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Reefer Madness


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It has nothing to do with getting high. In reality, Canada’s drug policy is written in Washington and has everything to do with socially conservative political manipulation, and money. It is little more than controlling, intimidating and marginalizing otherwise respectable and law-abiding citizens and infringing on the basic freedoms and rights of the general population.

Until 1906, marijuana and hemp was cultivated for the production of clothing, sails, ropes and medicine.
There was nothing illegal about it, but it did cut into the profits of rich white people. William Randolph Hearst had significant interests in the timber industry, which manufactured newsprint for his many newspapers, something that hemp had been used for until then.

DuPont had also patented a process that converted fossil fuels into plastics, something that hemp-seed oil had been used for until then.

After losing nearly a million acres of prime timberland to Pancho Villa, Hearst engaged in a campaign that portrayed Mexican immigrants as violent, lazy, degenerate, job-stealing pot smokers. The money behind DuPont, Andrew Mellon, was also Herbert Hoover’s Treasury Secretary. He appointed the US’s first Drug Czar, Harry Anslinger who proceeded to demonize marijuana by employing such rhetoric as "Reefer makes darkies think they're as good as white men … Marijuana leads to pacifism and communist brainwashing ... the primary reason to outlaw marijuana is its effect on the degenerate races …This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes."

Not much has changed.

Drug laws based on this fear-mongering propaganda and racist yellow-journalism are still enforced today. Instead of addressing the world’s largest demand for narcotics in its own backyard, the US amerrogantly sends the DEA into developing countries to eradicate the coca crops of Bolivia and opium fields of Thailand and Afghanistan, destroying the livelihoods of farmers who have grown these crops for centuries longer than the US has existed.

Of course, Canada’s current batch of “leaders” continues to do the bidding of American petrochemical companies and backward-thinking scaredy-cats that have come up with their own rationalized justifications.

Let’s explore two of these myths: that marijuana is a “gateway drug” for more destructive substance abuse, and that criminals use the profits from pot sales for purchasing guns and cocaine. It would be difficult to find a politician insensitive enough to deny the use of medicinal marijuana to cancer-patients undergoing chemotherapy. If marijuana is a “gateway drug,” why aren’t these people getting hooked on heroin and crack? If they aren’t jumping through the “gateway,” why would anyone else?

Undeniably, criminals are buying guns and cocaine with the profits from marijuana sales. Pot is as guaranteed a commodity market as anyone could find. It’s the same thing Prohibition did for Capone and his friends. However, if pot were controlled in the same way as alcohol and tobacco, the government would be making the profits and the criminals would lose their most lucrative means to carry out real crimes. Marijuana laws fuel organized crime.

In 2003, Nanaimo-Alberni MP James Lunney introduced Bill C-420 that would “place natural health products under a food directorate, rather than as a subclass of drugs.” He also recently commented that “our government has no intention to decriminalize marijuana”

The irony extends beyond the name of the bill. Last I heard cannabis and hemp could be grown naturally. And, if marijuana isn’t a health product, why does Health Canada grant access to marijuana for medical use? It seems Mr. Lunney is advocating declassifying pot as a drug. Perhaps he is more progressive than I may have imagined, despite the Conservatives dropping the term from their name.

Nonetheless, here we are today, bowing to the Bush administration by extraditing Marc Emery to be prosecuted under the US’s archaic and draconian laws. At the same time, we won’t kick up too much of a fuss about the US executing one of our own citizens. Meanwhile, handguns remain legal in Canada.

Where, oh where, are our priorities and sovereignty?

If we were to decriminalize pot and treat it the way we do alcohol and tobacco, imagine the money taxpayers would save by collecting the taxes and diverting resources from law enforcement and correctional facilities towards truly pressing matters such as health care and education.

What nonsense to criminalize something that God has seen fit to plant on His green earth! It is the chemicals used to process opium into heroin, or coca into cocaine, that should be illegal rather than naturally occurring plants.

I wonder what DuPont would say about that. Because it’s all about money and has nothing to do with getting high.

Source: Westcoast News
Copyright: 2008 Westcoast News
COntact : Westcoaster.ca - News - Columnists - Reefer Madness
Website: Westcoaster.ca - Westcoast News for Port Alberni, Tofino and Ucluelet
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