Monday, October 18, 2010

Let's get a bit more honesty in the debate regarding the legalization of marijuana…

posted by Bill Arnett @ 1:44 PM Permalink

…I know everybody (almost) knows Richard Nixon, former president and staunch advocate for unlimited presidential power.

What not everyone knows is that Nixon, in 1971, commissioned a definitive report on the effects of marijuana on American troops. Even less known is that he hated the results of that study and suppressed them.

The exhaustive study found the following:
In 1971, President Nixon appointed Governor Raymond P. Shafer of Pennsylvania to chair a national commission to "report on the effects of marijuana and other drugs and recommend appropriate drug policies. Governor Shafer was a former prosecutor, who was known as a "law and order" governor.

The "Shafer" Commission conducted the most extensive and comprehensive examination of marijuana ever performed by the US government. More than 50 projects were funded, "ranging from a study of the effects of marihuana on man to a field survey of enforcement of the marihuana laws in six metropolitan jurisdictions . . ."

"Through formal and informal hearings, recorded in thousands of pages of transcripts, we solicited all points of view, including those of public officials, community leaders, professional experts and students. We commissioned a nationwide survey of public beliefs, information and experience . . . In addition, we conducted separate surveys of opinion among district attorneys, judges, probation officers, clinicians, university health officials and free clinic personnel."

Among the Commissions findings were:

"No significant physical, biochemical, or mental abnormalities could be attributed solely to their marihuana smoking."

"No verification is found of a causal relationship between marihuana use and subsequent heroin use."

"In sum, the weight of the evidence is that marihuana does not cause violent or aggressive behavior; if anything marihuana serves to inhibit the expression of such behavior."

"Neither the marihuana user nor the drug itself can be said to constitute a danger to public safety."

"Marihuana's relative potential for harm to the vast majority of individual users and its actual impact on society does not justify a social policy designed to seek out and firmly punish those who use it."
(emphasis added, Bill)

The Commission concluded that "society should seek to discourage use, while concentrating its attention on the prevention and treatment of heavy and very heavy use. The Commission feels that the criminalization of possession of marihuana for personal [use] is socially self-defeating as a means of achieving this objective . . . Considering the range of social concerns in contemporary America, marihuana does not, in our considered judgment, rank very high. We would deemphasize marihuana as a problem."

President Nixon called Governor Shafer on the carpet and pressured him to change the Commission's conclusion saying, "You see, the thing that is so terribly important here is that it not appear that the Commission's frankly just a bunch of do-gooders." Governor Shafer declined to change his conclusions, and Nixon declined to appoint him to a pending federal judgeship.
It's crystal clear that the government has long known that marijuana is harmless, isn't a 'gateway' drug to heroin, and that it poses no danger to public safety. So why are so many arrested, tried, convicted, and sent away to serve a draconian sentence while his/her family suffers without his support, friends fade away as they realize that association with the user could cause them to be investigated, children are raised in the absence of a father or mother incarcerated which, in my opinion is way worse than any problem caused by pot; they come in the night, find a joint, and pow!-five years or more in prison.

With the exception of reports from rightwing organizations that are embarrassingly stupid and easily debunked there remains the final problem the conservatives and others just can't get around: There is no known limit of marijuana that must be consumed to cause death. (I read somewhere once that a scientist estimated a person would have to smoke and/or eat over 40 pounds of pot in one sitting, and to paraphrase Cool Hand Luke, "NOBODY can eat or smoke forty pounds of pot…"

In fact, if you google 'deaths caused by marijuana use' you'll find plenty os support for the assertion that pot is one of the most benign substances there is by way of drugs.

In man's five thousand year history with pot there has never been a single death reported from marijuana. (Although those with agendas to make lots of money for government would dispute this statement.) You cannot make that statement about almost any other drug.

Take a half bottle or so of aspirin. Same for any other NSAID (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug). The list of harmful substances that can cause you to die from an overdose is almost endless. Hell, eat too many bananas.

Our government has known all along that pot was beneficial, with many medical uses, and one of the most benign substances in use by people seeking a little (or a big) buzz after work or at a social event, and despite that certain knowledge our government instead seeks to issue false reports about the evils of pot, arrest people for even just possessing it, and by this arrest, followed with many years of parole (which is remarkably easy to violate unintentionally), and warehousing these people in privately owned prisons in such numbers that it's pretty clear, to me, that our government has a thriving slave business still, peopled by non-violate drug offenders.

America has a greater percentage of its society in prison than any other country on earth and about 60% of those are incarcerated on drug charges. Were pot suddenly made legal this hugh, underground (as in not visible due to the countrywide span), pool of slave workers would dry up overnight. Private industry would be screaming to turn the prisons the state have made back to the state as they would no longer be profitable to run. 60% of those two million incarcerated would have their lives back and no longer subject to the Machiavellian laws the government used to jail them.

I leave it to you to judge, but let me say this, a personal note: Without the help of marijuana I am certain I would have died in 1993 while undergoing a six week, 6,000 rad regimen of radiation treatments. My Warrior Woman was, as usual, doing everything she could do to help, but I lost 65 lbs. in those six weeks as I had absolutely no appetite, my taste buds weren't working, and despite being served my very most favorite meals which smelled wonderful I'd take one bite, everything tasted and felt like cardboard in my mouth, and I would just push the food aside. I finally broke down and bought some very good pot and presto change-o, appetite back and I was able to eat enough to survive.

So that's were we are, folks, living under a government that knows everything derogatory they've ever said about pot is and always has been a lie. They perpetuate these laws because with forfeitures they can take everything you own, house, car, anything. Combine this with the fines collected through the courts, the parole system, the free slaves they can make work for pennies an hour and the problem becomes obvious. If pot is legalized a revenue source and the ongoing free slave labor used by the government would dry up, no longer a cash cow fed by the bodies of pot users.

Ciao, bella ámi

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At 3:33 PM, Blogger nunya said...

Great post, thanks :)

At 1:39 PM, Blogger Bill Arnett said...

No, no thank you! Ya could probably tell this is a subject near and dear to my heart. I had a bounty hunting partner who was adamantly opposed to pot in any form and condemned it as a way for lazy people to continue being lazy (and other not-so-nice things containing much bigotry, profanity, derision, and scorn) right up to the time one of his and his wife's very best, longest, and dearest friends, bless her heart, was viciously stricken with breast cancer.

As the weeks passed and she suffered ever more pain from chemo and radiation (this was long before my personal bout with cancers).

In a few short weeks a friend of my partner showed up on my doorstep, swore me to secrecy, told me my partner was desperate to get some pot for his friend, and that my partner would pay any costs involved only demanding that I deal with the man at my door. Of course I told him I would help.

It was the late seventies when pot was reaching the pinnacle of power highs, indicas reigned supreme as sativa strains fell from grace from the paraquat scares of that time.

I got my partner's ill friend a half a pound of indica, passed it to the man who passed it to my partner who sent back the $1,200 I'd spent.

She died about six months later and my partner, in what must have taken a Herculean feat of mental retrospection came to me shortly after, sat down with me, and THANKED ME for having provided his friend with such relief. He also told me he would never again disparage pot or pot smokers. To this day he maintains that pot does indeed have medicinal uses and I never again ever heard him speak ill of marijuana or its users.

When people can see firsthand the relief pot can give to cancer and cancer treatment victims I have never met one yet that failed to recognize the benefits and change their minds about pot being the demon weed (which if you read my rewrite of the Bible a while back you know it was the Christian God Himself that put pot here for us to enjoy as long as we didn't get greedy).


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