Wednesday, April 15, 2009

A tipping point on marijuana legalization?

Here's the piece I did for last Sunday's Register Commentary section, a piece of which I'm kinda proud in that it reflects quite a bit of thought, reading and telephone work. I'm planning to use some of what I couldn't get into the piece for a piece on the same subject for Liberty magazine.

It reflects my growing belief (though with some skepticism based on sad experience) that this country just might be on the verge of legalizing marijuana. Not next week or even next year. But the combination of a new administration which has taken a modestly less oppressive tack toward medical marijuana dispensaries, the violence in Mexico, and a few politicians touching the "third rail" and not getting electrocuted makes me believe, for the first time in years, that it is possible.

I talked to Dale Gieringer of Cal NORML, Allen St. Pierre of national NORML, Bruce Mirken and Rob Kampia of the Marijuana Policy Project, Ethan Nadelmann of the Drug Policy Alliance, and my old friend Judge Jim Gray. All agreed that the portents are more favorable now than at any time they can remember. I wasn't able to contact Loretta Sanchez, Linda Sanchez or Sen. Jim Webb, but I will, especially if I expand this research into a quick book, which is very much on my mind just now. Your thoughts?

1 comment:

Antinomian said...

Debaters debate the two wars as if Nixon’s civil war on Woodstock Nation did not yet run amok. The persecution of the half-a-million strong hippies assembled in August 1969 can’t be good for America, the world-leader in percentile behind bars. Madam Secretary Clinton need not travel to Tibet to find a minority subculture stripped of human rights. If we are all about spreading liberty abroad, then why mix the message at home? Peace on the home front would enhance credibility.

Stop throwing good money after bad. The witch-hunt doctor’s Rx is for every bust to numerate a bigger tax-load over a smaller denominator of payers. Spend more on prisons than on schools. My shaman’s second opinion is homegrown herbal remedy. Consumer dollars can stimulate the economy better if they aren’t depleted by prohibition’s black market.

Only a clause about interstate commerce provides a shred of constitutionality. The commerce policy on the number-one cash crop in the land is no taxation; yes eradication. But money to frustrate enforcement grows on trees. Did the authors of the Constitution intend to divert the Treasury’s natural revenue to Mexican cartels? America rejected prohibition, but its back. Swat teams don’t seem to need no stinking amendment.

The demonized substances never had their day in court. Nixon promised to supply supporting evidence later. Later, the Commission evidence didn’t support, but no matter. The witch-hunt was on. No amendments can assure due-process under an anti-science law that never had any due-process itself. Science hailed LSD as a drug with breakthrough potential, until the CSA (Controlled Substances Act of 1970) halted all research. Marijuana has no medical use, period. Lives are flushed down expensive tubes.

The RFRA (Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993) allows Native American Church members to eat peyote. A specific church membership should not be prerequisite for Americans to obtain their birthright freedom of religion. Denial of entheogen sacrament to any American, for mediation of communion twixt the soul and the source of souls, violates the First Amendment.

Freedom of speech presupposes freedom of thought. The Constitution doesn’t enumerate any governmental power to embargo diverse states of mind. How and when did government usurp this power to coerce conformity? Legislators who would limit cognitive liberty lack jurisdiction.

Common Law must hold that the people are the legal owners of their own bodies. Socrates says, know your self. Mortal law should not presume to thwart the intelligent design that molecular keys unlock spiritual doors. Those who appreciate their own free choice of personal path in life should not deny self-exploration to seekers. The right to the pursuit of happiness is supposed to be inalienable by government.

Simple majorities in each house could put repeal of the CSA on the president’s desk. The books have ample law on them without the CSA. Americans are already liable for damages when they screw-up. The usual caveats remain in effect. Strong medicine requires prescription. Employees can be fired for poor job performance. No harm, no foul; and no excuse, either. Replace the war on drugs with a frugal, constitutional, science-based drugs policy.