Enemies of Pot


We were betrayed by our fellow stoners who voted no on Proposition 19.  These selfish, ignorant assholes turned their back on decades of activism because this law wasn’t good enough for them.  Prop 19 wasn’t perfect but you can’t hold out for perfection especially in the United States.

Prop 19 had the full support of every marijuana activism group including: NORML, MPP, SSDP, DPA, LEAP, IDPI and Cannabis Culture.  In addition many, many more non-marijuana advocacy groups supported the legislation including police groups, labor unions, politicians and medical associations.  Check out this list, Support for Prop 19.  Even the Humboldt Medical Marijuana Advisory Panel supported it.  Are the traitors smarter than the overwhelming group of supporters?  Absolutely not.  The traitors are misguided conspiracy theorists and profiteers of the current prohibition.

The reasons that were given by the traitors are as ludicrous as the war on drugs itself.

  • Corporatization of cannabis
  • High taxes on retail marijuana
  • Prop 19 creates more restrictive regulations
  • Medical Law (prop 213) will be abolished

Prop 19 allowed for the commercial production of marijuana.  How is that a bad thing?  The traitors argue that the evil corporations would add hazardous additives to the plant like tobacco companies do.  If that did happen who cares?  Prop 19 allowed you to grow your own pot.  Why the fuck would anyone buy corporate weed if you can grow your own?

Mass production and marketing of marijuana will drastically increase the supply of cheap weed.  That will bring the price down to a much more civilized level.  Current prices vary from $150 to $400 per ounce.  That is because of prohibition.  In fact one of the DEA’s main objectives is to drive up the price of illegal drugs.  Marijuana is a crop like any other and can be produced even easier than most mainstream crops.  At today’s prices corn goes for about $7.50 per bushel.  That’s 8 gallons of corn for $7.50, and corn is many times harder and more expensive to grow than marijuana.  The $50 per ounce tax that Prop 19 calls for would still put  marijuana at a much lower price than today.  If Prop 19 passed high end pot would probably sell for $100 per ounce.

Prop 19 was not perfect and did in fact create some new penalties such as,

  • Every person 21 years of age or older who knowingly sells or gives away marijuana to someone older than the age of 18 but younger than 21, shall be imprisoned in county jail for up to six months and fined up to $1,000 per offense.
  • Any person who is licensed, permitted, or authorized to sell marijuana, who knowingly sells or gives away marijuana to someone under the age of 21 results in them being banned from owning, operating, or being employed by a licensed marijuana establishment for one year.

I don’t agree with any kind of legal age for alcohol, pot or any other substance.  Unfortunately that is the paradigm in the United States.  There are many countries with no legal age for alcohol and they are better off for it but that is an argument for another day.  The traitors argue that Prop 19 would penalize medical users who are otherwise free under California Proposition 215.  That is absolutely false.  Prop 19 clearly states that Proposition 215 and SB 420 laws are exempt from the new law.  “No on Prop 19” claims that there will be stoned drivers and people going to work stoned.  That is clear outright propaganda.

The stoners against Prop 19 also argued that marijuana is still illegal under federal law and that growers, sellers and users could still be prosecuted by the DEA.  That is true but what do you expect?  Prop 19 was isolated to the state of California.  It had zero power at the federal level.  It was unfortunate but expected that the feds announced that they would “vigorously enforce” federal drug laws against Californians who grow or sell marijuana for recreational use even if voters pass the legalization measure.  This kind of federal meddling really casts doubt on the freedom that the US federal government frequently trumpets about.  In addition Govenator Arnold signed bill SB 1449 which reduces simple possession from a misdemeanor to an infraction.  In doing so Schwarzenegger intentionally took some of the wind out of the sails of Prop 19 at a very important time.

Who are the traitors that fucked over Regulate, Control & Tax Cannabis Act?

Dennis Peron

Dennis Peron, author of Prop 215 which legalized medical marijuana in California in 1996.  Prop 215 has done amazing things for the movement.  It allowed medical marijuana to be grown, distributed and used legally as well as the medical marijuana dispensaries that we see today.  Peron opposes Prop 19 because he does not believe in the recreational use of marijuana.  He literally does not believe.  Peron was quoted saying “I don’t even understand what recreational marijuana is, people say they feel high. What were you feeling before that? Not high? Low? In other words, you were depressed.”  Nobody is that naive.  Peron is clearly opposed to Prop 19 because he does not want any competition for his pot friendly bed and breakfast in San Fransisco.

Fortunately Dennis Peron has already tasted justice.  He was recently arrested on hard drug and child porn charges.  Ironically he understands the recreational use of methamphetamine and ecstasy.

Dragonfly De La Luz

Dragonlfly aka Stephanie Taylor is a San Francisco-based cannabis and travel writer for Skunk Magazine.  She has received the most media attention of all the traitors.  Se started a blog titled “Stoners Against the Prop 19 Tax Cannabis Initiative.”  On this blog she spews all kinds of conspiracy theory and misguided information against Prop 19.  Dragonfly erroneously says growers who want to legally cultivate will have to pay $211,000 a year to do so. She was quoted, “Obviously there’s no space for the mom-and-pop small-time farmer who have been living off marijuana legally since 1996.”

Medical Dispensary Owners

In a Huffington Post article a dispensary owner named “Craig” was interviewed.  Here is a quote,

“I’ll give you two reasons, one is big tobacco. Did you know that Phillip Morris just bought 400 acres of land up in Northern California? The minute marijuana becomes legal, they’ll mass produce and flood the market. And of course, they’ll add the same toxins they put in regular cigarettes to get you addicted, and very little THC, so you’ll have to buy more… In short, they’re going to ruin weed.” He gestured around his beloved shop, with every flavor of every strain, in its purist form, selling for at-cost prices. “I like the way things are now.”

Phillip Morris 400 acre thing is a phony conspiracy theory in case you were wondering.

Medical Marijuana Growers

Many growers oppose Prop 19 for the same reason as “Craig”.  They are making a handsome profit the way things are.  I hope these selfish mother fuckers get what they deserve.  Here’s a good article on the growers of Mendocino County in California.

Dragonlfy and the other traitors claim that the godfather of marijuana activism and one of my heros, Jack Herer, opposed Prop 19.  Herer was great activist who did more for the movement than anyone, ever.  He died this year on April 15.  He initially opposed Prop 19 because he wanted full and free legalization.  He saw marijuana as a gift from god and wanted, as we all do, absolutely zero restrictions on its use and cultivation.  Jack’s son Dan Herer wrote the following in a letter to members of the cannabis community,

Jack ‘wanted it all’ and Prop 19 is just part of that dream.  Unfortunately Jack passed away before Prop 19 made the 2010 ballot; so many people think he would still oppose it. We don’t believe that, and we ask that everyone stop saying he would cling to that position as we move toward the Nov. 2 vote. He was smart and had the political savvy to know that once a measure is on the ballot, the time for bickering has passed. That is why he campaigned for Prop 215 despite its shortcomings. That is why, were he able, he would now be telling voters to rally around and Vote Yes on Prop 19.

Unfortunately these traitors, profiteers and conspiracy theorists managed to suck in enough people to vote down Prop 19.  The ballot initiative was defeated with 53.9% of California voters voting ‘No’.  All the marijuana advocacy groups who tried their best to get Prop 19 passed agree that despite the loss a nationwide and perhaps even worldwide debate has been sparked.  People are beginning to listen and the truth is getting a lot harder to hide.  The lies and evils of the war on drugs are more obvious than ever.  Marijuana legalization in North America is no longer a fringe issue.  A new law called the Jack Herer Initiative had been filed in California for 2012.  This new initiative is a much more pure form of legalization than Prop 19.

I just want to say fuck you to the traitors.  I hope you all spend years in a federal prison.

 

Harry Ansliger spread the hate on marijuana and essentially began the criminalization of marijuana worldwide.  Richard Nixon took it to the extreme.  In June 1971 Nixon declared the war on drugs which took the drug policy of the United States worldwide.  Nixon and his supporters lableled illegal drugs as public enemy number one in the United States.  Nixon also created the DEA and increased penalties for marijuana. The United State’s first action in the drug war was a massive surprise attack on Mexico’s border by U.S. law enforcement personnel, code named “Operation Intercept.”  In September 1969 Nixon essentially shut down the US-Mexico border under the premise of disrupting the marijuana trade.  Each and every vehicle crossing the boarder was given a 3 minute intensive search.  The operation lasted only 20 days after border delays severly affected the economies of both countries.  The amound of drugs seized was much less than Nixon expected but that was not the true purpose for the unilateral action.  It was to coerce Mexico into funding a domestic drug eradication and enforcement policy in which Operation Intercept was a success.  Decptive and coercive tactics are the hallmarck of the US war on drugs which continues to this day.

Operation Intercept was the first drug related unilateral action against another country by the United States.  It symbolizes the US ‘s inability to accept responsibility for it’s own drug problem.  Instead the US government blames other countries which produce and distribute illegal drugs to the growing black market inside the borders of the United States.

In 1970 the Nixon government passed the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act which included the Controlled Substances Act (CSA).  The CSA created the five schedules which are used today in compliance to the UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs.  The CSA increased the search and seizure powers of law enforcement and established a major federal scientific inquiry called the National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse (aka the Shafer Commission).  Marijuana was placed in Schedule 1 of the new law which is the most restrictive.  Crack cocaine and crystal meth are listed under Schedule 2 .  The criteria for a drug to be placed in Schedule 1 as defined by the law are,

  • The drug or other substance has a high potential for abuse.
  • The drug or other substance has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States.
  • There is a lack of accepted safety for use of the drug or other substance under medical supervision.

Marijuana’s inclusion in Shedule 1 was to be temporary pending the results of the Shafer commission.  When the commission released its findings to President Nixon in 1972 he was not pleased.  The Shafer report found, “Neither the marijuana user nor the drug itself can be said to constitute a danger to public safety.”  The report also found that marijuana use caused “no significant physical, biochemical, or mental abnormalities,” and that “most users, young and old, demonstrate an average or above-average degree of social functioning, academic achievement, and job performance.”  The Shafer commission also recomended that marijuana be decriminalized and at least be removed from its Scedule 1 status.  Nixon refused to even read the report and stated in a press conference,

“I am against legalizing marijuana. Even if the Commission does recommend that it be legalized, I will not follow that recommendation.”

In March 1973 Nixon created the Drug Enforcement Agency.  Until that time federal drug enforcement was handled by several different groups.  The new “super agency” was consolidated from the Federal Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs (BNDD), Customs, the CIA and the Office of Drug Abuse Law Enforcement (ODALE).  The DEA is the worst agency ever created.  They have abolutely failed in ever part of their job.  Demand for illegal drugs has climbed uninterrupted since 1973, prices have not gone up and criminal gangs reap higher profits than ever.  Since its creation the DEA has succeeded in one thing, wasting vast sums of money.  The DEA budget has increased anually from $75 million in 1973 to $2.5 billion in 2009 (from the DEA website)

Richard Nixon used extensivce propaganda to literally brainwash the US to hate marijuana.  He was the first US President to formally seek media support in spreading drug war propaganda. In 1970, Nixon held a special White House meeting with senior executives and producers from the major TV networks and ad agencies, who were collectively responsible for over 90% of prime-time television. Nixon showed them “shocking” films about narcotics addiction, and then asked them to help America survive the scourge of drugs. Popular shows like Hawaii Five-O, The Mod Squad andMarcus Welby, MD soon began featuring anti-drug storylines.  Nixon then met with senior radio executives, with similar results. Within a year Nixon’s drug war had received an unprecedented $37 million in free advertising, a figure which has grown steadily every year since. Government officials now claim the average American child sees over 140 anti-drug ads each year, and the anti-drug theme is incorporated ever more deeply into mainstream entertainment, including movies, music and TV.

The Nixon regime squached the marijuana decriminalization movement.  When Nixon came into office 11 states had decriminalized marijuana and many more were considering relaxation of marijuana laws.  The General Social Survey showed close to 30 percent support for outright legalization of marijuana.  The science was in, reports like the Shafer and Le Dain commissions showed that marijuana was not dangerous, addictive or anything else the government said it was.  Just like today legalization seemed imminent.  Nixon’s methods of propaganda and continued enthusaism for the war on drugs delivered a heavy blow to the anti-prohibition movement. Just before Nixon’s second term the Watergate scandal erupted.  He was busted in a conspiracy that involved spying on the Democrats in order to keep him in office.  Read the whole story here.  As a result of the investigation Richard Nixon was the first American president in history to resign.  Nixon was a crook and a liar.  Although he was forced out of office his legacy continues to this day.  The drug war is still tearing society apart and marijuana is still listed in Schedule 1 despite overwhelming scientific evidence that shows it does not fit the criteria.  The DEA continues to grow and people still hate marijuana. From the late Hunter S Thompson,

Richard Nixon has never been one of my favorite people anyway. For years I’ve regarded his existence as a monument to all the rancid genes and broken chromosones that corrupt the possibilities of the American Dream; he was a foul caricature of himself, a man with no soul, no inner convictions, with the integrity of a hyena and the style of a poison toad.

Marijuana and other drug users are sentenced to treatment they don’t need on a regular basis.  The private addiction treatment industry thrives on the thousands of “addicts” coerced into treatment by courts. Drug courts frequently give defendants the option to take rehab or prison time. Nearly 300,000 people each year choose drug rehabs over prison when charged with marijuana possession in Canada and the US. Marijuana is not considered an addictive drug (Addiction Myth) so why send people to rehab?

The DEA, PDFA and other anti-drug groups use these statistics to show that marijuana is addictive. From the DEA website:

In 2003, 20 per cent (185,239) of the 919,833 adults admitted to treatment for illegal drug abuse cited marijuana as their primary drug of abuse.

Very few of those sentenced to rehab need or want treatment. In fact the US Department of Health and Human Services admits that 37% of nearly 300,000 people who entered drug treatment for cannabis in 2007 had not reported using the drug in the 30 days previous to their admission (detailed pie chart). The corporations that run addiction treatment facilities like all corporations only care about making money. Many addiction centres have unqualified staff who are members of the program themselves.

Source: 2002 SAMHSA Treatment Episode Data Set (TEDS).

This graph shows marijuana admissions compared to other drugs. It is clear which ones are addictive (Opiates, Cocaine I’m looking at you). Check out this graph showing the sources of rehab program admission in the US: Pie Chart

For centuries addiction was treated as a demonic possession. It was assumed that addiction was the cause of possession by evil spirits. Treatments included exorcism and trepanation (drilled holes in addicts head to release the demons). It is clear to us now why the evil spirits model was abandoned but the disease model is not much better.

Rehab centres promote the disease model of addiction. This method ignorantly assumes that drug addiction can be treated as an illness. And the illness led people, through no fault of their own, to problematic substance abuse. Through this model blame on the addict is minimized and the importance of medical treatment is emphasized. You don’t here anyone telling an AIDS patient to “Snap out of it” or “Go cold turkey”. Addiction is not caused by bacteria, virus, or genes as real diseases are. Major drawbacks of the disease model include increased risk of relapse and dependence on medical treatments. It is easy to see why the rehab industry likes this model.

One rehab company, Narconon, is actually run by the church of Scientology.  It is basically a recruiting program for the church.  Patients spend from $10,000 to $30,000 and spend 3 to 4 months at Narconon facilities (Sources link1, link2).  Another company Straight inc. used a very aggressive approach to drug rehabilitation. They would continually humilate patients and used brainwashing techniques.  Over 40 suicides have been committed in Straight facilities.  Hundreds of cases of physical, mental and sexual abuse eventually led to Straight Inc going out of business.  From Wikipedia:

The Fairfax, Virginia location was cited and shut down for 76 violations of client’s rights, including, but not limited to educational neglect, sleep, food and water deprivation, unlawful physical restraints, inadequate medical care, lack of trained or qualified staff, and allegations of non-reported sexual and physical abuse that resulted in paid lawsuits to several former clients. Many former patients of Straight have formed ‘survivor groups’ assembling themselves in small numbers seeking a means to understand the trauma suffered and supporting one another in grasping the reality of what happened in their lives.

Several clones of Straight Inc popped up after it was sued out of existence. One such facility Alberta Adolescent Recovery Center (AARC) in Calgary, Alberta is still in operation. AARC uses a controversial “tough love” approach which involves humiliation, constant confessions and confrontational therapy. Graduates and near graduates of the AARC program, called “peer councillors”, handle many of the sessions. Internet, TV, reading and calendars are banned. Patients are continually broken down until they admit that they have a disease. All this for $50,000 per year.

One young woman was admitted to AARC and labelled a “stage 4 addict” when she wasn’t addicted to any drugs. She was abused daily and raped once. Rachel escaped after 5 months and later came forward to the media and police. Several former AARC patients have reported physical and sexual abuse. (Article, “Powerless” Documentary)

Drug problems for most of human history have been treated as bad habits similar to chewing your fingernails.  That is really what an addiction is.  Early in the twentieth century beginning in the United States the medical industry stepped in and declared addiction a medical condition.  This gave power and money to medical communities.  Other human troubles have been dragged into the medical realm as well.  Overmedicalization seems to have taken Western society hostage. There are real drug addicts out there who need help; chose your help carefully. Sending people to rehab just to create statistics does not help anyone.

Harry Anslinger was the worst thing to happen to marijuana, ever.  He not only demonized pot in the United States but played a significant role in marijuana prohibition worldwide.  As the very first drug czar his legacy of outright slander and hatred founded on nothing other than personal opinion lives on today. Anslinger began his career in the railroad police and later moved into military and other domestic roles.  He developed a hatred for drugs and drug users early in life and it served him well in the developing industry of drug policing.  In 1929 Anslinger caught a big break into the position of assistant commissioner of the US Federal Bureau of Prohibition.  That agency dissolved after alcohol prohibition ended in the US in 1933 later resurfacing as the ATF.  In 1930 Anslinger was appointed head of the newly created Federal Bureau of Narcotics (FBN) which is now known as the DEA

Marijuana was not the primary concern at the beginning of his career in the FBN but soon became the focus of Anslinger life. Marijuana laws existed at the state level dating back to 1906 but were limited to a handful of states.  In the early 1930s hemp was being advertised as a new billion dollar crop.  The processing of hemp was very labour intensive and during this time major advances were made in machinery that could do the work.  Anlsinger saw it as his duty to demonize the plant in order to keep all drugs illegal.  In 1934 the FBN began an anti-marijuana campaign aimed at alarming the public.  Until then cannabis was only used by isolated groups in the United States.  The white majority had no idea it even existed.  Although they had been using cannabis extracts in patent medicines for decades the connection between smoked pot and medicine would not be made for fifty years. roots Using the mass media with the help of William Randolph Hearst, Anslinger spent the rest of his career trying to scare the public away from marijuana.  The style of reporting featured exaggeration of news, sensationalism, scandal-mongering and other unprofessional practices.  Hearst had much to gain from this as well.  He was owner of a huge chain of newspapers and had invested vast amounts of money in the timber industry to support his newspapers.  As hemp was set to become a major competitor to timber it was an easy target.  Of course the sensational style of news helped sell papers as well. There are countless articles conspired by the FBN and printed in Hearst papers, here is one example: “By the tons it is coming into this country — the deadly, dreadful poison that racks and tears not only the body, but the very heart and soul of every human being who once becomes a slave to it in any of its cruel and devastating forms…. Marihuana is a short cut to the insane asylum. Smoke marihuana cigarettes for a month and what was once your brain will be nothing but a storehouse of horrid specters. Hasheesh makes a murderer who kills for the love of killing out of the mildest mannered man who ever laughed at the idea that any habit could ever get him….” In 1937 Anslinger introduced his plans for the Marijuana Tax Act to congress.  The proceeding featured testimony that continued the same sensational lies and disinformation as the media articles, some claimed cannabis caused “murder, insanity and death”.  Anslinger’s statement can be read online HERE.  The representative of the American Medical Association, Dr. Woodward, testified that Anslinger had distorted AMA documents and lied about the effects and dangers of the drug.  The years of propaganda had their effect and congress attacked Woodward, questioning his motives, and the law was passed. Anslinger saw continued escalation of marijuana prohibition throughout his career including his recommendation of adding marijuana to the 1961 UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs.  Anslinger’s career finally ended in 1962 when he was forced to resign by JFK.

The Partnership for a Drug-Free America (PDFA) is a non-profit organization whose aim is to reduce demand for illegal drugs through advertising. They are famous for ads such as “This is your brain on drugs”. PDFA began in 1986 to “unsell” drugs to the American public. Putting to use all major media outlets, including TV, radio, print advertisements and the Internet, along with the pro-bono work of the country’s best advertising agencies, the Partnership’s anti-drug messages have been able to reach the public on local and national levels for the past 20 years.

The PDFA receives its funding from major pharmaceutical, tobacco and alcohol corporations. These include:

  • American Brands (Jim Beam whiskey)
  • Philip Morris (Marlboro and Virginia Slims cigarettes, Miller beer)
  • Anheuser Busch (Budweiser, Michelob, Busch beer)
  • R.J. Reynolds (Camel, Salem, Winston cigarettes)
  • Bristol Meyers-Squibb, Merck & Company and Proctor & Gamble (pharmaceuticals)
  • Dupont (munitions, chemicals, everything)

It is obvious why they focus heavily on illegal drugs in their campaigns.  The ads are pure propaganda.  In the past several ads have been removed because of blatantly false claims.  They currently focus on the amotivational syndrome even though it is not generally accepted by the scientific community.  On the abovetheinfluence.com website there is a section called “Stoners in the Mist” which features cannabis users unable to perform even the most basic tasks such as moving, talking, bathing, and even recalling one’s own name.  They have taken amotivational syndrome to a new level.  Here is a commercial from a recent campaign:

The Partnership for a Drug-Free America has been lying to the public for two decades. It is suspicious how PDFA leaves alcohol and tobacco out of its list of “drugs of abuse”.  There are no statistics to back up PDFA’s claim that cannabis, ecstasy, cocaine, heroin, mushrooms, peyote, hashish, and a few other illegal drugs create anywhere near the havoc in society that is created by alcohol, tobacco, and doctor-prescribed pharmaceutical drugs.  It is ironic that their sponsors produce the substances that account for the majority of drug related deaths.  PDFA anti-drug partner Merck, for example, was marketing Vioxx until news organizations reported that the anti-arthritis drug was apparently causing heart attacks, strokes and sudden death. As has been the case with other high-profile pharmaceutical drug recalls, Merck has been accused of falsifying, jiggling or withholding data that cast doubts on their product’s safety.

The term prison-industrial complex refers to all of the businesses and organizations involved in the construction, operation, and promotion of correctional facilities and the services they provide. Such groups include private corrections companies, corporations that contract prison labour, construction companies, surveillance technology vendors, and the lobbyists and interest groups that plurally represent them. Private prisons began in the 1980s but they really took off in 1990 under Clinton.

prisontowers

The prison industry is the most profitable sector in the US economy today. Consider the growth of the Corrections Corporation of America, the industry leader whose stock price has climbed from $8 a share in 1992 to about $30 today and whose revenue rose by 81 per cent in 1995 alone. Investors in Wackenhut Corrections Corp. have enjoyed an average return of 18 per cent during the past five years and the company is rated by Forbes as one of the top 200 small businesses in the country. At Esmor, another big private prison contractor, revenues have soared from $4.6 million in 1990 to more than $25 million in 1995. The list of companies investing in the prison industry contains the cream of U.S. corporate society: IBM, Boeing, Motorola, Microsoft, AT&T, Wireless, Texas Instrument, Dell, Compaq, Honeywell, Hewlett-Packard, Nortel, Lucent Technologies, 3Com, Intel, Northern Telecom, TWA, Nordstrom’s, Revlon, Macy’s, Pierre Cardin, Target Stores, and many more. The stock price for these major corporations is representative of the number of people in jail. That is a sign of very sick society.

The prison-industrial complex makes approximately 40 billion dollars per year. This entire industry is based on an essentially limitless raw material – prisoners. Just like all massive American corporations the big prison corporations hire big time lobbyists. In 1995, Wackenhut Chairman Tim Cole testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee to urge support for amendments to the Violent Crime Control Act — which subsequently passed — that authorized the expenditure of $10 billion to construct and repair state prisons. The relationship between these corporations and US politicians ensures the prisons will be kept full. These corporations answer directly to their shareholders who want one thing and one thing only – profit. That means cutting costs everywhere possible. As a result private prisons have much  worse conditions than their government run counterparts.

693px-US_incarceration_timeline-clean.svg

In the two decades since the prison boom began crime rates have remained the same while icarceration rates have increased exponentially. Prison populations soared through the 1980s and into the 1990s, making the U.S. the unquestioned world leader in jailing its own populace. By 1990, 421 Americans out of every 100,000 were behind bars, easily outdistancing their closest competitors, South Africa and the then USSR. By 1992, the U.S. rate had climbed to 455. Reagan’s Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986 added mandatory minimum sentances for simple drug possesion and trafficing.  The war on drugs is the lifeblood of the prison-industrial complex and they won’t let it go without a fight.

Emily Murphy is known as a hero for women’s rights. She is credited along with four other women (the famous five) for the “persons case” in which it was ruled in 1927 that women were “qualified persons” to sit on the senate. She was also the first female magistrate in Canada and the British empire. There are statues of her throughout Canada and she currently appears on the $50 bill.

murphystatue

In addition to her fight for women’s equality she was extremely racist and the driving force behind Canada’s first marijuana law. How can a person who fights sexism and promotes racism be considered a hero? It is the same issue. Murphy wrote a series of articles in Maclean’s magazine in the early 1920s under the pen name “Janey Canuck”. These articles were extremely racially biased and sensationalized drug use in Canada. The articles were later compiled into a book called “the Black Candle”. It was based entirely on Murphy’s experience in Alberta courts and several visits to Vancouver. This quote is from one of those visits

If Chinese are allowed to live like rats in a cellar, what else can be expected?

She demonized drugs and the drug users equally. The book continually points at the Chinese for the root of the entire drug problem as well as for corrupting white women. One section describes two well off younh women who were lured into the “drug ring” by a smooth talking Chinaman and addiction to cocaine. Here is another quote

We naturally classify these traitors (Chinese) as men of fishy blood who might easily be guilty of any enormity no matter how villainous. We execrate [loathe intensely] them and take upon ourselves a kind of depart-ye-cursed attitude

Much of the effects of opium addiction she wrote about are true but very much sensationalized. She continued the same trend with her chapter called “Marahuana – a new menace”. Since it was basically unknown in North America she had no actual experience with the effects or users. She described the effects, poorly, based on folklore. Cannabis is treated as though is not only equal but more dangerous than opium and cocaine. A quote from this chapter

Charles A. Jones, the Chief of Police for the city, said in a recent letter that hashish, or Indian hemp, grows wild in Mexico but to raise this shrub in California constitutes a violation of the State Narcotic law. He says, “Persons using this narcotic, smoke the dried leaves of the plant, which has the effect of driving them completely insane. The addict loses all sense of moral responsibility. Addicts to this drug, while under its influence, are immune to pain, and could be severely injured without having any realization of their condition. While in this condition they become raving maniacs and are liable to kill or indulge in any form of violence to other persons, using the most savage methods of cruelty without, as said before, any sense of moral responsibility.

The chapter ends with this

It has been pointed out that there are three ways out from the regency of this addiction: 1st—Insanity. 2nd—Death. 3rd—Abandonment. This is assuredly a direful trinity and one with which the public should be cognizant in order that they may be warned of the sharp danger that lies in even curiously tasting poisons which have been inhibited, or which are habit-forming.

Although Murphy was not an authority on drugs her book was the influence for the inclusion of marijuanathe Opium and Narcotic Drug Act of 1923 which made cannabis illegal in Canada. Tobacco was also on the table but Mackenzie King argued that it was not addictive. Whipping and deportation were added to the law by Emily’s request.

You can read the Black Candle online here:  Black Candle Online

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