As a philosopher, I evaluate the good and bad in arguments for a living. In this professional vocation, just as I have yet to encounter a sound argument for daylight savings time, I can equally report that I have yet to encounter a sound argument for perpetuating status quoanti-cannabis legislation and enforcement. Where scientific standoffs on social policy exist, and where, as the American President Jimmy Carter succinctly put the matter, in his Address to Congress 1977, “penalties for possession of a drug should not be more damaging to an individual than the use of the drug itself”, I infer that cannabis prohibition, whether or not one personally has any interest in using the substance, is morally unjustified. Many thousands of lives have nevertheless been ruined by an outdated, scientifically uninformed and socially regressive policy, where, as I recently learned in conducting research for the book, in 2008, one person in the United States is apprehended on a marijuana possession or use charge every thirty-eight seconds. Country-western singer, songwriter, and marijuana advocate Willy Nelson just got busted in Texas in a high-profile arrest, but how many friends and relatives, people we may know lacking Willy’s access to competent legal counsel, are subject to the same inconvenience for the sake of copping a little high?
Activism in support of legalisation has nevertheless been sluggish and ineffective, and many myths and misunderstandings about cannabis persist. California voters had the opportunity on the 2 November 2010 election ballot to vote on the legalization of cannabis, and they turned the measure down. So did Swiss voters in November 2008 on a nation-wide initiative referendum in my newly adopted ex-pat homeland. None of this stops people wanting to smoke pot or enjoying the particular organically chemically altered state of consciousness that the drug affords. Any and every one in virtually every country in the world, the Netherlands and a handful of others notably excepted, can in principle go to jail and have their property confiscated, depending on local laws, for infringing against anti-cannabis prohibition. The fact that cannabis is illegal is a very good reason not to smoke it, but what is a good reason for its being illegal?
What I would mostly like to see – after all the young people who have been recklessly jailed on cannabis possession for lightly experimenting with their consciousnesses are released from dangerous penal confinement and their criminal records expunged, with compensation for their losses and nuisance legislation in the worst cases – is for responsible, mature adults to try to see cannabis for what it is. The most dangerous drug I have ever personally ingested, but that I am legally permitted to consume almost every day to whatever extent I choose, is alcohol. I would not dream of returning to the disastrous days of prohibition in the United States during the Roaring Twenties on a worldwide basis for the sake of avoiding alcohol’s addictive and negative behavioural consequences. What I would prefer is for thinking persons to lead the way in promoting the progress of a humane and mature scientific perspective on cannabis. We should recognise that cannabis, compared with legal psychoactive substances like alcohol and tobacco, is a relatively harmless and potentially psychologically, medically and spiritually beneficial “soft” drug. Its use is widespread and well-regarded in our cultural history. It’s the substance of choice for increasing numbers of people who find getting high pleasurable and who are willing to defy the law almost everywhere in the world for something they consider their moral right to enjoy.
"The war on drugs has failed," said a recent report compiled by the Global Commission on Drug Policy, which comprised a former UN secretary-general, former presidents of Mexico, Colombia and Brazil, a former US Secretary of State and a host of public intellectuals, human rights activists and politicians.
The well-credentialed group wrote the 24-page report[English/Spanish] describing exactly why and how they came to the conclusion that the "War on Drugs" has failed, and what to do, in terms of policy, to redeem the damage they say it has caused.
The report states: "The implementation of the war on drugs has generated widespread negative consequences for societies in producer, transit and consumer countries," arguing that the drug war has caused massive illegal movement of capital, the loss of many lives and a negative perception of drug users "who are stigmatised, marginalised and excluded".
Alternately, the Commission supports "experimentation by governments with models of legal regulation of drugs to undermine the power of organised crime and [to] safeguard the health and security of their citizens," or, in short: decriminalisation.
But key players in the "war", namely the United States' largest drug enforcement and policy agencies, see things very differently, arguing that current policy is fcomprehensive and successful.
* * *
Madam Dragonfly speaks sooth :)
One of the reasons given to Obama when he jived into the White House as the economy dived into the doldrums was legalising - or at the very least decriminalising - cannabis was the extra revenue such measures would command for the treasury.
You know what keeps people from striving to get ahead? Complete frustration. So they smoke some soothing plant to help them deal with an impossible situation -- and you oh so superior stand above and sneer.
Are you fucking serious , Rickymouse ?
I really want to know , because I don't want to rip
you a new one , if you are being facetious...;)
But if you are serious...get ready...really...oh boy...
( rubs hands together , gleefully )
I hate rap music....... I really do....... but this artist is an exception I make.... the hell with the music .. listen to the lyrics.....