The war against marijuana has a very interesting past. Despite the claims against the drug, the accusations made against it never hold up. Not only is the drug harmless, but it has medical benefits attached to it.
Marijuana has never killed anyone due to a drug related overdose which is interesting since alcohol contributes to many kinds of death yet is legal. According to the American Cancer Society, marijuana has been clinically proven to help cancer and AIDS patients by relieving pain, controlling nausea, and stimulating appetite.
So how did marijuana become a villain in American society? Where did it originate?
It started in 1971, when President Richard Nixon declared a “war on drugs.” He especially went after marijuana, temporarily placing it in the most restrictive drug class known as Schedule One. Nixon appointed a commission to review the drug. When they concluded that marijuana should be decriminalized, Nixon did what most politicians commonly do when they don’t get the favorable results that they desire and ignored their recommendation. The commission was a charade to further his anti-pot agenda. He wasn’t going to allow facts to get in the way.
In the 80’s, President Ronald Reagan’s wife, Nancy Reagan, created one of the most recognizable slogans for a campaign against marijuana and other drugs as she declared to the people to “Just Say No.” In the same decade, an educational drug program called DARE entered the scene, demonizing drug users. With Nancy and DARE leading the way against drug use, the expansion of the drug war under President Reagan caused drug related incarcerations to increase significantly.
At the beginning of the new millennium, President George W. Bush’s drug czar, John Walters, targeted marijuana as he vehemently campaigned to have students drug tested on a regular basis. More alarmingly, the “war on drugs” became a militarized endeavor as SWAT teams scheduled raids against mostly nonviolent criminals.
Republicans have played a major role in enforcing harsh sentences against marijuana users. They love to take away social choices of others in spite of wanting pure economical freedom for themselves. Be it the right to marry a person of the same gender or the biological rights of a female, they just can’t help but to tell people how to live their lives. The Republican Party feels it must promote a set of standards guided by the Christian moral majority.
However, the Democrats are equally to blame. Although President Bill Clinton came out against incarcerating drug users, he did nothing to stop the drug war while in office. He only conveniently spoke up against decriminalization before and after serving two terms.
Today, President Barack Obama echoes Clinton's empty words.
In 2008, a reporter asked President Obama if he would stop DEA raids against medical marijuana growers in Oregon, a state that allows marijuana to be grown for medical purposes.
Here’s what he had to say about it:
“I would because I think our federal agents have better things to do, like catching criminals and preventing terrorism.”
Has Obama lived up to those words? Like most politicians who promise us the world, the answer is sadly no. In fact, according to a study done by California NORML, the Obama Administration has been 80 percent harsher on prosecuting medical marijuana offenders than President George W. Bush. Financially, that’s 300 million in enforcement efforts that Obama promised not to use in Justice Department funds.
With all of this under Obama's umbrella, Attorney General Eric Holder claimed recently that the federal government would no longer engage against states that implement a system to legalize marijuana. Can his words be trusted? Only time will tell.
Speaking of time, it’s time for liberals to stand up on this issue and demand that nonviolent marijuana offenders be set free. The Democratic Party is supposed to be about social liberties and rights. They are the ones who legalized gay marriage in places like Massachusetts and fought for civil rights. It has been Democrats who continue to fight against crazy Republicans who want to control a woman’s body. It’s time we stand up for marijuana not just for decrimalization, but for unconditional legalization.
After all, is Obama any better than those serving time in prison? Can he idly standby and do nothing while thousands upon thousands a year are incarcerated for smoking a harmless joint? Has The National Prohibition Act of 1919 taught us nothing?
Penn Jillette said it best:
"If Obama had been caught with the marijuana that he says he uses, and 'maybe a little blow'... if he had been busted under his laws, he would have done hard f*cking time. And if he had done time in prison, time in federal prison, time for his 'weed' and 'a little blow,' he would not be President of the United States of America. He would not have gone to his fancy-a** college, he would not have sold books that sold millions and millions of copies and made millions and millions of dollars, he would not have a beautiful, smart wife, he would not have a great job. He would have been in f*cking prison, and it's not a god damn joke. People who smoke marijuana must be set free. It is insane to lock people up."
Obama's words and empty promises are no longer good enough. It's time for him to act. No more hypocrisy!