Since I was old enough to understand that there were other law makers out in the big world other than my mother, I've never really understood the logic or rationale underpinning government policies that advocate marijuana prohibition. Marijuana has been a naturally-growing herb for an epoch, specifically cultivated by mankind for thousands of years, and used by millions upon millions of people at one time or another -- right up to the present day. Apparently, "because I told you so" is the best government argument available.
The U.S. federal government has some alligator clamp down upon the issue of marijuana remaining one of the most controlled substances, equal to cocaine and heroin. Last month, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a rare statement that no one requested entitled, "Inter-Agency Advisory Regarding Claims That Smoked Marijuana Is a Medicine."
I dare you to read the FDA statement. It's only one page long. Most of the logic presented in the narrative falls along the lines of, "because I told you so." It simply cites other government agencies whose very existence depends upon illicit drugs and their bloated agency budgets enforcing and supporting prohibitions -- the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), and the National Institute for Drug Abuse (NIDA). When their own studies have shown that marijuana is the most widely-used illicit drug, these agencies can't throw away their cash cow.
The modern government agency attitude toward weed seems to have been formed from taking too much LSD, or something. Perhaps after some Cold War MK-Utlra studies by the black cells of the military industrial complex, someone decided that marijuana caused communist subverseness.
Marijuana was placed on the schedule I list of contolled substances in 1970. Richard Nixon apparently thought that might fix his administration's problem of all those anti-war hippies protesting Viet Nam all over the country. The so-called War on Drugs was then militarized during the Reagan administration. While first lady Nancy was wearing "just say no" swag in American schools, Ronald's idea was to go after the source. The Columbian cocaine cartels found themselves on the receiving end of joint task forces comprised of CIA, DoD, DEA and Customs assets.
George H.W. Bush continued the War on Drugs by signing the drug asset forfeiture laws. Average U.S. citizens worried that they could lose their car or home, if they got busted with a bag of weed. However, the forfeiture system has grown into a self-funding law enforcement racket much larger than that. According to this news item from the DEA:
Nationwide in Fiscal Year 2005 the Department of Justice forfeited assets valued in excess of $687,000,000; shared in excess of $101,000,000 with state and local law enforcement agencies; and used $5.7 million in forfeited assets to make restitution directly to crime victims.
What would you do with over a half-billion dollars a year? Why you could fund an international, high tech, Mission Impossible-like scenario called Operation Twin Oceans. On May 17th, the DEA announced the conclusion of this 3-year-old Op and the seizure of over $70 million in assets -- including three frackin' tropical islands! Only Ian Fleming could've have made up this truth.
Personally, I have a libertarian attitude about all drugs. If you want to kill yourself smoking crack or meth, I don't care. It's your troubled life, not mine. Of course, I reserve the right to put a bullet into your forehead the very nano-second your drug addiction drives you to enter my house in the middle of the night to steal my PC.
If I were to compromise with the socially conservative fascists on current U.S. drug policy, I would advocate the Dutch model. No one has ever overdosed on marijuana, ever. The "gateway drug" argument is pure psychobabble. Even official government statements seem to be very lukewarm for this argument, so we're not protecting children from using crack because they might steal and smoke their uncle's stash of pot. In addition, the wacky Dutch model hasn't seemed to impair Norwegian economic institutions or standard of living.
There are religious reasons for not smoking pot. Many religions believe that the body is the temple of the soul. I fully support you practicing your religious beliefs, in private. I don't support you forcing your Christian or Islamic fundamentalism upon society-at-large where marijuana possession leads to lengthy sentences, life imprisonment and death penalties.
If I were dying of cancer or aids, I don't think God would look upon me as a sinner for smoking marijuana instead of using FDA-approved chemical synthetics that profit the multi-billion-dollar pharmaceutical industry. That is what this issue seems to be about -- money. If the powerful pharmaceutical industry doesn't profit from it and the government can't control and tax a frackin' weed grown in a person's backyard, they will be against it.
To me, the medical marijuana debate is a no-brainer.