Prompted by “Pot Matters: The Drug War After Cannabis Is Legalized”: http://www.hightimes.com/read/pot-matters-drug-war-after-cannabis-legalized
Our Respect Cannabis campaign leverages the positive shift of cannabis laws to preferably expand focus upon intentional perception alteration itself, because that’s the real issue in terms of liberty, law, and health.
That alteration (from drugs, virtual reality, religion, etc.) can obviously be harmful or harmless, as history clearly reveals.
My serious problem with the currently popular ‘tax and regulate’ approach — besides the blatantly illogical, so necessarily illegal and horribly weak, constitutional connection between Certain Drug Prohibition and the Commerce Clause negating validity of any regulation in this case due logically to the Supremacy Clause and the ninth amendment — is the focus solely upon cannabis.
Cannabis is reasonably popular, so traction and momentum towards legality is strong enough due to public support against powerful lobbies.
However, other psychedelics would ridiculously confusingly remain illegal due to the absence of any judicial progress on that front.
Cannabis can be every bit as intense as LSD (etc.) in a given moment, because the intake amount can be significant with relative ease (e.g. people can slam into several hits of concentrates — or even just regular bong hits — within several minutes). Also, due to ample variety of cannabis strains and strain combinations (a.k.a. salads), strain differential can also have a monstrously strong impact against familiarity (different cannabis experiences can be like switching from classical music to death metal).
Basically millions of non-violent people are suffering to varying degrees right now from the war on some drugs, while there literally is no concrete evidence proving “We the people” live in even a slightly more drug-free America as a result (prohibitionists haven’t even achieved a drug-free prison system).
The real drug scourge is ironically drug prohibition addiction, and its most serious power (at least arguably) comes from the reckless interchange of use and abuse (usually to prohibitionists’ convenience).
The following clips from the prompting article includes my emphasis.
People who have used illicit drugs in the past year, also known as annual drug users, provide not only the market for the illicit drug trade, but also the market of people subject to arrest for drug possession. Possession arrests are the basic activity in the War on Drugs. Not only do they provide steady work to police making the arrest but also to the rest of the criminal justice system—case processing, probation supervision, incarceration, mandatory drug treatment programs and other activities that guarantee funding and salaries. Furthermore, this mass of people, tens of millions of people, represent the collective threat illicit drug use poses to the country, a threat to the very social fabric of America.
There were just over 44 million annual illicit drug users in 2014, a significant threat to societal wellbeing and an obvious social problem according to the drug war’s advocates. The number of monthly illicit drug users was about 24.5 million, also a considerable amount of the population, justifying a well-founded and aggressive law enforcement response.
Setting aside people who abuse prescription medicine, there are 4.5 million cocaine users, 4.4 million users of hallucinogenic drugs, 1.3 million methamphetamine users and about 900,000 heroin users. In rough numbers, there will be only 11 million annual users of illicit drugs and less than 4 million monthly users.
Perhaps not, and this may be one of the main reasons drug warriors are opposed to cannabis legalization. Without illegal cannabis, they just don’t have that much to do, and their budgets will be significantly reduced. They already know this. It’s time the public learned about it as well.
Use is not abuse.
Even the Controlled Substances Act itself acknowledges that fact by stating the most dangerous drugs therein have a “high potential for abuse”.
At least in the case of cannabis (roughly 75% of “illicit” drug use), I can safely state the fact that there’s no experimental science concluding (not suggesting) any harm from moderate cannabis use (not “heavy use” or abuse).
Moderate sensibly means any use for which no objective harm occurs.
Given that actual LSD (not necessarily the many derivatives questionably sold to bypass the complexity of actual LSD distribution) is scientifically non-toxic, and that microgram dosage well below basically 75μg produces no perceivable (so no possibly dangerous) effect, we can logically extend that science to encompass the sadly notorious LSD.
At least one man (selling some LSD at a Grateful Dead concert many moons ago) was seriously crushed by lifetime imprisonment, memory serving — in the “land of the free”. That’s not justice. That’s evil scaremongering combined with the idiocy of severely inappropriate sentencing guidelines (the mere weight of the paper holding the LSD means several decades of prison time).
My main concern is ending Cannabis Prohibition leaves no sufficient public pressure to end the drug war itself — which means millions of non-violent people will continue to suffer by blatantly discriminatory law for the foreseeable future (e.g. alcohol and tobacco — arbitrarily legal drugs — are scientifically concluded to be seriously dangerous in abusive quantity).
Without objectivity in law (similar to objectivity in technology), we have a wildly subjective rule-of-law growing wildly out of control. That’s not justice. That’s mass insanity fueled by too many people being suckered by the Big Lie (actually Big Reason Abuse) technique.
Law has become a seriously complex national weed reaching into all sorts of lives to form strangling pressures equal to unhealthy stress — the true and ironic source of drug (and other forms of) abuse.
Law abuse cannot sanely be the solution against drug abuse — the latter abuse being a health, so not criminal, issue by any sane measure.
Part of objectivity in law must include carefully (i.e. scientifically) improving language itself to improve certainty for clarity. That necessarily includes a hard-line distinction between use and abuse.
Use is always a harmless act.
Abuse is always a harmful act.
Then “substance use disorder” (or such) becomes language abuse.
Use cannot be the basis for liberty-infringing “law”.
We can sensibly apply the dependency rates as specified in a report published by the Institute of Medicine (as commissioned and then unethically ignored by the prohibitionist White House Office of National Drug Control Policy) to better understand the statistical measure of “illicit” drug abusers.
Cannabis is 9%, so 91% of cannabis users will not become dependent, based upon a prohibitionist-commissioned report also concluding that cannabis dependency is “generally mild” (and debunks the gateway drug theory btw) — all way back in 1999 (also btw).
Heroin is 23% (noting alcohol is 15% and tobacco is 32%).
From our Respect Cannabis informational roots, which relies upon the aforementioned governmental drug use survey [emphasis mine]…
…heroin use falls within about 2% of the American population. Thankfully for the sake of statistical reporting convenience here, that survey explicitly sets that heroin use percentage at… 0.1%.
Finally, unlike deceptive prohibitionist posturing, science (and even the law itself) distinguishes between use and abuse (even in the case of heroin – an opioid painkiller invented by Bayer – yes, that Bayer), so logically abuse constitutes an even lower percentage, because our focus is upon a “Use” survey here.
If we factor in the dependency rate of heroin, as reported by the prestigious Institute of Medicine in their report titled “Marijuana and medicine: assessing the science base” and commissioned by the obviously prohibitionist White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (i.e. 23% in their dependency rate comparison table), then heroin abuse falls well below even 0.1%.
The most serious abuse ironically comes from public pressures resonating from manipulation via credible leadership presentation to take a seriously narrow set of abuse examples and turn them into mass liberty-infringing “law” against use.
The first amendment often protects the masses from leadership abuse.
The moral elite pressed to ban violent video games, for prime example, because a prominent mass shooter played them.
The basic question that every true American patriot (necessarily believing the critical need for liberty to be a self-evidently unalienable right by law to prevent law abuse) must always ask is…
‘How many people engage in the proposed illegal activity without harming anyone?’
In the case of violent video games, we can simply look at one series… the notorious and very successful Grand Theft Auto.
Many millions of copies of that series of games were sold, so many millions of people (including yours truly) played those games. If violent video games truly caused violence, then a radical jump in criminal activity would have occurred from that mass sale of those games.
Obviously that jump didn’t happen, but it still took the first amendment to defend sanity.
Cannabis and other “illicit” drugs don’t have explicit constitutional protection — the need for that explicit nature being a serious concern among our Founding Fathers when debating the addition of the Bill of Rights, leading them to add the now illegally disarmed ninth amendment, which clearly says, “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.”
Considering the only place (at least to the best of my knowledge) formally declaring rights outside of our Constitution involves our fundamental and unalienable rights, the ninth amendment can only logically serve to judicially recognize such rights.
Responsible drug use (of any drug) is possible, at least considering there’s no 100% dependency rate by a long shot.
There can be no responsible movement to end Certain Drug Prohibition without a responsible appreciation for constitutional law set in place to prevent law abuse.
We don’t need (or provenly benefit from) ‘tax and regulate’, because we already have a literally fully slam-dunk case against Certain Drug Prohibition on purely factual grounds that the Commerce Clause was illegally redefined strictly within the judicial branch of government, according to the public record combined with the English language, and that clause cannot trump the ninth amendment clearly upholding certain drug use, nor can any relevant state/local law remain sustained due to the Supremacy Clause at the federal level.
Shifting our movement to that slam-dunk approach would fairly instantly crush the powerful lobbies relying upon constitutionality to support Certain Drug Prohibition, so save literally many millions of non-violent lives.
We also add the ‘concretely prove disaster occurred’ pressure publicly against those prohibitionists. Drug laws have been “weakened” many times over the past few decades, so the proclaimed disaster (upon such “weakening”) necessary to legitimize prohibition at all in this case must be proven to sustain any bit of Certain Drug Prohibition legitimacy. Once the public realizes no such disaster has concretely occurred, they can then decide if “We the people” should continue to spend many billions of precious taxpayer dollars annually to sustain the illegal war on some drugs.
Forming a perpetually improving ‘use versus abuse’ entertaining and educational approach (also a main part of our Respect Cannabis campaign) would also save lives by helping ensure use is prevalent (if not supremely dominant).
Finally, ensuring drug abusers get the real help they need (basically removing unhealthy stress for productivity by changing their lifestyle) would be the remaining piece of a truly sensible drug policy.
Our campaign needs your support, so please help us save millions of actually innocent people.