Bear Owsley – A Practical Solution to Prohibition

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Photo: Rak Razam (EGA 2009)

From:     Bear <the-bear@thebear.org>
Subject:     Re: STOP THE AUSTRALIAN GOVERNMENT MAKING PLANTS ILLEGAL
Date:     21 January 2011 5:45:38 PM AEDT
To:     Rak Razam <shazaman@netspace.net.au>

Utter nonsense!

ALL DRUGS MUST BE LEGALISED (I do NOT mean 'decriminalised) AT ONCE. Leave aside the absolutely ludicrous idea that ANY plant can be made illegal, the drug prohibition has spread the use of all kinds of drugs to nearly everyone on the planet.  In 1937 .03% of the US population used pot, today it is around 80-90%.

And why not? Literally millions deal drugs, the highest paying enterprise on earth, even open to kids.

But most importantly drug prohibition is the SINGLE cause of the present financial meltdown!  What do you think the 'Mafia' do/did with those trillions/year?  Well you can't keep all that in cash, so it had to be used to buy things, BIG things, like multinational corps.  Over 80% of teh ownership of all the biggest corps (banks, loan companies, Transamerica, Halliburton, etc) are owned by a mere handful of (the same) people.  So it is not surprising that they all were acting like street hoods- that is the Mafia way.  Every cent in 'stimulus buys more drugs, and of course drugs cost nearly nothing, they are PLANTS and plant products- the 'price' is a DELIVERY FEE, very like gambling- it drains the life out of teh community and spawns wars and so on.

Any and all commodities that are in trade, MUST be in legal, normal trade.  NO BLACK MARKETS can exist in today's world.

The original and ONLY reason for this prohibition is/was to REPLACE the alcohol prohibition with one which targeted USERS, so the corrupt cops did not have to bust those who were paying them (embarrassing to say the least!).

Those who think that it is acceptable to ENLARGE this stupidity need a good talking to.

I suggest you make a print-out of my essay "Win the War..." (I need to update the title to 'A Practical Solution'- please use this title).

Cheers.

Bear

 

A Practical Solution to Prohibition

 

In the effort to "control" drug use, the approach taken on an international scale has been to prohibit even the use and possession of many materials. This model is the "American" one. That this approach is a failure has been widely noted by many prominent and even conservative commentators. The use of substances which alter in various ways the conciousness of man, is an extremely ancient and established practice, in spite of the belief of those who feel their moral views are the ones which should be imposed on all humanity. The use of draconian legal laws as deterrents, to attempt to eliminate ("control") drug use has already led to the widespread development of a powerful and dangerous black market, and in fact, any further movement in this direction will have the following inevitable results:




1. The use and distribution of drugs of all kinds will increase in direct relation to the increase in penalties. The penalties represent the "degree of risk" to the supplier.



2. The price on the street will also increase, removing ever larger amounts of money from the legitimate economy.



3. The number of dealers on the street will increase, especially those targeting the most vulnerable of our society- in particular, children. 



4. Dangerous infectious diseases such as AIDS and hepatitis will increase, perhaps to epidemic proportions. At the same time, many more users will die of overdoses and blood infections due to the unknown purity and concentration of the drugs as furnished.



5. Crimes will increase, especially property crimes like burglary and armed robbery.



6. The increased flow of money into the criminal element will increase the likelihood of police corruption to the point where it will become the norm.



7. All political systems will be placed under great corrupting influence as the elements profiting from the money-for--nothing drug trade use their funds to buy influence to maintain the level of prohibition.



8. Our systems of taxation, already stretched to the limit to provide services will be threatened with collapse in the attempt to imprison all the people who will be convicted and require incarceration.



9. The lure of "easy money" will entice many perfectly ordinary citizens to become criminal cultivators in order to make ends meet (interested persons are urged to examine the American Broadcast Company News Special "Pot of Gold", Peter Jennings, reporter, on marijuana cultivation in the USA. Aired on 13 March 1997. and available on video from the ABC).




10. The money paid for drugs is not based on the real value of the drugs themselves, but is based on the risk of delivery, which in turn is the result only of the law. This presents us with an economic crisis of enormous impact, wherein a person with no skills, experience or education can have an income (tax-exempt), greater than the highest paid individual in the entire industrial world. Such a situation destroys the mutually agreed upon basis of modern society, which is the assumption that a person is rewarded, or remunerated in direct relation to their contribution to the economic whole.



There are other important factors which figure into the wider picture in a negative way, such as the outflow of money to pay for the illegal importation of many of the drugs in use, which affects the balance of trade in a way that is impossible for even the experts to compensate for. Consider also the hazards to agriculture to farmers everywhere of the smuggler's importation of large amounts of plant material such as marijuana without quarantine inspection, which could conceivably lead to the local introduction of serious pests and diseases, possibly damaging agriculture, livestock, and wildlife. Some proposals suggest that a person who is cultivating a certain amount of marijuana plants be sentenced to life in prison. This is for an activity no more difficult nor unusual than growing a field of tomatoes. This seems hardly the sort of action worthy of any democratic nation.



All of the drugs which are used in a recreational way by people are either plant materials, or are derived from plants. These plants have been a part of the life on this planet as long as man has, perhaps even before we became recognizably human. All of these drugs have had traditional, sometimes ritual use among humans for uncountable ages. Until the first decades of this century there were no prohibitions against the use of any of them. During this long period there seem to have been few problems associated with drug use. Almost all of the problems relating to drug use seem to have been the result of only two factors, advertising and prohibition. Opium was employed in the 19th century by Great Britain to subjugate China. The use of opioids in India is of ancient origin, and like the cannabis, caused no harm in the traditional setting, but transplanted to China under a form of prohibition, the effects were devastating. In the US, the sales of "patent medicines" containing paregoric and other opium extracts as cure-alls, which were heavily advertised as a feel-good cure for anything that ailed you, led to widespread addiction, and resulted in the Harrison Narcotic Act of 1914, which required that all narcotic containing medicines be subject to a doctor's prescription.



The Volstead Act and the 18th Amendment to the US Constitution, passed in 1919, showed the Mafia how valuable prohibition was as a tool for making cheap things yield vast profits. With the end to prohibition, marijuana was made a model to prohibit all possession and use of any substance as well as production and distribution, (which were the only proscribed acts in the Volstead law). These laws all originated in the United States and were then exported to the rest of the world through the coercive powers the US wields through its economic threat of withholding foreign aid. In this way all the members of the United Nations were induced to sign the Single Convention on Drugs, thereby creating a world-wide black market for the drug trade. No one has had the temerity to oppose this "law", even the Dutch still officially honour the treaty, although they don't enforce its provisions. Of course, in order to implement the removal of drug prohibition, some brave country must stand up as an adult in the world community and repudiate this unreasonable treaty. Perhaps the origin of this prohibition movement was the Puritan tradition of forbidding "sin", but it has since been pre-empted and maintained by the drug traders themselves. Without the laws there would be no lucrative trade.



The problems with alcohol and tobacco, as well as addictive gambling, are the direct result of advertising, which may be looked upon as a coercive behaviour, and is often laced with misinformation and the suppression of information about the consequences of usage. We generally have a habit of confusing the "speech" of advertising with the "speech" meant in the phrase "freedom of speech", which refers to the right to freely express one's opinion in the political sense. Advertising is not the act of expressing an opinion, but is used in facilitating the acquisition of money, and needs to be controlled, so that coercion is not used to encourage practices which may be harmful in their consequences.



Leashes are employed to make dogs behave, and Society has the responsibility to limit coercive behavior to ensure the public is protected from the unscrupulous. This is made very clear by the behavior of the big tobacco companies with regard to the hazards of smoking. In the following sections it is to be understood that none of the items in either Category "A" or Category "B" may be advertised by anyone in any way, either directly or indirectly. This applies to the government owned lotteries as well. The principle here is to not encourage behavior while not prohibiting it.



The laws of the last 60 years prohibiting drugs have led to very widespread drug use, and almost total disregard for the genuine and useful laws of society. In the days while I attended high school, 1949 to 1952, I never heard the word "marijuana" nor, as delinquent as I was at times, did I even know anyone who used any sort of drug. It was at least ten years before there was any visibility to marijuana and other drugs in the general public arena of the USA.




Having said this, I wish to put forward the following proposal as a solution which I hope will be seriously considered. This is based on the Dutch approach, but is far more complete and coherent. I believe that we are now presented with a unique opportunity for some brave country to lead the world in eliminating this disastrous prohibition, which may very well be threatening the survival of all of humanity's social fabric. The operant principle here is harm minimization. The best laws are always the simplest.




 

An outline for the reform of present laws on drugs and their use.



 

First, the entire designation until now called "illegal drugs" needs to be divided into two classes, much as the drugs used in legitimate medicine are divided, into those which are freely available to any adult person, as are the over-the-counter products, and those which require medical advice and/or supervision, such as the prescription drugs.

 

Category A



 

This category includes all plants and crude plant derivatives including tobacco, opium and hashish, alcohol and (although not a drug per se) gambling. Including, but not limited to all plants containing the substances psilocybin, ergoline alkaloids, mescaline, cannabinoids, opioids, nicotine, caffeine, ecgonines (coca alkaloids) and ethanol. Although it is not a "drug", I believe the costly, socially disruptive and frequently addictive practice of gambling should also be grouped in this category, since "problem gamblers" often require counselling and rehabilitation, which is similar to that needed by people with problems controlling their use of drugs. Here too, advertising never mentions the odds against winning.

 




Category B

 



This includes all the chemical and highly purified products, whether derived from natural materials, or synthetic. Whether currently used in medicine, or not.

These two categories would then be dealt with in the following fashion.




Those in Category A:

 The plants and materials in this category would be permitted freely to be grown, processed, possessed, and used by an individual for the personal use of that person and immediate family, but cannot be sold. A small fee must be paid on a yearly basis by those exercising this right.



Individuals may, however apply and be granted a license to produce these materials for sale to others, provided they are of good character, and pay a licensing fee. All the sales made under this provision will have a small fee attached at the point of sale. These fees are not tax, and cannot be transferred to general revenue. All such revenue derived from this fee must be used in the following manner by government: A portion of all fees collected under this rule will be set aside for education, detoxification and rehabilitation, and the remainder will be passed on to the health service to help with defraying the costs of treatment of the increased number of ailments which are the result of such drug use. In this way the system is prepared to deal with any problems, by making it "pay its own way".



Those in Category B:

 The material in this category may only be bought and used under the supervision and/or authority (prescription) of a medical practitioner, but otherwise are not restricted. The same licensing and fees for producers and sales as in Cat. A will apply.



Educational, detox and rehabilitation facilities must be well funded, staffed and available to anyone who needs them. A drug-user's equivalent of "driving licenses" could be required for the Cat. B (and perhaps also for Cat. A users). This license would take the form of a required course in the effects, dosage, hazards and health risks, followed by a test and the issuance of an ID card similar to that issued to road vehicle operators. The user is then informed of all the pertinent facts. Both categories would require that the user be an adult.



A requirement might also be made that a person who wishes to use the psychedelics be a member of a support group which should have a trained psychological worker associated with it. 

An important principle is that the fees are kept reasonable and do not represent a "sin tax" mentality, so as not to raise the price too high and re-establish the black market. Drugs and gambling are not of benefit to society and governments must not derive revenue from them, otherwise there is little motivation for the powers to discourage the practice.



Other drugs under consideration for prohibition, like anabolic steroids, must be returned to the medical community so as to destroy the growing international black market in these substances.



It is important to realize that ALL black markets are dangerous to the public health, damaging to the economy, corrupting to officials, and create a basis for crime. Honest democratic governments must never knowingly act to create situations which will allow black markets to develop, no matter how reasonable the impulse to do so seems at the time. It is also important to understand that legalizing the use of drugs will not encourage more people to use drugs, nor will it, as many have proclaimed, "send a message" to youth that drug use of any kind is approved of by society.



Legendary acid chemist and sound engineer Bear Owsley Stanley died after an automobile accident in Australia on March 13, 2011. A statement released on behalf of Stanley's family said the car crash occurred near his home in Queensland. He is survived by his wife Sheila, four children, eight grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. John Perry Barlow, former Grateful Dead lyricist  described Stanley as an "Acid King, Annealer of the Grateful Dead, and Master Crank" who "died with his boots on." His legacy changed the world, and he will be sorely missed...