Pubdate: Thu, 14 Jul 2011
Source: Chico News & Review, The (CA)
Copyright: 2011 Chico Community Publishing, Inc.
Author: Jay Bergstrom
Note: The author is 60 and lives in Forest Ranch. He says he's had a 
bad attitude regarding the Drug War ever since age 18, when he spent 
four days in the L.A. County main jail for possession of a roach.


All Those Years, and We're No Closer to Winning

On June 17, we celebrated the 40th anniversary of President Nixon's 
announcement of his so-called "War on Drugs." It has proven to be our 
most colossal blunder since slavery.

Nixon commissioned his secret army, the Drug Enforcement 
Administration, and applied it against his political enemies on the 
left: the non-white, as well as those pasty anti-war hippies. Also, 
he mounted the Shafer Commission to give some legitimacy to his efforts.

The Shafer Commission's report, "Marihuana, A Signal of 
Misunderstanding," indicated that criminalization of cannabis was the 
wrong path to follow. Nixon refused to read the report.

Now we have an august body assembled as the Global Commission on Drug 
Policy, releasing its report saying the same thing. And once again we 
have a president rejecting it out of hand, his minions citing a small 
sack of statistics that show how we are actually winning the war.

Meanwhile, reports of the DEA quietly licensing cannabis cultivation 
by big pharmaceutical firms are leaking out. It is a fact that our 
one federal legal cannabis grow is upping its output 900 percent this year.

Our leadership has been able to coalesce around the central lie of 
prohibition-that it might actually work. It is a fool's errand, well 
suited to gumming up the wheels of a great people.

After serving honorably in the Vietnam conflict, I felt ill about the 
sellout of my values for what turned out to be a lie. Never again. I 
became and remain a conscientious objector to the War on Drugs.

End it! We euphemistically refer to illegal drugs as "controlled 
substances." Prohibition yields any control of the substances to the 
underworld. It is the rawest form of capitalism: They won't card your kids.

Regulate, educate, and of course tax them. A chit in the package of 
drugs (think cigarette pack) would entitle the user to admission to a 
treatment-and-recovery situation. This will require the use of the 
"L" word: legalization.

Be brave, Americans. We can do it! It should probably start with 
California sticking its thumb in Uncle Sam's eye, repealing all of 
the state's drug laws retroactively. Our prison-crowding problem is solved.

We pretty much solved the air-quality issues in L.A. by ourselves; we 
dropped our tobacco addiction in half by ourselves: The evidence is 
that we Californios can do it.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom