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March 2019
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Joe Biden’s Ideal Drug War

Pot Bombs

Framing US drug enforcement as a war creates an excuse to upend self-governing customs that protect human rights. Part of prohibition’s survival strategy encourages rights violations when it enlists laws to shield drug war ideologies from critics.

Nothing is perfect, including ideologies. Confronted by imperfections, some ideologues panic. They fanatically defend their own fact-free ideological social identities. Some of the more crazed idealists even launch wars to reach the unreachable reality of their ideal—for example, a drug-free society.

One of the drug war’s ideological lynchpins was ushered into existence during the Reagan era formation of the ONDCP with the help of then-Senator Joe Biden. In addition to Mr. Biden coining the term drug czar, a new and peculiar statutory clause blocked or bottlenecked federal research funding that might prove the government wrong in its declarations of the dangers of schedule I substances. A Controlled Substances Act (CSA) stipulation authorizes, if not encourages, researchers and drug enforcement officials to misrepresent the physical effects of marijuana and other medicinally useful schedule I substances:

The Director shall ensure that no Federal funds appropriated to the Office of National Drug Control Policy shall be expended for any study or contract relating to the legalization (for a medical use or any other use) of a substance listed in schedule I of section 202 of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 812) and take such actions as necessary to oppose any attempt to legalize the use of a substance (in any form) that is listed in schedule I of section 202 of the Controlled Substances Act (21 U.S.C. 812); and has not been approved for use for medical purposes by the Food and Drug Administration.

Ideally, ideologies shouldn’t exist within viable legal systems. Ideals ordinarily don’t represent reality. Neither should laws entangle citizens who reject anti-drug ideologies, or disavow people preferring thoughtful persuasions that might otherwise guide citizens to pursue their own best health and happiness.

Mr. Biden’s ideals encourage governments to publish disinformation about controlled substances—propaganda that can turn deadly. His habit of pandering to drug enforcement will harm his chances in 2020 should the arch drug-war-architect run for president.

In Joe Biden’s 2017 e-book—likely published in anticipation of a presidential run—scanning for the words ‘marijuana’ or ‘cannabis’ produces no results. Much is said instead of his son Beau Biden’s untimely death from brain cancer, and the conventional and experimental, non-cannabinoid drugs Beau received.

The Biden memoir also links illegal drugs to the existence of non-drug crimes. Mr. Biden boasts of how he helped put 100,000 new police officers on the streets and how much it reduced crime. No mention is made of the resultant overcrowded prisons holding drug war convicts, nor the lives of US citizens and internationals wasted in a bloody and pointless conflict targeting the use of benign and useful medicinal substances.

If Democrats aim to give Joe Biden a shot at being president in 2020, they might take a few moments to disable prohibition’s pivotal war propaganda vehicle—the cited schedule I drug research exclusion clause. The CSA language threatens Mr. Biden’s political campaign. The clause is toxic enough to threaten any political entity refusing to abolish it.

A healthier, brighter and more peaceful future is possible as more voters choose to support political candidates and legislators favoring laws assuring truthful drug and chemical information is made freely available to American citizens and the world.

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Marijuana in the U.S.

We’ve made some progress over the years…

Marijuana Won the Midterm Elections by Tom Angell

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Vote. And vote well.

If you haven’t already voted in advance, be sure to vote on Tuesday.

Of course, here at DrugWarRant, we are fully aware that change rarely comes from politicians, but rather, as we’ve been doing, from educating the people so that they make the politicians follow.

And we’ve succeeded extremely well — more and more candidates at least support legalization of marijuana and are often willing to talk about the shortcomings of the drug war.

Still, there is an opportunity on Tuesday to get a few more elected officials in office who are on the right side.

NORML has a very handy guide called Smoke the Vote. Simply enter your 9-digit zip code, and they’ll give you a list of all the candidates and their grade on marijuana legalization. Very handy.

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California Makes a Fool of VP Mike Pence

Guest post by Servetus

Minus any help from prohibition, the UC San Diego School of Medicine and Moores Cancer Center of California revealed the state’s lung cancer rates due to tobacco have plummeted by 28 percent.

The latest statistics are terrible news for former Indiana governor Mike Pence who argued in 2001 that tobacco smoking doesn’t kill. Pence subsequently raised $39,000 from tobacco lobbyists shortly after his declaration of tobacco’s innocence.

Tossing the evils of prohibition aside, the UC researchers attribute the lung cancer reduction to serious consideration of the evidence of a tobacco-cancer link that led to a 1988 voter initiative assigning tobacco control to the California Department of Public Health.

Details of the research are contained in a Cancer Prevention Research abstract:

October 10, 2018—Three cigarette smoking behaviors influence lung cancer rates: how many people start, the amount they smoke, and the age they quit. California has reduced smoking faster than the rest of the US and trends in these 3 smoking behaviors should inform lung cancer trends. […]

There was no marked California effect on quitting or intensity among seniors. From 1986-2013, annual lung cancer mortality decreased more rapidly in California and by 2013 was 28% lower (62.6 vs 87.5/100,000) than in the rest of the US. California’s tobacco control efforts were associated with a major reduction in cigarette smoking among those under age 35 years. These changes will further widen the lung cancer gap that already exists between California and the rest of the US.

The success of California’s Department of Public Health in curtailing tobacco smoking is just one more example of how a state’s regulation succeeds where prohibition fails.

The results expose prohibition’s bumbling nonsense that causes prohibited substances to seem exciting or highly adventurous, a provocative forbidden fruit, an identity focal point for teenage mutineers; as well as a juridical tool tyrants and authoritarians use to punish or eliminate rebels, dissenters, or the disenfranchised.

Vice President Mike Pence’s record on illicit drugs and related substances proves he’s openly contemptuous of millennials—the latest beneficiaries of the American Revolution, no less. Were he an ally, or even a reasonable human being, Pence would publicly correct his disinformation about the links between tobacco and lung cancer and he would come out in favor of legalizing comparably safer cannabis and psychedelic products.

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Can US overdose deaths be stopped?

Guest post by Thinking Clearly

According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse overdose deaths are on the rise:

We have done it to ourselves with our country’s drug policies.

How the US Stopped a Possible Solution to the Heroin Epidemic

“Before America’s War on Drugs, the “British System” was successful in keeping addiction rates low and drug-associated crime nonexistent.”

… “The practice of prescribing heroin to manage addiction was originally invented in the UK—and was so entrenched here that it was formally known in international policy circles as the “British System”. Throughout the early 20th century, as America began forcing its War on Drugs on the rest of the world, it was Britain that represented the most promising alternative model. The story of the British System, and of how it was dismantled under American pressure, has been all but forgotten. It shouldn’t be. This story illuminates not only fascinating truths about drug policy, but about entire liberal traditions in British political history.” …

“The other crucial difference between life under the British System and American-style prohibition is that there was absolutely no link between addiction and other forms of criminality. When you get your prescription from a doctor, there is simply no need to steal to fund your habit.”

“When the American journalist Edgar May came over to report on the British System he wrote, “No one in England—from the toughest London detective to the most liberal-prescribing clinic physician—suggested to me that narcotics addiction increases criminal behavior… in England there is no cause-and-effect relationship.” The creation of a criminal addict underclass seems to only emerge under a system of drugs prohibition.”

“By 1959, the number of known heroin addicts in Britain had dropped to 59, before rising to 342 by 1964. By today’s standards these numbers are almost comically low. On all evidence, the British System seemed effective in preventing the spread of addiction and associated criminality. So what happened? How did it all fall apart?”

“Ultimately, the answer is that, in 1961, Britain was pressured into signing the UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs—a US-led policy formally committing every member state to prohibition. The American architects of the War on Drugs despised the British System, and constantly briefed against it in policy documents and propaganda. It was thus inevitable that the British System would come under sustained diplomatic attack.”

… “Unfortunately, this is exactly what happened. Instead of fixing the problem of rogue doctors over-prescribing, the government pressured doctors doing valuable work. Addicts could no longer get prescriptions, so illegal heroin began trickling into the country to satisfy demand. Unlike America, this did not come from Italian mafia organizations, but from Chinese Triads working out of Hong Kong. Little red packets of south-east Asian heroin, stamped with an elephant design, began littering the gutters of Gerrard Street in London’s Chinatown.” …

The drug war pushed by America has been the source of a rich and lucrative black market.

The Dea and the controlled substances act has given the US a rising statistic of death that began again recently as doctors prescribing habits of opiates were curtailed by the DEA.

The death and destruction of human life in America can be stopped by ending the drug war and ridding ourselves of the controlled substances act.

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Drug War Propaganda Targets Democracy

Guest post by Servetus

What would a drug war be without drug war propaganda? Maybe non-existent?

Several types of propaganda help prohibit illicit drugs and keep them prohibited. One technique is what Yale political philosopher Jason Stanley calls “undermining demagoguery.” Dr. Stanley defines demagoguery as

a contribution to public discourse presented as an embodiment of a worthy political, economic, or rational ideal, but is in the service of a goal that tends to undermine that very ideal. [p. 68]

Utah’s Senator Orrin Hatch plays the undermining demagoguery card when he calls for more research on marijuana minus any mention of legalization. He understands NIDA funded cannabis research in the US is largely restricted to exposing health problems. If no problems materialize, the search for harm obstructs legalization forever.

The LDS Church plays the same card when it says it approves of marijuana consumption as a medicine only if it’s prescribed by a doctor in dosage form and dispensed through a pharmacy. The convenience of legal prescriptions and pharmacy-based dispensaries is very unlikely under current federal laws. Waiting for a change in federal policies could take years, and therein lies the goal of the propaganda—to delay and confuse. Utah’s kindly senior senator has many more tricks up his sleeve.

Another type of drug war propaganda addressed by Stanley occurs when no anti-drug propaganda is generated at all. Instead, vital information necessary for an accurate assessment of political and medical policies is withheld. [p. 55]

Senator Hatch withholds critical details when he advocates more new research while neglecting to highlight any specific examples of cannabis related research in foreign countries showing herbal marijuana’s beneficial effects on health. He also fails to cite similar research based in the US.

Propaganda that exploits human ideals,” Stanley writes, “even if wielded for a good purpose, occludes democratic deliberation by getting people to ignore facts and to focus upon their own emotions. [p. 51]

Stanley notes this same assault upon democracy was explained by Victor Klemperer in his 1947 book The Language of the Third Reich, or Lingua Tertii Imperii, abbreviated LTI:

The LTI only serves the cause of invocation…. The sole purpose of the LTI is to strip everyone of their individuality, to paralyze them as personalities, to make them into unthinking and docile cattle in a herd driven and hounded in a particular direction, to turn them into atoms in a huge rolling block of stone. [p. iv]

LTI is heaven for fascists and prohibitionists. Authoritarian followers admire and back authoritarian leaders who subsequently employ LTI to conceal their incompetence in matters of science and drugs. The results can leave an individual’s physical and mental health in disrepair and can kill a fair number of admirers who end up being denied essential medications.

Prohibition’s political health will be tested in November should democracy survive long enough in Senator Hatch’s state of Utah to pass Prop 2. Passage of the referendum, which appears likely, could benefit Mormonism. Utahans are reportedly fleeing the Mormon church in big numbers. Part of that mass exodus could be due to Mormonism’s malevolent attitude toward a happy little aromatic weed that has benefited humankind for more than 8000 years.

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Open Thread

Sorry folks – my mind and energies have been elsewhere, and I have been a poor host recently. Hope to change that soon.

I’ll also have some new posts up in the next couple of days (although the comments section is the most important area right now).

Something to think about… I’m looking for someone to help out with the site by putting in the occasional post or even a link to a good story as a contributor. Wouldn’t have technical skills – I could either give you access, or you could email me the item and I’d post it for you.

It must be someone who I recognize – someone who has been a regular contributor here at DrugWarRant – I get offers practically every day from people who want to write boilerplate posts for this site in exchange for link to their drug treatment scam.

So give me a holler if you’re interested!

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This is what a cannabis equity program looks like

Under the leadership of Cannabis Control Commissioner Shaleen Title, Massachusetts has revealed the “nation’s first statewide “social equity” program to help minorities and people convicted of drug offenses work in the legal marijuana industry.”

Massachusetts crafts ‘social equity’ program to help minorities and drug offenders enter marijuana industry

Massachusetts state law requires the Cannabis Control Commission to promote full participation in the industry by people disproportionately harmed by marijuana prohibition and enforcement. The commission is already giving priority in review of licensing applications to “economic empowerment” applicants who come from areas and groups that have been overly affected by marijuana arrests. […]

There are four tracks in the program: one for owners/entrepreneurs; one for management and executive level careers; one for entry level jobs or people looking to re-enter society after incarceration; and one for people with existing skills that can be transferred to the cannabis business. The final track has separate categories for professional skills like law or accounting and trade skills, like drivers, plumbers or electricians. It is also designed to help inventors of cannabis accessories.

Each track will offer training on industry-specific challenges and skills.

This is impressive work. It’s so much harder to do it this way, but represents a desire to not just legalize, but partially make up for the decades of damage from marijuana prohibition.

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Weed the People

New York Daily News editorial today: End the war on pot: We welcome the push to legalize and regulate marijuana

After many decades of treating as a crime the personal possession and use of a drug that is a negligible threat to public safety, New York is awakening to the folly of — and racial disparities widened by — its approach.

We are part of this awakening, which is why we welcome the push to legalize and regulate marijuana. By every honest measure, the substance has more in common with alcohol and tobacco than it does harder drugs that are rightly illegal.

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Playing flamingo

I’ve been away from the couch for a bit, as I somehow managed to significantly pulverize the bones in my left leg just from falling off a bicycle. I’m home now, trying to figure out how to do everything in a wheelchair with an extended leg brace (the only other option is standing on one leg).

For those interested in the details of my little adventure, I have written a story in the form of a letter to my Aunt Betty:

A little tale of a bicycle… trip

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