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1933 All Over Again

It’s hard not to see parallels between alcohol prohibition of 1933 and marijuana prohibition of today. Both helped strengthen drug cartels and entrench organized crime.

One major difference is that marijuana actually has legitimate medical uses. Prohibition of medical marijuana isn’t based on facts, logic, or compassion. It’s based on ignorance and fear. Let’s forget for a moment the debate on whether or not recreational cannabis should be legalized. Instead, we should think about those who are suffering and who could benefit from medical marijuana. Think about that and you’ll quickly realize that ignoring the science and outlawing medical marijuana isn’t just illogical—it’s downright cruel.

From San Diego City Beat:

Now retired and a well-regarded author, Stamper talked to Spin Cycle last week after a speaking appearance in San Francisco at the 38th annual conference of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML). He serves on advisory boards for both NORML and the pro-regulation organization Law Enforcement Against Prohibition.

His topic? “Cannabis law reform’s missing link: law enforcement.”

Even though hundreds of miles away, San Diego was very much on the minds of the overflow crowd who attended Stamper’s talk. “Many in that audience were not at all happy with what’s going on in San Diego,” he added.

From the county Board of Supervisors “suing their own voters, basically” in an unsuccessful attempt to overturn state medical-marijuana laws to the molasses-paced efforts to “create a sound regulatory model” for dispensaries leads Stamper to the not-surprising conclusion that “Northern California has it all over San Diego when it comes to support for medical marijuana.”

The reason comes down to uninformed leadership. “Organized opposition to medical marijuana,” he said, “is not in any way based on the science or, for that matter, on reason or compassion.”

Stamper noted “striking” parallels between Prohibition of a bygone era and today’s drug debate. “Major difference? It took us only 13 years to end the former” over “essentially identical” reasons: violence, overdose deaths on bad “bathtub gin,” public health and revenue.

“The government finally came to realize it was losing huge sums of money by prohibiting rather than regulating booze,” he said. 

Although for decades a staunch opponent of the “War on Drugs” that he says has cost $1 trillion to prosecute since President Richard Nixon declared all-out war in 1971 but has resulted in “more harm than good,” it’s been his experience in the last few years as a drug-policy-reform advocate that has Stamper puzzled by his law-enforcement brothers and sisters.

“When you’re looking at a young, 24-year-old mother of three whose face is being eaten away by cancer, who has no appetite, cannot tolerate opioids for pain relief,” he explained, “you really develop an appreciation of the value of medical marijuana.

“It’s just unconscionable, I think, for the state to stick its nose between doctor and patient.”

Read the whole article here.


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