By Joshua Bloom
I recently watched the 2014 marijuana documentary ¨The Culture High¨ from the makers of ¨The Union¨. If you haven’t watched it, please do! It is on Vimeo for a couple of bucks, for me it was an eye-opener. I have read some of the highlights of the history of the great Marijuana ban. But I never realized that the political power had such an impact. I always thought that the industries (Paper, Pharmaceuticals, Firearms and Detention) where main driving powers behind the marijuana ban in the history books. But in this documentary they point out a very important tipping point. Richard Nixon deciding to declare the ¨war on drugs.”
Although there was no support for Nixon’s theory: that suppression and stricter laws would reduce substance abuse. In fact at that time there were recent studies that stated the opposite. The reason Nixon decided to spin this into his favour in 1973 was because public opinion showed that he could add a lot of voters it he went after the “druggies.” And nobody cared that the way they did it would eventually make it worse. So just as the companies who were trying to get marijuana banned for short term profits (securing investments and profits e.o. DuPont), the political institutions (mis)used it just the same (securing an election).
There is only one way a society can return to a better (political) reality and that is through experimentation. If there is no example, then all is theory. Especially in the US where scientific facts don’t have a lot of impact, the people need to be persuaded otherwise. Emotional stories, stories of saved-lives can change public opinion! Also fiction can lead the way to fantasize and describe how these experiments can work out for us.
While watching the documentary is was thinking about the Hamsterdam experiment in popular HBO series The Wire. A perfect example of a bold experiment that was political suicide. But the police commissioner did it anyway because he was fed up with the status quo. This was never a real experiment but the idea originated from director David Simon’s mind, who rooted for legalizing drugs. The bold legalization experiments by some US States are the first steps that can set straight an error made almost 45 years ago (banning marijuana). And what a suffering it has caused and still causes. Every year hundreds of thousands of people risk their lives to grow, use or distribute the plant they love.
Backed by numbers and stories of what happened in Washington, Alaska and Colorado a new US president might feel confident enough to end the marijuana ban. Setting straight such a big error and witnessing what happens will also trigger us to re-evaluate other status quo’s. Don’t get me started!
I believe that legalization of Marijuana will make it a popular drug and will prevent a lot of people from using harder stuff. Gateway drug? I believe it is a gatekeeper! I do think we should really be worried about all the chemical drugs (including prescription drugs) and heavily invest in discovering and researching the curing power of what is already waiting for us in nature. In fact I believe everybody should be able to grow his own medical garden and share the fruits and knowledge.
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