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     For as long as mankind has lived, mankind has used drugs.  This is
totally natural.  All animals are active drug users, and humans may well
lead the pack.  All organisms with brains seek to alter their normal
states of consciousness, to fulfill a need to experience novel stimuli. 
Elephants eat fermented fruit off the ground to get drunk.  In order to
experience an altered state, monkeys will eat insects that have gorged
themselves on psychedelic plants.  Cattle will eat marijuana in great
quantities to get high.  Humans are the most active drug seekers;  they
seek out and use mushrooms, peyote, DMT (from tropical plants), cocaine,
alcohol drained from rotting grain, marijuana..If it can be used to alter
basic brain activity, humans have probably eaten, smoked, snorted, or
injected it.  Young children will spin around in circles to experience the
vertigo "high".  But as they get older, this ceases to be novel.  The
child moves on to more intense experiences, such as alcohol, nicotine,
marijuana, and speed.  The concept of a "gateway" drug is a myth.  We are
constantly engaged in a search for a new kind of kick, beginning with the
drugs in our own bodies.
     We are thoroughly indoctrinated into a drug using culture.  As
children we are fed caffeine in soft drinks.  When we have physical pain,
we reach for an aspirin.  When we need a charge of energy, we eat sugar to
fire up our systems.  In fact, almost anything we eat can be considered a
drug.  Normally we are protected from serious psychoactive properties of
common foods by such built-in safety measures as the blood-brain barrier
(Carlson, 1992).  If it were not for this basic protective measure, we
would be bombarded with the psychedelic properties of such common foods as
bananas (which contain minute amounts of the psychedelic bananadine).  But
we are protected from the psychedelic effects of our normal diet.  Only
when we take in certain molecules that are small enough to slip through
the blood-brain barrier do we feel the alteration of our perceptual
systems.  Foods such as Psilocybe cubensis profoundly affect our
perceptual systems, yet they are as harmless to us as common edible
mushrooms.  Despite this, natural psychedelics are outlawed by our
government.  Individuals who cultivate naturally occurring plants such as
the various psychedelic mushrooms, Cannabis sativa, or the opium poppy are
arrested and can be sentenced to long stretches in prison.  Tragically,
some innocents who simply have the plants growing wild on their property
are charged with cultivation of a controlled substance.  These plants
differ from common weeds and mushrooms in only one way:  they contain a
substance which can slip past the blood-brain barrier.  This is the only
distinction.  Yet, these plants and fungi are hunted with an almost
genocidal fervor, and those individuals who eat or smoke them are branded
as criminals.
     Although it is not widely taught in schools in the U.S., every
culture that has developed on this planet has had a favorite drug of
almost religious significance.  Many cave paintings in southern Europe
depict the magic mushrooms as almost holy.  They were seen as the
sacrament by which man could commune with the primal forces that dwell
within each of us.  Recently, the science of ethnobotany has opened up new
territory in the field of drug study.  Ethnobotany is the study of the
plant-derived drugs of different cultures.  Ethnobotanists are trying to
change the militant attitudes of individuals who erroneously believe that
drug use is an unnatural and immoral practice.  Terrence McKenna, in his
book Food of the Gods, even provides a highly plausible theory about the
development of human consciousness.  He maintains that the early
proto-humans which humankind is descended from were active users of
psilocybin mushrooms. which were in ready supply around the herds of
animals they hunted and raised.  The mushrooms grow quite well in
livestock dung.  The psilocybin mushroom causes stimulation in the area of
the brain humans now call Broca's area (McKenna, 1992).  This area is
directly responsible for speech production when it is developed (Carlson,
1992).  Knowing that our entire ego-structure (and, consequently, mental
processes and social rituals) is based on our ability to generate and
understand complex language, we see that the sort of stimulation produced
by the magic mushroom could be responsible for the development of the
earliest language.  If this is the case, we owe our entire society to the
effects of psychedelic drugs.
     This theory is borne out by many European creation myths.  Many of
these myths are parallels of the Christian "Garden of Eden" story. 
Ignoring certain patriarchal particulars, the story is essentially a tale
of the first humans eating a fruit that imparts knowledge.  Fruit is a
very old word, and has not always been a designator of a particular fleshy
type of seed pod.  It often simply meant a type of food that is grown and
eaten.  It is important to note that this gaining of knowledge was seen by
Christians as a fall from grace, a separation from God, and the beginning
of our earthly miseries.  This view was not held by any of the pantheistic
cultures which were brutally conquered and subjugated in the name of God
by monotheistic crusader religions.
     Some individuals in our society seem to hold a serious disdain for
drugs without any apparent knowledge of why they do so.  This makes it
easy for these people to fall prey to misinformation.  Our federal
government is predominantly composed of white male Protestant politicians. 
Many of these individuals have a serious interest in keeping certain
psychoactive plants illegal, mostly for economic considerations.  The
marijuana plant has been demonstrated to be a superior source of paper, a
cleaner burning alternative fuel, the strongest plant fiber on the planet,
and the ideal source of long lasting clothing.  This makes it the enemy of
logging interests, petroleum interests, and petro-chemical interests.  In
addition, our Protestant political leaders carry the Christian prejudice
against psychoactives.  This is a powerful array of opponents for the
marijuana legalization movement.  It insures that the well-financed
opponents of marijuana legalization will have adequate funds to misinform
the American public.
     Rehabilitation clinics capitalize on drug horror stories.  They cite
worst case scenarios as the norm.  They provide unsubstantiated
information about drugs shown to be harmless when used in moderation. 
These clinics have provided a means of depriving certain individuals (such
as teenagers) of their basic rights.  The Partnership for a Drug Free
America has even gone so far as to fabricate information to scare the
public.  The most glaring example of this was the famous "Brainwaves" ad. 
This ad started with the statement, "This is the brainwave of a normal
fourteen year old," showing an electroencephalogram indicating an active
brain.  Immediately following this was a nearly flat EEG readout, coupled
with the statement, "This is the brainwave of a fourteen year old who
smokes marijuana."  In fact, the second brainwave pattern was taken from
a man who was in an accident induced coma (High Times, 1989).  "Get the
message?" is their catch phrase.  The message is clear:  our government
can find no concrete evidence of significant harms stemming from the use
of marijuana, so they scare the public with lies.  In fact, no reliable
studies have demonstrated any significant harms from smoking marijuana
(Brecher, 1990).  Many studies have clearly demonstrated that hashish
smoke causes serious lung damage (Nahas, 1990), but these studies were
conducted on isolated tissue samples, away from the host organism, away
from the immunosystem.  These samples have no homeostatic mechanisms to
remove the caustic tar that is present in hashish.  We must also note that
hashish is a concentrated form of THC (Delta 9 Tetrahydrocannabinol). 
Drugs are usually condensed into a more concentrated form such as hashish
in order to smuggle them past ports where it is illegal to import the
substrate material.  In effect, prohibition leads to the development of
the more harmful drug concentrates (Hoffman, 1987.)
     Cocaine hydrochloride is another example.  Raw coca leaves have been
used for centuries by South American natives of Peru and the surrounding
empires.  These leaves were too bulky to smuggle past authorities, so
cheap methods of making coca paste were devised (Ray and Ksir,1987).  The
dried paste is easily processed into the white powder we know of as
cocaine.  Increased enforcement efforts led to the further development of
crack, only a few years ago touted as the most dangerous drug of all time. 
Then the amphetamine concentrate called ice was brought onto the scene,
making the rush from crack seem like a No-Doz.  All of these concentrated
drugs are dangerous to human health, and all are the direct result of
misguided attempts to reduce our country's drug problem.  By our
heavy-handed enforcement tactics, we have created drugs far more dangerous
than those we originally sought to prohibit.
     We can separate the major illegal drugs commonly used in the United
States into a few broad categories:  opiates, stimulants, cannabinoids,
depressants, and psychoactives.  The opiates are medical drugs, used to
reduce pain.  Our own bodies synthesize opioids for use in cases of
extreme trauma.  These drugs produce euphoria by locking into receptor
sites on cell membranes;  these receptor sites, when filled with an
opiate, prevent the neuron from sending pain impulses to the brain.  When
overused, these drugs cause the body to produce many more receptors on the
membrane surface (Ray and Ksir, 1987).  If these receptors are not
blocked, the addict is adversely affected.  Experienced addicts suffer few
impairments when they receive their drug;  they are totally dysfunctional
without it.  Prohibition forces them to endure pain, and gives addicts the
undeserved reputation of being unable to function.  The media construct of
death by heroin overdose is often held high by anti-drug forces, but it
does not stand up to close scrutiny.  In almost every case, the addicts
who reportedly died of heroin overdose were mixing drugs (most common and
lethal was the alcohol-heroin combination), had used tainted heroin (which
would not happen if drugs were available to addicts), or they had taken
far too much and were unable to call for medical assistance (heroin
overdose is a slow way to die, and can be neutralized if it is treated). 
The social stigma around drug use prevents addicts from openly admitting
their addiction, and makes them fearful to seek medical aid.  This would
not occur if addiction was not viewed as a crime.
     Stimulants include synthetic amphetamines and cocaine.  These
chemicals cause their effects by blocking re-uptake of neurotransmitters
at a pre-synaptic membrane (Carlson, 1992).  This means that a cell
secretes activation chemicals, but cannot re absorb them in the presence
of cocaine or speed.  The user feels "wired", full of energy, because
his/her cells are receiving massive stimulation.  The more concentrated
the drug is, the more intense the rush is, and the more damaging the
effects are.  In worst case scenarios, cardiac arrest will occur from over
stimulation and energy depletion.  Coca leaves themselves are too weak to
cause this effect.  Only in concentrated forms, such as injection and
crack smoking, is cocaine lethal.
     Alcohol is the premier depressant.  It causes its effects by an
overall depression of the central nervous system.  When taken with other
drugs, the effects of both are enhanced in a geometric progression. 
Coupled with drug concentrates, alcohol is highly lethal.  In fact, even
without other drugs, alcohol is surprisingly deadly (Ray and Ksir, 1987). 
In addition, its depressant effects severely inhibit motor response time,
decrease inhibitions of sexuality and violence (often in combination), and
cause general emotional depression.  Alcohol, the sacrament of the
Christian church, is legal.
     The Cannabinoids and psychedelics are best grouped together.  They
affect various areas of the brain and central nervous system.  The
cannabinoids primarily attach to the hippocampus, a structure vital to
relational learning, and the cortex and cerebellum (Carlson, 1992).  It
causes profound changes in mental state, and inhibits motor response time. 
There are no known cases of overdose.  There are no observed harmful
effects to the brain (Brecher, 1990).  Other psychedelics include LSD (a
synthetic), mescaline, DMT (N,N-dimethyltryptamine), and psilocybin. 
These chemicals enter the central nervous system, act on cells, and are
metabolized in the range of fifteen to sixty minutes.  The powerful
alterations of consciousness caused by these drugs can persist for as long
as two days (with powerful LSD).  Usually, the "trip" lasts from two to
fourteen hours.  There is evidence of brain alteration, but not brain
damage accompanying usage.  The alteration is a result of the
strengthening of certain synapses during the drug induced state.  These
same changes occur when humans learn.  If we consider psychedelic effects
as brain damage, we must also consider learning as brain damage.
     Despite current enforcement attitudes against psychedelics, the
federal government was quite interested in them in the 1960's.  During
this time, the C.I.A. carried out the infamous Mk. Ultra experiments
(Vankin, 1991).  These consisted of dosing civilians and military
personnel with various types of untested psychedelics.  This was not done
in laboratories, but on the streets, without controls.  The movie Jacob's
Ladder was based on this series of experiments.  Many times the agents who
dosed the "subjects" forced them to endure distressing stimuli, inducing
"bad trips".  These formed the core of the LSD myths reported in the
media.  In controlled circumstances, with a trained guide, "bad trips" are
easily managed.  Unfortunately, this avenue of psychic exploration is
closed to law abiding citizens, despite an utter lack of harms claimed by
anti-drug advocates.  Those individuals who take adulterated psychedelics
can look forward to anything from permanent brain damage (because of
"hitchhiker" toxins transported with the psychotropic drugs) to strychnine
poisoning (LSD is very similar to strychnine, and is often cut with it by
unscrupulous black market dealers.)  Every adverse effect claimed to be a
result of psychedelic use is actually more properly attributed to
contaminated psychedelics, which would not exist if we would legalize and
enforce quality control measures.
     Having reviewed the major illegal drugs of concern in the United
States, we will now look at the historical facts behind illegalization in
the U.S.  The first act toward national criminalization of drugs was the
Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906 (Silver, 1979).  This set the stage for a
national criminalization craze.  The original food and drug act stipulated
that all patent medicines must label the drugs they contain.  In addition,
the use of cocaine in soft drinks was specifically prohibited, and
prosecution of druggists who dispensed "poisons" to addicts was now legal
(Silver, 1979).  The first local drug control laws were enacted some 30
years prior to this act, and these were targeted directly at Chinese opium
smokers in San Francisco and cocaine-using blacks in the deep south. 
These discriminatory laws, coupled with the 1906 act set the stage for the
intrusive drug controls we see today.  A strange zeal to "protect the
native races" (who used the drug anyway) (Silver, 1979) initiated "World
War on Opium Traffic" in Shanghai in 1909, which, in turn, led to the
Hague Convention of 1912.  These measures did not reduce production as was
hoped.  Instead, it gave the United States an excuse in the form of
international treaty to implement the Harrison Act of 1914.
     This act was the basis of modern drug regulation.  It forbade the
use of opium and cocaine for any reason other than medical.  It was now
impossible for doctors to prescribe drugs to addicts, which forced the
addicts to turn to other sources, namely, a now booming black market. 
This market did not, indeed could not, exist prior to criminalization. 
"America soon consumed ten times more dope than any other country,"
(Silver, 1979).  To combat this problem, the Jones Miller Act (1922)
established a Narcotics Control Board, and mandated five year sentences
for illegal drug dealers.  It is noteworthy that in England, the Dangerous
Drugs act of 1920 authorized physicians to give their choice of treatment
(usually maintenance levels of the addict's drug).  The black market there
remained negligible.
     Meanwhile, the United States government was busy blaming England and
Japan for America's drug problems.  The League of Nations debated the
issue, and implemented rigid treaties regulating world drug production to
amounts required for medical purposes.  These were ratified in 1933, and
illicit drug trafficking immediately skyrocketed (Silver, 1979).
     The men behind the policies were also quite interesting.  The son of
Col. Levi Nutt, the chief of the U.S. drug police force, was payrolled by
Arnold Rothstein, a prominent drug smuggler supplying 85% of all narcotics
in New York, Chicago, and Hollywood.  Several agents were also charged
with "corruption, incompetence, and willful neglect of duty."  This
resulted in the formation of a new drug bureau, headed by Harry J.
Anslinger, who would control drug regulation in the U.S. for thirty years
(Silver, 1979).
     Now, we must follow the words of Gary Silver, in his book The Dope
Chronicles.  He presents the incredible story in a very succinct fashion. 
Silver points out that it was sometimes difficult to tell the government
agents from the "vicious criminals" they were supposed to apprehend. 
Police inflated dope prices and seizure amount figures, releasing
estimates of confiscation, but not showing anyone any evidence.  The
narcotics agents' bloodthirsty tactics drew little public attention, as
they draw little attention now.  In Silver's words:
          "The Fanatic Dry Killers of prohibition had their counterpart
          in Killer Narks, who drew less public loathing because they
          operated mostly in ghettos far from the fashionable speaks.
          No statistics as there were for dry killings, only anonymous
          droplets of blood awash in a sea of crime: here a cop kills a
          vendor, there a drug runner dies, here a "boy shot as police
          chase dope peddler," there an innocent woman beaten by narks."
     Silver then goes on to specify city by city instances of graft: 
"California:  State agents confess being ringleaders of a dope racket,   
taking protection money and then selling prisoners back the dope
seized...Chicago:  "Federal narcotics agents in every big city in the
United States are involved in a gigantic 'dope' traffic."(Silver, 1979).
     Its funny how the more things change, the more they stay the same.
     Racism has always been a key factor in marijuana legislation and
enforcement.  Most of the articles culled from the 1920's and 30's were
filled with cases of "black men" taking "liberties" with "white girls"
whom they had intoxicated with the Devil's weed.  This tactic seems rather
transparent today.  Yet, when we see drug dealers portrayed in the media,
they are most often black or Hispanic.  In particular, Mexicans have been
targeted.  This has something to do with the fact that Mexico grows some
of the best marijuana in North America, but it seems to have even more to
do with prejudices and jealousies toward Mexican migrant  workers (Abel,
1980).  It was even claimed that Mexicans became "very violent, especially
when they become angry and will attack an officer even if a gun is drawn
on him...I have also noted that when under the influence of this weed they
have enormous strength and that it will take several men to handle one man
while under ordinary circumstances one man could handle him with ease."
(Bonnie and Whitebread, cited by Abel, 1980).
     The myth of marijuana-induced violence has often been perpetuated by
the media.  This claim has no support.  Marijuana has been demonstrated
again and again to be relaxing and pacifying,  Yet, stories of axe murders
by reefer smokers were common in the 1930's, adding fuel to the
governmental anti-drug fever.  In truth, a very disturbed young man named
Victor Licata went berserk and belabored his mother, his father, two
brothers and a sister.  The boy was a marijuana user, and this was seized
upon as evidence of marijuana induced violence.  There was no indication
that the boy was intoxicated at the time of the murder (Abel, 1980).  One
could just as easily attribute the crime to "something in the water".
     The government has been involved with drug regulation for the better
part of this century.  It has also been involved in drug importation. 
There has been a persistent rumor about C.I.A. involvement in the various
drug trades.  The C.I.A. was supportive of the contras in Nicaragua, and
there is a good deal of evidence to link the C.I.A. with illegal drug
trafficking (Beirne and Messerschmidt, 1991).  The evidence clearly
demonstrates affiliations with known drug traffickers despite Executive
claims of zero-tolerance policies toward drugs.  Intelligence agencies see
a ready source of funding for illegal covert operations in drugs:
          "The U.S. Government's Mafia and narcotics connection goes
     back, as is well known, to World War II.  Two controversial joint
     operations between OSS (Office of Strategic Services) and ONI (U.S.
     Naval Intelligence) established contacts (via Lucky Luciano) with
     the Sicillian Mafia and (via Tai Li) with the dope-dealing Green
     Gang of Tu Yueh Sheng in Shanghai. Both connection were  extended
     into the post-war period."(Kruger 1980, cited in McKenna, 1992).
     Even more suspect is the tendency of the "problem drug" of the
United States to follow the area of covert operations of the C.I.A.  In
the 1950's-1970's, the problem drug was heroin;  the U.S. was involved in
the "Golden Triangle" at the time.  In the 1980's, C.I.A. operations
turned to Central and South America;  the problem drug of the U.S. became
cocaine.  As the U.S. intensifies its presence in the Middle East, we see
a resurgence of marijuana and heroin as the problem drugs.  The Middle
East has long been considered a mecca of marijuana and hashish production,
and the "Golden Crescent" area in Afghanistan has increased its output of
heroin to large levels, particularly in areas controlled by the U.S.
backed Mujahideen.  The correlation is clear and disturbing.  When we also
consider that President Bush is an ex-C.I.A. director, how can we do
anything but doubt his sincerity about his "War on Drugs"?
     This "war" was originally meant to be a metaphor for a concentrated
attempt to cut down on drug related crime in the U.S.  It has come to
resemble an actual war on the drug using population of America.  The
F.B.I. and the D.E.A. are armed with state of the art infra-red sensors
and film, super listening devices, surveillance equipment used for illegal
eavesdropping on suspects, wire-taps, automatic weapons, and questionable
powers of confiscation and detention.  These technological and legal
advantages undermine the fundamental rights guaranteed to each U.S.
citizen by the Constitution.  The "war on drugs" has become a brutal
assault on the rights and freedoms of U.S. citizens.  The naive person
would ask, "If you aren't breaking the law, what are you worried about?" 
The formidable arsenal of powers now at the disposal of the police is
enough to chill the blood of the staunchest anti-drug advocate.
     Currently, police have the power to confiscate any property used in
drug related offense, regardless of whether the property's owner was
involved.  In order to retrieve the property, a deposit of not less than
one tenth the value of the property must be paid, and this is still no
guarantee of the property's return.  What this amounts to is holding
property responsible for criminal acts.  The Constitution grants the
people the right to be secure from unwarranted search and seizure, but
this does not prevent the injustices which have occurred of late.  For
further information on this issue, I would recommend the April 5 episode
of 60 Minutes news magazine, on CBS.  Time constraints did not allow time
for ordering a transcript.
     The second most frightening power is the power of arrest on
suspicion because a suspect matches a "drug courier profile". 
Conveniently, this profile is general enough to include anyone a police
officer might choose to scrutinize.  The profile simultaneously includes
such traits as "walks too slow", "walks too fast", "walks nervously",
"appears calm"...The list goes on.  Even more frightening, police may now
pay employees of service companies such as busses or airlines to point out
individuals who carry large sums of cash and little luggage, or who match
any other aspect of the profile.  This power coupled with the ability to
detain suspects for 48 hours without charges is very likely to be abused. 
Further, the police power to use evidence obtained by an illegal search
(provided the evidence does not relate to the specific case being
investigated when the search occurred) leaves citizens open to search,
arrest, detention and prosecution for any violation (such as carrying a
weapon of self defense, found by police during a drug frisk) without any
probable cause other than fitting an ultra-general drug courier profile.
     It is clear that the federal government has loosed the dogs of
oppression on its controllers, the American people.  Further, these acts
of oppression have been committed under the guise of protecting the U.S.
from drugs.  The truly obscene thing about this is that it is that
selfsame war on drugs that is directly responsible for the social harms
cited as effects of drug use.  Crime rates have skyrocketed as drug
enforcement has increased.  Our prisons are stuffed to overflow capacity
with people whose only crime was to have a few joints on them.  Dealers
are now so paranoid of arrest that they are more likely to kill potential
buyers for fear of the buyers being drug agents in disguise.  A member of
our group had personal experience with a nark encouraging him to use
cocaine, even though the member refused.  This nark later tried to justify
his drug use and dealing as an "attempt to blend into the drug using
community."  That particular nark brought more drugs into that county than
any of the dealers who lived there ever considered bringing in. 
Individuals not trained in law enforcement are now being used as Judas
goats to net small time users and dealers, while avoiding the entrapment
charges which would apply to police officers in the same situation. 
Entrapment is common.  Abuses are legion.  And all are committed in the
name of drug law enforcement.
     Accounts of overzealous officers harming terminally ill people are
now becoming increasingly more common.  The therapeutic properties of
marijuana are well known (even though the DEA refuses to acknowledge this
fact, and continues to classify it as a schedule one substance ), and chronic pain sufferers and chemotherapy patients sometimes
turn to it to relieve their pain and nausea, despite the law.  These
people are not in any condition to go on a spree of violence, as some
individuals ignorantly believe occurs when a person uses drugs.  They are
otherwise law-abiding citizens.  Yet, police have broken down doors,
thrown suffering people to the ground, and confiscated the few possessions
owned by some unfortunates.  Their health related expenses insure that
they will not be able to recover their property.  Any law enforcement body
that strikes out so savagely at such a harmless portion of the population
is in need of some serious review of priorities.  This sort of action is
the legacy of drug criminalization.
     Two distinct cases of abuses illustrate the patent lunacy of
supporting continued draconian ant-drug efforts.  The Chicago Sun Times
reports on the DEA bust of a major Chicago dope ring.  "Among the 19
people arrested...were a sergeant with 26 years on the Chicago police
force, and a patrolman with 35 years." (High Times, 1989).  The second
case comes to us from Los Angeles:  "Charged with vandalizing homes and
terrorizing citizens during a 1988 drug raid, nine Los Angeles cops have
been ordered to appear before LAPD board of rights tribunals.  The nine
face long suspensions or job termination; 25 others have been suspended
without pay." (High Times, 1989).  It seems that the officers raided a
poverty stricken Southwest LA neighborhood, smashing down walls, windows,
and plumbing fixtures.  They also spray-painted anti-gang messages on the
walls of private citizens' property!  Of 30 people taken into custody, 9
were arrested.  The people filed a lawsuit, which is what prompted the
action against the police.  In addition to the above crimes, the officers
also forced some of those arrested to whistle the theme song to the Andy
Griffith Show; those who refused were punched and beaten with metal
flashlights.  These are not the most shocking cases.  These are what are
reported.  If these people could not have hired a lawyer, no action would
have been taken against the police, and the whole episode would never have
come to public attention.  How many cases like these are occurring in the
U.S.?  It seems that the spirit of the Gestapo lives on in American
anti-drug laws.  It is quite clear that we must restrict the police and
drug enforcement agencies.  Regardless of whether one feels that drug use
is right or wrong, this much is clear:  the war on drugs has exploded into
a government supported destruction of our rights as citizens.
     The biggest victim of the war on drugs is the truth.  The hysteria
which has been whipped up by this campaign of anti-drug propaganda has the
American people terrorized into standing idly by while our government lies
to us and imprisons our free thinkers for daring to speak out.  Some
government officials have used drugs, especially marijuana, as the
universal scapegoat for all evils of our time.  There was even one U.S.
Senator who attempted to blame the My Lai Massacre on marijuana use
(Grinspoon, 1987.)  Anyone who doubts that our government lies to us about
drug arrests needs only to sit down with a piece of paper and figure it
up:....."Every six months or so, the DEA and the media parade a new and
more powerful kingpin.  Even more regularly, some prosecutor in our
country holds a press conference announcing another "largest drug bust on
record."  If any serious statistician or investigative journalist used his
brain and a calculator, it could be easily "proved" that over the past
four years, we have eliminated more than 400 per cent of the drug supply
for all users in America.  In other words, capturing a "kingpin
responsible for 80 per cent of the cocaine" or making the "largest drug
bust in history," or adding bigger numbers to the body count (arrests) may
be nothing more than propaganda ploys to justify the expense of the war on
drugs.  Ironically, after all the DEA's "successes," the problem keeps
getting worse and worse." (Hoffman, 87.)  Hoffman also states, "Using this
economic system (DEA drug value estimates), I can prove that a car you
bought for $10,000 is actually worth $500,000." (Hoffman,87.)  If we are
truly a democratic, free society, why must our government misinform the
people of America?  A lie cannot stand up to the piercing light of truth
but if the light is never allowed to shine the darkness will continue to
cloak us all with confusion and paranoia.  Our government should not be
afraid to tell us the truth unless it had something to hide.
     It cannot be denied that drugs do cause certain health harms.  These
are often exaggerated by the experimenters who report their findings to
the federal government.  After all, why would the government give grants
to researchers whose findings contradict the official position?  What we
must consider is not the absolutist position of "any health harms are
grounds for illegalization," but the comparative advantages to be obtained
by legalizing certain drugs.  Most opponents of drug legalization claim
drug use is abhorrent because it alters consciousness.  The claim that
drug use is immoral cannot be borne out empirically.  Both of these
arguments assume one fundamental assertion that is basically untrue:  the
assumption that the human body exists in a "pure" state which should not
be defiled.  Our bodies constantly change, incorporating whatever
materials exist in our environment as a part of themselves.  If we ingest
a good deal of selenium, we will have a higher concentration in our
bodies.  If we snort cocaine, we will have a higher concentration of
cocaine hydrochloride metabolites in our bodies.  This is neither a good
nor a bad thing, it is simply a state of being.  Our state of
consciousness is not a stable, enduring thing.  It is a pattern of highs
and lows in electrical and chemical activity, directly related to brain
composition and dietary intake (Carlson, 1992).  To say that one mental
state is any more or less moral than any other is simply a matter of
personal opinion.  Drug use is not an act of evil, it is a behavior, much
like sleep (Carlson, 1992).  Neither of these behaviors is necessary for
a healthy person, but they are patterns of behavior which people fall
into, and when that behavior is interrupted, it takes time for a body to
compensate.  This is why people feel edgy or angry when they have not
slept.  If we are to condemn drug use as something that distinguishes the
good from the bad, where do we draw the line?  Are non-sleepers inherently
more moral than sleepers?  Should we imprison those who sleep and force
them to stay awake?  And whom should we blame if one of these sleepers
becomes deranged because he is not allowed to sleep and lashes out,
killing someone who kept him awake?
     If we argue that the consciousness altering effects of drugs are
what makes them immoral, what about sugar?  It gives you a charge of
energy, stimulating the brain.  What about sleep?  It depresses the normal
conscious brainwave pattern, and introduces two totally new types of
brainwaves.  How about television?  It alters consciousness, and it
distorts peoples' views of the real world in a far more long-term manner
than any chemical (McKenna, 1992).  Television addicts may not even be
aware that their electronic fix has them in its iron grip.  So what's
next?  Do we imprison television viewers for immorally altering their
consciousness?  Or do we imprison those who don't watch television?  These
examples are not ridiculous.  They are directly analogous to the claims of
anti-drug activists.  They illustrate how weak the rationale is, and how
repressive this sort of legislation can become.
     Let's go back over the facts.  Drugs have some minor health harms in
their natural substrate forms, but the harms usually cited are results
from concentrated drug distillates (which would not be in demand if the
substrates were legal).  Drugs do induce changes in consciousness, but
these are no different than those caused by dietary and environmental
stressors.  The concept of a gateway drug is nothing more than a cover-up
theory for the fact that increased enforcement limits supply, forcing
addicts to ease their craving with whatever can be found.  Bad trips and
psychotic episodes are the results of adverse stimuli, such as paranoia,
which is induced because the drug is illegal and the user fears arrest. 
The violence often claimed as a "natural by-product of drug use" is
actually the unnatural product of profit hungry profiteers fleecing the
drug using public of money.  If you only need two dollars to buy your fix,
you have a lot more options of where to get the money than if you need
fifty dollars; your options are limited to the criminal unless you are
wealthy.  The poor are beaten and abused by police, their scant
possessions confiscated or destroyed by authority-crazed zealots.  Our
city streets are a war zone, with armed engagements between gangs and
police.  The motive is drug profit.  Rehabilitation centers, which amount
to little more than sanitarium style behavior modification, also seek to
cull profits from drug users who are arrested and forced to pay for
treatment.  Once again, profit is the motive.  Inexpensive hemp products
are not widely available (due to marijuana's illegal status) so the
American public is forced to buy ecologically damaging synthetic fiber
clothing, forest-annihilating paper products, and greenhouse effect
inducing petroleum fuel.  Once again, the oil and lumber corporations reap
huge profits while destroying the planet, when legalized hemp would be
much cheaper and ecologically sound.  We see profit as motive on all
counts, except police action:  there, we see control of the American
people as the motive.
     With legalization, the black market would cease to exist (Kleiman,
1989).  Gangs who thrive on the drug trade will either be out of business,
or they will be forced to switch to less profitable activities.  Either
way, they lose money, and without money, they cannot afford their weapons
of terror.  With legalization, the money currently being wasted on a
losing battle against drugs can be applied to education.  An educated
society can make informed, responsible decisions about whether or not to
use drugs.  Since natural substrates are cheap to produce (after all,
marijuana is a weed, mushrooms grow where there is cow dung and water, and
coca can be cultivated relatively inexpensively), prices could be
regulated by a government agency which would keep them affordable.  The
addicts would not have to commit crimes to support their habits.  Some
maintain that legal drugs would make everybody into a drug addict.  First,
I would ask the "coffee generation" and the "TV. generation" what they
think they are now, and secondly I contend that usage will in general not
change.  There will be an increase in new users, but some users who take
drugs to demonstrate their rebelliousness would lose the incentive to use. 
Also, with increased education, it seems unlikely that people would use
the highly addictive drugs which keep people using.  In addition, legal
drugs would not be adulterated or contaminated.  Purity of product will
improve the health of the drug user.  This will, consequently, improve the
overall public health.
     Legalization will also help the people to rein in the runaway
enforcement arms of our government, removing their justification for the
erosion of our rights.  Unnecessary surveillance currently justified as
drug preventative will require proper justification.  The public will not
have to live in fear of matching a drug-courier profile.  They will not
have to forfeit their hard earned property because they were caught using
a drug.  Illegal funding of covert operations will become increasingly
more difficult for our intelligence agencies, perhaps helping to reshape
the currently anti-American attitudes which are becoming alarmingly more
prevalent around the world.  The Gestapo tactics currently being employed
under the banner of the drug war will either stop, or be exposed as the
vicious assaults on basic liberties that they truly are.
     We do not seek to legalize all drugs.  Only those which have been
shown to be relatively harmless will be legalized.  The substrate plants
will be totally legal to grow or purchase.  It is recommended that sale of
drugs by unlicensed individuals remain illegal, with penalties being
restitution to the licensed dealers of the area.  Physicians and
psychiatrists will be able to prescribe any drugs shown to be relatively
harm-free, including recreational psychedelics, if they feel the
prescription is warranted.  Expanded educational programs will make people
more aware of the factual behavioral and pharmacological effects of drugs,
allowing for informed decisions on use.  We do not advocate drug use for
children, although this will undoubtedly occur.  We do not seek to wipe
out drug use or addiction.  This is an impossible goal.  We seek to
protect the American people from a government of out of control power
fiends, as addicted to control as any heroin addict.  The difference is
that the heroin addict harms only himself.  Power addicts in political
positions get their "high" by oppressing the American people, the very
group who elected them, the very group to which they have sworn loyalty. 
The choice is clear:  legalize now and damn the minor health harms, or let
our country continue its slide into a totalitarian police state.