Time To Say More Than Just No

Discussion in 'Marijuana News' started by Superjoint, Aug 9, 2002.

  1. By Louis Silverstein
    Source: Maui Weekly

    Our country seemingly remains hell-bent on continuing to waste billions of dollars year after year on the longest waged war in U.S. history. Prison systems are overflowing with drug users and low level drug dealers; incarceration of youth is given a higher priority than educating them; and a huge and costly governmental corporate complex is erected, ostensibly designed to wage a war against drugs, but, in reality, completely dependent on the continued presence of "the enemy" in order to justify its very existence.

    Our officially sanctioned policy of "Just Say No Or Say Nothing" serves not to prevent drug abuse, but rather to bar a necessary, all-informed-viewpoints-welcome, including divergent and alternative perspectives, public dialogue from taking place. The goal of such a discussion should be the formulation of an effective, intelligent, humane, protective of civil liberties and individual rights, national policy on drugs.
    I urge that such a dialogue recognize these facts:

    Current drug policy has created vicious and ever expanding criminal networks that corrupt society, including police forces, and cause far worse damage and destruction than the substances being regulated.

    It is the war against drugs, not the drugs themselves, which has turned drug dealing into an enormous profit making machine, resulting, as was the case with prohibition, in gangs and cartels killing each other, as well as innocent members of their communities, in the pursuit of the greenback dollar bill.

    The harmfulness of a drug has nothing do with its legality or illegality. Compare these facts: estimated U.S. deaths in the year 2001 attributed to tobacco: 400,000; alcohol: 110,000; prescription drugs:'100,000; aspirin and related painkillers: 7600; marijuana: 0.

    Drugs have always been associated with human populations and are here to stay, if only because the biological impulse to get high rivals the biological impulse for food, water and sex.

    Drug use must be distinguished from drug abuse. Drug abusers are those in bad relationships with drugs, whether legal or illegal.

    Preventing drug abuse is a viable goal. We can teach people how to satisfy their needs and desires without recourse to drugs. We can also teach people how to form good relationships with drugs so that if they choose to use drugs, they remain users and not abusers.

    As described in my recently published book," Deep Spirit & Great Heart: Living In Marijuana Consciousness," responsible, respectful and disciplined use of marijuana affords one the insight that it is a plant teacher possessing potential enormous beneficial and healing qualities, that heaven is not a place, but a state of consciousness, in which a joyous daily existence, awareness of eternal truths, sexual ecstasy, heightening of ecological awareness, and spiritual enlightenment can become a life reality.

    It is time for the silence to be broken, for the truth to be told. America needs to adopt a drug policy that heals not harms our county and its people. We must learn from our past mistakes. We can do better than destroying the village in order to save it.

    Louis Silverstein is a professor in Liberal Education at Columbia College of Chicago. His book "Deep Spirit & Great Heart: Living In Marijuana Consciousness" is available at The Hemp Store in Paia, Miracles Bookery in Makawao and online from: http://www.amazon.com & http://www.bn.com

    Source: Maui Weekly (HI)
    Author: Louis Silverstein
    Published: August 8, 2002
    Copyright: 2002 Maui Weekly
    Contact: info@mauiweekly.com
    Website: http://www.mauiweekly.com

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