It's Time To Turn Tables On War On Drugs 

It's Time To Turn Tables On War On Drugs 
Posted by FoM on April 15, 2002 at 07:19:45 PT
By Harley Sorensen, Special to SF Gate
Source: SF Gate 
One of the joys of doing a weekly Internet column is the mail from readers. That mail is often humbling because it is more informative and much better written than the column that inspires it. I have a handful of "regulars" who have become fast e-mail friends. Among them is Brent Andrews, who I met (online) when he was a reporter in Tennessee. We stayed in touch when he moved to Idaho, when he quit the news business to become a dot-commer, and when he retreated back home to Tennessee after his personal dot-com bubble burst. 
I'm going to meet Brent in person this week, when he comes to San Francisco for the 2002 conference of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML). The conference will be held at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, on Sutter at Powell, Thursday through Saturday. Local speakers will include San Francisco District Attorney Terence Hallinan, and the well-known criminal defense attorney, Tony Serra. In honor of Brent's visit to the city, I'm turning my column over to him this week. Here is what Brent has to say:  Tired of the drug war? Then choose sides I come to San Francisco this week because I'm mad as hell about the War on Drugs. I am tired of seeing failure follow failure in the unending fight against methamphetamine and cocaine. I'm tired of seeing police buying and selling marijuana and seizing property and cash, and leaving families ruined. I am tired of hearing about Asa Hutchinson's DEA raids on California's medical marijuana co-ops, raids planned and conducted at great expense at a time when I wonder whether my Tennessee neighbors might be mixing crank in their kitchens and bathrooms. I am looking forward to the time when drug war bureaucrats and agents become the enemy in the new drug war. I believe every town in America might one day seek out such people, burn them out of their homes and confiscate whatever is not burned for sale to the highest bidder. It will be good to watch those fires burn, to bid on those seized items. It will be high time the present enemy -- free people -- fought back against a corrupt and broken system. If our legislators won't stop the drug war, then we must do so ourselves "by any means necessary." That means getting drug policy out of the hands of law enforcement and into the hands of physicians and educated citizens. I'd rather see open revolution in America's streets than organized raids and stings by drug police who are wasting our time and our money and making a mockery of our inalienable rights. I'd rather see America fail then become a police state. But when the DEA has more authority in California than the voters, perhaps that police state is already here. If so, I will dismantle it or die trying. It's been five months and six days since I lost a dear friend to an overdose of meth and cocaine. She ingested fatal amounts of both drugs one night in northern Idaho while I was covering for the local newspaper the trials of three men accused of buying marijuana from the DEA. While she died alone in her apartment, the drug warriors were making sure those young men went to prison for buying marijuana the DEA agents themselves had brought to northern Idaho from Oregon. Sitting in the trial after hearing news of my friend's death, I watched as a DEA agent produced the 10 pounds of pot for the jury to see. I couldn't help wondering at the irony: The drug was painted by the state's attorney as the scourge of America, yet something else was really claiming lives on the streets. I wanted to run to the front of the courtroom and grab the marijuana and smoke it all in a sitting to prove to those misguided people that marijuana is not the problem in Idaho or anywhere else, that they're wasting their time and mine dealing it. I wanted to scream at the DEA agent who was a star witness: Where were you when my friend was buying her meth and cocaine? Were you somewhere selling marijuana to college kids? Are you a coward, or just ignorant? Instead, I asked him how he could live with himself. He looked surprised, then like all good bureaucrats declined comment. The DEA got the convictions it was seeking. Plans are probably in the works to bring more marijuana from Oregon or British Columbia to Idaho to sell to the locals. I won't have to write about these future pot deals as an unbiased reporter because I stopped being a reporter in the wake of my friend's death and the DEA's marijuana trial. Those events transformed me from an observer into an activist. And so I come to San Francisco this week for the annual conference of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. Since my friend died five months ago I have learned that there are many people as angry as I am about the War on Drugs, and I have joined them. I hope it's not too late to save our country from this damaging war that has gotten us nowhere. Brent's opinion is supported by the 1972 National Commission on Marijuana and Drug Use. In its report, that commission, appointed by President Richard M. Nixon, contained this conclusion: "Marihuana's relative potential for harm to the vast majority of individual users and its actual impact on society does not justify a social policy designed to seek out and firmly punish those who use it. This judgment is based on prevalent, use patterns, on behavior exhibited by the vast majority of users and on our interpretations of existing medical and scientific data. This position also is consistent with the estimate by law enforcement personnel that the elimination of use is unattainable." Unfortunately for all of us, the commission's findings were not what Nixon or other repressive people wanted to hear, so the report was never acted upon. We still treat marijuana as if it were some kind of deadly poison. Brent Andrews, by the way, now lives in historic Franklin, Tennessee. Harley Sorensen is a longtime journalist and iconoclast. His column appears Mondays. Source: SF Gate (CA)Author: Harley Sorensen, Special to SF GatePublished: Monday, April 15, 2002 Copyright: 2002 SF Gate  Website: harleysorensen yahoo.comRelated Articles & Web Site:NORML Against Marijuana is Crackpot - Murdock Marijuana Nixon Tapes Show Why US Outlawed Pot
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Comment #4 posted by goneposthole on April 15, 2002 at 10:51:54 PT
DEA agents are criminals
A DEA agent was arrested in Las Vegas a couple of weeks ago. He had some juveniles in a hotel room.They're the 'good guys' for assassinating Tom Crosslin and Roland Rohm.What a mess.
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Comment #3 posted by kaptinemo on April 15, 2002 at 09:08:50 PT:
An old joke I heard once
In the joke, the Soviets invade Red China. On the first day, they take 100,000 prisoners;On the second day, they take 2 Million prisoners;On the third day, they take 200 Million prisoners;On the 4th day, the Sovs surrender.The point? There are tens of millions of us as opposed to only a few thousand antis. They have the guns...we gave them. They have the prisons...paid for by us. They have the laws...which can be changed. By us. And even such a clown as Bob Barr has now realized the limit of his powers...if not the error of his ways.The Cannabis Voter Bloc in both the US and Canada has been as Napoleon described China; a sleeping giant. A sleeping giant that would prove to be highly dangerous for anyone with fascist designs to awaken. Those with fascist designs have already done so. The philosopher Goethe had once said that "When the masses fight, only then are they respectable." It remains to be seen if our response merits the respect Goethe said it might...or whether we will 'grunt and roll over'. 
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Comment #2 posted by potpal on April 15, 2002 at 07:55:02 PT
A sad thought...
I think antis actually believe they are winning the wosd because they are making more arrests then ever therefore they are raking in more dollars then ever...and that's there barometer. What a cash cow mj is to them. They know that the majority of mj users are average citizens with money in their pockets and easy to push over and rob unlike pennyless junkies.Not only are tax dollars handed over to anti/le orgs but what becomes of the mega fines doled out, the property forfeitures, lawyer fees and lest we forget bribes, extortions and campaign donations if the wosd should end?
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Comment #1 posted by Patrick on April 15, 2002 at 07:47:25 PT
Right On
The DEA are a bunch of cowards for targeting cannabis smokers at the expense of real problems. Wish I could make the trip to SF.
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