I recently had the dubious honor of hearing US Drug Czar John Walters speak before the Vancouver Board of Trade. Marc Emery, David Malmo-Levine, Chris Bennett, myself and a few others attended the $60 luncheon, where we booed and heckled the man whose job is to coordinate the entire US drug war.
In November, Vancouver elected a Mayor and council which strongly supports harm-reduction measures like safe-injection sites and decriminalization of marijuana. We hope that Vancouver will join the growing number of North American cities which are rejecting the war on drugs for more humane solutions. Yet although he stated that Canada was free to make its own laws, Walters clearly implied that Canada would suffer the wrath of the US if it started moving towards decriminalization.
What struck me most about Walters’ speech was not the inaccuracy of his claims or his implied threats against Canadian sovereignty. Instead, as I watched Walters try to maintain his train of thought through our heckles, I realized that he was just a man, who thinks he is making the world a better place and protecting children by targeting pot smokers and waging a drug war.
Our victory in the war being waged against us will not come through violence or use of force. Our opponents have all the guns, prisons and military might. What we have is momentum, growing public support and the strength of our convictions.
I believe that the closer we get to victory, the more desperate and extreme the prohibitionists will become. They will continue to lash out with their only tools: propaganda and violence. We must be prepared to counter them with truth and peaceful resistance.
It’s unlikely that we’ll ever convince Walters to give up his drug war ideology, but we can and will convert his followers to our side. Some of the staunchest opponents of the drug war are police officers who have spent years busting drug users. We must accept that our enemies see themselves as good, decent people, and we must convince them of the error of their ways. Our liberation will come from a victory of conscience.
Onwards to peace, and freedom!
Editor, Cannabis Culture