Why, in the face of reams of evidence against their position, does the U.S. government still oppose free access to Cannabis/Hemp/Marijuana? In spite of a recent poll showing 74% of Americans want medical Marijuana, the U.S. government still maintains a “Zero tolerance” position. After spending Trillions of our dollars over the past 80 years of prohibition, why does government even refuse to conduct or permit or accept accurate, peer-reviewed and replicated studies that show Marijuana is safer than, as DEA Administrative Law Judge Francis Young stated in 1988 “…many of the foods we commonly consume?” Why, even after 2010’s block buster study by the University of Connecticut showing the viability of Hemp fuel, does the government refuse to even consider its use? One word: Control.
We have a major problem with our political system. For the last 100 years, maybe longer, our political system has been subjected to constant attack from a small group of business people who have, over several generations, been nibbling away at the democracy we’re supposed to live under. At the root, extreme greed has driven these corporations to gain untoward influence on society’s major institutions such as education, media, religion, healthcare, food supply, fuel supply and government.
There’s big money to be made propping up prohibition, to be sure. Law enforcement, even in the smallest towns, now have their own supply of paramilitary equipment like AR-15 rifles, “Flash bang” grenades, helmets with video cameras, special optical tools, tasers. Some even have their own armored vehicles. Someone has to build and sell this stuff, and a multi-billion dollar business has grown up to supply the tools to “Fight drugs.”
The drug testing industry is another multi-billion dollar business, with the majority of businesses still conducting at least pre-employment testing for banned substances and law enforcement trying to trap drug users. The U.S. Department of Labor has seemingly tacit connection with the Drug and Alcohol Testing Association:
DATIA provides information about drug-testing technologies and products and gathers and publishes statistics about drug testing. It also represents the business community regarding drug and alcohol testing legislative and regulatory issues. DATIA’s more than 1,000 members represent a range of drug and alcohol service providers, such as collection sites, laboratories, consortiums/third party administrators (TPAs), medical review officers (MROs) and testing equipment manufacturers.
With the rise of the number of drug arrests comes the industry of private prisons, with a ready supply of workers who have no choice but to be unwilling employees of a private company. Ostensibly, privatized, for-profit prisons are more efficient than government run institutions…but:
It is well-known that public prison employee unions constitute a powerful constituency for tough sentencing policies that lead to larger prison populations requiring additional prisons and personnel. The great hazard of contracting out incarceration “services” is that private firms may well turn out to be even more efficient and effective than unions in lobbying for policies that would increase prison populations.
When we add to the mix the observations that America already puts a larger proportion of its population behind bars than does any other country (often for acts that ought to be legal), and that the US already spends an insane portion of national income on the largely non-productive garrison state, it is hard to see the expansion of a for-profit industry with a permanent interest in putting ever more people in cages as consistent with either efficiency or justice.
You can read more of this article at: http://www.economist.com/blogs/democracyinamerica/2010/08/private_prisons . Consider that in addition to the numbers, the private prison industry is the biggest backer of mandatory minimum sentencing. More fodder for their plan of mass indentured servitude.
Then there’s the pharmaceutical industry and the medical community. In addition to supplying massive amounts of drugs including drugs to counter the side effects of other drugs they like to push, big pharma has a set of lobbyists on all levels of government that is bigger than most other special interests. Former pharmaceutical industry representative Gwen Olsen, who has become a whistle blower on pharma, sums it up quite nicely in this video:
At the turn of the 20th century, the burgeoning automobile and aircraft industries needed fuel and engine lubricants for their new technology. Petroleum became king. Additionally, scientists developed additional products based on petroleum like plastic and synthetic fibers. When it was discovered Hemp could supply the same things in a cleaner, more economical fashion, the move was on to ban Hemp. The oil moguls and their financiers undertook the effort to remove Hemp, the world’s oldest cultivated plant. They did so by creating one of the biggest set of lies history has seen, using America’s racism and blind trust of government against any and all opponents. With Hemp out of the way, nothing stood in the way of the petrochemical industry from becoming the big dog in the yard.
When these and other industries discovered the amount of money to be made by keeping Cannabis/Hemp/Marijuana illegal, they conspired to influence the government to help keep it that way. Over the years, these businesses and industries have done whatever is necessary to ensure they can force their dominance on the people through lobbying, campaign contributions, control of the stock markets and influence on laws that keep their cycle of business going strong.
These businesses have gained control of government to the point that key politicians from the President on down consult business leaders before taking any action on a variety of issues, and going so far as to create their own “Truth.” When it comes to Cannabis issues, in spite of an immense amount of properly conducted studies showing Marijuana’s efficacy as a medicine and safety as a recreational drug, the federal government still cranks out mostly lies and half-truths about Marijuana. Is it too far of a stretch to imagine that businesses which would have to go to the trouble of realigning their mission to the benefit of people not profits fight any efforts at reform? Is it unbelievable that business, now legally determined to be “Artificial persons” and unbridled in their ability to make political contributions to their friends, would do so and to hell with anyone not on board with their destruction of freedom and democracy? Don’t think it’s happening? This article, one of many, shows just one way business is influencing politics.
Even a simple search on the internet will turn up many articles about how business is influencing political leaders, far outstripping what we as Marijuana reformers, patients, other issue organizations and even Labor are able to spend. Essentially, business is buying politicians. Do you think business is not going to expect their will to be done if their candidate wins? If we were to play that sordid political game to get Marijuana taxed and regulated like alcohol, wouldn’t we expect the politicians we buy to do our bidding? Such influence shouldn’t be allowed, for them (or for us). Public policy based on lies and politics is poor public policy. We have nothing to fear from the truth.
Hemp/Marijuana is a lynch-pin issue. Pull the pin and a lot of other cards come tumbling down. But for the future health and wellbeing of the majority of people in this country, that pin has to be pulled. The lies and influence buying have to stop. Otherwise, we cease being a free people.