Monday, November 12, 2007

How Is This Rational?

The War On Drugs continues to stagger the imagination, particularly the war against anything resembling the cannabis plant. I know the anti-hemp policy has long been part of the War on Drugs and the war on pot in particular. But you would think that the effect of the war on pot on the hemp industry and through it the agriculture industry would be enough to get us to look at the cannabis plant rationally. As has been pointed out time and again, using hemp as a drug would be the equivalent of trying to get drunk from those little candy liqueur bottles, except even less effective. So the rationale for banning this commercially valuable crop is that it makes enforcement of anti-marijuana laws more difficult and therefore should be just as illegal? Did I miss the part of law school where the ability to earn a living selling a completely harmless crop was less important than the relative ease with which the federal government can enforce the drug laws?

Unfortunately, I guess that's just wishful thinking. But what exactly will it take for us to evaluate the arbitrariness of completely banning a substance that creates a relatively benign high with relatively (I emphasize relatively) few side effects while almost completely legalizing a substance (alcohol) that can cause massive impairment with myriad severe side effects and which can, if taken to excess, cause death? What about the comparison between cannabis and tobacco, which is far more addictive and, despite being a drug, can even be legally ingested while driving (in other words, it's actually less restricted in some ways than talking on a cell phone)? Finally, what about the comparison with psycho-tropic drugs, which have massive documented side effects, and exist for the sole purpose of making people "feel good" (just like a recreational drug would do), but are available with a prescription even though marijuana isn't even available if a doctor thinks it is the best remedy?

Libby at the Newshoggers has more.