More Than Sixty Years of Suppression & Repression
1937: Hemp banned. An estimated 60,000 Americans smoke "marijuana," but virtually everyone in the country has heard of it, thanks to Hearst and Anslinger’s disinformation campaign.
1945: Newsweek reports that more than 100,000 persons now smoke marijuana.
1967: Millions of Americans regularly and openly smoke hemp leaves and flowers.
1977: Tens of millions smoke cannabis regularly, with many persons growing their own.
1998: One in three Americans, approximately 90 million citizens, have now tried it at least once, and some 10-20% (25 to 50 million Americans) still choose to buy and smoke it regularly, despite urine tests and tougher laws.
Throughout history, Americans have held the legal tradition that one could not give up one’s Constitutional rights and if someone was stripped of these protections, then he or she was being victimized. However by 1989, if you signed up for an extracurricular activity in school or applied for a minimum wage job, you could be asked to forego your right to privacy, protection from self-incrimination, Constitutional requirements of reasonable grounds for search and seizure, presumed innocence until found guilty by your peers, and that most fundamental right of all: personal responsibility for your own life and consciousness.
By 1995, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld that these intrusions into your privacy were constitutional!
In November 1996, as earlier stated, California passed a statewide people’s initiative that legalized medical marijuana within the state. Also in November 1996, Arizona passed a statewide initiative (by 65% of the vote) that included medical marijuana but, unlike California law, Arizona’s legislature and the governor (now impeached) can and have since rejected the people’s law. This was the first rejection by the legislature and the governor of any Arizona state initiative in 90 years!
The Armed Forces and Industry
The Armed Forces, as well as many civilian factories, will boot you out if you smoke marijuana; even if you smoke it 30 days before testing and while off duty. These tests are done at random and often do not include liquor, tranquilizer, or other speed/downer type drugs. However, according to OSHA and insurance actuarial findings, plus the AFL-CIO, it is alcohol(!) that is involved in 90-95% of drug related factory accidents.
In fact, numerous U.S. Army test of the effects of cannabis on soldiers (through the 1950s and ’60s) at Edgewood Arsenal, Maryland, and elsewhere, show no loss of motivation or performance after two years of heavy (military sponsored) smoking of marijuana.
This study was repeated six more times by the military and dozens of times by universities with the same or similar results. (Also, British Indian Hemp Report; Panama/Siler study; Jamaican study, et al.)
South African gold and diamond mines allowed and encouraged Blacks to use cannabis/Dagga in order to work harder.
(U.S. Government Reports, 1956-58-61-63-68-69-70-76.)
Privacy is a Right
Groups like NORML, HEMP, ACLU, BACH, and the Libertarian Party (for example) feel that as long as military personnel (unless on alert) or factory workers do not smoke cannabis while on duty or during the period four to six hours before duty, it’s their own business. This is consistent with the conclusions of the U.S. government’s own Siler Commission (1933) and Shafer Commission (1972) reports, as well as the LaGuardia report (1944), the Canadian Government Study (1972), Alaska State Commission (1989), and the California Research Advisory Panel (1989), all of which held that no criminal penalties are in order for its use.
Inaccurate Urine Testing
Military/factory worker marijuana urine tests are only partially accurate and do not indicate the extent of your intoxication. They indicate only whether you have smoked or been in the presence of cannabis smoke or have eaten hempseed oil or any hempseed ffod product in the last 30 days. Whether you smoked or ate it an hour ago or 30 days ago and sometimes if you haven’t smoked it at all the test results are the same: Positive.
John P. Morgan, M.D., stated in High Times February 1989 (and in 1999 he still says), "The tests are far from reliable. Tampering and high rates of false-positives, false-negatives, etc. are common, and further these testing companies are held to no standards but their own."
At 20-50 nanograms (billionths of a gram) per milliliter of THC Carboxy Acid (a metabolite) these tests can be read as positive or negative yet results derived from this part of the scale are known to be meaningless. To the untrained eye, any positive indication sends up a red flag. And most testers are untrained and uncertified. Still, the decision to hire, fire, detain, re-test, or begin drug abuse treatment is made for you on the spot.
"I believe the tendency to read the EMIT [the urine test for THC metabolites] test below the detection limit is one of the important reasons why the test was not often confirmed in published reports," Dr. Morgan said.
In 1985, for the first time, Milton, Wisconsin, high school kids were ordered to have urine tests weekly to see if they smoked pot. Local "Families Against Marijuana" type organizations were demanding this testing, but not for liquor, downers, or other hazardous drugs.
Hundreds of communities and high schools throughout the country were awaiting the outcome of constitutional challenges in Milton in 1988 before implementing similar testing programs in their own school districts. Because of this ruling in Milton’s favor, testing for high school students participating in extra-curricular activities has since been widely adopted and continues across the United States in 1998.
For instance, in Oregon the testing of high-school athletes has spread by court order to any and all extra-curricular activity. Band members and majorettes even debate team members, some debating on the marijuana issue can now be tested at will in all states except California, where even a high school student can, since 1996, legally have a doctor’s recommendation or acknowledgement for the medical use of marijuana.
(NORML reports, High Times, ABC, NBC & CBS News, and LA Times, 1981-1998, Oregonian, October 23, 1989.)
Baseball and the Babe
Former Baseball Commissioner Peter V. Ueberroth first ordered in 1985 all personnel, except unionized players, to submit to these urine tests. From the owners to the peanut vendors to the bat boys, it is mandatory in order to be employed. By 1990, it had been incorporated into all contracts, including ball-players.
Now, since November 1996, a professional baseball player (or any other sports player for that matter) in California may take advantage of cannabis as medicine, and continue to play baseball professionally.
Aside from the civil liberties questions raised, it is apparently forgotten that "Babe" Ruth would regularly invite reporters to accompany him while he drank 12 beers prior to playing a game, during alcohol Prohibition.
Many "dry" organizations and even the league commissioner implored him to think of the children who idolized him and stop, but the "Babe" refused.
If Peter Ueberroth or his ilk had been in charge of baseball during Prohibition, the "Sultan of Swat" would have been fired in shame and millions of children would not have proudly played in "Babe Ruth Little Leagues." Lyndon LaRouche’s "War on Drugs" committee told us that, along with new marijuana laws, they expected to implement their most important goal: anyone in the future playing any disco, rock ‘n’ roll, or jazz on the radio, on television, in schools, or in concert, or who just sold rock ‘n’ roll records or any music that wasn’t on their approved classical lists would be jailed, including music teachers, disc jockeys, and record company executives.
Tens of millions of average Americans choose to use cannabis as self medication or to relax during their time off the job, and therefore risk criminal penalties. Job performance should be the principle criterion for evaluation of all employees, not personal lifestyle choices.
The Babe Ruths of sports, the Henry Fords of industry, the Pink Floyds, Beatles, Picassos, and Louis Armstrongs of the arts, and one out of ten Americans have become criminals and thousands unemployed for smoking cannabis, even when merely unwinding in the privacy of their own homes.
Robert Mitchum’s film career was almost destroyed by a 1948 marijuana arrest. Federal Judge Douglas Ginsburg was on the verge of being appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1987 when it was revealed that he had smoked grass while a university professor and his name was withdrawn from nomination. However, George Bush’s appointee Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’ 1991 admission that he smoked marijuana in college was not an issue in his controversial confirmation.
Dividing Communities and Splitting Up Families
"Help a friend, send him to jail," says a billboard in Ventura, California. This is an example of the "zero tolerance" campaign’s inform-on-your-neighbor tactics being used to enforce the laws against the victimless crime of cannabis smoking.
Here’s another example from TV: "If you have knowledge of a felony you can earn up to one thousand dollars. Your name will not be used and you will not be required to appear in court."* One man received a postcard in jail saying, "Our informant received $600 for turning you in. Crimestoppers."
*(Crimestoppers, Ventura, California, October, 1989.)
Surveillance and Seizures
In rural California, where cannabis growing has supported whole communities, the well-armed CAMP forces go into a thick forest discovering 15-foot tall, lush, hearty eight-month-old plants. These are hacked down, piled up, and smothered with gasoline and rubber tires. Uncured, they burn slowly.
Elsewhere, a helicopter pilot circles over a neighborhood, peering into a heat sensitive camera pointed at a house. "We’re looking for the indoor sun," he explains matter-of-factly.
"We only pursue specific objectives," houses where grow lights have been bought or some other tangible basis exists to suspect "manufacturing a controlled substance": a felony.
"Look, there’s the light from the house." His thermal-sensitive screen shows heat leaking out from under the eaves of the house. Site confirmed.
Next they obtain a search warrant, raid the property, seize the house under civil proceedings, and prosecute its inhabitants under criminal law.
(48 Hrs., CBS television, "Marijuana Growing in California," October 12, 1989.)
UnAmerican Policies & Political Extortion
Richard Nixon ordered the FBI to illegally monitor John Lennon 24-hours a day for six solid months in 1971 because Lennon had given a concert in Michigan to free a student (John Sinclair) from five years in jail for possession of two joints.
(L.A. Times, August, 1983.)
The drug, oil, paper, and liquor companies want pot illegal forever, no matter whose rights they suppress or how many years we have to spend in prison to assure their profits.
Politicians who are liberal are investigated and, we believe, are blackmailed to keep their mouths shut on this subject and others, or risk being exposed for some past indiscretion by themselves or members of their families possibly sexual or drug-related.
Police, Secrets & Blackmail
A few years ago, then Los Angeles Police Chief Daryl Gates (1978-1992) ordered surveillance of City Councilman Zev Yarslovsky, City Attorney John Van DeKamp, and Mayor Tom Bradley, among others. He monitored their private sex lives for more than a year.
(Los Angeles Times, August, 1983.)
J. Edgar Hoover, as Director of the FBI, did this for five years to Martin Luther King Jr. and, in the most "sick" situation, deliberately drove actress Jean Seburg to suicide with terrible ongoing federal letters and information fed to tabloids exposing her pregnancies and private dates with blacks. In fact, using the FBI, Hoover harassed selected targets, for as long as 20 years because of their civil rights stands.
The former director of the FBI and also direct overseer of the DEA, William Webster, answered questions about the squandering of 50% ($500 million) of federal drug enforcement money on cannabis enforcement this way: "Oh, marijuana is an extremely dangerous drug and the proof [referring to totally discredited brain and metabolite studies by Heath, Nahas] is now coming in."
Webster then asked for more money and more unrestrained powers to stop pot. (Nightwatch, CBS, January 1, 1985.)
(1998 footnote: The DEA’s budget for marijuana information alone figures out to 10 times the cost of 1985’s budget and 100 times the cost of its 1981 budget.)
Entertainers caught with cannabis have had to do a "Galileo" type recanting to stay out of jail or to retain their television, endorsement, or nightclub contracts, etc. Some have had to go on television and denounce marijuana to stay out of jail (e.g., Peter Yarrow of Peter, Paul and Mary, David Crosby, and actress Linda Carter). Our courts and legislators have sold our American "guaranteed" Bill of Rights, written on cannabis, to secure a cannabis-free world.
"Don’t suspect your neighbor, turn him in." Any hear say is to be reported. That which revolted us as children the spectre of Nazis and Commies asking everyone to spy and inform on one another; Stalin’s secret police taking persons from their homes at night to administer stupefying drugs and extort information; a government spreading lies and creating a police state has now become our everyday Amierkan reality.
And those who dare to stand against the tide of oppression face the prospect of financial ruin.
Seizure: Feudal Law & Order
When the federal government seizes cars, boats, money, real estate, and other personal property, proceeding are set into motion based on laws that originated with medieval superstition.
English common law of the Middle Ages provided for forfeiture of any object causing a man’s death. Known as a "deodand," the object, such as a weapon or run-away ox cart, was personified and declared tainted or evil, and forfeited to the king.
Today’s in rem (against things rather than against persons) forfeiture proceedings are civil suits against the property itself. Relying on analogy to the deodand, a legal "personification fiction," declares the property to be the defendant. It is held guilty and condemned, as though it were a personality and the guilt or innocence of the owner is irrelevant.
By applying this civil label to forfeiture proceedings, the government sidesteps almost all the protections offered by the Constitution to individuals. There is no Sixth Amendment guarantee of right to counsel. Innocent until proven guilty is reversed. Each violation of a constitutional right is then used as the basis for the destruction of another.
The violation of the Fifth Amendment’s "innocent until proven guilty" due process standard is used to destroy the prohibition of double jeopardy. Even acquittal of the criminal charges the forfeiture is based upon does not prevent re-trying the same facts, because, even through the government couldn’t prove a crime was committed, at the second trial the defendant must provide proof of innocence.
The Supreme Court holds that it is constitutional to forfeit property in rem from a person who is completely innocent and non-negligent in his use of the property. Lower courts accept prosecutors’ arguments that if it is permissible to forfeit property from completely innocent persons, then constitutional protections could not possibly apply to anyone who is guilty of even a minor drug offense.
Unlike civil suits between individuals, the government is immune to counter-suit. The government can use its unlimited resources to repeatedly press a suit in the mere hope of convincing one juror the defendant did not provide a preponderance of evidence.
Forfeitures imposed by the English Crown led our nation’s founders to prohibit bills of attainder (forfeiture consequent to conviction) in the first article of the American Constitution. The main body of the Constitution also forbids forfeiture of estate for treason. The first Congress passed the statue, still law today, stating that "No conviction or judgement shall work corruption of blood or any forfeiture of estate." However, early Americans did incorporate in rem (proceeding against a thing) procedures under Admiralty and Maritime law, to seize enemy ships at sea and to enforce payment of customs duties.
It was not until the outbreak of the Civil War that these Customs procedures were radically changed. The Confiscation Act of July 17, 1862, declared all property belonging to Confederate officers or those who aided the rebels to be forfeitable in rem. The U.S. Supreme Court held that if the Act was an exercise of the war powers of the government and was applied only to enemies, then it was Constitutionally allowable in order to ensure a speedy termination of the war.
Today, the passions of the "War on Drugs" have caused Congress to once again use in rem proceedings to inflict punishment without the nuisance of the protections provided by the Constitution and Bill of Rights. "We have to save our Constitution," says Vickie Linker, whose husband served two years in prison for a cannabis offense. "We have the truth."
Entrapment, Intolerance and Ignorance
When not enough persons seem to be committing crimes, the DEA and police departments often resort to entrapment to make criminals out of unsuspecting and otherwise non-criminal persons. Government agents have been caught time after time provoking and participating in drug smuggling and sales.*
* High Witness News department, High Times magazine; "Inside the DEA," Dale Geiringer, Reason Magazine, December, 1986; Christic Institute "La Penca" lawsuit; DeLorean cocaine trial testimony and verdict of innocence; Playboy magazine, etc.
This constant fanning of public fears of marijuana turns into demands for more money for a "War on Drugs" (a euphemism for war on certain people who freely choose to use selected substances) and political pressure for the permission to use unconstitutional means to enforce the constantly harsher laws.
In an October, 1989, Louisville, KY, address to the Police Chiefs of that state, then Drug Czar and social-drinking, nicotine-addict William Bennett* announced that marijuana smoking makes people stupid.
* This is the same man who helped engineer a $2.9 million grant for the Texas National Guard to dress its agents up as cactus to patrol the Mexican border. This was the National Guard unit that later shot and killed a young American-born Mexican sheep herder assuming him to be an illegal immigrant.
He offered no proof, and although crack was not a major issue in Kentucky, proclaimed that more money was necessary for the war on drugs because of this new found marijuana-induced danger stupidity! (Which, as far as we know, is still not a crime.)
Bennett was seen to brace himself with a late-morning gin and tonic in December, 1989, as he tried to pitch a similar anti-marijuana message to representatives of the broadcast and film industries in Beverly Hills, CA.
(High Times, February, 1990. See "Booze Brunch" in appendix of the paper version of this book.)
Have your balloons and bumper stickers ready; Bennett is running for president in 2000!
PDFA: Slickly Packaged Lies
Another recent development has been the formation of the PDFA (Partnership for a Drug Free America) in the media. PDFA, with primarily in-kind funding from ad agencies and media groups, makes available (free of charge to all broadcast and print media) slick public service ads directed primarily against marijuana.
In addition to releasing such meaningless drivel as an ad which shows a skillet ("This is drugs.") on which an egg is frying ("This is your brain on drugs. Any questions?"), PDFA is not above lying outright in their ads.
In one ad, the wreckage of a train is shown. Now, everyone will agree that no one should attempt to drive a train while high on marijuana. But a man’s voice says that anyone who tells you that "marijuana is harmless" is lying, because his wife was killed in a train accident caused by marijuana. This contradicts the direct sworn testimony of the engineer responsible for that disaster; that "this accident was not caused by marijuana." And it deliberately ignores his admissions of drinking alcohol, snacking, watching TV, generally failing to pay adequate attention to his job, and deliberately jamming the train’s safety equipment prior to the accident. Yet, for years the PDFA has described the train accident as being marijuana-caused, even though the engineer was legally drunk and had lost his automobile driver’s license six times, including permaently, for drunken driving in the previous three years.
In another ad, a sad looking couple is told that they cannot have children because the husband used to smoke pot. This is a direct contradiction both of the clinical evidence developed in nearly a century of cannabis studies and of the personal experiences of millions of Americans who have smoked cannabis and borne perfectly healthy children.
And in yet another ad, the group was so arrogant in putting out lies that it finally got into trouble. The ad showed two brain wave charts which it said showed the brain waves of a 14-year-old "on marijuana."
Outraged, researcher Dr. Donald Blum from the UCLA Neurological Studies Center told KABC-TV (Los Angeles) News November 2, 1989, that the chart said to show the effects of marijuana actually shows the brain waves of someone in a deep sleep or in a coma.
He said that he and other researchers had previously complained to the PDFA, and added that cannabis user’s brain wave charts are much different and have a well-known signature, due to years of research on the effects of cannabis on the brain.
Even after this public refutation, it took the station KABC-TV and PDFA weeks to pull the spot, and no apology or retraction had yet been offered for the deceit. Despite being ordered by the courts to stop, the PDFA has shown that ad continuously on hundreds of TV channels throughout the United States for the last decade.*
* Groups including the American Hemp Council, the Family Council on Drug Awareness, and Help End Marijuana Prohibition (HEMP) have decided to step up their pressure to expose PDFA lies and get their distortions banned from the airwaves or, better yet, replaced with accurate information on the medical, social, and commercial uses of hemp.
Perhaps a more valid ad for the PDFA to produce and the networks to run would show a skillet ("This is the PDFA.") and an egg frying ("These are the facts.").
DARE: Police Propaganda
The DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) program, a national program that was initiated in 1983 by then Los Angeles Police Chief Daryl Gates, has become yet another tool disinforming the public on hemp.
Typically, a police department spokesperson will conduct a 17-week course at a local elementary school to promote personal responsible behavior by young persons while irresponsibly giving them distorted information and outright lies about cannabis.
Most of the course does not deal with drugs as such, but rather with making choices about how to act when there are opportunities or pressures to drink, smoke, steal, lie, break laws, etc. However, the program’s truly useful support for good behavior is undermined by an undercurrent of lies and innuendo about marijuana’s effects and users.*
* In an interview, L.A.’s main DARE instructor, Sgt. Domagalski, gave information on the program and made such unsubstantiated and untrue statements as marijuana leads to heroin, "The guy across the street or next door has been smoking marijuana for years and there doesn’t seem to be anything wrong with him. There is something wrong, but it may not be obvious." And, "People in the Sixties smoked marijuana and thought there was nothing wrong with it. Now it’s watered and sprayed and pampered and they’re not concerned what they spray it with, either. But parents don’t know this. They got all their information in the Sixties, and they’re not interested in this new information."(Downtown News, July 10, 1989. Also see letters section, July 31, 1989 for BACH’s reply.) See chapter 15, "Debunking" for the facts on his "new information."
In 1999, DARE still consciously teaches these same lies to our children and threatens any community that dares to tell DARE to stop or cease in their school disrict. However, in 1997 the city of Oakland, California, withdrew from the DARE program and has so far suffered no consequences. What makes the DARE program uniquely dangerous is that it provides some accurate information, but undermines itself and the public record by using lies and innuendo about marijuana.
For example, according to teachers who sit in on the sessions,* the police officer will remark, "I can’t tell you that smoking pot causes brain damage, because you all know people who smoke pot and they seem pretty normal. But that’s what it does. You just can’t tell ß yet."
* Some of the teachers we talked to find themselves in the uncomfortable position of knowing the real studies, or have used cannabis themselves and know its effects, but cannot openly present their case for fear of being urine tested or dismissed.
No supporting evidence is then offered, and the literature that goes home with the child (and is potentially seen by marijuana-savvy parents) tends to appear more balanced, although it refers to mysterious "new studies" showing the dangers of marijuana.
But throughout the entire course, the police officer refers to lung damage, brain damage, sterility, and other unfounded claims of health damage and death being caused by marijuana.
Or they report on studies detailing the cardio-pulmonary risks of using cocaine, then mention marijuana smoke unrelated except by context. Or the "well-intentioned" officer tells anecdotes about persons he claims to know who "started" with marijuana and ultimately destroyed their lives with hard drugs, crime, and depravity; then lumps marijuana in with genuinely dangerous drugs and describes how youngsters or fellow police officers were killed by these desperate, drug crazed criminals.
Then the officer encourages the students to "help" their drug-using friends and family by becoming a police informant. These kinds of indirect lies through innuendo and implication are given in an off-hand manner calculated to leave a strong, permanent impression on the sub-conscious mind, without basing it on any research or other sources that can be objectively studies or directly challenged just a lasting, indistinct mental image.
What makes the DARE program uniquely dangerous is that it provides some accurate information and has genuine value for young people, but undermines itself and the public record by using these irresponsible, underhanded tactics.
If DARE officials want responsible behavior from students, they must also act responsibly. If they have information about marijuana that is hidden from the rest of us, let’s see it. But, so far as we know, no DARE organization has yet dared to debate any marijuana legalization advocacy group* or include their literature in its program.
* Since 1989, Help Eliminate Marijuana Prohibition (HEMP) and the Business Alliance for Commerce in Hemp (BACH) have issued ongoing standing challenges to publicly debate any DARE representatives in the Los Angeles area, which has yet to be taken up. These groups have also offered to provide free and accurate literature on cannabis for DARE’s use, but as of July 1998, have received no response.
The Media in a Stupor
Despite a strong injection of reason and fact into the cannabis debate by the media in the late 1960s and 1970s, the national media has largely failed to distinguish marijuana prohibition from the broader "drug war" hysteria, which "sold more copy" in the 1980s.
Hemp activists have been ignored, their events censored and excluded from calendar listings even paid advertisements about events or legal, non-smoking hemp products are refused by news sources. What ever happened to fact checking?
Instead of serving as the probing watchdogs of government and keepers of the public trust, corporate news groups regard themselves as the profit-making tool for forging "consensus" on national policy. "Penalties against possession of a drug should not be more damaging to an individual than the use of the drug itself." President Jimmy Carter August 2, 1977
According to groups like Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR) and researchers like Ben Bakdikian and Michael Parenti, these corporations define and protect the "national interest"Often meaning their own vested financial interests and political agendas. It must be remembered that many of the largest publishers have direct holdings in timberland for paper development, and the pharmaceutical drug, petrochemical companies, etc. are among the media’s major advertisers.
In an article published in the L.A. Times Magazine May 7, 1989, entitled "Nothing Works," (and since mimicked in hundreds of magazines, including Time and Newsweek), Stanley Meiseler laments the problem facing schools in drug education programs and inadvertently reveals the news media’s own assumptions and bias:
"Critics believe that some education programs have been crippled by exaggerating the dangers of drugs. Principles and teachers, watched closely by city officials, feel pressured not to teach pupils that marijuana, although harmful,* is less addicting than cigarettes.Ú Failure to acknowledge such information means school programs can lose credibility. But more honest programs could be even more harmful." (Emphasis added.)
The harm Meisler predicts is an expected increase in consumption when people learn the health benefits and lack of physical or psychological risks involved with cannabis consumption. Many persons decide that they prefer pot (which apparently does not need to advertise) to alcohol and tobacco, for which so many advertising dollars are spent.
* No specific studies showing the alleged harmful effects were cited in the article. In fact, cannabis was barely mentioned except for this reference and a note that detoxification businesses report some success in "breaking a mild dependence on marijuana and alcohol."
President Jimmy Carter addressed Congress on another kind of harm done by prohibition and the drug issue August 2, 1977, saying that "penalties against possession of a drug should not be more damaging to an individual than the use of the drug itself.
"Therefore, I support legislation amending federal law to eliminate all federal criminal penalties for the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana."
However, his efforts to apply even this bit of reason to America’s marijuana laws 21 years ago were derailed by a Congress determined to show that it is tough on crime, no matter whether an action is criminal or poses any real threat to society, no matter how many persons are hurt in the process.
And this attitude of intolerance and oppression has escalated in the post-Carter years.
By 1990, some 30 states had established "Special Alternative Incarceration" (SAI) camps (called "boot camps") where non-violent, first time drug offenders are incarcerated in a boot camp-like institution, verbally abused, and psychologically worn down to break them of their dissident attitude towards drug use. Now, in 1999, there are 42 states with special alternative incarceration camps implementing similar programs.
The inmates are handled with robotic precision, and those who don’t conform are subject to incarceration in the state penitentiary. Most of these offenders are in for marijuana. Even more states are considering implementing similar programs.*
* In These Times, "Gulag for drug users," December 20, 1989, pg. 4.
What pretext has been used to rationalize this anti-American policy? A handful of official government reports and studies that are touted by the DEA, politicians, and the media to show that marijuana really is "damaging to an individual."
LaRouche Declares War on Rock ‘N Roll
If you thought Anslinger’s music craziness was over after he went after jazz in the 1930s and 40s, then consider this:
One of the chief organizations among the 4,000 or so "Families Against Marijuana" type groups today is Lyndon LaRouche’s "War on Drugs" committee, supported by Nancy Reagan, TV evangelists Jerry Falwell, Jimmy Swaggart, Pat Robertson, and other right-wing activists.
In January, 1981, this author and five members of the California Marijuana Initiative (CMI) secretly, by pretending to be pro-LaRouche, attended the West Coast convention of this organization, whose guest speaker was Ed Davis, former Los Angeles Police Chief, who was at that time a freshman state senator from Chatsworth, California.
As we each walked in separately, we were asked to sign a petition endorsing a Detroit reporter who had written an open letter to the new President, Ronald Reagan, asking him to give immediate presidential clemency and make a national hero of Mark Chapman, who had murdered John Lennon of the Beatles six weeks earlier.
The letter stated that John Lennon had been the most evil man on the planet because he almost single-handedly "turned on" the planet to "illicit drugs". The evils of rock ‘n’ roll are a constant theme of the "War on Drugs" publications.
To keep up with the part we were playing, we signed the petition. (John, forgive us we were playing a clandestine role: under-cover CMI anti-narc. We remember you for "Give Peace a Chance," "Imagine," and all the rest.)
After we signed the petition, their leaders took us to the back of the room to show us some of the goals that would be achieved when they would come to full power over the next decade.
On five or so long tables set up in the back of the Los Angeles Marriott LAX meeting room were hundreds of recordings of Bach, Beethoven, Wagner, Chopin, Tchaikovsky, Mozart, and others, and dozens of pro-nuclear power publications.
They told us that along with new marijuana laws, they expected to implement their most important goal: anyone in the future who played disco, rock ‘n’ roll, or jazz on the radio, on television, in schools, or in concert, or just sold rock ‘n’ roll records or any other music that wasn’t from their approved classical lists, would be jailed, including music teachers, disc jockeys, and record company executives. School teachers, if they allowed such music by students, would be fired. (LA Times; KNBC-TV.)
They were dead serious.
Their magazine "War on Drugs" has always spent more space denouncing music with the "evil marijuana beat" than on heroin, cocaine, and PCP combined!
Ed Davis was genuinely shocked and embarrassed about this out-front aspect of their anti-music dogma and said, "Well, I don’t believe we could ever get legislation at this time outlawing these other types of music or their lyrics. Ú But I do believe with the new Reagan Law-and-Order Administration, we are going to be able to pass some new and stronger anti-marijuana paraphernalia laws, even recriminalizing marijuana altogether in the states that have decriminalization laws now . . .That’s the start."
I called his office a few days later and was told by an assistant that Davis had no advance idea of this group’s musical fixation and that he had accepted the invitation based solely on the name "War on Drugs". Most of what Davis predicted that day has come about. Those visionaries of a new society, one free from the influence of pot and any mention of it had their way in the 1980s. Remember James Watt and the Beach Boys in 1986?
Since 1981, TV programs have been censored, cut, and pulled from the air for having a pro-marijuana connotation or even making jokes about it.
In an episode of "Barney Miller", Detective Fish (Abe Vigoda) was told that some brownies he’d been eating all day were laced with pot. He looked forlorn for a moment, then said with a sigh, "Wouldn’t you know it, this is the best I ever felt in my life and it’s illegal." This episode has been pulled from distribution.
The late "screaming comic", Sam Kinison, stood on the stage of NBC’s "Saturday Night Live" in 1986 and bellowed "Go ahead, you can have the cocaine! Just let us smoke our pot!" The line has been deleted from audio portion in subsequent re-runs.
The Reagan/Bush drug czar, Carlton Turner, from his position as the White House Chief Drug Advisor in the mid 1980s quoted to the press passages of The Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire and told police and interviewers that jazz musicians and rock singers were destroying the America he loved with their marijuana drug-beat music.
In 1997, in an episode of the TV series "Murphy Brown", starring Candice Bergen, Murphy undergoes cancer treatment from which she is vomitting constantly and has lost her appetite. Finally she is told by her doctor to illegally use marijuana for nausea and appetite stimulation. Murphy smokes pot and she is saved by doing so.
The Partnership For a Drug Free America and DARE tried unsuccessfully to stop this episode from airing as it "Sent the wrong message to our children" What wrong message!?That marijuana is the best anti-nausea and the best appetite-stimulant on our planet and can save millions of lives?
Paul McCartney & His Band on the Run
Timothy White interviewed Paul McCartney, formerly of the Beatles, for a book and developed it into a radio program called "McCartney: The First 20 Years". He asked the songwriter to explain his song "Band on the Run", on the album of the same name.
"Well, at the time, bands like us and the Eagles were feeling like and being treated like, outlaws and desperadoes, you know," replied McCartney.
"I mean, people were getting busted for pot, that is. And that’s about all they were getting popped for. Never anything serious. "
And our argument was that we didn’t want to be outlaws. We just wanted to be part of the regular scene, you know, and make our music and live in peace. We didn’t see why we should be treated like criminals when all we wanted to do was smoke pot instead of hitting the booze.
"And that’s what the song was about; it was my reaction to that whole scene. . ."
"And the county judge / who held a grudge / will search forever more / for the band on the run."
From "The First 20 Years", broadcast on KLSX 97.1 FM (Los Angeles) and other stations of the Westwood One radio network January 29, 1990.
McCartney also wrote the famous line that got the song "A Day in the Life" banned from British radio: "Had a smoke. Somebody spoke and I went into a dream." A vocal supporter of marijuana legalization, McCartney has repeatedly been arrested and was imprisoned for 10 days during a concert tour of Japan. The Japanese government canceled his tour and banned him from playing in that country, costing him millions of dollars. To his credit, he has continued to speak out for pot smokers.
The Ultimate Hypocrasy
While waging its self-styled "War on Drugs" against Third World peasants and American civilians, the Reagan/Bush/Quayle/Clinton/Gore administrations (1981-1999) have encouraged and covered up drug smuggling and distribution by high ranking officials of the U.S. government.
On one hand, Bush violated international law by invading Panama to bring reputed drug smuggler and long-time Bush/CIA employee Manuel Noriega to the U.S. to stand trial.
On the other hand, he refused to extradite Oliver North, John Hull, Admiral Poindexter, General Secord, Lewis Tambs, and other Americans to Costa Rica, where they are under indictment by that government for operating a drug smuggling operation there.
(The Guardian, British newspaper, "Cocaine shipped by contra network", July 22, 1989.)
Federal hearings conducted by U.S. Senator John Kerry’s (MA) Subcommittee on Terrorism and Narcotics in 1988 and 1989 documented widespread acts by the CIA and National Security Agency (NSA) to block investigations by the Customs Department and FBI into cocaine smuggling by "intelligence operatives" under the guise of national security. No indictments were ever handed down, and witnesses testified under grants of immunity with little media attention.
Special Iran-Contra investigators failed to act on this information or evidence developed by the Christic Institute implicating government complicity in narco-terrorism. And when General Secord was convicted in January 1990 for crimes related to the Iran Contra drugs-for-arms scandal, he was given a fine of $50 and a brief probation when a federal judge decided that the poor fellow had already "suffered enough".
This from an administration that promotes the death penalty even beheading For marijuana dealers.*
* On the Larry King Show in late 1989, then drug czar William Bennett, a possible Republican presidential candidate in 2000, said he had no moral problems with beheading drug dealers -only legal ones.