college professors (sorry Pete) have absolutely no interest in putting a penny of their pensions and benefits in jeopardy by allowing a quiestioning of the current policies versus inalienable human rights.

    The further away from our founding vision of inalienable human rights and the further toward progressive and liberals we get, the more human beings we see locked in cages in this country.

    And now we are going to lock poor people in cages that can’t afford health insurance when instead we could be giving them direct handouts like we are for cars, houses, and banks. The feds are giving away taxpayer money for people to buy cars and houses, but the best way they can figure out how to “help” poor people without health insurance is to lock them in a cage if they can’t pay for it.

    This country is sick. The Drug War and Obamacare are the same. They’re doing it for the children to “help” when in reality the legislation only seeks to control and punish, NOT help. If they wanted to help, they could give away money like they do for cars and houses without threatening to lock anyone in a cage.

  • aussidawg

    “Does anyone know of something that might be done to help curb these stupid legislative practices?”

    Declare a prohibition on “conservatives.”

  • DavesNotHere

    “Declare a prohibition on “conservatives.””

    Does that include Barack Obama and his Chicago Democrats?

    Lets see, Democrats hold a veto proof majority in the Illinois Senate, a near veto proof majority in the Illinois House, the Governor’s office, Attorney General, Treasurer, Comptroller, and Secretary of State. Not one single Republican vote has been needed since 2002 to pass medical marijuana legislation. Not one Republican vote. Not one. Zero, Nada. Zilch. Complete liberal Democrat control in Illinois. Any reduction in the drug war the last 7 years under complete liberal control? Yeah, blame the conservatives.

    Illinois has seen a prohibition on “conservative” power (as if present day Republicans are anywhere near conservative) and what have we seen? Bigger, badder, drug war with more locked in cages and torture investigations into Daley’s Chicago Democrat police authority.

    And now we almost see a prohibition on Republican power at the federal level (a good thing), with Democrats in control of both chambers and the Presidency. Have they even tried to get rid of the Barr amendment?

    The drug reform community has figured out Republicans for the most part are an enemy. We’ll finally win this war when they figure out the Democrats are even worse.

  • DavesNotHere

    While I’m hijacking, I’d like to point one more thing out. During the 1940-50-60s, what happened with all the racist politicians maintaining racist policies and segregation?

    Did those politicians change their minds, or were they replaced with politicians that weren’t racists?

    Wishing politicians will change their minds about something is not a winning strategy. You have to replace them, including Barack “jail for ephedra” Obama.

  • Servetus

    Among the expected talents of leaders operating within human or animal societies is the ability to recognize danger and identify the enemy, to determine whether a tribal member is really part of the in-group or a competing out-group, and so on. For members of our exceedingly deceitful human species, this expectation sets the stage for massive demagoguery, especially within a generally dumbed-down, scientifically illiterate society of the type one finds in the United States.

    Psychotropic drugs like Salvia are an easy tool for demagogues to manipulate thanks to all the superstition and mystic lore attached to drug use throughout history. For instance, five centuries ago it was assumed that material substances—drugs like peyote—could not possibly produce the mental effects that were observed. Anything affecting the ‘soul’ in such a way could only mean the devil was at work.

    This is essentially the same assumptive attitude for today’s true believer of the prohibitionist message. From the historical perspective, human behavior really doesn’t change very much, and the presence of modern science and technology is no guarantee that certain types of people will yearn to broaden their mental horizons.

  • DavesNotHere – ephedra is another ultra-natural herb being banned, why?..because some nerds ended up using it as a meth product.

    A few bad apples have always ruined the whole dang bunch for us all.

    I used to like it too; in fact, there was a cup of tea that stopped being on the grocery shelf in 1994 called ‘morning thunder’ which had mau-huang in it.

    I enjoyed it alot and could never understand this kind of ban on thinking and a simple cup of tea becoming contraband again.

    Ephedra is an old Chinese remedy for asthma or low blood pressure.

    I loved the pep in gave me but once again…every little cotton-pickin thing in this world has been adulterated for profit, confusion, and corruption beyond belief.

  • ….but, You Can’t Fool Mother Nature!

    It seems when the black-market sees a way in it can find it…

    Mother Earth probably wants to Go Green someday.

    Perhaps Humankind had better stop trying to STOP Her.

    Now where’s my cup o’ tea dag nam it!

  • ph0ed1n

    As long as people can hide behind their false belief, they will continue to do so, regardless of their political affiliation or nationality.

    Change comes when a “bright light” sufficiently exposes the false belief in simple terms understandable to the masses, threatening the believer’s credibility in front of a large audience.

    After all, the one thing the powerful fear most is losing their power, and they understand that without credibility, even if only perceived credibility, their power disappears.

    We have not yet sufficiently shined that light, but we are heading in the right direction.

    In the U.S., I hope that the blatant public servant corruption across the political spectrum will inspire new generations to revisit the U.S. Declaration of Independence and our Constitution, to learn for themselves that the latter (which legally protects the rights established in the prior via amendment nine) is the best tool they have for change if they wish to avoid a repeat of the bloody revolution that gave rise to this nation.

    No American can defy the Constitution at a public podium, so let us constantly work to put them at that podium to force them to reveal their anti-constitutional stance there.

    That will be change I can believe in.

  • I just picked this up from the MPP.Blog.

    I hope this person doesn’t mind but here’s a very recent illustration of cannabis fighting cancer:

    http://www.youtube com/watch?v=68dM1H

    We need to pass it forward.