I remember Irwin Cotler, Canada’s Justice Minister in the twilight of Paul Martin’s Liberal government, commenting that Canadians had developed a culture of tolerance for marijuana use in the nation. This was on the heels of the Senate Committee urging marijuana legalization, my 2003 Summer of Legalization Tour across all ten provinces of Canada, and our 6-3 Supreme Court loss attempting to find Canada’s marijuana prohibition laws unconstitutional. In mid-2004 Cotler coolly and confidently asserted that his government would have “to change these perceptions.”
Cotler wasn’t concerned that polls even 7 years ago were showing a majority of voters supported legalizing marijuana, and that as a democracy, his government should reflect our will (and the corresponding justice in this new paradigm). He asserted that Canadians were wrong in this new view, and that the government would change the minds of the people who elected them to represent that changed new majority view.
Irwin Cotler was confident because modern governments have total faith in propaganda. Such is their instinctive reaction whenever the public starts to think for itself.
Cotler then carefully calculated on television newscasts that it would take two years to switch the Canuck consciousness back to the dark ages of prohibition. So sure was he of success that his prediction was announced publicly in mainstream media. We’re going to brainwash you. There’s nothing you can do about it.
But has this really happened? While politicians at every level of government in Canada behave as if they have changed public opinion, the polls, YouTube, Facebook, television, radio, movies and contemporary books all show that they have not. In fact, polls show the legalization numbers are rising throughout the United States and Canada. They have been rising since I began my lifetime campaign to legalize marijuana in 1990. The numbers have never reversed direction. Every year the momentum to legalize gets greater, with majorities in every western US state, British Columbia, Quebec, and Ontario. All the other provinces and states have the support of no less than 40% of their voters in support of legalizing marijuana; double the numbers from the year I started my crusade in 1990.
What’s going on? Is this all some sort of political joke?
Many times have I met Michael Ignatieff, the current Liberal leader, and heard him speak. Every appearance I have seen him, he is asked, earnestly, about whether a Liberal government will legalize marijuana. Each and every time Ignatieff laughed off the legalization question, as he did again a few weeks ago, by saying we shouldn’t be talking about it so much. Ignatieff wonders why people are always asking about marijuana. There are so many more important things in life, he says. Like “digging ditches,” as he suggested once in Newfoundland.
Indeed, when it comes to “drug use”, Ignatieff declares, “I just don’t get it.” He adds everyone should be out getting a university education, starting a family and building a community. These are fine things for those so inclined, but to say you can’t do them and be a part of the cannabis culture is a lie. To say you can’t smoke marijuana because it will stop somebody else from pursuing these goal is intellectually insulting.
To say that cannabis and the people who consume it are anti-education, anti-family, and anti-community is really hate propaganda. This is exactly what Ignatieff and his ilk are saying. Can you think of any group the Canadian public ought to hate more than a group that threatens to destroy the Canadian family and the Canadian community? That’s how the government usually labels terrorists – or the cannabis culture – interchangeably.
The fact that Ignatieff and a great many politicians (including President Obama in his 2010 public response to the most requested YouTube question, which was about cannabis legalization) do this in a jocular manner is extra creepy. That’s because joking about maintaining marijuana prohibition in spite of the majority will doesn’t sound like hate. It’s a very interesting technique that seems to be exclusive to marijuana prohibition propaganda. At first, Ignatieff and his audience laugh at the question. “I expected this would come up…” begins a merry Ignatieff, warming up the room. Knowing chuckles come from the audience. A bond has been formed. We’re all hip and cool. We’re all in on the marijuana joke.
If you were talking about a crime that actually warranted the repressive laws of prohibition, it wouldn’t be something you’d be laughing about. Politicians don’t joke about arson, rape, murder, robbery, embezzlement. These are truly serious crimes. If a crime is serious enough to have police regularly smash into homes and hold taxpayers at gunpoint, put them in jail, take their kids, take their homes, well, that would not be a laughing matter. Declaring a culture war at the highest levels of government, empowering police and even ‘safety inspectors’ to invade the homes of Canadians over a plant that is federally recognized as medicine, well, that is not a laughing matter. These are the most serious things a government can do to its citizens in a society. These are things that Ignatieff normally would not be laughing about.
Politicians never mention shooting people, pointing guns at the heads of taxpayers and their children, or shooting dogs dead in their homes. They are never asked about it or any of the other horrific abuses of these bad laws. The people asking the questions, both the voters and the media, never mention the specific abuses and repressive laws within the legalization question.
This schizophrenic combination of laughter and repression is very bizarre. Sending a “culture” to jail while laughing about it is not the sign of a reasonable mind. Name another issue responsible for such barbaric laws that is discussed as a joke by politicians and leaders. There is none.
As to the matter of sending a culture to jail while using that culture’s music to get you elected so you can send them to jail, that is altogether Mephistophelean. Prime Minister Harper singing ‘I Get High (with a little help from my friends)’ and ‘Jumpin’ Jack Flash,’ two songs created under the inspiration of huge amounts of marijuana, while Mr. Harper seeks to deliver a final solution (Bill S-10) to the ‘permissive drug culture’ that created such music, is, well, satanic. Mr. Harper co-opted the entirely wrong Rolling Stones song; he should have been singing, “Please allow me to introduce myself, I’m a man of wealth and fame…”
Ignatieff is saying marijuana and the people who use it threaten to destroy the social fabric of Canada. Any other opinions are not tolerated because “I just don’t get it.”
That the existing government leader, Mr. Harper, has declared war against my people and our cannabis culture, with the flaccid acquiescence of Mr. Ignatieff, demonstrates how perfidious their musical hypocrisy and perverted sense of humor really is.
Mr. Harper holds my fate in his “hands.” He delivered me unto the fate of D. Ray James Correctional Facility, and he can approve my transfer back to Canada. Failing any inherent political compassion to return me to Canada, I believe Canadian citizens will pressure the government in Ottawa to act in a civilized manner, though this is a rarely realized action from the government of Ottawa. At the least, I hope the Angus Reid polls showing a clear majority of Canadians want me returned holds sway, if compassion itself is unmoving.
Some Canada’s churches have recently come out against mandatory minimum jail sentences for cannabis offences. US evangelist Pat Robertson has said that marijuana should be legalized on his 700 Club television religious program. Given the nature of the Conservative base, this is an important development. Given the fact that marijuana prohibition is essentially a religion and is falsely sold as such, this is an exceptionally important moment in politics. Even conservative guru, University of Calgary professor Tom Flanagan, wants the Conservative government to embrace an end to prohibition.
Canada is now sending heavily armed police smashing into a private home and holding a person at gunpoint, all because a skunk was found living under his porch – true story. It is now standard operating procedure in Canada for police to legally smash into private homes and terrorize taxpayers at gunpoint, all because of the smell of a skunk. No apologies are offered; no thuggery is too extreme.
‘American War Machine’ by Peter Dale Scott, a new and superb analysis of the insidiousness of the global drug war, documents the real reason all this is going on in Canada, the USA, Mexico, Colombia, everywhere on Earth. It is impossible to paint a more damning picture of prohibition and the gangster governments it has created. If you want to fully understand why marijuana prohibition is a globally enforced policy, read this book.
My preferred book examining the truly evil genocidal nature of the worldwide prohibition has always been Richard Lawrence Miller’s book ‘Drug Warriors & Their Prey.’ It’s still one of the all time greatest books ever written. But when it comes to understanding how drug prohibition has created global politics and wars for the past 60 years and counting, ‘American War Machine’ is the book. Think of it as Prohibition Meets Dr. Strangelove.
Author Scott is not hopeful this corruption will end anytime soon. The current political climate, he explains, is restricted to those who have the “domination” mentality. Prohibition funds their wars. As long as we have prohibition, we will have endless war. These two parasites have formed a corrupt partnership that now feeds off the world community.
How does authority rationalize, both for its goon squads and for itself, this abuse and corruption? How does it ignite that internal sadism without calling it sadism? How do you get people so wired up that they will smash into taxpayers’ homes and perform all the other global depravities that are the exclusive demented domain of prohibition?
Here’s how, as recounted by the Grand Inquisitor in ‘Brothers Karamazov.’ Dostoevski’s story opens with Christ returning to Earth during the Spanish Inquisition. Heretics are being burned alive as an “act of faith”. The Grand Inquisitor sees Christ raise a child from the dead and knows He’s the real thing. The Inquisitor has Christ arrested and visits Him in jail.
It is here the Inquisitor lectures Christ on the craft of public relations. In Dostoevski’s story, Christ is not to be taken only as a religious figure. He is used as a literary device to represent truth in any form. The Inquisitor is used to represent the suppression of truth by any self-rationalizing and corrupt authority – think Stephen Harper, Michael Ignatieff, or even my Inquisitor, former DEA Administrator Karen Tandy.
As not-so-grand Inquisitor Karen Tandy stated in writing upon my arrest on July 29, 2005, I was jailed for truth. The more I spoke, the more convinced Canadians and Americans became of the truth. Over those years leading up to my arrest, as I toured, spoke, published, broadcast, and ran for elected office, the more the citizens came to see cannabis prohibition as the evil it is. Tandy did not hide this. Like the Grand Inquisitor, she proudly laid it right on the line. I am in jail, as she put it, because I am a propagandist with my “propagandist magazine Cannabis Culture,” giving away “hundreds of thousands of dollars to legalization lobbyists” (i.e. truth tellers) “active in the United States and Canada.”
I am in jail precisely because I expressed an idea, specifically the idea of freedom of thought, the idea of truth. This is precisely what the Grand Inquisitor tells Jesus Christ: “What are we going to do with truth? Humanity is just too shallow, stupid, and scared to ever be able to handle the burden of the truth, which is the burden of free thought, of being able to think for yourself. Freedom,” claims the Inquisitor, “is simply too heavy a responsibility for people. It is easier and more natural for them to obey.”
“And if it is a mystery, we too have a right to preach a mystery, and to teach them that it’s not the free judgment of their hearts, not love, that matters, but a mystery which they must follow blindly, even against their own conscience. So we have done. We have corrected Thy work and have founded it upon a miracle, mystery and authority. And men rejoiced again that they were led like sheep, and that the terrible gift (freedom) that had brought them such suffering was, at last, lifted from their hearts,” explained the Grand Inquisitor to Christ.
Therefore, pontificates the Inquisitor, people like himself take on that responsibility by deceiving the masses for their own good. We give them a reason to live. We tell them how to live. We give them false hopes and phony beliefs. We make up lies so they don’t have to think for themselves. And Inquisitors can use all and any manner of torture and depravity to accomplish this end.
In the book ‘The Grand Inquisitor’s Manual’ by Jonathan Kirsch, his preface explains the atrocities that were committed by authorities over several centuries with impunity:
“Above all, the Inquisition relied on what it regarded as the extraordinary nature of the CRIME of HERESY to justify every excess and atrocity. These heretics were accused of being ‘thieves and murders of souls,’ and the war on heresy justified the deployment of every weapon in the inquisitional arsenal. To accuse someone of heresy and then allow him or her to go unpunished was simply unacceptable, a threat to the power of the Church. After all, the acquittal of even a single accused heretic would surely bleed away some of the dread and terror that was regarded as crucial in deterring others from false belief.
“Far worse, as the Church saw it, was the spectacle of a true believer of a forbidden faith who was perfectly willing to suffer bravely and die heroically for that faith. This was the real reason that the inquisition sought to avoid making martyrs of the accused heretics by torturing them into abject confession… Torture was not only tolerated but actively encouraged because the Church regarded the war on heresy as an existential struggle with Satan and his minions on Earth; the victims of torture nothing more than ‘traitors to God’ in the eyes of the persecutors. To the horror and sorrow of countless generations to come, the Inquisition demonstrated that the demonization of one’s adversaries makes it legally and morally acceptable to torture and kill them.”
“If only you had given them a miracle at the end,” the Inquisitor tells Christ, “you would have won them over. Easy. All you had to do was come off the cross.”
“But you did not do that,” the Inquisitor criticizes a silent Jesus. “You expected too much of these worthless souls. As a result, we have altered your work. And now they believe us. They will do anything we say. The very people you have tried to save will now destroy you on my command.” To prove this, the Inquisitor says he will order the mob to burn Christ at the stake.
Christ never says a word. His only response is to kiss the Inquisitor. Shaken, the Inquisitor opens the jail door and tells Christ to leave and never come back. (“The kiss glows in his heart, but the old man adheres to his idea.”)
Even the cynical and hardened Inquisitor had some momentary compassion left in him.
I can only hope.
– Marc Emery
February 12th, 2011
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The painting included above, by artist Chris Wright, is a follow-up to his first one of Marc being reached out for by the long arm of the USA – before he was extradited. Here is the first image: