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Cannabis and the Christian Science Monitor

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While the Christian Science Monitor claims not to be an instrument of evangelizing, it does include a daily religious feature and it rejects drug advertising as well as images of smoking or drinking. It should come as no surprise then that in a March 12 editorial the Monitor showered praise on the nation's drug czar for stepping up efforts in the administration's holy war against cannabis legalization efforts. The paper's editorial is heavy on moralizing, light on science.

"The Obama White House has finally laid out its most thorough, reasoned rebuttal to arguments for marijuana legalization -- countering a campaign that is gaining alarming momentum at the state level," proclaims the editorial.

I applaud the paper's policy of refusing to help commercialize tobacco and alcohol, and prescription drugs for that matter. But labeling drug czar Gil Kerlikowske's arguments against the legalization of cannabis a "reasoned rebuttal"?

How, pray tell, does Czar Kerlikowske reconcile his belief that "science should determine what a medicine is" with his oft-repeated statement that "marijuana legalization -- for any purpose -- is a nonstarter in the Obama administration"? Where's the science, or the intellectual integrity in that door-closer?

Every president since Richard Nixon (who spitefully rejected the findings of his own high-powered commission when, based on in-depth research, it recommended the decriminalization of "marihuana") has turned his back on the hard science that empirically demonstrates cannabis to be much safer than alcohol, with far fewer health risks than tobacco.

Can pot be abused? Of course. And use by children, or the use of any other non-prescribed drug, including alcohol and tobacco, is too much use; I don't know of a single drug policy reformer who believes or advocates otherwise.

But the administration, supported by a newspaper whose trustees define "science" as "a set of spiritual principles," has failed, tragically, to make the irrefutable connection between drug prohibition and the crime, corruption, disease and death it causes. A snapshot of this weekend's share of the 18,600 drug-gang killings in Mexico dating to 2006: 50 murder victims since Friday, including 13 in Acapulco and three with ties to the American consulate in Juarez. No amount of money, weaponry, spiritual suasion or pseudo-science will end the reign of narco-terrorists. Only an end to prohibition can do that.

When the government rejects rational, research-driven, evidence-based approaches to drug policy, and our safety, it's time for the people to act.

Which, thank God, is what's happening all across the country, with "alarming momentum."