What Do We Want? Drug Peace!

What Do We Want? Drug Peace!
Posted by FoM on May 11, 2000 at 22:02:16 PT
By Lisa Igoe
Source: Eugene Weekly
Eugene marchers protest 'violent war on non-violent people.When do we want it? NOW!" hollered activist Michael Anthony through a megaphone labeled "Liberty." Last Saturday, May 5, Anthony and more than 200 other Eugeneans participated in the Millennium Marijuana March to raise awareness about "the Drug War, the conspiracy behind marijuana and hemp illegality, and the prison industrial complex."
The MMM was an international event with thousands participating across the world. In Eugene, speakers severely criticized U.S. drug policy, violation of the medical marijuana initiative passed by voters, and the continuation of "a violent war on non-violent people"."Marijuana is not illegal because it gets people high. It's illegal because a false image of violence has been sold to the public," says Davin Tryon, a UO journalism student."The industrial and medicinal forms of cannabis were lumped together in the early '30s," explains Bruce Mulligan, co-owner of Sow Much Hemp and director of the Hemp Institute for Research and Education. "They succeed in their attempt to criminalize its use so that industry and government could profit off of its illegality." Cannabis was first labeled "marijuana" in the 1920s and '30s, simultaneously earning its reputation as an intoxicant. During this time, exaggerated accounts of violent crimes - allegedly committed by immigrants intoxicated by "marijuana" - became popularized by tabloid newspapers and the newly formed Federal Bureau of Narcotics."It's a conspiracy that has to do with the logging and pharmaceutical companies," says Ben Champion, UO business student and MMM participant.Historic records show that major contributors to the anti-marijuana campaign were, indeed, paper and cotton manufacturers, chemical companies, and the timber industry, with Dow Chemical and the Hearst newspaper empire leading the charge.Marijuana was portrayed as the "devil's harvest" and the "weed with its roots in hell" in newspapers and theaters around the country. The first drug czar, Harry Anslinger, testified before the 1937 Congress that marijuana was "the most violence-causing drug in the history of mankind."Congress approved the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 based on what seems to be entirely propaganda and misinformation."Industrial cannabis, or hemp, is one of nature's strongest and most versatile agricultural crops," says T, a local hemp advocate who participated in the march. "It can be used in the making of textiles, paper, paints, clothing, plastics, cosmetics, foodstuffs, insulation, animal feed, and fuel," she says.According to the USDA, 10,000 acres planted in hemp will yield as much paper as 40,000 acres planted in trees, and fewer toxic chemicals are required to make paper from hemp than to make paper from trees.In addition, hemp has an average growing cycle of only 100 days and leaves the soil virtually weed-free for the next planting. The nutritional value of hemp seed is second only to soy in protein and contains the highest concentration of essential amino and fatty acids found in any food."The issues surrounding cannabis illegality are extremely questionable and wreak of conspiracy," says John Egan, a participant in the march.In the last 20 years, marijuana prohibition has escalated into a full scale drug war. In 1995, the most recent year for which the federal government has arrest statistics, almost 600,000 were charged with marijuana violations, which equates to one marijuana smoker arrested every 45 seconds."I think the reason that police and government continue the drug war is because it is the easiest way for them to make money," says Egan. "They seize property and destroy lives, all in the guise of reducing crime."In May of this year, research findings by Kaiser Permanente concluded that no link existed between regular marijuana smoking and mortality. The study emphasized that marijuana prohibition posed the only significant health hazard to the user.Two Oregon ballot initiatives are currently circulating that address the issue of marijuana prohibition. The first is a private consumption law that would allow adults to cultivate and consume cannabis in their own home. The other is a regulatory law that would allow marijuana to be sold in stores that are licensed by the state (much like liquor sales).The medicinal use of marijuana was approved by Oregon voters in 1998. Application of the law has been tied up in federal court ever since, while many patients go without their medicine."Cannabis should be legalized as an industrial crop and medicine," says Champion. "It's asinine that it is illegal and those who use the law to persecute non-violent citizens are the true criminals."May 11, 2000 Vol XIX, No.19Eugene Weekly1251 Lincoln, Eugene,OR 97401Phone: 541-484-0519Fax: 541-484-4044  Eugene Weekly 1999. Millennium Marijuana March - International Marijuana March MMM Articles & Pictures Are Now On the Page Below:CannabisNews Millennium Marijuana March News
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