Cannabis Quotes

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On September 6, 1988, the Drug Enforcement Administration's Chief Administrative Law Judge, Francis L. Young, ruled: "Marijuana, in its natural form, is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known....[T]he provisions of the [Controlled Substances] Act permit and require the transfer of marijuana from Schedule I to Schedule II. It would be unreasonable, arbitrary and capricious for the DEA to continue to stand between those sufferers and the benefits of this substance." - Source: US Department of Justice, Drug Enforcement Agency, "In the Matter of Marijuana Rescheduling Petition," [Docket #86-22] (September 6, 1988), p. 57.

"Even if one takes every reefer madness allegation of the prohibitionists at face value, marijuana prohibition has done far more harm to far more people than marijuana ever could." - William F. Buckley Jr.

Lots from the Senate Report (2002) including "Early drug legislation was largely based on a moral panic, racist sentiment and a notorious absence of debate", "The series of international agreements concluded since 1912 have failed to achieve their ostensible aim of reducing the supply of drugs", "The international conventions constitute a two-tier system that regulates the synthetic substances produced by the North and prohibits the organic substances produced by the South, while ignoring the real danger the substances represent for public health", "When cannabis was included in the international conventions in 1925, there was no knowledge of its effects", "The international classifications of drugs are arbitrary and do not reflect the level of danger they represent to health or to society', "Canada should inform the international community of the conclusions of our report and officially request the declassification of cannabis and its derivatives.", "In our view, it is clear that if the aim of public policy is to diminish consumption and supply of drugs, specifically cannabis, all signs indicate complete failure.", "Clearly, current approaches are ineffective and inefficient. Ultimately, their effect amounts to throwing taxpayers’ money down the drain in a crusade that is not warranted by the danger posed by the substance. It has been maintained that drugs, including cannabis, are not dangerous because they are illegal but rather are illegal because they are dangerous. This is perhaps true of other types of drugs, but not of cannabis. We should state this clearly once and for all, for public good: it is time to stop this crusade.", "The Committee recommends that the Government of Canada declare an amnesty for any person convicted of possession of cannabis under current or past legislation.","In effect, the main social costs of cannabis are a result of public policy choices, primarily its continued criminalization, while the consequences of its use represent a small fraction of the social costs attributable to the use of illegal drugs.", "In fact, more than for any other illegal drug, we can safely state that its criminalization is the principal source of social and economic costs.", "regulation of the production, distribution and consumption of cannabis, as part of an integrated and adaptable public policy, best responds to the principles of autonomy and governance that foster human responsibility and of the limitation of penal law to situations where there is demonstrable harm to others."
Lots from the Ledain Commission (1972) including: "The probable consequences of legalization seem to me to be less harmful than the evils of prohibition. Prohibition is very expensive economically socially and morally. It undermines the educative value of the law.", and "The federal government should remove cannabis from the Narcotic Control Act, as the Commission recommended in its Interim Report. The federal government should immediately initiate discussions with the provincial governments to have the sale and use of cannabis placed under controls similar to those governing the sale and use of alcohol, including legal prohibition of unauthorized distribution and analogous age restrictions. Furthennore, this government-distributed cannabis should be marketed at a quality and price that would make the 'black market' sale of the drug an impractical enterprise. The federal government should initiate a program to develop efficient practical methods for cannabis production and marketing in Canada. A standard form of natural marijuana would seem to be most feasible at this stage, but hashish and synthetic preparations should also be explored. "

"There is no logical basis for the prohibition of marijuana" "Our failure to successfully enforce these laws is responsible for the deaths of thousands of people in Colombia. I haven't even included the harm to young people. It's absolutely disgraceful to think of picking up a 22-year-old for smoking pot. More disgraceful is the denial of marijuana for medical purposes." - Milton Friedman

I'm in favor of legalizing drugs. According to my values system, if people want to kill themselves, they have every right to do so. Most of the harm that comes from drugs is because they are illegal. - Milton Friedman

Lots from the Fraser Institute, including "Unless we wish to continue the transfer of these billions from this lucrative endeavor to organized crime, the current policy on prohibition should be changed. Not only would we deprive some very unsavoury groups of a profound source of easy money, but also resources currently spent on marijuana enforcement would be available for other activities"

Lots from Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), including "The mission of LEAP is to reduce the multitude of harms resulting from fighting the war on drugs and to lessen the incidence of death, disease, crime, and addiction by ultimately ending drug prohibition." and "LEAP's goals are: (1) To educate the public, the media, and policy makers, to the failure of current drug policy by presenting a true picture of the history, causes and effects of drug use and the elevated crime rates‹more properly related to drug prohibition than to drug pharmacology‹and (2) To restore the public's respect for police, which has been greatly diminished by law enforcement's involvement in imposing drug prohibition."

Lots from the Supreme Court Decision, including:
"Canadian society is changing. Its knowledge base is growing, and its morals are evolving. Even if it was once the case, and in my view it never was, the prohibition against cannabis is no longer defensible. My analysis leads me to conclude that the little harm caused by marihuana casts doubt on the appropriateness of state intervention in this case. When I weigh the prohibition against, first, other available methods for countering the harm that marihuana use presents and, second, the problems caused by marihuana use, I must conclude that the legislation is inconsistent with the constitutional guarantee in s. 7 of the Charter."
266 If there remained any doubt as to whether the harms associated with marihuana use justified the state in using imprisonment as a sanction against its possession, this doubt disappears when the harms caused by the prohibition are put in the balance. The record shows and the trial judges found that the prohibition of simple possession of marihuana attempts to prevent a low quantum of harm to society at a very high cost. A "negligible" burden on the health care and welfare systems, coupled with the many significant negative effects of the prohibition, cannot be said to amount to more than little or no reasoned risk of harm to society. I thus conclude that s. 3(1) and (2) of the Narcotic Control Act, as it prohibits the possession of marihuana for personal use under threat of imprisonment, violates the right of the appellants to liberty in a manner that is not in accordance with the harm principle, a principle of fundamental justice, contrary to s. 7 of the Charter.
276 The constitutional questions in the Caine appeal should be answered as follows:
(1) Does prohibiting possession of Cannabis (marihuana) for personal use under s. 3(1) of the Narcotic Control Act, R.S.C. 1985, c. N-1, by reason of the inclusion of this substance in s. 3 of the Schedule to the Act (now s. 1, Schedule II, Controlled Drugs and Substances Act, S.C. 1996, c. 19), infringe s. 7 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms?
Answer: Yes.
(2)If the answer to Question 1 is in the affirmative, is the infringement justified under s. 1 of the Charter?
Answer: No.
280 In my mind, it cannot be denied that marihuana can cause problems of varying nature and severity to some people or to groups of them. Nevertheless, the harm its consumption may cause seems rather mild on the evidence we have. In contrast, the harm and the problems connected with the form of criminalization chosen by Parliament seem plain and important. Few people appear to be jailed for simple possession but the law remains on the books. The reluctance to enforce it to the extent of actually jailing people for the offence of simple possession seems consistent with the perception that the law, as it stands, amounts to some sort of legislative overreach to the apprehended problems associated with marihuana consumption. Moreover, besides the availability of jail as a punishment, the enforcement of the law has tarred hundreds of thousands of Canadians with the stigma of a criminal record. They have had to bear the burden of the consequences of such criminal records as Arbour J. points out. The fundamental liberty interest has been infringed by the adoption and implementation of a legislative response which is disproportionate to the societal problems at issue. It is thus arbitrary and in breach of s. 7 of the Charter. For these reasons, I agree with Arbour J. that fundamental rights are at stake, that they were breached, and that this Court must intervene as part of its duty under the Constitution to uphold the fundamental principles of our constitutional order.
284 I agree with the majority of this Court on the arguments relating to the protection of lifestyle and the shifting purpose of the Act. I will limit my comments to the arguments concerning the harm principle and the arbitrary nature of the legislation. The latter argument leads me to conclude that the inclusion of cannabis in the schedule to the Narcotic Control Act, R.S.C. 1985, c. N--1 (rep. & repl. S.C. 1996, c. 19, s. 94) infringes the appellants' right to liberty.
289 The criminal law is one of the most aggressive weapons the state has to enforce its dictates. This weapon must be wielded with great care. The courts must intervene when an enactment violates constitutional guarantees. More specifically, and without repeating the detailed comments of my colleagues, the courts must act when the right to liberty is infringed without regard for the principles of fundamental justice. In the present case, I believe Parliament has exercised its power arbitrarily.
290 When the state prohibits socially neutral conduct, that is, conduct that causes no harm, that is not immoral and upon which there is no societal consensus as to its blameworthiness, it cannot do so without raising a problem of legitimacy and, consequently, losing credibility. Citizens become inclined not to take the criminal justice system seriously and lose confidence in the administration of justice. Judges become reluctant to impose the sanctions attached to such laws.
291 There are several basic tenets of criminal law that can be used to measure the arbitrariness of a prohibition. I shall rely on three of these principles here: the need for the state to protect society from harm, the availability of tools other than criminal law that could adequately control the conduct and the proportionality of the measure to the problem in question.
293 As mentioned by the majority, the reasons for adding marihuana to the schedule to the Narcotic Control Act are nebulous, at best. The historical background outlined by the trial judge in the case of the appellant Caine clearly shows that Parliament's decision was made at a time when a climate of irrational fear predominated, owing to a campaign led by Edmonton magistrate Emily Murphy, who claimed that marihuana caused users to lose their minds, along with all sense of moral responsibility, becoming maniacs capable of murder and many other acts of cruelty.
294 Fortunately, the consequences of marihuana use are nothing like those described at that time. Although I do not accept the harm principle as an independent principle, I believe that the need for the state to protect society from harm plays an active role in any assessment of the arbitrariness of legislation.
295 The inherent risks of marihuana use, apart from those related to the operation of vehicles and the impact on public health care and social assistance systems, affect only the users themselves. These risks can be situated on a spectrum, ranging from no risk for occasional users to more significant risks for frequent users and vulnerable groups. On the whole, with a few exceptions, moderate use of marihuana is harmless. Thus, it seems doubtful that it is appropriate to classify marihuana consumption as conduct giving rise to a legitimate use of the criminal law in light of the Charter.
297 The minimal harm caused by marihuana does not fit squarely within the categories of conduct usually kept in check by the criminal law.
298 Only three groups are traditionally identified as requiring state intervention for their protection: young persons, pregnant women and certain people with medical conditions. This line of reasoning does not have to be pushed very far before it becomes obvious that criminal law is not society's preferred means of controlling the conduct of these groups. The use of imprisonment and all the other aspects of the criminal justice system, including the imposition of a criminal record, to suppress conduct that causes little harm to moderate users or to control high-risk groups for whom the effectiveness of deterrence or correction is highly dubious and seems to me out of keeping with Canadian society's standards of justice.
299 This brings me to the third factor, proportionality. The harmful effects of marihuana use have already been discussed and are highly debatable. The harm caused by its prohibition, however, is clear and significant. For the details, I refer back once again to the effects listed by Arbour J. (para. 200). A balancing of these two factors yields the result that the harm caused by prohibiting marihuana is fundamentally disproportionate to the problems created by its use that the state seeks to suppress.
301 The harm caused by using the criminal law to punish the simple use of marihuana far outweighs the benefits that its prohibition can bring. LeBel J. notes that the fact that jail sentences are rarely imposed illustrates the perception of judges that imprisonment is not a sanction that befits the inherent dangers of using marihuana. In the case of the appellant Caine, Howard J. also observed that the prohibition had brought the law into disrepute in the eyes of over one million people. These are exactly the kinds of reactions that are indicative of the arbitrariness of the impugned provisions. As I have already mentioned, and as Howard J. observed, when the state prohibits socially neutral conduct, it exposes itself to the risk of eroding its credibility.

Lots from the Health Officers' Council of B.C., a group of public-health physicians, which suggested legalization was a workable strategy in its landmark discussion paper released in the fall of 2005.
The document, titled A Public Health Approach to Drug Control in Canada, contends that removing criminal penalties for personal drug possession and placing currently illegal substances under tight controls could not only help to start and maintain rehabilitation programs for addicts, but could also "reduce secondary unintended drug-related harms to society that spring from a failed criminal-prohibition approach."
The paper adds: "This would move individual harmful illegal drug use from being primarily a criminal issue to being primarily a health issue."
The arguments are persuasive: Legalizing illicit drugs would substantially reduce the crime rate, largely by driving the black market out of business and rendering it unnecessary for addicts to commit petty theft.

"Putting things in proportion is an important and necessary activity. And, terrorism is bad, terrorism is evil, innocent people are hurt, it should be stopped, we need to fight it, but for heaven's sake, get it in proportion. . . . Do we spend the police budget, to take another example, on chasing people who smoke dope, or do we try to track down murderers and child abusers? Make your choices here." --Gwynne Dyer

In the Institute of Medicine's report on medical marijuana, the researchers examined the physiological risks of using marijuana and cautioned, "Marijuana is not a completely benign substance. It is a powerful drug with a variety of effects. However, except for the harms associated with smoking, the adverse effects of marijuana use are within the range of effects tolerated for other medications."

Then God said, "Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds." And it was so. The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening, and there was morning-the third day. Genesis 1:11-13

Then God said, "I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds of the air and all the creatures that move on the ground-everything that has the breath of life in it-I give every green plant for food." And it was so. God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning-the sixth day. Genesis 1:29-31

For everything God created is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving... I Timothy 4:4

"Make the most of the Indian Hemp Seed and sow it everywhere." George Washington

"The drug is really quite a remarkably safe one for humans, although it is really quite a dangerous one for mice and they should not use it." J.W.D Henderson Director of the Bureau of Human Drugs, Health and Welfare, Canada

"The prestige of government has undoubtedly been lowered considerably by the prohibition law. For nothing is more destructive of respect for the government and the law of the land than passing laws which cannot be enforced. It is an open secret that the dangerous increase of crime in this country is closely connected with this." Albert Einstein "My First Impression of the U.S.A.", 1921

"Persons using this narcotic [marijuana] smoke the dried leaves of the plant, which has the effect of driving them completely insane. The addict loses all sense of moral responsibility. Addicts to this drug, while under its influence, are immune to pain, and could be injured without having any realization of their condition. While in this condition they become raving maniacs and are liable to kill or indulge in any form of violence to other persons, using the most savage methods of cruelty without, as said before, any sense of moral responsibility. . . . If this drug is indulged in to any great extent, it ends in the untimely death of its addict." Emily Murphy Edmonton Canada, 1923 campaigner for cannabis prohibition in Canada

"I wish I could show you what a small marihuana cigarette can do to one of our degenerate Spanish-speaking residents. That's why our problem is so great; the greatest percentage of our population is composed of Spanish-speaking persons, most of who are low mentally, because of social and racial conditions." Floyd K. Baskette Alamosa, Colorado quoted by Harry J. Anslinger, Commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics during the hearings on the 1937 Marihuana Tax Act

"It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it." Upton Sinclair Author of "The Jungle"

"Since you [US "drug tsar" McCaffrey] control a federal budget that has just been increased from $17.8 billion last year to $19.2 billion this year, is asking people like you if we should continue with our nation's current drug policy like a person asking a barber if one needs a haircut?" Judge James P. Gray Orange Country, California Los Angeles Times 29 March 2000

"When we look down the road, I would say 10, 15, 20 years from now, in a gradual fashion, smoking will probably be outlawed in the United States." Tom Constantine Administrator of the DEA in an interview with ABC TV network

"The question arises, therefore, why cannabis is so regularly banned in countries where alcohol is permitted. [...] It may be that we can ban cannabis simply because the people who use it, or would do so, carry little weight in social matters and are relatively easy to control, whereas the alcohol user often carries plenty of weight in social matters and is difficult to control, as the U.S. prohibition era showed. It has yet to be shown, however, that the one is more socially or personally disruptive than the other." Ph.D. H.B.M Murphy, M.D. Department of Psychiatry, McGill University, Montreal. "The Cannabis Habit" (1963) published in 'Bulletin on Narcotics' by UNDCP

"Our youth can not understand why society chooses to criminalize a behavior with so little visible ill effect or adverse social impact... These young people have jumped the fence and found no cliff. And the disrespect for the possession laws fosters a disrespect for laws and the system in general... On top of this is the distinct impression among the youth that some police may use the marihuana laws to arrest people they don't like for other reasons, whether it be their politics, their hair style or their ethnic background." "Federal and state laws (should) be changed to no longer make it a crime to possess marijuana for private use." ; "State laws should make the public use of marijuana a criminal offense punishable by a $100 fine. Under federal law, marijuana smoked in public would merely be subject to seizure." ; President Richard M. Nixon's National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse "Marihuana: A Signal of Misunderstanding" March 1972

"Criminal penalties have clearly failed to prevent widespread use of marijuana... Law and health are two entirely separate issues." Bob DuPont Director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse President Nixon's 'drug czar' 1974 NORML annual conference

"Congress should definitely consider decriminalizing possession of marijuana... We should concentrate on prosecuting the rapists and burglars who are a menace to society." Dan Quayle U.S. Representative and Vice president under President Bush March 1977

"Penalties against possession of a drug should not be more damaging to an individual than the use of the drug itself; and where they are, they should be changed. Nowhere is this more clear than in the laws against possession of marihuana in private for personal use... Therefore, I support legislation amending Federal law to eliminate all Federal criminal penalties for the possession of up to one ounce [28g] of marihuana." Jimmy Carter U.S. President Message to congress 1977

Government exists to protect us from each other. Where government has gone beyond its limits is in deciding to protect us from ourselves. -- Ronald Reagan, US President, The New York Times, April 13, 1980

"The existing evidence on policies of partial prohibition [decriminalization] indicates that partial prohibition has been as effective in controlling consumption as complete prohibition and has entailed considerably smaller social, legal, and economic costs. On balance, therefore, we believe that a policy of partial prohibition is clearly preferable to a policy of complete prohibition of supply and use. We believe, further) that current policies directed at controlling the supply of marijuana should be seriously reconsidered. The demonstrated ineffectiveness of control of use through prohibition of supply and the high costs of implementing such a policy make it very unlikely that any kind of partial prohibition policy will be effective in reducing marijuana use significantly below present levels. (...) Hence, a variety of alternative policies should be considered." National Research Council of the U.S. National Academy of Science "An Analysis of Marijuana Policy" 1982

"Western governments ... will lose the war against dealers unless efforts are switched to prevention and therapy... All penalties for drug users should be dropped ... Making drug abuse a crime is useless and even dangerous ... Every year we seize more and more drugs and arrest more and more dealers but at the same time the quantity available in our countries still increases... Police are losing the drug battle worldwide." Raymond Kendall secretary general of INTERPOL January 1994

"The amount of money and of legal energy being given to prosecute hundreds of thousands of Americans who are caught with a few ounces of marijuana [1 ounce = 28g] in their jeans simply makes no sense - the kindest way to put it. A sterner way to put it is that it is an outrage, an imposition on basic civil liberties and on the reasonable expenditure of social energy." William F. Buckley "Legalization of Marijuana Long Overdue" Albuquerque Journal June 8, 1993

"So long as large sums of money are involved - and they are bound to be if drugs are illegal - it is literally impossible to stop the traffic, or even to make a serious reduction in its scope." "Our emphasis here is based not only on the growing seriousness of drug-related crimes, but also on the belief that relieving our police and our courts from having to fight losing battles against drugs will enable their energies and facilities to be devoted more fully to combatting other forms of crime. We would thus strike a double blow: reduce crime activity directly, and at the same time increase the efficacy of law enforcement and crime prevention." Milton Friedman Nobel prize winner "Tyranny of the Status Quo" Milton Friedman, along with John Maynard Keynes, is considered one of the most influential economists of the 20th century.

"There is no conclusive evidence that the drug effects of marijuana are causally linked to the subsequent abuse of other illicit drugs." ; "Although few marijuana users develop dependence, some do. Risk factors for marijuana dependence are similar to those for other forms of substance abuse. In particular, antisocial personality and conduct disorders are closely associated with substance abuse. (...) A distinctive marijuana withdrawal syndrome has been identified, but it is mild and short-lived." ; "Except for the harms associated with smoking, the adverse effects of marijuana use are within the range of effects tolerated for other medications." ; "Research should continue into the physiological effects of synthetic and plant-derived cannabinoids and the natural function of cannabinoids found in the body. Because different cannabinoids appear to have different effects, cannabinoid research should include, but not be restricted to, effects attributable to THC alone." ; "Scientific data indicate the potential therapeutic value of cannabinoid drugs for pain relief, control of nausea and vomiting, and appetite stimulation. This value would be enhanced by a rapid onset of drug effect." ; "Until a non-smoked, rapid-onset cannabinoid drug delivery system becomes available, we acknowledge that there is no clear alternative for people suffering from chronic conditions that might be relieved by smoking marijuana, such as pain or AIDS wasting." ; Report of the Institute of Medicine for the Office of National Drug Control Policy Marijuana and Medicine: Assessing the Science Base 17 March 1999

"I’d always done a lot of (sniffing) glue as a kid. I was very interested in glue, and then I went to lager and speed, and I drifted into heroin because as a kid growing up everybody told me, ‘don’t smoke marijuana, it will kill you’ ..." Irvine Walsh author of the best-selling novel "Trainspotting", about his own experience with drug abuse.

"By any of the major criteria of harm - mortality, morbidity, toxicity, addictiveness and relationship with crime - [cannabis] is less harmful than any of the other major illicit drugs, or than alcohol or tobacco." Report of the British Police Foundation March 2000

"I support decriminalization. People are smoking pot anyway and to make them criminal is wrong." Sir Paul McCartney Musician September 1997

And here we come to the vital distinction between the advocacy of temperance and the advocacy of prohibition. Temperance and self-control are convertible terms. Prohibition, or that which it implies, is the direct negation of the term self-control. In order to save the small percentage of men who are too weak to resist their animal desires, it aims to put chains on every man, the weak and the strong alike. And if this is proper in one respect, why not in all respects? Yet, what would one think of a proposition to keep all men locked up because a certain number have a propensity to steal? -- Felix Mendelsohn, 1915

The greatest service that can be rendered to any country is to add a useful plant to its culture. -- Thomas Jefferson

Narcotics police are an enormous, corrupt international bureaucracy ... and now fund a coterie of researchers who provide them with 'scientific support' ... fanatics who distort the legitimate research of others. ... The anti-marijuana campaign is a cancerous tissue of lies, undermining law enforcement, aggravating the drug problem, depriving the sick of needed help, and suckering well-intentioned conservatives and countless frightened parents. -- William F. Buckley, Commentary in The National Review, April 29, 1983, p. 495

In any civilized society, it is every citizen's responsibility to obey just laws. But at the same time, it is every citizen's responsibility to disobey unjust laws. -- Martin Luther King Jr.

Instead of giving money to found colleges to promote learning, why don't they pass a Constitutional Amendment prohibiting anybody from learning anything? If it works as good as the Prohibition one did, why, in five years we would have the smartest race of people on earth. -- Will Rogers

I am against Prohibition because it has set the cause of temperence back twenty years; because it has substituted an ineffective campaign of force for an effective campaign of education; because it has replaced comparatively uninjurious light wines and beers with the worst kind of hard liquor and bad liquor; because it has increased drinking not only among men but has extended drinking to women and even children. -- William Randolph Hearst, initially a supporter of Prohibition, explaining his change of mind in 1929. From "Drink: A Social History of America" by Andrew Barr (1999), p. 239.

For over fifty years the United States has been committed to a policy of suppressing the "abuse" of narcotic and other "dangerous" drugs. The primary instrument in carrying out this policy has been the criminal sanction. The results of this reliance on the criminal sanction have included the following:
(1) Several hundred thousand people, the overwhelming majority of whom have been primarily users rather than traffickers, have been subjected to severe criminal punishment.
(2) An immensely profitable illegal traffic in narcotic and other forbidden drugs has developed.
(3) This illegal traffic has contributed significantly to the growth and prosperity of organized criminal groups.
(4) A substantial number of all acquisitive crimes - burglary, robbery, auto theft, other forms of larceny - have been committed by drug users in order to get the wherewithal to pay the artificially high prices charged for drugs on the illegal market.
(5) Billions of dollars and a significant proportion of total law enforcement resources have been expended in all stages of the criminal process.
(6) A disturbingly large number of undesirable police practices - unconstitutional searches and seizures, entrapment, electronic surveillance have become habitual because of the great difficulty that attends the detection of narcotics offenses.
(7) The burden of enforcement has fallen primarily on the urban poor, especially Negroes and Mexican-Americans.
(8) Research on the causes, effects, and cures of drug use has been stultified.
(9) The medical profession has been intimidated into neglecting its accustomed role of relieving this form of human misery.
(10) A large and well-entrenched enforcement bureaucracy has developed a vested interest in the status quo, and has effectively thwarted all but the most marginal reforms.
(11) Legislative invocations of the criminal sanction have automatically and unthinkingly been extended from narcotics to marijuana to the flood of new mind-altering drugs that have appeared in recent years, thereby compounding the preexisting problem. A clearer case of misapplication of the criminal sanction would be difficult to imagine. -- "The Limits of the Criminal Sanction," by Herbert Packer, 1968

And now for the vapor-bath: on a framework of three sticks, meeting at the top, they stretch pieces of woolen cloth, taking care to get the joints as perfect as they can, and inside this little tent they put a dish with red-hot stones in it. Then they take some hemp seed, creep into the tent, and throw the seed on to the hot stones. At once it begins to smoke, giving off a vapor unsurpassed by any vapor-bath one could find in Greece. The Sythians enjoy it so much that they howl with pleasure. This is their substitute for an ordinary bath in water, which they never use. -- Herodotus, 446 B.C.

The fight against drug trafficking is a wildfire that threatens to consume those fundamental rights of the individual deliberately enshrined in our Constitution. -- U.S. District Judge Juan Burciaga, Sept. 4, 1991

It would be a good time to replace the drug war with something more constructive. The cure offered the drug war today has probably been more harmful and done more damage than the disease. -- George McGovern

Was the government to prescribe to us our medicine and diet, our bodies would be in such keeping as our souls are now. Thus in France the emetic was once forbidden as a medicine, and the potato as an article of food. Government is just as fallible, too, when it fixes systems in physics. Galileo was sent to the Inquisition for affirming that the earth was a sphere; the government had declared it to be as flat as a trencher, and Galileo was obliged to abjure his error. ... Reason and experiment have been indulged, and error has fled before them. It is error alone which needs the support of government. Truth can stand by itself. -- Thomas Jefferson, "Notes on the State of Virginia," 1787

There is no nonsense so arrant that it cannot be made the creed of the vast majority by adequate governmental action. -- Bertrand Russell, "An Outline of Intellectual Rubbish"

Any fool can make a rule, and Every fool will follow it. -- Henry David Thoreau

Not only are we here to protect the public from vicious criminals in the street but also to protect the public from harmful ideas. -- Robert Ingersoll, then Director of the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs, in a column by Jack Anderson in the Washington Post, June 24, 1972, p. 31 (Ingersoll became the first director of the DEA in 1974)

The point is that a great army of the American people oppose these laws. Nobody can say that that is a healthy condition in our democracy. Nobody can say that people like ours are comfortable when so many of our thinking citizens resist the attempt on the part of the government to regulate their conduct by law. The natural result of it is the breeding throughout the length and breadth of the country of a disrespect for all law. Nobody can gainsay the fact that the Prohibition law and the Volstead Act have found a new line of endeavor for the underworld; they brought to life the bootleggers, and the bootleggers begot the hijackers, and the hijackers the racketeers, so that gangland is interested in the maintenance of Prohibition because by its operation they are benefited.
I believe in temperance. We have not achieved temperance under the present system. The mothers and fathers of young men and young women throughout this land know the anxiety and worry which has been brought to them by their children's use of liquor in a way which was unknown before Prohibition. I believe in reverence for law. I raise, therefore, what I profoundly believe to be a great moral issue involving the righteousness of our national conduct and the protection of our children's morals. -- Alfred E. Smith, presidential campaign speech, Sept. 29, 1928, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Written laws are like spiders' webs; they hold the weak and delicate who might be caught in their meshes, but are torn in pieces by the rich and powerful. -- Anacharsis (f.c. 600 BC), in Plutarch's "Solon"

Right conduct can never, except by some rare accident, be promoted by ignorance or hindered by knowledge. -- Bertrand Russell

For every complex problem there is an easy answer, and it is wrong. -- H.L. Mencken

I never use the word "drug" without defining it. I define it exactly the way the DEA defines it, "a chemical compound capable of reproduction in standardized dosages." I explain that marijuana is a plant with many drugs in it, just like any other plant. -- Carl Olsen, Ohio NORML, in a message to the Drug Reform Coordination Network's "DRCTalk" listserver, Digest #459, Nov. 1, 1995

"How many murders, suicides, robberies, criminal assaults, holdups, burglaries and deeds of maniacal insanity it causes each year, especially among the young, can only be conjectured...No one knows, when he places a marijuana cigarette to his lips, whether he will become a joyous reveller in a musical heaven, a mad insensate, a calm philosopher, or a murderer..." HARRY J ANSLINGER Commissioner of the US Bureau of Narcotics 1930-1962

Marijuana is taken by ".....musicians. And I'm not speaking about good musicians, but the jazz type..." Harry J. Anslinger Federal Bureau of Narcotics 1948

"...the primary reason to outlaw marijuana is its effect on the degenerate races." Harry J. Anslinger

"Marijuana is an addictive drug which produces in its users insanity, criminality, and death." Harry J. Anslinger

"Reefer makes darkies think they're as good as white men." Harry J. Anslinger

"Marihuana leads to pacifism and communist brainwashing" Harry J. Anslinger

"You smoke a joint and you're likely to kill your brother." Harry J. Anslinger

"Marijuana is the most violence-causing drug in the history of mankind." Harry J. Anslinger

There are 100,000 total marijuana smokers in the US, and most are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos and entertainers. Their Satanic music, jazz and swing, result from marijuana usage. This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers and any others. -- Harry Anslinger, 1937 testimony to Congress in support of the Marijuana Tax Act.

Ignorance is no excuse for the law -- Bill D'Amico (, 1994 Indiana legislature campaign slogan

Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters. -- Albert Einstein (1879-1955)

The natural liberty of man is to be free from any superior power on earth, and not to be under the will or legislative authority of man, but to have only the law of nature for his rule. -- John Locke (1632-1704)

What makes it so plausible to assume that hypocrisy is the vice of vices is that integrity can indeed exist under the cover of all other vices except this one. Only crime and the criminal, it is true, confront us with the perplexity of radical evil; but only the hypocrite is really rotten to the core. -- Hanna Arendt

Honesty is likely to make a greater and more lasting impression on our children than political posturing and hysteria. -- New England Journal of Medicine, Aug. 7, 1997

Oh, what a tangled web do parents weave, when they think that their children are naive. -- Ogden Nash

More Colombians die from diseases caused by American tobacco products than do Americans from Colombian cocaine. -- NORML News, New Zealand, as quoted in the final issue of Sinsemilla Tips, Vol. 9, No. 2, circa summer 1990, pp. 12-13

So much for the crusade against drugs . . . all America is actually doing is consolidating its position as the biggest dealer in addictive and lethal substances on the planet, waging war on all rivals, whether they take the form of the Thai domestic tobacco industry or the Colombian cocaine cartels. -- Columnist Alexander Cockburn, in response to news that Philip Morris and RJR Nabisco expect to sell 34 billion cigarettes in the Soviet Union by the end of 1991, The Wall Street Journal, as quoted in the final issue of Sinsemilla Tips, Vol. 9, No. 2, circa summer 1990, pp. 12-13

It is impossible to tell whether prohibition is a good thing or a bad thing. It has never been enforced in this country. -- Fiorella H. LaGuardia, The National Prohibition Law, Hearings before the Committee on the Judiciary, U.S. Senate, 69th Congress, 1st Session (1926): 649-52

I smoke marijuana every chance I get. -- Allen Ginsberg, "America," 1956

Prohibition was introduced as a fraud; it has been nursed as a fraud. It is wrapped in the livery of Heaven, but it comes to serve the devil. It comes to regulate by law our appetites and our daily lives. It comes to tear down liberty and build up fanaticism, hypocrisy, and intolerance. It comes to confiscate by legislative decree the property of many of our fellow citizens. It comes to send spies, detectives, and informers into our homes; to have us arrested and carried before courts and condemned to fines and imprisonments. It comes to dissipate the sunlight of happiness, peace, and prosperity in which we are now living and to fill our land with alienations, estrangements, and bitterness. It comes to bring us evil - only evil - and that continually. Let us rise in our might as one and overwhelm it with such indignation that we shall never hear of it again as long as grass grows and water runs. -- Roger Q. Mills of Texas, 1887, quoted repeatedly during a December 1914 debate in Congress over alcohol Prohibition

It happened that a Countryman was sowing some hemp seeds in a field where a Swallow and some other birds were hopping about picking up their food. "Beware of that man," quoth the Swallow. "Why, what is he doing?" said the others. "That is hemp seed he is sowing; be careful to pick up every one of the seeds, or else you will repent it." The birds paid no heed to the Swallow's words, and by and by the hemp grew up and was made into cord, and of the cords nets were made, and many a bird that had despised the Swallow's advice was caught in nets made out of that very hemp. "What did I tell you?" said the Swallow. Destroy the seed of evil, or it will grow up to your ruin. -- "The Swallow and the Other Birds," Aesop's Fables

What is it that gentlemen wish? What would they have? Is life so sweet or peace so dear as to be purchased at the price of chains or slavery? Forbid it almighty God. I know not what course others may take, but as for me, give me liberty or give me death! -- Patrick Henry, March 1775

Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it. -- Tom Paine, 1737-1809

I prefer dangerous freedom over peaceful slavery. -- Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826)

Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood. -- Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 25, passed unanimously by the United Nations General Assembly in December, 1948

We can never solve our significant problems from the same level of thinking we were at when we created the problems. -- Albert Einstein

When any opinion leads to absurdities, it is certainly false; but it is not certain that an opinion is false, because it is of dangerous consequences. -- David Hume (1711-1776)

The highest result of education is tolerance. -- Helen Keller

The purpose of education is to make the choices clear to people, not to make the choices for people. -- Peter McWilliams, Ain't Nobody's Business If You Do

If they can get you to ask the wrong questions, then they don't need to worry about what answers you come up with. -- Thomas Pynchon, "Gravity's Rainbow"

They can do anything we can't stop them from doing. -- Joseph Heller, "Catch-22"

I welcome the emphasis that is now being put on the drug problem. The efforts - to get to the people who are addicted, try to rehabilitate them; if they cannot be rehabilitated, at least to contain them; to educate people, to strongly discourage use of drugs by people who are casual users and first users, to stop this process among the young - all of these things are extremely important.
But, I have to tell you that it seems to me that the conceptual basis of the current program is flawed and the program is not likely to work. The conceptual base - a criminal-justice approach - is the same that I have worked through before, in the Nixon administration when I was Budget Director and Secretary of the Treasury with jurisdiction over the Customs. We designed a comprehensive program, and we worked hard on it. In the Reagan administration we designed a comprehensive program; we worked very hard on it. Our international efforts were far greater than ever before. You're looking at a guy whose motorcade was attacked in Bolivia by the drug terrorists, so I'm personally a veteran of this war.
What we have before us now is essentially the same program but with more resources ploughed into all of the efforts to enforce and control. These efforts wind up creating a market where the price vastly exceeds the cost, With these incentives, demand creates its own supply and a criminal network along with it. It seems to me we're not really going to get anywhere until we can take the criminality out of the drug business and the incentives for criminality out of it. Frankly, the only way I can think of to accomplish this is to make it possible for addicts to buy drugs at some regulated place at a price that approximates their cost. When you do that you wipe out the criminal incentive, including, I might say, the incentive that the the drug pushers have to go around and get kids addicted, so that they create a market for themselves. They won't have that incentive because they won't have that market.
So I think the conceptual base needs to be thought out in a different way. We need at least to consider and examine forms of controlled legalisation of drugs.
I find it very difficult to say that. Sometimes at a reception or cocktail party I advance these views and people head for somebody else. They don't even want to talk to you. I know that I'm shouting into the breeze here as far as what we're doing now. But I feel that if somebody doesn't get up and start talking about this now, the next time around, when we have the next iteration of these programs, it will still be true that everyone is scared to talk about it. No politician wants to say what I have just said, not for a minute. -- former Secretary of State George P. Shultz, Oct. 7, 1990, addressing an alumni gathering at the Stanford Business School where he had returned to the faculty.
Jails and prisons are the complement of schools; so many less as you have of the latter, so many more you must have of the former. -- Horace Mann

To this day we seem to act in the world as though we know what's right for everybody. -- Robert McNamara, "In Retrospect: The Tragedy and Lessons of Vietnam." 1995

Our current drug crisis is a tragedy born of a phony system of classification. For reasons that are little more than accidents of history, we have divided a group of nonfood substances into two categories: items purchasable for supposed pleasure (such as alcohol), and illicit drugs. The categories were once reversed. Opiates were legal in America before the Harrison Narcotics Act of 1914, and members of the Women's Christian Temperance Union, who campaigned against alcohol during the day, drank their valued "women's tonics" at night, products laced with laudanum (tincture of opium).
I could abide - though I would still oppose - our current intransigence if we applied the principle of total interdiction to all harmful drugs. But how can we possibly defend our current policy based on a dichotomy that encourages us to view one class of substances as a preeminent scourge while the two most dangerous and life-destroying substances by far, alcohol and tobacco, form a second class advertised in neon on every street corner of urban America? And why, moreover, should heroin be viewed with horror while chemical cognates that are no different from heroin than lemonade is from iced tea perform work of enormous compassion by relieving the pain of terminal cancer patients in their last days? -- evolutionary biologist Stephen J. Gould, "Taxonomy as Politics," in Dissent, Winter 1990, p. 73

Of all serious crimes under the law, smuggling... least violates the consciences of men. It is a crime against law and against government, but not against morality. The smuggler robs no man. He buys goods honestly in one market and sells them honestly in another. His offense is against an arbitrary regulation of government.... he simply fails to pay its demands. Many men otherwise honest are unable to see any moral turpitude in smuggling. ...government, in exacting toll, plays the part of the highwayman. -- "The Kaasan Bay 'Find,'" editorial, The Oregonian, Jan. 21, 1886, p. 2

Those who crusade, not for God in themselves, but against the devil in others, never succeed in making the world better, but leave it either as it was, or sometimes even perceptibly worse than it was, before the crusade began. By thinking primarily of evil we tend, however excellent our intentions, to create occasions for evil to manifest itself....
[During the Inquisition,] by paying so much attention to the devil and by treating witchcraft as the most heinous of crimes, the theologians and the inquisitors actually spread the beliefs and fostered the practices which they were trying so hard to repress....
Today it is everywhere self-evident that we are on the side of Light, they on the side of Darkness. And being on the side of Darkness, they deserve to be punished and must be liquidated (since our divinity justifies everything) by the most fiendish means at our disposal. By laboriously worshiping ourselves as Ormuzd, and by regarding the other fellow as Ahriman, the Principle of Evil, we of the twentieth century are doing our best to guarantee the triumph of diabolism in our time. -- Aldous Huxley, "The Devils of Loudun"

To the wicked, everything serves as pretext. -- Voltaire (1694-1778)

Revolutions, we must remember, are always made by minorities. -- Prince Peter Kropotkin (1842-1941)

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed people can change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has. -- Margaret Mead

There's as much chance of repealing the Eighteenth Amendment as there is for a hummingbird to fly to the planet Mars with the Washington Monument tied to its tail. -- Prohibitionist visionary Senator Morris Shepard of Texas, 1930

The voters in this country should not be expected to decide which medicines are safe and effective. -- Drug Czar Barry McCaffrey

If people let government decide which foods they eat and medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under tyranny. -- Thomas Jefferson

The drys seemingly are afraid of the truth. Why not take inventory and ascertain the true conditions. Let us not leave it to the charge of an antiprohibition organization, or to any other private association, let us have an official survey and let the American people know what is going on. A complete and honest and impartial survey would reveal incredible conditions.... -- Fiorella H. LaGuardia, The National Prohibition Law, Hearings before the Committee on the Judiciary, U.S. Senate, 69th Congress, 1st Session (1926): 649-52

I don't know of anyone who can make a dollar go further than policemen and dry agents. By frugality, after a year in the service, they acquire automobiles and diamonds. -- Rev. Marna S. Poulson, superintendent of the New Jersey Anti-Saloon League, in a May 1925 address to a prohibition rally in Atlantic City, as reported in the New York Times and the Senate Judiciary Committee Hearings of 1926 on National Prohibition.

The difference between a policy and a crusade is that a policy is judged by its results, while a crusade is judged by how good it makes its crusaders feel. -- Thomas Sowell

I presume, like the rest of us in the country, you are in the habit of household manufacture, and that you will not, like too many, abandon it on the return of peace, to enrich our late enemy, and to nourish foreign agents in our bosom, whose baneful influence & intrigues cost us so much embarrassment & dissension. the shirting for our laborers has been an object of some difficulty. flax is so injurious to our lands, and of so scanty produce, that I have never attempted it. hemp, on the other hand, is abundantly productive and will grow for ever on the same spot, but the breaking and beating of it, which has always been done by hand, is so slow, and so laborious, and so much complained of by our laborers, that I have given it up, and purchased & manufactured cotton for their shirting, the advance price of this however now makes it a serious item of expence; and in the mean time a method of removing the difficulty of preparing hemp occurred to me, so simple & so cheap, that I return to its culture and manufacture.
To a person having a threshing machine, the addition of a hemp break will not cost more than 12. or 15. D. you know that the first mover in that machine is a horizontal horsewheel with cogs on it's upper face. on these is placed a wallower and shaft which give motion to the threshing apparatus. on the opposite side of this same wheel I place another wallower and shaft, thro' which, and near it's outer end, I pass a cross-arm of sufficient strength, projecting on each side 15. I. in this form, nearly under the cross arm is placed a very strong hemp-break, much stronger & heavier than those for the hand, it's head block particularly is massive, and 4. f. high, and near it's upper end, in front, is fixed a strong pin (which we may call it's horn). by this time the cross arm lifts & lets fall the break with hemp stalks, and a little person holds under the head block a large twist of tobacco but larger, where it is more perfectly beaten than I have ever seen done by hand. if the horse wheel has 144. cogs, the wallower 11. rounds, and the horse goes 3 times round in a minute, it will give about 80. strokes in a minute.

I had fixed a break to be moved by the gate of my sawmill, which broke & beat at the rate of 200. lb. a day. but the inconveniences of interrupting that induced me to try the power of a horse, and I have found it answer perfectly, the power being less, so also probably will be the effect, of which I cannot make a fair trial until I commence on the new crop. I expect that a single horse will do the breaking & beating of 10 men. something of this kind has been so long wanted by the cultivators of hemp , that as soon as I can speak of it's effect with certainty, I shall probably describe it anonymously in the public papers, in order to forestall the prevention of it's use by some interloping patentee. -- Thomas Jefferson, Letters, December 29, 1815 (To George Fleming)

And God said, "Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed which is upon the face of all the earth. -- Genesis 1:29

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