Editorial: Sometimes the Drug War Makes Me Dizzy

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David Borden, Executive Director

David Borden
Sometimes the drug war makes me dizzy. There's just so much of it. And it's my job, in part, to keep track of it all.

Just this week, our newsletter presents a dizzying spread of drug war craziness: cops cutting down marijuana farms, teachers being drug tested, opium growing tearing up Afghanistan -- and opium growing supporting Afghanistan -- death penalties in Vietnam and Iran, diplomatic friction over "certification." We don't even try to cover all the busts and drug seizures happening all over the country all of the time -- that would truly be a dizzying list to try to put together.

What has it all gotten us? The marijuana is still growing, in comparable quantities. Medical marijuana patients, and their providers, and opiate pain patients and their doctors, are going to prison, with governors having to pardon them. Corruption plagues police forces, abroad and here at home. Terrorists are earning money off of the drug trade. Half a million drug offenders fill our jails and prisons (as a report that came out too late for us to report on this week discusses -- check back next week). Overdoses, and the spread of HIV and Hepatitis through drug injection, all continue. And of course, the fabled drug-free high school continues to be nowhere to be found, and the drug trade tempts young people everywhere into lives of crime and places them in danger.

I don't hold the prohibition movement that brought us the drug laws in especially high regard. At least I don't hold the prohibitionist part of their activities in high regard. But neither do I believe that this is what they had in mind or is what they would have wanted or expected, when they worked to outlaw drugs early last century. Just as some of the key alcohol prohibitionists changed sides and worked for repeal for prohibition after they saw the results, I believe that some of the early drug prohibitionists would likewise change their view if they could only see where the path that they helped to steer us onto has led. It's only because the drug war has built up slowly, over many decades, that the extremity of the drug war in its current form is not universally perceived as extreme. Transplant some early 20th century drug prohibitionists into our time now and show them the whole picture, they would probably find it, well, dizzying. As well it should.

Fortunately, Internet activism is mostly a desk job, so if I get a little dizzy thinking about all of this, I'm not likely to fall over from it before recovering my balance and hurt myself. But that doesn't mean I can't get upset. Are you upset about the drug war too? What can you do about it today?

Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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prohibition 2

Be dizzy but not overwhelmed.Too much more good fight to go. Remember it took the Prohibitionist Party over 50 years (1869) to accomlish prohibition 1. It may take longer to repeal prohibition 2. A little longer....

I'm thinking.

I'm thinking if we keep strong with the FORCE we have in motion now towards drug law reformation, then it could happen, United States wide, within 2 - 5 years, I'm in it to win it! I will die on the steps of the White House if anyone else is with me, but I feel it would take, at least 100,000 and possibly many more. Maybe the next Marijuannapalooza could be on the front steps of the White House.... It would have to happen fast and with indiscretion, & intensely! With all the new laws in hand that should be enacted to make it Revolutionary!

Peace, and Hope for the Future May Need to Be Paved In Blood. But it must first be painted green!

White House / Green House?


Yeah, and people in the 70's thought "There's no WAY they'll keep dope and psychedelics illegal until the turn of the century!"

Anybody with half a brain knows by now that illegalizing drugs makes about as much sense in a free country as... regulating the pace you're allowed to walk at. Running causes accidents after all. And drugs aren't the only form of altering your state of mind... if that's the fear, then what's next? Yoga? Meditation? New age music? haha, it's all so ridiculous.


Your post confuses me.
Are you for or against prohibition?

Helping to end the drug war

Deluge your congress people with emails, faxes and phone calls, calling for them to end this travesty, this abomination against the Constitution and the people, this governmental atrocity!


the 'Two Dog" star already carries/is the answer to the question, All questions. We have already won thru the collective Love, Wisdom we share together. Proclaim Liberty.

Great dizzy silliness is ending Welcome Sanity

ballot propositions

There are ballot initiatives allowed in about 23 states. In 1996 I suggested to MPP that we strive to get medical marijuana ballot initiatives in each of those 23 states in order to propel us to future legal medical marijuana.

11 years later we have medical in about 13 states (a lot less than I'd hoped) Don't expect politicians to do much for us & certainly they won't move quick.

The ballot initiatives are the best method for real change but they take money & management to get the people to vote for us.

They must be written properly.

the solution

Recently I've concluded that because of the way it has built over time, it is now


to go back. You might get some decrease in penalties & enforcement, with some increases from time to time, but that's about it. The problem is that


nobody is alive who could say "I told you so", to admit the drug war (on a particular drug or any set of them) was wrong will be too much to bear, both for the elites and the masses. No matter how bad things get, to say that up until yesterday we were wrong is psychologically worse, it being better to pretend that policy has been generally right but unlucky. There is no particular person who can be scapegoated for bad policy, the blame would be on everybody, and therefore too much.

The way out which will eventually be found is technologic. New drugs will be developed which, while having the same effects as the old (albeit with possibly slight safety improvements in some cases), don't carry their adverse baggage. This will permit face saving as authorities can proclaim the new drugs good, safe, "non-addictive", etc. To gain public acceptance, however, depending on the mood at the time, the new drugs will probably have to be developed by a non-profit, because if developed by a profit-seeking business they will be too easily demonized and the process would have to start over again.


How can baldfaced liars save face?Why should they be allowed. Working within the system cannot work if it's the system that is the problem. The war on drugs is systemiclly flawed. An abberation of the worse type.Saving people from themselves for the common good, supposedly.Prohibition is the gateway to tyranny. Now driven by money, it's demise will be for that reason.When your out of money your out of biz.

i hope to God that drug laws

i hope to God that drug laws are reformed. Drugs are not an issue. Abuse is the issue and by making drugs illegal it not only creates a black market, but a dangerous one.

addiction is a condition...one bad choice could lead to a lifetime of crime..everyone makes mistakes...WE NEED TO CALL OUT AND STRIVE FOR ACCEPTANCE.

legalize marijuana...its the only way to stop the hypocrasy

...that is a universal virtue
marijuana smoking is not something that can be governed....clearly the nation is not happy with marijuana illegalization....illicit drugs kill...weed does not!

smarten up ladies and gentleman...

remember 1984??? Good ole Georgey Orwell?

yeah look at our wonderful Patriot Act....Big Brother seems to resemble The Government...haha funny?
:) enjoy your day as you ponder my questions....


Hang in there. Reason will eventually prevail and you will see it happen.

DIZZY...? ADD + APA (DSM) Is the Formula for Relief!!!

Of course you feel dizzy, David! You are using the bottom-up approach to end the war on drugs. It's a large-scale undertaking with an infinite amount of unfortunate outcomes. As someone who has spent the greater part of 20 years, designing and managing large networks and projects like the space station for the NASA, take it from me, the top-down approach works best.

Let me give you the best example I know. When the gay movement started at the Stonewall Riots in New York City during the summer of 1969, homosexuality was still considered a psychiatric disorder by the APA. Gay activists pressured the APA to reconsider whether "homosexuality" belonged among the list of mental disorders in DSM-II. The APA launched a study in 1971 that culminated in the 1973 decision to remove homosexuality from the list of psychiatric disorders. Ever since then, groups have emerged trying to put it back, but the 1973 decision will never change. By 1974, just a year later, thousands upon thousands of gay men and lesbian became visible. Anita Bryant started her famous "Save the Children” campaign and her supporters were totally outnumbered. No one dreamed that so many gay men and lesbians were walking on the surface of the Earth let alone in one city! And that, my friend, is how the gay movement became one of the fastest growing minorities -- not because people were discovering their sexual orientation -- but because when it was no longer a mental illness, it was normal and people can feel more at ease and proud who they are when they are "normal".

What I envision is that the opposite has to occur in setting the stage to end the war on drugs. That is, we need to get the APA to move Anti-Drug Disorder into the classification of mental illnesses and thus, embrace Drug Use as normal, which it already is, by the way. But let me make this perfectly clear: Once Anti-Drug Disorder becomes formally recognized by the APA as a psychiatric disorder -- which we already know it is based on the name alone -- then, David, I promise you the flood gates will be opened and you will have the army to support you that you never dreamed about, because I can't possibly tell you how many closeted drug users there are in this country only that you and everybody will be amazed. Inside my crystal ball -- no pun intended -- I see the world turning upside down with Drug-Free Zones turning into Free-Drug Zones overnight, and the good ole Partnership will be merely a graveyard of old memorial sites. Of course there still will be anti-drug groups from now until anthropomorphic robots start to outnumber us on the Earth, but by that time, you and I will be just a part of history.

Trust me, David. The only thing that will make you dizzy will be the millions marching in a revolution to end the war on drugs. You can bet the farm on this one!

[email protected]

grass legal in California

for all intents & purposes grass is legal in Cal with a doctor recommendation. That's fine with me. You need a script for prescriptions; so what's so bad about seeing a doc for legal grass. If the 23 states with ballot initiatives have similar laws then the Fed's will feel way more pressure to back off on the states for legal medical grass and stop bustin care givers and then the next step will be full legal prescription for any purpose supported by your physician. sounds ok for me and we'll see where it goes from there. keep the faith.......

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