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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: U.S. | Drug War | Government & Elections
Tom Marino Drug Czar; Another Prohibitionist Profiteer!
Trump's pick for drug czar Tom Marino (R-PA) is another Reagan-era drug warrior looking to continue the revolving door of prohibitionist policies.
Tom Marino's heavy-handed enforcement approach will maintain the drug cartel and DEA police state infrastructure at taxpayer expense. Tragically more sensible Republicans like Raymond Shafer who warned us of the costs of outlawing drugs were ignored by Nixon and his gang of prohibitionists.
Even in the early seventies, it was known by honest researchers like Raymond Shafer that drug prohibition was not only wasteful folly of tax dollars but also violated the liberties protected by the U.S. Constitution.
"But, there was also a more fundamental issue. Shafer was a constitutional scholar who understood the deeper implications of criminalizing the individual choice to consume cannabis.
'A constant tension exists in our society between individual liberties and the need for reasonable societal restraints. It is easy to go too far in either direction, and this tendency is particularly evident where drugs are concerned.
We have guided our decision-making by the belief that the state is obliged to justify restraints on individual behavior. Too often individual freedoms are submerged in the passions of the moment, and when that happens, the public policy may be determined more by rhetoric than by reason...
... A premium is placed on individual choice in seeking self-fulfillment. This priority depends upon the capacity of free citizens not to abuse their freedom, and upon their willingness to act responsibly toward others and toward the society as a whole. Responsible behavior, through individual choice, is both the guarantor and the objective of a free society.'
The Nixon administration purposefully suppressed the report and didn't enact the recommendations. Nixon then broke his promise to make Shafer a judge.
Drug prohibition has also been about ruthless politics and policies that are out of touch with reality. When Tom Marino moves from Congress to the White House he will move away from being a civil servant representing Pennsylvanians, to making marijuana prohibition his full-time job."
"The Commission warned in 1973 that with;
'the emotionalism surrounding the topic of drugs, all levels of government have been pressured into action with little time for planning. The political pressures involved in this governmental effort have resulted in a concentration ...on the most immediate aspects of drug use and a reaction along the paths of least political resistance ... the creation of ever larger bureaucracies, ever increasing expenditures of monies, and an outpouring of publicity so that the public will know that ‘something’ is being done.' (Emphasis added)"
Overall the war on drugs has ignored science in effort to make it "safer for the kids" as prohibitionists always claim. When criminalizing natural plants like coca leaf because it can be made into cocaine, the prohibitionists are ignoring indigenous traditions of multitudes of people.
The former President of Bolivia Evo Morales points out the incorrect science of classification of the natural coca leaf as an illegal drug.
"The custom of chewing coca leaves has existed in the Andean region of South America since at least 3000 B.C. It helps mitigate the sensation of hunger, offers energy during long days of labor and helps counter altitude sickness. Unlike nicotine or caffeine, it causes no harm to human health nor addiction or altered state, and it is effective in the struggle against obesity, a major problem in many modern societies.
Today, millions of people chew coca in Bolivia, Colombia, Peru and northern Argentina and Chile. The coca leaf continues to have ritual, religious and cultural significance that transcends indigenous cultures and encompasses the mestizo population.
Mistakes are an unavoidable part of human history, but sometimes we have the opportunity to correct them. It is time for the international community to reverse its misguided policy toward the coca leaf."
Evo Morales Ayma is the former president of Bolivia.
When pigs fly...
IF Mark Paul Miller of the Green Liberty Party were elected by popular vote as President of the U.S. in 2020 here is the GLP drug policy under my Presidency;
Step #1) End all types of prohibition on personal ingestion choices and decriminalize all drugs immediately. Release all non-violent drug users/dealers from prison. Publically recognize that any prohibition of personal choices of plant/product ingestion violates U.S. Constitution. Your body, your choice. You live with the consequences of your choices.
New U.S. drug policy under President Mark Paul Miller of the GLP;
"Do what thou whilst provided that it harm no others."
In plain talk, what plant/product the citizen puts into their body is up to them, just as long as they don't harm others in the process. The idea is not to arrest or send drug users to prison, it is to help people be functional in society. Our goal as a government is not to be a nanny state but to improve the lives of the citizens whose care we are entrusted with.
Step #2) In order to assist the citizenry in maintaining optimal health, public education about the science of drug plants will need to be a priority. Reschedule all drugs based upon the actual severity of their health risks and the degree of refinement from natural state. This would be different from the current DEA scheduling program that is unscientific and based on fears and biases, not physical reality.
New Schedule 1) Most Severe Health Effects - Hard alcohol (gin, whisky, vodka, etc...), crack and powder cocaine, heroin, other refined opiates (including pills), methamphetamine, barbiturates, refined sugar (not kidding!)
New Schedule 2) Medium Severity Health Effects -
Soft alcohol (beer, hard cider, wine, etc...) natural unrefined plant stimulant/relaxant teas (opium poppy, Mormon tea, coca leaf tea, etc...)
New Schedule 3) Least Severity Health Effects - cannabis, psilocybin mushrooms, ayahuasca, San Pedro, peyote, etc...
The new drug scheduling process from the Green Liberty Party is based on science and medical research, these are recommendations. Everyone over 21 is considered an adult and can choose whatever substance they wish to ingest. If a 21 year old wants to go on a drinking binge that is their choice. If they choose to drink and drive and cause an accident they cross the line into "provided that it harm no others." and can be arrested. If that 21 year old would prefer to skip the bar scene entirely and purchase legal recreational cannabis in Denver that is also their choice. No federal agent should interfere in this young person's personal choices concerning their own body.
The same 21 year old or even someone younger could gobble down a dozen doughnuts daily for a decade regardless of the health consequences such as diabetes. Would this person not have been better off using cannabis instead of refined sugar for ten years? Diabetes can be countered by cannabis, yet with continued sugar consumption all roads eventually lead to the Reaper. Should the government not be concerned with the deaths from diabetes along with the deaths from heroin and opioids? Though by outlawing sugar we would only create more drug cartels.
#3) Legalize, Tax and Regulate all New Schedule 2 and 3 drugs to be sold in "Amsterdam-type" coffee shop dispensaries. All tax profits from legal drug sales used to fix schools, roads and other public infrastructure including drug education.
#4) Rename DEA to DDDA (Dangerous Drugs Disposal Agency) - The job of the DDDA is to seek out and destroy any dangerous drugs (New Schedule 1) such as heroin, meth and others on the new list. No arrests will be made, the substances will be destroyed at site of seizure and no product will be taken in as evidence. This will prevent corruption amongst the agents and reduce costs to taxpayers while keeping the public safe. Any cartel trying to smuggle new Schedule 1 drugs will lose profits over time from destruction of their product.
By legalizing, taxing and regulating the natural plant versions of the harder drugs, users can choose a safer and healthier option. Once legalized the market will open up and the cost of business will go down. The profit motive artificially inflated by prohibition will be gone and most cartels will lose their financial incentive. By destroying the refined plant hard drugs (heroin, meth, cocaine, etc...) without arrests the remaining cartels will soon become broke as the cost of their product will be too low to profit.
In summary we must realize that various drug plants have been used either medicinally or recreationally by humans for centuries before Harry Anslinger and the DEA came along to be our nanny state drug enforcers. Let's save the future generations of taxpayers some headaches and follow the advice of Evo Morales, let the people have their natural plant medicines without any government interference.
Please vote for Mark Paul Miller of the Green Liberty Party for U.S. President in 2020. Thanks for your support.