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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13 Responses to Drug War Propaganda Targets Democracy

  1. Vivian Eastbound says:

    Nice, thanks!

  2. DdC says:

    Ya it do…

    Rep. Doug Lamborn

    What has marijuana legalization meant for our state?
    Recent reports show:

    – Black market explosion
    – Zero tax revenue gains
    – Uncontrolled production
    – No decreases in alcohol use

    It’s high time we took a breath from marijuana commercialization
    https://dpo.st/2OUxTkb via @denverpost

    A bipartisan group of 15 members of Congress sent a letter demanding that U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and the Drug Enforcement Administration stop stalling on licenses to grow marijuana for research:

    “Congress will act if the Administration does not.”

    California Gov. Jerry Brown (D), who has frequently been hostile to marijuana policy reform, is ending his long political career by vetoing several cannabis and drug-related bills, including proposals to authorize free medicine giveaways to low-income patients, allow safe injection sites, let children access medical cannabis at schools and provide for standard tax deductions for marijuana businesses.

  3. kaptinemo says:

    They aren’t all idiots. By no means. I got a response back from my Senator in DC:

    “Dear Mr. XXXXXXXXXX’

    Thank you for taking the time to contact me about marijuana laws. I appreciate hearing from you.

    Marijuana is currently classified as a Schedule I drug under federal law. As such, it is not legally recognized as having any acceptable use, and it is a federal crime to possess or distribute marijuana for any purpose. However, a growing number of states, including Pennsylvania, have passed laws legalizing marijuana for medicinal or recreational purposes. Several additional states have legislation to this effect currently pending. I support rescheduling marijuana from Schedule I to Schedule II. Doing so will better reflect the level of risk associated with the use of marijuana while allowing for further research into marijuana’s potential as a medical treatment.

    Some have expressed concern regarding how state laws interact with existing federal law. In August of 2013, the Department of Justice declared that federal enforcement priorities did not include large, legal operations in states that have legalized medical or recreational marijuana, provided that the states have in place a “strong and effective regulatory and enforcement system.” In January 2018, however, Attorney General Jeff Sessions rescinded this guidance, giving federal prosecutors more discretion to target marijuana-related operations that are legal under state law.

    I am concerned about the Attorney General’s decision, which appears to be based on an inaccurate assessment of the dangers posed by marijuana, particularly in comparison to other, more lethal drugs that are ravaging our communities. As recently as March 2017, Attorney General Sessions said in prepared remarks to a gathering of law enforcement officials that marijuana is “only slightly less awful” than heroin. This stands in contrast to the facts: according to the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), there have been zero deaths due to marijuana overdoses, while almost half of the 4,624 fatal drug overdoses in Pennsylvania involved heroin in 2016 alone. We should be informed about the risks associated with all illegal drugs, but it is essential that science inform our policies and that the federal government target resources to interdict truly dangerous substances in order to effectively combat the opioid epidemic currently affecting so many communities.

    On June 15, 2017, Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey introduced S. 1374, the Compassionate Access, Research Expansion, and Respect States (CARERS) Act. This legislation would prevent federal prohibitions on marijuana from being enforced against individuals growing, distributing or using marijuana for medical purposes in compliance with state law. It would also allow states to import certain strains of cannabinoid oil, expand opportunities for research and permit Veterans Administration doctors to prescribe medical marijuana to veterans. The CARERS Act has been referred to the Judiciary Committee, of which I am not a member.

    Many other pieces of legislation have been introduced on this subject as well. On February 7, 2017, Representative Dana Rohrabacher introduced H.R. 975, the Respect State Marijuana Laws Act, which would allow states to regulate marijuana for medical and recreational purposes. On January 27, 2017, Representative Morgan Griffith introduced H.R. 715, the Compassionate Access Act, which calls for the Secretary of Health and Human Services to aid the DEA in rescheduling marijuana and would enable states to regulate marijuana for medical use. Senator Booker has also introduced S. 1689, the Marijuana Justice Act, which would remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act, a change that would apply retroactively so that federal convictions for marijuana use or possession would be expunged and individuals currently serving time for such offenses could petition for resentencing. The bill would also create a “community reinvestment fund” to support programs such as job training, reentry services and health education programs. I will continue to study these bills and any other proposals to change marijuana laws.

    The well-being of my constituents is my highest priority. Anything that has the potential to ameliorate the symptoms and increase the comfort of individuals with debilitating and chronic diseases should be given thoughtful consideration. I am looking at this issue very carefully and evaluating available science surrounding the matter. Please be assured that should legislation related to marijuana regulation come before the Senate for consideration, I will keep your views in mind.

    Again, thank you for sharing your thoughts with me. Please do not hesitate to contact me in the future about this or any other matter of importance to you.

    For more information on this or any other issues, I encourage you to visit my website, http://casey.senate.gov. I hope you will find this online office a comprehensive resource to stay up-to-date on my work in Washington, request assistance from my office or share with me your thoughts on issues that matter most to you and to Pennsylvania.


    Bob Casey

    United States Senator

  4. DdC says:

    Marijuana Legislation Tracking
    Now tracking more than 800 bills for 2018 legislative sessions

    H.R.715 – Compassionate Access Act
    The U.S. House bill to reschedule cannabis and remove CBD from the definition of marijuana got one new cosponsor, for a total of four.

    H.R.714 – LUMMA
    The U.S. House bill to put marijuana in Schedule II and respect state medical cannabis laws got one new cosponsor, for a total of two.

    Prohibitionist group National Families in Action announced that Mahmoud A. Elsohly, who directs the University of Mississippi’s marijuana farm, joined its science advisory board.

    Here’s a look at the finances of prohibitionist organization Smart Approaches to Marijuana.

    Vote Medical Marijuana
    The 2018 midterm elections have the possibility to permanently change the federal government’s stance on medical cannabis.

  5. WalStMonky says:

    In 2014 Oklahoma joined Nebraska in petitioning the SCOTUS to strike down Colorado’s regulated re-legalization laws implemented as a result of voters approving Amendment 64 on Election Day 2012 as preempted by Federal law. As we all know the SCOTUS told them to get lost.

    In October of 2018 we get to learn how precious the Oklahoma citizenry considers their guns.

    Gun Seizure Workaround High on Priority List for Medical Marijuana Working Group Co-Chair

    “The federal government has issued a memorandum that says if you have a medical marijuana card, they can seize your guns. I have every intention — and I bet I’ll be joined by every member of this committee — to pass a bill next year that says, ‘Law enforcement officers for the state of Oklahoma, don’t enforce that,'” said Rep. Jon Echols, a working group co-chair.

  6. DdC says:

    Colorado’s U.S. attorney spoke to the Associated Press about his marijuana enforcement views:

    “If somebody is licensed by this state, should they feel at increased risk of federal prosecution now? Yes. They should. We do a public safety analysis, not an analysis of whether someone has a piece of paper from the state… You can do plenty of harm to the community and still be in compliance with state law because those laws have a lot of loopholes and they’re very permissive.”

    ☛ Separately, the federal prosecutor was announced as a keynote speaker for a summit being hosted by prohibitionist organization Smart Approaches to Marijuana in April. And in a TV interview, he gave examples of the kind of product manufacturers he might go after.

    ☛ The head of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration’s Colombia office is accused of directing drivers working for the U.S. Embassy “to procure sex workers.”

    ☛ California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom (D), a gubernatorial candidate, said he disagrees with incumbent Gov. Jerry Brown’s (D) veto of a bill to allow safe injection sites for illegal drug consumers.

    ☛ Monsanto & Bayer Are Maneuvering To Take Over The Cannabis Industry via @American Health News

    • Tony Aroma says:

      If Monsanto gets involved, it could be trouble for the industry and for consumers. After seeing how only CBD manufactured by one company was recently rescheduled, I wouldn’t be surprised if rescheduling proceeds company by company, rather than actually rescheduling the plant or any of its components. I could see Monsanto weed being schedule 5, and everything else remaining schedule 1.

  7. The mushroom dream of a ‘long-haired hippie’ could help save the world’s bees

    I had Monsanto on my mind when I ran into this article. You’ll never convince me that Glyphosate doesn’t contribute to colony collapse.

    Great possible solution from an unexpected source – a mushroom farmer.

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