The War on Drugs: Now, after all these years, it even sounds dumb and tiresome. Here we are on our third president who we all know engaged in some illicit recreational substance use and who went on to being, well, president! That's twenty years of presidents who got high! That's why it's so hard to watch President Obama and Eric Holder backstroking onto the National stage wearing their "Tough On Crime" faces and harassing California medical marijuana dispensaries. They should allow Medical Marijuana to be the unthreatening foot in the door that it is, and open the door wider. People know that medicinal weed is not turning patients with various legitimate ailments into raving maniacs, any more than it's creating mobs overcome by Reefer Madness outside dispensaries. That's because reefer madness was basically an invention of some ill-informed control freaks. While their successors keep an eye out for the elusive world's first overdose death from marijuana, they seem to prove that pot can cause some pretty strange behavior by lots of people who don't smoke it.
Words can barely describe how tragic, futile and destructive the War on Drugs has been for our country and for the nation of Mexico. How many times must we point to the fact that the last time we tried prohibition it resulted in a massive black market with violent, heavily-armed gangs and bloody turf wars? The War on Booze corrupted law enforcement officials and wasted an obscene fortune in public funds and manpower. In the end, we realized that people are going to get what they want: a manageable "buzz," a short break from the pressures and disappointments of life, an altered state from the one they generally trudge along in. Damn it, if we're going to brag about how free we're all supposed to be, we should have the right to the pursuit of happiness, no matter how temporary, whether it comes from a couple of cocktails, a puff on a cigarette that isn't supplied by Big Tobacco, or the popping of a pill. If you overdo it and become a nuisance, well, that's what public intoxication laws are for.
Speaking of popping a pill, Americans are roughly five percent of the world's people, but they consume two thirds of the world's anti-depressants and anti-anxiety medication. We don't really have a war on drugs, we have a war on drugs that don't make money for big pharmaceutical companies. Or, as I've been putting it, for years, "The War on Drugs is a war on poor people on street drugs waged by rich people on prescription drugs." Seriously, who are we kidding?
Speaking of pills, a bitter one to swallow is the sad fact that we're still fighting this battle against such entrenched opposition. There are some real die-hard attitudes out there. I'd like to ask a few pointed questions of those who still think they're fighting the good fight by continuing to support this disastrous so-called war on so many peoples' private habits and behavior. My first question is: Shouldn't it bother you, in the least, to look around and see that the world's greediest, most remorseless drug lords are on your side and are even more committed than you are to the policies you support? When conservative, church-going moralizers find themselves marching under the same banner as murderous drug cartel kingpins, shouldn't they at least consider that they may be saluting the wrong flag?
Now, let's get a little more dollars-and-sense about this drug business, and I do mean drug BUSINESS. Does anybody doubt that controlling and taxing pot would bring billions and billions of dollars endlessly streaming into our national wallet? As things stand now, two things are happening: 1. Tens of millions of Americans buy marijuana, and 2. many essential social and educational programs are on life-support if not dead already, for lack of funding. Hello? The Marijuana market is not going away, so why not turn this to our advantage and steer the steady revenue into places that would help make life better for most Americans?
As a last resort, now that all else has failed, couldn't we at least try using some common sense? With almost one in every eight inmates in our overcrowded prisons locked up for marijuana-related convictions, doesn't it seem unjust that there are huge industries built upon legally manufacturing and selling substances that are proven, statistically, to be more addicting and harmful than pot? When we remember that it costs more to maintain a prison inmate than it does to put someone through college, and that America locks up more of its people than any other country, it's not hard to see why more people want to be in the prison business. When you factor in the slave labor aspect of what I call the Prison Industrial Complex, what's revealed is profitable corporate socialism for prison owners. And, how can we overlook the fact that there are individuals in our prisons who can and do obtain drugs behind bars? This brings us to the obvious question: If we can't thoroughly drug-proof our prisons, how can we convince ourselves that we'll drug-proof our whole society?
It really comes down to a case of our government bowing to pressures from the mega-wealthy special interests I've mentioned. The paramilitary drug cartels and the big growers in both North and South America stand shoulder-to-shoulder with corporate giants who push pills and liquor on TV, Big Tobacco, and the aforementioned Prison Industrial Complex leading the race to the bottom. They bring the lobbying and marketing money that keeps selling the whole fishy business to the brainwashed moralists whose grandparents may have railed against "Demon Rum" the last time we enabled this insane prohibition racket. We've all heard that it's just plain crazy to keep trying the same ineffective methods and expecting different results. We're criminalizing our own nation and sacrificing our freedoms and privacy. But, as soon as we end the war on drugs, we win. Let's do it!