Pubdate: Sat, 27 Nov 2010
Source: Cincinnati Enquirer (OH)
Copyright: 2010 Thomas Vance
Author: Thomas Vance


Federal marijuana prohibition began in the thirties when Congress
passed the 1937 Marijuana Tax Stamp Act. The first drug czar, Harry
Anslinger provided the testimony before Congress which ensured passage
of the law. Mr. Anslinger later admitted that his testimony was untrue
and that with marijuana being relatively harmless, it was not really a
problem. The law said that to possess marijuana one must first
purchase a tax stamp for it, but in order to get the stamp you had to
have the marijuana in your possession. Additionally, there were few
stamps printed because there was no intent to use them anyway. Police
started arresting people based on the law and continued to arrest them
until the law was declared unconstitutional for obvious reasons in

President Nixon doubled down on the Anslinger lie. After rejecting the
advice of his self-appointed commission of experts, The Shafer
Commission, Nixon signed into law the 1970 Controlled Substances Act.
This time there would be no mistake. The 1970 law even restricts the
drug czar from saying anything good about marijuana even if it is
true, ordering the Anslinger lie to continue. Marijuana was listed as
schedule I, a dangerous substance with no medical value. Arrests
resumed and have continued unabated since then. There is not one piece
of scientific evidence or bit of logical theory to explain he
government's reasoning behind continuing this policy, only the lie.

The only explanation one could venture would be that industrialists
were interested in eliminating the competition. The Hearst Newspaper
Syndicate pushed for a national prohibition of marijuana with all the
untrue stories and sensationalism it could muster. Marijuana can be
used for a host of products, paper, cloth, fiber, lumber, ethanol from
hempseed oil, etc., and as the use of marijuana is environmentally
friendly, it is a threat to some of these industries. Ask yourself,
what ever happened to the canvass industry?

The same is true of the pharmaceuticals industry. There were many
medical marijuana medicines approved for sale by the Food and Drug
Administration before 1937 and in 1988 marijuana was declared to be
the safest therapeutic substance known to man by the Drug Enforcement
Administration's administrative law judge. You know big pharma must
feel threatened by that.

Some historians are beginning to believe there is a connection between
the suppression of the marijuana/hemp industry and the rise of Dupont,
Dow and the big pharmaceutical companies. These companies are not the
only players who benefit from the total prohibition of marijuana. If
prohibition is a crime, and I think it is, then who benefits from the

And so, as the lie continues, in it's aftermath are the victims. Over
850.000 citizens arrested in 2009 alone, 12 million since 1980,
billions of tax dollars spent on the justice system, police,
enforcement and prisons, billions in lost economic activity, jobs and
revenue, and for what? For what good reason do we cut this swath of
destruction through our society every year? Are there any Federal or
State legislators who can provide a scientific and logical explanation
as to why we do this to ourselves? Legislators are always talking
about eliminating programs that don't work. Why is prohibition such a
sacred cow? Drug prohibition is the greatest policy failure in the
history of this great nation. How long before our legislators face up
to prohibition?s failure and end this sad chapter in our history?

Kentucky State Sen. Joey Pendelton has announced that he will propose
a hemp law for Kentucky during the next session of the General
Assembly, legalizing industrial hemp as a cash crop here in Kentucky.
While I applaud his efforts it still leaves our Kentucky's 4.47
billion dollar marijuana industry in the hands of the bad guys. What
should be done is to attach a medical marijuana bill to the senator's
hemp bill. This could be the first step in ending criminal dominance
of the marijuana industry here in Kentucky, and bring the money
involved into the legal coffers of the state. Better to improve the
lives of our citizens than that of the Mexican drug cartels which is
where the money goes now.

Arizona just this last November 2nd passed what is the best and most
comprehensive medical marijuana law in the nation and became the 15th
medical marijuana state. A medical marijuana law will protect our sick
and disabled who need this medicine and also protect our veterans from
Veteran's Administration retaliation. Veterans are only protected if
they live in medical marijuana states. Let us do right by our citizens
who are sick and disabled and pass a comprehensive hemp and medical
marijuana law during this session of the Kentucky General Assembly.

Thomas Vance

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