Reefer Madness Afflicts Rudy's NY

Reefer Madness Afflicts Rudy's NY
Posted by FoM on April 13, 2000 at 08:34:07 PT
By Deborah Small, The Lindesmith Center
Source: NewsDay
Deborah Small is a lawyer and director of public policy and community outreach for the Lindesmith Center, a drug policy institute based in New York and San Francisco.Patrick Dorismond, the unarmed security guard killed last month by an undercover New York police officer, is the latest victim of longstanding and dangerous myths about marijuana. 
And Rudolph Giuliani-who responded to an increasing homicide rate by initiating Operation Condor, which targets low-level drug activity -is the latest politician to justify repressive public policy by cynically perpetuating these distortions. In the '40s and '50s, the government tried to convince the public that marijuana smokers became depraved killers. Later, they said marijuana caused insanity and moral degeneration. After that, there was the "gateway theory" that marijuana led inevitably to use of harder drugs, like heroin and cocaine. The most venerable version of this hysteria, and apparently the most durable, is that pot smokers kill. Despite the prevalence of these myths, the generation of Americans that came of age during the late '60s and '70s (my generation) used marijuana freely. It was part of the expansion of personal, social and political consciousness that marked the period. Many of us who experimented with marijuana during that time went on to become teachers, doctors, lawyers, accountants, scientists and businessmen. A few became president, vice president and governors. So we either have a country run by potential killers and moral degenerates or-more likely -marijuana is not nearly so harmful as it has been portrayed. Therefore, I am perplexed at the rationale provided by the mayor and police commissioner to explain why we are arresting tens of thousands of New Yorkers each year for possessing or selling small amounts of marijuana. According to these officials, the arrests are necessary to fight the increase in homicide in the past year. I've known people under the influence of marijuana to attack any nearby snack, but I've never heard that smoking a joint would make someone shoot his wife or punch a cop. Yet that is what New Yorkers are being asked to believe and this is the type of policing we are being asked to pay for. To date, Operation Condor has cost the city an additional $24 million in police overtime, which doesn't include costs for court administration and legal services. According to Commissioner Howard Safir, since Operation Condor was initiated in January, more than 21,000 arrests have been made. No matter that the arrests are overwhelmingly for misdemeanors such as smoking a joint, drinking in public or that perennial favorite, spitting on the street. No crime, it seems, is too petty to go unpunished. And now a man is dead because he took offense when plainclothes officers approached him asking if he knew where marijuana could be obtained. In releasing the records about Dorismond's past encounters with the police and judicial system, city officials have asserted that he demonstrated a propensity to violence. But when the officers approached Dorismond looking to make another arrest, they didn't have any evidence of wrongdoing. They had a "profile" and he fit it. Possession or use of up to 25 grams of marijuana in the home is a violation under New York law, punishable with a fine of up to $100. Spending $24 million to arrest marijuana smokers makes as much sense as spending it to arrest people who drink beer in public, jaywalk or beg in public-all crimes that will get you a day in the slammer in Rudolph Giuliani's New York. This is real reefer madness. If we don't stop it, more people, primarily young African-American men, will be killed. Those of us who experimented with marijuana must stand up for the right of present-day marijuana users not to be demonized, arrested and possibly shot. Marijuana use is not related to violent crime. Let's stop pretending that it is. Published: April 13, 2000Copyright  Newsday, Inc. Related Articles & Web Site:The Lindesmith Centerhttp://www.lindesmith.orgWhen Civilians are Casualties of Drug War on Drugs Can't Help but Run Amok Victim of Drug Wars to Know What Giuliani Finds Relevant Man Slain In Police Struggle CannabisNews Articles On The Lindesmith Center:
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Comment #2 posted by legalizeit on April 13, 2000 at 22:27:57 PT
Condor - puh!
Like I said before, a condor is a type of vulture!It's time to start a new Operation Condor - unleash the condors of sense and logic to tear apart and do away with the rotting carcass of the Drug War. It's already dead - get it out of our faces and our lives!
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Comment #1 posted by observer on April 13, 2000 at 20:22:10 PT
Reefer Madness
The opening text of "Reefer Madness" (1936) --``The motion picture you are about to witness may startle you .It would not have beenpossible otherwise, tosufficiently emphasizethe frightful toll of thenew drug menace whichis destroying the youthof America in alarminglyincreasing numbers.marihuana is that drug-- a violent narcotic --an unspeakable scourge-- The Real Public Enemy Number One !Its first effect is suddenviolent, uncontrollablelaughter, then come dangeroushallucinations -- spaceexpands -- time slows down,almost stands still ....fixed ideas come next, conjuring up monstrous extravagances-- followed by emotionaldisturbances, the totalinability to direct thoughts,the loss of all power to resist physical emotionsleading finally to acts ofshocking violence ... endingoften in incurable insanity.In picturing its soul-destroying effects noattempt was made toequivocate. The scenes andincidents, while fictionizedfor the purposes of thisstory, are based upon actualresearch into the resultsof Marihuana addiction.If their start reality willmake you think, will make you aware that something must be done towipe out this ghastlymenace, then the picturewill not have failed in itspurpose.Because the dread Marihuanamay be reaching forth nextfor your son or daughter...or yours ... or YOURS! ''
hemptv: Reefer Madness (1936)
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