The Emperor Wears No Clothes – Chapter 16
by Jack Herer
The Emperor’s New Clothes
Alternatives to Prohibition
In conclusion, we see that the government’s case against marijuana is woven of transparent lies. In this chapter, we bring to light some research that the government does not like people to know about. Then we talk about some realistic alternatives.
But first, a brief fable:
The Story of the Emperor’s New Clothes
(Paraphrased from Hans Christian Andersen’s Fairy Tale)
There once was a very, very vain and terrible King/Emperor who heavily taxed his subjects in order to pay for his incredibly fine wardrobe made from the most expensive fabrics.
One day, two swindlers, representing themselves as great tailors from afar, arrived and sought an audience with the Emperor. They told of an amazing new fabric they had invented, made of a very expensive gold fiber that only the best, purest and wisest of people could see. Excited, the Emperor asked to see a sample, and the men brought forth an empty spool. “Ah, isn’t it lovely?” they asked the Emperor.
The Emperor agreed, afraid to admit that he did not see anything because that would mean he was a dull and stupid person.
So, to test his ministers, the Emperor brought them all in to get their opinions. Once the power of the fabric was explained to them, all agreed that this was, indeed, the finest and most beautiful cloth in the whole world.
The Emperor ordered that much of the gold from the treasury be given to the supposed tailors to be spun into thread. They set about at once working day after day, pretending to cut and sew, while the Emperor and his ministers periodically came by to admire their handiwork – and to pay the enormous bills the merchants were running up in the course of their activities.
Finally, the big day came when all the people in the land were ordered to gather to see the Emperor’s new outfit, which they had paid so much for and heard so much about.
When he nakedly strode forth, all the people looked in disbelief and said nothing. Then they sang the praises of the miraculous new cloth. “It’s the most beautiful work I’ve ever seen!” “Magnificent!” “I wish I had such lovely fabric!” They all cheered, afraid of being denounced and called stupid and impure if they did otherwise.
And the Emperor proudly paraded in front of his -subjects, secretly worried – afraid that he would lose the crown if the people knew that he, himself, could not see the cloth that draped his body.
As he passed through the crowd, a small boy perched on his father’s shoulder cried out, “But the Emperor has nothing on!”
“Just hear what the innocent says!” said the father. And each person whispered to another what the child had said. The word spread throughout his subjects what the little boy had said.
Then, everyone knew that the Emperor and all his ministers had been tricked by swindlers. Now his guards and ministers, as well as the people, realized that the swindlers had not only tricked the Emperor, but he, the Emperor, had spent all their tax money, wasted on this farce. The Emperor heard the people laughing and murmuring. He knew they were right, but he was too proud to admit he was wrong and had been made the fool. So he drew himself up to his full height and stared down at his guards, until he caught one guard’s eye.
The guard, looking nervously around, realizing this vain Emperor could have him imprisoned or even beheaded, averted his eyes and looked down at the ground. Then another guard, seeing that his fellow guard wasn’t laughing anymore, got scared and lowered his eyes to the ground, too. Soon, all the guards, ministers, and even the children pretending to carry his invisible train of gold cloth, were staring at the ground.
The people, seeing the ministers and guards, who a moment ago were laughing at the Emperor with them, now staring down at the ground, quaking in their boots, stopped laughing and quickly bowed their heads, as well.
The little boy who had first exclaimed that the Emperor was naked, seeing all the grownups around him, and even his father, completely scared and subdued, bowed his head in fear!
Then the Emperor, again pulling himself up to his full height, announced to his subjects, as he marched proudly through his empire, “Who is to say that these are not the very finest clothes of all?”
The Moral of the Story is…
We cannot simply call the Emperor (U.S. government) on his (its) acts of deceit and manipulation of fact. His guards (FBI, CIA, DEA, etc.) are far too powerful. His fear of shameful discovery so great he ceaselessly uses his power (through funding much of the United Nations and the world’s anti-drug crusades) to buy allegiance through bribery and intimidation (foreign aid, arms sales, etc.).
Those American citizens who would dare speak out against this tyranny are often slandered as “druggies” or “dopers” and may be threatened with the loss of their jobs, income, families and property. To win, we must drive a stake through the heart of (the U.S. government’s/DEA’s) lies, over and over and over again by hammering at them relentlessly with hardcore facts to defeat the evil of this hard-hearted Emperor (unjust cannabis laws) and even imprison these perpetrators, if necessary, to set our people free!
The Logical Analogy
We contend that America’s marijuana/hemp laws are like the Emperor’s clothes! Like tyrants and prohibitionists in the past, this Emperor relies on brute force, intimidation, fear and a virtual police state to maintain his authoritarian, despotic reign while draining the federal treasury, dismantling all vestiges of the Bill of Rights while imprisoning innocent souls.
General Barry McCaffrey, and now John Walters, acting the parts of the Emperor’s advisors, have all upheld the fallacy of the “pure fabric that only the purest eyes may see,” woven for them originally by Anslinger/DuPont/Hearst and their malevolent bureaucrats. Now it is co-maintained by energy, pharmaceutical, alcohol/beer companies, drug rehab professionals, drug testers, police, prison guards and prison builders – all with enormous financial interests and police-state motives.
When agents of the U. S. government deliberately act or conspire this way – be they President, Vice President, National Drug Czar, head of the DEA, FBI, or CIA – they should be imprisoned. And in an honest American society, they would be held accountable for the 16 million years they’ve already sentenced so many Americans to for the “crime” of pot.
Our federal bureaucracies and the U.S. Supreme Court are rapidly chipping away at our freedoms as outlined in the Bill of Rights (written on hemp paper). Hemp/marijuana has become their principal excuse for taking away our guaranteed Constitutional rights – more so than for all other crimes, political actions, insurgencies, strikes, uprisings and wars in the last 200 years combined! And the loss of basic freedoms is even worse in our satellite Central and South American countries, where their leaders have acted at America’s behest.
Truth or Consequences of Prohibition
When DuPont tells you that they bring “Better Living through Chemistry,” they don’t tell you that it’s only for 100 years, then the entire planet dies for their profit.
England and Holland have learned to treat their substance abusers as human beings – keeping them supplied with enough affordable medicants so they don’t disrupt the activities of others. Such policies allow them to lead otherwise productive and normal lives. These policies are now firmly established, effective and popular in those countries. In the mid-1990s, Switzerland began its own experiments in localized tolerance of public drug use.
When the Swiss government tried, in 1997, to re-criminalize cannabis with a ballot initiative, it lost by 79% of the vote!
So, why should other-wise peaceful hemp/marijuana growers and users be labeled and persecuted as lifetime criminals while 35% of all robberies and burglaries are committed by heroin and alcohol addicts, 40 to 55% of murders, rapes and highway fatalities are alcohol related* and hero-in is more available in jail than on the streets. Yet cannabis users statistically have the same or lower incidents of crime and violence as the non-cannabis-using population as a whole.
*FBI Statistics, 2005.
In fact, aside from cannabis usage, take the mob and the dealers out of heroin and other drugs and you reduce as much as 80% of non-alcohol related crime. As a direct example, throughout the “Roaring Twenties” era of alcohol prohibition, the murder rate rose consistently then dropped every year for the next 10 years following prohibition’s 1933 repeal.*
Let’s find another way to deal with drug usage or be prepared for continued exponential erosion of our freedoms, including the rights of self expression, public debate and a free press, including books and songs.
Accept the fact that virtually all drug-related crime ends if you treat addicts and users instead of removing them from society. Help them, educate and encourage them to be financially productive.
In 2006, the top priority of the U. S. government, the DEA and most of the Republican Party is to try to enact legislation that will automatically take away 100% of all citizens’ rights to privacy and freedom from unwarranted search – as if the drug war were a true state of emergency – in order to further their fascistic, police and prison-state agenda.
In order for America to be marijuana free, all of us, smokers and non-smokers alike, will have to give up our Bill of Rights…forever! You will have to conform to the likes of Lyndon LaRouche, Jerry Falwell, Nancy Reagan, Edwin Meese, William Bennett, Gen. Barry McCaffrey, John Walters and minds of that repressive and ridiculous ilk. Each, in their smug ignorance, contributing to the permanent poisoning of the Earth while trying with all their might to completely annihilate the one thing that can save us: HEMP!
The computer, that great boon to mankind, will ironically allow the police to finish, today, the job the Roman Catholic Church’s Inquisition started (see Chapter 10: Dark Ages) because the Church could not stand “commoners” laughing at them, or knowing the secrets of, among other things, hygiene, astronomy and hemp. Using computers, the pot police can peer into an individual’s family background, his sales receipts, his income taxes, and so forth to enable them to blackmail and/or bribe Americans, as well as destroy their politicians, judges and other VlPs by exposing issues like their private sex lives or personal drug use.
For example, the son of Clinton’s former Surgeon General Jocelyn Elders, was systematically and perpetually badgered, over six months, by his friend (who had been previously busted and forced to work undercover for the DEA, specifically to set up young Elders) to get him to purchase a small amount of cocaine for himself. Elders’ son, who had never been known to deal, consistently refused, but eventually gave in to the friend’s constant pressure.
The government revealed the information about this transaction to no one for another six months until they could use it to directly blackmail Surgeon General Elders into recanting her soft stance on medical cannabis. Instead, refusing to be silenced, Elders resigned. With such blatantly underhanded tactics, the DEA is daily bringing us closer to Orwell’s 1984 nightmare.
Wasting Our Tax Money
Approximately 50% of all drug enforcement money, federal and state, during the last 70 years has been directed toward marijuana!
Some 70-80% of all people now in federal and state prisons in America wouldn’t have been there as criminals until just 60 or 70 years ago. In other words we, in our (Anslinger and Hearst inspired) ignorance and prejudice, have placed approximately 1.2 million of the 1.8 million people in American prisons (as of 2005) for crimes that were, at worst, minor habits, up until the Harrison Act, 1914 (whereby the U.S. Supreme Court in 1924 first ruled that drug addicts weren’t merely sick, they were instead vile criminals).
Eighty percent of these government “War on Drugs” victims were not dealing. They have been incarcerated for simple possession. And this does not include the quarter of a million more in county jails.
Remember, just 29 years ago, in 1978, before the “War on Drugs,” there were only 300,000 people in American prisons for all crimes combined.
Some radio and television preachers have added to the hysteria by calling rock music “satanic and voodoo” and associating it with the drug culture. They want to outlaw rock, burn albums and books, and lock up everyone who doesn’t agree with them. So does Carlton Turner. So does Lyndon LaRouche. So does William Bennett. So does General Barry McCaffrey. So does John Walters.
During the last three generations, Hearst’s and Anslinger’s propaganda and lies have been relentlessly jammed down Americans’ throats as unimpeachable gospel truth – resulting in the massive drain on taxpayer’s money to build the government’s anti-drug machine (see “Fighting the Police State” in the Appendix).
And virtually every state is in the midst of the biggest prison expansion ever in America’s and the world’s history, while political vultures, concerned only for growth of their prison-related industries and job security, demand that we build more prisons and expand tax bases to pursue this “law and order” madness against formerly misdemeanor or even non-existent offenses.
In the 1980s, when U.S. Supreme Court Justice William Rehnquist was “nodding off” in court – and sending other druggies to prison for their habits – he kept feeding his eight-a-day Placidyl habit. This was the equivalent in dollars, “high,” and mental effect to that of a $70 to $125 a-day street abuser’s heroin habit.
Placidyl, a cousin of Quaaludes, is known as a “heavy down,” popular on the streets for imparting a very placid feeling in users.
The physical dependency and mental effects of using the legal drugs Placidyl, Dilaudid, Quaaludes, etc., are virtually the same as for the reviled barbiturates, opium, morphine and heroin. In essence, they disturb the body’s “endorphin” (pain-receptors and nullifiers) balance.
Rehnquist, who was said to have used Placidyl far in excess of normal limits, did not have to rob liquor stores, physically assault his fellow citizens, or commit any of the other anti-social behaviors attributed to “junkies.”
His habit was easily maintained because Placidyl was both legally available and within his normal income limits. Placidyl was also well labeled as to purity and frequency of dosage, while people with outlawed drug habits have to get by on a “dime of tar” (a 10 dollar bag) the purity of which – whether 5% or 95% – is unknown. The great majority of drug overdoses are caused by this unknown, unregulated, and unlabeled purity factor.
The government acknowledges that 90% or more of overdoses from illegal drugs would probably be avoided with accurate labels and appropriate warnings.
Policies Based on Ignorance
While researching this book over the last 33 years, we have talked with and questioned senators, legislators, judges, police, DAs, scientists, historians, Nobel Prize winners, dentists, and MDs. All knew little bits and pieces of the history and uses of cannabis, but virtually no one knew in any depth about marijuana in its 360-degree entirety except long-term medical researchers, such as Ungerlieder, Mikuriya, and writers like Ed Rosenthal, Dean Latimer and Dr. Michael Aldrich.
For example, 24 years ago, at a large California NORML fundraiser in February 1983, we spoke privately with then Senate Majority Whip Tom Rutherford, of New Mexico. He had been a leading pro-marijuana politician for a decade and was, at that time, probably the most knowledgeable elected government representative on the subject of marijuana, in the United States. We asked him why the government didn’t just come out and legalize marijuana, especially with everything we knew medically, industrially and historically about cannabis.
We were shocked when he replied that he was not aware of any argument in favor of the legalization of marijuana, except to just end the lunacy of criminalization for at worst a minor act.
So, we enthusiastically outlined the facts and entire history of hemp/marijuana for him, figuring he must have heard some of it before. He sat literally in awe of the claims he was hearing for the very first time. When we finished speaking, he said, “If I had that knowledge outlined and documented for me as you just told it, the government, police and judicial system would be through persecuting pot.”
“But is it true?” he added.
This was in February 1983 and here were America’s top pro-pot politicians who literally didn’t know enough about hemp to fill a single page of a book, and some left public office in the Reagan “just say no” era before having learned enough to publicly support hemp /marijuana.
But now, many do know hemp is potentially Earth’s number-one crop and that the present laws are totally unjustifiable, and that the government’s position on pot is utterly false and can’t stand the simple light of truth.
What is the Law?
“All laws which can be violated without doing anyone any injury are laughed at.” – Spinoza, (c. 1660.)
To control marijuana is to give up our freedoms, for ourselves, our kids, and our kid’s kids, forever.
And that, my friends, is called fascism; and simply put, if the laws on cannabis are not over-turned, and if present Earth-destructive practices, such as strip mining, oil drilling, clear-cutting of trees, industrial pollution of waters, and use of pesticides and herbicides are not discontinued, our planet will soon die at the hands of these ignorant (not-knowing and/or evil) politicians who think they have a right to pass more and more draconian laws to fill more and bigger prisons and jails with some of our most decent citizens. These same politicians portray themselves as being motivated purely out of concern for children. Meanwhile, they promote the massive ongoing environmental poisoning of these same children every day! But to truly understand why tens of millions of Americans are scared silly of pot after 70 years of disinformation that continues to this day, consider the mentality and character of former Los Angeles Police Chief Daryl Gates (1978–1992), who has admitted to helping direct a program of squashing accurate hemp information and ordering the arrest and harassment of California Marijuana Initiative workers for acting upon their civic and Constitutional right to collect petition signatures.
In September 1983, on television and through a police spokesman, Gates called hemp reform advocates “well-intentioned but terribly naïve regarding marijuana and [they] really don’t know much about it.”
In January 1984, Gates was asked by a parent at a San Fernando Valley, CA, public school, “What can I do if I find out my child has used marijuana?” He replied, “It’s too late. Once they’ve smoked one marijuana cigarette, they are lost to us forever!”*
*These exact words were also used by L.A. County D.A Ira Reiner in his 1990 campaign for State Attorney General. He lost.
A few months later, then–California Attorney General, John Van de Kamp, suppressed the August 17, 1990 report by his own advisory panel that called for hemp re-legalization. Gates testified before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on September 5, 1990 that “casual drug users should be taken out and shot.” He held to this position for almost a week, until public outcry for his dismissal* forced him to modify his comment to a call for stricter penalties. Former Drug Czar William Bennett said, “I have no moral problem with beheading marijuana users, arms, feet and legs (seriously!). In July of 1998, Drug Czar Barry McCaffrey, on
On March 3, 1991, the world was shocked to learn that Gates’ officers were indeed capable of such brutal and heinous behavior when the video “The murder rate in Holland [where “soft” drugs of Los Angeles police officers savagely beating a defenseless Rodney King (accused of speeding and evading capture) was revealed to the world. A urine test later revealed traces of THC. Gates continued to back his officers in the beating, through the time of the riots.
*Reiner was almost the only official to publicly support Gates.
In July of 1998, Drug Czar Barry McCaffrey, on a fact-finding mission to Europe, added insult to ignorance by proclaiming to a Stockholm audience, “The murder rate in Holland [where “soft” drugs are treated as a legal product] is double that in the United States…That’s drugs.” Actually, the Dutch murder rate is 1.7 per 100,000, less than one-fourth that of the U.S.
This was only the latest in McCaffrey’s continuing stream of ludicrous misinformation. In December 1996, for example, he had been quoted in the media as saying, “There’s not one shred of evidence that marijuana has medicinal value…”
On the basis of the information provided in this book, we demand an end to the enforcement of these prohibition laws. All laws regarding the cultivation of the cannabis plant must be stricken from the books, including the U. N.’s Single Convention Treaty of 1961, at which Anslinger represented the United States. Although he was forced to retire by an angry President Kennedy for, among other things, his antics at the Convention, Anslinger’s legacy of lies and deceit lives on in 2007.
Our government owes an apology to all people who spent jail or prison time for cannabis (16 million years in aggregate time so far), had to go through the courts, had their educations, families and professions torn apart and their lives, wealth and health often destroyed.
We also owe an apology to honest-but-ignorant teachers, police and judges for our lack of courage to speak up and educate them. But there is no apologizing for the profit-minded corporate and government leaders who have acted illegally to censor and refute the undeniable truth of hemp.
What Justice Demands
Justice demands nothing less than the lifting of all penalties (criminal and civil) and the removal of all restraints upon the cultivation and use – both smoking and non-smoking uses – of this, our most remarkable plant.
Prisoners being held for the peaceful, non-violent possession, sale, transport or cultivation of cannabis hemp must be released immediately. Money and property seized must be returned. Criminal records must be wiped clean, amnesty granted and some sort of reparations paid for time served. These cannabis prisoners are the real victims of this monstrous crime against humanity called the “War on Drugs.”
In the end, half measures will not be acceptable.
In the meantime, we must begin with a moratorium on hemp/marijuana law enforcement. And we must move swiftly to restore and expand the national archives and historical record on hemp and its multiplicity of uses.
What You Can Do
We think, now that you’ve had a good look at our side and the government’s side of this story (both as we see it and as the media projects it), you’ll want to join us in putting this issue onto the state ballots and into the legislatures of this country, where everyone can express their opinions through registering and voting in the straight-forward manner set forth in our United States’ and individual state constitutions.
Teach hemp to everyone; talk about it – all the time. Look for hemp products, ask for hemp – buy hemp. Defend hemp. And use the information and suggestions about hemp politics and business included in the Appendix at the end of this book.
At the risk of repetition, let us once more state in the strongest possible terms, that cannabis hemp – indeed the plant we denigrate with the slang name marijuana – will become known to future generations, as it was known to past generations for millennia, as the number-one annually renewable, fully sustainable, non pesticide-requiring and most abundant source of paper/fiber/fuel/food/medicine on the face of the Earth; with more overall uses than any other known plant.
In other words, cannabis hemp is the greatest plant on Earth!
Write to your elected officials and to the news media, to help create a more conscious political leadership and favorable news coverage on marijuana and hemp. Give credit for good votes and coverage, and complain about bad. Register, run for office, and always vote!!
Demand that our prisoners of conscience be freed, rewarded and honored. They deserve to be welcomed home as heroes, and as P.O.W.s in this “War on Drugs,” to receive veterans’ benefits and rights – not the DEA or police.
Think of this…
If these “outlaw” citizens had not defied the government and preserved the hemp seed, our government and its prohibitionist policies would already have eradicated this plant from our Earth.
So, the heroes of this war are not William Bennett, Nancy Reagan, Bill Clinton, George Bush, Jr., the DEA, or DARE, but those who defied them. These true heroes must have their lives and property returned. For defying these tyrannical laws, they must be remembered by each one of us for all time. For they saved the seed that’s going to save the planet!
Hemp for Victory!
Let our people go. Let our people grow. And never allow our politicians to again impose such fanatical prohibition laws against any natural substance in its natural form.
Democracy doesn’t work – ever – unless it is honest.
And if the suppression of hemp is just one example of the many lies with which American police/bureaucrats have been blackmailing their theoretical bosses – elected politicians and the public – then we are in big trouble!
We have reviewed this “drug war” against cannabis hemp/marijuana as thoroughly as we possibly could, and what we have seen sickens us. And only those with this knowledge of hemp, whose doors of perception have been cleansed, can kick the scumbags (the real criminals) out of office and reclaim our freedoms and our planet.
We therefore agree with the little boy from Hans Christian Andersen’s tale who, while watching the parade pass by, shouted with courageous innocence:
“THE EMPEROR WEARS NO CLOTHES!”
WHAT DO YOUR OWN EYES SEE?
WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO ABOUT IT?!
State of the Hempire, 2007
It ain’t over yet…
As I sit here in July 2007, putting the final touches on this 11th edition, 16th printing of the Emperor, I find myself reflecting again upon all the changes that have occurred since 1985 when the first edition of this book was released.
Hemp awareness has increased dramatically since then – easily 10,000 fold. In 1985, aside from those few items in Captain Ed’s and my store, there were virtually no hemp products for sale in the western world and not many in the eastern part of the globe either. Today, in July 2007, multitudes of hemp products are sold in thousands of stores across America and many more thousands throughout the world, with more stores jumping on the hemp bandwagon every day.
The variety of goods on sale is almost as limitless as the uses of hemp itself: paper, clothing, fiber, fabric, soaps, shampoos, cosmetics, body oils, machine lubricants, plastics, and a wide variety of foods of the highest nutritional value.
I am optimistic that cannabis medicines will soon be legal federally and join this list, as it has become legal medicine in 10 states through voter initiatives and in two states, Hawaii and New Mexico, through state legislation. New Mexico’s law went into effect this month, July 2007.
International firms like The Body Shop, with its approximately 1,600 stores, have put their full weight behind hemp, and manufacturers like Hanf Haus, Two Star Dog, Hempstead and Hempy’s, et al., are becoming more prominent every day.
Magazines like High Times (USA), Cannabis Culture (Canada), and Hanf (Germany), Treating Yourself (Canada), etc. provide up-to-the-minute perspectives on the growing battle for utilization and legalization.
But despite all the positive changes these days, it doesn’t take a weatherman, to paraphrase Bob Dylan, to know which way the wind is blowing.
I’m sitting here in Northern California amidst the hottest decade on record – after 15 consecutive years of worldwide record breaking heat. My legal medical marijuana joint is in my hand. Global warming and the Greenhouse Effect, because of the arrogant indifference of government scientists, is increasing by the day, the month, the year.
The Antarctic ice cap, which contains 90% of the world’s ice, is said to be melting 10 times faster than was estimated just 25 years ago. If this continues at the present rate, our oceans won’t be just 1-3 feet higher in 30 years, but as much as 20 to 40 feet higher! Shades of the Kevin Costner, 1995 film Waterworld!
I am very deeply saddened and outraged by the thought that this senseless, exponential destruction of our environment could long ago have been avoided, and possibly even stopped by simply cultivating hemp for our paper, plastics, fiber and energy needs, as the U.S. Government advised us in 1916 to do in Bulletin 404, pages 150-155, and in the February 1938 Popular Mechanics, and in 1942 in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s war movie, Hemp For Victory.
In 1970, the major media outlets were bemusedly tolerant of pot. The youth culture was on the upswing and the meek seemed poised to inherit the Earth from the military-industrial complex. By 1983, avaricious, conscienceless “me-generation” capitalism had turned back the humanist tide. Now in 2007, because of the internet, we once again have hope!
In 1978, after 202 years of Nationhood, there were approximately 300,000 Americans in state and federal prisons and another 150,000 in county jails (for all crimes)! There were only 45,000 prison/jail guards nationwide; approximately one guard per 10 prisoners. At that time, the construction of schools and universities was a thriving growth industry. At least five times more was being spent on building schools than on building prisons.
Suddenly, amazingly, in 1978, the new prison guard trade publication led the new leadership in prison guards unions and correctional officers associations, etc. and molded the previously ineffectual guards into one of, and in some states, the most politically powerful lobbying blocks in the country.
What the new leadership guards wanted in 1978 was longer and longer determinant sentences for less and less serious crimes, and with virtually no time off for good behavior to assure rapidly growing prison populations. In the Reagan years they got
In the last 29 years, these powerful correctional officers unions became the largest single contributors to state legislators – and mostly to the Republican Party. Now in 2007, there are almost 2 million people in prison, 800,000 in jail and the penal system supports 300,000 jail guards, approximately 1 guard per 8 prisoners!
In the last two decades, prison construction and prison employment have been among the largest growth industries in the U.S., while federal and state spending for new schools has dwindled to less than one-fifth that of prison building expenditures. The United States of America (the Land of the Free) has only five percent of the world’s population. And yet, out of all the people incarcerated throughout the world, 25 percent are incarcerated in the U.S. The percentages are out of balance.
What kind of society would rather build jails than schools?
In 2007, the courts are endeavoring to fill up prison cells – literally cramming them full – faster than they can be made available. On average, these mostly non-violent offenders are being held (depending on individual state law) for 2, 3, and 4 times longer than they were in 1978, and 2, 3, and 4 times longer than violent offenders in their state.
In November 1996, California passed the statewide Medical Marijuana Initiative Prop 215 by 56 percent, despite the non-stop personal urgings (on radio, TV, newspapers and magazines) of presidents Ford, Carter, Bush and Clinton, along with Nancy Reagan and Drug Czar, General Barry McCaffrey, who traveled up and down the state imploring Californians to reject the measure. Despite their efforts, the measure passed, giving rise to a multitude of cannabis growers clubs. Today, these clubs have almost all been closed at one time or another by the federal government in blatant defiance of state law and the California voters’ overwhelming majority mandate! Almost all of these clubs have re-opened, after huge legal expenses. Now in 2007, there are over 600 legal medical marijuana clubs in the state of California, and more opening every day.
In November 1998:
The voters of Alaska, Washington, Oregon and Arizona (for the second time) passed by large majorities, similar medical marijuana initiatives to that of California’s, which passed in November 1996.
Nevada passed the first of two initiative elections in 1998 for medical marijuana. (By Nevada law, you must win initiatives twice.) It passed again in 2000, and became law in 2001.
Medical marijuana won in Colorado too, but the Colorado Secretary of State refused to certify the petition because of disputes about signature-gathering methods. In June of 1999, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the signature gathering had been legally done. It passed in November 2000.
Washington, D.C. voted on a comprehensive medical marijuana initiative. However, former Representative Bob Barr (Rep. Georgia) added an amendment to a 200 billion dollar catch-all spending bill in late October 1998 that no money from any source whatsoever could be used to count the votes of the Washington, D.C. medical marijuana initiative. Representative Barr and the heavily Republican legislators of both the U.S. House and Senate deliberately and consciously ordered, for the first time in all of American history, that the votes not be counted in an American election…
…Incredible, unbelievable, unconscionable!
Finally, a federal judge ordered the November 1998 D.C. votes to be counted in September 1999, almost one year later, and it officially passed by 69 percent of the vote. In October 1999, Representative Barr asked Republican legislators to again vote to refuse to allow the law to be implemented. Now, in 2007, Bob Barr has flip-flopped 100 percent and is a lobbyist for the Marijuana Policy Project! The Cox News Service reported March 30, 2007 that Barr, whom the Libertarian Party once called the “worst drug warrior” during his eight years in Congress, has now joined the Libertarians and is working with MPP. One of his jobs will be to lobby against the “Barr Amendment” – legislation he introduced in 1999 to prevent the legalization of medical marijuana in the District of Colombia. Barr did not comment on taking the MPP job, but said he had left the Republican Party because of its move “toward big government and disregard toward privacy and civil liberties.”
On June 30, 1997, the Oregon legislature voted to end 24 years of decriminalization and to recriminalize cannabis for as little as a seed. “Liberal Democratic” Governor Kitzhaber “reluctantly” signed it into law July 3, 1997. After he signed it, Kitzhaber said, “I think this law is more about search and seizure than it is about marijuana use.”
On July 4, 1997, at a campfire at the National Rainbow Gathering in Eastern Oregon, a number of marijuana/hemp activists including myself, Jack Herer, put up the money to hire petitioners to gather signatures for a referendum to stop cannabis from being recriminalized. The Portland Oregonian, the largest newspaper in Oregon, originally predicted, by their polls, that we would lose by a 2 to 1 margin. What had to be done was to gather enough signatures, approximately 100,000 in the next 87 days, to negate the vote of the legislature and the signature of the governor, thereby keeping cannabis decriminalized until the November 1998 election. The Oregonian, the largest newspaper in Oregon, originally predicted, by their polls, that we would lose by a 2 to 1 margin. In fact, we won by a 2 to 1 margin, defeating recriminalization!
On November 2, 1999, the voters of Maine approved a statewide initiative by an overwhelming 61 percent to make medical marijuana legal by doctor’s recommendation. Medical marijuana is now legal on the entire West Coast, and the East Coast is beginning to follow suit.
On April 25, 2000, the Hawaii Senate passed a bill to remove state level criminal penalties for seriously ill people who use marijuana with their doctor’s approval. It is the first of its kind to be enacted by a state legislature rather than through a ballot initiative. Hawaii’s Governor, Benjamin J. Cayetano signed it into law on June 16, 2000.
Common Sense – a Worldwide Trend
On July 6, 2000, the Portuguese Parliament voted to decriminalize the consumption of illegal drugs such as cannabis and heroin and treat drug users as sick people in need of medical help. Until now, drug users and those convicted of possession of small amounts of drugs for personal use could be sentenced to up to one year in jail. Spain and Italy have already decriminalized the consumption and possession of small quantities of drugs.
Even though there have been statewide changes in the medical marijuana laws, there seems to be county by county implementation and interpretation of these same laws. Each county seems to establish their own tolerance level and guidelines for prosecution.
For example, in California alone, we have cities and counties like Oakland allowing 144 plants,
Arcata 44 plants, Tehama 18 plants, Mendocino County 25 plants and Lake County 6 plants (unless your doctor states otherwise on your note), and the list goes on and on.
Since the passage of Prop 215 in California, the arrests of non-medical patients for marijuana pos-session and cultivation have increased by 12% over their already high, record levels.
Medical patients are still being prosecuted for their choice of medicine. Here is a story of a friend of mine. I am sure you all have stories like these. The persecution of the innocent goes on. That is why we must stand up for our rights by changing the laws.
Quality of Life Should Not be Denied the Sick and Dying!
Todd McCormick, 36, suffered from cancer between the ages of 2 through 15, which resulted in his top five vertebrae being fused. In 1978, when Todd was 9 years old, Ann McCormick, Todd’s mom, read in the Family Doctor’s column of the Good Housekeeping magazine, about the use of marijuana for glaucoma and cancer patients taking chemotherapy. The article stated that marijuana helped with nausea and appetite stimulation. These were Todd’s symptoms! He couldn’t eat, felt sick, food made him sick, and the lack of food made him weak.
A few months went by and Todd’s tumors acted up, and chemotherapy began again. After a chemotherapy treatment, and on the way home, his mom told the then listless Todd to get on the floor of the car and smoke a joint. Remember now, and keep in mind, Todd was only 9 years old then. They got home and, for the first time, Todd could actually get out of the car by himself and walk to the house with crutches. Then he even sat down and ate dinner! He actually had an appetite! He hadn’t had one in a long time…
The next day, after the next treatment, Ann again told Todd to sit on the floor of the car and smoke a marijuana joint. Again, Todd showed the same results. It was the marijuana! So ecstatic, Todd’s mom went to see the doctors to tell them what happened. They all got quiet and advised her that the process of obtaining medical marijuana would take too long to be a benefit. In reality, it was the fear of federal law, repercussions, penalties and the threat to their medical licenses and livelihood if they recommended the use of marijuana that motivated their advice, even though marijuana would really help Todd. As she walked away, a doctor came up to her and asked her if she could get more? She was confused, thinking that maybe he wanted some, but said yes. He told her to continue what she was doing and to just shut up about it! That was exactly what she did. Todd used marijuana from that day on to alleviate his pain and suffering. In 1997, in Bel Aire, California, Todd was engaged in experimentation utilizing many varieties of cannabis to discover which plants at which stage (e.g. before they budded, after they budded, in the vegetative state? from the roots? seed? what plant age? and on and on) were most effective for various pains and illnesses; which chemicals in the marijuana plant (e.g. cannabinoids, cannabidiolic acid, and tetrahydrocannabinol, etc.) was effective and was writing a meticulously researched book on the subject when he was arrest-ed by the DEA on July 29, 1997 for federal conspiracy and manufacturing (cultivation) charges.
On November 3, 1999, Todd McCormick was denied any medical necessity defense in court, so on November 19, 1999, he pled guilty, and on March 27, 2000, he was sentenced to five years in federal prison.
In addition, Todd’s publisher, Peter McWilliams, the author of 35 books (five of which made the New York Times Best Seller List), who since 1996 suffered from AIDS and cancer, was himself arrested in July 1998 by the DEA allegedly for conspiring to subsidize Todd’s marijuana “operation” and for manufacturing marijuana with the intent to sell to local buyers’ clubs, all of which – had it been true – would have been his legal prerogative within the state of California. McWilliams flatly stated, and all of his associates, and even enemies, confirmed that he had never grown marijuana nor profited from the sale of even one joint.
Peter was forced to make a plea bargain and faced sentencing in July 2000. He faced 0 to 5 years, with no appeal rights. On June 14, 2000 Peter McWilliams died.
Under the terms of his release on bail (which was secured by his mother’s home of 50 years), he had to abstain from the use of marijuana, which was the only medicine which would alleviate the nausea caused by his treatments for AIDS and cancer. Without smoking marijuana, Peter, along with hundreds of thousands before him, could barely hold down the “cocktails” of chemotherapy he was required to take on a daily basis. Because he wasn’t allowed medicinal marijuana, he got sick and ended up choking on his own vomit and died.
He was in a sense murdered by the government because of the terms of his release on bail. The sick and dying should not be denied the quality of their lives!
On August 9, 1999, the DEA requested that U.S. Customs seize all shipments of hemp seed or hemp seed products at the Canadian border and have them tested for any THC or trace element of THC (10 parts per million). This caused an undue financial burden on the hemp seed companies, putting some of them out of business because of the financial impact of the seizures.
All shipments and carloads were then being seized by U.S. Customs. In December 1999, American politicians got the order overturned and Customs agreed not to hold the products with trace elements, whether it be shampoo, soap, bird seed, hemp food, etc. The products were released in theory, but were still in the U.S. Customs warehouses. On January 12, 2000, the U.S. White House Drug Czar Barry McCaffrey, overrode the D.E.A., who had withdrawn their reason for seizing shipments. McCaffrey then personally ordered Customs to seize any product with even a trace amount of THC. Barry McCaffrey says zero tolerance is zero tolerance, even though it would take 39,000 pounds of hemp seeds to obtain enough THC to be equivalent to a joint.
Urine Testing for Hemp Shampoo
According to General McCaffrey, through the urine testing and hair testing of job seekers, employees, parolees, probationees and prisoners, they can detect if these people eat hemp seed or candies or even use hemp shampoo. McCaffrey’s reasoning for the prohibition of hemp products is that it will make the current testing procedures for THC invalid by creating a false positive for THC.
Companies spend millions of dollars on drug testing which will no longer be accurate and therefore the American public is thereby denied the single most healthy food source, not to mention the best paper, fuel, and fiber on Earth, while other nations are using more and more of this nature enhanced God given blessing for humans, birds and fresh water fish.
Positive marijuana research has been deliberately prohibited in the United States since December 1976. Other countries in the world realize medicinal benefits of marijuana and are aware that research must continue.
On November 11, 1998, the House of Lords Select Committee on Science and Technology, Cannabis, the Scientific and Medical Evidence (9th Report, HL Paper 151 Session 1997-98) made recommendations that “clinical trials of cannabis for the treatment of multiple sclerosis and chronic pain should be mount-ed as a matter of urgency,” and that the government should take steps to transfer cannabis and cannabis resin from Schedule 1 to Schedule 2, so as to allow doctors to prescribe an appropriate preparation of cannabis, albeit as an unlicensed medicine and on the named patient basis and to allow doctors and pharmacists to supply the drug prescribed.” In keeping with U.S. policies and practice, the U.K. Government rejected the Lords’ report. In spite of the initial rejection, in April 2000, the clinical trials of cannabis forms and chronic pain began.
In March 2000, the House of Lords recommendations were borne out by the announcement by Pharmos, an Israeli pharmaceutical company, that dexanabinol, a marijuana constituent, can protect healthy brain cells after a stroke by blocking the production of glutamate, the neurotransmitter of this poison.
A team lead by the British born biologist Aidan Hampson at the U.S. National Institute for Mental Health, in Maryland, discovered that two active components of cannabis, compounds called THC and cannabidiol, will act to prevent damage to brain tissue placed in laboratory dishes. (Hampson, A.J., et al., 1998 Cannabidiol and Tetrahydrocannabinol are Neuroprotective Antioxidants; proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 95 (July 7).
It has since been proven that cannabidiol is the best treatment for other neurological disorders, such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases.
The NIMH reported that marijuana smoke is the only medicine we currently know of on Earth that can fully stop the brain damage after a stroke occurs, (1) by causing the arteries to enlarge and allowing virtually any clot to flow harmlessly through the brain and (2) by stopping the production of glutamate, which poisons and kills brain cells after the blood clot is in place.
About 600,000 Americans have strokes every year, while worldwide more than 5 million people suffer each year from stroke, head trauma or other conditions associated with neuronal cell death. About 350,000 of the 5 million happen during or just after an operation because of the thickening of the blood and the anesthesiologist’s slowing down of the metabolic rate, etc. Yet, just one puff of a marijuana cigarette right after a stroke could stop the severe damage which may occur. Even ditch weed from Iowa will stop the aftereffects of 95% of all strokes, virtually ending paralysis, speech loss and coma resulting from strokes. Strokes are the third leading cause of death in the United States.
People usually don’t realize they are having a stroke because of confusion from the brain damage.
About one hundred fifty thousand people die in the U.S. as a result of strokes or complications from these strokes each year! This number could be theoretically reduced to 7,500 with the use of medicinal marijuana. 150,000 more will become paralyzed or partially paralyzed and have to use canes or walkers. All because they didn’t have access to a joint right after the stroke. It is the only medicine on Earth that STOPS the damage from a stroke, on the spot, within one second! What they are using now takes six hours or longer to begin working, and by then the damage is already done. In March 1999, the Institute of Medicine Report (IOM) stated that there is “no clear alternative for people suffering from chronic conditions that might be relieved by smoking marijuana, such as pain or AIDS wasting!”
The opponents of medical marijuana have been saying that it should not be used medically because it is “addictive.” This argument is totally irrelevant because many highly addictive drugs are used in medicine and the IOM in their report found that marijuana has no significant addictive potential. The report notes that “few marijuana users develop dependence “and if there are withdrawal symptoms, they are “mild and short-lived.”
Gateway Theory is a Social Theory
The IOM report also stated that “the gateway theory is a social theory. The latter does not suggest that the pharmacological qualities of cannabis/marijuana make it a risk factor for progression to other drug use. Instead, it is the legal status of marijuana that makes it a gateway drug.” In other words, the real “gateway” to hard drugs is marijuana prohibition, not marijuana!
The IOM also says that, despite considerable research, marijuana has not been shown to cause immunocological damage in humans. Despite their obsessions with the hazards of smoking, they had to admit that marijuana still has not been proven to cause lung cancer, or any other type of malignancy.
Alison Smiley, a University of Toronto researcher, did a study which shows that marijuana is not a factor in driving accidents. Her findings were presented at a symposium of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences in Florida in February 1999. Her paper was also published in Health Effects of Cannabis, a publication of Toronto’s Centre for Addiction and Mental Health, in March 1999.
Recent research into impairment and traffic accident reports from several countries shows that marijuana taken alone in moderate amounts does not significantly increase a driver’s risk of causing an accident – unlike alcohol, says Smiley, an adjunct professor in the Department of Mechanical and Industrial Engineering. While smoking marijuana does impair driving ability, it does not share alcohol’s effect on judgment. Drivers on marijuana remain aware of their impairment, prompting them to slow down and drive more cautiously to compensate, she explains.
“The safety hazards of smoking marijuana and driving are overrated.”
—Alison Smiley, University of Toronto
“Both substances impair performance,” Smiley says. “However, the more cautious behavior of subjects who received marijuana decreases the drug’s impact on performance. Their behavior is more appropriate to their impairment, whereas subjects who received alcohol tend to drive in a more risky manner.”
Smiley says her results should be considered by those debating mandatory drug tests for users of transportation equipment such as truck or train drivers, or the decriminalization of marijuana for medical use. “There’s an assumption that because marijuana is illegal, it must increase the risk of an accident. We should just try to stick to the facts.”
A team led by scientists from the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) has demonstrated the prevalence of cannabinoid receptors in the retina, indicating an important role for cannabinoids, a family of compounds which includes the psychoactive components of marijuana and hashish, in retinal function and perhaps vision in general.
In the December 7, 1999 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), the UCSD researchers described for the first time the specific distribution and effects on retinal function of the cellular receptor proteins activated by cannabinoids.
These findings may provide a missing link in efforts to unravel the complicated and fascinating machinery by which the retina turns light into meaningful information in the brain.
In the March 2000 issue of Nature Medicine, a research team from Complutense University and Autonoma University in Madrid, Spain announced the findings of a study on rats and mice and stated that marijuana’s active ingredient called THC, killed tumor cells in advanced cases of glioma, a rare malignant cancer which heretofore has been 100 percent fatal.
Researchers injected the active compounds, called cannabinoids, directly into the brain cancers. Lead researcher Manuel Guzman says, “We observed a remarkable growth inhibiting effect.” The THC, for the first time, eradicated the brain tumors in one third of the treated rats and about one third of the treated rats lived “significantly longer” than those given no drug, some up to about three times as long.
Laboratory studies showed that THC killed glioma cells while leaving normal brain cells unharmed. The drug caused a build-up of a fat molecule called ceramide, which provoked a death spiral in the cancer cells.
Guzman tested THC at very low doses and at a late stage, when untreated mice were already starting to die. He predicts that THC should work better if given earlier.
It seems that the more research that is done relating to the medicinal value of marijuana, the more we realize how valuable marijuana is as a medicine (for Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, cancer tumors, glaucoma, multiple sclerosis, pain, nausea, and as an appetite stimulant, muscle relaxer, and who knows what else). We need to demand that research be allowed on marijuana. If it can save a life, or even improve the quality of life of any human being, this medicine must be studied. We must throw away all the years of misinformation and disinformation and seek the truth.
I have talked with so many people who have stated that before using marijuana as a medicine they felt that they were dying of their AIDS or their cancer, yet with marijuana as a medicine they feel they are living with their cancer or their AIDS.
In 2007, while many events on the hemp horizon seem promising, the government and DEA’s insistence in doggedly maintaining Anslinger’s absurd and oppressive laws of 1937 are continuing to inflict pain and suffering upon all Americans despite the fact a recent CNN poll indicates that 95% of U.S. citizens support the legalization of medical marijuana! An earlier poll of Californians showed 40% in sup-port of legalization of industrial, medicinal, nutritional and personal use by adults 21 years and older.
My fervent hope is that we are merely seeing the darkness before the inevitable dawn.
Northern California, July 2007