Who Are The Real Bad Guys?
By Andrew Looney


Anti-drug zealots want you to believe that they are heroes working to save children, and that drug consumers are evil-doers who must be locked up for the good of society. But who are the bad guys, really? Let's look beyond the issue itself for the moment, and consider the actions and behaviors of the two factions in this battle.

In the abstract, we are on the side of civil rights. We believe society should be a place where the individual rights of responsible adults are not infringed. They on the other hand, are moral crusaders who seek to restrict the activities of those who do things they don't approve of.

We call for open debate on the issue. They dodge and refuse such debates, preferring instead just to make presentations and hand out propaganda.

We are honest. They tell lies.

There's a common urban myth which says that if you ask someone directly if he or she is a cop, they must answer truthfully if indeed they are connected to law enforcement. But this is a lie designed to trip up drug consumers and make the cops seem trustworthy. In reality, police officers are not required to be honest and indeed routinely tell lies in order to catch "bad guys." The entire concept of an undercover cop is based on dishonesty. In the name of stopping drugs, we have sacrificed the integrity of our law enforcement community, which now routinely uses fake civilians to entrap drug consumers with phony illicit goods. Cops are even allowed to break the law by using drugs themselves while undercover!

We believe in free speech. They squelch and suppress it, constantly moving to block anti-prohibition ads while forcing broadcasters to run anti-drug ads for half-price.

We believe in democracy. They block voter initiatives.

We point out the parallel failures of the past and the successes of decrim in places like Holland. They act like such lessons and places don't exist, or lie about them when confronted on the subject.

We call for easy access to medical marijuana for the hundreds of thousands of sick people in America who could benefit from its numerous applications. They deny such uses exist, and send armed squads of DEA agents into medical clubs in California to arrest and imprison cancer and AIDS sufferers. We say medical cannabis has been used for thousands of years and has never been shown to have killed anyone. They say we're not allowed to have it, and tell us to instead treat our ailments with modern drugs which may be less well-tested, more dangerous, more expensive, and have more negative side effects than cannabis.

They condemn us on national television, with anti-marijuana ads during the Superbowl, right before ads for beer and caffeine, and right after ads for dangerous new drugs intended to cure conditions like shyness, ADHD, and erectile dysfunction. And they do it with a straight face! Then they use the power of government to stop us from running ads on buses that say "Marijuana Laws Waste Billions of Taxpayer Dollars to Lock Up Non-Violent Americans."

We urge the taxation of drug sales, which would bring much needed money into our over-drawn national coffers. They demand an ever-increasing multi-billion dollar budget so they can arrest and imprison even more of us.

We wear clothing made from hemp, we use paper made from hemp, we eat foods made from hemp. They deny the value of hemp's many industrial uses.

We call for compassion towards the non-violent drug offenders who already overstuff our prisons. They don't care. We say it is unjust to punish drug possessors more harshly than murderers and rapists. They don't care. We point out that violent criminals are being released even earlier to make room for drug war victims. They don't care. They have no compassion for the imprisoned, urging instead the building of yet more prisons.

Perhaps their lack of compassion is due to the fact that most of the offenders in jail are minorities. When the children of rich and powerful white people are caught with drugs, they always seem to get off easy, but our prisons are filled with blacks and browns. We say the drug war is racist to its core. They give lip service to ending racial profiling.

We mourn the tearing apart of families when parents go to jail for decades just because they grew a few plants. They talk of protecting children while turning a blind eye to the destruction of families caused by the drug war.

We confess to unpopular realities. They demonize us with a well-funded propaganda program built on hypocrisy, distortions, and outright lies. We risk our personal freedom by speaking the truth in the face of such falsehoods. They get paid by taxpayers to hunt us down and lock us up.

We are the ones with actual knowledge on the subject, yet they are viewed as the experts. Isn't this odd, given that most opponents of drug use say they've never used drugs themselves?

Our movement is made up primarily of outspoken members of an oppressed minority. Their movement is made up primarily of people whose job security depends on maintaining our oppression.

We call for the end to a clearly failed policy. They call for the perpetual continuation of a program that does not work and does nothing positive.

We call for the implementation of the numerous federal studies and commissions which have recommended decriminalization. They spend yet more taxpayer money on studies designed to prove the harmfulness of certain drugs, and when such studies instead find the opposite, they bury and ignore the results and then call for more research.

We believe marijuana is a gift from God. They are mostly Christians engaging in the very un-Christian policy of punishing peaceful people simply because they find enjoyment in one of God's creations.

In short, they are seeking to use the massive power of government to destroy not just a species of weed or a random subset of dangerous substances, but to smash an entire segment of society, which they have deemed to be undesirable. They call it a war on drugs. We call it a war on people.

In my experience, folks who smoke pot are some of the nicest, friendliest, and most thoughtful people in our society. On the other hand, anti-drug zealots are some of the meanest, angriest, most vengeful, and dishonest people in the country.

We are on the side of Freedom. They insist on Zero Tolerance.

We are the misunderstood and unpopular few. They are the powerful who've built their careers on oppressing drug consumers.

Whose voice is really more credible?

If you still support the War on Drugs, don't you think you should consider switching sides?

Andrew Looney

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