The Drug Enforcement Administration has no expertise for deciding whether marijuana is harmful or not. Nevertheless, it refuses to take pot off Schedule 1 of the Controlled Substances Act.
It calls marijuana a dangerous drug with high potential for abuse and of no medical value. But the DEA lacks scientific proof. Automobile driving causes far more national accidents than driving while smoking weed.
Moreover, there is a cynical motive behind the stubbornness: the DEA owns a patent on cannabis-based medicine used to treat debilitating side effects of cancer.
The fact is that pot is not only harmless but essential to the health and welfare of thousands of Americans.
Researchers in Israel recently reported that clinical trials of medicinal cannabis indicated beneficial results for youngsters with autism.
In a special report for USA TODAY, Yardena Schwartz wrote that the Israeli study is “a potential breakthrough that would offer relief for millions of afflicted children and their anguished parents.”
One in 68 kids in the United States suffer from autism (difficulty to communicate and form relationships).
The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) has been fighting to abolish the drug czar since 1970, the same year the Controlled Substances Act was enacted. NORML was inspired by Ralph Nader, radical candidate for president, to urge abolition
Schedule 1 is the main law for drug prohibition in America. But marijuana is not a hard drug like heroin.
CRIMINALIZATION INCREASES RISKS
Mike Ludwig, investigative reporter for Truthout, notes: “Criminalization of any drug increases health risks by pushing risky behavior underground.”
Another of NORML’s goals is to have the federal government provide funding for addiction treatment rather than handing out harsh criminal penalties for minor drug crimes. Some states are doing precisely that.
Citizens in many states are wiser than the puritanical DEA. Eight states and the District of Columbia have legalized pot for recreational and medicinal use. The eight states are Alaska, California, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon and Washington.
Seventy-one percent of Florida voters amended the state constitution to allow expanded access to medical pot. Thirty states have approved use of cannabis in some form. But Alabama, the most backward state in the union, makes sale of cannabis a felony.
Vaping, the electronic e-cigarette industry, is increasing in public popularity.
NEW YORK TIMES GUTLESS
The New York Times is the world’s best NEWS-paper but its opinion is so weak that its columns are usually unreadable. Sometimes they are ridiculous.
Take a recent Times ombudsman column by Liz Spayd .
A Florida state senator, Frank Artiles, delivered an obscenity-soaked rant at a fancy club. What did he say?
Spayd never said, using euphemisms like the “N-word.” Her column was worthless without using exact quotes.
Artiles is a public figure, not Mr. Nobody. The readers must be told. But the puritanical Times printed nary an obscenity.
EXACT QUOTES WITHOUT EUPHEMISMS
The Miami Herald, thankfully, told what he said:
“Audrey, stop being a bitch on my bills and I’ll stop being a fucking asshole on yours.” (Audrey is Florida state Senator Gibson). Artiles called Gibson “a girl,” Florida Senate President Joe Negron a “pussy” and Florida Republicans who elected Negron “niggas.”
Reading Artiles’ exact words you realize why he resigned in disgrace.
Racism never ends in America. That truth in explicit words demands to be reported.
As Kristen West Savali, associate editor of The Root, African-American news and opinion newspaper, declared: “It’s not my job to protect the sensibilities of those offended by blunt language.”
CARTER NO POLITICIAN
Jimmy Carter was the most decent president America ever had. But politics is no business for saintliness.
Another president, Herbert Hoover, was a great humanitarian but out of his depth as president.
FDR, no saint, was the greatest president the nation ever had domestically. Lincoln was the greatest crisis president. His leadership proved that during the Civil War.
‘THE GODFATHER’ DVD UNWATCHABLE
Marlon Brando is great as Don Corleone, boss of the Sicilian clan of mobsters, winning an Oscar. But the shooting, killing and violence is unwatchable.
No discredit to director Francis Ford Coppola, who justly earned an Oscar for the best picture of 1972. It was Based on the Mario Puzo novel.
Jake Highton is an emeritus journalism professor from the University of Nevada, Reno. (firstname.lastname@example.org)