by David Lacy
This column is not about legalizing marijuana. Nor is it about expanding the use of medicinal THC at the state and federal level.
I’ve shared my views on those issues in previous articles as well as amongst friends and colleagues. And I respect your differing opinions on those matters.
This column is about inexcusable incompetence.
Here’s the incompetence part: Marijuana is just as detrimental to you and society as heroin and PCP. It’s worse for you than cocaine, meth, and steroids, as well as hundreds of other high-potency narcotics.
Of course medical experts, chemists, scientists, and humanoids with multiple brain cells know this is laughably false, but there is one group that matters more than any other when it comes to the enforcement of drug policy, and they hold firmly on to this anachronistic belief.
That group is the United States Department of Justice. And they’ve got pretty big biceps.
The Drug Enforcement Administration (under the D.O.J.) classifies narcotics into five “schedules.” Schedule one drugs (including heroin and marijuana) are deemed the worst of the worst (and carry the maximum penalties for both possession and distribution) and schedule four drugs (supposedly relatively minor) carry much smaller punishments for usage. Schedule four, for the record, still includes Rohypnol and Xanax.
Don’t believe me? Check it out yourself here:
Drug scheduling began in 1970 when Congress passed the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act. They married weed with heroin and recommended their agents arrest “pot-heads” before going after cocaine and morphine users. I’ll leave it up to you to figure out why the government had an interest in cracking down on marijuana (hint: it rhymes with both Wee-it-Nom and Hoodstock), but most historians now agree that the classification system was very much a political move.
However, why in the world would the D.E.A. maintain such a bizarrely anti-scientific stance in the face of uniform disagreement from important research communities 41 years later?
Say it with me ladies and gentlemen: “Ka-Ching!”
Marijuana is one of the top cash crops in America and is the number ONE cash crop in the most populous states, according to multiple health agencies and news organizations. To “effectively” fight this rampant menace, the D.O.J. and D.E.A. require a lot of moolah, and if there’s one thing bureaucracies like, it’s capital. This would be nice if they had positive results to show for their enforcement efforts, yet sadly marijuana retains its hefty profit margins even as federal agents bust down doors and arrest stoners gorging on Twinkies.
Interestingly, not one person has died of a marijuana overdose. This is not my opinion; this is an admission from F.B.I. director Robert Mueller to a congressional board in 2009. A tragic side note, however: approximately 450,000 people die every single year due to tobacco-related illnesses. If you scan the list on the link above you’ll notice tobacco doesn’t even make a guest appearance. Tobacco, boys and girls, with its nearly half-a-million-per-year fatality rate is “better” for you than weed. So whip out the Lucky Strikes and light up!
To be fair, marijuana usage is NOT without risk, especially through the inhalation of pot smoke. Advocates who think it is are deluding themselves just as much as the anti-drug hardliners. There IS ample evidence that the smoke from marijuana is harmful to the lungs and there is evidence that overuse (regardless of method of intake) has negative consequences on the body.
Then again, so does Tylenol. If you have a lot of hangovers, ask your liver how it likes those pain relievers. Hell, ask it how it likes the multiple tequila shots you slammed the night before.
I’m going to take off now. It’s been a stressful week. I think I might go smoke a rock of crack cocaine. After all, according to the powers-that-be, it’s better for me than pot.
Mmmmmmmm. I feel better already.
Hey! A tooth just fell out! Maybe the tooth fairy will leave me some cash for my next score.