Big Pharma Doesn't Want To Legalize

Big Pharma Doesn't Want To Legalize
Posted by CN Staff on December 05, 2007 at 10:47:15 PT
By David Servatius
Source: Daily Utah Chronicle
Utah -- Allow me to present Exhibit A in the case of Common Sense V. The United States of America.Somewhere in this country, a man is sitting in a prison cell, wasting away. This man lived a normal middle-class American life up until his incarceration. He had paid his taxes and contributed to his community. He'd worked at a decent job. More than likely, he has a family trying to get by without him for the next 10 to 15 years. There is no chance of an early release for this man.
What did he do? He was found with a small quantity of marijuana in his possession. He wasn't an addict. He wasn't selling to children. It wasn't any sort of problem in his life or in anyone else's. To this man, a little bit of the bud was no different from a couple of drinks -- even better in many ways.But in one unfortunate moment, he became collateral damage in this country's misguided and misnamed War on Drugs. His state's mandatory minimum law required that he spend many years in prison. The judge in the case wasn't allowed to consider his lack of a criminal record or his exemplary life in sentencing and, by any standard, this man's life has now been ruined.What was just described is the common story of millions of inmates, both male and female, crowding our country's correctional institutions. According to FBI statistics, almost a million of the roughly 1.8 million annual drug arrests in this country are for marijuana. Almost 88 percent of those are for possession alone. In a recent report from the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, it is estimated that taxpayers spend between $7.5 and $10 billion a year arresting and prosecuting people for marijuana violations.Since 1992, a mind-boggling 6 million Americans have been arrested on marijuana charges -- more than the populations of Alaska, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont and Wyoming combined. That is an immense investment of money, time, energy and human resources into a national project that has never had any demonstrable success.Worse yet, in order to keep these citizens locked up in prison as required by law, and to comply with court orders to decrease crowding in the facilities, hardened and violent criminals are being paroled early. Other times they are moved to less secure county jails and are then more able to escape.Doesn't this seem absurd? Is this little plant that human beings have partaken of for millennia really something so threatening to American life that it justifies this madness? California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger said in a recent British GQ interview that it wasn't a drug, it was a leaf. He's right. We have attempted to outlaw nature. Where is the threat? What is the harm?I don't think there has ever been a single person who has overdosed and died from smoking pot. I've never heard anyone say they smoked so much that they vomited all over their (fill in the blank) and had a headache the next day. You'll never find a case where someone smoked a joint and then beat his wife or got into a public brawl. I think the worst dangers are probably sore cheek muscles from laughing or a bad case of indigestion from the jar of peanut butter and the brick of Swiss cheese that suddenly tasted so amazing together.So this all-out assault on marijuana use doesn't seem to make the least bit of sense, like so many things in modern America. But, also like so many things in modern America, it makes a little more sense if you understand the corrosive influence of corporate money in our legal and political systems.For example, there is a widely-respected and taxpayer-funded public service organization called the Partnership for a Drug-Free America. You might remember their famous "This is your brain on drugs" ad featuring the frying egg. Now, how drug-free do you think the Partnership for a Drug-Free America really wants the country to be, considering that the group is actually a joint venture by the alcohol and pharmaceutical industries? Maybe free of just certain drugs?The dirty little secret that the big pharmaceutical companies fear most is that marijuana actually helps a lot of people with a lot of things that these companies would rather sell people an expensive pill for. It provides a lot of harmless enjoyment and social lubrication for a lot of people, without the added toxicity of alcohol.The lives of casual marijuana users are not being destroyed by a war on drugs -- they're being destroyed by an ongoing war on anything that a multi-national corporation can't control and generate profits from. Like Bill Maher said, if they could figure out a way to put a little Pfizer logo on each leaf, marijuana would be legal tomorrow.Note: Policy on marijuania is hypocritical.Source: Daily Utah Chronicle, The (U of Utah, UT Edu)Author: David ServatiusPublished: December 5, 2007Copyright: 2007 The Daily Utah ChronicleContact: letters chronicle.utah.eduWebsite: -- Cannabis Archives
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Comment #23 posted by Hope on December 10, 2007 at 10:48:36 PT
This article is from a college paper...
but it's profound, isn't it? There it is... in black and white. The truth.It would be nice to see this in USA Today, Time, Newsweek, Forbes, Reason, The New York Times, The Washington Post, etcetera ... major media.But it's good. It's good to see the truth and facts in print, at all. It's extremely well written, seems to me. I like and appreciate this column, or article, or whatever it is, a lot. Maybe the truth will trickle up to the majors.
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Comment #22 posted by museman on December 09, 2007 at 22:26:37 PT
Believe me, I am not holding my breath with the democrats. I believe i've made my opinons towards that 'profession' in general quite clear. But when the only cards on the table appear to be as they do, I would have to agree with the showdown between D.K. and R.P. they are the only candidates approaching the rare fundaments of reality.
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Comment #21 posted by OverwhelmSam on December 07, 2007 at 22:48:31 PT
Democrats have not done much better. They should jail Bush and they just toe the line and pass HR 1955. I like Dennis, but i just don't think he has a chance in the primaries. I would love to see a race between Dennis and Paul in the Fall. In the meantime, I like Ron becuase I know he will dismantle the two main bastions of federal oppression of the People, the DEA and the IRS. The other issues can be resolved in due course.
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Comment #20 posted by FoM on December 07, 2007 at 11:52:49 PT
I still would really appreciate your taking this to Drug War Rant. I am not interested in this and that's why we have different web sites for different issues. 
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Comment #19 posted by observer on December 07, 2007 at 11:45:30 PT
Drug Policy Aliance
Anyhow, for what it is worth, the Drug Policy Alliance (the org hosting the Drug Policy Conference this week, mentioned below) is one of the organizations that pay the bills to keep our beloved site running. Ethan Nadelman somehow got UN Chief Prohibitionist Antonio Maria Costa to speak there. It surprised me that Costa would even talk to a bunch of depraved legalizers, such as we are. 
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Comment #18 posted by museman on December 07, 2007 at 11:42:39 PT
my last post was a reference to #14, not 4, sorry, holding laptop in one hand typing with other,...
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Comment #17 posted by museman on December 07, 2007 at 11:40:10 PT
In as much as Mr. Paul has inspired such impressive support and awakened the real american political spirit in his followers, I stop short at the idea that his policies are all that far removed. After all he is still a republican, and since the office of the president was stolen almost 8 years ago, the agenda of that party has been revealed in all it's putrescent 'glory.'Mr. Paul gained his people support largely from his useage of common sense in addressing the issues. It would be better (I think) to hope that the success/wealth blinded politcian class began to actually listen to the people instead of the winin' dinin' lobbyists. Start promoting ideas, and implementing them instead of just 'allocating funds, and delegating authority' in some over-rated inefficent, and obsolete format of committees and forums that waste time, and money on volumes and volumes of rhetoric and hot-air, accoplishing very little, and in my book they aren't even coming close to earning the wealth, prestige, and power that they enjoy so liberally.Not to be compared with the burgeoning support that R.P. is getting, there is a movement called 'Draft Gore' that might, if mr G was in the running, rival the support of mr P.I must agree with the idea that the same kind of energy on a public, grass roots level could hasten the inevitable collapse of that house of cards known as prohibition, but we must remember that until very recently, the issue was not held to be poltical by the powers that be. Promoting the use of an illegal substance is a crime. The recent hoopla over 'bong hits for jesus' gives a good example of the current acceptance of cannabis as a political subject, thus supposedly protected by the first ammendment.If people are willing to lose their jobs, their cars, maybe even their families, and most likely get that 'behind the bars' perspective, then an active grass roots campaign would have a chance. As it is, we barely have our foot in the door with the medicinal movement.The main reason (I can see) that this medical movement has had success, is because we have had a few substantially endowed philanthropists who have covered the ground that our dedication and enthusiasm could not, and spoken the true language of our government, and all it's office holders, which is money, and money only.When a political 'representative' can rise to power based on their actual relationship with the people, and not the amount of money spent on the campaign, then, and only then will this dysfunctional government finally be back on track.
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Comment #16 posted by FoM on December 07, 2007 at 11:25:31 PT
One More Time
Would you please take this over to Drug War Rant. Thank you.
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Comment #15 posted by observer on December 07, 2007 at 11:12:28 PT
Drug Policy Conference - Friday morning
Update from the Drug Policy Conference.
Friday, December 7, 2007Drug Policy Conference - Friday morningWorkshop: Building Momentum in CongressAaron Houston (MPP), Kris Krane (SSDP), Jesslyn McCurdy (ACLU), Daniel Raymond (Harm REduction Coalition), Eric Sterling (Criminal Policy Justice Foundation), Nkechi Taifa (Open Society Institute), Sanho Tree (Institute for Policy Studies). Moderator: Bill Piper (DPA)I know many of these panelists (either online or in person), so I thought it would be enjoyable to attend their panel.Aaron Houston: Regarding the Hinchey amendment. The Democratic leadership does not want drug policy reform to get any kind of win -- not even a moral victory. They have so many of their members to whip in line, that they won't allow anything (particularly something controversial like drugs) to mess things up.Kris Krane: Talked about the Congressman who reneged on his promise to modify the bill relating to financial aid denial for students, but the hope is that there may be some possibility that something will happen in conference.Nkechi Taifa: - With the Democrats in Congress, I can't say that I'm optimistic about even getting a hearing...
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Comment #14 posted by OverwhelmSam on December 07, 2007 at 07:48:08 PT
Just Think
If we can promote congressional representatives and senators who have the same policies as Ron Paul, the police state would be over in a matter of a few years and adult possession and use of marijuana would be as common and ethical as alcohol consumption.
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Comment #13 posted by Had Enough on December 07, 2007 at 06:16:21 PT
Signs, Signs, everywhere there’s a sign...
Re: #11 & 12I have to agree on the Ron Paul thing. I see people’s hand made banners & posters all over the place. There is a bus bench seat a couple of blocks away. Some one took a bed sheet and spray painted ‘Ron Paul 2008’ with letters about a foot tall on it. It was placed over the existing advertisement and remained for about 3 or 4 days before someone removed it.Across town there is a small strip store center with about a half dozen small businesses ranging from selling used appliances, tool sharpening shop, to a biker who builds custom bikes. On the big sign that lists all the business and faces the road, on the very top, someone hung a handmade sign. It says’ ‘Elect Ron Paul 2008’ with the word ‘elect’ crossed out and directly below the words ‘Ron Paul’ the word ‘Love’ is spelled out backwards. Never seen anything like that before.I’ve even seen graffiti done with spray paint supporting Ron Paul. Not just here, but everywhere. Look on the TV/Ad Machine/Idiot Box, Boob Tube, when the news people show footage of the larger inner cities. You can see graffiti on the walls and handmade ‘Vote for Ron Paul’ signs in the backgrounds.That is quite amazing to me to see the support that he is getting, and super amazing to see kind of people who are supporting him. When is the last time you saw a presidential candidate getting support via the graffiti crowd?Most candidates would foam at the mouth to get that kind of support. I’ll bet his opponents wish he would shrivel up and go away. I’m sure they are somewhat green-eyed about his grass roots support that he is getting.That is what I’d like to see with the cannabis issue. The support is there, its just not being applied properly. Imagine signs everywhere ‘Vote to grow/return to Hemp Products’ ‘Vote for Cannabis’. Let it become political suicide for wannabe elected official to speak out against it.This election we are facing might be of greater import than the average ‘Joe’ might even imagine. I like to view the glass half-full, but I can’t help but see and feel that mankind is real close to it’s breaking point.
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Comment #12 posted by museman on December 06, 2007 at 10:34:58 PT
You make an excellent statement about the power of the people, and how it is almost always given second chair to the 'professional' advertizers, promoters, and the 'highly educated' as if the people aren't capable on their own of making intelligent, and informed decisions, let alone creative, unique, and effective actions to achieve their goals.I have to admit that as the nasty thing rolls around, I find myself considering the unheard of possibility that this time around the 'lesser of evils' might just be a Republican!The belief of people is a powerful force, and the support R.P. is getting is definitely impressive.
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Comment #11 posted by OverwhelmSam on December 06, 2007 at 09:01:01 PT
Legalize Marijuana for President
I have been following the Ron Paul campaign and I have to admit, the marijuana legalization groups could Learn a Lot from his campaign. Rather than Campaign Headquarters driving the campaign, the people supporting Ron Paul for President who are not even directly connected to the campaign are buying full page ads in USA Today, Hiring Blimps to fly in several cities, meeting with local officials, correcting main stream media on every story, registering to vote family and friends, registering as delegates, and on many other initiatives from knocking on doors to handing our flyers in their spare time. Too bad cannabis consumers haven't achieved this Level of Motivation and Commitment.
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Comment #10 posted by Sam Adams on December 06, 2007 at 07:37:45 PT
poor, poor Pennsylvania
wow, it really sucks to be a kid out in the sticks of Pennsylvania!  Why don't these redneck Puritans just ban dancing altogether? Then they won't have to see the kids having fun at all.That's what the whole MJ thing is about, really.  Old people's jealous envy of the young.
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Comment #9 posted by Sam Adams on December 06, 2007 at 07:23:52 PT
good joke
this is the funniest thing I've seen in a while: sheer American arrogance of it is unbelievable.  Some good 'ole boys from the "show-me" state just have to show those backward Arabs how to farm and they'll stop growing that silly opium! They poor Arabs are just too backward without help from the Heartland! What a joke, if the Arabs learn anything useful they'll just apply it to the opium crop for higher yields. I'm sure they're looking for ways to improve, now that the US Army is running the heroin rackets over there, I"m sure they demand a big cut of the action.
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Comment #8 posted by Hope on December 06, 2007 at 06:02:06 PT
That poll...
It looks kind of like a childish fit of anger of some kind.
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Comment #7 posted by Hope on December 05, 2007 at 21:07:01 PT
It was rubbish. Was it some of kind of passive aggressive attack on the story, or something? Don't know. 
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Comment #6 posted by afterburner on December 05, 2007 at 17:05:13 PT
Hope 'Is that some sort of strange poll, or what?'
Total rubbish:"Is a Swiss pot report saying teens who toke just as likely to do well in school full of smoke?"Full of smoke? What the hey?
 - "Of course! Remember, smoking weed kills brain cells."Untrue!- "No, it’s a recreational drug."Say what?This is a pointless and absolutely no-win poll. It's beyond strange, to uselessness. It only perpetuates ill-informed and prejudiced negative stereotypes.This is one poll I have positively no intention of answering. The question does not make sense and the options are equally biased against any positive correlation. By extension, the poll's dismissive attitude is biased against any medical or spiritual practice involving cannabis.
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Comment #5 posted by Hope on December 05, 2007 at 14:24:01 PT
Look. Same kids, straight or stoned
Pot group touts Swiss reportComments, too.Is that some sort of strange poll, or what?
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Comment #4 posted by JSM on December 05, 2007 at 13:37:39 PT
You got it. Thank you for expressing what so many know and feel.
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Comment #3 posted by Hope on December 05, 2007 at 12:19:55 PT
Didn't expect The Spanish Inquisition? FL: Executing Drug Dealers May Get Easier
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Comment #2 posted by Sam Adams on December 05, 2007 at 12:00:30 PT
what a great article
He gets the big picture! BeautifulLook at this, a rare good headline:
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Comment #1 posted by museman on December 05, 2007 at 11:56:51 PT
Fear the pot!
Oh yes mr politician, I know you fear me. You shake to the pits of your bought and paid for souls. You hate me with the passion of a rabid dog about 30 minutes from expiration. You make wars, and legislation to build mega-walls of beaurocratic waste and wasted human motions of going to and fro, with no result except perpetuation of the rule and dominion.Yes mr policeman, you seethe in your patent leather, sweaty hands on your penis compensator, waiting for the slightest 
'probable cause' to allow your preversion out of it's thin constraints. Your desires of destruction towards the meek has made you, and you fear my power to expose your sickness to the world.And you, mr money, parading around the neighborhood like it was 'yours and you own it.' Buying and selling blood, lives, hearts, minds, and bodies...because you can, because you hold that 'supreme card' in your wallet. You mr pollution, mr glutton and lust, you have the most reason to fear me, because I will leave you naked in the street with no limosine standing by.Yes fear me all you who would be kings, who would enslave another for sex, or profit. Fear and fear some more. Taste the bile of your denial, and the accumulative dross of your useless existence as the truth nails you to the cross of your own hypocrisy.Have great apprehension you pretenders of mercy and you false healers, because I can do what you cannot even see or imagine.And all you railers of judgement and accusation, who would trample on peace for the sake of elevating your egos, and satisfying some twisted sense of false spirituality in the destruction of others besides your own sanctioned fellows, your 'religion', tremble in the knowlege that I approach.Who am I?I am a plant. A simple organism that knows more of truth, beauty, existence, life, health, common sense, justice, and Truth, than any of your professions, titular holdings, elected officials, or certified achievements. I am Cannabis. Fear my power!
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