Yesterday was 4/20…and I got the feeling that I’m the only one cool enough around here to know what that means. *Cough*—narcs. I’m not a pot-smoker, although I am often bewildered as to why marijuana is illegal, or why there is even a war on drugs. Prohibition is a term that comes to mind when I consider it, as it is just as effective as prohibition was.

Before you read through all of this, Italy’s top prosecutor, Franco Roberti, also Italy’s anti-terrorism and anti-mafia chief, made a compelling argument in favor of decriminalization on the 18th of this month:

Decriminalization or even legalization would definitely be a weapon against traffickers, among whom there could be terrorists who make money off of it.

 

Marijuana, along with nine other substances, is specifically prohibited under Article 112a of the Uniform Code of Military Justice and penalties for its use can range from a general discharge to dishonorable discharge (for positive results of a urinalysis) and even imprisonment for possession.

Let’s start with some simple facts before I go on a tirade:

  • In 2016, a total of $27.6 billion was requested by the president to support the National Drug Control Strategy efforts to reduce drug use and its consequences in the United States. This represents an increase of more than $1.2 billion (4.7 percent) over the enacted 2015 level of $26.3 billion.
  • Colorado collected more than $135 million in marijuana taxes and fees in 2015—about $35 million designated for school development projects.
  • Anyone over 21 can buy marijuana in Colorado, Washington, and Oregon.
  • Medical marijuana is legal in 24 states, and in D.C.
  • Number of arrests in 2014 in the U.S. for marijuana law violations: 700,993
  • Number of these arrests that were for possession only: 619,809 (88 percent)
  • Many current and former service members, federal employees, law-enforcement officials, and I, believe current marijuana laws to be draconian.

The Roots of the War on Drugs

Last month, when I was on the last leg of my Mexican border expedition, a report on the War on Drugs came on the radio. The report featured John Ehrlichman, the counsel and assistant to the president for domestic affairs under Nixon. Mr. Ehrlichman was close to President Nixon, proven by his loyalty and subsequent disgrace following the Watergate scandal, and he served 18 months in prison for his boss. A trooper, he voluntarily entered prison before his appeals were exhausted, accepting personal responsibility for his actions. A genuinely rare and noble trait. That does not make him a great man, but it does designate individual ownership of his actions.

In the segment, talking points on President Nixon were brought up from an interview with Dan Baum of Harper’s magazine. Among them, the War on Drugs. Mr. Ehrlichman, a politician, breezed through the following segment with little difficulty. It was 1968. There was fear and loathing on the campaign trail, the nation was at a crossroads, and it was an election year. Dan Baum, the author, was swarming Mr. Ehrlichman with questions pertaining to the logic behind the War on Drugs, and he eventually got this answer: “You want to know what this was really all about? The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the anti-war left and black people. You understand what I’m saying?” Here we have just jumped to the past for Mr. Ehrlichman. His rhetoric was holstered, and it was time for the old, point-blank, presidential campaign communication playbook.

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In 1968, Dan Baum would not have thought to publish what he just heard, and if he did, his editor would have stopped him. Unfortunately for Mr. Ehrlichman, it’s 2016, and neither Dan Baum nor his editor was going to censor his comments on his behalf, even though Mr. Ehrlichman continued down a rather disheartening path, further stating, “We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.”

Fantastic news from the treacherous bastards in charge. The nation was hoodwinked on a political ploy, a damned gimmick, a sideshow act, the ever-glowing, works-every-four-years invitational rhetoric to fix it all from a presidential candidate. Apparently, it used to work for President Nixon and has for everyone since. After all, no decent person makes it into politics; one can only fall so far before reaching madness at terminal velocity.

The war on drugs was a political-campaign gimmick. A rather racist, shortsighted, and bigoted action. There may truly be no lower form of existence than a politician.

The Governor's Task Force/Drug Suppression ground team is being talked into a marijuana grow site by a Georgia Army National Guard Lakota Helicopter. Air crew members from Georgia's Army National Guard (NG) Counter Drug Task Force (CDTF) patrolled the skies north of Rome looking for marijuana grows Thursday. They harvested over 20 plants thereby keeping $40,000 of dope off the streets of Georgia. The Georgia NG CDTF is part of the Governor's Task Force/Drug Suppression (GTF) along with three other federal agencies and six state agencies including the GA State Patrol. The GTF supports local sheriff departments with an air team and ground team designed to find and eradicate marijuana grows. (Georgia Army National Guard photo by Maj. Will Cox)
The Georgia governor’s task force/drug suppression ground team is being talked into a marijuana grow site by a Georgia Army National Guard Lakota helicopter.

Does the War on Drugs make sense

I suppose we could just outlaw politicians, and if they fall back into politics, we shall blame society for their individual choices to walk that path. That’s a solid plan; we will take away choice and responsibility. It’s so ridiculous, it’s sure to be a winning combination. Although, if they keep doing it, that may be a problem, and if they aren’t paying taxes because they are committing crimes, well that brings up another issue. OK, phase two, we will have to lock them up in prison with murderers, rapists, and so forth to make an example of them…I mean, rehabilitate them.

We, of course, will need to regulate it—the practice of politics. We’ll base who gets locked up on their social class. Such an experiment could work as long as we stick to the plan. Remember, no choices and no responsibility. Everyone is a victim here.

Great deconstruction model. I’m glad it worked out so well throughout the War on Drugs—sarcastically astonishing. Perhaps we could try to cease all of this nonsense. It wouldn’t work anywhere.

Members of the Afghanistan Uniformed Police follow a bucket loader into a marijuana field to provide security during the eradication of the field, Zharay district, Kandahar province, Afghanistan, Oct. 5.
Members of the Afghanistan Uniformed Police follow a bucket loader into a marijuana field to provide security during the eradication of the field. Zharay district, Kandahar province, Afghanistan, Oct. 5.

Alternates to the War on Durgs

Another country recognized this 16 years ago. A Western nation, no less. Portugal grew tired of these games before I was enough of an adult to understand them. The Portuguese went nuts with it—tearing down the whole system. They legalized it all, and it’s working far more efficiently than this big broken war machine on drugs.

Yeah, but that would never work here. Not in America.

America, this is the Center for Disease Control’s known numbers for the percentage of people using at least one prescription drug in the past 30 days: 48.7 percent. From 1999–2002, and from 2011–2012, the percentage of those who used an opioid analgesic stronger than morphine increased from 17.0 percent to 37.0 percent.

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These numbers do not include the “higher-risk populations,” the go-to folks to take the blame. (We’re all infallible, right? Let’s point fingers.) We can’t, because they were not included in the study; the homeless, those in correctional facilities, and those in inpatient treatment facilities. Sorry folks, no natural turn-and-burn on this one.

We have a system that regulates controlled substances. It’s your local pharmacy.

I might be making sense to some of you. Others are reaching for the car keys with plans to find me and bash my brains in for being so opposed to their thinking. Many readers likely read the headline, stopped, wrote a filthy response, and felt content. A proper dialogue for this vice, this evil, the drugs, has been dismissed as taboo thanks to a juggernaut in the room.

Folks, he’s a madman who will trample to death anything that opposes him. His name is propaganda, and we’re terrified of him. The DEA still runs an informational propaganda website, though it will never be as cutting edge as Reefer Madness was, or that youth indoctrination and compliance program many of us went through as kids—D.A.R.E.—daring us not to challenge what we’re told and to always and unquestionably trust authority.

Members of the Colorado Counterdrug Task Force and Bureau of Land Management law enforcement officers fly over Montrose, Colo., in an OH-58 Kiowa helicopter in search of illegal marijuana grows on public lands in Colorado. Members of the Colorado Counterdrug Task Force assisted law enforcement officers from BLM with aerial surveillance over Colorado in August and September.
Members of the Colorado Joint Counterdrug Task Force and Bureau of Land Management law enforcement officers fly over Montrose, Colorado in an OH-58 Kiowa helicopter in search of illegal marijuana grow sites on public lands in Colorado.

The state continues to present the same, tired old arguments and strategies. I will stand by and pretend that the War on Drugs is not being leveraged on irrational probabilities, and that the morally empowered, upright citizen’s brigade will defeat all of human nature. Perhaps as you lead the charge, you’ll find a significant amount of money, or someone who can fix a unique problem in humanity. If you can solve the human desire for drug addiction, then you can theoretically solve all addiction. Chances are, you’re addicted to something, whether it be drugs, alcohol, nicotine, or even your favorite burger or cola. If not, I praise your high ground. Having said that, I doubt you or your loved ones are immune to harm or addiction.

Making excuses won’t change reality

The following is an exchange I had the privilege to observe earlier today with a person so blindly angry at the notion of decriminalization, he resorted to desperate, absurd suggestions. The point he was making is that marijuana would be made into bombs if made legal.

Guys like me already told you guys and the rest of the world that terrorist cartels will take advantage of that huge market gap in Europe, especially freaking Germany! These are the dirty bombs that do not explode! Weed and hashish are perfect carrying substances for ABC agents such as crystal meth, heroin, radioactive dump, etc. So now you possess a piece of intel that indicates an immediate reaction.

Very well, I suppose the use of the phrase “terrorist cartels” is acceptable. That said, his assertation is more Hollywood than reality. These organizations are often dramatically dissimilar. A cartel resorts to the smuggling of narcotics as a business and a way of life. Terrorists are ideologically based. The Taliban, for instance, will cultivate narcotics for sale to support their operations, but that’s not their primary focus. Nevertheless, Europe is well taken care of for drugs and marijuana; there is not much of a market gap.

So this guy actually thinks the terrorists would employ a dirty bomb constructed out of marijuana—weed—the same principle substance as hashish. I don’t see a weed bomb being very effective.

If this “piece of intel” requires my immediate attention, take me out back and put a bullet in me as I have become too insane to be allowed in society or risk my procreating. Sorry, but the sky is not falling, and I refuse to live in fear of a few jackass religious nuts who may kill me in some way, somewhere, someday. That’s letting the bad guys win.

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Marijuana is most commonly a diversion, allowing for higher-price drugs to get through. Image courtesy of the Department of Justice.

Moving on. The drug trade, like Wall Street, is an active business war. Supply and demand, people. The demand is not going anywhere. In fact, it continues to increase. The demand increases, supply will rise to match it. The proceeds of the sale of these supplies are returned to some of the most evil people in the world. They don’t pay taxes to support your way of life, nor do they abide by your rules. Prohibition, the instrument that built the mafia, has created the cartels and funds criminal enterprises on a global scale. Amazing.

The War on Drugs, is now a Geopolitical Discussion

The United Nations General Assembly special session on the world drug problem began a series of meeting in New York to discuss how global tactics to combat drugs have failed. At this time, it’s unclear how much diplomatic pandering and meetings will be necessary to accept that fact, or even if that will be the consensus. If it is, will they bother to change the status quo?

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon opened the summit with this statement:

The drug-control regime that emerged during the last century has proven disastrous for global health, security, and human rights.”

Meanwhile, in America, our leadership has opted to pander toward prudence rather than making a stand against a failed policy built around a false premise. President Obama said:

Successfully addressing the drug problem is a national priority critical to promoting the safety, health, and prosperity of the American people. These same aspirations are shared by people of all the nations that will take part in the UN session. We have an opportunity to take an important step toward meeting the challenge posed by drugs around the world, and with the resolute commitment of our nation and other nations working together in common cause, we will.”

Wait, doesn’t the White House drug policy for the 21st century state,

While law enforcement will always play a vital role in protecting our communities from drug-related crime and violence, we simply cannot incarcerate our way out of the drug problem. Put simply, an enforcement-centric ‘war on drugs’ approach to drug policy is counterproductive, inefficient, and costly.”

Politics. It is what it is. The safety and health of the American people is continuously corrupted by an unregulated and dangerous black-market system. This system overruns our borders and floods the correctional and healthcare systems with the fallout of substance abuse, forcing everyone else to take responsibility for the choices of the individual and then further corrupting the individual with an education in crime. Crime, which sheds the blood of the innocent, steals from the hard-working and is facilitated by dirty money that corrupts our officials.

These so-called aspirations of the people are shared by these other nations at the U.N. Summit: China, Columbia, Russia, and Singapore. May the coalition of the willing band together, and continue to fail.

The 2016, POTUS, The National Drug Control Budget Funding Highlights. Image courtesy of The White House.
The 2016 POTUS national drug control budget-funding highlights. Image courtesy of the White House.

Secretary of State John Kerry also flew the flag of the excluded discourse in his statement:

The United States will seek international consensus on an approach that upholds the three UN drug conventions—which continue to provide a solid foundation for international cooperation on drugs—and that fully integrates public health priorities, recognizing drug abuse as a chronic disease.”

He won’t be responsible for any change, and he’s going to further the case of drugs as a disease. After all, where would we all be without someone or something else to blame for our problems? Ain’t nobody got time for responsibility.

Kerry and Obama offer no change and little more than a meaningless reminder that drugs are bad, m’kay?

Air crew members from Georgia's Army National Guard Counter Drug Task Force patrolled the skies north of Rome looking for marijuana grows today. Today they harvested more than 20 plants thereby keeping $40,000 of dope off the streets of Georgia. The GA NG CDTF is part of the Governor's Task Force/Drug Suppression, along with three other federal agencies and six state agencies including the GA State Patrol. The GTF supports local sheriff departments with an air team and ground team designed to find and eradicate marijuana grows. (Georgia Army National Guard photo by Maj. Will Cox/Released)
Air crew members from Georgia’s Army National Guard Counter Drug Task Force patrolled the skies north of Rome looking for marijuana growers. Today they harvested more than 20 plants, thereby keeping $40,000 of dope off the streets of Georgia.

Indifference, for now

These days, a lot of folks are marijuana users. They just don’t broadcast, hang Bob Marley blacklight posters around their house, wear Grateful Dead T-shirts, or play hacky sack all day and talk about peace. As time has passed I seem to continue to discover the closet smokers: people’s parents, friends in government, corporate types, and so on. Normal people who you would never associate with marijuana until they smoked it in front of you. I honestly don’t mind or care. Marijuana is better than Prozac or alcohol and significantly less addictive, and I’ve never met anyone who wants to get in a fight after they’ve smoked too much weed. I’m around it often in university life, and it seems to be the civilian go-to for my friends who hate their jobs.

Bring me a bottle of Scotch when it’s time to get wild. I’ll pass on the pot—it leaves me lazy and mostly mentally incompetent, and I don’t care for that. Still, I know it’s a foolish waste of resources to continue an unwinnable war against it. Let’s get some regulation and tax money, people!

Featured image: Imgur