The shocking story behind Richard Nixon’s ‘War on Drugs’ that targeted blacks and anti-war activists

Scholar @Mark_J_Perry   June 14, 2018

This Sunday, June 17 will mark the 47th anniversary of a shameful day in US history — it’s when President Richard Nixon’s declared what has been the US government’s longest and costliest war — the epic failure known as the War on Drugs. At a press conference on that day in 1971, Nixon identified drug abuse as “public enemy number one in the United States” and launched a failed, costly and inhumane federal war on Americans that continues to today. Early the following year, Nixon created the Office of Drug Abuse Law Enforcement (ODALE) in January 1972 to wage a government war on otherwise peaceful and innocent Americans who voluntarily chose to ingest plants, weeds, and intoxicants proscribed by the government. In July 1973, ODALE was consolidated, along with several other federal drug agencies, into the newly established Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) as a new “super agency” to handle all aspects of the War on Drugs Otherwise Peaceful Americans.

But as John Ehrlichman, Nixon’s counsel and Assistant for Domestic Affairs, revealed in 1994, the real public enemy in 1971 wasn’t really drugs or drug abuse. Rather the real enemies of the Nixon administration were the anti-war left and blacks, and the War on Drugs was designed as an evil, deceptive and sinister policy to wage a war on those two groups. In an article in the April 2016 issue of The Atlantic (“Legalize It All: How to win the war on drugs“) author and reporter Dan Baum explains how “John Ehrlichman, the Watergate co-conspirator, unlocked for me one of the great mysteries of modern American history: How did the United States entangle itself in a policy of drug prohibition that has yielded so much misery and so few good results?” As Baum discovered, here’s the dirty and disgusting secret to that great mystery of what must be the most expensive, shameful, and reprehensible failed government policy in US history.

Americans have been criminalizing psychoactive substances since San Francisco’s anti-opium law of 1875, but it was Ehrlichman’s boss, Richard Nixon, who declared the first “War on Drugs” in 1971 and set the country on the wildly punitive and counterproductive path it still pursues. I’d tracked Ehrlichman, who had been Nixon’s domestic-policy adviser, to an engineering firm in Atlanta, where he was working on minority recruitment. At the time, I was writing a book about the politics of drug prohibition. I started to ask Ehrlichman a series of earnest, wonky questions that he impatiently waved away.

“You want to know what this was really all about?” he asked with the bluntness of a man who, after public disgrace and a stretch in federal prison, had little left to protect. “The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what I’m saying? We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or blacks, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.”

Nixon’s invention of the War on Drugs as a political tool was cynical, but every president since — Democrat and Republican alike — has found it equally useful for one reason or another. Meanwhile, the growing cost of the Drug War is now impossible to ignore: billions of dollars wasted, bloodshed in Latin America and on the streets of our own cities, and millions of lives destroyed by draconian punishment that doesn’t end at the prison gate; one of every eight black men has been disenfranchised because of a felony conviction.

MP: As much as Prohibition (The War on Alcohol) was also an expensive, epic and misguided failure of government policy, it didn’t have its origins in any type of equivalent sinister and evil plot like the War on Drugs to destroy enemies of the Woodrow Wilson administration in 1919. In fact, President Wilson vetoed the Volstead Act, the popular name for the National Prohibition Act, but the House and Senate both voted quickly to override the veto and America started the War on Alchohol Otherwise Peaceful Americans Who Voluntarily Chose to Ingest Beer, Wine, and Spirits in 1920.

If the real goal of the War on Drugs was to target, convict and incarcerate subversive anti-war “hippies” and black Americans, as Ehrlichman describes it, it sure worked as the chart above of the male incarceration rate in the US shows. During the nearly 50-year period between 1925 and the early 1970s, the male incarceration rate was remarkably stable at about 200 men per 100,000 population, or 1 US male per 500, according to data from Bureau of Justice Statistics. By 1986, about a decade after the War on Drugs started locking up drug users and dealers in cages, the male incarceration rate doubled to 400 per 100,000 population. Then within another decade, the male incarceration rate doubled again to more than 800 by 1996 before reaching a historic peak of 956 in 2008 (about one in 100) that was almost five times higher than the stable rate before the War on Drugs. The arrest and incarceration data show that the War on Drugs had a significantly much greater negative effect on blacks and Hispanics than whites, making the Drug War even more shameful for its devastating and disproportionate adverse effects on America’s most vulnerable and disadvantaged populations.

Since the 2008 peak, the male incarceration rate has been gradually declining in each of the last seven years of available data through 2016, possibly because of three trends: a) decriminalization of weeds at the city and state level, b) the legalization of medical weeds at the state level, and c) now legalization of recreational weeds at the city and state levels.

While there could have been other factors that contributed to the nearly five-fold increase in the male incarceration rate between the early 1970s and the peak in 2008, research clearly shows that the War on Drugs, along with mandatory minimum sentencing in the 1980s and the disparate treatment of powdered cocaine and “crack cocaine” (powdered cocaine processed with baking soda into smokable rocks) were all significant contributing factors to the unprecedented rate of incarcerating Americans. Here are some conclusions from the 2014 book The Growth of Incarceration in the United States: Exploring Causes and Consequences (my emphasis):

  1. The states’ combined incarceration rates increased across all crime categories between 1980 and 2010 (see chart above). Most striking, however, is the dramatic increase in the incarceration rate for drug-related crimes. In 1980, imprisonment for drug offenses was rare, with a combined state incarceration rate of 15 per 100,000 population. By 2010, the drug incarceration rate had increased nearly 10-fold to 143 per 100,000. Indeed, the rate of incarceration for the single category of drug-related offenses, excluding local jails and federal prisons, by itself exceeds by 50% the average incarceration rate for all crimes of Western European countries and is twice the average incarceration rate for all crimes of a significant number of European countries.
  2. Arrest rates for federal drug offenses climbed in the 1970s, and mandatory prison time for these offenses became more common in the 1980s. Mandatory prison sentences, intensified enforcement of drug laws, and long sentences contributed not only to overall high rates of incarceration but also especially to extraordinary rates of incarceration in black and Latino communities. Intensified enforcement of drug laws subjected blacks, more than whites, to new mandatory minimum sentences—despite lower levels of drug use and no higher demonstrated levels of trafficking among the black than the white population.
  3. As a result of the lengthening of sentences and greatly expanded drug law enforcement and imprisonment for drug offenses, criminal defendants became more likely to be sentenced to prison and remained there significantly longer than in the past. The policy shifts that propelled the growth in incarceration had disproportionately large effects on African Americans and Latinos. Indeed, serving time in prison has become a normal life event among recent birth cohorts of African American men who have not completed high school.

Bottom Line: Even without the nefarious, vile, and veiled origins revealed by Ehrlichman in 1994, the War on Drugs Otherwise Peaceful Americans Who Voluntarily Choose To Ingest or Sell Intoxicants Currently Proscribed by the Government, Which Will Lock Up Users or Sellers in Cages if Caught would represent one of the most shameful chapters in America’s history. But with its intention to destroy the black community and anti-war peace activists, which has certainly been “successfully” achieved for the black community, the shamefulness of the War on Drugs is elevated to a much higher level of despicable, evil immorality.

Mark J. Perry

Mark J. Perry

Scholar

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I Never Smoked Marijuana — But I’m Serving Life In Prison Over A Marijuana Charge

CESAL: I Never Smoked Marijuana — But I’m Serving Life In Prison Over A Marijuana Charge

By Craig Cesal

Aug 27, 2019

“I sentence you to a term of natural life imprisonment, without the possibility of parole.”

These were the words I heard just months after the events of Sept. 11, 2001. You see, at that time, the news was filled with theories that drug dealers finance terrorists, and I had just been convicted of my first felony: conspiring to distribute marijuana. This was the newest foray into the “War on Drugs.”

The government never claimed that I bought, sold, or even used marijuana, but rather my business repaired semi-trucks for a company that trafficked marijuana. I didn’t think I was doing anything wrong, as I didn’t do anything with marijuana. I was wrong, according to the federal court in Gainesville, Georgia. My business, nestled near Chicago, was auctioned by lawyers in Georgia to pay for their services to secure the life sentence, after my home and savings were spent.

Two months ago, recreational marijuana was approved for sale by the Illinois legislature. Some of my business equipment is likely being used again to repair trucks that haul marijuana.

For over 17 years, I have watched robbers, rapists and even murderers come and go from prison. Last year, a guy in my cellblock who killed two federal marshals was paroled after serving 30 years.

I’ve been watching the news, and I’m waiting to see if we prisoners will get the right to vote.

Here at the federal prison in Terre Haute, Indiana, the cornerstone, engraved with “A.D. 1937,” reminds me that the prison opened the same year the federal government made marijuana illegal. The construction workers likely used pot while they built the prison. Looking out from my job at the prison factory, where we make blankets for the military, I can see “Death House” — where Timothy McVeigh and others died. He spent less time in federal prison than me, although his current housing is likely worse.

From Cellblock D, a couple of weeks ago before the time I wrote this, John Walker Lindh, the so-called “White Taliban” who shot CIA agents in Afghanistan, went home after serving his 20-year sentence. He came in after me, and with good time credits, served only 17 years.

To my knowledge, he never aided others who schlepped marijuana. Whew, that’s a good thing, or he’d still be here in prison with me. He was convicted of providing aid to terrorists, but for anything related to marijuana.

Prison is intended to teach offenders not to violate the law again, or simply, for those, like me, the judge deemed irredeemable, to teach the public, who may be thinking of something related to marijuana. At times, I scratch my head trying to fathom who is learning what as a result of my sentence. Bradley Manning made WikiLeaks a household word, and President Obama sent him home because he wore a dress. Maxwell Klinger, of “M*A*S*H” fame, had no such luck.

Obama also turned down my clemency request. Just what am I, or anyone else, supposed to learn from my life-for-pot sentence?

The Terre Haute prison abuts the Wabash River, which separates Indiana from Illinois. From the right places, I can see Illinois across the river, where I lived, and where marijuana distribution, and thereby marijuana conspiracy, is encouraged by state tax collectors. Did I merely have bad timing in selling services to marijuana traffickers from my perch in Illinois? Nope, federal DEA agents are still nabbing distributors in Illinois, well, because they still can. Oh, and the money from the marijuana dispensaries likely pay their salaries. Hopefully, I’ll learn my lesson in prison.

I imagine I can learn from the Federal Bureau of Prison’s paycheck collectors charged with caging me. The prison buildings are surrounded by tall fences, razor wire and cameras. No one from the media, from a family, or from an auditor can get in to see what staffers actually do inside the fence. Guards often go days without so much as seeing an inmate, if they even show up for work. Most will spend more years receiving retirement benefits from the job than they spent actually working.

A sentence of life means a sentence until death. Staff are flummoxed trying to discern what to put in the Federal Bureau of Prisons Form for my release date. Death won’t work. It must be a number. The last time I checked, they were writing 2028. Remember, nobody is coming over the fence and razor wire to check on the paperwork. But no release is imminent.

The sentencing judge determined I am a marijuana reprobate. I am thus irredeemable, and unworthy of anything other than final damnation in prison. Murderers are released after 13.4 years on average, according to the Department of Justice, and a terrorist can go home after 17 years. But I am a prisoner of the War on Drugs. There’s no hope for me under existing federal law.

I’ve learned my lesson, and lawmakers should be pushed to learn a lesson. Federal drug laws, especially marijuana laws, are long overdue for reform. The “fix” must also include sensible relief for prisoners of the failed War on Drugs.

Craig Cesal is serving a sentence of life without the possibility of parole in Indiana’s Terre Haute prison for a “marijuana” offense. He co-owned a towing company that recovered and repaired trucks for a rental company, some of which were used by smugglers to transport marijuana. He graduated from Montini High School in Lombard, Illinois in 1977. His daughter, Lauren, has obtained more than 300,000 signatures on a petition calling for clemency.”

CONTINUE READING…

The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of The Daily Caller.

Additional Links of Information for Craig Cesal:

https://www.facebook.com/FreeCraigCesal/

https://www.change.org/p/free-my-dad-serving-life-without-parole-for-marijuana

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-watch/wp/2016/12/02/he-got-life-without-parole-for-pot-and-he-was-just-denied-clemency/

http://www.pow420.com/craig_cesal

https://www.civilized.life/articles/marijuana-lifer-craig-cesal/

Don’t Give Your Elephant LSD; But Grow Some Opium In Your Backyard!

New Scientist Default Image

Above:  Don’t give an Elephant LSD!

Quietly, seemingly overnight, a long time friend of the Plant prohibitionists has sprung into existence in the U.S.  The Opium Poppy plant has been grown in North Carolina, in someone’s backyard, just as the Cannabis Plant, in it’s Black Market, commercial beginning had done some 50+ years ago.

It is not at all surprising that this should happen.  After all, there are no more available places to obtain a “legal” narcotic prescription for pain – except in the most dire situations, and even then it is questionable.  What else are people supposed to do?  Kill themselves with meth and poorly concocted Heroin?  People will always have a need for pain and anxiety relief.  I believe that God knew this when He planned for this Planet and the people on it.  That is why the      Bible states:

Then God said, “Behold, I have given you every seed-bearing plant on the face of all the earth, and everytree whose fruit contains seed. They will be yoursfor food. 30And to every beast of the earth and every bird of the air and every creature that crawls upon the earth—everything that has the breath of life in it—I have given every green plant for food.” And it was so.…

Even Elephants seek out reliefAll Animals do and we are Mammals.

As I’ve stated in previous articles, the Government knew exactly what they were doing and what would happen when they set up for the “Opioid Crisis”.  It was a horrible way to begin a Culling, and many people have died because of it and many more will continue to die.  Meth has taken over the market for the less fortunate peoples in the Country.  The ones who have a better income, can survive a little better with “street drugs”, but in the end Heroin usually wins out.

We, as a People have to become smarter about how we use the God-given Plants which afford us some much needed relief.  Cannabis  is the go to plant for most common and some not so common ailments.  However, there are times when stronger medicine is required and unfortunately these stronger remedies afford addiction as well.  Although it can be argued that addiction doesn’t become as big of a problem if the substance the person is addicted to is readily available.  That being said, I certainly would not advocate for addiction! Not only is it essentially illegal, it is the worse possible condition a person can find themselves in and if you survive and come out of it you are a very strong person.  A lot of people don’t survive it.

IF you must have a narcotic for pain or anxiety, use it wisely, and never let yourself get too attached to it.

Now, how to obtain that much needed “medicine”?  Everyone must learn to provide for themselves, not the Black Market, and be responsible for themselves.  That is why the Prohibition of Plants is so reprehensible.  We must be allowed to use the plants God put here for us to use!  No plant of any kind should ever be made illegal to grow!  Not even Opium!

There are many Plants that are naturally grown that can be used for Our own health and well-being.  One of them is Sassafras, which was removed from Root Beer some years ago in the commercial market.

One of the intended consequences of Roundup was the elimination of Dandelions!  Why wouldn’t the NWO want to eliminate such a useful plant from our grasp?

Related image

If you haven’t yet seen “Ozark” on Netflix, it is a very good show, depicting money laundering and drug trafficking in the Ozarks and elsewhere.  It was my first  experience with the thought of Opium being grown in the U.S.

Isn’t it odd that now, after the Cannabis legalization initiatives are growing Nationwide, that another “plant” that can be and IS prohibited by LAW, is starting to pick up pace…

In comes the continuation of Prohibition 2.0, Jail for Plants, to continuously fill the “much needed” Prisons around the Country whether they be “Corporate Prisons” for profit, or “County Jails”, for profit as well, because….well, they are ALL for profit!

What better way to control Mankind than to control ALL of the “Food”, which in fact IS Our medicine as well.

First Do No Harm” must be made to apply to the Government!

Basil

Basil may be a common element of Italian food, but it also has great medicinal properties. This fantastic herb can help transform both you and your garden. It is very rich in beta-carotene, a precursor to Vitamin A. Vitamin A is essential for good vision, cell development, and immune health. Basil oil is rich in a compound named eugenol, which has anti-inflammatory properties and can comfort painful bones and joints just like over-the-counter ibuprofen. What’s more, it exhibits potent antibacterial properties and is effective even against antibiotic-resistant microorganisms.

Our Ancestors already knew what we now have to re-learn, how to use plants, all kinds of plants for our health.  Most people had Herb gardens that they used for medicinal purposes.  We have been essentially robbed of all of this information by having pharmaceuticals thrown at us from every direction since birth.

I am NOT saying that all pharmaceuticals are useless.  Quite the contrary.  Just that the People must be allowed to have sovereign control of what they will use for medication and how they will use it.  Plants must not be allowed to be controlled by Government entities solely for the purpose of eradicating  them from Our own personal use!

So let the Cannabis grow freely!  Let the Poppy’s grow freely!  What we choose to do with them will be good and bad, but never could it be as bad as what the Government has done with the control of ALL of Our Plants!

This issue gains even more momentum when you understand that it is not just about cannabis/hemp/marijuana. It also involves all food and plants which are coming under their jurisdiction.

Eli Lilly

Orange transparent bottle labelled "opium tincture USP (deodorized)." There is a warning label declaring the product to be poisonous.

By the 19th century, laudanum was used in many patent medicines to “relieve pain … to produce sleep … to allay irritation … to check excessive secretions … to support the system … [and] as a soporific“.[7][8] The limited pharmacopoeia of the day meant that opium derivatives were among the most effective of available treatments, so laudanum was widely prescribed for ailments from colds to meningitisto cardiac diseases, in both adults and children. Laudanum was used during the yellow fever epidemic.

Laudanum, originally, the name given by Paracelsus to a famous medical preparation of his own, composed of gold, pearls, and other items but containing opium as its chief ingredient. The name either was invented by Paracelsus from the Latin laudare (“to praise”) or was a corrupted form of ladanum (from the Persian ladan), a resinous juice or gum obtained from various kinds of the Cistus shrub. The term is now used only to describe the alcoholic tincture of opium, a 10 percent solution of opium powder dissolved in high-proof distilled spirits.

Some things will forever hold true – History repeats itself and Mother Nature will always win out!

A Study on Laudanum

Meanwhile in North Carolina,

$500 Million Opium Poppy Field Discovered in North Carolina

“One of our narcotics investigators came to the house looking for something else,” Catawba County Sheriff Coy Reid told the Hickory Daily Record. “When he knocked on the door, the guys said, ‘I guess you’re here about the opium.'”

And there behind the house, was row after row of poppy plants.

Regulate: ex-world leaders’ solution to ‘failed’ drug war

https://s2.reutersmedia.net/resources/r/?m=02&d=20180924&t=2&i=1307561780&r=LYNXNPEE8N08F&w=1280

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – More governments should turn away from a repressive war on drugs that has “failed” and look to proven strategies to implement regulated markets for risky substances, a group of former presidents and leaders said in a report published Monday.

Since the group that includes 12 former heads of state began advocating for an end to drug prohibition in 2011, a growing number of countries and U.S. states have created medical or recreational markets for marijuana.

Now the group is looking at ways to smooth the way out of prohibition, recommending countries start regulating lower-potency drugs as well as reforms to international treaties that require prohibition and punishment.

“The international drug control system is clearly failing,” said Helen Clark, a former prime minister of New Zealand. “The health … of nations is not advanced by the current approach to drug control.”

By taking control of illegal drug markets, the report argues governments can weaken the powerful criminal gangs that have grown despite decades of efforts to stamp them out.

The report, “Regulation: The Responsible Control of Drugs” by the Global Commission on Drug Policy, will be released at an event on Monday in Mexico City.

The commission chose to launch its report in Mexico, whose criminal gangs are top suppliers of heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana to the United States and where gang-related violence has driven murders to a record high.

“Mexico is the most important country in the fight against drugs,” said former Colombian president Cesar Gaviria.

Mexico’s recent history exemplifies the report’s claim that evidence shows arresting drug traffickers has little impact on drug supply and may increase violence.

Just over 10 years ago, Mexico intensified its battle with drug gangs by sending out the military to battle traffickers.

While dozens of kingpins have been captured or killed, the number of gangs operating in Mexico has multiplied as new criminal leaders step into the breach and battle over turf.

The commission recommends governments open participatory processes to shape reforms toward regulation.

Incoming Mexican President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has already started to hold town-hall reviews on violence and discuss potential “amnesty” for non-violent drug traffickers and farmers. Members of his team have said Mexico will evaluate creating legal markets for marijuana as well as opium.

The report calls for a renegotiation of the international treaties that created a “repressive” strategy where drug users and low-level dealers face stiff prison sentences, but it cautions nations are far from a global consensus yet.

Canada will legalize recreational marijuana use on Oct. 17, and it recognizes it is violating treaties.

“Current drug policies are reducing neither the demand nor the supply of illegal drugs, quite the contrary, while the increasing power of organized crime is a sad reality,” writes Ruth Driefuss, the former president of Switzerland and chair of the commission.

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PDF OF REPORT IN ENGLISH VERSION

Thailand’s Legendary Marijuana

Thailand's Legendary Marijuana

Recently, there have been signs that the Thai government is softening its stance on marijuana.

By Peter Maguire

April 30, 2018

For decades, Thailand was one of America’s most resolute allies in the war on drugs. After zero tolerance policies left the Kingdom with the highest rate of incarceration in Asia and a methamphetamine (ya ba) epidemic that not even the most draconian measures could stop, Justice Minister Paiboon Koomchaya shocked the nation in 2016 when he conceded that “the world has lost the war on drugs.” Not only did he suggest legalizing methamphetamine, Koomchaya urged his countrymen to view the drug epidemic through the lens of public health, rather than law enforcement. Today, many hope that this new laissez-faire approach will lead to the legalization of the legendary marijuana that was once among the Kingdom’s most famous and valuable exports.

After the United States built military bases in Thailand during the 1960s and stationed tens of thousands of U.S. soldiers there, the marijuana industry exploded and cheap, powerful pot became as readily available as beer.

“They tie together. Put the stick. Make it nice. Sell for GI easy. One, two, or five for one dollar,” recalled a Thai smuggler who got his start selling pot to U.S. soldiers. “Whatever place GI go, it started whenever they need.”

“With an eighty-cent bottle of gin purchased at the PX,” one Vietnam veteran remembers, “you could trade for a pack of twenty Thai sticks.”

Thai Sticks c. 1974. Photo Michael Ferguson

The first Thai marijuana to reach the United States came in the 1960s via the Army Post Office. The difference between Thai marijuana and most Vietnamese and Cambodian cannabis, was the difference between bathtub corn whiskey and single malt scotch. In 1967, one amazed DEA agent to called it “the Cuban cigar of the marijuana world.”

“Who can forget the first strange-looking Thai Sticks a decade ago! Dense, seedless, stronger than a bull elephant. Years before sophisticated sinsemilla techniques were incorporated into the crop management of U.S. growers,” wrote High Times magazine, the journal of record for pot connoisseurs, “the Thais were, without effort, turning out a superior product.” What sold for $3 per kilo at the farm in Isan, easily fetched $4,000 a kilo in any city in the United States in the early 1970s.

The foreign demand for marijuana produced a boom in Thailand’s poorest region during the 1970s and 80s. North of Udorn on the banks of the Mekong sits Isan, a plateau as large as many American states (62,000 square miles) that floods during monsoon season and is arid and dusty during the dry season. Although rice fields are hard to irrigate and do not yield much, marijuana thrives thanks to the Mekong River, whose tributaries replenish the region with rich, silty soil. Farmers in Northeast Thailand take the same care with their cannabis plants that French vintners take with their grapevines.

“They know how to grow so nice, I mean how to take care of the flower, how to take out the male plant,” said one retired Thai marijuana broker. After they harvested and dried the cannabis sativa flowers (buds), the farmers and their families neatly and uniformly tied them to small bamboo sticks and secured them with threads of hemp fiber.

What made the criminalization of marijuana particularly difficult, not just in Thailand, but certain parts of Southeast Asia, was that it was considered little more than a medicinal or cooking herb with little or no local legal or moral stigma attached. The plant had grown in Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and Vietnam for centuries and various preparations were used to treat:  migraine headaches, cholera, malaria, dysentery, asthma, digestion, parasites, and post-childbirth pain.

“Almost every corner, every house, they have it in the yard growing. The older people, they will like it. The working heavy guy, he will like it,” said one retired Thai grower, “but they use for medicine also, when you really feel fever. So if you have nothing there, you can get like one branch, and ground it up.”

Under Thailand’s 1934 Marijuana Act, penalties for any amount of the plant could not exceed one year in prison. When criticized by American officials for tolerating cannabis, Thailand leaders were quick to remind them that drug abuse was not part of their culture.

“The United States has been able to send men to the Moon. It has built sophisticated weapons for its own defense. Why can’t it do anything effective about narcotics getting to its shores,” Prime Minister Kriangsak Chamanan said in 1977. He reminded the Americans of the rules of capitalism, “Where there are markets, there is bound to be trade, either legal or illegal.” This point was echoed by Alfred McCoy, in his magisterial study, The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia, “Driven by myopic moralism, U.S. policy ignores the fundamental dynamics of the drug trade. Over the past two centuries, narcotics have become the major global commodities that operate on fluid laws of supply and demand not susceptible to simple repression.”

A load of Thai Sticks Intercepted by Thai police. Photo Bangkok Post.

During the 1980s, the U.S. government was able to convince and coerce Thailand to partner with them in a war against marijuana. In 1988 alone, the U.S. Coast Guard intercepted eight “motherships” that carried 463,000 pounds of Southeast Asian marijuana bound for American shores. However, in the end, the “victory” was Pyrrhic because Thai drug users replaced cannabis with methamphetamine that is today responsible for 90 percent of that nation’s drug arrests.

Recently, there have been signs that the Thai government is softening its stance on marijuana. A research team at Rangsit University received permission from Thailand’s Narcotics Control Board and made a cannabis extract spray for cancer patients. In April, Dr. Arthit Uraitat, the rector of Rangsit University, called on Thailand’s military leaders to legalize medical marijuana.

“Be brave. Let us use medical marijuana legally regardless of the method,” he said in a press conference, “Those who have cancer, they cannot wait. They need the help now, so I think we need to take every shortcut possible.”

Last week, a private company called the Thai Cannabis Corporation announced the start of a five-year cannabis project that will cultivate 5,000 hectares (12,355 acres) of the plant in the next five years. The Royal Project Foundation will oversee this effort and Maejo University will provide research support. Thai Cannabis Corporation’s objective is to establish a low-cost model to grow, harvest, and process cannabis plants into oils and extracts. Initially, they will focus on breeding high CBD (cannabidiol) cannabis strains that contain minimal amounts of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) in order to comply with the laws of Thailand. “The mission of the Royal Project Foundation is to research and develop appropriate technology to sustainably improve the quality of life for Thailand’s highland communities. I quite agree with the Thai Cannabis Project,” said the director of the Royal Project Foundation Dr. Vijit Thanormthin.

The Royal Project Foundation was established and funded by King Bhumibol Adulyadej in 1969. An early advocate of sustainable farming, the king sought to improve the quality of life of Thailand’s hill tribes by replacing opium with other crops and also revitalizing Thailand’s forests and safeguarding their water resources for future generations.  Cannabis fits very neatly into the Royal Project Foundation’s mandate given that Thailand’s hill tribes were once the world’s premier marijuana growers. The nation is already exporting packaged food, beverages, essential oils, pharmaceuticals, medical devices, and cosmetics. Why not marijuana?

While the Thai Cannabis Corporation hopes to include the marijuana that Thailand was once world famous for in their product line, they will only go as rapidly as the law and Thai government will allow. “The mission of the Thai Cannabis Corporation,” said CEO Timothy Luton, “is to provide an excellent return to shareholders by partnering with Thailand’s farmers and scientific researchers to make, at high volumes and affordable prices, cannabis products that are above reproach.”

Thailand’s slow shift towards marijuana legalization stands in stark contrast to America’s anarchic “Green Rush,” the greatest exhibition of human greed since gold was discovered in California in 1849. Unlike Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos, a foreign army has never occupied Thailand and they have staved off foreign invaders for centuries. Generations of Western businessmen have been baffled by their unique and refined Buddhist sensibility that often seems to value mental equilibrium and social grace as much as profit.

However, behind the smile and behind the wai are some of the toughest people on earth. Rapacious western marijuana speculators looking to get rich quick would be wise to heed the words of Townsend Harris, the American envoy to Siam (Thailand), who wrote in 1856: “It is an old saying here [in Bangkok] that those who come here for business should bring one ship loaded with patience, another loaded with presents, and a third ship for carrying away the cargo.”

Peter Maguire is the author of Thai Stick:  Surfers, Scammers, and the Untold Story of the Marijuana Trade, Facing Death in Cambodia, and Law and War: International Law and American History. He has taught history at Columbia University, Bard College, and the University of North Carolina Wilmington.

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https://thaicannabiscorporation.com/

Legalize all narcotics now: War on drugs is war on people, says BMJ

Published time: 15 Nov, 2016

Doctors have an “ethical responsibility” to back the legalization of drugs, the British Medical Journal (BMJ) has advised for the first time.

An editorial in the BMJ, the UK’s most widely-read medical journal, argues that laws against drug use have harmed people across the world, while stressing that drug addiction should be viewed as a health problem and police involvement must end.

The BMJ says the “war on drugs” has failed and “too often plays out as a war on the millions of people who use drugs.”

© Sukree Sukplang Free heroin given to drug addicts in Britain’s first supervised ‘fix rooms’

The call for reform reflects a shift in medical opinion. In June, Britain’s two leading health bodies, the Royal Society for Public Health and the Faculty of Public Health, called for the personal use of drugs to be decriminalized.

The group said criminalizing users deters them from seeking medical help and leads to long-term harm, such as exposure to hard drugs in prison, the breakup of families, and loss of employment.

Drug deaths in Britain are presently at an all-time high.

The BMJ says that the number of heroin fatalities has doubled in the past three years because of government policies. Official figures show that 579 people died from using heroin in 2012, compared with 1,201 in 2015.

The journal’s editor in chief, Fiona Godlee, says: “There is an imperative to investigate more effective alternatives to criminalisation of drug use and supply.”

© Steve Dipaola ‘War on drugs’ has failed, decriminalize now – UK health experts

She added that the government should “move cautiously towards regulated drug markets where possible” and doctors should “use their authority to lead calls for a pragmatic reform informed by science and ethics.”

Former Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg writes in the BMJ that the government could consider introducing a version of the Portuguese movement, where drug users are referred to treatment rather than being punished. Drug deaths have fallen in Portugal by 80 percent.

Last month, Glasgow councilors and police approved a plan to open the first “shooting gallery” or “fix room” in Britain, which will allow heroin addicts to inject safely under supervision.

The facilities aim to tackle drug-related deaths, the spread of infection among users, and the amount of needles and injecting equipment left in public areas.

There are about 90 similar injecting facilities operating worldwide, including in Australia, Germany, France, Holland, and Switzerland.

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“Your ad wasn’t approved because the body/title text used in the ad promotes the use or sale of illegal drugs,”

Why Did Facebook Block Our Reporting On Hemp?

By Jeff Young 18 hours ago

 

 

Hey, Mark Zuckerberg, can we talk about hemp? No, really, I’m asking: can we? Because a recent experience with Facebook left the impression that reporting on the plant used in products from soap to rope is taboo. Verboten. The leaf that dare not speak its name.

This bit of anti-social media behavior came after ReSource reporter Nicole Erwin profiled Kentucky farmers participating in a state-run research program on hemp, once a commodity in Kentucky. Growers hope to revive the crop but face frustrating limitations because hemp is still lumped in — unfairly, proponents argue — with drugs such as marijuana.

A bill pending in Congress would ease these restrictions but for now the farmers are stuck in legal limbo, unable to adequately grow or process hemp in the U.S. while a multimillion dollar market goes to imports.

When ReSource partner station WKMS in Murray, Kentucky, sought to promote Erwin’s story on Facebook we discovered yet another obstacle: Even talking about the issue can trigger a ban. WKMS News Director Matt Markgraf tried to “boost” a Facebook post on the story and learned that his ad was not allowed.

“Your ad wasn’t approved because the body/title text used in the ad promotes the use or sale of illegal drugs,” read a message from Facebook.

Puzzled, Markgraf wrote a patient appeal, explaining that the ad did not promote anything other than a piece of journalism “about the misconception of illegality regarding hemp v. marijuana.”  

But Facebook was having none of it.

“Such ads violate local laws,” came the reply. “We have zero tolerance towards such ads…This decision is final.”

Markgraf noted the irony at work here: A story questioning hemp’s uncertain legal status was blocked because of…hemp’s uncertain legal status. He also found instant empathy with the hemp grower’s dilemma.

“This clearly underscores the challenges that the emerging industry faces in overcoming the plant’s stigma,” Markgraf said.

It’s hard to see how Erwin’s story could be construed as a sales pitch for a drug. Hemp products include cooking oils, cosmetics, and clothing but lack any significant amount of the intoxicating substance found in marijuana. Proponents say a smoker would need a hemp joint the size of a telephone pole to catch a buzz.

We wondered if anyone at Facebook even reads the appeals. Was Markgraf actually communicating with a person or just arguing with an algorithm?

“If they had actually read the first couple of sentences in the story, I think they would have reconsidered the decision,” Markgraf said.

The company did not respond to requests for comment (beyond the comments included in response to Markgraf’s appeal).

In the past few months Facebook has come under fire for alleged political bias, prompting a meeting with conservative lawmakers this spring. And the platform has become such an important means of connecting with an audience that any barrier to sharing stories can cause heartburn for news outlets. A 2015 Pew Research Center study found that about 60 percent of Facebook users get their news there. A recent company announcement of changes in the algorithm that determines what content users see was enough to send shudders through the publishing industry.  

That’s why our little experience with the hemp story seems like the seed of something that could grow problematic. If Facebook is blithely blocking attempts to distribute news stories on topics it deems off-limits, this could have implications far beyond the farm.

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Libertarian Johnson: Drug war ‘root cause’ of police shootings

Poor relations between police and African-Americans stems from the criminalization of drug use, Gary Johnson said.

By Burgess Everett

07/08/16 11:55 AM EDT

Gary Johnson believes the tensions between police and minorities that led to two high-profile police shootings and the deaths of five Dallas police officers has a root cause: The long-running war on drugs.

The libertarian nominee for president did not directly tie the drug war to the shooting deaths in Minnesota and Louisiana by police or the sniper killings of five officers in Texas this week. But poor relations between police and African-Americans stems from the criminalization of drug use, he said.

“The root is the war on drugs, I believe. Police knocking down doors, shooting first,” Johnson said in an interview Friday in Washington. “If you are (black and) arrested in a drug-related crime, there is four times more likelihood of going to prison than if you are white. And shooting is part of the same phenomenon.”

“That’s the common thread. Shootings are occurring with black people, black people are dying,” he added. “This is an escalation.”

The former Republican governor of New Mexico is pitching a complete rewrite of the nation’s drug policy as part of his underdog run for the presidency alongside his running mate, former Massachusetts GOP Gov. Bill Weld. Johnson wants to legalize marijuana and find other ways to deal with harder drugs than long periods of incarceration.

He said that will soon happen, predicting that California will vote this fall to legalize marijuana and President Barack Obama will remove cannabis from its listing as a Class 1 drug. “I think Obama’s going to do that going out the door,” Johnson said.

“The focus on drugs needs to be as a health issue, not a criminal justice issue. It can be illegal but does it need to be criminal? Do you need to go to jail for drugs?” Johnson said. “I do believe that the root of the militarization, knocking on doors, is a drug war phenomenon.”

The laid-back libertarian, dressed in jeans and an open-collared button-down in a hotel dining room, declined to join Republicans in criticizing Obama for pointing to “powerful weapons” this week as a cause of violence between police officers and minorities. But Johnson said the focus on assault rifles is misguided.

“That is a category of rifle that contains 30 million rifles. If you ban those rifles tomorrow and said hand ‘em in,” only half of the weapons would actually be turned over, Johnson said. “And we’re going to have a whole new criminal class of people.”

Johnson said that as president he’d be open to proposals designed to keep guns out of the hands of terrorists and the mentally ill. But he said he’d seen no such workable proposals in Congress, despite unsuccessful attempts by both Democrats and Republicans.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2016/07/gary-johnson-dallas-shooting-225294#ixzz4Dqx744G2
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Video’s of Marc Emery and Cannabis Culture


 
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Media Silent as US Announces Unprecedented Move to End Drug War

 

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By Claire Bernish | The Anti Media

Slipping by virtually unnoticed, the United States made a surprising move last week toward entirely ending the contentious and wholly ineffective War on Drugs.

With the approach of the first Special Session of the U.N. General Assembly to discuss international drug policy in nearly 18 years, Bill Brownfield, Assistant Secretary of State for International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs, discussed the potential for an historic shift in U.S. drug policy with a panel on March 8th.

Seeking to return to a “greater focus on public health and healthcare as relates to the drug issue, rehabilitation, treatment, [and] education,” Brownfield described what will be “a pragmatic approach to reform … global drug policy.”

Despite the moniker Land of the Free, the U.S. recently fell under intense criticism after a number of reports noted the country houses the largest prison population on the planet — a fact President Obama reluctantly admitted last summer.

Should it follow through with decriminalization as Brownfield described, the U.S. government would be marking the first effort to weaken the now-massive prison-industrial machine — including the controversial, corrupt, private prison corporations that now dominate the criminal justice landscape.

“We will call for pragmatic and concrete criminal justice reform, areas such as alternatives to incarceration or drug courts, or sentencing reform,” Brownfield explained. “In other words, as President Obama has said many times publicly, to decriminalize much of basic behavior in drug consumption in order to focus scarce law enforcement resources on the greater challenge of the large transnational criminal organizations.

We will propose greater focus on what we call new psychoactive substances. These are the new drugs … which in the 21st century the pharmaceutical industry can produce at a faster rate than governments or … the United Nations system can actually review and register.

Asked whether countries deciding to move in the direction of Portugal, which decriminalized all drugs in a massive, successful effort to combat addiction, would be penalized for breaking established international narcotics guidelines, Brownfield stated the issue would not be for the U.S. government to decide. He explained wholesale reform of drug policy couldn’t possibly be applied in a one-size-fits-all format, as individual countries are dealing with problems specific to their needs.

As an example, Brownfield pointed to cannabis policy in the U.S.

It is the position of the United States government, for example, that despite the fact that four of our states have voted to legalize the cultivation, production, sale, purchase, and consumption of cannabis, or marijuana, that we are still in compliance with our treaty obligations, because first, the federal law, national law, still proscribes and prohibits marijuana; and second, because the objective, as asserted by the states themselves, is still to reduce the harm caused by consumption [of] marijuana.

Our argument is that at the end of the day, the issue is not precisely whether a government has chosen to decriminalize or not to decriminalize; it is whether the government is still working cooperatively to reduce the harm caused by the product.

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