While reading old High Times magazines from the late 1970’s, I was struck by the similarities with what I see today: an enthusiasm that the war on marijuana is about to end, public pressure towards pot-law change, medical marijuana breakthroughs in the courts, politicians discussing how to implement decrim. Yet this was over 20 years ago, and the drug war is worse than ever.
Although this is a useful way to shake us out of the complacency that the drug war will end soon without any more effort, I believe that there are some differences which should give us cause to hope that the drug war will not continue for yet another 20 years.
Aside from the accumulated evidence of two more decades of drug war failure, we have another major factor on our side which did not exist in 1979: the internet.
The world is undergoing a revolution which will ultimately affect every aspect of how humans live their lives on this planet. This is the revolution of the internet, and it is only just beginning, yet it is already demonstrating a powerful influence on the way our society is structured and functions.
Marijuana activists have not been slow in getting onto the internet. Cannabis Culture’s site was among the first on the web, and now our Pot-TV Internetwork is at the cutting edge of internet broadcasting. This is not a coincidence, as forbidden information always seeks out new, unrestricted technologies.
Although the US government has launched a number of pro-drug-war websites, they are all noticably missing any kind of public forum where people can openly post their opinions. Yet anti-prohibitionist websites all reveal in open debate and idea exchange. The reason the fed’s websites don’t allow debate is simple: they know that their discussion forums will become swamped with facts and opinions which do not support their drug war ideology.
I see many parallels between the current global “war on drugs” and 16th Century Europe, where a successful protest movement finally challenged three centuries of corruption within the Catholic Church. The Protestant Reformation was made possible by the invention of the printing press, which allowed Martin Luther to print copies of the Bible and many other tracts and leaflets which promoted his views. Without the new technology of the press, Luther’s revolution would likely have failed, like many before it.
Like the printing press, the internet is allowing the mass exchange of ideas and images like never before. I believe that the free exchange of information made possible by the internet will tip the balance in favour of drug-peace this time around.
After the Reformation came the Renaissance, a period where once-forbidden areas of knowledge, art and experience were explored, and European culture flowered in a myriad of previously unimaginable ways. Science and philosophy began making great strides and gave birth to ideas and techniques which are still in widespread use today.
I believe that with the end of the drug war, another period of cultural growth and enlightenment will come upon us. With science and philosophy free to study the workings of the mind, using the tools of once forbidden psychedelic and mind-expanding drugs, I foresee great advances and discoveries in our understanding of the human psyche. This will produce unimaginable advances in science and philosophy, and allow us to create new technologies and techniques to improve and expand the human condition.
The revolution may not be televised, but it will be streamed live over the internet!
Editor, Cannabis Culture