Sunday, April 25, 2004

Peace with Pot 

Thanks to David for pointing out an excellent, short and sweet editorial on marijuana in the NY Times from Eric Schlosser...author of Reefer Madness and Fastfood Nation.

The article is well written and does the best job of emphasizing the ridiculousness of the war on pot as any I've ever read, and I've read a few (thousand). The focus on the approaches of other governments is important to have, but doesn't convince many Americans who are convinced that how we do things is the best way no matter how retarded, so I'll skip over that as I quote the good stuff.

First, he recognizes the ridiculousness of a War on Drugs in a country that allows proactive advertising of...well...drugs:

This year the White House's national antidrug media campaign will spend $170 million, working closely with the nonprofit Partnership for a Drug-Free America. The idea of a "drug-free America" may seem appealing. But it's hard to believe that anyone seriously hopes to achieve that goal in a nation where millions of children are routinely given Ritalin, antidepressants are prescribed to cure shyness, and the pharmaceutical industry aggressively promotes pills to help middle-aged men have sex.

This is beyond obvious to me at this point, but there are those who don't understand how fundamentally flawed the reasoning behind this strange set of affairs really is, and Eric points it out with clarity and simplicity.

Then Schlosser puts pot in perspective in two short paragraphs:

More than 16,000 Americans die every year after taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like aspirin and ibuprofen. No one in Congress, however, has called for an all-out war on Advil. Perhaps the most dangerous drug widely consumed in the United States is the one that I use three or four times a week: alcohol. It is literally poisonous; you can die after drinking too much. It is directly linked to about one-quarter of the suicides in the United States, almost half the violent crime and two-thirds of domestic abuse. And the level of alcohol use among the young far exceeds the use of marijuana. According to the Justice Department, American children aged 11 to 13 are four times more likely to drink alcohol than to smoke pot.

None of this should play down the seriousness of marijuana use. It is a powerful, mind-altering drug. It should not be smoked by young people, schizophrenics, pregnant women and people with heart conditions. But it is remarkably nontoxic. In more than 5,000 years of recorded use, there is no verified case of anybody dying of an overdose. Indeed, no fatal dose has ever been established.

Makes you wonder doesn't it...

Then he tops it off with the editorial part of his editorial:

The current war on marijuana is a monumental waste of money and a source of pointless misery. America's drug warriors, much like its marijuana smokers, seem under the spell of a powerful intoxicant. They are not thinking clearly.

I get what he's saying except the part about drug warriors being like pot smokers. I think he could've done without that comparison because there isn't any. Most pot smokers are rational people who understand what they are doing. Drug warriors are not.

I know a guy who smokes pot and he makes intelligent decisions all the time. All the drug warriors I know are confused people who, at least on this one issue, fuck up repeatedly and can't seem to get fact and fiction separated in their minds. Now THAT'S something to worry about. The only other explanation I can think of is that they are wholly owned subsidiaries of large pharmaceutical, tobacco, or alcohol companies. Either way they ought to be removed from our government regardless of what letter appears after their name (and it's definitely a bipartisan bunch).

Read the article. It's short and you might learn something. My friend who smokes pot thought it was great, too.


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