Pubdate: Mon, 24 Mar 2003
Source: Ocean County Observer (NJ)
Copyright: 2003 Ocean County Observer
Author: Clifford Schaffer


Terence P. Farley is correct that misinformation abounds on medical 
marijuana. If you want some misinformation, just go ask any DEA agent about 
the issue. Lying about marijuana has been official U.S. government policy 
since 1937 when Harry Anslinger, then head of the Federal Bureau of 
Narcotics, realized that cannabis was already so widespread then that he 
would never be able to control it with his limited budget and manpower. As 
a result, he decided to use The Big Lie. And the lies were stupendous, to 
say the least. The U.S. official expert on marijuana testified in court, 
under oath, that marijuana would make your incisors grow six inches long 
and drip with blood. Farley apparently forgot that evil effect.

Farley also neglected to mention that the U.S. government sends a big tin 
can full of 300 smokable joints to a number of patients each month. The 
reason they do that is because some of those patients went to federal court 
and proved to a legal certainty that marijuana is a medicine and it is the 
only medicine suitable for their needs.

Farley mentions the Institute of Medicine report, but then fails to mention 
that the report concluded that, despite the problems with smoking any 
medicine, there were clearly some people for whom there simply aren't any 
good alternatives to medical marijuana at the current time, and that those 
people should be allowed to use it.

Farley fails to mention the reasons that marijuana is illegal at all. 
Marijuana was originally outlawed because of the fear that heroin addiction 
would lead to the use of marijuana -- just exactly the opposite of what 
Farley would like us to believe today.

The laws never did have anything to do with protecting public health and 
safety and -- another thing Farley forgot to mention -- every major study 
of drug policy in the last 100 years has concluded that the marijuana laws 
were based on the worst kind of racism, ignorance and nonsense, and should 
have been repealed long ago because they do more harm than good. And they 
weren't even talking about the medical use.

You don't have to take my word for that. You can read the full text of most 
of them at under Major Studies of Drugs and 
Drug Policy.

In 1973, President Richard Nixon's U.S. National Commission on Marijuana 
and Drug Abuse concluded the largest study of the drug laws ever done. They 
stated that the real drug problem was not marijuana, or heroin, or cocaine. 
The real drug problem, they said, was the ignorance of our public officials 
who have never bothered to read the most basic research on the subject. 
Farley proves it is still true.

If Farley is actually interested in good information on the subject, he can 
find the full text of Nixon's commission -- along with the full text of the 
largest studies ever done by the governments of the United Kingdom, Canada 
and Australia, at the link above. But he probably won't read any of it. In 
the case of the DEA, the ignorance is deliberate -- and that amounts to 
plain stupidity.

CLIFFORD SCHAFFER Director, DRCNet Online Library of Drug Policy
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