Drug Legalization Would End Problems 

Drug Legalization Would End Problems 
Posted by FoM on December 23, 2000 at 10:22:15 PT
By Jerry Epstein
Source: Galveston County Daily News
One of the major reasons that the drug war has been such a spectacular failure is the strange and selective nature of modern prohibition which grants a government protected monopoly to a drug like alcohol and prohibits marijuana based on popularity and mythology rather than science.* In 1998, the French National Health and Medical Research Institute and experts from other countries rated drugs by their danger. 
They established three groups: The most dangerous group included only alcohol, heroin and cocaine. Marijuana was in the least dangerous category.* Last year, our government paid a million dollars for a report from 24 of our leading experts. This report from the Institute Of Medicine said that marijuana is not a gateway but that making marijuana illegal does push users toward the use of more dangerous drugs, the exact opposite of our intention.* U.N. Bulletin on Narcotics 1957: " ... indulgence in (marijuana), unlike alcohol, rarely brings the habitue into a state of extreme intoxication where he loses entire control over himself. As a rule, those who indulge habitually can carry on their ordinary vocations for long periods and do not become a burden to society or even a nuisance."For centuries in other cultures, marijuana was eaten, drunk or smoked as a daily staple. British concern about such use in India inspired a 3,000 page report in 1893 which concluded that marijuana was not a problem.Many American troops stationed in Panama after 1916 began to use marijuana instead of alcohol. A special military panel examined the situation for 15 years and also concluded there was no significant problem.The Dutch have had essentially legal marijuana for 24 years and it has had little more impact on their society than the introduction of a new brand of beer. The fact that Dutch adults and children use much less marijuana than we do, is an indication that non-coercive social norms are far more powerful than prohibition, which replaces personal responsibility with government paternalism.It also might be a comment on the perverse nature of teen-age rebellion.The war on marijuana has made the Salem Witch Trials look small and scientific by comparison.The 1937 prohibition of marijuana was driven by racial prejudice against Mexicans. It was justified by three fairy tales: that it would kill you, drive you insane or make you so violent that you would kill your own parents.Not only were these all absurd, but the same director of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics who argued that marijuana must be made illegal because it produced violence argued 18 years later that it must be kept illegal because it would make our children so pacifistic that they wouldn't fight communists.In 1995 and again in 1998, The Lancet, which is arguably the world's leading medical journal, editorialized in favor of legalized marijuana, saying, "based on the medical evidence available, moderate indulgence in cannabis has little ill-effect on health ... Sooner or later politicians will have to stop running scared and address the evidence: cannabis per se is not a hazard to society but driving it further underground may well be."Marijuana accounts for some 80% of all illegal drug use and its prohibition has created dramatic public misperceptions about the size and nature of our drug problem as a whole.I assume that legalization would be much like that for alcohol but would include a ban on public use and advertising.The moment we clarify the problem and end this enormous drain on our money, energy and credibility is the moment that we begin to deal with all the other aspects of drug policy far more effectively.Jerry Epstein is a co-founder of the Drug Policy Forum of Texas. Galveston County Daily News (TX)Author: Jerry EpsteinPublished: Wednesday, Dec 13, 2000Copyright: 2000 Galveston Newspapers, Inc.Address: PO Box 628, Galveston TX 77553Fax: (409) 740-342Contact: heber.taylor galvnews.comWebsite: Articles - Prohibition
Home Comment Email Register Recent Comments Help

Comment #3 posted by Dan B on December 23, 2000 at 21:08:26 PT:
No!  We Need You In West Texas!
I appreciate your humor, Dr. Russo, but please don't tell people like Jerry Epstein to stay away from West Texas. What with Tulia and the other hate factions in this area, we could use some people (in addition to myself) working for the correct side of the drug war (the side that wants to end it).Keep up the good work, Jerry!Dan B
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #2 posted by dddd on December 23, 2000 at 19:37:47 PT
Jerry is a mensch indeed!Gut Yontiff ........................................ddddstein
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #1 posted by Ethan Russo, MD on December 23, 2000 at 12:28:41 PT:
Happy Chanukah, Jerry, You're a Mensch!
Right on, Jerry. Please do us a favor and stay out of West Texas before those Drug Free Texas bigots get a hold of you.
[ Post Comment ]

Post Comment

Name: Optional Password: 
Comment: [Please refrain from using profanity in your message]
Link URL: 
Link Title: