In April, 2003 anti-druggies and anti-prohibitionists faced off at a UN anti-drug meeting in Vienna that was supposed to assess progress in the UN’s 10-year plan to eradicate marijuana, coca and poppies from the face of the earth. The Transnational Radical Party, which has consultative status at the UN, fought strongly for drug war reform, but in the end their pleas were ignored. Now, more than a year later, the world is reaping the fruit of a renewed war against cannabis in which coca and poppies will take a back seat.
In mid-July, 2004, anti-drug officials at the US National Institute for Mental Health (NIMH) and the White House Office for National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) announced that they would shift the war on drugs away from drugs like heroin and cocaine. Instead, the NIMH and the ONDCP preferred to war more exclusively on pot.
“Most people have been led to believe that marijuana is a soft drug, not a drug that causes serious problems,” ONDCP head John Walters told the press. “Marijuana today is a much more serious problem than the vast majority of Americans understand.”
After the announcement, the White House unveiled the “Marijuana Potency Project.” The project’s name is an indicator of its focus: organizers of the Marijuana Potency Project say that today’s marijuana is much stronger than the schwaggy reefer of yore. Thus, they claim, it is more dangerous.
Pro-pot activists argue otherwise. Stronger pot means that you take less tokes to get high, they say, which means that you get less smoke in your lungs. And less smoke, according to the government’s own propaganda, should be more healthy. Yet the latest anti-drug push, based on irrational claims and backed by bad science, presses on.
In the European Union, a new resolution awaits approval by the European Parliament. The “Draft Council Resolution on Cannabis” calls for member nations to create new investigative teams, new intelligence databases, and more bad science to support the war on weed. It also asks states to draft resolutions to stop internet sites, like ours, from providing you with the truth about cannabis.
Luckily, there have been some international successes. The Transnational Radical Party (TRP), threatened with expulsion from the UN, won its appeal to retain its consultative status after thousands signed the organization’s internet petition. Many of the signatories were Cannabis Culture readers, who read about the TRP’s plight from this internet site. But if the Draft Council Resolution should pass, this website and the TRP’s petition might both be unavailable to Europeans.
Some detractors deride pot activists as pushing a non-serious issue. Recent moves by the US and EU tell a different story. The war on pot is not just a war on weekend fun. Amongst other things, the war on weed is also a war against freedom of speech, one of of the pillars of true democracy.
The White House decision to shift their focus from heroin and cocaine to cannabis should be an even greater wake up call to people everywhere.
Drugs like opium and cocaine, which have traditionally been sold by the CIA to fund US-sponsored warfare and revolution in foreign countries, will benefit from a less repressed economy. Meanwhile, media outlets report that workers who are tested for drugs are more likely to use cocaine than pot because it flushes out faster and is less detectable.
By choosing to focus on cannabis repression, the US government is abandoning its shaky moral pretense of saving people from drug abuse and is now pushing strongly ahead with what has always been racist, culturalist oppression.