Newsbrief: Reefer Madness in the Heart of Africa 9/19/03

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Last week, Drug War Chronicle reported on anti-marijuana crusades in the West African countries of Nigeria and Gambia ( As noted then, Africa remains a continent almost totally unaware of notions such as drug reform. One more example comes this week from Uganda, where a leading national newspaper, the Monitor (Kampala) gave voice to sentiments right out of the Harry Anslinger "Reefer Madness" era decades ago.

In bemoaning the prevalence of marijuana, or "enjagga," as the Monitor refers to it, the paper noted that "many people are cultivating, selling and smoking marijuana," and that sales and use occur in numerous "slums," as well as "market car washing bays, video halls, brick laying sites and graveyards among other places." Pot smokers, the newspaper reported, are "misguided or frustrated youth who are generally devoid of employment."

Worse yet, the Monitor wrote, marijuana use contributes to the commission of other crimes. And here is where the ghost of Anslinger rises. According to marijuana "expert" Michael Were, who happens to head the national anti-drug unit, "A big number of crimes result from the influence of marijuana."

We'll let the Monitor tell it: "According to Were, marijuana gives Dutch courage to people who inhale it. Body builders commonly known as Kanyamas are notorious for smoking marijuana because it gives them courage to waylay people in the city, particularly in the morning and evening. Crimes that arise out of marijuana influence include waylaying women at night, raping them and defiling young girls." As if that weren't enough to worry a guy: "The drug also contributes to mental breakdown. Some people have run mad due to over-inhaling marijuana."

Noting a whopping 1,259 drug cases last year, the Monitor called for a "joint effort [no pun intended, we're sure] by all law-abiding citizens and the police to fight drugs that precipitate commission of crime," as well as urging the media to enlist in "this noble cause" and urging the government to pass a tough new drug bill.

But these Ugandan drug warrior wannabes are going to have to get on the ball. They must get beyond the tired old reefer madness propaganda of the Anslinger era and embrace the tired new reefer madness propaganda of current US drug czar John Walters if they really want to enter the 21st Century.

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Issue #303, 9/19/03 Editorial: Don't Stop There | A Clean, Well-Lit Place to Shoot Dope: Western Hemisphere's First Government-Approved Safe Injection Site Opens in Vancouver | And Then There Were Four: Canadian Marijuana Possession Laws Crumble | Britain's Pending Cannabis Decrim Will Allow for Some Arrests | More Than Just Memories: Cheryl Miller Memorial Project in DC Next Week | Newsbrief: Seattle Voters Tell Police to Make Marijuana Possession Lowest Priority | Newsbrief: Marijuana Legal in Alaska, But Attorney General Orders Cops to Confiscate It, Work with Feds to Build Cases | Newsbrief: Ecstasy Scandal Grows as Second Study Retracted | Newsbrief: Drug Policy Alliance Issues Report on Changes in State Drug Laws | Newsbrief: This Week's Corrupt Cops Story | Newsbrief: Reefer Madness in the Heart of Africa | Newsbrief: Campaign Comments -- John Edwards on Industrial Hemp | Newsbrief: Murderous Thai Drug War in Final Drive to be "Drug Free" | Newsbrief: UN Agency Calls for Change in Colombia Drug War Strategy | Current Action Alerts: Medical Marijuana, Plan Colombia, HEA, Ashcroft's Attack on Judicial Discretion | Perry Fund Accepting Applications for 2003-2004 and 2004-2005 School Years, Providing Scholarships for Students Losing Aid Because of Drug Convictions | Errata: Dutch MedMj, Ecstasy Study Stories Last Two Weeks | The Reformer's Calendar

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