Always in focus You can't feel my stare I zoom into you You don't know I'm there I take a pride

in probing all your secret moves My tearless retina takes pictures that can prove I'm made of metal My circuits gleam I am perpetual I keep the country clean I'm elected, electric spy I'm protected, electric eye

³Electric Eye´ ± Judas Priest

Notes about editing Please read all the changes I made in red and all the deletes. There are comments added throughout the work that you should consider. Also, please define your audience. Based on your preface, I am assuming that you are writing to a general audience. The reading and comprehension level of a the American public is generally placed at a 6th 8th grade level. In many cases, the changes I made are based on the assumed reading and comprehension level of your audience, rather than any style related considerations. Also, please do not assume that your audience has read Orwell. Sad, I know, but there are likely people who will be reading your book who have never heard of him. When you use Orwell references that you need your audience to understand, make sure you explain them.

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I ve never really liked prefaces. I suppose I ve always thought anything important enough to write here should might be included in Chapter One. But after writing a lot of this book, I realized that there are a few points that didn t seem to fit into the text proper. I promise to keep it brief. You may notice a few things about the book that strike you as odd, so I ll try to preemptively address these in a friendly Question and Answer Format:

Q: Why did you write this book? A: I realized that all the scientific data shows that marijuana is safe when compared to alcohol and tobacco, and is even relatively safe in and of itself. Re-legalization has been an unsuccessful enterprise for decades, and I wanted to know why. After gathering lots of research, I estimated that an inexpensive, quickly readable book would be the best way to explain what I had found.

Q: You don t have any references in the back, and your citations in the footnotes are unusual. Why? A: I have found, from my own experience as well as that of others, that the reality of citations is a bit more pronounced if they are directly underneath what you claim to have researched and have accurately referenced in the back of the book. Most people (myself included) will not flip to the back of the book to see if a given journal is accurately mentioned. Since I don t like to do that, I figured I wouldn t subject any potential readers to this inconvenience. I think it makes it easier to see the truth, as it were. But don t worry; all the information that would normally be found in the back is included in the footers. Also, if any effectors of change read this, the less work they have to do, the more likely it is that they ll actually do something. I hope that if readers can see, and touch, and easily find the original locations of my sources, and contrast these to the pseudo-evidence offered by prohibitionists, myit should make my arguments will be that much more compelling.

Q: Why do you think you re an adequate spokesperson for legalization? How do you consider yourself an authority? A: I ll admit that I m not an expert in this field (though I m unsure what that would constitute a marijuana expert anyway.) As a medical student, I have significant training in the sciences, including years of laboratory research experience that necessitated the reading and understanding of a vast numberamount of scientific journal articles. This certainly helped me in knowing what to look for while trying to make my case. But you don t need to be an expert to understand this book. That s the point. Plenty of scientists, doctors, and countless other individuals have provided me and you with all the information I needed to support my position that marijuana should be legalized. The only thing I needed was time for research, and time for writing. The rest is thanks to all those who have come before me in this struggle.

Q: Why is the book so short? A: There are volumes upon volumes of literature that explain why marijuana prohibition should be repealed. I wanted to create something that would be accessible and, ideally, readable in one sitting. Don t think that the length denotes a lack of evidence; I think you will find that the book is absolutely stuffed with information, all of which is accurately cited. I just chose my words carefully, and picked the most important issues to discuss.

Q: Okay, I ve read the book and now I want to know how I can help. So, what can I do?

Well, distributing this book to as many people as you desire/physically can would be a good start. I have taken great pains to ensure that anyone reading this book can have complete confidence in the veracity of the facts I have presented. Every quote, every newspaper clip, and every journal article has been meticulously checked for accuracy. I want everyone who has this book to be able to speak with authority on the subject of marijuana prohibition. You could also write or call your state and federal representatives. You know how much you hate extra mail in your inbox; imagine if several million Americans began flooding Congress email with requests for rational explanations for the continued prohibition of marijuana., Iit seems they would have no choice but to have a rational discussion of this issue.

Horace Mann, legendary American educator, told Antioch College s graduating class of 1859 that we should all be ashamed to die until you have won some victory for humanity.

Consider this book a humble effort at paying this existential debt.

Act 1

The Setup

³Prohibition will work great injury to the cause of temperance. It is a species of intemperance within itself, for it goes beyond the bounds of reason in that it attempts to control a man's appetite by legislation, and makes a crime out of things that are not crimes. A Prohibition law strikes a blow at the very principles upon which our government was founded.´ -Abraham Lincoln, December 18, 1840 from a speech to the Illinois General Assembly

³It was an unprovoked crime some years ago, which brought the first realization that the age-old drug [marijuana] had gained a foothold in America. An entire family was murdered by a youthful addict in Florida. When officers arrived at the home they found the youth staggering about in a human slaughterhouse. With an ax he had killed his father, his mother, two brothers, and a sister. He seemed to be in a daze.

He had no recollection of having committed the multiple crimes. The officers knew him ordinarily as a sane, rather quiet young man; now he was pitifully crazed. They sought the reason. The boy said he had been in the habit of smoking something which youthful friends called µmuggles,¶ a childish name for marijuana.

-Harry J. Anslinger, former head of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics From his July 1937 submission to The American Magazine entitled ³MARIJUANA- Assassin of Youth´

Creating Criminals Cornell Hood, a 35-year-old resident of Louisiana, will spend the rest of his life in prison for selling marijuana.11 Yes, Hood had three prior convictions, but all three were for marijuana possession and distribution. According to the New Orleans Times-Picayune, Hood would normally would have received a sentence of 15 years for his crime. Sadly for Hood, Assistant District Attorney Nick Noriea Jr. decided to try Hood under the state s repeat offender statutes (should this be singular?) in order to allow for a harsher judgment. A life sentence was the result. Think for a minute about what we have witnessed: the state has turned the consumption of an innocuous plant into a victimless(what does the word victimless add here?) crime a felony no less. That same state has now decided that it has the sovereign right to lock a man away for the rest of his natural life (barring merciful probation or appeal) in the name of upholding this mad law. In Oklahoma, Patricia Marilyn Spottedcrow has lost her four children and will spend ten years in prison for selling $31 dollars worth of marijuana to an undercover cop2. Every 42 seconds, someone in the United

Ramon Antonio Vargas. ³Fourth marijuana conviction gets Slidell man life in prison.´ New-Orleans Times-Picayune. May 5, 2011.


Ginnie Graham ³How $31 of pot gave mom a 10-year-prison sentence.´ February 20, 2011. NewsOK

States is arrested for a cannabis-related incident. To assure you that this is not an exaggeration., I came one can come to this conclusion by dividing the number of seconds in a year (31,556,926) by the average number of cannabis-related arrests per year since 1995 (746,950, as reported by the FBI Uniformed Crime Reports3.) Is this the type of country we aspire to be? If these stories don t startle you, or even enrage you, I am not sure what would. (If you are not sure what would, why continue to write? Consider changing this to the following These stories should startle you, even enrage you.) During the past century, we have allowed the state-sponsored creation and propagation of a criminal class convicted by definition (whose definition?) of victimless crimes, predicated upon legislation that had no basis whatsoever in physical evidence or reasoned logic. Thousands upon thousands of Americans have had their lives shattered irretrievably; most will never have their story told, or their sentences commuted. These crimes are based solely on an individual s preference for the consumption of a naturally-occurring plant; one that has bseen used in medicine, religion, and recreation for thousands of years. The fact that I must argue for re-legalization of marijuana, while we are on the brink of creating a hand-held gun that sprays stem cells to heal burn victims, (make this connection clearer. I m not sure your audience will know anything about this gun or how it pertains to your point) is a testament to the government s bafflingly dichotomous support of the sciences. Oddly enough, I could stroll into my local park, nosh on a choice shoot of deadlyfrom a member the nightshade family, and the police wouldn t say a word about it. My gastro-intestinal tract and central nervous system might disagree with my snack choice, but the authorities would not. On the other hand, if I were to smoke a joint in the privacy of my own home, though no one would be affected save myself and others who might be present, I would be committing a federal crime. (the only one affected by you eating the nightshade is yourself as well. Your point isn t clear here.) I will certainly outline the moral and, more importantly, logical and scientific arguments against marijuana prohibition, but the volumes of data that support my proposition, and the paucity or complete lack of evidence that supports prohibition, suggests that the simple reiteration of facts will do little to influence policy. (show us that there is vast volumes of data, don t tell us. I would remove the last sentence.) Rather, I point this out to mainly strive to shed light on the sinister genesis of our cannabis laws., Tand the mechanisms that have allowed for their propagation, while illustrating that concerns with the safety of marijuana can all be traced back, quite directly, to extravagant claims made by individuals who knew nothing of the sciences. The initial stark contrast I have drawn between the relative dangers of what is legal and what is illegal in this case, nightshade and cannabis should be enough to at least sound an alarm in the recesses of your mind that something is amiss with marijuana policy the Land of the Free . (is this actually trademarked or are you being ironic? Either way, consider whether it s use undermines your authority.) After I am through, I hope that every reader has a full-scale air raid drill of cognitive dissonance raging in their head. I would take this last sentence out. It is leading your audience.

Formatted: Highlight

Accessed via:

FBI Uniform Crime Reports: 1970-2009. Accessed via

Up in Smoke I must admit that even saying the word marijuana in public is difficult. In fact, reading this book takes at least some small amount of courage. When exploring the dark jungle of marijuana policy, every footstep must be carefully measured, even if the law being discussed is considered unjust. This should not deter reasonable dissent. We just need to ensure tothat exercise tact and grace, so as to avoid stomping around this dangerous terrain like clueless explorers on a treacherous safari. My aim in writing this book is to provide a collection of scientific and historical facts regarding the prohibition of marijuana fused with some reasonable conjectures. The contents should be useful and comprehensible both to long-time legalization activists and , as well as individuals who have virtually no knowledge of prohibition, or even marijuana in general. Even those who support the continued prohibition of marijuana maywill find utility in this book; in fact they are my main target demographic. I wrote this book with the intent that every person who supports the continued prohibition of marijuana might read what I ve written and be made to understand that no logical reason exists to continue the outlawing of marijuana. I m not asking prohibitionists to ever use marijuana. I m simply asking that the government allow the use of cannabis to be a personal decision, like alcohol or tobacco. It is easy to forget that behind every prohibitionist is a person; one who might be reasonable and open to debate, and so in deference to such individuals, I will try to adjust my tone accordingly. You see, I don t dislike prohibitionists, especially those who are merely apathetic to the issue what I think of as Passive Prohibitionists. I cannot posit, rationally, that our blundering marijuana policy is their fault. (This paragraph seems like an introduction to the book as a whole, but we are already well into the book by now. Consider either moving this paragraph or deleting it entirely. The problem is that over seventy years have passed since marijuana was first outlawed. The general populace cannot be held accountable for thisG; governmental deception has been the driving force behind marijuana prohibition, not a lack of public impetus. Once the government s original bombastic tirades against marijuana became too overblownobscenely hyperbolic for widespread public credence, the government simply began ignoring appeals to reason. Thus, there aren t many people to blame for marijuana prohibition (though there are a couple of characters who will get their written cumuppins for their unscrupulous actions). The issue seems to be mainly policy inertia and an unwillingness to change. The re-legalization of alcohol took a significant amount of time and effort, and repealing Prohibition was critical for a successful American future. The prohibition of alcohol, however, was not nearly as lengthy as cannabis prohibition had been which has allowed errant notions and unsubstantiated fears to fester for far longer than the Volstead Act permitted. (If you are writing to people with little or no knowledge of the subject, you should not assume that the audience knows what the Volstead Act is. Please refer to it earlier in the text.) In regard to marijuana, we now have roughly three generations of Americans who have no living memory of its prohibition. The parents of Baby Boomers are most likely the last to recall the initial acts of legislation that restricted the possession or use of cannabis. This long-standing ban has been brewed a rank concoction of uninformed controversy ever since the federal government began whipping the public into an unmerited frothing frenzy a century ago. Widespread disinformation, joined with the fear

and anxiety about marijuana, has led to a national epidemic of what I personally refer to (and I m probably not the first) as Cheech and Chong Syndrome. Write at least a paragraph describing Cheech and Chong Syndrome here. Your younger readers will likely have never seen a Cheech and Chong movie, and might not have heard of them either. Recall your first school-sponsored foray into the bewildering world of sex education. If yours was anything like mine, the majority of each lecture was spent trying to stifle what would surely be if accidentally loosed in the classroom unmitigated peals of raucous laughter. Even now, seeing the word penis in print is enough to illicit a chuckle from me (and maybe from you). This is not an unexpected phenomenon, nor is it one that should cause any shame. When confronted by the longrepressed or taboo, laughter is a coping mechanism that allows us to comprehend a novel situation without the sullen dejection that a lack of knowledge in a given area frequently entails. Laughter is our first defense against the uncomfortable, and certainly one that has its function; social acceptance is a reassurance sought by everyone. Betraying personal confusion about a process that is usually intimated in hushed whispers or proclaimed with boastful declarations of alleged experience is not an ego-sparing enterprise. Admitting to a complete lack of knowledge about sex, even at such a tender age, often leads to mockery. Collective laughter is one of the few mechanisms that allows for a confession of mystification, while sparing the confessor a public shaming. Laughing at sex education in school signifies that everyone is now in the same boat, and after dispensing with the initial shock of the unexplored, the learning process can begin. You wouldn t laugh out loud if you couldn t figure out an algebra problem, since an understanding of math is generally not critical to social acceptance. Admitting to a complete lack of experience regarding Shakespeare s beast with two backs, however, might be enough of a schoolyard sin to earn the status of pariah, or at least spark a current of hurtful teasing. Similar to sex education, discussion about marijuana has long been repressed. The only legal experiences that Americans have had with cannabis have been vicarious, mainly in the form of comedy. Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong are probably the most famous examples of this type of entertainment. It s no surprise then, that we seem unable to have a rational debate about marijuana even at the highest levels of government and in the most renowned media outlets without such discussion eventually being reduced to a spectacle that would impress even Barnum and Bailey. This the circus atmosphere that surrounds marijuana discussions is the single-most disruptive force standing in the way of re-legalization. As our prisons bloat with Americans convicted of completely nonviolent notreally-crimes and Mexican border towns continue their plunge into Wild West shooting galleries, I think it s time that we approach the subject of marijuana re-legalization with the somber mentality it undoubtedly warrants.

Marijuana s compulsory status as arboreal persona non grata in the United States has assured that public discourse about the plant remains, at best, stunted and juvenile. Marijuana can cause people to do funny things and it is acceptable, even necessary, to acknowledge this fact. Rarely will you find a serious political discussion about cannabis that does not, at some point, bear witness to cartoonish

typecasts and nervous giggling. ( Well legalization would certainly stimulate the junk food industry, ha ha ha! ). The very unfunny consequences of marijuana prohibition, however, demand a much more serious approach than what we have been affording it. Disinterested shoe-shuffling and nervous glances over our collective shoulders aren t going to cut it anymore. Consider adding information about what the very unfunny consequences are right here. Talk about the deaths in Mexico and the deaths of police officers right in the beginning. It will give your audience something to hold onto emotionally and will allow you to spend some time defining this issues without having to put them in the middle of a different paragraph. I m not blaming anyone in the public, or even the media far from it. In fact, I completely understand. There are very real consequences for dissent in this matter. The Drug Enforcement Agency is armed to the teeth and is not shy about flashing a deadly Cheshire grin when it sees fit. The federal government s hired hunters frequently prowl even in states where medical marijuana is legal. Questioning this dubious DEA practice of arbitrary (and possibly illegal) territorial ingress is a monumental challenge both legally and practically. These cats are at the very top of the food chain so who, as they say, shall watch the watchmen? (too many metaphors in this sentence! Look at it again) We must try to remember, though, that discussion is always acceptable, even in the face of such tangible intimidation. Besides the obvious fear factor involved in publicly addressing cannabis, most of the challenge in instituting change seems to be due to literally child-like amusement. You went from pointing out that discussions about marijuana are prone to the Cheech and Chong Syndrome into a discussion about how frightening the Drug Enforcement Agency is without any transition. Say more about the Cheech and Chong syndrome before you move on to your next point. AND how many members of you audience really know who Cheech and Chong are? The people your age do, but how about kids in college and high school now? Recall your first school-sponsored foray into the bewildering world of sex education. If yours was anything like mine, the majority of each lecture was spent trying to stifle what would surely be if accidentally loosed in the classroom unmitigated peals of raucous laughter. Even now, seeing the word penis in print is enough to illicit a chuckle from me (and maybe from you). This is not an unexpected phenomenon, nor is it one that should cause any shame. When confronted by the longrepressed or taboo, laughter is a coping mechanism that allows us to comprehend a novel situation without the sullen dejection that a lack of knowledge in a given area frequently entails. Laughter is our first defense against the uncomfortable, and certainly one that has its function; social acceptance is a reassurance sought by everyone. Betraying personal confusion about a process that is usually intimated in hushed whispers or proclaimed with boastful declarations of alleged experience is not an ego-sparing enterprise. Admitting to a complete lack of knowledge about sex, even at such a tender age, almost inevitably leads to mockery. Collective laughter is one of the few mechanisms that allows for a confession of mystification, while sparing the confessor a public shaming. Laughing at sex education in school signifies that everyone is now in the same boat, and after dispensing with the initial shock of the unexplored, the learning process can begin. You wouldn t laugh out loud if you couldn t figure out an algebra problem, since an understanding of math is generally not critical to social acceptance. Admitting to a complete lack of experience regarding Shakespeare s beast with two backs, however,

might be enough of a schoolyard sin to earn the status of pariah, or at least spark a current of hurtful teasing. Similar to sex education, discussion about marijuana has long been repressed. The only legal experiences that Americans have had with cannabis have been vicarious, mainly in the form of comedy. Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong are probably the most famous examples of this type of entertainment. It s no surprise then, that we seem unable to have a rational debate about marijuana even at the highest levels of government and in the most renowned media outlets without such discussion eventually being reduced to a spectacle that would impress even Barnum and Bailey. This the circus atmosphere that surrounds marijuana discussions is the single-most disruptive force standing in the way of re-legalization. As our prisons bloat with Americans convicted of completely nonviolent notreally-crimes and Mexican border towns continue their plunge into Wild West shooting galleries, I think it s time that we approach the subject of marijuana re-legalization with the somber mentality it undoubtedly warrants.

One of the main difficulties in addressing the issue of re-legalization correctly is identifying what it is, exactly, that has allowed disinformation and fear to replace science and logic. Though the political cliché Indentify the problem and find a solution (is this a common slogan somewhere? I have never heard it before) is usually useful in garnering a few extra votes, proponents of re-legalization really do have to determine what it is that has stood in the way of repealing prohibition. All the evidence is there, so why is no one listening? First is the Cheech and Chong Syndrome I just described. The second is the very academic nature of the proof that supports legalization. Most Americans (and politicians) don t want to read primary source scientific literature. That s perfectly acceptable. Significant training is required to even become a novice at exploring the daunting world of peer-reviewed articles. Due to my educational requirements and related extracurricular interests, I read at least parts of scientific journals almost every day. Even I find it occasionally difficult, and frequently boring. I knew that regurgitating data was not going to be an effective approach in writing this book, even though such data is plentiful and accurate. Most people just can t read journals, and that s okay. I needed a new approach. I also estimated that the shorter I could make the book, the more likely it would be that people would actually read it. If I see a book or magazine that I think I can finish while in the bathroom, there s a pretty good chance that I will give it a second look. As a medical student, I claim no expertise, even in the field of science. But all my sources are publicly available, and I think you ll find I make no wild claims or extravagant demands. Really, I m just a guy who got tired of watching lives ruined by tiny amounts of a plant that science has not shown to be harmful. You don t need an engineering degree to be horrified by a bridge collapse, and you don t need a doctorate in physics to witness the devastating effects of weaponized atomic fission. In the same way, you don t need to be involved in health care or biochemistry to understand the tragic consequences of our brutal marijuana policy. (The what s in this sentence is unclear. Are you talking about prohibition?

Enforcement? Research? Make the subject clearer.) Obviously, what s been done so far hasn t worked quite well enough, even if it s all been valid. I ll be brief, and I ll try not to be boring. The book is short, so I don t need your attention for long. I just ask that for those of you who currently do not support marijuana re-legalization, please keep your mind open and allow it to flex; this is the only way we can really make changes. There is one last issue I must address before we get into the meat of this book. I request that all readers ask themselves these three questions, especially if you currently support marijuana prohibition:

1.) Why is marijuana illegal? 2.) Is marijuana harmful? 3.) What does marijuana prohibition accomplish?

Complex issues usually require complex solutions. I wish I could distill this entire book into a bumper sticker, but that is simply not possible. I promise to be as succinct as possible while still providing a complete view of the history and science behind marijuana prohibition. All I ask, especially to those of you who currently support prohibition, is t, so pleaseo keep the three above questions in mind while you read, and readdress them after you have finished. I think you will find that your viewpoint will might be significantly altered.

Quantum Leap Consider making your time-travel researchers prohibitionists. Leave out the part about them feeling ashamed about the law. This will allow you to let Franklin explain to them why it is ridiculous, and will also be a voice that will speak to the prohibitionists in your audience. If you can speak to the prohibitionists directly with all of your metaphorical characters, and then argue against the position that your metaphorical characters are taking, you can both show that you understand the audiences pointof-view and refute it at the same time. Imagine, for a moment, that we were able to create some type of time machine that allowed us to bring founding father Benjamin Franklin into ourthe present time for a brief period. For the sake of argument, let us forget about time travel paradoxes, more prudent uses of such a device, and any other potential complaints with the premise. After being plucked, presumably swiftly and jarringly, from the late 18th century, Franklin arrives in 2011. Now, anyone who has read science fiction understands that travelling forward in time is generally assumed to be more difficult than the reverse, if only due to the difficulty of dealing with the completely unknown future, as opposed to the well-documented and potentially

familiar past. He But even though he appears quite alarmed andand mainly annoyed but Franklin s scientific mind soon compensates for the complete novelty of his predicament, and his inquiries begin in earnest. So, politely, the time machine operators provide Franklin with modern tomes on history, science, philosophy, mathematics, and any other fields of academia in which he desires to re-acclimate himself. Now, studying in general is a trying affair, and we can imagine that Franklin s efforts in catching up on 200 years of scholastic developments have left him enthralled, but also exhausted, and he retires to a small room that the friendly time-travel researchers have provided. The researchers ask Franklin if he wants anything to relax: music, pillows, a drink, anything he needs. Franklin courteously declines, remembering that during the morning before his temporal displacement, he placed a small packet of home-grown cannabis in the pocket of his amusingly outdated knickers; this, he thinks, should suffice as the evening s entertainment. After retiring to his new room, relishing the opportunity to engage in a favored pastime, Franklin rolls a joint, lights it, and begins to smoke. The researchers, intelligent and rational though they may be, are horrified by the wafting odor of Franklin s pocketed plant. It would be an awful shame if police officers or worse, federal agents were to breach the laboratory and damage any sensitive time travel equipment, as well as permanently damaging the researchers careers. Scrambling to extinguish the joint, and colliding comically in the space several inches in front of Franklin s face, the researchers collapse to the floor in a tangle, but the joint has been extinguished. Hooray. Obviously, Franklin might take umbrage with such rude and seemingly incomprehensible behavior. What has gotten into you gentlemen? Franklin might ask. Sheepishly, the scientists would explain that marijuana has been banned for quite some time. They would explain that the same government which Franklin had helped create had decided, some 150 years after its inception, that cannabis was not suitable for public consumption. With knowledge of this future prohibition laid out for Franklin to see, his initial rage is quickly (what evidence do you have that Franklin would feel rage?) (and thankfully) replaced by polite yet demanding scientific questioning. Franklin might ask questions like: What have your men of science found to be the dangerous compound in cannabis? (He calls it cannabis because, as you will see shortly, the term marijuana was not used until it was made illegal).

Or he might ask: In what ways does it destroy the body or mind?

He might continue:

What other substances have been outlawed since the Declaration?

With reluctance, Franklin might query (hoping another of his fears will not be realized): I have seen the ill effects of alcohol first-hand. Is beer likewise prohibited in modern America?

What would the scientists say? Our time travel researchers, like tLike the vast majority of scientists, both in the United States and abroad, understand, our time-travel researchers would know that alcohol (among other legal substances) is far more destructive to the human body than cannabis. The researchers are, quite honestly, baffled by how to go about explaining cannabis prohibition to the man who helped ensure their ancestors liberties. The sniping rhetoric of politicians over marijuana law seems greatly diminished in importance when recalling the Tory subterfuge that Franklin constantly endured. (Will your audience have a knowledge of Tory Subterfuge? Many American s don t )I would drop your time-travel researchers here. The metaphor is getting in the way of your point. Frankly, the scientists are embarrassed. Discussing marijuana prohibition, even medically, has been somewhat taboo in the scientific community for quite some time. Do not misunderstand, tThere is plenty of research that indicates the relative and nearly absolute safety of cannabis (which will be addressed shortly), and some of our time-travel researchers have even acquainted themselves with the literature as something of a hobby. But doctors and scientists stroll along a notoriously thin line; a single misstep can lead to utter devastation of what almost every American considers a noble and critical career. Our time travel researchers quickly realize that they have allowed unabashed sensationalism and unsubstantiated polemic to rule the debate over cannabis prohibition, and they feel a bit ashamed. The scientists all know that in Franklin s day, other patriots like Thomas Jefferson and George Washington frequently smoked cannabis. In fact, George Washington had a robust personal supply furnished by his very own field. This may come as a surprise to some, but cannabis has been legal in the United States for far longer than it has been prohibited. From 1776-1937, doctors prescribed marijuana as medicine, and any citizen was permitted to partake of a personal stash. (Make this transition clearer or drop the time-traveler researchers) It appears that Franklin s unanswerable questions have spurred our friendly time-travel researchers into action. They promise Franklin that they will get to the bottom of the mess and insist that the government adhere to the standards of scientific rigor that the government expects demands of them. Franklin, still a bit confused, agrees that such a venture is one that should bear fruit; after all, what profession is more trusted than that of scientist, or physician, or any student of natural law? The researchers briefly forget their time machine, and delve into the even-more-unbelievable world of cannabis prohibition.

Rejecting Institutionalized Ignorance

You might consider my time-traveling Benjamin Franklin analogy weak. I assume much and omit even more in my description of this theoretical state of affairs. But, rThat s okay; realism was not my aim here. Rather, I want every reader to understand that, from a scientific perspective, there is no logical reason that cannabis should be prohibited. Franklin s questions would truly be unanswerable by any scientist familiar with cannabis research. This is an enormous problem. As a medical student, I have (I m not a legislator, on, with increasing disbelief and decreasing patience, at the brazen disregard for science in looked and most of your which our elected officials have engaged even celebrated. No politician suffering from strep throat audience won would decline an antibiotic because they believed that this medicine was dangerous, so why do we t be either. Don t use accept the unsubstantiated opinion of legislators when it comes to the alleged (read: non-existent) you ) dangers of cannabis? Herein lies the problem: when it comes to science, politicians need to acquiesce to those who have dedicated their lives to science. With all due respect to legislators, theyyou have no legitimate claim to authority in matters of medicine and science without the helping hand of a professional in the field guiding This is not an insult; the demands of any modern profession almost completely eliminate the possibility of attaining mastery of another. Politicians can recruit advisors to help tailor policy that would give legitimate claim to authoring scientific policy policy, and this practice is both commonplace and admirable. But, just as I would acquiesce to my lawyer if represented in a court of law, lawyers should likewise put aside their personal convictions in scientific matters if they do not coincide with the views of those who study natural law. When sound science is replaced by sensationalist bloviating taxpayer-funded, by the way we abandon the realm of reason in favor of imprudently braving the tumultuous seas of uninformed debate. Little good can come of such foolhardy politicking. Luckily for politicians who harbor a disagreeable demeanor toward the sciences, scientists and physicians are relatively docile and, up to this point, have been reluctant to call cannabis policy for what it is: nonsense. So I will do it for them. Cannabis prohibition is nonsense, and it needs to stop. This sentence is unclear. I m not sure what you are saying. United into what? Expand please) The new generation of doctors and scientists has been born into an America where the state of public opinion on marijuana policy is beginning, at long last, to become united. It is time scientists, students, and rational Americans of all creeds begin loudly but articulately refusing to swallow the stale pabulum that our government has been force-feeding its citizenry for the better part of a century. You have too many topics going on in this paragraph. I m not sure what point you are trying to make here. Please reexamine. Now, there may be politicians who are unaware of, or apathetic toward, the scientific data of the past five decades that renders the continued prohibition of cannabis senseless. This is no longer acceptable. When you work for the people, you should have a well-formulated reason for supporting any restrictions on liberty which are tacitly approved with the opening of every new session of Congress. In other words, if theyyou do not know why marijuana should be legal, I am disappointed in theiryour lack of scholastic inquiry, but this book will put to rest any lingering doubts you may have, my dear Passive Prohibitionist. In essence, the public debate over whether cannabis should be legal is a moot one; the only debate should be whether an individual wishes to consume

(read: non-existent) quips like this undermine your authority to a nonbelieving reader)

cannabis or not, not whether it should be permitted as a legal option in general. It is the responsibility of the legislature to allow the debate to change from one of compulsive prohibition, to one that allows free discussion of the merits of a given action; tobacco use is a good example of this model. I wrote this book because I really do believe that many legislators and members of the public may be completely unaware of how cannabis prohibition came to pass, and the unbelievable occurrences that have allowed it to remain the law of the land. While public misunderstanding can be rectified with reasoned explanations and public service campaigns, our lawmaker s misunderstandings allow armed men to quell any semblance of real discussion with the ever-present threat of their bullets. I would ask any person reading whether you consider it acceptable that the government of the United States compels its citizens to not smoke a given plant with the threat of firearms and deadly force. I think the answer is an obvious and resounding No.

A Long Habit The term common sense is so widely misused in the political arena that invoking this simple phrase seems terribly trite. But let us remember that the writings of the man who originally established this phrase as a staple in the American lexicon eventually obliged wholesale change in our governmental structure; certainly not a trite accomplishment. The great Thomas Paine wrote his pamphlet Common Sense in order to bring to light the insidious nature of eighteenth century England s tyrannical rule over the Colonies. Many of the inalienable rights which we take for granted today, were absolutely not granted at the time of Paine s authorship. Accordingly, much of the basis for our Declaration of Independence can be found in Paine s seminal work of early American prose. One of Paine s most salient and insightful observations applies so precisely and exquisitely to cannabis prohibition that it seems Thomas Paine must have somehow shared a seat with Benjamin Franklin on our aforementioned imaginary time machine:

Perhaps the sentiments contained in the following pages, are not YET sufficiently fashionable to procure them general favour; a long habit of not thinking a thing WRONG, gives it a superficial appearance of being RIGHT, and raises at first a formidable outcry in defense of custom. But the tumult soon subsides. Time makes more converts than reason.

Profound and simple, Paine s foreword to his pamphlet a document which was most intentionally controversial allows us to scrutinize our own irrational yet deeply-held beliefs about marijuana through the lens of a vaunted revolutionary s brilliant act of written dissent. Regrettably, time has not made more converts than reason. Actually, according to your argument, time has made more converts than reason in that time has converted people to a fashionable idea that is in the general favor, but that is, according to your argument, not reasonable. Reconsider this information, Information regarding the safety of cannabis and the dubious legislation that has consistently overridden this data has been

publicly available for many years, and has quite obviously been ignored. So, we must come to the conclusion that our destructive habit of not thinking cannabis prohibition wrong must have deeprooted sentiments based in a powerful though misplaced emotion that overrides our otherwise reasonable senses. (Is this paragraph about fear, education, political inertia, or public opinion? Please narrow the focus of this paragraph and expand on, ideally, one of these ideas at a time) As is usually the case in crimes against logic, the main culprit is fear. Education is the only remedy for this disease of the mind, as our own historical struggles against autocracy show. If our ancestors were able to shirk an entire method of governance using, as one of their main pillars, a pamphlet based in logic and reason, should we not think ourselves capable of discarding a simple compulsory temperance in the same manner? I hope that, unlike the assumptions Paine made about his own writing, that my pages are, in fact, sufficiently fashionable to procure them general favour. In no way should be construed as a comparison between Paine s seminal work and this book; I want to make that clear. I simply want to illustrate that P policy inertia was a huge obstacle in the mid-eighteenth century just as it is today. The driving force against such an obstacle, just as it was then, must be logic and reason. Opinion polls suggest that Americans overwhelmingly favor cannabis re-legalization, so it seems like a good time for readers to finally probe the rationale of prohibition for any hint of common sense in our marijuana policy. I think you will find it lacking. So then, let us follow in the example of the author of the common sense that is most relevant and critical to American history; if we do not heed Paine, then who shall we heed? From the ugly little seeds of racism, hyperbole, and fear-mongering sprouted the diseased tree of our detestable marijuana laws. I have written this brief history of cannabis policy and the complete lack of logic and reason behind it so that every reader may be accurately informed as to the terrible nature of our domestic buy certainly not domesticated Beast of Prohibition. Before I get to the evidence, we have to determine what, exactly, would constitute a win for either prohibitionists or the or those favoring re-legalization.

Assumptions About Rational Discourse In order to have any logical and/or scientific debate, there are some rules to which all parties must adhere. These are not arbitrary or used only for the context of this debate. The following are the requirements that all parties must presuppose if any debate is expected to bear fruit.

1.) Acknowledging the Burden of Proof Proponents of re-legalization have been forced to toil under the burden of proof since the movement began. I must point out that, scientifically speaking, the onus for proving that marijuana is dangerous does not lie with those who favor re-legalization. Rather, it is the responsibility of our legislators to

support, with physical evidence, their claims that marijuana is harmful and should be illegal. The public is not required to defend their right to consume every substance that they ingest; such a practice would be neither practical nor reasonable. Reasonable governmental oversight exists to ensure that food remains free from contamination and that prescription drugs be rigorously tested, but there are plenty of substances that are not analyzed by the FDA whatsoever. Billions of dollars worth of herbal supplements and vitamins are purchased by Americans every year, and the government takes no initiative to ensure that each is tested before being made publicly available. The lack of uniformity in what the FDA does and does not approve is not the point, nor should it be viewed as an insult. I just mean to explain that dangerous substances can and have found their way to the market, and that individual responsibility is the only way one can ultimately ensure their own safety. This is where caveat emptor has some very significant meaning. (define caveat emptor here please. A general audience will not know what you mean. ) The government cannot and should not be responsible for analyzing everything a person consumes. When the government decides to ban a given substance, they have to be sure that it is unequivocally harmful to the point of being a public danger. Thus, it is the responsibility of our legislators to critically analyze past proof of marijuana s danger in addition to familiarizing themselves with current research. The burden of proof in any logical debate rests on the party who is making a novel claim. In our case, the government has claimed that scientific studies show that marijuana is harmful and should not be legal to consume. Thus, the government is responsible for showing that this is, in fact, true.

2.) Admission of Error If I were to say that I believed there was a small gnome who lived under my kitchen table and made me breakfast every morning, you, as the listener, would not be required to provide mountains of data to prove why this is not true. Since I can show no evidence of my breakfast gnome s existence, you cannot be reasonably expected to provide evidence that he does not exist. It would make no sense; it s physically impossible. A person is never called upon by logic to disprove a negative hypothesis; such a proposition is, to use the terminology of renowned scientist Karl Popper, unfalsifiable. To date, no legitimate evidence has ever ever been proffered by prohibitionists that would suggest that the illegality of marijuana should even be accepted by the public as de facto proof, much less de juro policy. Since (as I will show) that the evidence of marijuana s supposed danger is either anecdotal, or unscientific, then I don t really even need evidence in support of my hypothesis. Obviously, in the interest of a complete argument, I will cite many studies that explain that marijuana is safe. Logically, however, the government s complete lack of evidence for their extravagant claim (i.e marijuana is so dangerous that it constitutes a danger to public safety) means that, logically, I am not responsible for finding any proof of my position. In essence, the government has been claiming that they have a breakfast gnome under their table for a century. Since they have no evidence of his existence, I am not responsible for finding evidence that he does not exist, but I will anyway. (The breakfast gnome analogy works very well here!)

3.) Conditions for Victory Keeping the presuppositions above in mind, we can now determine what would constitute a win for either the prohibitionists or the repealers. For the government to be considered logically and scientifically correct, they should be able to 1.) Provide an overwhelming amount of data from the late 1930 s that shows marijuana to be incredibly harmful to human health, and noticeably dangerous to the public welfare. A substance is generally outlawed by the government only if one or both of these conditions are met. Thus, if scientific data from this era is found to be erroneous or non-existent then, logically, the government would have to cede it position and admit its error. 2.) Demonstrate that current scientific research performed using modern techniques corroborates the initial governmental hypothesis that holds cannabis to be physiologically harmful and a public hazard. Drugs that were once considered safe can be pulled from the market or restricted. Thalidomide, a sedative found to cause horrible birth defects if administered to pregnant women, was banned after evidence of its teratogenic (will your audience understand this word?) activity was verified . In the same way, a drug formerly thought to be dangerous can be reintroduced to the market. Thalidomide is again a good example, as it is currently used for the treatment of multiple myeloma just never in pregnant women. Thus, if modern evidence shows that the original scientific rationale supporting the alleged dangers of marijuana is found to be errant or outdated, the government must cede it s positions and acquiesce to the findings of the modern scientific community. If the government cannot provide evidence of marijuana s harmfulness dating from the time of its original prohibition, or if modern scientific data overturns previous findings, then, logically, those in favor of re-legalization have made their case, and the government must admit its error. There s nothing shameful about saying, We were wrong. Humility is critical to scientific research. We should be able to expect that the government should likewise abandon its hubris if it cannot meet the two requirements listed above. Let s think about marijuana prohibition from a different angle. If I were to say I believe milk is incredibly harmful to human health, and the possession and consumption of milk should be outlawed in America, I would need an incredible amount of proof that I was not simply a raving lunatic and that milk was, in fact, extraordinarily dangerous to humans and to public welfare. Even then, I would probably be told that drinking milk is a choice, and a person should be allowed to drink milk, or to not drink milk, of their own volition. Ensuring that milk is unspoiled, and remains free from bacteria and toxins is an acceptable form of governmental oversight. You would not, however, expect that the government might one day outlaw whole milk due to its high fat content and its potential to lead to heart disease. This would be insane and met with public outrage. In the same way, we should expect that our government has taken similar precautions in assuring that the substances they ban are, in fact,

rigorously tested for incontrovertible evidence of marijuana s overwhelmingly deleterious effects on the human body, and that they give us statistical proof that marijuana does objective harm to the general populace. As I will show, the government has not performed this duty with anything approaching integrity, and thus has no logical basis for enforcing the continued restriction of a personal liberty. (This information does not seem to belong here. See if this discussion should be put in a different part of the book) Part of the problem might be that the public is not well-informed abouton what goes into creating good science. Primary source journals are almost impenetrable to the average reader, and are difficult to scour even for professionals in other fields. I would like to share with those Americans who might not know what exactly it is that scientists think about when they approach a problem. How do we decide when research is valid or not? What are the usual steps scientists takes in crafting their mysterious experiments. Homeric epics could be written to answer these questions, but I will try to make the primary source literature accessible to all readers by briefly explaining science s skeleton key: the scientific method.

The Scientific Method If I were to say that the atmosphere was composed mainly of cotton candy, and molecular analysis proved that the main ingredient in air is actually nitrogen (as it surely is), I would be compelled, by the inherent rules of logic, to dismiss my original errant notion. Obviously, you take for granted the fact that scientists would never claim such a ridiculous concept as a cotton-candy sky. So what makes a scientific guess a good one? Admittedly, even in the sciences, determining this is not always an easy task. Wherever dearly-held scientific principles are challenged, you will also find fervent and occasionally vitriolic debate in defense of tradition. Even in the sciences we can observe the accuracy of Paine s observations regarding the terrapine dynamics of public opinion. . For anyone to claim that their views on a given subject are scientific, the y must be willing to change their mind if new evidence refutes their previous hypotheses, or the old evidence is reviewed and found invalid. You ll notice this sounds eerily similar to one of the rules for rational discourse that were just discussed. There is a good reason for this. Science and logic are inseparable, and one flows naturally into the other. So, we should approach our examination of the scientific method with the aforementioned rules of logic in the front of our minds. (finish talking about the Scientific Method, fully explain it, before you go back to discussion marijuana) Logically, if I can show that marijuana is not harmful or that the original rationale behind its prohibition was unfounded then, logically, prohibition supporters should be compelled to accept that their stance on prohibition is scientifically unsound and admit that a repeal of laws is, in fact, the most cogent strategy.

The scientific method is an algorithm a series of steps that allows for the gathering and analyzing of new information. It is the only tool that can be used to prove a case scientifically. So, we should acquaint ourselves with this invaluable tool before we begin to use it. Here, in rough terms, is the general approach to the natural world that scientists call the Scientific Method.

1.) Hypothesis
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This is where you make your claim. For those of you who may not be familiar with a scientific field, you should be aware that a hypothesis in the scientific sense is much different from a lay hypothesis. Whereas a hypothesis in the course of normal conversation might be comparable to a guess, in science, hypothesis refers to an educated guess that has some tangible basis in previous scientific knowledge. It is far more substantiated than your average guess. Some examples of scientific hypotheses: The Earth is round or Lipitor lowers blood cholesterol or Air is made of Cotton Candy or Marijuana is dangerous. The first two are definitively based in fact. The researchers of Lipitor applied their understanding of cholesterol metabolism and designed a compound that they believed could affect human biochemistry in a positive way. Many years and thousands of tests later, their original hypothesis that their statin drug could lower blood cholesterol has held true. The hypothesis The Earth is round came from scores of observations of the curvature of the horizon and the mechanics of Earth s shadow cast on the moon during lunar eclipses. Intuitively, the Earth seemed flat, and it still does. We can t really sense its roundness. But keen observation (and eventually photographs from space) allowed us to understand the natural world in a way that our unaided senses could not allow. I could also claim that air was composed mainly of cotton candy. If I were using the Scientific Method, I would then go on to do a molecular analysis, which would prove that the main ingredient in air is actually nitrogen. Based on this evidence, I would be compelled, by the inherent rules of logic, to dismiss my original errant notion. Obviously, you take for granted the fact that scientists would never claim such a ridiculous concept as a cotton-candy sky but this is an illustration of creating a scientific guess. So what makes a scientific guess a good one? Admittedly, even in the sciences, determining this is not always an easy task.

In the same wayOn the other hand, as I will demonstrate shortly, the hypothesis that Marijuana is harmful has little or no basis in fact. It is mainly based on anecdotal evidence (which is bad evidence) and outright falsehood (also known as no evidence ).

If we understand the differences and similarities between these fourthree hypotheses, we can understand why scientists would never hypothesize that the atmosphere is made of cotton candy. Nothing in the world of physical evidence supports the idea that thissuch a statement is anywhere close to reasonable. Obviously this is a ridiculous example, but I want to emphasize that scientific hypotheses are similar to lay hypotheses in name only; in practice they are not related at all. Keep the idea of what constitutes a valid hypothesis in mind as we continue. In the case of the Earth s roundness, Greek mathematicians were able to estimate the size and curvature of the earth using shadows and trigonometry. Later, circumnavigation of the globe suggested that there was no edge from which a far-flung ship would eventually plummet. Finally, photographs from space unequivocally showed that the earth was, in fact, a sphere technically an oblate spheroid, since it s a bit squashed. Unfortunately, while the government has accepted that the Earth is not shaped like a dinner plate and that Lipitor is a wonderfully effective drug for lowering blood cholesterol, they have chosen to ignore the evidence that shows that marijuana is not the destructive plant it was once thought to be. Keep this in mind.

2.) Experimentation This is where you test your hypothesis. Using rigorous methods and experimental procedures, scientists look for evidence of their hypothesis while attempting to minimize the impact of misleading variables. Results are carefully documented, and checked for errors. As a simple example, the drug Lipitor is the most -researched drug in the history of the United States. Most of the trials for Lipitor followed a format known as a double-blind placebo-controlled trial. Though the term looks a bit daunting, the concept is easy. Placebo-controlled means that one group will be getting the active drug (Lipitor) and another group will be taking a placebo (sugar pill). This allows researchers to ensure that the drug they are studying actually works like they have hypothesized it willthat it does, since the symptoms of an individual might improve simply because they were told that they were getting medicine. This odd phenomenon, known as the placebo effect is still not fully-understood, and is the cause of much frustration in the medical and scientific world. Double-blind simply means that neither of the groups taking the pills (either Lipitor or the placebo) knows what they are taking, and neither do the scientists running the study. A neutral third party hands out the pills while the scientists record the results. Though this might seem odd, it is a way to control for observer bias. Observer bias occurs when a scientist who knows which pill a given group is taking and accidentally (or worse, purposefully) influences the results by subconsciously coaching the test subjects, or otherwise interfering in ways that do not require a thorough discussion here. Basically, there is a we need to eliminate observer bias for a study to be considered good science and running a double blind study (meaning that both the researchers and test subjects are blind to who is taking what) is an easy and efficient way to accomplish this.

When we add the double-blind protocol to the placebo-control protocol, we get essentially the best possible experimental design that scientists have ever developed. It is considered the gold standard for scientific research, and any prescription drug you have ever taken was at one time studied in a double-blind placebo-controlled study. In the case of the Earth s roundness, Greek mathematicians were able to estimate the size and curvature of the earth using shadows and trigonometry. Later, circumnavigation of the globe suggested that there was no edge from which a far-flung ship would eventually plummet. Finally, photographs from space unequivocally showed that the earth was, in fact, a sphere technically an oblate spheroid, since it s a bit squashed. Unfortunately, while the government has accepted that the Earth is not shaped like a dinner plate and that Lipitor is a wonderfully effective drug for lowering blood cholesterol, they have chosen to ignore the evidence that shows that marijuana is not the destructive plant it was once thought to be. Keep this in mind.

3.) Data Collection This step tends to meld a little with the Experimentation step. Often, scientists must collect data while an experiment is running. Honestly, when I have done lab research, I was almost constantly taking notes of some kind. Even the way scientists take notes is scrutinized. Mistakes or mis-writes are generally not erased, but struck thorough with a single line. This allows scientists and future researchers to go back through the original notes and see where mistakes happened, and try to understand what cause those mistakes. Understanding the exact procedures behind an experiment is are critical toin ensureing other scientists and the public at large that the study was legitimate and, most critically, can be reproduced. Scientists might get some very interesting data in a given experiment, but unless they can achieve statistically similar results using the identical procedure that was originally used, that original study is not valid. The peer-review process ensures that a study is not published unless the results can be widely reproduced. This is so central to the tenets of good science that it might accurately be considered dogmatic. Please keep this in mind. Admittedly, not everyvery scientist takes excellent notes, but the vast majority of researchers keep some type of written record of everything, including mistakes. Those who don t accurately recount their work have little chance at being published in a reputable journal. Unlike the drafts of this book, which I did not keep for the most part, scientists keep their sloppy copies for posterity, even if what they have written potentially contradicts their original hypothesis. The generally-held notion is that a researcher should take notes that are good enough to allow another researcher to follow the original researcher s procedure forom the notes alone (rather than a journal type-up) and achieve the same results. The ability to run an experiment from another scientist s notes is a hallmark of a solid research design coupled with excellent note-taking. Such self-regulation is an added layer of integrity in what you may begin to understand is already a uniquely honest and honorable profession. The mass media generally

only covers acts of scientific indiscretion, but this is not a dig on news networks. It is not practical or even possible to cover the millions of scientists who do their job honestly and competently every single day. So just try to remember all of the good scientists that you do not hear about the next time you see a story about a bad scientist. (What does this discussion of the media have to do with data collection or legalizing marijuana? It seems like this is a topic for a different book.) Also remember that science builds upon itself, and good data should always be available to go back and reconfirm. I say this because the original justification for marijuana prohibition does not have a historical scientific record, as you will soon be made aware.

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4.) Conclusions This section warrants some extra attention, so if I ve lost anyone to boredom during the previous explanations, please redouble your efforts at absorbing this knowledge. Conclusions are the trickiest part of scientific experiments, at least in terms of public understanding. When scientists come to atheir conclusion, they you will almost never usesee the word prove. Since the sciences are so profoundly dynamic, and since our knowledge of the universe at large is still in its infancy, using the word prove is a conceit that scientists generally avoid. For example, I myself studied biochemical pathways in the social amoeba named Dictyostelium discoideum. When I was scribing the conclusions to my experiments, I used words like suggests and might and phrases like requires further study and previous research has shown. It s not that scientists are perpetually unsure; rather, proving that something happens in the sciences is usually a matter of mathematics. When scientists discuss proof they are usually referring to universal laws that fundamentally apply anywhere and everywhere in our universe. Thus, mathematic proofs that explain how certain natural processes work (i.e. classical mechanics in physics) must be true for physics to be applicable. So while Lipitor might have been shown thousands of times to lower human blood cholesterol thousands of times, it is not a universal law that statin drugs have this effect. This doesn t make the science less valid;, it s mainly a matter of semantics. In addition, scientists generally don t worry about calling something a Law or a Theory. These debates are overwhelmingly in the public realm. This is why the Theory of Evolution is so frequently misunderstood. As I mentioned above, a scientific hypothesis is nothing like a lay hypothesis. In the same way, a scientific theory is nothing like an average lay theory. We have loads of fossil records, molecular data, and zoological studies that show that Darwin s Theory of Evolution is currently the best description of how life flourished on Earth (though not its genesis). Since we have no idea what the realm of astrobiology might hold, and since we ve never seen extra-terrestrial fossils, scientists cannot call it the Law of Evolution. There is not a singular mathematical equation behind evolution that can be written as a tradition mathematical proof. So even though we understand that evolution is an accurate explanation for the incredible biological diversity on Earth, we still call it a theory in the interest of accurately portraying the type of knowledge that evolutionary biology entails.

Even Einstein s description of gravity, without which GPS devices could not be used at all, is still referred to as the Theory of Relativity. No one has ever proven Einstein definitively wrong, but the nature of his work and how applicable it is on a very tiny level (smaller than atoms) are not set in stone. Even Newton s Three Laws of Motion might soon be partially refuted by developments in quantum mechanics, since his tenets appear to be inadequate for very, very small objects, or objects that move at a rate close to the speed of light. The truth is that scientists do not generally concern themselves with discussing monikers. Relativity and evolution both have tremendously large and solid foundations of supporting data and this is what really matters, not some tiny words tacked onto the mountains of data. Such descriptions are inherently inadequate to describe such vast and deep fields of science. The name that we give a block of data is irrelevant; what matters is the data itself, and the judicious application of the data. The scientific method allows us to understand that what seems to be intuitive is often misleading. The Erarth seemed flat form most of human history and until the great Greek thinkers turned geography on its head, most people just assume Earth s flatness to be a given. So even though it might seem that legalizing marijuana could lead to a new slew of problems, we have to look at the destructive evidence that prohibition has caused, and see scientific cost/benefit analysis to determine whether prohibition or legalization would be more destructive. Simply feeling like one or the other might work is not efficient, and the acceptance of emotion-based legislation has allowed the prohibition of marijuana to go unchecked for decades. We have to remember to use the scientific method and logical analysis whenever possible; the results of not doing so can be observed in prisons in the frorm of unjustly incarcerated Americans all across the country. Okay, we re done with the scientific method, and I apologize if you were bored.. I wanted to described the process that scientists use so that all readers can understand the frustrations that scientists face when dealing with legislators. Though the fields of law and science are both somewhat based in precedent and debate, scientists are expected necessarily to provide much more in the way of physical evidence to prove their point than a lawyer might be. The proof that judges have used to uphold cannabis prohibition laws is hugely different than the proof a company needs to market a drug. Public misunderstanding about marijuana, and a refusal to repeal laws that uphold prohibition, are a direct result of our legal system misinterpreting and/or ignoring the scientific method. Though our court systems have no issue with prosecuting a doctor for failure to treat a patient with statistically proven methods, they have somehow inconceivably found it acceptable to ignore the incredible wealth of data that attests to the relative and nearly absolute safety of marijuana. How can our court systems claim to use rational review with no hint of irony? But that s enough with the admonitions for now. Let me address the main arguments supporting marijuana prohibition, and explain how they are either illogical, or are easily nullified by using the scientific method, which I hope you should now be at least somewhat familiar with. . In searching for a comprehensive or reasonably close to comprehensive list of arguments favoring the prohibition of marijuana, it would be reasonable to assume that the chief enforcer of such laws the Drug Enforcement Agency should be a chief repository of logic in support of such draconian (since you have not told me what the restrictions are yet, please don t use the word draconian. It undermines your

argument because it just sounds dramatic at this juncture.) restrictions. Surprisingly (or maybe not), the DEA s web page that outlines the alleged dangers of cannabis, Exposing the Myth of Smoked Medical Marijuana, 4 has little in the way of credible cited sources. In the interest of brevity, I will not list them all here since grading the DEA s handiwork was not my original intent. However, I urge all readers to visit their web page and see what they have written about cannabis. To give you an idea, I will say that four newspaper articles are cited (a no-no in science), several of its key points have no source whatsoever, and some of the studies it cites actually refute their own suggested hypotheses. In addition, they cite Dr. James Dobson of Focus on the Family fame as a credible source of information on the safety of marijuana. (This is absolutely your strongest point yet, but you don t get to it until page 24. Your audience will need to be VERY interested in your subject to wait until page 24 to get hard facts). As a child psychologist, Dobson may have some scientific background, but he is not an expert in biochemical processes or medicine he is not. Regarding the overall quality of the DEA s theses on cannabis, I say in all seriousness that any good scientist would be ashamed to attach their name to any publication with a similar level of integrity as the one that graces the DEA s website. Let me explain, by responding to the arguments which prohibitionists most frequently tender, and which will cover all of the DEA s supposed evidence-based claims. For a thorough, point-by-point rebuttal, please read Denele Campbell s paper.5 She is the Executive Director of the Drug Policy Education Group, Inc., and she has done a fine job in combing through the DEA s offering, point-by-point. For the purposes of this book, however, I use the DEA s website as a general template of prohibitionist arguments. It will quickly become apparent that the essence of prohibition is not derived from fact, but fiction-based polemic that saturated, long ago, the groundwater of the public well of knowledge. Remember, attacking individuals, or even organizations, is not my goal. I seek mainly to inform so that dissent on this issue might be rational, and grounded in evidence. It should be deeply troubling to any American that our government s policies have been historically based on bogus premises. GAH! Why oh why did you stop here! Don t make the rest of the information a new chapter!


³Exposing the Myth of Smoked Marijuana.´ US Department of Justice Drug Enforcement Agency.

Denele Campbell. ³A Rebuttal to the Anti-Medical Marijuana ArgumentsPosed by the U. S. Drug Enforcement Administrationon their website page µExposing the Myth of Medical Marijuana¶´ September 2002. Available in full at:

Act 2

The Stakeout

³Penalties against drug use should not be more damaging to an individual than the use of the drug itself. Nowhere is this more clear than in the laws against the possession of marijuana in private for personal use´ -Former President Jimmy Carter Message to Congress, August 2nd, 1977

"[Marijuana] is not a drug. It's a leaf." -California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger GQ Magazine December 2007

Dispatching Marijuana Myths

1.) Marijuana is Addictive False. This is the crux of the very first point on the DEA s Exposing the Myth of Smoked Medical Marijuana webpage. The simple fact is that this is falseThis is simply false. Marijuana has never been shown to be addictive. Remember, like I said above, the government should have a plethora of information attesting to the addictiveness of marijuana iof their continued prohibition of the plant is to be considered legitimate. Strangely, the sources that the DEA cites to prove that marijuana is addictive are a Foreign Affairs Magazine article from 1998, and a Washington Times article from 1995. Neither of those two publications, fine as they might be, constitutes peer-reviewed scientific literature which is absolutely essential for a scientist to take findings as true. This lack of scientific integrity is, to put it bluntly, disgraceful. And even if cannabis were addictive and for clarity s sake I must reiterate that it is not this fact would not demand or even excuse prohibition; alcohol and tobacco are both definitively and measurably addictive, and both are enjoyed legally by millions of Americans. That is the entire extent of the defense required against the false hypothesis that marijuana is addictive, or that any potential addictiveness should constitute a legitimate reason for its continued prohibition. The journal Addiction has conducted myriad studies on cannabis and other substances, and none of which suggest that marijuana is addictive in any medical sense. A In a 2002 meta-study (meaning a study of a large number of previous studies) of cannabis addiction , focuseding mainly on the presence or absence of withdrawal symptoms a requirement for a substance to be considered addictive. The study found that cannabis cannot be said to provide as clear a withdrawal pattern as other drugs of abuse, such as opiates. 6 The authors continue on to suggest that more controlled research might be done on the subject, but no evidence of addictiveness could be asserted. BRemember that by theis time this of the study had been conducted, cannabis had been illegal for over six decades. This is unacceptable. I could give you a long list of articles that have similar sentiments, but that s not my job. The government should have a laundry list of easily accessible and incontrovertible evidence that shows marijuana to be addictive. Such evidence does not exist. That is all there is to it; our politicians just have to go and look at the primary literature for themselves, or ask others to assist them in this duty. . It might also be useful to compare the alleged addictiveness of marijuana to other substances known to be addictive, like caffeine, nicotine, and cocaine (I would leave cocaine out of this argument. Most of

Smith, Neil T. "A review of the published literature into cannabis withdrawal symptoms in human user." AddictionJune 2002: Volume 97 Issue 6 pp. 621-632

your audience has probably had caffeine or nicotine at some point in their lives, but not cocaine. They will not be able to related and will be turned off by the argument). Scientists have long accepted the notion that marijuana is not addictive in a traditional sense (as mentioned above) and, if it were to be considered addictive for the sake of comparison, it is certainly less addictive than many other widely available substances. As one typical example, Dr. Daniel Perrine, Professor of Chemistry at Loyola College of Baltimore, assessed and ranked several addictive substances based on criteria that I will not recount, but that you may research for yourself if you are interested in the specifics of his work.(add the information about the research in your footnotes) His study led him to rank the addictiveness of several drugs in this order, from most addictive to least addictive: nicotine, alcohol, heroin, cocaine, caffeine, marijuana7. You will note that marijuana is considered even less addictive than the average American s morning latte. Though other studies might debate the exact order Dr. Perrine chose, you won t find a single study that suggests that marijuana is the addictive agent the DEA claims that it is. (This information seems to muddy the water a lot. 14% still seems like a lot of people. I would leave this point out unless you do a specific section on rehabilitation that is separate from this one) In fact, the National Association on Drug Abuse (NIDA) states that alcohol was responsible for 23% of rehabilitation patients in 20088, while marijuana was responsible for 14%. Firstly, it should be noted that the marijuana rehab patients are likely the result of a courts system that offers those convicted of marijuana possession or use the choice between jail and rehab. I know which one I would choose. The 14% NIDA cites indicates only that people who illegally used marijuana, and subsequently ran afoul of authorities, chose a rehabilitation center instead of a prison cell. It s the old correlation does not imply causation argument. Don t talk about alcohol or rehab here. Make it it s own section. You should set this up by first telling us some numbers. How many peole are in rehab? That way, we will know how significant 14% is. Second, set up the numbers for alcohol. What percentage exactly are you talking about, including the people with +another drug. Third, tell us how many people are in court ordered alcohol rehab so we can understand the comparison, and lastly tell us about marijuana rehab. Secondly, we clearly have a problem with alcohol abuse in America. While the causes and solutions are beyond the scope of this book, we need to acknowledge the simple fact that the majority of rehab patients are addicted to alcohol. In addition, if you count the patients who NIDA claims are addicted to alcohol +another drug there are an additional 18% of patients to consider. That means, according to the federal government s own statistics, nearly half of all rehabilitation patients are addicted to alcohol. Surely this is an unfortunate incidence; addiction of any kind is an unfortunate condition. However, outlawing a substance to prevent its use simply does not work. Our own experiences with alcohol Prohibition can attest to this. If doctors and are to be legally bound to practice evidence-based medicine as they rightfully should then our government and justice system must adhere to evidence-based policy. You are being repetitious here. The facts are there, and we have to pay attention to them.

Daniel M. Perrine, Ph.D., ³The Chemistry of Mind-Altering Drugs: History, Pharmacology, and Cultural Context´ American Chemical Society Publication, (1997)

NIDA InfoFacts: Treatment Statistics. National Institute on Drug Abuse. 2008. Accessed via:

Strangely, the sources that the DEA cites to prove that marijuana is addictive are a Foreign Affairs Magazine article from 1998, and a Washington Times article from 1995. You will note that neither of those two publications, fine as they might be, constitutes peer-reviewed scientific literature. This lack of scientific integrity is, to put it bluntly, disgraceful. And even if cannabis were addictive and for clarity s sake I must reiterate that it is not this fact would not demand or even excuse prohibition; alcohol and tobacco are both definitively and measurably addictive, and both are enjoyed legally by millions of Americans. That is the entire extent of the defense required against the false hypothesis that marijuana is addictive, or that any potential addictiveness should constitute a legitimate reason for its continued prohibition.

2.) Marijuana is Harmful False. The DEA explains that side effects of marijuana use might be memory loss, distorted perception, trouble with thinking, loss of motors skills among others. Anyone who has finished the night with one too many shots of Jose Cuervo might think they were reading a DEA diatribe against tequila. Alas, this is not the case. These points do not require individual refutation, as temporary physiological and psychological changes occur when drinking alcohol, smoking tobacco, and using caffeine. As for the argument that it is harmful to effects on the lungs, plenty of evidence exists that shows that even if marijuana smoke is to be construed as dangerous, it is far less dangerous than its widely available and government-subsidized counterpart, tobacco. However, in the interest of completeness, I offer another meta-study, this one appearing in the world-renowned Lancet. It sought to investigate claims that marijuana smoke causes cancer of the respiratory tract. The researchers concluded that epidemiological studies supporting such oncologic assumptions were unfounded. 9 That s all we should need to hear. One of the best journals in the world looked over scores of papers and huge amounts of data only to objectivelky demonstrate thatwhat many had already assumed; marijuana is not a carcinogen. All other modern research corroborates the Lancet s findings, which is not surprising, given their historic honesty and accuracy. Admittedly, inhaling particulate matter of any nature is not beneficial to one s health. As one blogger bluntly framed it, neither is shoving a pine cone up your ass. On the other handAs opposed to cannabis, we generally do not lock people in federal prison for inserting woody flora into a given orifice. People should be aware of the potential harmful effects of cannabis which are negligible but not restricted from the use of cannabis due to their existence, especially when such deleterious effects are more pronounced in other legal substances, like alcohol and tobacco. Let s think about marijuana prohibition from a different angle. If I were to say I believe milk is incredibly harmful to human health, and the possession and consumption of milk should be outlawed in

Hall, W., Christie, M., Currow, D. ³Cannabinoids and cancer: causation, remediation, and palliation.´ Lancet Oncology. January 2005: Volume 6 Issue 1 pp. 35-42

America, I would need an incredible amount of proof that I was not simply a raving lunatic and that milk was, in fact, extraordinarily dangerous to humans and to public welfare. Even then, I would probably be told that drinking milk is a choice, and a person should be allowed to drink milk or to not drink milk of their own volition. Ensuring that milk is unspoiled, and remains free from bacteria and toxins is an acceptable form of governmental oversight. You would not, however, expect that the government might one day outlaw whole milk due to its high fat content and its potential to lead to heart disease. This would be insane and met with public outrage. In the same way, we should expect that our government has taken similar precautions in assuring that the substances they ban are, in fact, rigorously tested for incontrovertible evidence of overwhelmingly deleterious effects on the human body, and that they give us statistical proof that such as substance does objective harm to the general populace. The government has not performed this duty with anything approaching integrity, and thus has no logical basis for enforcing the continued restriction of a personal liberty. The phenomenon of admonishing a given quality in cannabis, then forgetting that the quality exists in alcohol or tobacco, is astounding in the rudimentary nature of its fallacy. I can promise you it is certainly a recurrent theme. Such juxtaposition of science and law conjures the Orwellian concept of doublethink ; that is, hearing two completely contradictory facts and being expected to believe both simultaneously. Even now you should begin to see a pattern of eschewing science in favor of custom. As a last point against the marijuana is harmful argument as a reason for prohibition, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) recently classified tanning beds as a Class I carcinogen10 meaning they are definitively known to cause aberrant cell behavior and proliferation leading to cancerous growths. Do you think that Congress will soon introduce legislation to outlaw tanning beds? Do you think they should? I think the answer to both is no. If Americans are permitted make a costbenefit analysis about absorbing UV rays, why are we not permitted to make this assessment in reference to absorbing marijuana s active ingredient, THC?

3.) Marijuana is a Gateway Drug False. As I will demonstrate shortly, the genesis of this widely-held notion is directly attributable to the incorrigible Harry Anslinger, former head of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics. No modern scientific data supports this theory, though it is ceaselessly used as justification for prohibition. (This sentence is unclear. Please look at it again and see if you can reorganize it.As one typical example, a reassessment of this erroneous notion was tackled in Addiction in 2002, and was found to have no substance. 11 ) The

³'No doubt' sunbeds cause cancer´ The BBC. July 28, 2009. Online. Accessed via:

Morral, Andrew R., McCaffrey, Daniel F., Paddock, Susan M. ³Reassessing the marijuana gateway effect.´

authors explain that Marijuana gateway effects may exist. However, our results demonstrate that the phenomena used to motivate belief in such an effect are consistent with an alternative simple, plausible common-factor model. No gateway effect is required to explain them. In other words, they did not find any conclusive evidence of a Gateway Drug phenomenon that was not explained by simpler, more rational explanations. (shocking, I know). Any evidence of a supposed penchant thatfor marijuana isto act as a gateway to harder drugs cannot be proven. as anything more than a correlation. It is reasonable to expect that a heroin user smoked marijuana prior to ever injecting. That same heroin user, however, most likely also used alcohol and tobacco before marijuana. Determining what leads individuals to the use of harder drugs is one that is hard to quantify, since so many variables would have to be accounted for. Taken to a ridiculous extreme, it could be said that milk is a gateway substance, since every heroin user nursed at one point. Refined sugar might well be considered a gateway to disease. Since heart disease is the single-biggest killer of Americans, and obesity from excess sugar consumption is one of the main risk factors for developing cardiac problems, should the FDA consider banning sugar from store shelves? It should also be noted that there is no age at which a child is restricted from purchasing sugary foods. This generation of children is the first that is expected to have a shorter life span than their parents, due almost entirely to incredibly high rates of childhood obesity. Since sugar is absolutely a Gateway to Obesity, then wouldn t restricting children from buying candy be an acceptable measure of government intervention for the public welfare? Of course not. We leave the raising of children to the parents. Individual responsibility is the only completely effective way to ensure personal health. Labels with sugar content are not only an acceptable government mandate, but a welcome one. If I drink a bottle of apple juice, I should be able to know how much of what I am drinking actually comes from an apple. Parents may (and should) teach their kids about a healthy diet, the importance of exercise, and why it is important that they wait until adulthood to consume substances like alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana, and how much of these substances can be considered healthy. Obviously this is not true, so the government should not presume to tell adults what they should not consume in the interest of preventing a slippery slope into narcotics use. The gateway hypothesis is currently the argument most frequently used in defense of prohibition. But since the government would not presume to restrict citizens from eating cookies to prevent heart disease which is the leading cause of death overall in the United States it must also avoid fallaciously prohibiting other substances. There should be a huge amount of peer-reviewed studies that show, irrefutably, that smoking marijuana leads to harder drug use. Since this is not the case, and because the DEA claims that this is one of the main reasons that marijuana should be illegal, the government must, again, cede its position in the interest of logic.

Addiction. December 2002 Volume 97 Issue 12 pp. 1493-1504.

Refined sugar might well be considered a gateway to disease. Since heart disease is the single-biggest killer of Americans, and obesity from excess sugar consumption is one of the main risk factors for developing cardiac problems, should the FDA consider banning sugar from store shelves? Of course not. Individual responsibility is the only completely effective way to ensure personal health. As I have mentioned before, labels with sugar content are not only an acceptable government mandate, but a welcome one. If I drink a bottle of apple juice, I should be able to know how much of what I am drinking actually comes from an apple. It should also be noted that there is no age at which a child is restricted from purchasing sugary foods. This generation of children is the first that is expected to have a shorter life span than their parents, due almost entirely to incredibly high rates of childhood obesity. Since sugar is absolutely a Gateway to Obesity, then wouldn t restricting children from buying candy be an acceptable measure of government intervention for the public welfare? Again, of course not. We leave the raising of children to the parents. Parents may (and should) teach their kids about a healthy diet, the importance of exercise, and why it is important that they wait until adulthood to consume substances like alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana, and how much of these substances can be considered healthy. In the case of tobacco, none is the only acceptable medical answer, but I wouldn t presume , even when I finally earn my doctorate, to lobby for the outlawing of cigarettes. It s not ethical, and it wouldn t work. 4.) Marijuana is Bad for Society False. Firstly, says who? And is it worse than the damage prohibition has done? We can consider this using with another brief thought puzzle. Let us assume that a drug I will call it Bad Pill was incredibly dangerous at low doses, caused significant physiological harm, and caused a violent urge in its user 100% of the time. Such a drug might rightfully be considered a public menace. Now, let us consider another imaginary drug. I will call this one Perfect Pill. Let us assume that Perfect Pill has no lethal dose, causes no physiological harm, and causes no violent urges in users 100% of the time. Such a drug would probably not be considered harmful to society. Now consider marijuana, and compare it to alcohol. Which pill, Bad or Perfect, does marijuana seem most like? What about alcohol? Is tequila closer in its effects to Bad Pill or Perfect Pill? The answer is obvious. Violent tendencies by consumers of alcohol are well-documented, both by law enforcement and medical professionals. We try to educate and allow individuals to understand what a reasonable amount of alcohol constitutes, and then we deal with the negative incidents as they occur. Violent urges, on the other hand, are almost never documented in cannabis users. In fact, the committee created by Richard Nixon to investigate the alleged dangers of marijuana found that Rather than inducing violent or aggressive behavior through its purported effects of lowering inhibitions, weakening impulse control and heightening aggressive tendencies, marihuana was usually found to inhibit the expression of aggressive impulses by pacifying the user, interfering with muscular

coordination, reducing psychomotor activities and generally producing states of drowsiness lethargy, timidity and passivity."12 The President ignored his own committee! Insanity! (We ll see why in just a bit). This is not to say that alcohol should once again be illegal, and cannabis legalized. Abuse and overuse of a given substance are the inevitable results of living in an imperfect world. Making a substance illegal, dusting off our collective hands and saying, Well, it s illegal now. Problem solved! is neither realistic nor useful in any way. When we dispense with names, and objectively analyze the qualities of alcohol and cannabis, we can likewise dispense with the irrational and unjustified prejudices attached to the names. The thought puzzle I have just outlined should resonate irrefutably with logical readers. Regrettably, The federal government s insistence on continuing the magnificent failure that is the War on Drugs hints at a deeper problem: the aforementioned dearth of evidence-based policy. Though we have spent over $2.5 trillion 13 on this war and have seen absolutely no reduction in usage, we have witnessed a tremendous increase in drug-related violence., Aand yet our government insists on continuing this contemptible charade. Over 35,000 innocent people have been killed in Mexico14 as collateral damage in an unnecessary and unjustifiable war. Very rarely can causal relationships be so easily crystallized on the world stage, but the abhorrent truth is that 35,000 people would be alive today if not for our ineffective and immoral cannabis laws. So while we have witnessed increased violence and no decrease in usage, we should probably ask ourselves if this War was even winnable in the first place. It seems unlikely. In fact the Cato Institute has found that since 2001, after Portugal decriminalized all drugs, usage rates of each drug actually fell.15 Let me reiterate: legalization led to decreased usage. I understand that this is counter-intuitive; it doesn t seem or feel like such policy would yield those results. That is why we must strive to replace misguided emotions with statistics and sound science in matters of policy. We have an excellent example of a Western nation that decided the bloodshed and unnecessary government oversight were out of control, and tried a massive experiment. Luckily for them , the experiment worked. Luckily for us, we now have objective evidence of a legalization initiative that was successful in every possible measure. Why have we not paid attention to this?. We must also recognize that the inherent to the sale of illicit drugs is leads directly to an astronomical inflation in price.16 As we scramble to find ways to effectively combat international terrorism, we have

Raymond P. Shafer et al. ³Marihuana: A Signal of Misunderstanding´ Ch. III (Washington DC: National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse, 1972). 13 Clare Suddath ³The War on Drugs.´ Time Magazine. March 25, 2009. Online version. Accessed via:,8599,1887488,00.html.

"Mexico's Drug War: Number of dead passes 30,000". The BBC. December 16, 2010. Online. Accessed via:

Drug Decriminalization in Portugal: Lessons for Creating Fair and Successful Drug Policies Cato Institute. 2009. Accessed via:

Charles F. Manski, John Pepper, Carol Petrie. ³Informing America's policy on illegal drugs: what we don't know keeps hurting us.´ National Academies Press (October 2001)

not seemed to comprehend that the War on Drugs, and its inflationary effect on the price of drug prices, has lined the pockets of Al Qaeda, Hezbollah, and ostensibly any Islamic terrorist group which camps out anywhere near a cannabis field. We have seen for over two decades that our methods are utterly ineffective, and serve only to make prisoners out of citizens, and rich men out of thugs and terrorists. In March, Representative Peter King called for hearings on the dangers of radical Muslims in the United States; do you think he would be willing to legalize marijuana in order to effectively de-fund militant jihadists abroad? I would hope so, but I would guess not. From a cost-benefit analysis, can anyone say with a straight face that permitting the smoking of cannabis is somehow worse than the tremendous and very apparent harm that its prohibition has caused? Again, I think not. Doctors respect patient autonomy above all else. Though it might be occasionally frustrating for physicians, patients must be allowed to make decisions for themselves. If they don t want chemotherapy, doctorswe don t give it to them. TheyWe can suggest it, and explain the benefits and drawbacks of a procedure, but theywe cannot and should not compel another individual to use their body in a way in which they do not wish. (Was this example used before? I m confused)Using an example from before, if I was treating a sick Congressperson, and their illness required the administration of an antibiotic, I could not force them to use it. If this Congressperson decided that they didn t feel sick enough or simply wanted to let the illness run its course that would be perfectly acceptable. However, if I take the time to research a substance (in this case, marijuana), and determine for myself that I would like to consume it, that same Congressperson believes that they have the right to tell me that I cannot. Never mind that they are not medically qualified to offer such an opinion, but it is offensive to think that another person should be able to order your body around at all, much less on the basis of pre-WWII beliefs. Having Big Brother spoon-feed us rules for our bodies (or not let us spoonfeed ourselves, in this case) is much more a public menace than any shrub could be.

5.) Marijuana Will Lead to Intoxicated Driving Maybe. I agree that if cannabis is re-legalized, we should definitely have reasonable guidelines as to how much a person can smoke right before driving a car. Cannabis smoking does not infringe on the liberties of anyone else, but recklessly operating a motor vehicle certainly does. But just like the need for a method of testing blood alcohol level is not a legitimate argument against the legality of alcohol, the necessity of a similar test for metabolized THC is not a legitimate argument against legalizing cannabis. Reasonable measures to ensure public safety are absolutely acceptable and even necessary. I have no problem with punishing those who choose to put other people in harm s way but finding a way to punish individuals who misuse a given substance (i.e. alcohol) is a more reasonable choice than to outlaw that substance for everyone, as the legality of alcohol and the use of Breathalyzer devices indicate.

When police officers suspect an individual of drunk driving, a field sobriety test is usually administered first, followed by a Breathalyzer. To solidify their case, police will often escort and individual to a hospital so that blood alcohol level can be recorded by professionals, since such a controlled measure is usually viewed as more substantial in court. Breathalyzers only estimate blood alcohol content, so the evidence is not considered as firm as a direct blood test. We could assume a similar trifecta of legal proceedings for those suspected of driving while under the influence of marijuana. No matter the final decision on procedure, the responsibility for protecting the public on the road lies with state governments. If the States feel the need to purchase devices for THC testing devices, this is their duty, just as it is for alcohol testing. The Breathalyzer was not invented until 1954, so up until that point the only chemical evidence of drunken driving was a blood test. Since we can currently test blood for THC, and products are already available that allow for a preliminary roadside assessment, it seems that there is not an issue with driving high, as it can be approached in the same legal manner as driving drunk. The details of such a THC test lie outside of the intended scope of this book, but Colorado, for example, already has legislation pending HB 1261 for testing drivers who appear to be under the influence of cannabis due to their many citizens who are prescribed medical marijuana.17 Reasonable measures to ensure public safety are absolutely acceptable and even necessary. I have no problem with punishing those who choose to put other Americans into harm s way, but finding a way to punish individuals who misuse a given substance (i.e. alcohol) is not an acceptable reason to outlaw that substance for everyone, as the legality of alcohol and the use of Breathalyzer devices indicate. Philips has a device that will soon be available to mass markets that tests saliva using an optical scanner and magnetization to detect the presence of illegal substances themselves, not just metabolites.18 This appears to be an extremely accurate test, and is very similar in size to a Breathalyzer. Though they might be expensive when they are first released, one of the main functions of government is to ensure the public safety. While prohibition does not accomplish this, the purchase and distribution of such devices to police stations across the country likelyabsolutely would. We would have to use scientific evidence and controlled testing to determine what amount of ingested THC constitutes high driving, but I think it is perfectly reasonable to argue that such a device is both useful and necessary if marijuana is to be re-legalized. When police officers suspect an individual of drunk driving, a field sobriety test is usually administered first, followed by a Breathalyzer. To solidify their case, police will often escort and individual to a hospital so that blood alcohol level can be recorded by professionals, since such a controlled measure is usually viewed as more substantial in court. Breathalyzers only estimate blood alcohol content, so the evidence is not considered as firm as a direct blood test. We could assume a similar trifecta of legal proceedings for those suspected of driving while under the influence of marijuana. No matter the final

Michael Roberts ³Medical marijuana: Rep. Claire Levy talks about HB 1261, which sets driving limits for THC.´ Denver Westword. February 16, 2011. Online. Accessed via:

Alexander Gelfand. ³Device Offers a Roadside Dope Test.´ Technology Review. Online. Accessed via:


decision on procedure, the responsibility for protecting the public on the road lies with state governments. If the States feel the need to purchase devices for THC testing devices, this is their duty, just as it is for alcohol testing. The Breathalyzer was not invented until 1954, so up until that point the only chemical evidence of drunken driving was a blood test. Since we can currently test blood for THC, and products are already available that allow for a preliminary roadside assessment, it seems that there is not an issue with driving high, as it can be approached in the same legal manner as driving drunk.

6.) Ending Cannabis Prohibition Will Allow Kids Easier Access to Marijuana This is a red herring. The same problem exists with cigarettes and alcohol, so the argument is invalid. But in the interest of entertaining this notion, and because I understand that many parents are legitimately concerned with the welfare of their children, I will ask you to consider this point think about this: when is the last time you heard of a drug dealer asking for an I.D.? A lack of mandated gate-keepers ensures that kids can get their hands on marijuana just as easily as adults. After all, to a dealer, a 12-year-old s cash is just as good as a 21-year-old s cash. On the other hand, if cannabis was legalized, an age restriction similar to ones we have for tobacco or alcohol would be a reasonable way to ensure that children are not exposed to cannabis unnecessarily, as shop-keepers would be compelled by law to restrict their sale of cannabis only to peoplethose who are above a certain age. Far more importantly, government regulation of cannabis would ensure that marijuana would no longer have the potential to be unknowingly tainted with PCP, catnip, or formaldehyde, all of which are anecdotally known to have been used as additives in street-purchased cannabis. Obviously, in states where medical marijuana is legal, dangerous additives like these are not an issue. I can empathize with the plight of parents who are trying their best to raise kids by protecting them from potential danger, but irrational fear does nothing to protect your child. Please realize thatP prohibition makes no sense, and actually increases the danger a child could be your child is exposed to in the event that he or she does smoke cannabis against your wishes (which, as statistics suggest, is not unlikely). Kids make mistakes; I think everyone would rather that mistake be the underage consumption of marijuana than an unwitting inhalation of embalming fluid, right? Beside the noxious compounds that can be surreptitiously added to run-of-the-mill marijuana, market demand for cannabis has ensured the near-constant stream of newly created cannabinoids (define cannabinoids. Your prohibitionist audience will not know what that is. Give specific examples) that mimic the effects of THC. Needless to say, these substances are not regulated, and since legislation cannot possibly keep pace with back-alley chemists, new and possibly dangerous substances are invented every day that are perfectly legal. We can recall the Case of the Frozen Addicts for a somber reminder of the dangers that unregulated designer drugs present. In 1982, patients in California clinics presented with extremely strange symptoms, namely, a complete inability to move any part of their body. These frozen junkies as they were known, became entombed in their own bodies after taking a

new street drug that, due to the error of a black market alchemist, contained the compound MPTP, which is known to induce Parkinson s Disease-like symptoms. Treatment of these patients led to the beginning of modern treatment for Parkinson s, but the story does not have a happy ending. Though most patients regained some motion, the treatments became decreasingly effective, and most were left with permanent disability, including wild and uncontrollable spasms. I recount this story not as a fear tactic like those used by prohibitionists, but to show that there are very real consequences to prohibition and subsequent circumvention of the laws rejected by the public. Though I won t be father for quite some time, I would much rather my child disobey my wishes by smoking marijuana, rather than sucking down the latest designer drug, the composition of which I know nothing about. Proponents of re-legalization are frequently exhorted to think of the children. Well, I am. Though I won t be father for quite some time, I would much rather my child disobey my wishes by smoking marijuana rather than sucking down the latest designer drug, the composition of which I know nothing about. Are they? If they are, logic is apparently only a secondary consideration to hand-wringing and illogical fear-mongering.

7.) Marijuana Has Become More Potent Irrelevant. This is, by far, the worst argument that prohibitionists use. Cannabis that is more potent is nothing like heroin that is more potent. Since no known lethal dose of cannabis exists, the worst damage that an incredibly high THC content strain of cannabis could do is put you to sleep more quickly and more soundly. In fact, the increased potency of cannabis should, theoretically, allow for a user to smoke less net plant matter , thus decreasing any potential respiratory damage. This is yet another example of DEA doublethink; holler about lung damage (that remains unproven) then complain that the THC content in cannabis has increased dramatically. Uh, what? The ease with which such fear-mongering can be dispatched is further indication that our government has had little interest in acknowledging scientific evidence about cannabis, or even thinking rationally about it.

It didn t take long, but we ve gone through essentially every argument that supports the continued prohibition of marijuana. In each case there was either no supporting scientific evidence(or what? If you have an either, you need an or), and each argument fell into one of these categories.

A.) No scientific evidence supports the argument. B.) Scientific evidence refutes the original argument. C.) The argument could be applied to alcohol or tobacco. (You re A,B,C, section is very strong) The simple fact is that there is no peer-reviewed scientific evidence that supports the government s claims that marijuana is extremely dangerous as well as beingor a significant hazard to public safety. I have provided enough examples to justify my position since prohibitionists have no legitimate evidence. If it seems prohibitionists have no ground on which to stand, you may be on to something. From where, then, does the government derive its justification for prohibition? Let s try to find out.

Current Stance In the interest of parity and completeness, I looked for the federal government s most recent official stance on marijuana legalization. Unlike the DEA web page, I would like to go through this document point by point so that we might see which arguments are denied by explanations above, and which need to be refuted separately. You might notice a degree of redundancy in this section but that s the point. The policy inertia to which I continually refer can only be successfully opposed by forcing a legitimate defense or apologetic concession of these tried old tropes. Since the governments in the business of recycling, we need to become fluent in the art of reuse and reclamation. As I ve shown, most of the negative connotations associated with marijuana, in both the public and governmental realms, are based on bad evidence or no evidence. This blatantly obvious concept has not deterred the government from supporting its position with falsehoods and logical fallacies. Take for example, a bold document released from the Executive Office of the President entitled Marijuana Legalization: A Bad Idea.19 This paper, as far as I am aware, outlines the current administration s most up-to-date position on marijuana legalization, and was released in October 2010. At the top, in embossed typed, are the words Fact Sheet. (By synthesizing these titular titlesWhat do you mean by this? I m confused), we can see that we are meant to believe that the contents of this report are both factual and, as well as the official stance of the Office of the President. This is disheartening, to say the least.


³Marijuana Legalization: A Bad Idea´ Office of National Drug Control Policy. October 2010. Accessed via:

The preface to the report leaves us the solemn counsel that A careful examination of the facts leads to the following conclusions about the dangers of marijuana use and the likely consequences of legalization. I suggest that every reader follow the link provided and thoroughly read what the President thinks you should believe and the facts upon which he is self-admittedly basing his marijuana policy. The inaccuracy of the Executive Branch s basis for drug policy is exceeded only in the pretentious tone of its pseudo-reasoning. If you d rather continue, it is enough to understand that this fact sheet is no more accurate than the DEA s website. While your pore over the President s opinions on marijuana, keep the Scientific Method in mind by considering these four questions.

1.) Are the statements/hypotheses put forth by the government based on physical evidence and/or previous data? 2.) Is the evidence extrapolated to a reasonable degree? 3.) Does the report demonstrate proof of their hypothesis? 4.) Does the report use arguments that emphasize intuition of how something feels or seems rather than what we can observe and measure?

When discussing matters of science, and, by extension, scientifically-based law, any argument that answers in the negative to any of the four above questions should be met with skepticism if not outright rejectioned outright. Without further ado, the President of the United States:

1.) Marijuana Use is Harmful and Should be Discouraged. This is a poor start and I addressed this earlier in the book. You could say the same thing about alcohol and tobacco. This in and of itself is not a suitable argument. We do not give the state the right to arbitrarily designate a substance as harmful to the public welfare without so much as a lick of evidence.

2.) Marijuana use is associated with dependence, respiratory and mental illness, poor motor performance, and impaired cognitive and immune system functioning, among other negative effects.

Marijuana is not medically associated with dependence. It s just not. It never has been, and even if it was, this is not a good enough reason when other addictive substances are widely available. Nicotine and alcohol are both demonstrably more addictive. Marijuana is not associated with respiratory illness to a higher degree than tobacco. The mental health affects are not conclusive. All of the studies cited measured marijuana use in children and young adults and looked for signs of psychosis when the test subjects reached adulthood. You have changed the subject here. Don t talk about whether children should smoke or not, tell us the results of the tests. You have told the reader that tests were done, but not what was found out. In addition, we do know that alcohol can lead to many problems, not the least of which is crippling dependence that can certainly lead to other types of mental illness. And yet again, mental illness stemming from alcohol addiction is a measurable phenomenon as well Cover poor motor performance Cover impaired cognitive functions Marijuana is not associated with immune system defects in any way that other inhaled particulate matter like tobacco-is not. Not a valid argument. Marijuana is not associated with respiratory illness any more than tobacco is. The mental health affects are not conclusive. All of the studies cited measured marijuana use in children and young adults and looked for signs of psychosis when the test subjects reached adulthood. No one is suggesting that children should smoke marijuana, so these arguments are superfluous to the debate. In addition, we do know that alcohol can lead to many problems, not the least of which is crippling dependence that can certainly lead to other types of mental illness. And yet again, mental illness stemming from alcohol addiction is a measurable phenomenon as well. Another bad argument.

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3.) Other research has shown marijuana smoke to contain carcinogens and to be an irritant to the lungs. Marijuana smoke, in fact, contains 50-70% more carcinogenic hydrocarbons than tobacco smoke. This is patently false, and this citation is completely disingenuous. First, the other research to which the report refers is a single study that was done in 1975 in a phytochemistry journal (Your end readers will not know what phytochemisty is. If it is important for them to know, define it. If it isn t important, leave it out). Since then, we have discovered that marijuana is not carcinogenic and, as I mentioned above, might help fight tumors. You ll notice this differs from tobacco, which is legal, most certainly carcinogenic, and definitely has no medical use. Are you beginning to see a pattern? Scientists use evidence to increase their understanding about the world. Cherry-picking data to support ayour viewpoint especially when it is outdated is not scientific nor is it reasonable when the vast majority of similar evidence contradicts theyour position. This argument is another bad one, and purposefully uses misleading data.

4.) Legalization would lower price, thereby increasing use. Maybe, but maybe not. Legalization would almost certainly lower prices, but an increase in usage is not pre-ordained. Remember what I said about what constitutes a reasonable hypothesis versus one not based in reality? DDecriminalization did not lead to higher use in when it was adopted in Portugal, so we can t unconditionally assume that it would here. While we might not be able to assume identical results to Portugal, we definitely cannot assume the complete opposite either. The evidence shows that decriminalization produced lower usage rates. Remember what I said about what constitutes a reasonable hypothesis versus one not based in reality. The hypothesis Since drug usage rates in Portugal decline after decriminalization, I believe that a similar policy in the United States would lead to a similar drop in usage rates, is a reasonable one. It uses available evidence to offer a reasonable conjecture of said evidence s applicability to a novel environment. On the other hand, the hypothesis Legalization would lower price, thereby increasing usage, ignores previous evidence in favor of a guess based on what seems to be a reasonable assumption. Since we have evidence to the contrary, this hypothesis is not a good one. To stretch my analogy from before, this argument resembles the cotton candy atmosphere hypothesis. There is plenty of data that shows that the atmosphere is not made of cotton candy, just like there is plenty of data (through a long-term analysis of Portugal s drug policy) that legalization decreased of legalization s effect on usage rates. I can still claim that the sky is made of spun sugar, but since my conjecture is based on a feeling rather than what I can measure or touch, I should not expect to be taken seriously. (This paragraph does not seem to be part of the rest of this section. It is adding new information that is unrelated. Please either tie this paragraph to the rest of the section more closely, or delete/move it) Additionally, this entire argument is also predicated on the fact that the government doesn t want its citizens using marijuana. The report goes out of its way to use alcohol and tobacco as examples of substances that are widely used due to their legal status, but never defends the objective harmfulness of these substances. You can t have the argument one way, and not the other.

5.) Tax revenue would be offset by higher social cost. It is not the government s responsibility to perform a cost/benefit analysis to decide what the public can consume. The very idea of such an invasion should be detestable to any American who values his or her basic liberties. This argument is supported by weighing the supposedly high social costs of tobacco versus its low tax revenue, once again omitting that despite this regrettable ratio, tobacco is still legal. The social costs of alcohol are ignored. Since both of those substances have a well-established coterie of supporters on K Street, the reason for this Janus-esque position is obvious. (This last sentence is full of

stuff that your general reader might not understand, specifically coterie, K Street and Janus-esque. It s a very nice sentence, but you need to decide if it will alienate your audience or not.) We should not allow the state the right to decide what we can and cannot consume so that it might easily balance its books. Inefficiency and waste are the unfortunate byproducts of a free society. I certainly don t want Big Brother deciding what the rest of his Family should be permitted to consume so that he might be spared some accounting work. The state does not have the right to dictate our private habits in the interest of its own financial conveniences.; it has chosen to do so, but it has no ethical basis save judicial precedent. The brash authoritarianism present in this sentiment coupled with the flippant dismissal of logic as a matter of policy of law is inexcusable.

6.) Legalization would further burden the criminal justice system I think a marijuana arrest every 42 seconds should be considered a significant burden. I am unsure of how such the repeal of such pernicious laws, in light of these startling arrest statistics that come as a consequence, could reasonably be considered preferable to the alternative. The report explains that alcohol-related incidents accounted for 2.7 million arrests in 2008, while marijuana accounted for 750,000. You will notice that the ONDCP left out the small but very important detail that exactly zero of the alcohol-related incidents were caused by the illegality of alcohol itself; every arrest must have been made for something else. On the other hand, since marijuana is illegal, a large number of arrests must have had nothing to do with violence, disorderly conduct, or any other ancillary offense, but rather the legal status of marijuana itself. A quick visit to the website of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) shows everything a person needs to know in order to understand the actual consequences of marijuana prohibition, rather than the condescending platitudes leaking from the bloated suit-fillers in Washington D.C. The keepers of the peace who risk their lives to perpetuate our failed War on Drugs would probably disagree quite vociferously with the idea that marijuana legalization would somehow magically increase the burden on the justice system. Unfortunately, the police officers who have perished in our absurd drug crusade cannot protest like their rightfully livid brothers in blue. We must do it for them.

7.) Legalization would do little, if anything, to curb drug violence This argument can be filed under the same category of Ridiculous DoubleThink as the argument about the alleged increase on the justice system that re-legalization would cause. The Executive Branch should be ashamed at this heartless perversion of logic. I wonder if such a sentiment could be uttered while considering the families of the 35,000 Mexican citizens who have been butchered over the past five years. Could the President repeat this position to the widows of the aforementioned public servants whose lives were ended for no reason whatsoever?

Al Capone was a rich criminal because he supplied a product to the public that the government said they could not have. As soon as Prohibition ended, so did the gang violence. Even if the cessation of violence less than instantaneous, we don t currently witness drive-by shootings or turf wars between Coors and Anheuser-Busch. It is offensive to the intelligence of every American that the Office of the President would release a statement portending that legalizing marijuana would not decrease drug violence. This assumes, first, that gangs would still exist in their current form and would somehow undercut the price of honest business. The mammoth price of illicit drugs is due solely to the risk in selling them, and to think that street dealers would stay at their game to try to make a few extra dollars business is a delusion of a startling magnitude. This also insinuates that Americans are so cheap that they would be willing to risk life and limb in order to purchase street-sold marijuana when a legal version was readily available. If this were true, we should see underground alcohol providers offering beer at incredibly low prices. Clearly, this is not the case. When the Volstead Act ended, the shootouts did as well. (This sentence is too complicated for a general audience, rewrite it to remove succored, salve, and febrileTo hold that the plague of modern marijuana bootleggers would not be succored by salve of re-legalization is a febrile delusion of alarming magnitude). This argument really shows everything you all you need to know about American drug policy; it is based on barefaced lies., Lies that haveand has been allowed to fester for a century because we have allowed it to do so. The ONDCP has the audacity to end the report by stating With increased demand for marijuana resulting from legalization, these groups would likely grow stronger. No evidence is cited, and no rationale is explained. If you only take away one thing from this book, please let it be this point: Seeing an end to gang violence is one of the most altruistic reasons for ending marijuana prohibition. It is taken for granted(Clearly it is not taken for granted if you just had to refute the point in the previous few paragraphs. Please rewrite) and rightfully so that legalizing marijuana would lead to a massive decrease in drug-related violence. The Office of the President is telling you that legalizing marijuana would actually increase violence somehow, without giving any reasonable explanation as to how this would occur. This is pure, unfiltered nonsense from the President s mouth to your ear, and does not I have afforded it. I dislike being lied to in the course of common even deserve the rebuttal discourse; when the lies become a matter of policy, the dislike becomes something more akin to bewilderment and anger at the scientific and political indignity the President has ruled the citizenry should suffer. I would say this is unbelievable, but the written words indicate that I must believe that this argument is considered logical by the White House. The phrase abracadabra is thought to come from the Hebrew avra kehdabra meaning I will create as I speak. I can t think of a better description of the White House s preposterous report. You may have noticed that each of the ONDCP s facts negatively answered one or more of the four questions I posed at the start of this section. The complete dearth of scientific integrity in this high-level hocus pocus is readily apparent to even the casual reader; to the scientist, it is laughable. It sources are poor, its extrapolations are unreasonable, its hypotheses are all unsubstantiated, and logic is frequently ignored eschewed in favor of intuition. Either the ONDCP hadn t planned on wide readership or their opinion of the American public is dismally low. As a scientific paper this report would receive failing marks., Aand as a policy paper, it deserves far worse, since its implicit authority allows for the

proliferation of lethal ignorance; lethal to American police officers, lethal to Mexican citizens, and lethal to the careers of otherwise-upstanding citizens. This report gives us rare written proof of the exact rationale (on this case, the lack thereof) behind a given governmental position. Do Americans deserve to have their official laws based on this type of Is this the type of official report? on which Americans deserve to have their laws based? If a similar report was written about alcohol, would citizens allow the propagation of such nonsense to continue without protest? Would Anheuser-Busch? The answer to all three, I think, is no. As it happens, highlyregarded opinions are generally the ones preceded by dollars signs and followed by many zeroes. Since there is no Big Marijuana to lobby for change, discrimination against those who would choose to use cannabis if it were legal goes unchecked. That is why, armed with official positions and uncontestable rebuttals, we must demand change for ourselves. I m sure there is a joke about a grass roots movement to be made, but I will leave such creativity to you, Dear Reader.

Rational Review The laws we are subjected to more accurately, that we allow ourselves to be subjected to must derive their justification from logical analysis. It should be clear by now that in the case of marijuana prohibition, logical analysis has been scattered to the four winds and replaced unceremoniously by a tornado of nonsense and moralizing pugilism. It is often said that laws must not be arbitrary or capricious, but marijuana prohibition is both. Interpreting the Constitution, and the merits of a given law in regard to that document, is the basis for the judicial review process. In reviewing cannabis policy, courts usually apply rational review to the original legislation enacted by Congress. This is considered the default level of scrutiny that a court uses in determining whether a given law is constitutionally sound. Rational review requires only that a judge consider the original rationale behind a given act of Congress in the course of their judgment. In other words, if a judge believes that a law was passed by Congress for logical reasons, this is all they need to cite in order to make a binding, legal ruling. Without delving into particular applications and merits of such a system (which I freely admit is not a task I am qualified to perform), it can be said that

marijuana prohibition fails rational review since the original evidence on which Congress based its decision was either erroneous, misleading, or fabricated whole-cloth. Let me make that point clear by repetition: the original evidence, and all subsequent evidence that cannabis prohibition has been based on, is either misleading, exaggeratedhyperbolic, or outright lies. No policy papers need be written to come to this elementary conclusion, you only need to go back and look at the testimonies of witnesses at the original Congressional Subcommittee hearings (which I did, and which I will explain soon.) Unfortunately for us and millions of prisoners around the country the courts have chosen to ignore the basic methodological errors made during all hearings on marijuana prohibition. There is no other way to put this. Time after time, courts dismiss claims of rights violation due to cannabis prohibition on the basis of rational review. In light of modern scientific techniques, and the widely availabavailable ility of results from countless marijuana studies, each judge who dismisses a complaint of a rights violation regarding cannabis use by invoking the rational review process must either not understand the original evidence, or simply not care about it. In either case, this is unacceptable. The very idea that judges use rational review to prop up a policy which has no basis in reason is so outrageous that it would be farcical if not for the lives of countless Americans that have been ruined by immoral legislation and subsequent prosecution. (Who is Felipe Calderon?) As President of Mexico, Felipe Calderon asks begs the United States to legalize cannabis (among other substances) in order to halt the public slaughter of his citizens., Wwhose heart is so hard that it does not break when we hear of yet another Mexican murdered by gangs of roving drug dealers? How can we let ourselves be consumed by unjustified fears of our children getting their innocent little hands on a joint while ignoring the estimated 1000 Mexican children20 who have been butchered as a result of our failed policy? Who among you could look the mother of a slain Mexican child in the eye and say I support the drug laws that led directly to your son s death because I fear that my own child might one day smoke marijuana? I don t believe anyone can. The problem is not a lack of compassion;, it is lack of logic in ourthat we have approached the whole issue of cannabis legislation illogically. Inarguably, and with no exaggeration, the blood of tens of thousands of Mexicans is on our government, even as they continue to wash their hands of the situation; out of sight, out of mind. To determine the root cause of unfounded beliefs regarding the dangers of marijuana, one only has to analyze the legislation that has supported prohibition over the last century, and the testimony entered into the Congressional record that managed to pass as evidence.


"En menos de 5 años han muerto más de mil niños a manos del narco" (in Spanish). Excelsior. March 19, 2011. Online.

Accessed via:

Act 3

The Sting

You know, it's a funny thing, every one of the bastards that are out for legalizing marijuana are Jewish. What the Christ is the matter with the Jews, Bob? What is the matter with them? I suppose it is because most of them are psychiatrists.

-Richard Nixon to his Chief of Staff Bob Hadelman as recorded on the ³Nixon Tapes´ May 26, 1971

³Look at this country. You think the Russians allow dope? Homosexuality, dope, immorality, are the enemies of strong societies. That's why the Communists and left-wingers are clinging to one another. They're trying to destroy us. I know Moynihan will disagree with this, [Attorney General John] Mitchell will, and Garment will. But, goddamn, we have to stand up to this.´ -also Richard Nixon, recorded on the same tapes.

So Why is Marijuana Illegal? The sordid tale of marijuana prohibition might accurately be said to have begun with the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906. The government realized thanks in no small part collective to public outrage and a man named Upton Sinclair that people should have a right to know exactly what they are consuming. Spoiled meat and, famously, hot dogs of dubious make-upconstitution were being distributed en masse by unscrupulous business owners. In this case, the PFDA was certainly a reasonable governmental intervention into the private sector. However, the right to understanding risk is one thing; being compelled by men with guns to make a given choice based on that risk is an altogether different and completely unacceptable proposition. Though the PFDA may be one of the more effective and justified acts of sweeping legislation to ever be enacted, its eventually functioned as a springboard to restricting of personal liberties which marks it as the first in a long line of absurd legislation.

Almost immediately, the government began to overstep its bounds. The Feds were concerned that the Coca-Cola Company was adding too much caffeine to its eponymous beverage since, at the time, the government believed caffeine to be harmful to human health. There are two reasons this might strike you as odd: firstly, the government has apparently changed its mind about caffeine s safety. Secondly, Coca-Cola is widely known to have included small amounts of cocaine in its product until 1929. 21 The government s focus on caffeine, as opposed to cocaine, seems like a bit from an episode of the Three Stooges rather than the very real pursuit of justice that it was. (This section is confusing and seems to be off point. Please make the point more clearly here. Somehow, this vaudevillian masterpiece of governmental ineptitude made it all the way to the Supreme Court. In what certainly must be considered one of the most hilarious names in the history of legal proceedings on the United States, the record shows a case by the name of United States v. Forty Barrels and Twenty Kegs of Coca-Cola. 22 No joke. The government argued that Coca-Cola was not descriptive enough a name for the drink, and did not alert consumers to the potential deleterious effects of an additive; namely, caffeine.) I must once again mention their lack of concern with cocaine even though, admittedly, the amounts were essentially negligible, because this case set the stage for a long and preposterous tradition of bumbling federal attempts to restrict what people consume.

The Harrison Narcotics Tax Act: Hyperbole Takes the Stage The next significant development in US drug policy was proposed in 1914 by Representative Francis Burton Harrison of New York. Originally, the law was designed to regulate and tax the import and sale of cocaine and opiates. Considering that until the late 1890 s, a person could buy a syringe of cocaine from the Sears and Roebuck catalog for $1.5023, these regulations were, arguably, another reasonable governmental intervention. Unfortunately, reasonable discourse about the potential harm of opiates and cocaine gave way to sensationalism and fear-mongering. A New York Times article from (From when? From what? This thought is incomplete) underscores how hysteria and racism were rapidly displacing reasoned logic as the discourse du jour (original capitalization included):

NEGRO COCAINE FIENDS NEW SOUTHERN MENACE: Murder and Insanity Increasing Among Lower Class Because They Have Taken to Sniffing Since Being Deprived of Whisky by Prohibition.
-New York Times, February 8, 1914, p. SM12


Frederick Allen ³Secret Formula.´ HarperCollins (1994) p.192


Court case accessed on via:

Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St. Clair ³Whiteout: The CIA, Drugs and the Press´. Verso (1998)

Far from a cheap shot at an antiquated Times articles, I include it to show how even the most levelheaded entities can succumb to the foolishness of unsubstantiated rumor. The headline also serves to demonstrate that people tend to dislike substance prohibition of any sort, and will inevitably find an alternative usually not one that would be considered better in any sense of the word. The Harrison Act also begat the government practice of superseding the authority of doctors in the interest of preserving the moral fiber of the United States. Under the Harrison Act, over 35,00024 doctors were indicted for alleged patient mismanagement in regarding to the opiate prescription of opiates a practice which remains in place, albeit in a more limited form to this very day. Admittedly, some doctors surely prescribed opiates too frequently, and some still do. But the amount of doctors indicted under Harrison is equivalent to a full 4% of the doctors in the United States today. Clearly, something does not add up. By threatening doctors with suspension of licensure and imprisonment, many physicians and scientists became reluctant to publicly decry the government s practice of preaching to doctors aboutas to what was best for their patients again, a practice that remains todayevident in modernity thanks to federal prosecution of medical marijuana patients and their prescribing physicians. By silencing the voices of reasonable dissent, the federal government ensured that they would be the authority on American drug policy, rather than scientists and medical professionals. A They were right, and as I have repeatedly mentioned, the government practice of ignoring science is still alive and well. It is high time that doctors begin to espouse their convictions about medicine and the politics surrounding the practice loudly and adamantly. Physicians and scientists have allowed the false bravado and high volume of prohibitionists to resonate in the halls of public discourse for far too long. Before I step fully onto my soapbox, I recall that I was recounting the legal precedents for prohibition, so I will continue with that. And if you are wondering why, so far, I have cited legislation largely regarding cocaine and opiates, the reason will soon become apparent. Right around this time, drivel like Reefer Madness, which was little more than brash propaganda was responsible for undue negative public attitudes toward cannabis. By now, most people are also aware that newspaper baron William Randolph Hearst planned and executed a despicable smear campaign against migrant Mexican farmers in the interest of painting their soothing substance of choice marijuana red with the imaginary blood of America s youth. According to Hearst, using the San Francisco Examiner as one of his many bullhorns:

"Marihuana makes fiends of boys in thirty days -- Hashish goads users to bloodlust.
-San Francisco Examiner, Jan 31, 1923 p.11

Ronald T. Libby ³The DEA¶s War on Doctors :A Surrogate for the War on Drugs´ Testimony from Congressional Briefing on The Politics of Pain: Drug Policy & Patient Access to Effective Pain Treatments. Friday, September 17, 2004, 121 Cannon House Office Building (11:00 am-12:30 PM). Accessed via:


And if that was not enough to scare the public, the paper would have you believe that:

Marihuana is a short cut to the insane asylum. Smoke marihuana cigarettes for a month and what was once your brain will be nothing but a storehouse of horrid specters.
-Annie Laurie "Report Bares Dope Problem Facing U.S.," San Francisco Examiner, January21, 1923, p. 12.

As an added touch, Annie Laurie (the originator of the above quote) also wrote that marijuana meant sure death for kids. Quite obviously, Hearst s machinations are largely responsible for erroneous public perceptions about cannabis. To this day, many large corporations (read: alcohol producers and paper mills) oppose the legalization of marijuana. One particularly clearsalient example involves California s recent Proposition 19, which would have completely legalized cannabis for personal use. Can you guess the name of one of the biggest donors to the opposition of Proposition 19? If you guessed the California Beer & Beverage Distributors, you are correct.25 Big Beer s opposition to legalizing marijuana is due simply to fear., They areand their suckling at tof the government s Teat of Prohibition in the interest of keeping their monopoly in tact and this is just is just as disgusting .in practice as I assume the phrase itself was to read. They know that legal cannabis will provide people with a legitimate (and hangover-less) alternative to alcohol, so they hypocritically support the government s policies to maintain their edge. Apparently, the incredible irony of a formerly-outlawed business trying keep a competitor out of the market via supporting prohibition is lost on the California Beer & Beverage Distributors. Since these trips down the side-paths of cannabis policy could constitute an entirely separate essay, let us continue with our trek down the Memory Lane of cannabis prohibition.

The Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 This is where the craziness really begins. You see, Harry Anslinger (so who is Harry Anslinger?) claimed that the FBN had noticed increased incidences of marijuana smoking the natural questions of how, where or when remain unanswered to this day. The fact that his unsubstantiated claim was apparently enough to trigger a Congressional inquiry should probably add another alarm bell to what may be, by

Paul Armentano ³Alcohol Lobby Now Openly Spending Against CA's Legal Pot Initiative in Alliance with Police Industrial Complex.´ AlterNet. September 17, 2010. Online. Accessed via:'s_legal_pot_initiative_in_alliance_with_polic e_industrial_complex

this time, a raucous cranial symphony. Anslinger, a career toady and upwardly mobile turd of a man, justified his new passion for restricting cannabis by claiming concern for the International Opium Convention. Since this is arguably the first appearance of an American drug policy-maker justifying the deprivation of American rights by citing international law, it would be a good time to remind all readers that all international drug treaties (and most treaties in general) were all signed by the United States with the explicit condition that if any part of the treaty were found, presently or at some future time, to be in violation of our own Constitution, the United States may remove itself from the treaty without exception. Most other co-signers of these treaties included similar conditions before signing. In any event, Anslinger s intentions were anything but concern for the international community. Rather his motivations were racism, moralistic fervor, and a complete misunderstanding of the plant that was so often the object of his derision. The following Anslinger quote demonstrates at least mild racism, and hyperbole of the highest order:

Most marijuana smokers are Negroes, Hispanics, jazz musicians, and entertainers. Their satanic music is driven by marijuana, and marijuana smoking by white women makes them want to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers, and others. It is a drug that causes insanity, criminality, and death the most violence-causing drug in the history of mankind.
-From: Legalizing Marijuana: Drug Policy Reform and Prohibition Politics by: Rudolph J. Gerber (1998)

I expect that many of you just laughed out loud in disbelief at Anslinger s racism-tinged, exaggerationsoaked blathering. Unfortunately, many of Anslinger s patently false and/or racist sentiments are still pervasive in contemporary drug policy debates. The Marihuana Tax Act also provides us with another example of the government s inexplicable desire to completely ignore medical professionals who testify in Congress. During the hearings on the proposed Marihuana Tax Act, the American Medical Association delegated Dr. William Woodward as spokesman. Since cannabis was used as a prescription medicine, the AMA had a significant stake in ensuring that the government knew what the hell it was doing. (Spoiler Alert: It didn t). Dr. Woodward disagreed with much of what the committee had established as fact: namely, addiction, violent urges, and the ability to overdose, all of which the government claimed could be attributed to marijuana. Unfortunately, controlled studies of cannabis were not as numerous as they are today, and anyway, the government s interest in science took a back seat to this new opportunity for a moral crusade. All of Dr. Woodward s hesitations about government deception, it should be noted, are now completely justified by modern science, as I explained above. Dr. Woodward was also concerned that many doctors who actually supported the bill were unknowingly signing away their right to prescribe cannabis. Up until this time, the term marijuana was used almost exclusively by Mexican farmers hence the Hispanic sound of the word and other casual cannabis users; never by the medical profession. Anslinger, stubborn and wily, insisted on using the term marijuana, probably to make his

job easier. Dr. Woodward voiced his concerns about this legislative deceit at the Marihuana Tax Act hearings:

"Marijuana is not the correct term... Yet the burden of this bill is placed heavily on the doctors and pharmacists of this country."
-Committee on Finance, US Senate, 75c 2s. HR6906. Library of Congress transcript. July 12, 1937

As you should begin to see, the government s practice of ignoring men and women of science has a long and troubling past. In effect, the bill made personal possession or use a federal crime; the first time such a policy was enacted. Needless to say, the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 was a terrible piece of legislation from the very beginning, and based on evidence which has zero merit. Though much of the testimony favoring cannabis prohibition during the Marihuana Tax Act hearings are widely regarded as erroneous, and many were even considered overblown at the time, the legislation went through. But prohibitionists needed a new buoy to which they could cling if prohibition was going to last, since the discussion was soon to be thrust into the sea of modern science. Like any good politician, Anslinger realized he needed to make people fear for their children in order to get his way. (Gah, don t stop here! You skipped from 1937 to 1951 without telling your reader what happened. Please expand this section!)

The Boggs Act: Cannabis Magically Transforms into a Narcotic Introduced in 1951 by Representative Hale Boggs, this bill explicitly equated cannabis with other narcotics, namely opiates and cocaine (it should be noted that even cocaine is not, medically speaking, a narcotic. It is a stimulant, not a CNS depressant). Simply put, this categorical reshuffling was incomparably devastating for the fate of legal cannabis. It also spawned two of the more terribleabhorrent products of cannabis prohibition: minimum sentences for drug users, and the infamous and bogus Gateway Drug theory that I have previously discussed. It would not be an exaggeration to say that the Kefauver Committee Hearings, which debated the merits of the potential Boggs Act, was the single most damaging meeting of Congress in the history of United States drug policy. The lumping together of marijuana and narcotics allowed for uninhibited flights of legislative fancy, an example of which was the horrid idea that individuals who sell cannabis or narcotics to children be subject to capital punishment. An example of Rep. Boggs mastery in the art of grandiose lying:

Our younger people usually start on the road which leads to drug addiction by smoking marihuana. They then graduate into narcotic drugs-cocaine, morphine, and heroin. When these younger persons

become addicted to the drugs, heroin, for example, which costs from $8 to $15 per day, they very often must embark on careers of crime ... and prostitution ... in order to buy the supply which they need.
- From the record of the Special Senate Committee to Investigate Organized Crime in Interstate Commerce 82d Congress., 1st Session. June 26, 1951

I am certainly not in favor of children using cannabis or tobacco or alcohol for that matter. However, the knowledge that our elected officials once debated whether a person responsible for providing drugs to a minor should be murdered by the state is almost too magnificent in its brutality for the mind to fully comprehend. Though this punitive option was not included in the final text of the bill, the fact that men responsible for such ideas were also responsible for much of the actual Boggs Bill (and thus, most of our current drug policy) should add a few sirens to the cacophony you may currently be enjoying within the confines of your brain. The Boggs Act also allowed the government s War on Science to once again rear its ugly head. As in the 1937 hearings, the government called on a medical professional to testify about the health effects of marijuana. This time, it was Dr. Harris Isbell, Director of Research at the Public Health Service Hospital in Lexington, Kentucky, who Congress would ultimately ignore. Though he paid some lip service to the psychological dependence hypothesis (which was itself the result of incomplete medical knowledge of the addiction/dependence paradigm and not entirely his fault) Dr. Isbell was very clear in his disagreement with legislators on the purported dangers of cannabis:

[M]arihuana smokers generally are mildly intoxicated, giggle, laugh, bother no one, and have a good time. They do not stagger or fall, and ordinarily will not attempt to harm anyone.
-From record of the Special Senate Committee to Investigate Organized Crime in Interstate Commerce 82d Congress., 1st Session. June 26, 1951

In addition, Dr. Isbell succinctly dispatched the rumors that had long been publicly circulated; namely that marijuana was addictive, and that it leads to violent and/or sexual crime:

It has not been proved that smoking marihuana leads to crimes of violence or to crimes of a sexual nature. Smoking marihuana has no unpleasant after-effects, no dependence is developed on the drug, and the practice can easily be stopped at any time. In fact, it is probably easier to stop smoking marihuana cigarettes than tobacco cigarettes.
-From record of the Special Senate Committee to Investigate Organized Crime in Interstate Commerce

82d Congress., 1st Session. June 26, 1951

This means that medical professionals have known and thus the government has know that cannabis is harmless for more than sixty years! We have been chasing our tails to prove our point about the safety of marijuana all the while forgetting that Dr. Woodward and Dr. Isbell accomplished this, right in Congress collective faces, over a half century ago. Arguments about cannabis have raged since before the moon landing, and all our efforts have been more or less redundant! This is not to say that modern cannabis research is useless far from it. Rather, I am only pointing out that we have had knowledge of cannabis s benignity for an unbelievable amount of time, and our court system seems to have failed to take notice. Please, shout this fact from the rooftops! Call your Congressperson! Ask them if they are aware of what their predecessors have already learned through sworn medical testimony! Though there is much more to cover, we have already found the strongest and most obvious argument that shows that marijuana should be legal, and it is this: From the early 1900 s onward, the government has investigated the safety and legality of marijuana argument numerous times. Every single time they have found it fitting that such a committee should be created, the testimony of the scientific and medical experts who have weighed in on the issue have unanimously and unequivocally explained that marijuana is not harmful, and that sentiments to the contrary were either the result of misunderstanding or outright lies. In other words, the federal government has made it a policy to subsidize lunatics and liars in their quest for prohibition. The way I have framed this policy may be startling, but the wordsverbiage I have chosen makes the underlying truths no less valid. Our government needs to listen to scientists more often; it is as simple as that. For now, let us continue to follow Harry Anslinger s outrageous antics as they pop up continually throughout history. Disproven by his chosen medical witness, but not disheartened, Anslinger set out to create another public scare, the advent of which signaled a shift from the effects of marijuana itself to an alleged use of marijuana as a stepping-stone to more dangerous drugs like opiates and cocaine. This is the strategy to which I was referring in the opening refutations of prohibitionist arguments. Anslinger s SteppingStone Theory began just as insanely as any of his other lunatic ravings. Here you can see, as part of his testimony to the House Ways and Means Committee, Anslinger s characteristic overstatement manifesting itself in a quote that sounds as though it comes from a caricature of a 50 s-era moral crusader rather than a living, breathing public servant: The danger is this: Over 50% of those young addicts started on marihuana-smoking. They started there and graduated to heroin; they took the needle when the thrill of marijuana was gone.
-From record of the Special Senate Committee to Investigate Organized Crime in Interstate Commerce 82d Congress., 1st Session. June 26, 1951

The fact that Congress did not laugh Anslinger out of the hearing, but in fact accepted his thesis with no evidence whatsoever, must be considered one of the most profoundly brainless decisions ever made by our legislature. It is difficult to decide whether to laugh or cry at our government s palpable cycle of scientific ignorance and fool-hardy legislation. A heaping helping of both might be considered acceptable. (This sentence is too long! Break it downThe Boggs Act s most lasting and devastating consequence was surely Anslinger s completely discredited but oft-recited Stepping-Stone Theory which currently takes its form as the Gateway Drug Boogeyman propagandized by such seemingly benevolent entities such as Above the Influence and Just Say No.) I have no problem with organizations that keep kids away from drugs, but there is no reason to fabricate evidence in order to do so, and no reason to keep adults away from cannabis to keep children away. FDR said that Censorship is telling a man he can't have a steak just because a baby can't chew it. This is also an accurate observation about cannabis prohibition. Maybe a letter to our legislators reflecting Roosevelt s sentiments might be appropriate, maybe something like:

Dear Federal Government,

Give me back my damn steak.

Signed, Every American Adult with Teeth

Narcotics Control Act of 1956 If we leap forward a half-decade, we can analyze yet another diseased branch on our nation s terminally ill drug policy tree. Arguably representing the height of Orwellian drug policy, here is a brief list of what the Daniel Subcommittee (Describe what the Daniel Subcommittee is) offered as suggestions to the perceived problem of increased drug-related crime (note that all of this can be found in the Congressional record as well):

y y y y y

Minimum mandatory sentences should be increased to 5, 10 and 20 years for first, second, and third offenses, respectively (which would remain in place until 1970!) Anslinger s FBN agents should be allowed to search and seize without limit, arrest without warrant, and tap phones indiscriminately (always a Fed Favorite ). FBN agents should be permitted, ominously, to carry firearms for the first time. Interstate communication regarding illicit drugs should be construed as a separately punishable crime, one carrying up to a five-year prison sentence and $5000 fine. Most nefariously, that anyone ever convicted of a drug offense be required to apply for and carry special identification in order to leave the country.

Take a moment and realize, even up to this point in 1956, how much time and money our government has wasted in the interest of criminalizing cannabis which, as I have demonstrated, had no business being criminalized in the first place. Social conservatives will deride big government until their dying breath but then, like an American Janus, , like an American Janus, don another face which allows them, somehow with genuine gravitas, to support the continued prohibition of marijuana. Sadly, social conservatives seem to lack this Roman god s mythical power to consider the mistakes of the past while observing the present and planning for the future. By now, the alarms in your head should be wailing at a delirium-inducing pitch. Any reasonable person, after taking a moment to consider the heinous suggestions of the Daniel Committee, should be outraged and rightfully so. It should be grossly clear by now that marijuana prohibition has been a terrible mistake, but I will continue this recounting in the interest of completeness. While not all of the Daniel Committee s suggestions ended up as legislation, the (What does NCA stand for? I don t remember you defining it earlier NCA) left an indelible mark on America sn drug policy. Maybe worst of all, the subcommittee dedicated roughly half of its report to railing against rehabilitation methods, deriding clinics as narcotics bars, and ostensibly leading to modern reluctance to treat drug addiction as a disorder rather than a crime. Many citizens were jailed some for life under the stricter penalties required by the NCA. President Kennedy, after being elected, was so embarrassed by the previous administration s gross misuse of power that he hastily pardoned a number of prisoners, though he did little in the way of relinquishing federal authority in such matters. Both dimensions of Kennedy s actions are quite telling of how madcap our government behaves when it comes to drug policy. In 1961, the United States agreed to the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, an international UN initiative created with the purpose of increasing global strictness in punishing drug traffickers. I mention this only as a frame of reference, and not for discussion. As mentioned above, our involvement in these treaties is predicated upon their constitutionality; I think I have shown that prohibition is most certainly not a constitutionally-derived policy.

Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970 Finally, we have arrived at the mother-lode of government absurdity in the face of documented medical evidence. Commonly known as the Controlled Substances Act (Please add CSA in parenthesis next to the act name), this law allowed federal government officials with the rapacious approval of Richard Nixon to marry their love of jailing cannabis users to their obsession with creating arbitrary and confusing classifications. From this unholy marriage was spawned the scheduling system to which we have become acclimated. Nixon was not bashful about his desire for the expansion of federal power, and if such a power-grab allowed Tricky Dick to put more hippies behind bars, you might as well consider such legislation a shoo-in. While the CSA eliminated federally-mandated minimum sentences, it increased the power of federal police to an unprecedented and arguably tyrannical scope. I would like to avoid becoming bogged down in the detailsminutia of this system, but I will give you an example of its complete lack of scientific integrity, on which the DEA laughably claims the system is based. Cannabis is a Schedule I drug, which the government denotes as a dangerous substance with no accepted medical value. Firstly, seventeen states currently allow medicinal marijuana and the vast majority of doctors even in states where medical marijuana is not legal accept that marijuana has medical value. In fact, the government s own cancer research center argues againstrepudiates the supposed lack of medical value. The National Cancer Institute26 recently released the results of a twoyear study which was shown to not only prevent, but reverse liver tumors in mice. Why was this not on the front page of every newspaper in the country? If Pfizer developed a pill that so much as hinted at safe, effective tumor shrinkage, we would be inundated with commercials rivaled in number only by erectile dysfunction medication. Amusingly, the NCI had to update their summary to indicate that the FDA still holds that marijuana has no medical value. Excuse me? Our silly fascination with the illegality of cannabis has precluded our rational discussion of the plant, even as a legitimate medical tool. The government s unwillingness to discuss even medical marijuana rationally should be juxtaposed with its complete acceptance of another naturally-occurring plant that has seen significant historical use. I even have an example: Digitalis is derived from a plant the foxglove andthat has been used to treat cardiac arrhythmia since the early 1700 s. Doctors still use it today, albeit less frequently than during antiquity. Digitalis toxicity, a common problem in treating cardiac patients who require digitalis, is a serious and difficult side effect that physicians must monitor for closely (usually via signature changes on an EKG). On the other hand, as I have mentioned before, there is no such thing as cannabis toxicity or THC toxicity and the benefits of cannabis for many types of patients are well-documented by physicians and researchers you know, the people who actually study and practice medicine.


* Cannabis and Cannabinoids (PDQ®)National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health. Updated March 30, 2011.

Accessed via: * This ³study has yet to be published in a peer-reviewed journal. The results should be considered preliminary but valid.

This is a new topic. Write a transition and create a whole new section. In fact, the inability to consume food is considered one of the most significant causes of morbidity and mortality in cancer patients; if you cannot eat, your prognosis is poor. (What does this have to do with your main point. Don t assume people know.) How have doctors allowed the government to run roughshod over scientific data at the expense of patient health? The answer is simply fear but I, for one, refuse to be intimidated by policy that is as stupid as it is harmful, enacted by officials whose understanding of medicine is no deeper than my understanding of maritime law (I believe this field is concerned with sea-going vessels, or something like that). So the no medical value idea is objectively harmful, dreadfully foolish and, in my opinion, unforgivably arrogant. Here we have another clear example of the federal government s inexplicable aversion to sound medical data. Don t think, Citizen! Just DEA Doublethink! Maybe our government will eventually mandate that we do consume a given substance, similar to Huxley s fictional soma which his fictional British populace is required, by law, to ingest. Open up wide! It s for the good of the public! For another example of the scheduling system s flaws, one only has to compare cannabis a Schedule I drug to some Schedule II drugs like cocaine, morphine, or opium. Yes, all three of those are considered by the government to be less harmful than marijuana. Morphine and opium certainly have significant medical value but, like any prescription drug, improper consumption can lead to a fatal overdose. The same is not true for cannabis; there is no known lethal dose. This contrasts with overthe-counter medication like non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), which have a known measurable fatal dose and which, even back in 1992, were known to be responsible for 76,000 emergency-room visits every year in the United States.27 Unless a person were to ignite a raging marijuana bonfire inside of a small closet currently a prohibitively expensive undertaking and accidentally asphyxiate, the risk of death from smoking marijuana is exactly zero. There is no evidence to the contrary. As I stated earlier, I am not required to prove the safety of cannabis (though, during the course of this book I pretty much have). That responsibility lies with the government, and no prohibitionist has ever successfully upheld this responsibility. Sorry Feds, you are wrong; just admit it. The danger of cannabis cannot rationally be put forth as a reasonable argument for marijuana prohibition both because it is not dangerous, and because other substances are objectively more dangerous. It really is as simple as that. The government has the evidence that contradicts their original hypothesis. They must cede their position. Let us, as before, examine the proceedings that would eventually lead to the passage of the CSA, and check the testimony to see if it corroborates with the government s eventual decision (you can guess by now that it will not). This time, the most notable opposition to increased federal drug policy power came not from a medical expert, most of whom had long ago surrendered to government bullying, but rather the chairman of the committee called upon to debate the CSA: Raymond P. Shafer. Shafer, future governor of Pennsylvania (and fellow Allegheny College alumnus) testified that:

Fries, JF. (Stanford University School of Medicine). ³Assessing and understanding patient risk´. Scandinavian Journal of Rheumatology (Supplement). .January 1992: Volume 21 Issue S92 pp. 21-24

"[T]he criminal law is too harsh a tool to apply to personal possession even in the effort to discourage use. It implies an overwhelming indictment of the behavior which we believe is not appropriate. The actual and potential harm of use of the drug is not great enough to justify intrusion by the criminal law into private behavior, a step which our society takes only 'with the greatest reluctance."
-From Drug Use In America: Problem In Perspective Second Report of the National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse, March 1973

If this sounds completely reasonable, I would absolutely agree with you. If you are wondering why Governor Shafer s suggestions went unheeded, even after being asked to chair the committee, I do not have the faintest idea. Since the passage of the Controlled Substances Act, the government has done its best to ignore mounting scientific evidence and rapidly increasing public outrage by using the DEA as a hammer to nail any problematic dissenters into a wall of silence. Mr. Small Government himself, Ronald Regan, expanded federal power into an official War on Drugs that, as I previously mentioned, has cost over $2.5 trillion to date, and may go down as the eternal symbol of the United State s toxic fascination with punishing drug users. While Reagan was busy allowing the Nicaraguan Contras to amass their fortune through the sale of illegal cocaine, his federal troops were spraying Mexican marijuana fields with paraquat28, a very poisonous weed killer. Since much of the cannabis from Mexico was inevitably going to find its way into the lungs of Americans and American children Reagan s plan might rightly be considered one of the most evil acts of sabotage our government has ever loosed upon its own citizens. (Why would it be a plot on it s own citizens? Presumably, the weed killer killed the pot, so that would harm the farmers, not the American s since they won t be getting it. Tell me more about this so I understand) The government s Paraquat Pot Program surely ranks highly in the GovernmentSponsored Evil Hall of Fame , (Why? I don t get it yet) along with the Prohibition-era practice of lacing moonshine with poisonous methanol, which led to the deaths of hundreds if not thousands of Americans who simply wanted some hooch.

As an added bonus, current research suggests that paraquat causes Parkinson s Disease in farmers who frequently handle the chemical.29 Oh joy. President Reagan wasn t the only politician to ideate(I don t

Panic over Paraquat,´ Time Magazine, May 1, 1978.

Accessed via:,9171,919548-1,00.html

* Tanner, Caroline M.; Freya Kamel, G. Webster Ross, Jane A. Hoppin, Samuel M. Goldman, Monica Korell, Connie Marras, Grace S. Bhudhikanok, Meike Kasten, Anabel R. Chade, Kathleen Comyns, Marie Barber Richards, Cheryl Meng, Benjamin Priestley, Hubert H. Fernandez, Franca Cambi, David M. Umbach, Aaron Blair, Dale P. Sandler, J. William Langston (2011). "Rotenone, Paraquat and Parkinson¶s Disease".Environmental Health Perspective.

even know what this word means) overly harsh and destructive drug policies. His Drug Czar Carlton Turner was widely quoted as favoring the death penalty for drug users, and believed that calls for marijuana legalization were related to "the present young-adult generation's involvement in antimilitary, anti-nuclear power, anti-big business, anti-authority demonstrations."30 That man was given a job by the President. I think it s fairly obvious by now that the reason science has been ignored as a matter of federal policy is that logic would get in the way of the real goal: moral crusading. Not only is the idea of legislating personal morality a detestable one, but it hasn t worked either. Roughly 100 million Americans have tried marijuana illegally; can we stop pretending that a War on Drugs is even possible? If government is the problem then how can any conservative possibly support the continued prohibition of cannabis? This is not a redundant question; I would really like an answer. What better show of bi-partisan legislation and a true, objective decrease in the scope of the federal government could be proposed than the re-legalization of cannabis? With the DEA s budget bloating to over $2 billion per year, and a force burgeoning with roughly 5,500 agents on salary 31, what justification does a limited government Republican have in supporting such a gross over-reach of federal power? Even William F. Buckley supported legalizing marijuana in a column all the way back in 2004!32 If the National Review is on board with a given social change seven years ago I think the matter, as a political issue, ought to be considered settled.

*This study is an ³Ahead of Print´ article, but is considered valid, peer-reviewed data that was simply made available online prior to physical printing. The article is available for download in PDF format at:

Dan Baum ³Smoke and Mirrors: The War on Drugs and the Politics of Failure. Back Bay Books (1997).

Quotation accessed via:

US Department of Justice Drug Enforcement Agency website.

Accessed via:

Wiliam F. Buckley, Jr. ³Free Weeds: The Marijuana Debate.´ National Review online archives.

Accessed via:

Act 4

Long Overdue

"When I was in England, I experimented with marijuana a time or two, and I didn't like it. I didn't inhale and never tried it again." ±Former President Bill Clinton As reported by Gwen Ifill in The New York Times on March 30, 1992

³When I was a kid I inhaled. I never understood that line. The point was to inhale. That was the point." -President Barack Obama during campaign stop in New Hampshire, November 2007 As reported by the New York Times and CNN

Lead Into Gold We have seen the arguments that are constantly recycled by prohibitionists in order to support their pseudo-intellectual arguments. Ignoring arguments regarding the byproducts of re-legalization such as high driving, and the Gateway Drug Theory, (which have already been dispatched) I would like to focus briefly on the innate qualities of marijuana that prohibitionists frequently deride. Arguments regarding the plant itself can be generally classified into the following sentiments: 1.) Marijuana is harmful to human health. 2.) Marijuana is bad for society. 3.) Marijuana is dangerous for children. You can read above why the arguments are erroneous in and of themselves, but I think it would be reasonable to compare marijuana to another substance with similar qualities, and analyze how the government handled such a situation. Despite widespread knowledge of the dangers of lead as a potent neurotoxin, tetraethyllead (TEL) was used in gasoline from the 1920 s through the 1970 s to reduce the problem of engine knock. Despite arguments that lead did not actually rectify the problem of engine knock, the Etyhyl Gasoline Corporation and Standard Oil Corporation colluded in pursuing TEL s push into the automobile marketplace, resulting in the deaths of many workers, and poisoning thousands more. 33 Though alternatives to TEL were available, it was very cheap, so business sense beat altruism into submission. Our bodies do not have an efficient pathway for excreting lead; presence of lead in the blood is detectable long after exposure, and deposits in brain and bone may be considered permanent. One can imagine that lead being blown out of tens of millions of cars for dozens of years might have a significant deleterious impact on human health, and one would be correct in this assumption. It was known from soil and ice core samples that TEL correlated directly with increased atmospheric and soil lead. After this information became too overwhelming to deny, the EPA used an extension of the Clean Air Act to force the phase-out of leaded gasoline. Since Ethyl Gasoline Corporation and its cronies vehemently denied the dangers of lead on environmental safety and even human physiology, they sued the EPA, though they eventually lost on appeal. Usage of the TEL additive began to wane in the early 1980 s, and fell into almost complete disuse by the early 1990 s. It was not officially outlawed until 1996, which is paradoxically appalling and unsurprising. The physiological effects of outlawing lead were obvious: a 1994 study found that the average blood lead level in Americans dropped from 16 micrograms per deciliter ( g/dL ) to 3 g/dL in 1991 a reduction of 78%. For a point of reference, CDC considers 10 g/dL of lead to be an elevated blood level and cause for concern. More insidiously, lead has an especially pronounced effect on children.

Jamie Lincoln Kitman ³The Secret History of Lead´ The Nation. Online. March 20, 2000. Accessed via:

Levels of just 10 g/dL have been shown to cause a four point drop in IQ. 34 It doesn t require the mind of a scientist to understand that altering the brain chemistry of children with neurotoxic metals is a practice that might be considered an enormous public hazard, and one that is certainly more harmful than any bag of weed could be. Beside the inarguable and monumental health problems caused by lead, a graph of TEL usage over time is statistically indicative of violent crime rates: as atmospheric/blood lead increased, so did violent crime. 35 While the exact mechanism of this phenomenon may not be clear, it is well-known that psychosis and dementia frequently result from chronic lead exposure, and the additional consideration that lead can measurably decrease IQ are strong enough indicators that this correlation which was statistically significant has plenty of scholastic merit. Let s summarize the situation thus far: 1.) Lead was spewed, at incredible rates, into the atmosphere for roughly 70 years 2.)Lead is objectively harmful to human health 3.)Lead is especially harmful to children, 4.) High levels of atmospheric lead caused a statistically significant an increase in violent crime 5.) Lead definitively harms the environment (potentially irreparably) Numbers 1-4 are accusations that have been leveled at marijuana without so much as a shred of credible evidence. On the other hand, even when research began to show that lead was negatively impacting the environment in the 1940 s and 1950 s, it would still take the federal government over four decades to outlaw the use of this pervasive neurotoxin in gasoline; a critical error in mis-weighing parsimony and philosophy. Lead had been known since the 1600s to be harmful to human health, but the low price and uncomplicated manufacturability of TEL was too seductive a siren song for Big Business s best pal, Uncle Sam, to resist. So, for seventy years, everyone in the United States was slowly poisoned in the name of profit. I should mention that though the previous statement might appear over-simplified or hyperbolic, it most certainly is not. The clear and present danger of airborne lead was ignored while the Hill stood at rapt attention to those who conjured the ever-pesky phantom of marijuana abuse. Henry Anslinger was feeding Congress racist lies to further his career and his spell-bound audience gobbled them greedily while imagining all the extra votes they would surely receive for being tough on crime. Not only did our elected officials

Lanphear, Bruce P.; Hornung, Richard; Khoury, Jane; Yolton, Kimberly; Baghurst, Peter; Bellinger, David C.; Canfield, Richard L.; Dietrich, Kim N. et al. (2005) ³ "Low-Level Environmental Lead Exposure and Children¶s Intellectual Function: An International Pooled Analysis" Environmental Health Perspectives. Volume 113 Issue 7 pp.894-899. Accessed via:

Jessica Wolpaw Reyes ³Environmental Policy as Social Policy? The Impact of Childhood Lead Exposure on Crime´ Sep. 25, 2007. The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy. Berkeley Electronic Press, vol. 7(1)

drive home fat and happy, stuffed full of moralizing gibberish from their favorite drug-obsessed bigot, they unwittingly topped off their mad tea party by squirting toxic flatulence into the atmosphere and into spongy American bodies from the ass end of their lead-leaking automobiles. Henry Anslinger, who was little more than a xenophobic goon with a government-issued badge (and eventually a gun), was taken at his word when he told Congress that marijuana smoking was an epidemic, and it need to be outlawed immediately. While the man at the very top of enforcing drug policy in the United States frothed at the mouth and gesticulated wildly on the floor of Congress, our elected officials watched, spellbound, at this mad-dog performance. The irony of their ignorance regarding the poisonous metal which was, every second, invading their cells was apparently lost on those legislators. While evidence of lead s harmfulness was well-known and long-understood, the federal government thought that saving America required jazz singers and migrant farmers to sacrifice their cherished cannabis, all the while ignoring the fact that every squad car that busted a dope fiend was doing far more harm and measurably so than any amount of marijuana ever could. When you consider the original testimonies given to Congress, the absence of evidence supporting prohibition arguments, the legality and approval of other, more harmful substances, and the arbitrary manner in which the federal government involves itself with the health of its citizenry, it become painfully obvious that the hypocrisy of marijuana prohibition is nearly unrivaled in both scope and absurdity.

The Coup de Grâce: Prohibition Does Not Work The last time the government attempted to ban a widely consumed intoxicant via the Volstead Act and eventually the Eighteenth Amendment the United States quickly realized it had made a tremendous mistake. After violence and mayhem caused by armed gangsters on a scale that would make Michael Bay blush President Roosevelt nullified Prohibition. Then, in what can only be described as a bout of insanity, he almost immediately began looking into the prohibition of cannabis! Supporters of cannabis prohibition are quick to balk at the comparison to alcohol prohibition, deriding the comparison as cursory or incompatible. Such an assessment is neither. No good reason exists not to compare the two prohibitions, beside the fact that it deals an effortless yet grievous blow to their wild theories before the debate should even begins. The notion that we cannot accurately compare marijuana prohibition and alcohol prohibition is simply ignorant, and such arguments suggest that similar ignorance will likely manifest itself later in a policy debate. Let me be clear that I mean to use the word ignorant literally, at least in regard to the general public; I believe that many proponents of marijuana prohibition (and their numbers are dwindling) have simply been misled for a remarkably long time. [A casual marijuana prohibitionist meaning a member of the public who believes marijuana should be illegal simply by virtue of cannabis current illegality should not be derided immediately for their uninformed beliefs. (Who is the audience you most want to reach with this book? If it is the marijuana prohibitionist, then don t insult them please. Remove or rewrite everything in the brackets. We might question the degree of their apparent credulity in Big Brother s benevolence, but screaming at a person

that they are wrong has rarely accomplished anything of meaningful or lasting value. ] We must acknowledge that the Prohibition Machine is well-built, and has been chugging along for quite some time. However, the enormous magnitude of our elected officials incompetence is an entirely different matter. Legislators have no excuse not to be uninformed, and no excuse to remain silent on this stolen liberty if they do happen to understand the historical reasons behind cannabis prohibition. There is no reason that a member of Congress should not have reliable scientific consultants available to them whoat any given time that would allow them to understand the error of their ways, and allow for swift repeal of this lawt remuneration of Uncle Sam s crimes against his own countrymen. And anyway, 41% of all Americans have admitted to using cannabis at least once. 36 If over 100 million people are using an illegal substance, we might consider waving the white flag and realizing that the damage done by prohibition is so much greater than the drug itself that the continuation of our failed policy begins to leave the realm of the contemptible and wander into the territory of criminal.

A Matter of Liberty You do not have to be a medical expert, or even a student of science to see how stupid and harmful our prohibition of marijuana has been. My education has helped me in composing my arguments succinctly and accurately (hopefully), but the squalid details of our irrational drug policies should be wellcomprehended by even those with no interest whatsoever in scientific research. The outlandish testimonies of past government past officials are readily available and readable even by those with no background in science. Cannabis laws are based without exception on early-20th century sensationalism and reiterated falsehoods that have snowballed into the current abomination we are forced to tolerate, namely the War on Drugs. This monstrosity was spawned by a destructive combination of hyperbolic fear-mongering and willful scientific ignorance, and perpetuated by a rational review system of judicial process that has proven irno more rational than the arguments favoring marijuana prohibition. By repeatedly calling on the rational review level of scrutiny in cannabis cases, not only are judges necessarily implying their agreement with Anslinger s disproven n nearly eschatological ravings, they are also consequently approving the notion by virtue of the review process they choose that smoking cannabis is not a fundamental right. As I have said, I am certainly no Constitutional lawyer, but it seems a fair thesis that smoking Plant X of your choice within the confines of your own home should certainly fall under the concept of the right to privacy that is generally assumed to be a

US Department of Health and Human Services ³National Survey on Drug Use and Health´ National Findings 2008.´ Cited by Paul Armentano in ³Over 100 Million Americans Have Smoked Marijuana -- And It's Still Illegal?´ Alternet.September 10, 2009. Online. Accessed via:'s_still_illegal_/

fundamental liberty. It is simply astounding how our courts obsession with precedent and convoluted legalese has allowed the system to continuepropagate what is so obviously a grave logical miscalculation. Our lawmakers petulant reluctance to address the evidence that supports the relegalization of cannabis must be due, in some part, to the concept of policy inertia, by which I mean a general unwillingness to part with our past ways of thinking in the interest of minimizing complications (read: effort). Very few scientists and scholars would propose that marijuana prohibition is a necessary, or even a good thing; theirs are the opinions that legitimately matter, not the unscientific decision of a circuit judge who has no concept of how neural synapses function or what purpose the blood-brain barrier serves. Our government seems to have taken the concept of blind justice to a fallacious extreme. With increasing dismay,For years I have watched, with increasing dismay, otherwise respectable lawmakers engage in witch hunts of the most absurd variety in the name of continued marijuana prohibition. DEA-sanctioned SWAT raids on medical marijuana user (at least 90 since President Obama took office37), the imprisonment of those convicted of petty possession, and the ruination of careers and lives have become so commonplace that mounting a concerted protest seems like a fool s errand. As I have continued in my science education, the inconsistencies and outright lies that have been used to justify cannabis prohibition have become exponentially less believable, and equally as enraging. You do not need a degree in science to cut though the flimsy and unsubstantiated paper pillars that support the continued prohibition of cannabis; the honed blade of a logical mind is all that is necessary.

An Open and Shut Case If I have not been explicit enough, let me make this very clear: No scientific data exists to suggest that marijuana is harmful. Disregarding cannabis inherent qualities, we can also say, definitively, that alcohol, tobacco, andor even some suspect dietary compounds like refined sugar, high fructose corn syrup, or trans fats may be just as harmful or more harmful than inhaling particulate plant matter. But that s okay! We can decide to use those at our own behest. In the case of alcohol and tobacco, mountains of evidence show that both substances can, in some cases, cause cancer; this is the definition of a carcinogen. Again, that s okay (at least in terms of the arguments I am making, not health-wise). If you don t want to smoke or drink you certainly have that right. The point is that the danger of a substance is not anywhere close to a justifiable reason to prohibit American from consuming a given substance (i.e the pinecone up the ass theory), and has not been applied equally in the cases of many other potentially harmful substances. The tax-payer funded hypocrisy has to stop. In any event and to solidify my point remember that cannabis hassuffers none of the health risks that can be associated

Phillip Smith ³Feds on New Medical Marijuana Offensive´ May 5, 2011. Online.

Accessed via:

with other widely available vices. Contrary to some erroneous reports, cannabis contains no carcinogens38 (the study cited here is, like all of my citations, just one of many), and as I stated before, has actually been proven to fight cancer in a laboratory setting (see citation number 16). So think about this: the federal government sprayed a substance known to cause Parkinson s Disease (paraquat) on a plant that has been shown to reverse liver cancer tumors (cannabis). The DEA ought to be tried for crimes against humanity, not subsidized at a rate that is over 90x greater than what Congress just voted to strip from National Public Radio39! Can you now fully appreciate the unrivaled insanity of marijuana prohibition? What the hell are we arguing about? Put simply, any allegation that can be leveled at marijuana any can also be leveled at alcohol or tobacco, or even both. But marijuana is definitively better for the human body than alcohol or tobacco, and its prohibition, as I have repeated (maybe ad nauseam), has no basis in scientific evidence or reasoned logic. None. Zero. No argument. We take as a matter of fact that politicians mingle over alcoholic beverages; President Obama s beer social with Harry Louis Gates Jr. is a recent example. Apparently, drinkingDionysian revelry is not only acceptable, but government-approved, yet we are prohibited from using marijuanaexploring sinsemilla seas; here be dragons. (Do you really think legislators are going to read this book? If no, then don t write to them. If so, then you need to change much of the rest of this book to consider that audience) For those legislators who truly do not comprehend the evil that cannabis prohibition entails, you can rectify the mistakes of your predecessors (and stubborn contemporaries) through education and a demand on behalf of all Americans that cannabis prohibition come to an immediate end. We can discuss regulation. Taxation? We can talk. Complete prohibition? No longer an option; not scientifically, not legally, not morally. Misguided attempts by politicians to increase their own influence and force temperance upon the public have allowed the government to unlawfully curbabscond American liberties for generations. We must not forget the tragedies we have incidentally wrought on our neighbors to the south, who have witnessed the deaths of tens of thousands of their fellow Mexicans in the name of American drug policy. The threads of their lives were cut short not by the Fates, but by willfully ignorant American drug policy. The ultimate sacrifice made by American police officers should also weigh heavily maybe even more so on our minds. To continue in this ignoble and iniquitous pursuit is to bring shame and dishonor on all Americans. I implore our lawmakers for expedient change, so that another drop of blood might never be spilled American, Mexican, or otherwise in the vile name of marijuana prohibition.

Robert Melamede ³Cannabis and tobacco smoke are not equally carcinogenic.´ Harm Reduction Journal. Octobr 18, 2005; 2:(21). Online. Available publicly by CCA License via:

Jennifer Steinhauser ³House Votes to End Money for NPR, and Senate Passes Spending Bill.´ New York Times March 17, 2011. Online Version. Accessed via:

Back to Ben Let me return, briefly, to our time-travelling forefather, Benjamin Franklin. If he were to read this book, do you think he would support prohibition? (Let your audience answer this question)No, he would not. Or consider if cannabis were currently legal, and we were tasked with determining whether or not it should be made illegal. Would Mr. Franklin support such a measure? Could anyone with our current level of medical and scientific knowledge support such a measure? No, they could not. Only in the presence of massive policy inertia and the continuous circulation of disinformation and wild rumors could such a restrictive and unnecessary policy as cannabis prohibition even stand a chance of survival. The Bad Pill/Perfect Pill thought puzzle demonstrates why. Your are mixing your examples and this is confusing. Finish with Ben and then move to your Bad Pill/Perfect Pill puzzle. Our transported Mr. Franklin would surely be amazed at all that Americans have accomplished since he originally battled mostly with words and wit for the sovereignty of our country. He would be equally amazed at the idiocy that led us to the prohibition of cannabis. [This section in brackets is confusing. I don t know what you are trying to say If we are to speak of American Exceptionalism as our politicians frequently do we cannot concurrently support the unadulterated deprivation of rights of our citizens. Like the narcissistic nobles in Poe s Masque of Red Death, who locked themselves away to avoid the disease for which the tale is named, our politicians have used cannabis prohibition as a means to fix a problem that does not actually exist as they imagine it, by embracing a useless head-in-the-sand stratagem. Unfortunately, you should not assume your audience has read the Mask of the Red death. If you are going to use it as a reference, do so sparingly and make sure you explain what you mean ] Our violence-inducing and criminal-making marijuana policies have led us inexorably to our own black and crimson room where fearful judgment awaits. Unlike Prince Prospero, who meets his death at the hands of a shadowy stranger, we already have the terrible knowledge as to the origin of our deadly blight; government policy itself. I can assure you that our temporally-displaced Mr. Franklin [Please leave Ben out of this section. It s just confusing now] assuming he would agree to a reading of Poe s story would agree. As I have tried to reiterate constantly (because this is so basic to logical discourse), it is not the responsibility of those seeking an end to cannabis prohibition to provide evidence that it is not harmful. I physically cannot disprove a negative hypothesis. Christopher Hitchens (who is Christopher Hitchens? Please put that here) put it quite well when he said, What can be asserted without evidence can also be dismissed without evidence. I have provided enough evidence to defend my position, and I have alluded to the volume of the evidence which I could not include. As a medical student, my learning is far

from over. In fact, our professors have instructed us since the very first day of classes that the best doctors realize that they must also be perpetual students; I agree. But even my scientific training thus far allows me some modicum of authority on scientific matters that should rightfully supersede that of Congress the members of which, as I mentioned earlier, are overwhelmingly trained in law. I say this not as an arrogant conceit, but merely an observation of the differences in our respective areas of expertise. With regard to cannabis prohibition, all the evidence sits squarely on the side of those seeking the relegalization of cannabis, and our elected officials must acknowledge this fundamental concept, whether they hear the message from me or from any other scientifically-trained individual. Even readers 0if this book, upon completion, have more information about the causes and effects of marijuana prohibition than the vast majority of our legislators. I have read the primary literature, and have researched enough about this subject to allow me to write this bookfor the composition of this synopsis on the history and (lack of) science behind marijuana prohibition. My current lack of a medical degree is of no consequence to this discussion; my points are legitimate, my facts are clearly cited and easily confirmable, and my rationale is sound. I challenge anyone to provide me with evidence that contradicts anything I have said; if I am wrong about something, I will graciously admit as much. I cannot offer a thousand dollar prize as Michael Moore famously has in the past, but I will humbly redact any mistake I have made but I don t believe I have made any. More important than debating the efficacy of the messenger is finally forcing politicians to admit that prohibitionists have yet to produce a shred of evidence with any semblance of scientific integrity that would suggest that cannabis is the wicked weed that madmen on the government payroll have been allowed to claim from the turn of the century onward. Congress should not stand idly by as American lives are shattered every 42 seconds, remember over bags of weed. The problem is that we have not been loud enough. We have been asking nicely for far too long. Even President Obama, as deserving of credit as he is for his commitment to the sciences, is deplorably blithe on the subject of cannabis legalization. If you want to see significant and meaningful change, Mr. President, look no further than repealing our vicious and useless cannabis policies. Aside from the watertight scientific arguments against cannabis prohibition, we must also realize that it is far more horrifying that our neighbors and allies in Mexico must live in terror and watch in horror as their citizens are butchered in the streets daily. While we scurry to protect innocent civilians in Libya (not an ignoble venture, but one best discussed elsewhere) how can we turn a blind eye to the misery we are causing right at our southern border.? Recalling Red Death, our callous dismissal of the suffering of our neighbors is neatly summed by Poe: Drop the Red Death. It is not helping your argument and will just confuse the reader. This quote, although interesting, does nothing to support your argument.

No pestilence had ever been so fatal, or so hideous. Blood was its Avatar and its seal --the redness and the horror of blood

Short Answer To the readers who began this book with a pro-prohibition mindset, I ask you to re-evaluate the questions I opened with: You didn t open with these questions. They don t show up until page 12. You might consider reorganizing your book to open with these questions or move them closer to the top. Or rewrite the sentence to say the questions I asked earlier, or some variation. 1.) Why is marijuana illegal? 2.) Is marijuana harmful? 3.) What does marijuana prohibition accomplish?

The answer to number one is complex but quantifiable. In short, prohibition was originally cause by racism and exaggeration, and has been perpetuated through a willful ignorance of science and massive policy inertia brought on by injudicious or purposefully deceptive moral crusaders. The answer to number two is no. Marijuana has never been shown to be overwhelmingly dangerous, especially in relation to other legal substances. It is not addictive, and it contains no carcinogens. Inhaling plant matter may not be ideal, but this is not the government s choice to make, it is yours. The answer to number three is that prohibition accomplishes nothing. Nothing positive at least. Shattered lives, horrid violence and a tremendousgargantuan waste of money are the awful harvest that prohibition has reaped. While some politicians may add some cheaply-garnered votes to their ballot tally for their tough on drugs stance, the truth is that profiteering from fear is despicable, and attempting to coddle voters who do not understand the true nature of marijuana prohibition is exactly what allows this destructive policy to continue. Usage has not decreased and marijuana itself is more dangerous in its unregulated form. The War on Drugs was a bad idea to begin with, and has been a complete failure since its inception. Continuing its support is not cost-effective, it is completely ineffective, and it continues to allow the body count to rise.

I have no issue with the general public believing marijuana to be harmful. When your government with its enormous budget and wealth of research institutes explains that a substance is dangerous, the natural inclination is to believe this. But as I ve shown, marijuana prohibition is not based on science or logic, but rather lies and deceit. Americans have a right to be angry. We ve been lied to and, even in the face of overwhelming evidence, our pleas for a reasonable solution (read: legalization) to our

monumental problem have been completely ignored. Asking is no longer good enough. It is time to begin demanding. The mental air raid drill I alluded to earlier should compel you to some type of action, if only because such gross governmental overreach is so horribledly and obviously anathema to democracy as we know it. Human lives are being needlessly extinguished daily, snuffed out for nothing.

Think for yourself and question authority. I can understand, and empathize with, the fear of recrimination, especially among those whose careers or reputations might potentially be damaged. But citizens do have some responsibilities physicians and scientists included and one of those responsibilities is the identification and rejection of immoral, unjust laws. Do not forget that there is power in numbers. If more scientists publicly dissent, it will be more likely that we see change fast change. If you, Dear Readers, spread the message as well, we have an excellent chance at making a difference. I have taken the time and lots of it to outline the historical ignorance and hypocrisy that led to cannabis prohibition, and to emphasize its appallingly destructive nature. I am happy to do so. All I ask in return is that anyone who reads this contacts your Congressperson, local paper, or anyone who can make a effector of change you can find. If you can t do this, telling at least one other person about the book especially if they support prohibition would be greatly appreciated. If the person reading this happens to be able to make aan effector of change in their own right, then all the better; that should hasten process quite a bit. We should not be deterred by non-arguments like This isn t a good time to legalize or There are more important things to worry about; they are simply canards, they have no merit, and they are asinine. When is a good time to talk about basic rights to privacy? At what time do you think the 1000 mothers whose children were murdered (only 1000 children were murdered in the whole history of marijuana prohibition? Or was this last year? Or last week? Define the time frame)would consider this discussion appropriate? There is no justification for the continued illegality of marijuana. A jokeocularly derogatory maxim heard often in discussions that involve cannabis re-legalization goes something like this: I hope marijuana becomes legal just so potheads have nothing left to talk about. If we ignore the vague and stereotypical term pothead, we can actually extract something of value from this cutesy quip. There really is nothing left to talk about when it comes to cannabis relegalization. Let s cease with the talking and start with the doing. Our legislators just have to make it happen. Every day that passes is a tacit approval, by Congress, state Attorneys General, and our lawmakers in general, that arbitrary restrictions of basic rights are acceptable if they are government-approved. It seems that we have been lulled into complacencyennui by the difficulty and relative unimportance of re-legalizing marijuana. Attempts at repealing prohibition have been largely fruitless, so the swords of dissent were long ago beaten into ploughshares of submission. All restrictions on liberty should must be met with skepticism, if not outright anger; oversight and intervention are two very disparate concepts, and governance should always strive to judiciously utilize the former and avoid the latter whenever possible. Appeals to reason and pleas for

reform have amounted to little more than the bleatings and lowings of compliant livestock; feeble propitiations to an uncaring master. If cannabis prohibition were tried in a criminal court for the indignities and violence it has spawned, it would have no legitimate defense; it never has. The charges against are mass murder, grand larceny, and human rights violations. The jury should be swift, and the sentence must be harsh. Off with its head, and be done with the whole mess. It is time to dispense with pleasantries, and demand the return of a stolen liberty.


I dislike epilogues as well, so this will be even shorter than the preface.

Everything you need to know about the fallacious nature of marijuana prohibition is contained in this book. I ve done nothing special; the information was there, I simply synthesized it into an easily digestible format. Show this to your legislators and ask them to rebuke it. Challenge this nonsensical paradigm directly.

The only thing left is to spread the word.

We ll need numbers and noise.

Just Say No to government-approved privacy invasion.

Enough is enough.