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Blog Posted in avatar   Leonard Krivitsky's Blog

The USA or the DEA - that is the question!

By Leonard Krivitsky
Posted Jan 10, 2011 in Politics
On December the 23, 2010, a well known Christian Conservative, Dr. Pat Robertson, spoke to his audience about the need to decriminalize small personal possessions of marijuana, "a couple ounces, or so". Dr. Robertson correctly observed that sentences for "marijuana offenses" are way too harsh, and that the whole "enforcement" business is costing this country an absolutely inordinate amounts of money. Former US Surgeon-General, Dr. Joycelyn Elders, remarked on CNN prior to November elections that, because of the anti-Cannabis repression in this country we are criminalizing more of our population than any other country of the Civilized World. As Dr. Elders pointed out, and as many people already know, the prison population in this country practically exploded since 1970, or when the DEA "took over" along with the so-called "Controlled Substances Act" of 1970. At the historic L.A. Conference organized by the Drug Policy Alliance in cooperation with the California Society of Addiction Medicine held on July 8, 2010, there was an almost total consensus about decriminalization of marijuana for personal use, while the California State Medical Association had already made a policy statement in which it expressed that "criminalization of marijuana is a failed public policy". All this is after the Shafer's Commission recommended decriminalizing marijuana back in 1972, and Judge Francis Young said in 1988 that "marijuana is the safest therapeutically-active substance known to men".
Why, then is marijuana still illegal in this country, why our everyday, decent, hard-working people are still being thrown in jail over the use of a natural substance with a multitude of medicinal properties? How is it that both the serious science and the common sense say "legalize (or, at least, decriminalize) Cannabis" to this government, but to no avail? How is the DEA able to fight "tooth and nail" the Medicinal Cannabis that has served humanity as medicine for thousands of years? In order to answer these, and some other questions, we need to look at what the L.A. Conference called the "Prison-Industrial Complex" in this country, an entity with tremendous amount of "lobbying power", which is being headed and directed by none other than the DEA itself! It is very hard to really understand the despotic powers that these people have, and it is even harder to make others understand them, but what helps in my case is that I am a former political refugee from a world at one time ruled by the KGB, so the mechanics of this repression are made somewhat more "intelligible" for me.
When Pat Robertson made his remarks about the need to decriminalize Cannabis to the "700 Club", he correctly observed that criminalization of marijuana costs this country a whole lot of money, in addition to the harsh, life destroying criminal sanctions directed at the people of this country for exercising their rights as free citizens. In order to even begin to understand the DEA's iron grip on power in the United States, let's look first at the current debate about cutting our Federal spending as a way to deal with the ballooning deficit. Many proposed spending "cuts" are being discussed, but have we noticed that there is practically no discussion about reducing the DEA budget, or that of the Prison-Industrial Complex as a whole? In fact, it appears to me that our so-called "representatives" in Congress would much rather talk about taxing a mother's milk than about cutting the DEA budget together with its "marijuana enforcement". Any one who would even dare to suggest that maybe the DEA should somehow contribute to the much-needed saving of resources, would be labeled as "soft on drugs" with the potential very unpleasant political consequences.
A monstrous entity known as the Prison-Industrial Complex could not care less about the lives it destroys, or the financial resources it wastes. We all know how hard it is to get a job in this sluggish economy, so we can imagine just how much harder this task becomes after a "marijuana conviction". Consequently, a person's life may be severely damaged over practically nothing, even if such a person is lucky enough to avoid Dr. Robertson's assertion that "before we know it, such a person ends up with a 10-year sentence due to the marijuana "sentencing guidelines". But this is exactly what the Prison-Industrial Complex's human monsters want in the end! Many of the people, after having become victims of its repression, are marginalized, unemployed, underemployed, alienated, devalued... It is a little surprise that some of these victims become firmly attached to the criminal justice "system" for years, if not for life, feeding the Prison-Industrial Complex machinery with all its police, drug agents, prison guards, probation officers and the like. As Officer McPherson from Law Enforcement Against Prohibition explained at the L.A. Conference, much of the fierce anti-Cannabis rhetoric by the "law enforcement" is explained by none other than the "departmental funding". People's lives are destroyed and huge financial resources wasted - all of this for their "departmental funding".
Let's look at some other aspects of the tremendous power wielded by the DEA and its henchmen. One would expect that, especially now, after a very recent tragedy in Arizona where several people were killed and wounded by a mentally unstable individual, we start finally talking about violence reducing properties of marijuana, something that is clearly articulated in the prestigious "Substance Abuse: A Comprehensive Textbook", so that more liberal marijuana use policies in our society can actually contribute to an overall decrease in violence and anger, sometimes spilling into tragedies that we just witnessed. Given that the prestigious Textbook, published by none other than the American Association of Addiction Psychiatry, states that "marijuana use decreases violent behavior" and that "only the unsophisticated think otherwise", isn't it highly surprising that more Doctors do not get up and at least quote this scientific knowledge? Not so fast! The doctors and medical establishments are completely and totally under the DEA control, with every doctor needing a special DEA "number" to even practice medicine, while any dispute with the DEA puts a quick and "efficient" end to such a person's career.
It is only now that some voices are beginning to be heard that the mindless anti-marijuana policies actually make this country's alcohol, hard drug, and prescription drug abuse much worse, because most people know that "marijuana stays in your system", and can be detected by a "drug screen" for a long time, while alcohol, cocaine, opiates and methamphetamines "clear" from the system rapidly and are much less likely to be detected, especially after a "weekend" use. Never mind that those substances are incomparably more harmful than Cannabis and can lead to serious addictions. It is the anti-Cannabis "dogma" that is important to the DEA, not the people's well-being!
Perhaps nowhere is the DEA more vicious and totally untruthful as in the issue of Medicinal Cannabis. Nowhere are the scientific facts are concealed so blatantly, and the scientific research itself is suppressed unashamedly, as if we were living in the Inquisition-controlled Europe of the Dark Ages, and not in a 21-st Century America! DEA and its allies resort to straight-up lies when they tell the State Legislatures to reject the Medicinal Cannabis Legislation in their States because of the "problems" experienced in the States that Legalized the Medicinal Cannabis under their State laws. "Problems"? What problems? In California, a strong supporter of Medicinal Cannabis has just been elected that State's new Attorney General, in Colorado the media reports increased tax revenues from Medicinal Cannabis sales, and even in New Mexico the new Republican Governor just stated that the repeal of the State Medicinal Cannabis law is "not a priority". The DEA and its fear-mongering allies cannot really point to any serious problems in the States where this ancient medicine is legal, with not one death or overdose, or a serious adverse reaction requiring medical intervention. But this is not something that will deter the DEA and its allies in any way; as their "trump card" these people throw in the faces of the State Legislators the "fact" that Cannabis is "illegal under the Federal Law". But who is keeping it illegal? The same DEA, of course! So, the cancer patients are not "free" to use the herbal medicine that helps their symptoms because the DEA says that the plant is "illegal", but the people who keep it illegal are those same despots working for the DEA! How do American People still tolerate this horrible game played on them by the DEA is totally beyond me as well. I know that in the future, when we sufficiently progress in what philosopher Georg Hegel called the "consciousness of freedom", we will be amazed at the level of this craziness, at the repression perpetrated by the DEA against the supposedly "free people" of this country.
When our Founding Fathers established this country, they did so based on certain sacred principles, first and foremost of those being that the United States will have its Government "by the People, of the People and for the People". The Founding Fathers also sought a free development of science, so that the scientists never have to be burned at the stake for stating the scientific truths, as was common under the "Sacred" Inquisition in Europe. What do you think our Founding Fathers would have said about the "Agency" which suppresses scientific research, breaks people's doors down and fills jails and prisons with honest Citizens for growing hemp? For one thing, the founding Fathers would be in a state of shock and total disbelief! What would our Founding Fathers think of the nine former DEA "Directors" who urged the Federal Government to sue the voters of California if they dared to legalize Cannabis?? Would the Founding Fathers approve of the DEA spending the taxpayer money tapping the phones of foreign opposition leaders? What would our Founding Fathers say to a "proposition" that about 80% of the voters of this country are in favor of the Legalization of Medicinal Cannabis, but the DEA uses the blatantly anti-democratic means to thwart the Will of the People, even though this government was supposed to be "for the People, by the People, and of the People". If this is what the government is designed to be, how can it withhold the Medicinal Cannabis when 80 % of the electorate wants it legalized?? How can the Illinois Legislators even consider voting against the Bill to Legalize Medicinal Cannabis in their State knowing full-well that about 70% of the Illinois voters support it?!
Now, this is not the democracy the Founding Fathers envisioned in their sacred promise of a new beginning given to the freedom-loving pioneers of this new country. Even now, in a staggering show of hypocrisy, the US Senate just confirmed Michele Leonhart, a rabid Cannabis prohibitionist and an anti-scientific despot, to the be the head of the DEA. The Senators made no attempt to ask Leonhart some "tough questions" about Medicinal Cannabis, as some on the side of Reason had hoped, thus completely turning their backs on their own constituents, on the sick people of their States, on the will of their own voters who decided that the Medicinal Cannabis should be "legal" in those 15 States, and who have a reasonable expectation that their Senators will actually "represent" them on a Federal Level, instead of exhibiting "we-are-ashamed-for our-own-States" attitude. This is the kind of power that the DEA and its allies feed on, this is how they destroy the sacred Spiritual promise made by our Founding Fathers, turning this country into yet another repressive Empire instead of a new beginning for the long-suffering humanity.
In a recent program on National Geographic called "MarijuanaNation", a patient with AIDS was featured among others, who would have died of a "wasting syndrome" in the 90-s when the new and effective treatment for HIV was not yet available, but whose Medicinal Cannabis use helped to "tie him over" until the drugs did became available, and as a result, the person is alive today. The medication that had been long used to treat nausea of chemotherapy, Reglan, was recently taken off the market because of its potential and horrible side-effects of "Tardive Dyskinesia" syndrome characterized by "tongue protrusion, lip smacking, face grimacing and eye twitching". Many other medications (most recent - a painkiller Darvocet) had to be taken off the market because of the intolerable side-effects, and yet because of the DEA tyranny the sick people of most States are still not free to use the Cannabis natural Medicine that has none of these side-effects. Surely, the Medicinal Cannabis Legalization is a "non-partisan" issue, because Liberals and Conservatives alike (or their loved ones) may one day become sick and need the remarkable properties of the Cannabis Medicinal Plant, rather than "tongue protrusion" and "lip smacking" that they would get from Reglan or similar chemicals. And what about some patients with intractable pain or seizure disorder, who have found the relief from Medicinal Cannabis, a safe and effective relief, that they could not obtain from anything else?! Of course we are not surprised to know that the "Big Pharma" is allied with Big Alcohol and the Prison-Industrial Complex in opposing the Medicinal Cannabis Legalization!
One of the greatest philosophical errors any society can commit is when the "truth" becomes "relative". It is no longer the "truth" because it is what it is, but the "truth" imposed instead by the "powers that be", such as the DEA based upon the "alternate reality" that it created, when it is trying to pressure the lawmakers to abandon the sick people based on "entities" that no longer even exist, such as the fully discredited "gateway drug" theory. When the truth is "relative" (to our political beliefs or prevailing ideologies), it is no longer the "truth", and no society will survive for a long time if it attempts to build its public policy based on "moral and ethical relativism" where the "truth" becomes "what we say it is", instead of being what it is! I certainly hope that the American people will promptly and filly recognize the game that the DEA and its prohibitionist allies are playing on them, and choose the survival of the United States as a free country where the scientific inquiry reigns supreme, and where the TRUTH is what it is, instead of being what the DEA tyrants want it to be!

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