Cannabis News Students for Sensible Drug Policy
  History Has a Habit of Repeating Itself
Posted by FoM on July 26, 2001 at 16:02:55 PT
From The Economist Print Edition 
Source: The Economist 

cannabisnews.com Voters and governments—change their minds about ways to deal with activities they disapprove of. Governments used to ban gambling; now many run their own lotteries. Prostitution, although still generally illegal, is rarely the target of police campaigns. Attitudes to alcohol have changed in the past century-and-half. So have attitudes to drugs.

In 19th-century America, campaigners talked of the demon drink in much the same way that they now talk of drugs. The temperance movement blamed booze for crime, “moral degeneracy”, broken families and business failure.

In America, this led to Prohibition, with its accompanying crime and bootlegging. In England, campaigners won restrictions on access, in the shape of the pub-closing hours that have puzzled foreign visitors ever since. It may have been a bore, but it was a less socially costly way of dealing with an undesirable habit than a ban.

Today's illegal drugs were patent medicines in the 19th century. Morphine and opium were freely available in both Europe and America. Victorian babies were quietened with Godfrey's Cordial, which contained opium. Cocaine was the basis of remedies for the common cold. When Atlanta prohibited alcohol, John Pemberton, producer of a health drink called French Wine Coca, developed a version that was non-alcoholic but still contained traces of coca, thereby creating the world's best-selling soft drink. As for marijuana, Queen Victoria reputedly used it to soothe the royal period pains.

Far from opposing the drugs trade, the British and the Americans notoriously promoted it in the 19th century. In 1800 China's imperial government forbade the import of opium, which had long been used to stop diarrhoea, but had latterly graduated to recreational use. British merchants smuggled opium into China to balance their purchases of tea for export to Britain. When the Chinese authorities confiscated a vast amount of the stuff, the British sent in gunboats, backed by France, Russia and America, and bullied China into legalising opium imports.

Initial efforts to stamp out drug use at home had little to do with concerns about health. One of America's first federal laws against opium-smoking, in 1887, was a response to agitation against Chinese “coolies”, brought into California to build railways and dig mines. It banned opium imports by Chinese people, but allowed them by American citizens (the tax on opium imports was a useful source of federal revenue). The drafters of the Harrison Act of 1914, the first federal ban on non-medical narcotics, played on fears of “drug-crazed, sex-mad negroes”. And the 1930s campaign against marijuana was coloured by the fact that Harry Anslinger, the first drug tsar, was appointed by Andrew Mellon, his wife's uncle. Mellon, the Treasury Secretary, was banker to DuPont, and sales of hemp threatened that firm's efforts to build a market for synthetic fibres. Spreading scare stories about cannabis was a way to give hemp a bad name. Moral outrage is always more effective if backed by a few vested interests.

Complete Title: How Did We Get Here? History Has a Habit of Repeating Itself


Big Business

The risks are high—but so are the rewards.

The drugs industry is simple and profitable. Its simplicity makes it relatively easy to organise; its profitability makes it hard to stop. At every level, its pricing and its structure are shaped by the high level of risk from enforcement: the risk of seizure and jail, and the uncertainty that arises because traders cannot rely on the law to enforce their bargains.

The industry's products are of two sorts. Most of its products are agricultural, but a growing sideline is made from simple chemicals. Production of farmed drugs is concentrated increasingly in two countries: about two-thirds of the world's heroin (made from opium) may come from Afghanistan and most of the rest from Myanmar; four-fifths of coca from Colombia. Only cannabis is produced in large quantities not just in the poor world—principally Mexico—but also in the rich, where much of the best stuff is grown. It is a tolerant crop. It can be interplanted in cornfields in Kentucky, or lovingly tended in an apartment in Amsterdam, where a taxi driver told this correspondent that he regularly raised 150 plants in a cupboard to sell at nine weeks for 60 guilders ($23) apiece to a local coffee shop. The bulkiness of cannabis, and its relatively low value, make it a crop best grown near the market.

Tracking crops is difficult, but easier, thanks to spy satellites, than tracking chemicals. Nobody is sure whether the Netherlands is the world's main producer of ecstasy or (as seems more likely) merely the world's main entrepôt for a product made in Poland and other parts of Eastern Europe. Methamphetamines seem to be produced mainly in small factories on both sides of the Mexican-American border. William Gore, of the Federal Bureau of Investigation in San Diego, thinks that successful law enforcement on the American side of the border has reduced factories there to making only 1-2lb (up to a kilogram) of the drug at a time; laxer vigilance to the south means that Mexican factories produce 100-200lb at a time.

Getting drugs from the poor world to the rich requires a distribution network. The task is tougher for cocaine than for heroin, because cocaine is more frequently shipped or flown to its markets, making it vulnerable to seizure. Most heroin consignments appear to travel overland. But this is where the big money starts to be made. The price paid to a Pakistani farmer for opium, reckons the United Nations, is $90 a kilo (see table, next page). The wholesale price in Pakistan is almost $3,000. The American wholesale price is $80,000. On the street, at 40% purity, the retail price is $290,000. As for cocaine, the leaf needed to produce a kilo costs about $400-600, according to Francisco Thoumi, author of a remarkable unpublished study of the Andean drugs industry. By the time it leaves Colombia, the price has gone up to $1,500-1,800. On America's streets, after changing hands four or five times, the retail price for a kilo of cocaine works out at $110,000, and in Europe substantially more.

That vast gap between the cost of producing the stuff and the price paid by the final consumer goes a long way to explaining why drugs policies so often fail. However, the people who grow or make illegal drugs see only modest returns. The value is embedded mainly in the distribution chain. In Pakistan, for example, 90% of the domestic retail price of heroin goes to local wholesalers and retailers. The price at which heroin leaves the country may be only 10% of its street price in the United States or Europe.

Developing-country producers can find distribution difficult. Bruce Porter, the author of “Blow”, a book about the 20-year career of a drug merchant called George Jung that has now been made into a film, recounts that the Colombians in the early 1970s had trouble getting their cocaine to the American market. “George showed them how to distribute, using the marijuana distribution chain.” Once that was in place, “George became a bulk transporter, shipping cocaine from Colombia to Colombians in Miami.”

The people who dominated the cocaine trade in Colombia in its early days were experienced smugglers, thanks to the country's long history of gold and emerald smuggling. Much the same was true in Mexico, says Peter Smith, director of Latin American studies at the University of California, San Diego. When tough policing in Miami drove up their costs, Colombians formed joint ventures with Mexicans who were in the general smuggling trade, rather than with the small “mom-and-pop” cartels in Mexico that had previously grown marijuana for sale in the north. They reckoned that the professional smugglers were more likely to have the logistics skills needed for the job.

In the early 1990s, these smugglers began to insist on being paid in drugs rather than cash, allowing them to break into American distribution too. They swiftly evolved from subcontracted transporters to urban distributors. The relationship is finely balanced: the Mexican smugglers know that, if they ask for too large a share, the Colombians can always return to shipping their cocaine by a different route.

Over the years, these distribution networks have become more efficient. That may explain one of the many mysteries of the drugs business: the halving of the price of heroin and cocaine between 1980 and 1990. The National Research Council speculates: “The drug industry may have experienced the learning-curve effects often associated with new industries as they find ways to be more efficient in their operations.” In a footnote, the report adds: “Learning by doing has a long history in studies of industrial organisation, productivity and growth.”

Certainly the Mexicans, according to a study done for the United Nations, seem to have concentrated on the drugs business in a way that might be expected to improve efficiency. Unlike other distributors, they avoid diversifying into other sorts of crime. Joseph Fuentes, a senior New Jersey policeman who has written a doctoral thesis on the industry, explains that the Mexican distributors operate with great professionalism, sometimes employing top managers with degrees in business studies, and relying heavily on honour, credit and collateral. “The recruitment process is very like that for IBM or Xerox,” he says—except that the drug distributors require detailed information about the whereabouts of a prospective employee's parents, spouse and children.

In Europe, distribution patterns seem to be different. The United Nations reckons that organised crime is less involved, at least in cocaine trafficking, and that more trade passes through ordinary businesses, many of them based in Spain. The retail side is often run by small groups or individuals supplying a network of friends; gang-controlled distribution is rarer. That may change: for instance, Martin Witteveen of the Dutch public prosecutor's office believes that Israeli crime syndicates are taking over much of the trade in ecstasy between the Netherlands and the largest market, America.

Distribution within the rich importing countries is often dominated by immigrant groups. A police officer in Bern, in Switzerland, counts them off on his fingers: cocaine comes into the country mainly from Spain, but the trade is run by African asylum-seekers and by Turks. Heroin comes from Turkey and the Balkans, and the business is mainly in the hands of Albanians, Serbs and Macedonians, he says. Few of these folk appear in the streets: the final deal is often done by Swiss junkies. There are similar stories everywhere: in Denmark, it is Gambians, in Australia, Vietnamese.

This foreign control is no accident. Immigrant groups may have strong links with producing countries; they speak languages the police rarely understand; they have close ties of loyalty to each other. All these things give them a competitive advantage over locals. In addition, they have less to lose because they find it harder than locals to get decent legitimate jobs.

Given that heroin and cocaine are both highly concentrated, these dealing networks are probably not large: about 500 tonnes of cocaine come into the United States each year, and some dealers handle more than 10 tonnes a year. A few hundred people probably handle most of it.

Getting a fix

The big battalions are on the streets. In poor parts of town, dealing is often a big source of employment. A study of drug markets in Milwaukee a couple of years ago by John Hagedorn, of the University of Illinois-Chicago, found that at least 10% of Latino and black men aged 18-29 drew at least part of their income from the drugs business. It was, he said, the most profitable activity in the town's informal economy: 28 businesses, dealing mainly in cocaine, employed about 190 people, their owners grossing between $1,000 and $5,000 a month. Many of the owners also had jobs in the legitimate economy—drug selling seemed to be a complement to, rather than a substitute for, legitimate work. Thirteen of these businesses had been going for at least two years, developing innovative ways of avoiding the police and so reducing their business risk. The owners had stopped dealing from street corners or homes, and used pagers and mobile phones instead. They also employed runners to deliver drugs, and so carried almost no drugs themselves.

Different customers are willing to incur different risks. Richard Curtis of the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York, who has studied the retail market for drugs there, has found that customers in the smart areas of midtown and lower Manhattan tend not to travel to the shadier areas of Harlem or Washington Heights to buy drugs, even though they would save money if they did.

Recruiting employees appears to be easy. “In a lot of poor communities, drug dealers are the only equal-opportunity employer,” says Deborah Small, director of public policy at the Lindesmith Centre, a drug-campaigning organisation. The main alternative source of illegal income, numbers betting, has been largely destroyed by legalisation. And drug-dealing pays well: one study of dealers in Washington, DC, at the height of the 1980s crack epidemic found that they could earn $30 an hour, compared with about $7 from legal employment.

That is an attractive rate, especially for the middle-aged high-school drop-out who is getting too old for mugging and has few other ways to make a living. But, as in every business, earnings vary with responsibility, and have to be set against the risks. A sophisticated study of the finances of one drug gang by two economists at the University of Chicago, Steven Levitt and Sudhir Alladi Venkatesh, found that, whereas the top members earned far more than their legitimate market alternative, the street-level sellers earned roughly the minimum wage. They seemed to stay in the job in the hope of rising to the top. But the risks are enormous: gang wars, essential to gain market share and to resolve disputes, also drive customers away—and for this particular sample resulted in a death rate of 7% among distributors.

Many of the “runners” at the tip of the distribution chain are paid in a mix of drugs and cash. That turns drug-dealing into a sort of pyramid-selling, giving them an incentive to make more sales. And customers, as with any business, are the lifeblood of the drugs trade.


Choose your Poison

Who uses drugs, and why.

Most drug users live in the poor world, not the rich. Countries such as China and Pakistan in the case of heroin, and Colombia (South America's second most populous country) in the case of cocaine, have local traditions of drug use and vast uprooted urban populations to provide expanding markets. In future, growth will be concentrated in developing countries and the former Soviet Union.

At present, the markets with the big money are in the rich world, where the mark-ups between import and sales prices are highest. Here, not surprisingly, most people buy the drugs that have the fewest side-effects and are least likely to cause addiction. In that respect, drug users seem to behave as rationally as other consumers.

Everywhere, the most widely used drug by far is cannabis. At some point or another, about half the people under 40 in America have probably tried it. In time, as many adults in the rich world may have sampled cannabis as have tried alcohol. In many social groupings, especially in large cities, using cannabis has already become more or less normal behaviour. “The last time anyone offered it to me,” recalls Paul Hayes, a senior British probation officer who has just become head of a new drug-treatment agency, “was after a primary school parent-teacher association disco, in the home of a Rotary Club member, and the person was a detective-sergeant in the Metropolitan Police. If that's not normalisation, I don't know what is.” Prudently, Mr Hayes refused.

Other drugs are becoming part of the normal weekly pattern of life in some social circles. Amphetamines and cocaine, like cannabis, are mostly taken sporadically, and are used far more heavily by the young than by the middle-aged. Simon Jenkins, a former editor of the Times and member of an inquiry into drugs and the law under Lady Runciman, argues that London's vibrant clubbing scene is clear testament to the profusion of drugs available there: how else would people have the energy to dance all night?

Most drug users, like those clubbers, are occasional dabblers. A 1997 survey of western German drug users sets the tone: just under 80% of cannabis users take the drug no more than once a week, and almost half take it fewer than ten times a year (see chart). With ecstasy and cocaine, users indulge even less often.

With drugs, as with alcohol, a minority of users tends to account for the bulk of consumption. In America, for instance, 22% of users account for 70% of use. Heroin use is probably even more dominated by frequent or dependent users. Most drug users, it seems, understand the risks they are taking, and approach them rationally. Of Europe's adults, at most 3% are likely to have tried cocaine; fewer than 1% have ever sampled heroin.

Most drugs do not appear to be physically addictive. Views on this may eventually change: in laboratories all over the United States, unfortunate rats are being put into drug-induced hazes as the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) spends its hefty budget on a mass of research on the impact of drugs on the brain. Recent work on people who give up a heavy marijuana habit seems to show that they suffer anxiety and loss of appetite.

However, for the moment, the evidence suggests that neither marijuana nor amphetamines are physiologically addictive. Many people find it hard to abandon crack cocaine once they have tried it a few times, but when they do, they do not appear to become physically ill, as they would with heroin—or indeed nicotine or caffeine. “Heroin is a true addiction, with a recovery rate of 40-50%,” explains Giel van Brussel, who has been head of Amsterdam's addiction care department for many years. “With cocaine, the recovery rate is around 90%, so we don't see it as such an enormous problem.” That is rare sanity from a policymaker, but then Dutch policymakers are saner than most.

Even with the most addictive illegal drugs, only a minority of users seems to get hooked. With heroin, according to figures from America's National Household Survey on Drug Abuse, one user in three is dependent. Alarming—but not compared with nicotine, which appears to be the most addictive drug of all: one study quoted by America's Food and Drug Administration found that 80% of cigarette smokers were addicted (see chart 2, previous page). David Lewis, professor of alcohol and addiction studies at Brown University in Rhode Island, reckons that the relapse rates for those who try to give up are higher than those for heroin or crack cocaine. If the aim of drugs policy were to prevent harmful addiction, the main target of drugs enforcement agents would clearly be tobacco smokers and their dealers.

Studies of the routes by which people come to take up drugs have had a huge impact on policy. Most influential has been the “gateway” theory, suggesting that soft drugs lead on to hard drugs: if cannabis is the path to crack cocaine, then clearly the sooner that path is blocked, the better.

Guesswork about gateways

In fact, this turns out to be nonsense. Certainly, most people who take “hard” drugs have usually first smoked marijuana. But, as Lady Runciman's excellent report on the misuse of drugs in Britain argued last year, for the “gateway” theory to be proved correct requires not just that cocaine and heroin users are highly likely to have taken cannabis; it also requires that cannabis users are highly likely to move on to cocaine or heroin. Yet the vast majority of cannabis users do not graduate to these more dangerous drugs.

Moreover, there is no reliable evidence indicating that taking marijuana pharmacologically disposes people to later use of heroin. But work at Johns Hopkins University shows that children who drink and smoke in their early teens are disproportionately likely to progress later to marijuana. And a study in Britain found that the probability of 11-to-15-year-olds using an illicit drug is strongly related to under-age smoking and drinking. Beer and cigarettes seem to be gateways to marijuana, but marijuana does not seem to be a gateway to other drugs.

Whether somebody becomes a heavy drug user seems to depend on other factors. Heredity may play some part, and so may social conditions: recent American research has found that drug use is 50% more common in households that are welfare recipients than in those that are not. And family circumstances may interact with personality. Mr Hayes, after a long career in the London probation service, sees a typical user as “someone who is a risk-taker—whose lifestyle involves bending rules.” Part of the lure of drug-taking seems to be the sense of danger. The question is how far people should decide for themselves whether to take such risks, and how far the government should make that decision for them.


The Harm Done

Drugs cause many problems, but they need to be kept in perspective.

In a former warehouse under Manhattan bridge in New York, now home to a therapeutic community run by Phoenix House, 42-year-old Michael talks sadly of the cost of 30 years on heroin and crack cocaine. “I couldn't see further than the next bag of dope. I was hustling, shoplifting and getting high. I couldn't deal with people. I have a 14-year-old son that I could never look after.”

Michael has now been voluntarily at Phoenix House for four months, learning how to cope with others and with himself. He is well-dressed, articulate and eager to escape. The desire to be a decent father to his son, coupled with the skills training and accommodation that Phoenix House provides, may be just what he needs to kick his habit, get a job and rejoin the human race. Gabriel has a tougher job ahead: he has been in a clinic in Tijuana, just south of Mexico's border with the United States, after spending 14 of his 30 years on methamphetamines. His mother, who once threw him out for stealing from her, found him ragged and emaciated, and persuaded him to go for treatment at one of Mexico's very few professionally run clinics. Now sleek and handsome, he is off drugs. But he will struggle to find work, and will return to live in the same community where his addiction began.

Many people take drugs because they get pleasure from them. To those who prefer a glass of burgundy and a cigar, that may seem hard to understand. It is, however, improbable that so many people would spend so much money on voluntarily eating, smoking or sniffing drugs if doing so brought them nothing but misery.

Most drug users ultimately stop.

That said, though, abusing drugs undoubtedly wrecks many lives. Once people become truly dependent, it can take them years to break the cycle. As with cigarettes, the pleasure then consists mainly of avoiding the pain of giving up. But the vast majority of drug users end up like neither Michael nor Gabriel. They go through a period when drugs form part of their lives, and then they move on. Peter Cohen, of the Centre for Drug Research at the University of Amsterdam, followed a sample of cocaine users whom he describes as typical. After ten years, 60% had become completely abstinent and 40% remained occasional users. “Most drug users ultimately stop,” he says. “Drugs no longer fit their lifestyle. They get jobs, they have to get up early, they stop going to the disco, they have kids.”

The dangers of drugs should not be underestimated, but nor should they be exaggerated. With the exception of heroin, drugs contribute to far fewer deaths among their users than either nicotine or alcohol. In America, for instance, tobacco kills proportionately more smokers than heroin kills its users, and alcohol kills more drinkers than cocaine kills its devotees.

Consuming a drug is rarely the only cause of death. More often, the user is taking some extra risk. That is true even for heroin. The European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction (EMCDDA), which collects and analyses European statistics, reports that the mortality rate for people who inject heroin is two to four times as high as that for non-injectors, mainly because of the danger of contracting HIV or hepatitis from dirty needles.

“Acute deaths related solely to cocaine, amphetamines or ecstasy are unusual,” says the EMCDDA in a recent report, “despite the publicity they receive.” Dr van Brussel, the addiction care expert, agrees: “We have about 100 deaths a year from heroin addiction in the Netherlands,” he says, “but only one or two from cocaine.” Even though much of the world's ecstasy passes through the Netherlands, the country has only one death a year of a person with ecstasy in his bloodstream. Even then, it is rarely clear that ecstasy (MDMA) alone is the killer. According to Charles Grob, a professor at the UCLA School of Medicine, people who take MDMA incur health risks mainly if they are already unfit. He recalls one man, who had experienced no previous problems with ecstasy, whose blood pressure began to rise alarmingly after taking it. It transpired that he had stayed at a friend's house, and used an asthma inhaler because he was allergic to his friend's cat. It was the combination of substances that had caused the trouble.

Even drugs that do not kill people may still hurt them. More and more evidence suggests that drugs may affect brain activity. Some even hint that marijuana, regarded by its fans as safer than sugar doughnuts (and less addictive), may do damage. A study recently reported in the American Heart Association's journal suggested that for middle-aged people the risk of a heart attack rose by nearly five times in the first hour after smoking marijuana.

But the overall impression remains that, in the words of the Lancet, a British medical journal, “It would be reasonable to judge cannabis less of a threat than alcohol or tobacco...On the medical evidence available, moderate indulgence in cannabis has little ill-effect on health.”

Whereas some drugs harm people's health, some may also do good. Hospitals still use heroin derivatives to treat pain. They cannot usually prescribe marijuana, even though a study published by the Institute of Medicine in 1999 suggested that marijuana could help to treat nausea, loss of appetite, pain and anxiety. In America, such findings have turned medical marijuana into the main issue in the campaign to soften the law on drugs.

A mere 5,000 hard-drug addicts may be responsible for about half of all petty crimes in the Netherlands.

Health apart, drugs cause other kinds of harm—not just to the individual user but to society at large. Crack cocaine seems to be linked to domestic violence, marijuana makes workers groggy, no drug is good for motorists. And some people who use drugs heavily—“chaotic” drug users – are disproportionately likely to commit crimes. A mere 5,000 of the country's estimated 25,000 hard-drug addicts are responsible for about half of all petty crimes committed in the Netherlands, guesses Bob Keizer, drugs policy adviser to the Dutch Ministry of Health.

Crime and chaos

Given the expense of a heavy habit, petty crime is an obvious income source. However, Michael Hough, director of the Criminal Policy Research Unit at the University of the South Bank in London, believes that the link is not simple. Rather, the sort of person who becomes a “chaotic” drug user is also disproportionately likely already to be an “acquisitive offender”: a thief, shoplifter (the addict's crime of choice) or burglar. “The preconditions for starting on heroin are to be a risk-taker, and to have quite a bit of money,” he says. He points to a study of people arrested in Britain, by Trevor Bennett of Cambridge University, which calculated that the cost of consuming heroin and crack accounted for 32% of criminal activity.

Where drug use directly harms society, government is right to intervene. But the best way to protect society is not necessarily to ban drugs. If that were the right course, governments would begin by banning alcohol, which causes far more aggression and misbehaviour than any other substance, licit or illicit. Instead, governments everywhere pursue tougher policies against drugs, some of which are more harmful than the drugs themselves.

Source: Economist, The (UK)
Published: July 26-28 2001
Copyright: 2001 The Economist Newspaper Limited
Contact: letters@economist.com
Website: http://www.economist.com/

Related Articles:

How Governments Try and Fail To Stem Flow of Drugs
http://cannabisnews.com/news/thread10422.shtml

The Case For Legalisation Time for Puff of Sanity
http://cannabisnews.com/news/thread10421.shtml

CannabisNews Articles - UK
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Comment #13 posted by Lehder on July 27, 2001 at 13:26:19 PT
the latest on chemtrails....
Sorry - no more info for now. I went out to look again and then I was...uh...abducted by an alien robot. Can't remember anything since.
PAZ
'Carlos'?


[ Post Comment ]
 
Comment #12 posted by Doug on July 27, 2001 at 09:59:39 PT
Underwhelmed
After reading these three articles from the Economist, I find myself underwhelmed by them all. Sure, they reapeat all the information that has been common knowledge to anyone who has paid attention to the subject for a long time (eg Licit and Illicit Drugs in the early 1970's) but in a nice form, but they also are superficial (see my previous post) and repeat some myths. Basically, they are not radical -- meaning looking at the roots of things -- but I guess that is to be expected from the Economist.

For example, they compare illegal with legal drugs such as nicotine and caffeine, but then they mention that most users grow out of using drugs. But they never talk about all the people who don't "grow out of" using caffeine and nicotine, which we were just told are like illegal drugs, only legal.

They don't mention that the WoDs provides jobs for not only for police and prosecuters, but also for growers -- how many countercultural people are suppoorted directly or indirectly by marijuana production, a lot I am sure -- and street level dealers. The support for police and prosecuters allows for more repression, while the suppports for growers and dealers keeps many "marginal" people making money. How many more upset people would ther be if they couldn't find employment in the underground economy.

So I guess I should be happy that dissent to the WoDs has reached such a mainstrem level that we see liberal attacks on it such these articles.


[ Post Comment ]

 
Comment #11 posted by Ethan Russo, MD on July 27, 2001 at 08:11:02 PT:

Shock and Dismay
I am shocked and dismayed that the loyal patrons of Cannabisnews.com would accuse our wise, kind, benevolent, all-seing, all-knowing, infallible federal government of any malfeasance, ignorance, neglect, or similar transgressions.

There are no secrets in Amerika.

We had to exterminate Native Americans and steal their land so our country could grow! We had to give syphilis to unsuspecting black men in Alabama so we would know what would happen! We had to send GI's through mushroom clouds in Nevada so we would know what the Russian bombs and missiles would do to the rest of us! We had to use cocaine trafficking in Nicaragua and commerce with Iran to raise money to squelch the godless communists! Now we need to steal your confidential medical records, scrutinize your bodily waste for drug residues, and distribut unspecified chemicals in vapor trails! It is all part of the divine Amerikan plan!

You must not question these things! Amerika does not like dissent! It is written in the Constitution, isn't it?

[ Post Comment ]

 
Comment #10 posted by kaptinemo on July 27, 2001 at 07:08:00 PT:

I've seen this stuff, too
March 20th of 1999, at about 0930 hours, EST over Frederick County in Maryland. I was working at a factory in a nearby city just south of Frederick, Maryland at the time and just happened to look outside when I saw geometric cross-hatching 'contrails' expanding in the atmosphere. No way something as detailed as that is 'accidental'.

Given all the threatened cut backs in military spending and the reduction in funding for military flight time, the idea that someone is messing around in the upper atmosphere is very disquieting. Even more so is the US Government's nasty tendency to use it's own citizens as unwilling and unknowing guinea pigs in its' little experiments:

MK-Ultra: The CIA and Radiation
http://earthops.org/mk_ultra.html

The Hieronimus Report
http://www.zohshow.com/Zone/commentaryaug00/commentary082500.htm

(BTW, I know this lady personally; if she says something's up, I'm inclined to believe her.)

Terry Lenzner's CIA connection
http://www.freerepublic.com/forum/a37e49d550672.htm

Yeah, something's up, all right. Just what, though, is open to speculation...



[ Post Comment ]

 
Comment #9 posted by dddd on July 27, 2001 at 05:44:31 PT
Good Grief!
Checked out your link Lehder....first I've heard of this.

What the hell is going on here?....dddd

[ Post Comment ]

 
Comment #8 posted by Lehder on July 27, 2001 at 05:33:39 PT
NE Ohio, gf -
Look up!
chemtrails, X's in the sky.
They're starting to break up, should have looked earlier, but it looks like they may not be done spraying yet.

http://members.tripod.com/~Tox/chemtrails.htm


[ Post Comment ]

 
Comment #7 posted by freedom fighter on July 26, 2001 at 22:41:28 PT
Aint it about time
for truth to come out??

;}

I just wished that the article at least would mention that not ONE human being ever died from consuming cannabis..

Went to the so-called treatment today,(I got 8 more to go)
It was interesting.. They all were yapping about the effect of alcohol. People do die from overdosing on alcohol. Noone said anything about cannabis overdose(not likely, since not one ever have die from it).. I sat on my chair very bored..

CANNABIS IS THE SAFEST SUBSTANCE KNOWN TO MANKIND...
I felt like shouting..

ff

[ Post Comment ]

 
Comment #6 posted by Dan Hillman on July 26, 2001 at 22:15:51 PT
kapt and everyone,
your enthusiasm is rubbing off. Britain is leading the way for a return to pre-prohibition sanity in the Anglo-American axis.

And how not, really? It's only a few hours on the ferry to get to Amsterdam and how long can the British stand by and see all that cash go across the channel as many, many young, affluent cannabis users make the trip to Holland? ( I was in Amsterdam last thanksgiving holiday for the cannabis cup and by far the best represented nationality in the coffee shops (after yanks, of course) were those cannabis lovers hailing from the UK.)

Go Britain....these are the days of miracles and wonders.

[ Post Comment ]

 
Comment #5 posted by jAHn on July 26, 2001 at 21:20:13 PT
dood, kapt....
...I was listening to Howard Stern this morning and heard Robin, the newslady, report that a woman bit into a mcBurger and felt a poke on her lip. The sharp object which pinched her skin was a hypodermic needle.
Probably planted there, for all the average citizen knows about the 'behind the scenes" at a local fast-food eatery.


[ Post Comment ]
 
Comment #4 posted by kaptinemo on July 26, 2001 at 18:51:24 PT:

My God, they're telling the truth!
Somebody pinch me! (Not too hard, please.)

"...Harry Anslinger, the first drug tsar, was appointed by Andrew Mellon, his wife's uncle. Mellon, the Treasury Secretary, was banker to DuPont, and sales of hemp threatened that firm's efforts to build a market for synthetic fibres. Spreading scare stories about cannabis was a way to give hemp a bad name. Moral outrage is always more effective if backed by a few vested interests.

Get the ammonia capsules, I think I'm gonna faint. A major international publication has told the truth about the commercial chicanery behind cannabis prohibition. I'm effin' delirious; shouldn't have ate that Mickey-D's greasebomb; must be a touch of food poisoning, or something.

All I can say after reading the these three articles from the Economist is: Antis, the sound of rushing water you hear is the flood that broke through the dike you've spent years sticking thumbs, toes, nose, and any other appendage or object you could find in a vain hope of stopping the inevitable. The torrent of backed up resentment, anger and fury you've caused with your insane DrugWar is about to break over your heads.

If you don't know how to swim, I'd suggest you learn fast.




[ Post Comment ]

 
Comment #3 posted by Phyro_the_Dragon on July 26, 2001 at 18:05:24 PT:

ITS Abought TIME
Now that is the way to find out wat the truth is !.
Let the US/UK goverment Say thay want to get tuff on drugs .


( there is a big Hole in the Dam Now).!!!!!!!


Peace........ Phyro_the_Dragon


[ Post Comment ]

 
Comment #2 posted by Dan B on July 26, 2001 at 17:57:02 PT:

NORML Speaker Comes to Lubbock
Yesterday, Rick Day (founder of Texas NORML) came to Lubbock to give a speech in a local coffee house (just coffee, folks) on the legalization of marijuana and the harms associated with the drug war. The room seats about 40, and between 60 and 70 people showed up for at least part of it. Two television news camaeras were also present, along with a couple of newspaper reporters.

I watched the news on both channels last night, and both carried stories about the meeting. One actually gave a very fair report, simply saying that Mr. Day supports legalizing marijuana and giving him a chance to speak face to face with the camera for a few seconds. The other channel gave the same story, but they said at the end that so-and-so from MADD says that legalizing marijuana would lead to more highway accidents.

Now, the fact is that Rick Day was asked a question about the effect of legalizing marijuana on highway safety, and he gave a very coherent and accurate response, citing the three countries' studies on the matter (Australia, Canada, and the UK) that have shown improved attention to driving and lower incidence of accidents for those who use marijuana. Furthermore, he said that a shift from alcohol to cannabis use would be likely for many once cannabis is made legal, and such a shift would result in lower overall accident rates across the country. Great answer, but none of it made the evening news.

The guy who asked the question, by the way, based his entire hypothesis that legalization would lead to more accidents on his comparison of marijuana to alcohol. Of course, we all know that when it comes to these two drugs, there really is no comparison. He was quite young (perhaps a freshman in college) and clearly did not understand marijuana at all. Yet, the evening news used this joker as some kind of an authority.

So, cheers to Newschannel 11 for fair reporting, and jeers to CBS 13 News for dissemination of propaganda.

And cheers to Rick Day for having the guts to travel all over the state (and Mexico City, to which he is travelling soon to mark the official opening of the first NORML chapter in Mexico City), and especially for coming to Lubbock, where the truth is rarely mentioned in "polite" company.

Dan B

p.s. I saw an issue of the Journal of Cannabis Therapeutics at the meeti8ng and thought of you, Dr. Russo.

p.p.s. I have been asked to be the faculty sponsor for a new NORML chapter at Texas Tech University. Of course, I accepted. Looking forward to raising awareness (and perhaps a little hell) in the coming year.

[ Post Comment ]

 
Comment #1 posted by Ethan Russo, MD on July 26, 2001 at 17:33:11 PT:

Spread the Word
I suggest that everyone buy as many issues of The Economist, "The case for legalising drugs" and distribute them to politicians. To bad they cannot be forced to read it.

It is merely a travesty that the academics espouse reasoned solutions, and the people realized them intuitively, long before the politicians ever muster the moral fortitude to act to rectify injustice.

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