Marijuana Triple Play

Politico does a twofer and the New York Times remembers an academic titan who well chronicled drug use and ensuing government policies to thwart it–a largely unsuccessful endeavor.

With unmistakable juxtaposition, Politico’s printed tabloid available in Washington, D.C. featured two informative items married together. First, a column from constitutional scholar and contributor Glenn Greenwald underscoring the political significance, public health benefits and taxpayer savings if Prop 19 is passed by California voters in a few weeks based on his recent research paper for the Cato Institute examining the benefits of Portugal decriminalizing all drugs in 2000.

Additionally, Politico wickedly notes that 28-years-ago today President Ronald Reagan declared a ‘war on drugs’, yet these days, the current drug czar is uncomfortable employing the now broadly derided term, deeming it “counter-productive”.

RIP David Musto, MD

Today’s New York Times does justice in honoring the recent death of Dr. David Musto, a well respected professor at Yale Medical School, an author of many notable books and expert in the history of drug control policy.

Before there was an Internet…from 1991 to 1993, David and I frequently corresponded about cannabis use, policy making and law enforcement via letters and faxes. His books (notably for me, The American Disease: Origins of Narcotics Control, along with other very important scholarly works researched and penned by Drs. Lester Grinspoon, Norman Zinberg, Andrew Weil and Consumer Union’s Edward Brecher; along with the writings of law professors Charles Whitebread and Richard Bonnie) quite definitely helped form my political and sociological views about cannabis.

I note from the Times’ obituary that David passed away in China whilst visiting to deliver his academic papers to Shanghai University. I trust somewhere in what must be an immense collection of papers and correspondences will be our exchanges, and a rare conceit from David in a correspondence to me, replying to my frustration that he was not more of an advocate for reforms rather than a genuine ‘Ivy League’ academician, he noted, I recall, something like: I seem best equipped to point out the history of drug use and government’s efforts to control for such…and let the public and elected policymakers make of my work what they will…I’m not an activist or a solutions person  per se.

As noted by NYT book reviewer James Markham correctly predicted that The American Disease would “probably become mandatory reading for anyone who wants to understand how we got into this mess”.

True then. True now. You can purchase a copy @ Amazon, or you can get the flavor of David’s writing from his 1972 essay, The History of the Marihuana Act of 1937 at

9 thoughts

  1. Many years ago there was a wall being built. At first , it seemed to be a wall keeping bad things out. The light still shined over it, no one minded. As the years went on, this wall grew wider and taller, til there was no light shining over and no way around. People took notice, many questioned when the light would shine again. They soon realized that the wall was getting much wider and much taller, they feared the light would never shine again. Many started rejecting this wall, attacking it. As the bricks started to fall, those who built it and maintained it would replace the bricks,but soon the bricks were falling fast enough that light started shining through again. Those who maintained it and had never seen this light before stopped and questioned the wall. Soon they to started attcking the wall. Now there is a huge hole in the wall, the number maintaing it is smaller than those attacking it and many are joining in this attack.

    The light is shining brightly now, I ask those attacking to not rest,dont bask in the light,For those who still try to maintain it are cunning and have forked tongues. Pick those bricks up and throw them at these devils. Drive them out!

    Let the light shine, tear down the wall!!

  2. Great book ,decent read…Problem is no one except us proponents would read it. People who are opposed to ending Marijuana prohibition are not maliable in their stance. No amount of litigation or discussion could EVER change their mind…so we must continue to shape those minds which are undecided or have no opinion….I wish we could get more stock footage of users for MSNBC, CNN, FOX, so that when they discuss these topics, it’s not just partiers toking up on a bunch of schwag weed..we need more positive versions of pot use in the fight. Save your seeds…hide your weed

  3. It was nice reading about “The Wall”. I am going to see Roger Waters tonight. Keep up the good work and the wall shall fall. Wall or no Wall I will not fall into the repair of it.

  4. Just a friendly reminder to those in the great Nation of California & especially those voting now ;

    Meg Whitman said she will overturn the vote & will of the People of California if Proposition 19 passes .

    Jerry Brown said he will side with the will & vote of the People of California should 19 pass .

  5. The parable of the frog in the pot of water comes to mind. Throw a frog into a pot of hot water, and it will immediately jump out. But put that same frog into a tepid pot of water, and then slowly warm the water, and the frog will remain in the pot until it’s boiled. PLEASE, PLEASE DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME. IT’S INHUMANE.

    The USA has been slowly shifting from a democratic republic, with government by, for, and of the people, into a rigid fascistic police state. As time has goose-stepped by, the fascist oligarchy in control has become ever more brazen and impatient in their quest for total domination over the populous. The Obama administration has gone out of it’s way to further that agenda of domination, but under the guise of that “compassionate conservatism” that the GW Bush administration never quite got around to. Fascist is as fascist does.

    The various States engaged in promulgating medical marijuana programs have been in the forefront of opposing this fascistic Federal tyranny. De-criminalizing small quantities of cannabis into a citation-level civil offense was the next step. CA Prop 19 represents the final step toward re-legalization of cannabis, and induces civil acceptance by offering a tax incentive.

    But in the larger scheme of the political arena, Prop 19 also offers an avenue of State sponsored civil disobedience to an increasingly fascistic police state forced upon we the people from the Federal level. Even if CA voters do not indulge in recreational cannabis, they should still vote in favor of Prop 19 as a symbol of resistance to the overbearing Federal police state.

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