Tag Archives: drugs

Legalize pot, already!

It’s high time to change marijuana policy in the United States

marijuana plants- end the drug warThere are many reasons to legalize marijuana in the United States and elsewhere – and there are very few, if any, truly wise and rational reasons to maintain our silly, sad status quo of illegal pot.

NOTE: This post is a plea for reason and justice and freedom. Though some will be unable to see it, this is not a plea for drug use. We are not recommending that non-smokers start smoking pot. Likewise, we do not aim to encourage current users to increase their bong usage, roll and pass and smoke more joints, pack their pipes more tightly, or encourage more widespread clam-bake participation. Simply put, we strongly promote a spiritually principled philosophy we call Greenism; this includes smaller government, better separation of church and state, taming religious and political fundamentalism, and restoring individual freedoms. (We’re pretty sure you’d gladly support the bulk of these ideas after learning the details!)

Healthy, successful, progressive contemporary societies should constantly be evolving and progressing toward passing and enforcing fair, rational laws. Interested parties should help support ganjactivism, The marijuana legalization movement. (See listing of pot organizations at the end of this post)

cocaine ready to snortMarijuana is no more harmful, no more of a so-called gateway drug — no worse in any way, really – than alcohol. The legality of booze in contrast to the illegality of marijuana is one of the most preposterous, unfair legal conditions in our modern United States of America.

In the bizarre, closed-minded vein of religious fundamentalism and fideism[1], the Controlled Substances Act elaborates on why getting ready to snort some cokemarijuana has been classified by the government as Schedule 1 drug. Marijuana’s categorization in this top-dog deadly drug category implies that pot is somehow "worse" or "more illegal" than morphine, cocaine, fentanyl, oxycodone, and amphetamines! Even worse, the government officially states that marijuana has no legitimate medical usesdespite pot’s highly effective use as medicine in history and modernity.

marijuana magazine coversMarijuana’s legal classification is indeed a horrific and deplorable oversight of the naysayers, the ignorant, the closed-minded, and the paranoid. The associated punishments and all the reprehensible social side effects are nothing less than a scourge upon the United States and others among the so disaffected.

Recently, in a report published in the journal The Lancet, researchers have introduced an alternative method for drug classification in the UK. This new system uses a “nine category matrix of harm, with an expert Delphic procedure, to assess the harms of a range of illicit drugs in an evidence-based fashion.” The new classification system suggested that alcohol and tobacco were in the mid-range of harm, while cannabis, LSD and MDMA were all less harmful than the two legal drugs. This research is in line with a House of Commons of the United Kingdom report Drug classification: making a hash of it? (Source: Alternatives to scheduling — Controlled Substances Act Wikipedia page

One of the most pathetic facts about the status of marijuana laws in the United States is its primary basis upon a package of lies and untruths. Arguments against marijuana which were most successful in outlawing pot and maintaining its illegal status included:

  • Fear- and paranoia-based collection of media known as Reefer Madness
  • Claims that marijuana was an agent of communism
  • Nixon-era Drug-War propaganda
  • Reagan-era Just Say No efforts

Alcoholic beverages are legal for many reasons, many of which relate to social and recreational use. In truth, these reasons apply equally to smoking marijuana; however, in the case of pot, one should also consider the many additional reasons not necessarily applicable to booze.

Additional reasons to legalize pot

    smoking a joint
  • Take advantage of taxation ($14 billion est. annual pot trade)
  • Relieve overcrowded prisons
  • Save/restore families, lives
  • Mesh with objective reality and truth
  • Recognize, allow medical applications of pot
  • Move toward overall fairness in our laws
  • Reduce violence
  • Personal individual freedom
  • Discourage criminal element
  • Discourage dangerous drug cartels
  • Reduce costs (Judging nonviolent pot smokers costs U.S. taxpayers billions of dollars annually in legal costs: Lawyers, courts, etc.)

There are 22 million or so regular pot users in the United States, the largest user group being college and university students.

Most agree that the modern mainstreaming of marijuana is making its eventual legalization — or at least, decriminalization — more palatable.

The health concern argument

marijuana plants- end the drug warRational, intelligent, careful, objective thought will reveal to most that legalizing morality and reducing personal freedoms are not good ideas. One of the most repeated arguments against legalization has to do with harmful health effects. If health concerns were a genuine concern or motivation for many of these folks (it often isn’t), then we’d hear them pushing to outlaw a wide variety of unhealthy items and activities such as fatty foods, candy, soda, guns, booze, tobacco, motorcycles, et al.

In truth, the Founding Fathers would be appalled at the idea of removing personal individual freedoms and outlawing things that are unhealthy.

This writer would wager that most of the squeaky wheels against pot legalization in the United States today include these main categories:

1. The Religious: Fundamentalists, Hard Righters, and other conservatives
2. The Inexperienced: People who have never used pot
3. The Addicts: Folks with histories of chronic addiction or other negative drug experiences

Fairness of illegal pot considering legality of booze

smoking a jointAn alternative to resolving the fairness factor of our marijuana laws would be to outlaw alcohol — not a very palatable or realistic idea, as we have experienced in our history.

The history and status quo of marijuana’s legal status has been led by highly questionable politics rather than far more trustworthy scientific facts.

The Baby Boomers, a now-elderly generation with relatively advanced ganja experience, largely support the legalization of medical marijuana to the tune of 70% or so: Completely understandable and more than a bit encouraging.

Considering the issue honestly & realistically

One may hear the following quip being made as a supposedly witty, clever, convincing argument against pot legalization/ decriminalization:

How can ANYTHING that can cause an addiction be O.K.?

Those who agree with this statement have clearly given the idea of marijuana decriminalization very little careful thought, fair consideration, or objective contemplation. While pot is not physically addictive, marijuana use can be addictive from a psychological perspective.

But then, what isn’t psychologically addictive?smoking a joint at campfireNot much! Virtually anything and everything has the potential to create psychological addiction. Foods and drinks, watching television, reading, surfing the web, looking at pornography, having sex, and certainly mood-altering substances and exciting behaviors ALL have high potential for psychological addiction.

Shall we outlaw all of these things, as well?

What about riding motorcycles? If you believe smoking pot to be so dangerous and harmful, then surely having unprotected sex is also quite high on the list of dangerous human activities some would prefer to make illegal in the ridiculous, ineffectual quest to legalize morality.

Anyone who has been chronically addicted to escaping reality via television and video can attest to the fact that these entertainment addictions can destroy lives, families, health, etc. every bit as much as a psychological addiction to smoking weed!

More about marijuana "addiction"

If one is sufficiently familiar with addiction — the nature, experience, consequences, and other issues surrounding addiction — then the facts about addiction to marijuana will inevitably reveal the psychological nature of the habit.

I have spent considerable time watching documentaries and other video of current and former heavy pot smokers — many calling themselves addicts, or ex-addicts — discussing the addiction and how it led to their downfall. In some cases, the implication was that pot addiction ruins lives. I carefully considered the descriptions of their experiences. Myraid behaviorial changes of the potheads were discussed by not only the potheads but also family members and others close to the smokers: Withdrawing, introversion, losing jobs, destroying relationships, declining health, and so on.

In donning my always-handy devil’s advocate cap, I came to realize that most of the symptoms, consequences, and other negative aspects of long-term heavy pot smoking do not apply exclusively to heavy pot smoking or long-term psychological addiction to marijuana. They describe what can result from a wide range of psychological addictions.

But as with other substances, heavy long-term marijuana by children can have permanent negative effects.

One of the better resources for health information about THC and the potentially harmful effects of smoking pot in general is the 2009 documentary Cannabis: The Evil Weed? (BBC Horizon). I found this show to be quite impartial and objective — certainly not a production of pot promoters. This one-hour show can be seen here in its entirety:

Conclusions about smoking pot

It should be obvious: The potentially monstrous culprits here are addiction and related addictive behaviornot marijuana itself. The same is true for virtually anything. Casting blame upon the medicinal plant itself for the woes of addictive behavior is tantamount to blaming interstate and highway fatalities on automobiles, motorcycles, and other vehicles.

As with ANY recreational activity — especially mood-altering substances, of course — moderation is absolutely key! While we understand experimentation will always occur along the path to adulthood, one ought to exercise common sense, logic, and reason before toking regularly. Please don’t overdo pot smoking — or anything else.

We strongly support increased personal freedoms in the vein of libertarianism and in our version of Greenism: a term we use for the philosophy of living ethically, spiritually, sustainably, sensibly, in tune with nature. We strongly oppose excessive legislation of morality; we believe instilling ethics and encouraging ethical behavior in today’s youth remains the responsibility of parents and guardians, but also that of real friends, other family members, and even society as a whole (in a sense).

Please join us — regardless of your pot position!

We work to make the world a better place by encouraging the practice of basic, universal spiritual principles in support of many other like-minded missions. We join hands (digitally speaking) with the Dalai Lama in joint promotion of his mission as detailed in his wonderful 2011 book Beyond Religion. Other effective modern spiritual teachers with similar missions include Thich Nhat Hanh, Wayne Dyer, Neale Donald Walsh, Eckhart Tolle, and many others.

Our primary message concerning religion and spirituality

Please join us in this mission by doing whatever you possibly can to help spread the idea that mankind’s best hopes for the future rest in the embrace and practice of basic, universal spiritual principles — from a wholly non-divisive, tolerant, accepting, compassionate, secular[1] perspective which is completely free of ALL strains of fundamentalism & fideism[2].

Notes

[1] Secular

The implications of the word secular in the United States can be problematic, as we are not encouraging any hostility whatsoever toward religion. We understand that some people include in their working definition of secular a pervasive anti-religion sentiment. This is not what we mean when we use the word in our writings. Our use of the word secular includes an overall neutrality toward religion. we admire the way the word secular is broadly applied and defined in India, which is one of the most religiously diverse and amazingly tolerant nations we know of. (Our understanding of India’s use of the word secular is based on the description of the Dalai Lama in his book Beyond Religion.)

In the U.S., the mainstream in politics and media seems to assume “standard Protestant fundamentalist Christianity” for “religion”. The loudest Christian voices in the United States seem to be the fundamentalist ones — which tend to ruin the entire conversation about religion for the rest of us.

[2] Fundamentalism & fideism

In other words, whether one is referring to religious fundamentalism/fideism, political fundamentalism/fideism, or some other brand of fundamentalism, all of these closed-minded ideologies are discouraged for many reasons due to their very nature. For example, fundamentalist/ fideist beliefs and practices are not helpful in any way to larger society or overall progress; they are often hostile toward the ideas of peaceful coexistence, truth, tolerance, centrism, compromise, et al.

Religious fundamentalism (such as that practiced and spread by the Hard Right, Christian Right, Religious Right, etc.) demands unquestioning subservience to the dogma it promotes and often reacts poorly to serious challenges. In fundamentalism, one’s own worldview is often seen as the only correct worldview, with all others being wrong — sometimes evil.

In like manner, systems adhering to fideism — a common ingredient in fundamentalist systems overall — insist on NO questioning and NO demands for explanations at all concerning their teachings, beliefs, and traditions. The scourge of fideism is made possible in modern times only because the standard truth-telling yardsticks are disallowed. Human logic, reason, common sense, and rational thought that challenge its beliefs and traditions are considered to be enemies of their faith. Fideism sometimes even tosses out all scientific knowledge and theory, empirical data, along with anything else that might serve to reveal the typically preposterous, supernatural, superstitious beliefs they hold.

The close, serious, objective, honest, truthful examination of fundamentalist/ fideist systems will show our above assertions about fundamentalism &fideism to be true; the Search for Truth blog and many others help demonstrate this.

Clearly, fundamentalism/fideism must be discouraged and restrained in order to open the tightly closed minds of the affected parties. These worldviews and practices need to be gently discouraged, as their defenses tend to come up rather quickly and harshly.

Overall, fundamentalist/fideist groups are on the decline around the world, and for obvious and good reason. However, as we have seen in the United States in recent years — partly (largely?) in reaction to the Barack Obama’s election — flare-ups of these anachronistic belief systems can at least gain a temporary foothold if its politics are effective (think of the Republicans). Otherwise ridiculous systems can grow and attract new adherents if the talking heads are sufficiently believable & respected, shrewd, clever, and most importantly, talented and wise in the ways of disinformation, evangelism, persuasion, and underhanded political skills in general. This is how televangelical empires were/are built. (It certainly isn’t on truth or the larger good…)

Documentary films about marijuana use in the United States

Inside Marijuana (2010, National Geographic)
It is estimated that more than 200 million people around the world smoke it. Users represent a cross section of society, from teens to the elderly, from top-earning medical and legal professionals to housewives, labourers and truck drivers. Broad demand has made it, by some estimates, the single most valuable cash crop in the U.S., spawning a shadowy multibillion-dollar industry that thrives in communities throughout America.

Inside: Marijuana investigates all angles of the marijuana industry, joining law enforcement as they rappel from helicopters into illegal crop fields, visiting legal Canadian grow houses and going inside the tense standoff between “legal” medical use and federal drug agencies.
Inside Marijuana, National Geographic

Marijuana: A Chronic History (2010)
The fight against drug use in America has been going on since the turn of the last century but the term “War on Drugs” only became part of our national dialogue in 1970 when it was first used by President Richard Nixon. The President later formed the DEA and started a push to outlaw drugs of all kinds. Among the most discussed drugs in this war is Marijuana. This special will look at the storied and strange history of Marijuana in America…

http://topdocumentaryfilms.com/marijuana-chronic-history/

Marijuana: A Chronic History – IMDb (Rating: 74)

Marijuana: A Second Class Addiction (2011)
Sets out to investigate the popular misconception that marijuana is a non-addictive, non habit forming substance; Despite the fact that it is illegal, the ever-growing debate over whether marijuana should be legalized tends to gloss over one of the more fundamental issues regarding regular pot use: Can one actually become addicted to marijuana?

  • Marijuana: A Second Class AddictionTop Documentary Films
  • Marijuana Inc.: Inside America’s Pot Industry (2009)
    CNBC’s Trish Regan goes inside America’s controversial marijuana industry. Going from California’s marijuana dispensaries to talking to marijuana growers and law enforcement she paints a picture of how large and important marijuana is to this economy.
    Interviews with farmers and drug kingpins and the lawmen charged with shutting them down tell the story of the world’s most profitable drug, which costs about $400 per pound to produce and sells for $6,000 per pound at the retail level.

  • Marijuana Inc.: Inside America’s Pot Industry — IMDb (Rating: 69)
  • Marijuana: It’s Time for a Conversation — American Civil Liberties Union
    The American Civil Liberties Union of Washington has launched a multimedia public-education campaign on the country’s marijuana laws and their impact on taxpayers, communities and those arrested. As part of this effort, travel guru Rick Steves hosts this infomercial-style panel discussion produced by the Washington ACLU.

    Marijuana USA (2010)
    More states are permitting the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes and the Obama administration has signaled relaxed enforcement of the industry in those states. Now, a new generation of marijuana entrepreneurs has emerged across America. They come from the unlikely fields of finance, politics, medicine and law, and they want to claim a stake in this modern day gold rush. CNBC’s “Marijuana USA” goes inside a flourishing medical pot industry. In Colorado, the demon weed is rebranded as a natural herbal remedy with healing powers that even respectable citizens can enjoy.
    Marijuana USA – IMDb

    Timeshift: The Cannabis Years (BBC)
    This British documentary traces television and the wider media’s reactions to cannabis, from the hysterical vilification of the drug in the 1930s, the punitive measures of the stop and search laws and prison sentences for possession, to the more considered debates now taking place and the real possibility of a change in the law. The story is told through program clips from the BBC archives, newspaper headlines and interviews. It covers the high profile star busts of the 60s and 70s (when people like Tony Curtis, Mick Jagger and Paul McCartney were taken to court) major drug hauls, science programs, youth culture and politics. Comments on pot by Chicho Marx, Norman Mailer, Mick Jagger, Dennis Hopper and Shirley MacLaine among many others.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b006np8r

    Cannabis: The Evil Weed? (BBC Horizon, 2009)
    Cannabis is merely a plant — a wild weed… but the THC in cannabis produces an unmatched range of effects quite blissful to many, yet for others seems to create a life-destroying syndrome of addiction. This documentary tries to get to the bottom of the marijuana conflict by asking the most basic questions about cannabis, such as… Can weed really cause schizophrenia? Can pot lead you to take harder drugs? Or could cannabis even be good for you? Marijuana science is often obscured by opinion, but this film attempts a level of objectivity to learn the latest research about the world’s favorite drug!
    Horizon – Cannabis The Evil Weed (2009) 720p – YouTube (58 min)

    Grass: The History of Marijuana (Ron Mann, 1999)
    An account of the history of the United States’ war on marijuana in the 20th century. Veteran filmer Ron Mann brings his impeccable historical facility and story telling skills to recount how a relatively harmless drug has been demonized for decades.
    With a rueful yet incisive script, deft editing and an impressive soundtrack featuring original songs by Mark Mothersbaugh and a veritable pot-pourri of tunes ranging from the Swing Era’s “Reefer Man” through Dylan’s “Rainy Day Women” to the hippie lament “One Toke Over The Line,” Ron Mann’s Grass boasts extraordinary production values.
    Funny yet political, Grass charts the terrible loss in imprisoned lives and billions of dollars wasted fighting a drug that refuses to go away.
    Grass: The History of Marijuana – Top Documentary Films
    Grass: The History of Marijuana – IMDb (Rating: 73)

    Resources: Legalize it, already!

    Ganjactivism: The marijuana legalization movement

    1. Grass City – Web home
    2. Grass City – Forum
    3. Marijuana.com – Excerpt: "Marijuana.comthe definitive online source for all aspects related to the marijuana industry. Whether you’re a novice smoker or a seasoned grower, there’s something for you on Marijuana.com. Simply put, if you’re looking for information or products in the realm of marijuana, you can find it here."
    4. Marijuana.com forums
    5. Fantastic Documentary on Cannabis by BBCMarijuana.com
    6. Cannabis Culture: An online marijuana magazine — An activist magazine dedicated to liberating marijuana, freeing pot prisoners worldwide, and ending the vicious worldwide war on drugs; Each issue challenges prohibitionist myths and provides current and essential information pertaining to marijuana
    7. At Cannabis Culture we love marijuana in all its diverse forms. Each issue of is packed full of marijuana and drug war news, amazing grow stories, political and historical information, and spectacular photography from the top cannabis photographers. From fabulous budshots and cultivation advice to cutting-edge pot culture and the drug war journalism, Cannabis Culture aims to bring you nothing but the best.

    8. Cannabis Culture – Forum
    9. 420 Magazine: Creating Cannabis Awareness since 1993

    Mouth-watering nug photography

    1. Nug of the Month: September 2012 – Beautiful close-up photos: Entries to the nug of the month contest – 420 Magazine
    2. Flickr photo stream of Cannabis Culture

    Major marijuana events

    Marijuana lingo I just learned

    nug: High-quality weed
    spliff: Joints with a pot & tobacco mix

    Removed content

    [1] Religious fundamentalists, fideists: These highly conservative groups and anti-pot attitudes no doubt coincide. This writer would wager that most parents who continue to teach their children that Bible stories such as Noah’s ark are literally true also oppose the decriminalization of marijuana.

    This post was started on Saturday, October 06, 2012

    Reasonable people: Unite for decriminalization

    Please sign this petition

    marijuana plants: stand for personal freedoms, end the drug warContents of this post

    • Executive summary
    • The facts, followed by link to petition
    • Facebook comment by Scott
    • Why is pot illegal?
    • Political positions on personal freedoms
      • Ron Paul (Libertarian, disguised as Republican)
      • Rick Perry (Tea Party/ Hard Right/ Fundie Republican)
      • Sarah Palin (Tea Party/ Hard Right/ Fundie Republican)
      • Republican Liberty Caucus (Group of reasonable Republicans)

    Executive summary: Why this is so important
    A mother of four (4) was sentenced to ten (10) years in prison for a first-time offense: a $31 sale of Cannabis (pot, weed, marijuana) in Oklahoma. WTH?

    Petition: Ask Oklahoma’s Governor To Commute 10 Year Sentence for this $31.00 Marijuana Sale

    Please cast your vote about the War on Drugs below.

    Update: Related petition to sign – Veterans, PTSD, Medical Marijuana

    Every day veterans are returning home from combat and once they return they face their biggest battle, dealing with the PTSD they now suffer from. We know it works and we want research to be done so that we can find out how and why. Sadly, the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and DEA refuse to allow research to be done on medical marijuana and PTSD. Please help to change this.

    NIDA and DEA: Stop Blocking Medical Marijuana Research for Treating Veterans with PTSD

    The facts

    February 2011. Patricia Marilyn Spottedcrow, an Oklahoma mother of four (4), was sentenced to ten (yes, 10) years in prison for selling $31 worth of marijuana.

    While what Ms. Spottedcrow did was illegal, the harsh punishment hardly reflects the severity of the offense, especially for a first-time offender convicted of a nonviolent crime.

    marijuana plants- end the drug war

    This preposterous prison sentence tears apart a family, leaving a husband without his wife and four children without their mother. It also wastes valuable taxpayer resources incarcerating someone who does not belong behind bars.

    We are calling for Governor Mary Fallin to restore sanity and justice to the situation and put an immediate end to this egregious abuse of power. We are asking Governor Fallin to commute Patricia Marilyn Spottedcrow’s sentence to a more reasonable and humane punishment such as probation, which is typical in cases such as these.

    Link to the petition:
    Petition: Ask Oklahoma’s Governor To Commute 10 Year Sentence for this $31.00 Marijuana Sale

    Thank you very much for participating.
    Scott S.

    Facebook comment by Scott S. on the issue at hand
    IMHO, the jailing of nonviolent users is not only a preventable tragedy, it’s a human rights violation – a sick, sad perversion of the intent of the Founding Fathers who were obviously strong proponents of personal freedoms. Sadly, this breed of shortsighted policy- and law-making is, at the very least ,a major indirect cause of increasing social discontent: burgeoning prison populations rising at an unsustainable rate –> creating more crime than there would otherwise be –> costing significantly more each quarter, let alone year –> less money for education and other social programs –> vanishing middle class –> more, heavier drug use –> and on the spiral goes. Besides, what kind of message does legal alcohol vs. illegal pot send to children – and to everyone else?
    about an hour ago · Like · 3 people

    Why is pot illegal?

    Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. - hub of American politics
    Marijuana became illegal at the federal level with the U.S. Marijuana Tax Act of 1937. However, currently 12 states have legalized medical marijuana for medicinal purposes. Marijuana and other drugs have been at the center of numerous controversial issues in the United States, as they widely impact domestic policy, foreign policy, and law. This topic includes information about candidate positions on: the U.S. international “War on Drugs”, sentencing guidelines for drug-related offenses, federal and state drug laws, and the use of marijuana for medical purposes.

    For later use

  • Has the Tea Party been hijacked? – RLC
  • The Marihuana Tax Act of 1937Drug Library – The bullheaded, ham-handed history of how the Marihuana Tax Act came to be the law of the land in the United States
  • Political positions on personal freedoms, Drug War, etc.

    Rick Perry

    Rick Perry stands firmly against real personal freedoms.

    The closest to reason we’ve seen Rick Perry on the issue of personal freedom was in his August 2001 statement that the States should make drug policy – not the feds. However, now that Perry is trying so hard to please the far right, he has gone back on a number of statements he made less than one year ago – including certain contents of his recently published book.

    Other statements attributed to Rick Perry follow. Fight cross-border violence as part of drug war. (Feb 2011) Medical marijuana OK for California, but not Texas. (Nov 2010) Protect the border from drug traffickers. (Feb 2007)
    Source: (Rick Perry on DrugsOn the Issues)

    Sarah Palin

    According to Glassbooth, Sarah Palin does not stand for true personal freedom, although she’s apparently fine with legal alcohol and illegal weed:

    Palin doesn’t support legalizing marijuana, worrying about the message it would send to her four kids. But when it comes to cracking down on drugs, she says methamphetamines are the greater threat and should have a higher priority. (Source:
    Sarah Palin opposes making marijuana available for medical reasons)

    Republican Liberty Caucus

    This excerpt from the RLC website clarifies the fact that this group stands behind real personal freedom: they are against the War on Drugs, the outlawing of marijuana, and so forth.

    Personal Liberties
    We affirm the principle that individual rights and liberties are unlimited, as specified in the Ninth Amendment. No law should deny, disparage or restrict the right of every person to privacy, freedom of travel, association, possession of substances, or adult consensual behaviors. We oppose any requirement of government authorization prior to exercising those fundamental freedoms.

    We oppose any seizure of private communications, absent the issuance of a judicial warrant showing probable cause that a crime has been committed. We oppose any constraints on the right of every person to associate with others of their choosing, participate in any activity or joint venture that is non-coercive, or freely engage in any mode of travel or social activity. (Source: Statement of Principles, Republican Liberty Caucus)

    Ron Paul

    Ron Paul has easily earned the top slot in this listing; as the sole Libertarian-leaning candidate, his policies come closer to the view of personal freedom we believe Thomas Jefferson and the rest of our Founding Fathers wholeheartedly embraced.

    Clearing up Ron Paul’s views on separation of church and state
    During my review of Ron Paul’s political platform, I was reminded that he is not a strong voice for the separation of church and state. More accurately, Ron Paul isn’t a voice at all: Paul doesn’t even accept the so-called separation of church and state as having any basis whatsoever. Despite its current mixed and confusing form, we believe a reasonable basis does exist for the separation of these two “power brokers.”

    Even so, Ron Paul’s platform bests the others, overall.

    NOTE: I had to remove the following sentence, as it is not true: It’s refreshing to see a conservative who’s wise enough to leave religion completely out of politics.

    Political positions of Ron Paul – Wikipedia

    Please vote: Poll question about the War on Drugs


    Do you support the War on Drugs?

    View Results

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    Is A.A. a religious program?

    Is Alcoholics Anonymous fundamentally a religious program or a spiritual program? A relatively objective, realistic, experienced look at 12-step recovery programs

    Introduction

    We hope to demonstrate and convey more respect and appreciation for Alcoholics Anonymous & 12-step recovery groups in general than criticism of same. We suspect most other folks who have attended so many 12-step meetings (in the author’s case, off and on from 1992 to 2012), accepted help & followed advice from well-meaning sponsors, studied the literature so thoroughly, and worked the twelve steps [2] would probably wish to pay similar compliments to the program, the Big Book, or even the whole phenomenon.

    Whether or not the reader personally agrees with the relatively objective analysis of Alcoholics Anonymous found here, please keep in mind the old A.A. adage, Opinions are like assholes; everybody’s got one.

    Well, these are ours.

    EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

    drinking alcoholDue to repeated references and instructions to call upon a deity (God), A.A. is fundamentally, technically, and originally what most people would probably consider to be a religious program on some level.

    However, the above conclusion — that A.A. is fundamentally a religious program — is effectively moot simply because similar steps work for religious people, agnostics, skeptics, atheists, et al alike. In other words, whether one’s heartfelt beliefs are religious in nature has absolutely nothing to do with too much to drink, slumping on the barwhether or not an individual can successfully recover from alcoholism or addiction.

    If one can be objective and honest about the program (and that’s certainly easier said than done for a great many), there are deep idiosyncracies. IMHO, the most substantial oxymorons within standard 12-step ‘theology’ are related to seeking internally vs. externally. Some of the best quotes from 12-step literature stress that one must turn the searchlight inward and direct spiritual seeking towards the internal — not the external. On the other hand, more literal interpretations of the 12 steps demand calling upon some sort of external supernatural deity commensurate with standard monotheism. [1]

    The famous A.A. writer Chuck C. (A New Pair of Glasses) tends to emphasize seeking internally vs. questing for the external. More than once, Chuck C. equates the concept of God to — or implicitly views ‘God’ as being synonymous with — introspective considerations such as goodness, love, and life as opposed to an external entity to be pursued or sought in more of a religious fashion. As our own worldviews have evolved from Deist, Taoist, Buddhist, agnostic, humanist, and other relatively secular philosophies, we tend to agree with Chuck C.

    Frankly, as to the program being primarily religious or primarily spiritual, both sides have some valid arguments.

    As is so often the case, in reality the pragmatic answer rests in the eye of the beholder. How 12-step programs are viewed by an individual is largely dependent upon pure semantics. The principle of perspective really does matter; in some respects, perspective is everything.

    INTRODUCTION

    alcoholicThis question comes up over and over and over again – and for good reason.

    Here in the Bible Belt, we hear it all the time: some Religious fundamentalists, Bible thumpers, and others frequently imply or state outright that the program is Bible-based. In the early days I certainly considered 12-step programs like A.A. as a sort of "Christianity with kid gloves."

    In a general way, this is actually true; after all, A.A.’s deepest roots tapped Frank Buchman’s ultra-fundamentalist Oxford Group worldview which was strict Christian fundamentalism. 12-steppers are pushed by the Big Book toward a personal, anthropomorphic god — such as that from a literally-interpreted Bible.

    Why anthropomorphize God and other deities? Search for Truth

    Anthropomorphic (adj.): having the qualities of a human

    anonymous alcoholicSadly, some religious fundamentalists continue to spread the obviously false message that other alcoholics must come to accept very specific religious views, or else die drunk: a dubious claim at best (from the perspective of a freethinker, at least).

    Have you ever noticed that those with tendencies toward religious fundamentalism and others who are relatively gullible, easily convinced, superstitious, those who lack interest in or dedication to serious critical thought and objective research, etc. often seem easily talked into fundamentalist worldviews? If you have been involved in any flavor of Twelve-Steppery for a while, then you probably know that recovering folks are not immune to fundamentalism of a unique sort.

    Religious fundamentalists are frequently heard to say things like, “Only [this exact set of ancient supernatural stories] is true and real; all the other [religions, recovery methods, ancient, drinking liquor from the bottlesupernatural stories] are false.”

    Similarly, A.A./Twelve-Step fundamentalists believe that unless one adopts and performs this Twelve-Step recovery precisely as directed , one is doomed. They like to tell newcomers untruths (whether or not they actually, deeply, honestly believe those things) that A.A. is the only possible way to achieve a successful recovery; that no other system of recovery from alcoholism or addiction works. (In the real world, that’s pure bunk.)

    12-step programs certainly can and do work for a great many addicts/alcoholics under the right circumstances. This is a wonderful thing; however, what we are taking care to point out here is this: Other methods can and do work equally well with the proper mindset and actions/follow-through.

    Secular freethinking types, along with the burgeoning spiritual-but-not- religious population, can easily adopt what seems to be the predominant view held inside the broad Twelve-Step world: that A.A. is not really religious – that A.A. is more of a spiritual program.

    So, what are the main arguments from both sides?

    A.A. IS RELIGIOUS: An examination of this viewpoint

    drunk acting goofyIt is very easy to make the argument that A.A. is, in fact, fundamentally religious – even without referencing the most skeptical, vehemently anti-A.A. website I have yet found: The Orange Papers[1].

    Note [1]: The Orange Papers. This is not a slight; The Orange Papers is a very large, detailed, often fascinating, intensely interesting, and definitely controversial and thought-provoking collection of articles from a mostly skeptical view of A.A. and Twelve-Step programs in general. The more familiar the reader is with Twelve-Step groups like Alcoholics Anonymous, the more one will be able to understand and possibly even appreciate Orange Paper articles — whether or not one might agree with Orange Paper conclusions and opinions.)

    alcoholic beverageGod is specifically mentioned (as “God”, “Him”, or “Power”) in six (6) of the 12 steps. This makes ‘A.A. not being religious’ a very tough sell to the freethinker, the skeptic, the non-religious, the logical and critical thinker, the highly intelligent, those with advanced degrees, etc.

    A.A. suggests that the alcoholic come up with a Higher Power of his or her own understanding as opposed to adopting, say, a specific version of the traditional Western god such as that described throughout the Bible. However, it is apparent throughout the literature that the god to which the program is referring IS indeed an anthropomorphic, personal god – quite similar to more conservative, literal interpretations of the Bible God. Whether or not it’s technically true (and like so many other things, it completely depends on one’s perspective), conservative Christians in the rooms of A.A. often assert that the twelve steps are indeed based on the Bible… at least in the Bible belt meetings of which I have attended so many hundreds over the years (primarily in Atlanta, Nashville, and Murfreesboro TN). It is just as easy to show that the spiritual principles described and encouraged in the Bible are based on spiritual teachings from many centuries before, such those laid out in Taoist, Hindu, and Buddhist teachings. (Good luck convincing Christian fundamentalists of that fact, even after reading books like Living Budda, Living Christ.)

    barLet us suppose a successful and convincing argument has been made that A.A. is not necessarily a Christian program… that it does not favor any particular religion. There is another line of reasoning that’s much easier to swallow as far as A.A. being a truly religious program, and that is the argument that A.A. itself is a religion.

    Excellent commentary as to the A.A. allergy metaphor

    Anyone who has experienced years of A.A. meetings – if they are anything like the Bible belt A.A. meetings this author has attended – has experienced 12-step fundamentalism. In those areas, A.A. fundamentalists seem to comprise a vocal subset of the whole. As previously stated, when such A.A. fundamentalists share, they tend to imply (if not outright mandate) that A.A. and the 12 steps are the only way to experience a successful recovery from alcoholism and/or addiction. Such a strict, unrealistic view is hardly different from the standard religious fundamentalist view (e.g., Religion X is the only proper view; all other belief systems are wrong, lead straight to “hell”, etc.).

    drunk, passed outIn other words, A.A. fundamentalism is easily considered by many to be just another form of religious fundamentalism; such a view certainly won’t be accepted as truth on its face (verbatim) by the typical freethinker or other highly rational types.

    Thank God, not all A.A.s are fundamentalists, and this makes A.A. appealing, enjoyable, enlightening, and even lifesaving to a FAR wider range of folks. In fact, this is exactly why A.A. has been such a resounding success and continues to help millions around the globe. If all or most A.A.s were rigid fundamentalists, I’m guessing the program would not have been considered worthwhile by such a broad array of diverse believers, skeptics, and many in between, nor would it have evolved into what it is today.

    Fundamentalist (n.): a person who believes that a given path is the one and only correct path and that this path should be followed instead of other competing paths, which are wrong and/or will not work as well; also, a person who believes in a relatively literal interpretation of the material being followed; a literalist.

    Fundamentalism is variously described by [different] authors, but to me it really boils down to a rather simple test: In my view, a fundamentalist religion is a religion, any religion, that when confronted with a conflict between love, compassion and caring, and conformity to doctrine, will almost invariably choose the latter regardless of the effect it has on its followers or on the society of which it is a part. [ Source: Why the "fundamentalist" approach to religion must be wrong ]

    bottle of liquorIn the eyes of the most conservative Christian fundamentalists we’ve heard speak as well as a few folks with whom we’ve discussed related matters, one of the fundamental issues with the A.A. “theology” (and 12-step recovery programs in general) is that the steps as written are heretical. That is, according to the beliefs of conservative Christian fundamentalists — those most likely to interpret the Bible in a literal or near-literal sense — the advice within the 12 steps represents heresy, since Jesus Christ is implicitly unnecessary (i.e., via omission).

    bartender mixing drinksObviously, such views are rejected by freethinkers.

    Possibly the greatest heresy in the A.A. dogma is this bit of idolatry: In the Alcoholics Anonymous program, you can use anything for your “God” or “Higher Power”. A.A. has lots of stories of people using a bedpan, a teacup, a doorknob, a stone, a teddy bear, a mountain, a motorcycle, or “Good Orderly Direction” for their “Higher Power”. You can pray to any Golden Calf, stone idol, or Higher-Powered item of Household Hardware that you like. You can even use your local A.A. group itself as your ‘God’ if you wish. One of the more ridiculous word redefinitions that A.A. offers us is, you can make the word “G.O.D.” mean “Group Of Drunks”. Source: Heresy of the Twelve Steps, Orange Papers

    A.A. IS NOT RELIGIOUS: A closer look at this view

    alcoholics passed out, outsideThere is plenty of evidence to suggest that A.A.. while being a spiritual program of sorts, is not a religious program.

    The primary argument against Alcoholics Anonymous being religious stems from the book’s suggestion that the alcoholic establish in his own mind a higher power (HP) of his or her own understanding — as opposed to adopting the god of a specific, organized religion – the Protestant Church of Christ version of God, for instance.

    bartender serving a coupleBut there is another much stronger, completely practical argument that A.A. is not religious – and that comes from taking a look at the diverse beliefs of actual, working A.A. groups in the real world.

    Many non-religious groups have used the same 12-step program of recovery just as successfully as have religious groups. Atheist alcoholics, Buddhist alcoholics, and other secular, decidedly non-religious alcoholics and/or drug addicts, overeaters, and sex addicts have adopted or ported the 12-step program for their own use, and it has worked for them equally well as the unadulterated steps do for the religious.

    [ How do you follow the Alcoholics Anonymous 12-step program if you don't believe in God? (Yahoo Answers) ]

     a possible alcoholic passed outThere would also be thousands of Islam-based A.A. groups as well, except for one small detail: Alcohol and drug addiction is generally considered so taboo in many conservative Muslim areas that, in many cases, no official alcoholism, addiction, or recovery statistics even exist for Muslim populations (based on research performed around 2002, at least).

    anonymous alcoholic needs recoveryHowever, in reality, groups are comprised of individual people – and it is these individuals that are either religious or non-religious, regardless of the intent of A.A.’s founders or current group representatives or leaders.

    So, what’s the bottom line? Is A.A. religious in nature, or isn’t it?

    As it turns out, both sides have some interesting arguments. In the opinion of this writer, there’s not really an overwhelmingly clear “winner” either way.

    OUR ANSWER (???), delivered with a grain of salt

    A.A. taken as a whole — as it was originally created — is technically a religious program.

    art of alcoholic drinksIf I had to choose — to designate Alcoholics Anonymous as either a religious program or a spiritual program, then I would have to say that – as it was written by the original G.O.D., or Group of Drunks (not by Bill W., who served mainly as the Big Book’s editor and not so much its author), and as I attempt to interpret what these old-school writers sought to convey – A.A. taken as a whole is technically a religious program.

    Why do I say that A.A. is technically a religious program? Easy: Of the 12 steps, God is specifically mentioned (as “God”, “Him”, or “Power”) in six (6) of them.

    Even though a God of your own understanding is sought, a Bible-type god (an anthropomorphic, personal god) is strongly and repeatedly implied by the language of the Big Book. anonymous alcoholic needs recovery This is very clearly in deference to Western, Judeo-Christian religious beliefs. And it is in spite of this fact that A.A. works equally well for the non-religious.

    However, for a more practical answer – the real-life solution – one must dip below the surface. As many great spiritual teachers throughout history have taught, what really matters is not someone else’s view or interpretation of a given thing. What truly matters — in the deepest sense — is how YOU personally interpret the steps! In other words…

    What is of supreme significance is how you – as a unique and powerful individual (a “piece of God,” in effect) – decide to interpret and apply the 12 steps and the related advice to fit your own personal belief system or worldview.

    anonymous alcoholic needs recoveryNote that I just referred to you – and everyone else – as a unique and powerful individual. How about that?! I did not say uniquely powerful or terminally unique. [ A.A. Dogma You Should Ignore: Coming later, perhaps... ]

    The simple fact is that A.A. and the 12 steps have been adopted and used by wildly diverse groups, including Protestant Christian fundamentalists (the most common type of group in Nashville, TN, where this writer lives), Catholics, Buddhists, Hindus, freethinkers, even hardcore atheists – and just about any other type of religious, spiritual, political, racial, or secular group you can possibly imagine – with roughly equal results. In other words, the actual supernatural belief system held by the addict or alcoholic, or the lack thereof, is not the deciding factor of success in recovery. (Nor are supernatural belief systems the deciding factor in other life endeavors.)

    anonymous alcoholic needs recoveryThis may be difficult – or impossible – for some to accept, but that’s O.K.

    We must conclude, then, that the most important, fundamental, working parts of A.A. – those factors that most often determine one’s success or failure – have absolutely nothing to do with any particular set of religious views, and everything to do with adopting a more socially and spiritually centered mindset.

    Many of us — and you know who you are — are incredibly thankful on a daily basis that no religion is required for recovery!

    Once again, it is the foundational set of basic, universal spiritual principles that holds the key — not any specific supernatural belief system.

    The bliss of living by spiritual principles is within the grasp of everyone — and this should be wonderful news to all.

    anonymous alcoholic needs recoveryThe reason there is no valid or broadly-accepted statistic for A.A.-based recovery or success rates is the same reason there isn’t a universally agreed-upon definition of “God”: it all boils down to semantics. These things depend wholly on one’s perspective.

    For example, what are the precise parameters of a successful recovery? Any competent researcher can make a reasonable case for 12-step success or 12-step failure based on published studies, ranging from a high recovery rate of 25% (or so) or a very low recovery rate — even way down into negative success, or harm caused.

    NOTE: In the cases of negative success, it has been shown that – instead of improvement – actual harm was caused by the 12-step program; that A.A. actually made things worse than before. I’ve seen those kinds of statistics more than once. They were probably prepared by non-objective individuals who don’t care for A.A. On the flip side, there are also plenty of unrealistic positive statistical results that attribute success rates higher than 5% or so to 12-step programs — and these were prepared by equally non-objective people who endeavor to portray A.A. — and 12-step programs in general — in a completely positive light.

    anonymous alcoholic needs recoveryAgain, any statistical measurement of successful recovery depends on factors which turn out to be more subjective than factual… Semantics. Point of view. Perspective. Experience. The choice to use certain words and parameters to measure success or failure. And perhaps most importantly, it depends on what the researcher, seeker, or student is looking for. After all, we generally find what we are looking for; people find what they think about or dwell upon most of the time.

    Yes, there’s the key! If you are intellectually honest, and if you persevere, then the program (or any program, for that matter) has a much higher chance of leading to recovery. If you say Yes, then yes – but if you say No, then perhaps not; after all, people tend to find what they are looking for, be it "good" or "bad". These terms are enclosed within quotes because such dualistic terms are only a matter of perspective, as Buddhists and other Eastern spirituals seem to comprehend better than Westerners.

    anonymous alcoholic needs recoveryIf you believe in yourself – and if you are willing to permanently implement a more socially and spiritually centered lifestyle, then yes: Yes, you can. But if you’re not willing to connect with others – not willing to connect with Mother Nature, Universal Goodness, seriously practice a preferred spiritual regimen, and expand social activity – then you may be in for a replay of that vicious cycle.

    This is another version of a universal spiritual truth that can be stated in any number of ways. Henry Ford is given credit for one of the best ways to state this spiritual truth:

    If you think you can do a thing or think you can’t do a thing, you’re right.

    anonymous alcoholic needs recoveryFrom a practical, reality-based standpoint – completely apart from whether or not this result was intended by its founders and writers – A.A. and the 12 steps are used with equal success by religious fundamentalists, atheists, Buddhists, theists, monotheists, non-theists, New Agers, and all 12-steppers in between.

    Much like beauty, recovery programs such as A.A. are in the eye of the beholder.

    This is a relatively long post; thanks for reading this far. Whether you agree or disagree or just feel a rant coming on, please feel free to leave a comment below.

    Selected debatable issues with Alcoholics Anonymous, 12-Step programs

    Here are a few mostly unused notes that play the devil’s advocate; points to consider carefully.

    1. Most significantly, the first step, admitting you are powerless in combating your addiction seems to completely undermine the entire rehabilitation process. Addiction is ultimately an issue of behavior and self control. Overcoming addiction requires willpower (and sadly, willpower sometimes becomes a dirty word in some A.A. groups). Outside/External influences can help and often make the difference – but if you don’t change, nothing changes. So some detractors would posit that the first step, convincing yourself and admitting that you have no personal power in the face of your weakness, might set the stage for not taking responsibility for changing ones’ own behavior.
    2. Failure is no longer your fault – Because the first step encourages people to admit they’re powerless and subsequent steps demand you ask God to take care of things for you, failure is no longer something you need to accept responsibility for. It’s in “God’s hands.” Some would say this removes responsibility; “I didn’t recover because, apparently, God didn’t want me to.”
    3. The first step sets the stage for steps 2, 3, 6 and 7, where you in essence, pledge to replace one addiction (i.e. alcoholism) with another (the A.A. program itself, or religion, dependence upon other forces or mystical powers, etc.) to affect positive change and recover.
    4. Even after an addict successfully overcomes an addiction, the 12-step programs encourage people to perpetually consider themselves as addicts, thus incapable of exercising self-control or self-determination outside the limitations of the program’s world view (which gives all credit to supernatural forces, God, etc.).
    5. As stated within the post, numerous clinical studies have concluded that 12-step programs are ultimately no more effective than not attending a program at all.
    6. 12-step programs are mandated by law/government/courts in many jurisdictions despite clearly being religious in nature. Such actions are considered by some to be serious violations of the so-called separation of church and state (such that it is).

    Do you disagree with these conclusions about A.A.?

    You may not agree with these conclusions about A.A. and related 12-step programs – and that’s fine, of course. We writers and readers alike would be very interested in seeing your comments; please contribute at the bottom of this post.

    A.A. skeptic video

    Penn & Teller: Bullshit! Alcoholics Anonymous episode, Part 1

    AA signs, postersAs always, we make an effort to include a broad and useful array of resources at the end of every post; these usually include any sources used during the research and writing of the post, in addition to resources that may be useful for further study.

    Most importantly, we include resources supporting more than just one viewpoint, opinion, or worldview; after all, looking at only one side of any issue is a sure way to learn nothing and remain right where you started. When seeking serious answers to important questions, ALWAYS carefully consider your sources.

    Is this you?
    Have you ever had an experience with a fundamentalist, evangelical, or charismatic religious recovery program that focused more on converting and saving you (e.g., proselytizing) than on the spiritual principles that comprise real recovery? If so, a researcher is collecting stories; please email Jim C. at this email address: sos (at) cfi-west (dot) org. (Remember, there are never any spaces in email addresses.)
    Source: SOS Sobriety

    Let’s get Beyond Religion
    Our view that most of life’s problems relate to deviations from spiritually principled behavior as opposed to having chosen the wrong religion (or refraining from ‘religious’ activity altogether) is certainly not unique; however, it is highly controversial and often contested from many circles here within the Bible belt. Nevertheless, we are passionate about promoting just such a view, partly in support of broad missions of people like the Dalai Lama as described in his fantastic book Beyond Religion: Ethics for a Whole World.

    NOTES

    [1] Seeking internally vs. externally as a 12-step oxymoron
    We are aware that some folks (e.g., those who have chosen to interpret the Bible literally, or substantially so) might get around this by claiming that the portion of the divine trinity known as the Holy Ghost or Holy Spirit works more from within than without, or that God generally does the same, what with the characteristic of omnipresence.

    [2] Worked the steps
    The author worked the steps to the best of his ability at the time; however, he once again spiraled into the depths and ended up at Discovery Place.

    RESOURCES: Alcoholics Anonymous skeptics & 12-step recovery skepticism

    Resources: AA is a religious program

    Resources: A.A. is spiritual, not a religious

    General recovery resources

    Buddhism and the 12 steps

    Islam and the 12 steps

    Atheism and recovery programs like A.A.

    Other nontheistic recovery

    • Buddhist, non-theist twelve steps – Realistic Recovery
    • Who The Hell Do You Think You Are? Recovered Alcoholic — Excerpt: [Danny] calls himself a ‘Real Live Recovered Alcoholic’; no longer suffering from the malady. Danny stopped drinking for the first time in 1997 and then again in 1999. He has been sober ever since. He has over thirty years experience with a special form of non-religious, spiritual meditation that he teaches and writes about in tandem with his unique style of carrying the Twelve Step message of recovery that emphasizes this unique meditation technique. He claim it is the missing link in Twelve Step Recovery and has devoted his life to delivering it to the world, beginning with the alcoholic.

    Secular, humanist alternatives to AA

    Removed content

    Here are a few other A.A./12-step recovery resources which were generally not part of this post; these are included only FYI. Not surprisingly, those who seeking skeptical information about A.A. have much to find.

    Secular and Sober: Beating Alcoholism without A.A.

    Removed content
    (Eye of the beholder, ethical intuitionism)

    originally written by Scott on Wednesday, October 27, 2010

    (If I wished to play devil’s advocate – which I suppose I do – then I might say that Christianity itself was probably heavily influenced by earlier traditions, including Buddhism and other Eastern thought…)

    [AA works equally well regardless of religious views...] including militant atheists, or even Satanists!

    Decriminalize drug use now: End the war on drugs, reinstate personal freedom

    marijuana plants- end the drug warUpdated on July 2, 2012… The majority of intelligent, reasonable, objective people who have spent a little time examining the facts can come to only one conclusion about the U.S. war on drugs: it is an abysmal failure of fantastic proportions.

    [ LATEST: GQ Exclusive: In His Second Term, Obama Will Pivot to the Drug War; see excerpt below / Hit your browser's refresh button to see more similar images ]

    marijuana plants- end the drug warRegular folks who happened to get caught partying – nonviolent drug users – contribute to the overcrowding of American prisons, using up expensive space which ought to be reserved for real criminals: those who engage in violent crime, those who violate the rights and freedoms of other citizens, etc. — NOT for casual drug users!

    There is really no reasonable excuse for these kinds of laws.

    It is highly likely that the kinds of basic personal freedoms we’re advocating here will eventually come to pass. The question is, how long will it take?

    marijuana plants- end the drug warAll of us can help by engaging in rational discussion, participating in online forums, and of course, via our choices in the voting booth. Speaking of politics, President Barack Obama will apparently take steps to draw down the nation’s decades-long war on drugs if he wins a second term, as reported in GQ Magazine by Marc Ambinder on Monday, July 2, 2012. I happened to see this as I scanned the Huffington Post headlines and saw their article Obama Will Seek To Scale Back Drug War In Second Term: Report. (I also happened to notice another headline having to do with Andersen Cooper’s coming out of the closet. I had no idea.)

    Those who are ambivalent on these issues, or still undecided with regard to the admittedly complicated circumstances of legalization — should consider giving this legalize natural drugs like these psilocybin mushroomsimportant issue some careful thought. Ambivalence on this issue is, in effect, a vote for the status quo: advocating the indefinite continuation of the War on Drugs, approval of the expensive imprisonment non-violent drug users, etc.

    Do you really want to send a message that implies support for alcohol, one of the most dangerous drugs in terms of human health, while at the same time denying citizens the right to possess and smoke a joint without getting into legal trouble? There is something incredibly wrong, unfair, and imbalanced with the status quo: it stinks.

    All should choose a fair side

    legalize natural drugs like these psilocybin mushroomsIMHO, one must avoid uncertainty on the issue of marijuana decriminalization, at least, by agreeing to one of the following, relatively fair choices:

    1. Natural mind-altering, mood altering substances such as alcohol, marijuana, and mushrooms containing psilocybin should all be legal.
    2. Natural mind-altering, mood altering substances such as alcohol, marijuana, and psilocybin mushrooms should all be illegal.

    Black eye from meth & bath salts
    Let’s face it: The spread of strong, harmful, unnatural, chemical drugs like crystal meth (methamphetamine) and bath salts has probably done more to give the overall idea of drug legalization a black eye than anything else. Yet, folks giving thought to the broad issues of decriminalization and legalization should not assume that such dangerous, synthetic chemicals are considered being in the same league as marijuana. They most certainly are NOT!

    According to ongoing discussions with Obama aides and associates, if the president wins a second term, he plans to tackle another American war that has so far been successful only in perpetuating more misery: the four decades of The Drug War.

    Don’t expect miracles. There is very little the president can do by himself. And pot-smokers shouldn’t expect the president to come out in favor of legalizing marijuana. But from his days as a state senator in Illinois, Obama has considered the Drug War to be a failure, a conflict that has exacerbated the problem of drug abuse, devastated entire communities, changed policing practices for the worse, and has led to a generation of young children, disproportionately black and minority, to grow up in dislocated homes, or in none at all.

    It is hard to write about the Drug War without getting preachy, in part because it remains so polarizing. This ought not be so. As a new documentary, The House I Live In, from filmmaker Eugene Jarecki, makes clear, a consensus is emerging among academics, police officers, lawyers, and even some politicians about what not to do.
    The film debuted in Los Angeles the last night of the festival, right next to the theatre were the male striptease tentpole Magic Mike was premiering, and so it won’t get the attention from the press that it deserves. It did, however, win the Grand Jury citation at Sundance. (Source: GQ Exclusive: In His Second Term, Obama Will Pivot to the Drug War, by Marc Ambinder)

    Resources: Influential voices for decriminalization of drug use

    Resources: Complicated circumstances of marijuana legalization

    Resources: General info on decriminalization and legal status of cannabis