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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 10/30/11

Toke Up The Revolution: Why Marijuana Is An Anarchist Weapon

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Want to take direct action against the government, light up a joint. Nothing seems to quite get government officials, politicians, prison corporations (and the small towns they're in) and a whole lot of people up on their high horse like pot, marijuana, weed. The syndrome is so severe and the symptoms of self-righteousness so acute that reason and logic totally desert folks who otherwise have some measure of common sense. Why?


Quite simply, it undermines the legitimacy of the whole system. The reason of course is there is no other substance that shears the control of the oppressive tentacles of god, state and capital like pot. For many users it frees the mind from everyday stress and liberates their creative thought processes. It is a treatment for glaucoma, is said to help those with ADHD to focus, relieve Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, nausea and is a good pain reliever, with less mental impact then a couple of beers on the average person. It's also well, just good; especially with a plate of brownies and a glass of milk.


Reefer Madness

Drugs are dangerous. In 2009 drugs killed 37,484 people, suicide 36,500, car accidents 36,284, firearms 31,228, falls 24,834, and murder 16,591. So drugs killed a lot of people but of those who died of a drug induced death, only one in five was from an illegal drug, the rest were prescription and non-proscription pharmaceuticals. That means approximately 7500 people died of illegal drug use, the majority from cocaine, heroin and amphetamines. To put this number in perspective it is only 31% of the number of people who died of direct alcohol induced deaths which doesn't included car accidents, suicides or other causes of death related to alcohol abuse. Even that pales in the light of the 450,000 annual deaths from smoking a legal product, tobacco.


What is even further disturbing about this is that the death rate from illegal drugs in this country is 1800% higher per 100,000 population than in drug liberal Netherlands. The reason is that by regulating drugs instead of banning them to the black market, they are safer, consistent in quality and pose much less of a health threat to the user. Treating drugs like cocaine and heroin as medical issues needing treatment has worked well in other countries that tend to have lower addiction rates without all the drama and expenditures our government insists on. Current policy certainly is not a success. Despite the expenditure of $54 billion dollars this year on drug interdiction, incarceration and court costs the U.S. still has the highest cocaine use rate of any country in the world.


Let's look closely at the biggest drug problem, 90% by most accounts is marijuana use, just how many deaths did it cause? Zero, that's right ZERO. So why is it a threat to the government? Why spend more than the GDP of Costa Rica each year on the "failed war on drugs"? Why incarcerate one quarter of all of the world's prisoners, adding two million to the system for drug related offenses since 1980? Why pour millions in arms and military training into foreign countries "to fight drugs"?


In June of this year the Global Commission on Drug Policy issued a damning report. The U.S. representatives (hardly liberal) Paul Volcker, former Fed Chairman and George P. Schulz who was in the cabinets of both Presidents Nixon and Reagan and is credited with bringing peace to Ireland supported the report. The report declared the "war on drugs has failed, with devastating consequences for individuals and societies around the world." The report went on to say, "Political leaders and public figures should have the courage to articulate publicly what many of them acknowledge privately: that the evidence overwhelmingly demonstrates that repressive strategies will not solve the drug problem, and that the war on drugs has not, and cannot, be won,"


The Obama administration responded that, "Legalization remains a non-starter""



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John Kelley is the Managing Editor of a monthly progressive newsmagazine, "We the People News", in Corpus Christi, Texas
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