8 10 2005

A friend of mine learned something surprising from a psychotherapist he befriended. “If I knew that some of your friends smoked marihuana, and I didn’t report them to the police, and it came out that I knew they used marihuana and hadn’t reported them, I could permanently lose my license.” As he inquired, he discovered that she was likewise obligated to turn in to the police any client of hers who admitted using marihuana.

Let’s leave aside for the time being the issue of the efficacy of what I would have to call Big Psychotherapy and its arsenal of prescription drugs, and just look at the question of what it means to be obligated to report marihuana use among people with whom you are supposed to be building trust in a a therapeutic relationship.

Something the government never seems to “get” is that you can’t expect to hear the truth from people if they know you will punish them for saying it. If you threaten people, they will tell you what you want to hear. That’s why physical torture doesn’t work. So why were they doing all that ugly stuff at Abu Gairab? Because humiliation breaks people better than pain does, that’s why. But I digress.

I am amused sometimes at the number of self-styled herbalists who don’t use marihuana and even talk against it—because it appears to be a herbal medicine that really, truly, unarguably, don’t need scientific statisitical studies to notice, WORKS. Those who have done scientific studies on it have found that it loosens neural pathways, making it harder for users to behave habitually—for better and for worse. Inasmuch as neurosis is basically ingrained habit, this should be tremendously interesting to psychologists, but inasmuch as it’s an unpatentable herb whose effects derive from the synergy of a complex array of compounds, and not simply the action of THC, there is no money in researching it, so the research is not going to happen. Thank you, for-profit medical system.

It seems that the law regards marihuana users as ipso facto incompetent—marihuana smoking parents are unfit to raise children, marihuana smoking judges are incompetent to interpret the law, and even minor traces of cannabis metabolites, which stay in one’s bloodstream for up to a month after ingestion, are evidence that one is too inebriated to drive a motor vehicle….like having “one drop” of “negro blood” in the old south, cannabis is considered a contaminant in any quantity.

That’s an interesting comparison, isn’t it? Pretty much everyone agrees it’s wrong to discriminate or even just mouth racial slurs about anyone anymore, except for a very few hard-core Republicans clustered around Bill Bennett, but most people, including most Democrats and even some who consider themselves to the left of the Democrats, have no problem characterizing all marihuana smokers as incompetent degenerates—in spite of the fact that about a third of the country has tried it and someplace between ten and twenty percent of us still smoke it, in spite of widespread drug testing that probably does more to cut consumption than peoples’ experience with the weed itself. And the country is not overrun with weed-puffing incompetent degenerates—the majority of incompetent degenerates I encounter are card-carrying members of the Republican and Democratic parties, lifting their cocktails high as they toast the prospect of a drug-free America.

Marihauna users, if they were not threatened by prosecution, would freely admit that most of the time the effect of marihuana is not much stronger than that of coffee. Like coffee, they would say, it helps them in a thousand different ways with energy and insight around work, family, creative endeavors and recreation. So just what is it that the government is so afraid of?

Almost fifty years ago, the CIA did widespread testing of a wide variety of psychoactive susbstances, from marihuana to LSD. Their final report on this research was so secret that all known copies of it were destroyed. I believe that if we could find out what was in that document, it would state that marihuana and the stronger psychedelics are too good at increasing peoples’ sense of self-worth and autonomy and too good at sharpening their insights into the foolishness of authority and are therefore too threatening to the corporate hegemony that the CIA is dedicated to protecting, and therefore must be suppressed at any cost.

The Green Party is dedicated to fostering individual self-worth and autonomy. That’s the only real way to build a stronger America—to allow people to find their own insight and inspiration, and band together as equals rather than as the ignorant minions of some charismatic know-it-all like George Bush or Bill Clinton. In the name of honest discourse, the drug laws must change.




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