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“"All, too, will bear in mind this sacred principle, that though the will of the majority is in all cases to prevail, that will to be rightful must be reasonable; that the minority possess their equal rights, which equal law must protect, and to violate would be oppression.”     Thomas Jefferson,    First Inaugural Address, 4 March 1801

March 6, 2006

Marc Emery and the Seedy War on Pot (and drugs in general)

by Kay

At first glance, if you’ve read my bio, you might wonder what the heck a gal like me could have to say about the war on drugs. If you really don’t know me, you might read to the first line of the fifth paragraph of my bio and immediately discount anything I have to say – but hey, that’s your right and your bias – not mine.

But in reality, I’m in a unique position to comment on this topic – for a couple reasons. First, I have no hidden agenda. I’m an almost 45 year old woman who has NEVER so much as smoked a cigarette. I’ve never eaten a pot brownie or smoked a joint. Never tried any mind altering drugs – other than the occasional glass of wine or mixed drink. To say I’m “squeaky” clean when it comes to the usage of drugs is an understatement, and the only things I can attribute it to are good parents and teachings, and a very strong sense of needing to be in control. So if and when drugs are ever legalized, I’ll probably still not partake. My need to be in control of myself and my actions far outweighs any curiosity that I have.

What has got me thinking about this today was watching 60 Minutes last night and seeing the segment on Marc Emery entitled “Prince of Pot“. It seems that Marc Emery (who may be far better known to others than he was to me) has been selling marijuana seeds for years over the internet to folks all over the world. He’s currently under indictment for selling and distributing marijuana (among other things) and is waiting to see if the Canadian government is going to extradite him to the US.

I truly, honestly believe that the “war on drugs” is a bogus waste of time and money, and we’d be much better off if we simply legalized at least marijuana and allowed it’s free and open use as we do alcohol. The only caveat would be that users would have to be aware that penalties for crimes or accidents committed under the influence would result in very stiff penalties.

The upshot of legalizing pot would be to put a lot of dealers out of business – the war on drugs as it stands right now is really good for their business – they don’t want legalization – and that’s what I see as a difference between Marc Emery and drug dealers. You see, Marc Emery WANTS marijuana to be legalized, and he’s spent the majority of his profits trying to institute change in a system he believes to be wrong.

One area that was not touched upon in the “Prince of Pot” segment was one I consider to be important – that of the need for marijuana for medical use, which is just as illegal in the US as non-medical use. If I had a friend or family member who had a disease which could be eased by the use of marijuana, (i.e. glaucoma, cancer, MS, chronic pain, etc.) I’d want them to be able to use it if it could ease their suffering – and that without being concerned that it was an illegal substance.

I haven’t had the time to fully examine the site, but the Drug Policy Alliance appears to be one of the best sites promoting common sense when it comes to a drug policy in the United States.

So, here I am, mother of two, straight arrow, fiscal conservative, social liberal and against the war on drugs. Whew. Politics do make strange bedfellows, eh?

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16 Comments

  1. Outside of the libertarian talking-points side of things, there is absolutely no reason for marijuana to be illegal. I would say that it is significantly safer than alcohol, in the grand scheme of things. In fact, I’ve heard (unfortunately I don’t have a source for this claim) that one of the groups trying to keep pot illegal are the alcohol lobbyists.

    But I think Dennis Miller said it best. I’ll try to paraphrase: “Marijuana is a much safer drug than alcohol. You might see someone who’s drunk playing pool, break the cue over their knee and stab someone with it. You don’t see that with people on pot; they’re too busy laughing at the balls.”

    Comment by Brad Warbiany — March 6, 2006 @ 9:26 am
  2. Hehehe! I like that one – hadn’t heard Dennis Miller’s take – but that sounds about right!

    Comment by Kay — March 6, 2006 @ 9:29 am
  3. I would just like to say thank you for your support. The greatest thing that that should be done is to let people know that Cannabis people are just like every one else and on a side note i find alchohol causes me to lose far more self control then cannabis ever could in any quantity.

    Comment by brandon steele — March 6, 2006 @ 9:32 am
  4. I know Marc Emery because I joined the BC Marijuana Party. He has been a tireless crusader against the Prohibitionists.
    The problem stems from America’s Right-Wing Evangelicals; your country is as caught up in that nonsense as the Middle East is in Islam.
    If Emery gets extradited, Canada will definitely become hostile towards the U.S.
    Marc Emery is trying to help Americans do what they can’t seem to do for themselves.

    Comment by David — March 6, 2006 @ 12:29 pm
  5. It seems to me that in order to properly evaluate our nation’s drug policies, we need to compare and contrast our drug policies with those of another nation with very substantially different drug policies. I suggest that we use the Czech Republic for out comparison.

    In the Czech Republic, citizens can legally use, possess, grow, buy or sell small quantities of marijuana.

    In the United States, many otherwise law abiding citizens, are locked in prison cages for possessing, growing or selling various amounts of marijuana.

    The Czech overall drug arrest rate is 1 per 100,000 population. The U. S. overall drug arrest rate is 585 per 100,000 population. The Czech robbery rate is 2 per 100,000 population. The U. S. robbery rate is 145.9 per 100,000 population, according to the F. B. I.

    According to our drug war cheerleaders, tolerant marijuana laws cause people to use other, much more dangerous drugs like meth and heroin.

    Obviously, this doesn’t happen in the Czech Republic. Why not?

    Could it be that when people can legally obtain marijuana at an affordable price, they tend not to use or desire any other recreational drugs?

    Could it be that marijuana legalization actually creates a roadblock to hard drug use–not a gateway?

    Comment by Kirk — March 6, 2006 @ 2:00 pm
  6. Alabama Governor Candidate, Loretta Nall,
    Libertarian, gave excellent reasons for
    marijuana legalization in a speech before
    the Black Mayors’ Conference recently.
    Apparently, in Alabama, a small drug
    record results in losing voting rights,
    and many, many Black persons in Alabama
    have lost their voting rights.
    Black persons fought hard to get their
    voting rights and freedom.
    Then the law changed, making
    marijuana, which was formerly legal,
    illegal, and now Blacks are in prison
    in chains instead of being slaves in
    chains, and their voting rights
    are taken away.
    Please use this link to locate her
    speech. It’s great.
    http://2006candidate.com

    Comment by Cris Ericson — March 6, 2006 @ 2:18 pm
  7. Harry Anslinger. Eliot Ness and the G-Men had to have a new boogeyman – to keep there jobs – once Prohibition ended.

    Comment by John Newman — March 6, 2006 @ 6:48 pm
  8. Kay, I too am about as squeaky clean as they come. I had always believed Marijuana should stay illegal until my father was so ill and dying from cancer. I would have loved to get my hands on some for him.

    Comment by Lone Pony — March 6, 2006 @ 7:20 pm
  9. Thanks for your blog remarks. Hopefully the 60 Minutes piece on Marc Emery opened some eyes on how cruel and mindless the US drug policy on marijuana is.

    I agree the Drug Policy Alliance is a great organization, with a pretty cool blog on its site (D’Alliance – blog). Two individual blogs on the drug war which are also excellent are Pete Guither’s DrugWarRant (drugwarrant.com) and Libby Spencer’s Last One Speaks blog (lastonespeaks.blogspot.com). Marc Emery’s Cannabisculture.com site is interesting too.

    Comment by jackl — March 6, 2006 @ 7:43 pm
  10. I saw that segment on Marc Emery too and just shook my head the whole time. What a colossal waste of energy, money, and lives this drug war has been. I have grown marijuana hydroponically in the past. Although I do not now, I would not hesitate to grow again if anyone close to me fell sick with something that pot could help out on. Once you’ve grown, that knowledge never leaves you. What is not often mentioned is just how many medicinal qualities pot has; it’s no mistake that pot is one of the mainstays of ALL ancient medicines (see Wikipedia).

    Comment by la dude — March 6, 2006 @ 8:20 pm
  11. Nice to see one who is “squeeky clean” understand the injustice perpetrated by the War On (some) Drugs.

    The shame is that Marc Emery’s 20 minutes is a miniscule soundbite when compared to the hours of anti-drug hysteria/lies the government has been spreading as “truth” for decades.

    A policy like the drug war (Prohibition II) allows the shredding of the Constitution and is defacto martial law. A system of laws, founded upon utter racist BS and perjured testimony before Congress (Harry Anslinger) is a crime by the government against the people.

    Comment by allan — March 6, 2006 @ 9:10 pm
  12. I think Mark was wrong to sell M seeds to the people in the US given their strong legal stance against the drug.  He should respect the laws of that country like we want them to respect our laws.  We, as Canadians are much more lenient in our perspective on Pot.  I hope we do soon legalize it but that is up to us.  The States has their own agenda and as a democratic country, they can choose which way their laws should go.  I don’t think we should let the US control our drug laws either. Mark should keep his zealous activism to this country.  I certainly hope he does not get extradited but there is the saying, “if you want to dance to the tune, you have to pay to the piper”.  In this situation, it will be a high price to pay.  I don’t think any Canadian wants that for one of it’s own.

    Comment by rosey — March 7, 2006 @ 12:18 am
  13. The problem is that we have ample evidence what happens with Prohibition, yet we continue to ignore it.

    Prohibition does two things extraordinarily well:

    1. It breeds contempt for the law (hence corrodes the domestic tranquility).

    2. It breeds corruption in law enforcement (thus tending to promote tyranny…and also corroding domestic tranquility at no extra charge).

    Comment by Ken — March 7, 2006 @ 7:31 am
  14. One person mentioned the alcohol industry is a group that is totally against legalization. They are right but I haven’t heard anyone mention the prison guard unions and the law enforcement unions. They are almost violently anti legalization. I guess I can’t blame them. Which would anyone want to arrest, someone who is peacefully stoned or someone who is a dangerous criminal. How many million $ did 60 Minutes say the DEA has spent pursueing Marc. I guess that is one way for me to get the health insurance I haven’t been able to afford, get busted for herb use.
    How come our legislators don’t have to be drug tested?

    Comment by David Wanner — March 7, 2006 @ 11:48 am
  15. There’s a slight mistake in the article since ME didn’t sell marijuana, just seeds which are completely free of all “active ingredients.” Shame on you, USA.

    Comment by davis greene — March 9, 2006 @ 6:52 pm
  16. I do not know about the United States but in Canada most individuals support the legalization of marijuana. As a Marijuana Party candidate in the recent federal election I advocated for the legalization, regulation and taxation of the marijuana industry.

    In British Columbia, (the home of world famous BC Bud) it is estimated that the marijuana industry is worth 7 billion dollars a year. In a recent column in the Wall Street Journal ‘Musing About The War On Drugs’(February 21, 2006), George Melloan estimates the US War On Drugs costs 50 billion dollars a year in direct costs alone. Simply put, that works out to one billion dollars a year per state. Money that could be used for other things.

    During the election the word I used to describe this approach was ‘squander’. As societies what opportunities to improve the lives and fortunes of our most vulnerable have we squandered? How many people must struggle with poverty, poor education, limited employment, and lack of health care?

    We must ask ourselves the question regarding the ‘War On Drugs’: Is it really worth it? And the second question should be: Just who is ‘winning’ under the present regime?

    Fred Mallach
    836 Reed Street,
    Victoria, BC
    V8X 2P2

    (250) 389-1992 evenings
    (250) 388-5588 work

    fred.mallach@shaw.ca

    Comment by Fred Mallach — March 9, 2006 @ 9:15 pm

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