Tomorrow, voters in several States will have the opportunity to nullify parts of the Drug War. Most of the initiatives would legalize the production, possession, delivery and distribution of marijuana and would regulate the sale of small amounts of marijuana to people 21 and older. However, the initiative in Washington would make it illegal for a motorist to have more than 5 nanograms (a nanogram is one billionth of a gram) of THC per milliliter of blood in their system.
BallotPedia reports, “Some opponents take issue with the fact that the initiative, if approved, would make it illegal for a motorist to have more than 5 nanograms of THC (an active ingredient of marijuana) per milliliter of blood in their system. Opponents argue that THC levels vary depending on the body’s tolerance, which may put medical marijuana patients at greater risk of arrest”
Despite these objections in Washington, there are plenty of unlikely supporters of Initiative 502. Former U.S. Attorney John McKay said, “The enormous demand for marijuana in the face of criminal penalties, which has been in existence for 70 years, is spinning off enormous profits for drug cartels, for gangs, for drug dealers. We are strategically, way, way out of position in law enforcement by allowing the American marijuana demand and market to fund those much more serious activities.”
Peter Guither at DrugWarRANT.com writes on the history of marijuana, “For most of human history, marijuana has been completely legal. It’s not a recently discovered plant, nor is it a long-standing law. Marijuana has been illegal for less than 1% of the time that it’s been in use. Its known uses go back further than 7,000 B.C. and it was legal as recently as when Ronald Reagan was a boy.
The marijuana (hemp) plant, of course, has an incredible number of uses. The earliest known woven fabric was apparently of hemp, and over the centuries the plant was used for food, incense, cloth, rope, and much more. This adds to some of the confusion over its introduction in the United States, as the plant was well known from the early 1600′s, but did not reach public awareness as a recreational drug until the early 1900′s.”
Guither continues, William Randolph Hearst used yellow journalism to smear cannabis and cannabis users and was helped by “Dupont chemical company and various pharmaceutical companies in the effort to outlaw cannabis. Dupont had patented nylon, and wanted hemp removed as competition. The pharmaceutical companies could neither identify nor standardize cannabis dosages, and besides, with cannabis, folks could grow their own medicine and not have to purchase it from large companies.”
Marijuana became illegal because of false-fear and to help a small group of powerful men retain power and control. The truth is, regardless if cannabis (marijuana) is legal or illegal people will still use it. However, by keeping it illegal, those who make the rules are forcing a dangerous black market, the exact opposite of their desired intentions.
If you believe that you and you alone own yourself and you are responsible for your actions; you must also acknowledge that neither you nor any group of people have the right or authority to tell someone (without their consent) what they can or cannot do that does not harm another person. If you have the opportunity to push back against the Drug War, you should take it (even though the initiative in Washington could be vastly improved). If you live elsewhere, call and write your “representative” asking them to introduce similar legislation. Until the drug war is over, feel free to practice civil disobedience but be aware of the consequences.
Update by Stephen VanDyke: I added one of Colorado’s pro Amendment 64 videos to the top of the post, because it’s a great example of how to “flip the script” on the issue by making it for the children. I know, it’s a little sleazy to bring kids into a political debate, ever… but that’s never stopped opponents.