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"Prohibition...goes beyond the bounds of reason in that it attempts to control a man's appetite by legislation and makes a crime out of things that are not crimes. A prohibition law strikes a blow at the very principles upon which our government was founded."   -- this "quote" refuting the value of alcohol prohibition, attributed to US President Abraham Lincoln, circa December 1840, probably was not authored by him, but it still makes sense and supports the rights of privacy between doctors and patients, and rights to the pursuit of happiness by users of a relatively harmless herb, and growers of a useful fiber. Like the Volstead Act, the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937, which went much further than a mere tax, was purported to be for the protection of society and individuals, especially young people. In reality, it was a calculated effort to stir up racial hatred of Mexicans and blacks at a time when new styles of music were leading whites to begin mixing with with non-whites, capitalize on profits available from enforcement of penalties and subsequent incarceration of drug offenders; and to stir up racial hatred; and by banning hemp growing as well, elimination of competitive alternatives to cotton, liquor, and pharmaceuticals by corporations who make large contributions to political campaigns to keep it illegal.

Interview with Toby Keith describing inspiration for song (above)

Still Smokin' -- Legalization Movement News

The Drug War Goes Up in Smoke

August 18, 2003 -- The war on terror may be too new to declare victory or defeat. But this nation has been fighting a war on drugs for more than a quarter-century, ever since New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller mandated harsh drug sentencing in 1973 -- and it may be time to announce that this is one war we've lost. More than a million people are serving time in our prisons and jails for nonviolent offenses, most drug-related, at a cost to the public of some $9.4 billion a year. Many billions more are spent by the states and the federal government on drug interdiction, drug-law enforcement and drug prosecutions. Harsh laws that require lengthy minimum sentences for the possession of even small amounts of drugs have created a boom in the incarceration of women, tearing mothers away from their children. Much of the country's costly foreign-policy commitments -- especially in Latin America and the Caribbean -- are determined by drug-war priorities. And yet drug use has actually soared, with twice as many teenagers reporting illegal drug use in 2000 as in 1992.

The idea of putting more and more Americans in prison, a great number of them for crimes related to drug addiction, grew out of "broken windows" social theories developed by criminologists such as James Q. Wilson in the 1970s. Wilson and his acolytes believed that unless police and the courts aggressively cracked down on crime, the social compact would degenerate into anarchy. They argued that even nonviolent offenses, such as breaking windows or possessing small amounts of marijuana, contributed to an anything-goes climate in which more serious crimes would proliferate. By the 1980s, these theories had entered the political mainstream, allowing Presidents Reagan, Bush, Clinton and now George W. Bush to score political points by denouncing addicts and appearing tough on crime all at the same time. Though politicians may have embraced this framework because it sold well to voters, its implications for the nation's health have been extreme. The drug war exiled addiction from the realm of public health, placing it almost exclusively in the hands of law enforcement and the courts.

At the philosophical core of this war on drugs, as fought by the likes of Bush Sr.'s drug czar, Bill Bennett, are twin ideas: Drug use is a moral wrong in itself, and drug use makes people more likely to commit a host of other crimes, from prostitution to burglary to murder. To fight drugs, the drug warriors have insisted, it isn't enough to go after the narco-kingpins; government agencies and courts must disrupt the drug supply-and-demand by prosecuting, and imprisoning, increasing numbers of low-level street dealers, even users themselves.

In the past few years, however, these policies have come under attack from surprising quarters. Opponents range from public health activists to libertarian-minded political figures such as former Secretary of State George Shultz. On the one hand, the critics have argued, these policies have failed to make progress toward a drug-free America. On the other, the war has proved to be too expensive to sustain. In an era of shrinking state resources, legislators have come to understand that budgets cannot be balanced, and needed social programs cannot be maintained, unless the country's bloated prison system is shrunk back down to a more realistic size. These two concerns have converged to create a window of opportunity for drug-policy reformers to push their case where it matters most: in the states.

But while state legislatures have opened up the financial and moral debates about drug policy at the local level, the federal government is having none of it. The most recent Bureau of Justice Statistics data show that the number of people charged with drug offenses in federal courts rose sharply, from 11,854 in 1984 to 29,306 in 1999. During roughly the same period, the amount of time a federal drug prisoner could expect to serve in prison more than doubled, from thirty months to sixty-six months.

On many issues, from gun ownership to environmental regulation, the Bush team has backed the conservative cause of states' rights. But the Administration has blocked even mild attempts at state drug-law reform and has challenged state reformers over issues such as medical marijuana and needle exchange. The Justice Department has fought medical marijuana laws in court and launched a massive PR campaign against pot use. It has even pursued federal prosecution of those who legally distribute medical marijuana under state laws. Attorney General John Ashcroft is "willing to push even the smallest cases," says David Fratello, political director of the Campaign for New Drug Policies. "We're seeing a new level of pettiness and aggression."

Clinton's drug czar, Gen. Barry McCaffrey, was criticized by drug policy reformers for his refusal to discuss legalization initiatives and his zeal for militarizing the drug wars overseas. But these advocates find Bush's czar, John Walters, to be even worse. Under Walters's reign, the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) has encouraged state prosecutors to go after medical marijuana providers, especially in California, and has driven underground virtually every medical-marijuana buyers' club in the country. It has held press conferences against citizens' reform initiatives. And it has sponsored extravagant advertising campaigns in state and local papers and on television stations--with $180 million earmarked for anti-marijuana ads alone -- that demonize teen drug use by linking it to terrorism.

In the 1980s and early '90s, faced with a growing crack epidemic and the attendant media reports of out-of-control drug gangs and waves of violent crime, the public threw its support behind extremely coercive anti-drug policies. Then the crime rates began falling and, gradually, public attitudes began to soften. High-profile research projections and a growing cadre of advocacy groups -- many, like the Lindesmith Center and the Drug Policy Foundation, funded by billionaire philanthropist George Soros -- encouraged this shift in attitudes by suggesting that treatment was more effective than prison at lowering both addiction and crime. A survey conducted by the Pew Research Center in 2001 found that fully 73 percent of Americans favored permitting medical marijuana prescriptions; 47 percent favored rolling back mandatory-minimum sentences for nonviolent drug offenders; and 52 percent believed drug use should be treated as a disease rather than a crime. Faced with this grassroots shift, local elected officials, too, began to re-examine the beliefs and theories underlying America's anti-drug strategy.

Ever since recession hit two years ago, these changes in thinking have been bolstered by fiscal realities. While the Bush Administration may think it can fight a war on terror and run an occupation of Iraq while also cutting taxes and continuing the drug-war imprisonment boom, states are dealing with a more bitter reality. They are realizing that their budgets, buffeted by declining tax revenues, simply can't support major domestic-security spending and, at the same time, continued high expenditures on drug-war policing and mass incarceration. With drug treatment cheaper than incarceration and increasingly viable in the court of public opinion, drug-law reform is gaining ground despite federal intransigence. More and more elected officials are beginning to conclude that it's time to bring home the troops in the war on drugs as we know it. "Treatment instead of incarceration across the whole country has become a political safe ground," New Mexico's former Governor Gary Johnson Says, "It could not have been said safely prior to three years ago. Now it's totally safe."
-- Excerpts from the full article by Sasha Abramsky in The Nation Magazine

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Decriminalizing marijuana still a contentious issue

December 26, 2003 TORONTO -- For a while it looked like we were poised to become Amsterdam West: cafes with patrons openly enjoying joints alongside lattes, activists toking up outside police stations with impunity, and government plans to make marijuana available to the chronically ill. -- archived at Criminal Minds

Marijuana Tax Stamp
Drug War Facts

Prohibition Again?

In 1933, drinking beer once again became legal in the United States.

According to the Denver Post, "...President Franklin Roosevelt announced happily as he signed the bill authorizing repeal, 'I think this would be a good time for a beer.'"

One pub in Boulder, Colorado marked the anniversary of "the end of tyranny" by serving 33-cent pints. Drinking beer with less than 3.2 percent alcohol content was legally -- and morally -- acceptable again.

Seventy years later, the Philadelphia Daily News warns that "the anti-alcohol forces are out there," and wonders: "Are we facing a return to Prohibition?"

A new report from the Center for Consumer Freedom answers that question in the affirmative, and details how the new temperance movement has been conceived, coordinated, and funded by the $9 billion Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF).

Follow the money, the report demonstrates, and you'll find that nearly every study disparaging adult beverages in the mass media, every legislative push to limit alcohol marketing or increase taxes, and every supposedly "grassroots" anti-alcohol organization leads back to Princeton, New Jersey, where RWJF is headquartered.  -- Edited and excerpted from The Center for Consumer Freedom's Special Report: The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Neo-Prohibitionist Agenda

Weeding Out the Genetics of Marijuana
Whether or not marijuana use by teens leads to other drug use has been debated for years. New research from Australia sheds light on this debate with a study of 311 sets of twins, including 136 sets of identical twins. Twin studies are particularly useful to researchers because they provide information on the genetics underlying behavior. This study rules out a strong genetic influence linking early marijuana use and later drug use.

Ask Congress to Pass the New Medical Marijuana Bill:

The Marijuana Policy Project is especially excited about this new bill, having played a major role in the development and drafting of it. The purpose of the bill -- which will be known as the Patients' and Providers' Truth in Trials Act or, simply, the Truth in Trials Act -- is to correct the most fundamental injustice associated with medical marijuana today: the arrest, prosecution, and imprisonment of patients and providers by the federal government. It accomplishes this by providing defendants with an affirmative defense to marijuana charges. By raising this affirmative defense, any defendant who is found to have been acting in compliance with state medical marijuana law could not be sent to federal prison.

Pending the outcome of the situation in Iraq, this bill will be formally introduced in Congress in a few weeks. Before that time, we hope to encourage a large number of members to sign on as original cosponsors. The more faxes each Congressperson receives, the more likely he or she will be to support the legislation.

Update: Police Endorse Nevada Initiative

The Nevada Conference of Police and Sheriffs (NCOPS), the state's largest law-enforcement organization, endorsed Question 9, an innovative marijuana initiative on the November ballot. NCOPS President Andy Anderson said last year's terrorist attacks, a rising violent crime rate, and slowing economy contributed to his organization's decision to support Question 9.

April has two days when many Americans, en masse, engage in something that's plainly illegal but is, they swear, OK to do anyway because everyone does it and it doesn't hurt a soul and it makes you feel just so very happy. The first of these days has already passed: April 15, tax day, when millions of Americans, according to the latest research, fail to pay billions in taxes. The other day is April 20 --  a day when thousands, if not millions, will "mow the grass." That's a polite way of saying that these folks get baked, blitzed, paggered, blazed, obliterated, perved, shmacked ... in other words, they get high, as 4/20 is recognized by many as "national smokers day.

Another Cannabis Drug Without the Buzz

An Israeli pharmaceutical company is working on a drug mimicking cannabis' chemical constituents -- cannabinoids -- to offer marijuana's therapeutic benefits without the buzz.

NIDA Newscan: Special Issue on Stress and Drug Abuse

Research shows that stress, in addition to the drug itself, plays a key role in perpetuating drug abuse and relapse.

DOJ's Dot-Narc Rave Strategy

"...five types of people should be targeted, including previous drug offenders, legalization advocates, anarchists and people promoting "an expanded freedom of expression" that pushes the boundaries of the First Amendment. "

NORML: The National Organization
cannabis indica afghani
for the Reform of Marijuana Laws

Down on the Farm: The Twilight of Hippiedom
Let me tell you a different story about Stephen Gaskin's Farm, the largest hippie commune in America.

Marijuana Information: At the NIDA -
What Your Child Should Know About Drugs
the National Institute on Drug Abuse website.

Put this in your pipe and smoke it at your own risk: Terrorists could poison drug supplies and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration probably can't do anything about it. Politicos have warned that dirt-cheap, high-potency heroin will soon flood world markets and cause an epidemic of overdoses in the wake of the Taliban evacuating opium supplies before the first bombs hit Afghan soil. But this is just the tip of the iceberg.

DEA Launches Exhibit Proclaiming Drugs = Terror
But Has The 'War On Drugs' Caused More Casualties Than Good?

Last September 10 -- in time for the one year anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon -- the DEA's Arlington, Virginia-based Museum & Visitor's Center presented a new exhibit called "Target America: Traffickers, Terrorists & You."

Healthy Hemp in Hot Peril

The hemp plant can be used to make products including biodegradable carpet, clothing, paper, and oil for both cooking and fuel. Advocates say hemp is a more sustainable plant than cotton or soy, and can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. 

Getting the FDA Hooked on Ecstasy

"I've recently realized how great marijuana goes with reading Harry Potter bedtime stories," said (Rick) Doblin, who has three children, ages 6, 5 and 3."

Herbie the Happy Hempster
"Only users lose Dope."

"Let's lay around the shanty Mama, and get a good buzz on!" -- From The Friday Song, played in celebration each and every Friday at 5:00 PM by Dave Kane on Rochester's WCMF Radio, New York, USA.

"Reefer Madness"?

"Reefer Madness"
Hemp TV: Clip of "Reefer Madness" (1938)
The Ultimate in Drug War Propaganda

Since 9/11, in the guise of fighting terrorism, the Bush administration has refueled America's War on Drugs with the zeal of patriotism.  The message is clear, but as misguided as Nancy Reagan's "Just Say No" campaign was ineffective with  to teenagers:  "If you do drugs, you are supporting terrorists."

There is a commercial campaign airing on American TV in which teens talk about one violent action after another, shrugging them off with -- "Hey, I was just having fun." -- "It doesnt hurt anybody." -- "Just harmless fun." -- and so on.  After analysis, this commercial was not found to have any impact on reducing the use of drugs by teens.  But they're not giving up.

I don't have a single good thing to say about heroin, cocaine, or other addictive and life-sucking drugs that third world countries depend on for their livelihood. Drugs have been used as a tool of undermining the strength of targeted populations, making them unable to put up resistance to exploitation or oppression.  Two examples are the introduction of opium to the East by the British Empire, and the introduction of heroin to black ghettos by American law enforcement in order to undermine the Black Panther Party.  But where is the connection between hemp and marijuana with these addictive and admittedly harmful drugs?

The effects of marijuana use are so much less harmful and self-destructive than alcohol. Consuming too much alcohol can kill, smoking too much pot makes you go to sleep. Drinking is a depressant and often brings out angry, violent feelings in people. Pot is a mild hallucinogen that makes people feel euphoric and relaxed. It is true that marijuana contains more carcinogenic substances than tobacco, but if people smoked joints at the rate cigarettes are smoked, they'd pass out until they slept it off.  People have given themselves irreversible brain damage or worse from sniffing glue and "huffing" and those products are available to any buyer at grocery stores. 

Except for those with certain health conditions or those taking other medications which might have adverse interactions with it, smoking pot --- in moderation, on weekends or on special occasions, to boost creativity, to unwind after a stressful day --- is certainly no worse than having a beer or a cocktail, and much less detrimental to health than smoking tobacco at the typical user's rate. For some health conditions, medical marijuana has proven to be very helpful as part of successful treatment. Some foreign countries and some states in the U.S. have legalized medical marijuana already.  When will it be legal to purchase reefer for personal consumption just as you can purchase alcohol, tobacco, and over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and food supplements?

Mary Jane has come a long way from the '30s when "Reefer Madness" was released.  One reason its use was stigmatized was its association with blacks.  "No respectable white person would smoke reefer!" was the accepted thinking, just as they would never listen to that horrible jazz music that got people dancing in such outrageously explicit sexual displays.  If white women smoked marijuana, they would surely lose themselves to moral abandon or worse yet, if white youths smoked reefer, they would be associating with black predators. and this could not be allowed.

Times have changed.  Getting high has been a gag in so many movies and television programs that many celebrities and even those holding public office have admitted to smoking weed. Hardly surprising, since many of those same baby-boomers that were active in the rebellion against Jim Crow laws, the draft, subjugation of women, and other issues of the 50s and 60s are now holding those offices and heading corporations. Some of them still smoke; others are sympathetic to those who do.

But how will the right to possess, sell, or even grow marijuana for medical, spiritual, or recreational purposes become uniformly legalized in the United States unless there is a groundswell of activism by the American people?  There is simply too much money to be made by keeping it illegal!  As gangsters saw it would be bad for business when the Prohibition Act was repealed, so it is for those getting rich off of illegal marijuana: there's no incentive for those who are making money now to see marijuana use legalized.

Every year, anti-marijuana law enforcement and legal processing and incarceration of marijuana-related Drug War "criminals" costs taxpayer dollars; deprives otherwise upstanding people of their good names, freedom, and property; and destroys families.  Every weekend, otherwise law-abiding citizens purchase herb and put themselves at risk of becoming victim to drug-related crime or obtaining an unknown and potentially contaminated product. 

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