Sunday, January 30, 2011

Dear Mr President, Remember Your Bad Self! or; Like Talking To A Wall (I wrote to the Wall St Journal)

Should this young would-be black man have been busted and thrown in jail?
What if that meant he could never go to college?

Conceding that the issue merits debate is a tad bit better than simply laughing dismissively, or refusing to say anything at all meaningful in response to serious questions about marijuana prohibition. Millions of  us wish our president would discuss these questions with some honesty and intelligence. He stressed, in his recent State of the Union address, the nation's crying need for jobs and new businesses. He called for small individual business-starters to develop new sources of clean, renewable fuels and energy. Is he being honest?
The repeal of marijuana prohibition would mean that hemp could be grown extensively, as it was for hundreds of years, processed and marketed in numerous ways, to the great economic benefit of this nation. But the president doesn't appear to know at all how important and diverse a national crop industrial hemp could be. I won't go here into a Rabelaisian catalogue of all the hemp products Americans could be producing and marketing and enjoying, everyone has a college student son or daughter or cousin or grandma from the 60's who can rattle off lists of the uses of cannabis of gargantuan proportions, we've all heard versions. Fifteen states, and the District of Columbia, have voted to allow doctors to recommend marijuana as medicine, in the light of plenty of good second and third tier medical studies demonstrating its efficacy in the treatment of many painful and debilitating illnesses. This belies the federal stance, that it is ok to keep a proven medicine on schedule one status, to justify worldwide expansion of  DEA operations, to particularly target and oppress indigenous people and people of color and to continue to put people, even seriously ill and suffering patients and their care providers thrugh the trauma of  DEA swat style raids and arrests, even when they are licensed and in compliance with their states' regulations.
Here in Massachusetts, we have two concurrent bills to legalize medical marijuana and one to tax and regulate on the docket this session. This is in response to widespread polling and voter support for both measures evidenced by a clear majoritiy who weighed in on those public policy questions included in our ballots, time and again..Evidently this state is pro marijuana all the way and has been for a while, we're just waiting for stubborn resisters on Beacon Hill to stop shelving the issue and do what their constituents have instructed them to do for us.. Our president laughed that nervous laugh again when asked on YouTube, by a law enforcement officer, to reconsider putting an end to the failed War On Drugs .It strains credibility that an African American leader who went to Harvard and studied law, who worked as a community organizer in Chicago,  is summarily ignorant of the devastating impact marijuana prohibition has on his nation, especially on poor people of color. Perhaps he  knows more about it than he dares to admit. His own account of using marijuana as a youth reveals that his own reasons for using it, and other illicit drugs were not especially healthy. He says of himself, “Junkie. Pothead. That’s where I’d been headed: the final, fatal role of the young would-be black man... I got high [to] push questions of who I was out of my mind.”
Source: Lois Romano, Washington Post, p. A1 Jan 3, 2007
 Dear Mr President, You seem more assured of your identity now. Smoking marijuana could not effectively push the question of who you are out of your mind, that isn't how it works.I'm glad you stopped trying to ignore those questions. Those of us who use marijuana appropriately, as a spiritual  sacrament, a  pleasant social lubricant, or even as a medicine, clearly do not  have the same reasons for our usage that you did, but I can understand how the forbidding law, which persists in confusing it with much more dangerous, harmful substances,  could lead a young black man to try it for all the wrong reasons. It's surely not as dangerous as the federal law purports. Even the AMA concedes that it's medicine. Do you really believe that young people of color should go to jail if their only act of youthful experimentation or rebellion has been to fool around with a relatively harmless substance, one which more appropriately belongs in their arthritic grandma's chest of herbal remedies?

--- In, Epeggs@... wrote:
> A New Political Approach To Drug Legalization: Debate - Law Blog - WSJ

> _
> zation-debate/?blog_id=14&post_id=38560_
> (
> 8560)

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