from GrahamHancock Website
We are told that the "War on Drugs" is being waged, on our behalf, by our governments and their armed bureaucracies and police forces, to save us from ourselves.
"Potential for abuse and harm" are supposed to be the criteria by which the use of drugs is suppressed.
The greater a drug’s potential for
abuse and harm, the greater and more vigorous the degree of suppression, and
the more draconian the penalties applied against its users.
Thus, to be arrested for possession of a Schedule I or Class A drug results in heavier penalties than possession of a Schedule III or Class C drug.
Generally if a drug is deemed to have some currently accepted medical use it is likely to be placed in a lower schedule than if it has none, notwithstanding the fact that it may have potential for abuse or harm.
In the absence of any recognized therapeutic effects, drugs
that are highly addictive, such as heroin or crack cocaine, or drugs that
are profoundly psychotropic, including hallucinogens such as LSD,
psilocybin, or DMT, are almost universally placed in the highest schedules
and their use attracts the heaviest penalties.
Specifically, has there been a marked reduction in the use of illegal drugs over the past 40 years - as one would expect with billions of dollars of taxpayers’ money having been spent over such a long period on their suppression - and has there been a reduction in the harms that these drugs supposedly cause to the individual and to society?
Indeed, it is well known, and not disputed, that the very societies that attempt most vigorously to suppress various drugs, and in which users are subject to the most stringent penalties, have seen a vast and continuous increase in the per capita consumption of these drugs.
This is tacitly admitted by the vast armed
bureaucracies set up to persecute drug users in our societies, which every
year demand more and more public money to fund their suppressive activities;
if the suppression were working, one would expect their budgets to go down,
The pace of arrests is increasing year on year, bringing us to the astonishing situation where, today, a marijuana smoker is arrested every 38 seconds.1
The result, as Rob Kampia, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project, recently observed, is that marijuana arrests outnumber arrests for "all violent crimes combined," meaning police are spending inordinate amounts of time chasing nonviolent criminals.2
And it goes without saying that those who are arrested for the use of marijuana and other illegal drugs do suffer immense harm as a result of the punishments inflicted on them - including, but not limited to, personal trauma, loss of freedom, loss of reputation, loss of employment prospects, and serious, long-lasting financial damage.
But there are many other states of consciousness that the amazing and mysterious human brain is capable of embracing, and it appears to be a natural human urge, as deep-rooted as our urges for food, sex, and nurturing relationships, to seek out and explore such "altered states of consciousness."
A surprisingly wide range of methods and techniques (from
breathing exercises, to meditation, to fasting, to hypnosis, to rhythmic
music, to extended periods of vigorous dancing, etc.) is available to help
us to achieve this goal, but there is no doubt that the consumption of those
plants and substances called "drugs" in our societies is amongst the most
effective and efficient means available to mankind to explore these
profoundly altered states of consciousness.
Not all people in every society will do this, perhaps not even a majority, but certainly a very substantial minority - for example the 2 million Britons who are known to take illegal drugs each month 3 or those 20 million people in the US who have been arrested for marijuana possession since 1965.
And these of course are
only the tip of the iceberg of the much larger population of American
marijuana users, running into many more tens of millions, who have, by luck
or care, not yet fallen foul of the law and are thus not reflected in the
For it is obvious, and we may all see the effects everywhere, that the criminalization of drug use has empowered and enriched a vast and truly horrible global criminal underworld by guaranteeing that it is the only source of supply of these drugs.
We have, in effect, delivered our youth - the sector within our societies that most strongly feels the need to experience altered states of consciousness - into the hands of the very worst mobsters and sleazeballs on the planet.
buy drugs our sons and daughters have no choice but to approach and
associate with violent and greedy criminals. And because the proceeds from
illegal drug sales are so enormous, we are all caught up in the inevitable
consequences of turf wars and murders amongst the gangs and cartels
competing in this blackest of black markets.
It should be completely obvious, a
simple logical step, to realize that by decriminalizing drug use, and making
the supply of all drugs available to those adults who wish to use them
through legal and properly regulated channels, we could, at a stroke, put
out of business the vast criminal enterprise that presently flourishes on
the supply of illegal drugs.
Indeed the only "change" that the large, armed bureaucracies that enforce these policies has ever sought since the "War on Drugs" began has, year on year, been to demand even more money, even more arms, and even more draconian legislative powers to break into homes, to confiscate property, and to deprive otherwise law-abiding citizens of liberty and wreck their lives.
In the process we have seen our once free and upstanding societies - which used to respect individual choice and freedom of conscience above all else - slide remorselessly down the slippery slope that leads to the police state.
And all this is being done in our name, with our money, by our own governments, to "save us from ourselves"!
Everyone who works for them, including the PR people and spin merchants who concoct the propaganda used to sell their policies to us, including their subcontractors both public and private, and including the (often privately run) prisons stuffed to bursting point with their victims, are the beneficiaries of this catastrophic failure on the part of our governments to think laterally, generously, and creatively.
are a Drug Enforcement Administration agent or a prison guard, you naturally
have a deeply vested interest in maintaining the miserable status quo,
justified by the "War on Drugs," that keeps you in your job, that ensures
your monthly paychecks continue to come in, and that continuously expands
Over the past
40-plus years they have earned countless billions of dollars from the sale
of illegal drugs which, had they only been legal, would not have earned them
a single penny.
First and most directly those millions upon millions of good, nonviolent people in our societies who have been jailed or otherwise punished for the possession and use of drugs.
And second (regardless of
whether or not they use illegal drugs themselves), virtually everyone else
in our societies as well. For the quality of life of all of us has been
the growth of the police state and by the murderous activities
of the criminal gangs enfranchised, and kept in business, by the blind and
mindless perpetuation of this failed and bankrupt "War on Drugs."
On the contrary, we have been so little
"saved from ourselves" by this phony war that the use of almost all illegal
drugs, far from decreasing, has dramatically increased during the past 40
But the use of tobacco does
undoubtedly lead to great harms, both for the health of the individual and
the health of society at large, and facts about these harms have been widely
and successfully disseminated without a single tobacco user ever being
arrested or persecuted.
The reason the anti-marijuana campaigns have failed is that millions of users know from their own direct, long-term experience that marijuana does not do them any great harm and (with reference to the most recent anti- marijuana propaganda) most definitely does not drive them mad. It may well be true that very small numbers of fragile teenagers whose mental health was already compromised have had their latent schizophrenia or other similar conditions worsened by the use of marijuana - but the vast majority of marijuana users are not at all affected in this way.
Likewise efforts by government agencies to persuade us that new, stronger strains of marijuana presently available on the market (e.g., "skunk") are more dangerous to our health than traditional strains of marijuana because they deliver much more of the active ingredient THC to our systems, have not persuaded anyone.
Regular marijuana users presented with a stronger strain simply adjust their
consumption, consuming far less of it than they would of a weaker strain in
order to achieve the same effect, and feel intuitively that smoking less of
any substance has got to be better for their lungs and general health than
There is an increasingly widespread recognition that tainted, unreliable, and tendentious information is being passed on - information that cannot be trusted.
And this distrust of official sources of information
is, of course, only worsened by the propagandistic character, witch hunts,
and scare tactics of the "War on Drugs" and by the realization that the
health information purveyed in anti-drug campaigns is not underwritten by
caring and nurturing official policies but instead by draconian criminal
sanctions and punitive authoritarian attitudes.
The consumption of tobacco, once seen as a socially approved, even desirable, and, indeed, "stylish" habit, has come to be regarded as a pariah-creating activity that only idiots would indulge themselves in.
Although there are, of course, still many tobacco users - because nicotine is intensely addictive - their numbers continue to fall dramatically year on year as more and more of us make the free choice to give up the habit for the sake of our health.
If that happens then we can be certain that drugs that are genuinely harmful to health and wellbeing (in the way that tobacco certainly is) will fall out of favor with their users in exactly the way that tobacco has done.
And if it turns out that some of these drugs are
in fact not so harmful, then it should not concern us at all if some adults
make the free choice to continue to use them.
Republican Congressman Barney Frank was spot on the truth of what a free society really means when he announced a proposal in August 2008 to end federal penalties for Americans carrying fewer than 100 grams (almost a quarter of a pound) of marijuana.
It goes without saying that Frank’s proposal is unlikely to succeed in the hysterical climate of disinformation that presently surrounds this subject, and we must ask ourselves why this should be so.
That legalization of drugs would shrink the budgets of those selfsame bureaucracies, and ultimately put them out of business, is part of the answer.
But to find the real engine that perpetuates the "War on Drugs" we
need to look deeper and ask fundamental questions about the relationship
between the individual and the state in modern Western democracies.
so on and so forth.
So it has to be highly significant that, far from encouraging freedom of consciousness, our societies in fact violently deny our right to sovereignty in this intensely personal area, and have effectively outlawed all states of consciousness other than those on a very narrowly defined and officially approved list.
The "War on Drugs" has thus unexpectedly succeeded in engineering a stark reversal of the true direction of Western history by empowering faceless bureaucratic authorities to send armed agents to break into our homes, arrest us, throw us into prison, and deprive us of our income and reputation simply because we wish to explore the sometimes radical, though always temporary, alterations in our own consciousness that drugs facilitate.
For some it is a simple lifestyle choice. For others, particularly where the hallucinogens such as LSD, psilocybin, and DMT are concerned, it is a means to make contact with alternate realms and parallel dimensions, and perhaps even with the divine. For some, drugs are an aid to creativity and focussed mental effort. For others they are a means to tune out for a while from everyday cares and worries.
But in all cases it seems probable that the drive to alter
consciousness, from which all drug use stems, has deep genetic roots.
(Although approximately thirteen US states have "anti-sodomy" laws outlawing homosexuality, these statutes have rarely been enforced in recent years, and in 2003 the US Supreme Court invalidated those laws.)
legalization of homosexuality lifted a huge burden of human misery,
secretiveness, paranoia, and genuine fear from our societies, and at the
same time not a single one of the homophobic lobby’s fire-and-brimstone
predictions about the end of Western civilization came true.
Perhaps in a century or two, if we have not destroyed human civilization by then, our descendants will look back with disgust on the barbaric laws of our time that punished a minority so harshly (with imprisonment, financial ruin, and worse) for responsibly, quietly, and in the privacy of their own homes seeking alterations in their own consciousness through the use of drugs.
Perhaps we will even end up
looking back on the persecution of drug users with the same sense of shame
and horror that we now view the persecution of gays and lesbians, the
burning of "witches," and the imposition of slavery on others.
On the contrary, it
seems to me that the state’s urge to power has all along been the real
reason for this "war" - not an honest desire on the part of the authorities
to rescue society and the individual from the harms caused by drugs, but the
thin of a wedge intended to legitimize increasing bureaucratic control and
intervention in almost every other area of our lives as well.
How will we be able to resist when so many of us have already
willingly handed over the keys to our own consciousness to the state and
accepted without protest that it is OK to be told what we may and may not
do, what we may and may not explore, even what we may and may not
experience, with this most precious, sapient, unique, and individual part of