As the debate about our drug war goes mainstream, it’s time to start asking some serious questions…


Public outrage against the current drug war (specifically cannabis prohibition) continues to be felt by Kellogg Co.  after the Michael Phelps scandal, and the press has taken notice.  And many, it would seem, have finally sided with the far more progressive public sentiment. Try typing “Phelps marijuana” into Google’s news search engine if you are skeptical, or check out the following article:

Arrests in Michael Phelps marijuana case unconfirmed, but outrage at Kellogg Co. is plain

Phelps has once again shown that cannabis users can be healthy and successful, becoming a catalyst for a movement already well underway. Our economic crisis has already provided plenty of fuel for those advocating change (unfortunately unlike our new Pres.)  The overwhelming support of Phelps and condemnation of Kellogg Co. has been like icing on the cake, but will it finally be enough to put an end to this atrocity?  Or is our current government even capable of such a fundamental shift away from its bedrock of corruption?  Let’s hope not.

On Feb. 4 of this year, a professor of political science and international affairs at the George Washington University testified before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere. Cynthia McClintock, who is also a Foreign Policy in Focus contributor, had the following to say about the subject of drug control:

“U.S. drug-control policy has failed. Despite recent annual expenditure of about $20 billion on domestic law enforcement and supply reduction, U.S. drug use hasn’t declined significantly since the early 1990s and the price of cocaine has fallen. In part due to draconian drug laws, the U.S. has the highest incarceration rate in the world. Under the program Plan Colombia, more than $6 billion was spent with the stated goal of cutting coca cultivation in Colombia (the major producer) by 50% from 2000 to 2006, but in fact coca cultivation rose slightly. In the Andean region as a whole, coca cultivation in 2007 was at a 20-year high. Not only has U.S. policy failed to achieve its objectives, but the methods used to try to reduce supply — in particular, aerial fumigation — endangers and alienates nearby communities.

What should be done? Top Democratic Party analysts agree on several important recommendations, including this one: the United States should try to stop arms smuggling from this country to the region. About 2,000 guns cross the border every day and they constitute roughly 90% of the guns used by Mexico’s drug traffickers. In particular, the United States should ratify both the UN protocol against illegal firearms and the Inter-American convention against firearms. There is also consensus that chronic use should be considered a public health, not a criminal, problem, and that drug courts and drug treatment programs should be expanded. (The cost of incarceration for one year is about $34,000, versus $3,300 for one year of substance abuse treatment.)”

The full article can be found here.

With over 7,000 drug war-related deaths in Mexico since January 2007, it’s no surprise that our failed drug prohibition is the subject of foreign policy discussions.  What may seem shocking to many is the following statement:  “There is also a consensus that chronic use should be considered a public health, not a criminal problem…”  These are the top Democratic Party analysts we’re talking about, and the amount of money which could be saved is staggering–meaning they have a whole lot of incentive to implement change.

Since 2002, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (www.leap.cc) has been advocating precisely the message that drugs should be a health concern, not a crime.  Thankfully, that message has finally gotten to those who have the power to do something about it–and through a source that they cannot simply ignore.  Sadly, Mexico’s Drug War has already become such a vast topic that the Los Angeles Times has devoted an entire web page to its coverage: ‘Mexico Under Seige’.

Currently on the site there is speculation that Mexico has become a ‘failed state’, an article about a man who claims to have dissolved over 300 people and, along with a database full of bad news, a headline named “Phoenix, kidnap-for-ransom capital.” However, the only logical and rational solution to this growing crisis–ending prohibition in the U.S. and abroad–is a topic seldom broached by the L.A. Times or most other major publications. Even as three former Latin American leaders have formed a commission which asking Obama to end the hideous war, most media outlets continue to ignore reality.

There are a substantial number of widely distributed and reputable newspapers which have published editorials declaring that the War on Drugs has failed. Demanding accountability from our elected officials has, sadly, been a very different story. Despite countless studies which have proven cannabis safer than either alcohol or tobacco, there is a deeply ingrained (and heavily reinforced) stigma which makes an open, honest debate nearly impossible. Or maybe it’s just that people are naturally afraid of change, even when they’ve proven to themselves that it’s beneficial.

Could it be that our Senators, Representatives and newly-elected President are simply afraid to take their medicine–or rather, smoke it?! Obama is certainly not the only elected official ever to partake, but why are they so afraid to send the message to their children that it’s better to learn from your mistakes than to ignore or exacerbate them? Why in the world would you want to teach children that heroin is anything like cannabis? Are you deliberately trying to create a “gateway drug” out of one of the safest medicines known to man? (yes, cannabis; despite the official lies we all know so well.)

When so many of your friends and constituents are employed by this (failed) system, it might be tough to see things this way–and, therein lies the heart of our problem. Eisenhower warned us about the dangers of a Military-industrial complex in the sixties, as did the author Aldous Huxley and many others. Noam Chomsky now offers the proof that this insidious creature is an ever-growing reality, which has also spawned and helped to nurture our wonderful new Prison-industrial complex. Instead of investing in renewable energy or domestic manufacturing, we continually dump billions upon billions into a system well all know does not work.

If Obama and friends want to get us out of this mess then they should concentrate on fixing the problems we already have, instead of creating more by printing money for their biggest supporters. But if the media corporations are also tied to those supporters then how do “we, the people” demand accountability?  And if we can’t trust the government or media to tell us what’s going on, then how do we figure it out?

What if drugs are not necessarily evil?

It’s been well over a decade since Terence McKenna published his theory that magic mushrooms played a part in the history (and future) of human evolution. He gave thousands of lectures, published a handful of books and captivated an audience which continues growing to this day. Thanks to the internet his ideas have spread like wildfire, but to this author’s knowledge (please correct me if I”m wrong) no one attached to the government has attempted to prove his theories incorrect. Like endless studies proving that cannabis and other naturally occurring entheogens are far safer and more useful than pharmaceutical concoctions, the questions and theories proposed by McKenna have simply been ignored. A study at Johns Hopkins University concluded in 2006 with extremely positive results and earned limited press attention, but discussion of what this means about our laws or our gods was not exactly encouraged by the L.A. Times and the Drug Czar.

There are now rumors that Obama will appoint the Seattle Police Chief as the next Drug Czar, leading to speculation that marijuana prohibition may actually end–but does this mean that our elected officials are now willing to listen to what scientific researchers have documented? Dr. Rick Strassman conducted research on dimethaltriptamine (DMT) in the nineties, performing the first government-approved clinical testing of a schedule I drug in decades. Thanks in no small part to his efforts, this field of research is now in full swing.   Strassman has recently published his second book, in which he and his well-respected co-authors discuss Inner Paths to Outer Space: Journeys to Alien Worlds through Psychedelics and Other Spiritual Technologies.

Our new president said in his inaugural address that he wants to”restore science to its rightful place and wield technology’s wonders to raise health care’s quality and lower its cost.” Given the huge potential that ayahuasca tea has in addiction therapy, would it not be in our collective best interest to help this research in any way possible? That is precisely the goal being championed by the Cottonwood Research Foundation (founded in part by Dr. Strassman).  But when the good doctor explains to our elected officials that the DMT-containing tea grants one access to a new dimension, how will they react?  Given our current education system, how could they express anything other than shock and disbelief?  Yet, in many professional circles these mind-boggling facts are well established.  Frankly, I’d be quite interested to hear what any government official (or anybody else, for that matter) has to say about the below excerpt from a website called the gaian mind:

“Now, why it is that when we dose ourselves with a human neurotransmitter like DMT, why we then encounter armies of elves teaching us a perfected form of communication, this is a very difficult question. When you go to traditional cultures, shamanistic cultures in the Amazon and put this question to them, they answer without hesitation when you ask about these small entities, they say “Oh, yes, those are the ancestors, those are the ancestor spirits with which we work all of our magic.” This is worldwide and traditionally the answer that you would get from shamans if you were to ask them how they do their magic – it’s through the intercession of the helping spirit who is a creature in another dimension. Well, we may have imagined many different scenarios, a future technological and social innovation, but I think very few of us have imagined the possibility that the real programme of shamanism would have to be taken seriously, and that shamans are actually people who have learned to penetrate into another dimension, a dimension where, for want of a better word, we would have to say the souls of the ancestors are somehow present. It isn’t, you see, as though we penetrate into the realm of the dead, it’s more as though we discover that this world is the realm of the dead and that there is a kind of higher-dimensional world with greater degrees of freedom, with a greater sense of spontaneity and a lesser dependency on the entropic world of matter, and that that other universe is attempting to impinge into our own, perhaps to rescue us from our historical dilemma, we don’t know – perhaps shamans have always had commerce with these magical invisible worlds and it’s only the sad fate of Western human beings to have lost touch and awareness with this domain to the point where it comes to us as a kind of a revelation. You see, I believe that the whole fall into history, the whole rise of male dominance and patriarchy really can be traced to a broken connection with the living world of the Gaian mind, and there’s nothing airy-fairy about this notion; the living world of the Gaian mind is what shamans access through psychoactive plants, and without psychoactive plants that access comes as an unconfirmable rumour.” —Terence McKenna

There is little doubt among scholars that humans have been using psychoactive plants for spiritual purposes for a very long time, but in western society we have convinced ourselves that this is uncivilized.  Meth junkies, crack fiends and alcoholics are an accepted part of life while a tangible form of spirituality is deemed evil.  If we are to have any chance of creating a sustainable society and regaining our self-respect, ackowledging that drug prohibition does not work is essential.  The watershed effect this will have may even help catapult us to new heights previously undreamed of.  The alternative, however,  is a growing number of crises with the same underlying cause–and no American Hemp Industry to save us.

The U.N. is holding a drug summit in Vienna next month, and reportedly there is a Rift with EU as US sticks to Bush line on ‘war on drugs’.  According to the article:

“Drugs policy experts expressed concern at the stalemate. “It is troubling that, despite clear global evidence of the effectiveness of harm reduction in reducing HIV and its acceptance in every other UN body, that the US is still resisting its inclusion,” said Mike Trace, chair of the International Drug Policy Consortium and former UK deputy drugs tsar. “We are sure the incoming administration will take a different view but they will have to move fast or this will be the position for the next 10 years.”

Ten more years of our failed drug war is beyond comprehension, and not just for those living near the U.S.-Mexico border.  Every facet of our society is affected by the racially-motivated and morally corrupt drug laws of the twentieth century.  The sooner that Congress and the Obama Administration embrace this, the beffer off we will all be.  Please do your own research and come to your own conclusions on this subject, and if you want change then take the time to Write Your Representative or call your local news provider.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: