More good stuff from Johann Hari

Johann continues to kick ass in the press, coming up with OpEds and interviews that are clear and understandable to the casual public who may not be aware of all the details of the drug war, and that make compelling arguments.

His latest is in the Los Angeles Times – a paper that has often been a drug war cheerleader.

Yes, pot is stronger today, but not for the reasons you think

Here’s the irony. Drugs are more potent today, and people are taking more powerful drugs — but that’s largely because of the drug war, not despite it.

To grasp why, you need to understand a counterintuitive phenomenon best explained by the writer Mike Gray in his book “Drug Crazy.” Let’s start in January 1920. The day before Prohibition went into effect, the most popular alcoholic drinks, by far, were beer and wine. Once alcohol was legalized again, in December 1933, the most popular drinks, by far, were again beer and wine — as they remain today. But between those dates, beer and wine virtually vanished and the only alcoholic beverages available became hard spirits such as whiskey, vodka and moonshine.

So why would banning a drug change people’s taste? In fact, it didn’t. It just changed what they had access to. […]

The technical term for this — coined by the advocate for drug reform Richard Cowan — is “the iron law of prohibition.” As crackdowns on a drug become more harsh, the milder forms of that drug disappear — and the most extreme strains become most widely available.

This is an important point to continue to hammer home. Opponents of legalization are often pushing that old “this isn’t your father’s pot” argument.

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