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He’s back

January 15, 2014
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I almost missed him. Almost.

Our old nemesis John Walters shows up in this series in the New York Times. Room for Debate: Should Drug Enforcement be Left to the States

He starts out in classic style:

Government of the people, by the people and for the people cannot be indifferent to growing addiction and self-destruction. Where addiction and self-destruction exist, democracy and freedom do not. The Obama administration behaves as if this obvious truth were trivial.

If it is not already, marijuana and other drug use and abuse will soon be one of the fastest-growing health threats in America. The forces are known and predictable.

Federal drug laws and national leadership on this matter arose because anything less was dangerously inadequate.
For decades we have seen that drug use and the disease of addiction are not victimless fun.

The whole thing is a work of beauty by this evil mastermind. The way he invokes government of/by/for the people as a reason to oppress them is breathtaking.

The other articles in the debate are much better (as in grounded in the real world as opposed to Walters’ fantasy world) including good pieces by Glenn E Martin, Kabrina Krebel Chang, Vanita Gupta, and Alex Kreit. Beau Kilmer goes off on the now tired screed that people are just too weak to withstand the power of commercial advertising and must be protected from consumerism.


bullet image He’s back, part 2. Speaking of the return of old nemeses, Scott Burns (former assistant director of the ONDCP under Walters) popped up in an article I was reading on NPR: How Long It Too Long? Congress Revisits Mandatory Sentences

The article talks about how, as a nation, we’re finally seeing the destruction of decades of extraordinarily long sentences, particularly for drug crimes, with bipartisan support for reform. But not everyone agrees:

“The real power and efficacy of federal minimum mandatory sentences is our ability to hold them over certain peoples’ heads in solving kingpin drug cases, or major murders,” says Scott Burns, head of the National District Attorneys Association.

What a self-indictment of our justice system!


bullet image The always excellent Maia Szalavitz has another great article at The Fix: Don’t Believe the (Marijuana) Hype – What most people think they know about marijuana—especially media columnists—is just years of unscientific, paranoid, and even racist government propaganda.

But why are we so gullible in this area, when reporters are supposed to be skeptical? One reason has got to be the fact that over the last 40 years, the government has spent billions of dollars on advertising and even planted media articles and messages in TV shows aiming to get us all to “just say no.” While these campaigns are often ineffective at preventing use, they do seem to work at clouding perception.

And the truth is seen as immaterial in the drug war. Written into the job description of the “drug czar” by Congress is that whoever heads the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) must “take such actions as necessary to oppose any attempt to legalize the use of a substance (in any form)” that is currently illegal, regardless of the facts. When asked about its distribution of “misleading information”—by a Congressman, in fact—ONDCP cited this provision to justify doing so, saying that this is “within the statutory role assigned to ONDCP.” In other words, they have to lie. […]

The truth is that our perceptions of marijuana—and in fact all of our drug laws—are based on early 20th century racism and “science” circa the Jim Crow era. In the early decades of the 20th century, the drug was linked to Mexican immigrants and black jazzmen, who were seen as potentially dangerous.

Excellent job.


bullet image He’s back, part 3. Scott Takes Worker Drug Testing To Supreme Court. Rick Scott just won’t give up until he gets to drug test everyone (and profit handsomely from it). Based on past Supreme Court rulings, I find it highly unlikely that they’ll even take the case, but I always get a bit nervous with what the Supremes might do.

It’s time to put a stake in this national desire to drug test and really reverse the trend, but also getting it out of schools and the workplace in general.


bullet image Speaking of drug testing… Drug Tests Don’t Deter Use, But School Environment Might

A survey of high school students found that the possibility that they might face drug testing didn’t really discourage students from alcohol, cigarettes or marijuana. But students who thought their school had a positive environment were less apt to try cigarettes and pot.

Treating your students like criminals who must prove their innocence probably doesn’t foster a positive environment. Same thing is true in the workplace.

Here’s the study.

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Pete Guither is the editor of drugwarrant.com

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