Oblivious To The End

  Oblivious To The End

Posted by CN Staff on October 14, 2002 at 20:46:00 PT
By Jonathon Keats, Special to The Examiner 
Source: San Francisco Examiner  

Nearly a century before the Summer of Love, San Francisco became the first American city to prohibit the use of drugs. Opium was forbidden, although not to curb the addiction of Chinese laborers. What concerned politicians, rather, was that opium dens were attracting middle-class children, where they were mixing with people deemed culturally exceptionable.
Such social engineering, shrewdly passed off as a matter of public health, quickly spread to other cities, throughout the country and around the world. Over just the last couple decades, spending on the so-called drug war has multiplied by a factor of 10. Yet, as historian Richard Davenport-Hines argues in "The Pursuit of Oblivion" (Norton; $27.95), "it is a war that cannot be won."  Davenport-Hines offers a number of compelling reasons, most of which find their origin in the false assumptions of regulators. "It is not a drug itself that drives an addict to crime but the need for the drug," he writes. "It is not the supply of a drug that turns a user into a criminal but the illicitness of that supply.... (Prohibition) is the policy of idealists who cannot appreciate that the use of drugs often reflects other sets of human ideals: human perfectibility, the yearning for a perfect moment, the peace that comes from oblivion."  Yet, of all the faulty thinking underlying criminalization, by far the most flawed is the idea that the future of a society can be guided from on high.  Throughout history, governments have used drugs in every imaginable way to exert control over whole populations, their own as well as others. On the one hand, Napoleon is said secretly to have fed his soldiers narcotics mixed with cayenne pepper to overcome their exhaustion. On the other, British fleets sought to balance trade with Chinese merchants by illegally shipping in opium; cultivating addiction along the coastal provinces, England brilliantly imported supply and demand simultaneously.  In neither case, though, did such policy result in long-term control. England and China wound up at war with one another, while France, following the surrender of Napoleon and the return of his soldiers, added to its opium addiction a lust for other drugs, especially Algerian hashish.  "Hashish is replacing champagne," French art critic and drug aficionado Theophile Gautier proclaimed gleefully in 1845. "We believe we have conquered Algeria, but Algeria has conquered us." As Davenport-Hines notes, consumption of hashish was generally an affectation of the intelligentsia, "alluring because of its association with primitive cultures."  The threat it posed to French cultural hegemony ensured that hashish would be condemned by the authorities, which in turn only made it more alluring, more potent in its symbolism. Simply by indulging his drug habit, Gustave Flaubert could set himself in opposition to "civilization, that shriveled runt of human aspirations, that bitch, inventor of railways, prisons, enema pumps, cream cakes, of royalty and the guillotine."  If anything, the French establishment made itself more vulnerable to attack, and susceptible to overthrow, by providing such an easy (and enthralling) means of cultural protest.  For all that France may have been shaken up in the 19th century by bohemians' embrace of hashish, the situation can scarcely be compared to that in America -- a society fundamentally shaped by generations of resistance to repressive drug policy. In San Francisco, prohibition of opium consumption induced bored Caucasian children to spend time in Chinatown. Their natural inclination to rebellion, given such a clearcut outlet, put them face-to-face with another race -- otherwise shunned -- serving as a basis for cultural plurality.  Or take the case of cocaine a couple decades later in cities such as Chicago and New York. Recreational use by children of affluence put them in contact with an underworld that their parents wished them to avoid. Laws were enacted, and duly resisted, undermining the class distinctions they were meant indirectly to protect. Significant differences between rich and poor remained, yet the illicit intermingling of youth in every tax bracket gradually reduced the stigma of poverty, leading to greater equality of opportunity.  Perhaps confiscating crack pipes from Market Street souvenir shops -- doing the dirty work of the Convention and Visitors' Bureau to forge the image of San Francisco as a "clean" city -- also will result in some perverse societal improvement. That the government has brought about so much good by making such bad policy is a splendid irony.  But it doesn't serve as a justification any more than slavery was justified for having led to emancipation.Quote:   "It is wrong that they do this." -- a Market Street souvenir shop employee, watching the San Francisco Police Department confiscate his crack pipes and other drug paraphernalia.Source: San Francisco Examiner (CA)Author: Jonathon Keats, Special to The ExaminerPublished: October 14, 2002Copyright: 2002 San Francisco ExaminerContact: letters sfexaminer.comWebsite: Articles:The Pursuit of Oblivion - New York Times The First Hundred Years

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Comment #14 posted by FoM on October 15, 2002 at 18:17:02 PT
Another Medical Marijuana Article
Here's another article I put on my personal web page.Marijuana Study Tries To Bring Facts To Heated Debate:
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Comment #13 posted by FoM on October 15, 2002 at 16:54:56 PT
Medical Marijuana Article
Hi Everyone, Here's an article that I put on my personal page.Frightful Risk for Medical Pot Users:
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Comment #12 posted by DdC on October 15, 2002 at 16:37:51 PT
Sorry 2 tokes...
Hash and Chronic are safely tokable. My x ray proves it. ¶8)
The key is toking real cannabis buds and not schwag or leaves. Schwag is the total responsibility of and WoD's prohibition. Americans saturated in chemicals, causing diseases to treat with more chemicals. Where prevention is not prudent to W's economic stimulus package. Or vested interest profits. Too many variables from food to transportation to farming chemical exposure.Many other countries without the chemical adulteration, toking cannabis many generations, without the lung problems of western civi liz ation. Of which I am a disgusted member. The past 30 years of increased chemicals infiltrating remote areas of the planet is probably eliminating that statistic, and harming lungs to blame on ganja. And opening NAFTA/GATT to American tobacco with its 650 added colorings, flavors, igniters, flame retardants, ect. will make the whole world at one! Profits on pain! Aided and abided by the Food and Drug Administrated. One might assume cannabis food and medicinal use might fall under the Food AND Drug Administration. They didn't have any info when I called. I was referred to the They're under the orders of the's Fascism. Cop science...State Corporatism. How many kids die of full blown asthma attacks with no known treatment or time to ingest swallowing, except smoked cannabis. Without side effects of the Pharmaceuticals. Prohibition causes more to be toked, that could be used by other forms of ingestion. Babykillers with their chemicals approved by.... The F.D.A...Ha! I spit on their brains! I do not approve of the F.D.E.A.They re-legalized Thalidomide as an alternative to cannabis.They never tested Fluoridation in 50 years of use. When they started a warning label immediately followed.F.D.A. Allowed Rumsfeld and Searl to fastrack aspartame, marinol and thousands of chemicals, especially if they eradicate cannabis. politicops pushing viagra, Cheney/Bush Pharmaceuticals? With all of the funk spewing from these robots, how can a grain of trust be given them? Patients need no F.D.A., only relief.They have held back releases of tests on cannabis. Disproving the dangers "myths" and its medicinal value.Politidocs and Politicops...Fascist by choice or extortion... but Fascist.Comparing cannabis to chemicalized tobacco products is not science. Its manipulation.F.D.A.had no record of hempseeds nutritional value in the mid 90's. Never checked what was a staple of people and animal feed? Not requiring the treatment chemicals.If a ruler hearken to lies, all his servants are wicked. (Prov. 29:12) They all follow orders...FBIAMACIAFDADEAEPAWHATEVER!Therapeutic Use of Cannabis CLEANER AND EXPECTORANT Cannabis is the best natural expectorant to clear the human lungs of smog, dust and the phlegm associated with tobacco use. Marijuana smoke effectively dilates the airways of the lungs, the bronchi, opening them to allow more oxygen into the lungs. It is also the best natural dilator of the tiny airways of the lungs, the bronchial tubes - making cannabis the best overall bronchial dilator for 80% of the population (the remaining 20% sometimes show minor negative reactions). (See section on asthma - a disease that closes these passages in spasms - UCLA Tashkin studies, 1969-97; U.S. Costa Rican, 1980-82; Jamaican studies 1969-74, 76.) Statistical evidence - showing up consistently as anomalies in matched populations - indicates that people who smoke tobacco cigarettes are usually better off and will live longer if they smoke cannabis moderately, too. (Jamaican, Costa Rican studies.) Millions of Americans have given up or avoided smoking tobacco products in favor of cannabis, which is not good news to the powerful tobacco lobby - Senator Jesse Helms and his cohorts. A turn-of-the-century grandfather clause in U.S. tobacco law allows 400 to 6,000 additional chemicals to be added. Additions since then to the average tobacco cigarette are unknown, and the public in the U.S. has no right to know what they are. Many joggers and marathon runners feel cannabis use cleans their lungs, allowing better endurance. The evidence indicates that cannabis use will probably increase these outlaw American marijuana-users' lives by about one to two years - yet they may lose their rights, property, children, state licenses, etc., just for using that safest of substances: cannabis.Terminator Seeds
http://www.rafi.orgMonsanto Sucks
http://www.monsantosucks.comToday's Violence is Firmly Rooted in History:
From Plunder by Raids to Plunder by Trade Inquisitions: To Suppress Freedom Under the Flag of Freedom, Chains Must Be Placed On The Minds Of The Masses opinion, anyone using schwag should probably think about others forms.Dr. Grinspoon: To Smoke Or Not To Smoke is a Lie, Agreed Upon...
The Chemical Manipulation of Human Consciousness
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Comment #11 posted by DdC on October 15, 2002 at 10:49:20 PT
"it is a war that cannot be won."
It was never intended to be won! Zero Tolerance is as bad as legalization to junkies and profiteers. You just can't make money in peace or winning. Only perpetuating brings in the bucks and tax shelters. No one makes money if the cop looks the other way or if a law says they can toke. Arrests bring bucks! If everyone quit, the wod junkies would invent another prohibition or cold war. Or invade some schmuck we made too powerful previously. When crack hit the "quarters" in central Florida, where the blacks and poor lived. No cops even bothered. When it started hitting the white neighborhoods several years later it instantly became the scourge of the east. It's killing our kids, the pale ones that is. So lets get over the "caring about the kids". Lets get over the need for "marijuana eradications". 99% are hemp plants. The medicinal value vs recreational. Anyone who toked knows the real danger is prohibition. But $20 billion spent fighting and perpetuating this war is $20 billion earned and taxed. That is sick. But nothing new.Peace, Love and Liberty in Solidarity or The Murdering Goofy! Deceptions Qaeda! Wally
Welcome to Reality
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Comment #10 posted by druid on October 15, 2002 at 09:37:43 PT:
I would really like to try a vaporizer one of these days... I smoke mmj to combat my alcoholism and it works. If I didn't have weed then I would struggle everyday with the desire to drink but instead I can take a couple of puffs off my bowl and not have any desire whatsoever for a drink of alchol. Maybe it's trading apples for oranges in that regard but I am a much nicer and happier husband/father when I am not drinking. Cannabis really does not affect my personality much not like alcohol does anyway (I am an ugly mean bastard with a total disregard for others when I am drinking alot). I really do enjoy smoking pot though. Like TecHnoCult I really enjoy the taste of smoked cannabis especially high quality cannabis. Some of the schwag I don't care for especially the kind that smells like pepper. Smoking mmj has worked wonders for me where 12 step programs have not done a thing. In fact over the past 2 years I have been able to have the occasional social drink with a friend or at a party and not end up passed out and puking and making a fool of myself. Before that there was no comprehension in my mind of what social drinking was. If I had 1 beer I had to have at least 12 more. It is no longer that way for me. I lived with the alcoholism for over 15 years and I thank God for cannabis everyday. My wife no longer has to take the maximum dose of prozac any longer either since she has started smoking mmj for her depression. She hasn't had to touch prozac now for over 2 years and that is a Godsend in itself. Prozac surely helped with her depression but it also took away the ups when it took away the downs and her sex drive. Cannabis allows her to deal with depression in a way that she can take a step back and think about things and be able to work through them with some hope in sight. Where in the past there was no hope.wishing mmj was legally available in Idaho ...
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Comment #9 posted by TecHnoCult on October 15, 2002 at 08:29:03 PT
I had no doubt that the FDA would never aprove of smoked marijuana. However, they really don't like any "alternative" medicine such as herbs. However, I have tried eating, and it definately has a different affect. I have never tried vaporizing. I admit that at this point, I enjoy smoking it, and I like the taste, so I am a bit biased. THC
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Comment #8 posted by Ethan Russo MD on October 15, 2002 at 08:09:11 PT:
Smoking Cannabis
I'd thought I had been quite clear about my feelings about smoked cannabis.For most medical users, smoking is the most practical method of delivery, if suboptimal.The pros are clear. It is quick and allows ready dose titration.The cons are also clear. It produces some tracheo-bronchial irritation, and is socially off-putting for many. It does not produce lung cancer, and probably not emphysema. Although easy, smoking is probably quite inefficient, as much THC is either destroyed, or lost in sidestream smoke. Medically, cannabis smoking will never be accepted by the FDA as a viable prescription product. Give up that illusion.Alternative dosing forms, such as vaporization, non-smoked inhalers, sublingual extracts, or oral forms and the like could certainly be developed as prescription products that would pass muster with the FDA. It will happen. It will happen much faster virtually everywhere else, unfortunately.I encourage people who require cannabis chronically to vaporize, use it in cooking, or try alternative approaches whenever possible.In the scheme of things, smoking cannabis is a lot less dangerous than tobacco, alcohol, or most prescription drugs, but there are still better ways for medical use.
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Comment #7 posted by TecHnoCult on October 15, 2002 at 07:47:58 PT

Smoked Form?
Dr. Russo,I don't think I have ever heard your stance on smoking MJ as a means of delivery. I personally think it should between the doctor and the patient, but it seems a small risk to terminally ill patients.However, I have been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and I have chosen to use MMJ (not legal here in Texas) over Zyprexa (olanzapine) as a mood stabilizer. However, this may be long term.I personally will smoke it regardless, but I am curious to hear your point of view.THC

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Comment #6 posted by Ethan Russo MD on October 15, 2002 at 07:41:50 PT:

GW and THC
GW will never market a THC-only product. They realize that this would be suboptimal and counterproductive. The whole advantage of their program is its preservation of the synergistic activity of whole cannabis extracts. Expect Phase III trial results soon.I wish that we could say that THC is the only issue with respect to prohibition, but all the other cannabinoids including the mostly non-psychoactive cannabidiol (CBD) with is an anti-anxiety and anti-psychotic agent, are also illegal. So much for the law having any respect for science.
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Comment #5 posted by p4me on October 15, 2002 at 07:35:43 PT

A loose thought
I was thinking of GW Pharmaceuticals and the seven trials now in the third phase. The heart of the matter is Marinol vs GW.
First I wonder if GW Pharma will introduce THC isolated from natural cannabis to compete with the Marinol. I think this is a big deal and I will present it to the people at the HempCity messageboard later. Those guys still have their seige going in a common area near the building that used to house the DE.Now secondly, I wonder how the arguement denying use of whole cannabis extract will play out as it is the THC that is at the heart of prohibition as well as any part of the plant and of course the whole plant is worse than all the crooked politicians put together- in the prohibitionist's mind of course. Well, GW has 7 studies in phase 3 trials and is willing to jump through all the hoops to get their product to market. I wonder too if Canada will readily accept these new cannabis products. It is interesting but medicine will only cure certain things and will not clean up the corruption that needs to be brought to light.We should be hearing anytime about GW's submission of its findings on its MS trials.1
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Comment #4 posted by goneposthole on October 15, 2002 at 07:11:10 PT

Alex Perry needs to converse
with Johnathan Keats to get the message.
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Comment #3 posted by Ethan Russo MD on October 15, 2002 at 05:29:50 PT:

Literate and Topical
Too bad no one in the government will read or understand it.
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Comment #1 posted by Robbie on October 15, 2002 at 01:01:35 PT

Nice article
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