by Jason John Bartholomew

August 28, 2017

How many of you know someone, a cousin, an uncle, a close friend, a spouse who has or is now either doing a little jail time or on parole or is in a court ordered program, or in someway has some permanent mark on their record for felony drug possession or even lets say small potatoes, non-violent drug dealing, you know dime bags here and there for friends and family? Can we just get a showing for that? How many of you know more than one person in this situation?

OK new question. How many of you, yourselves or again from that same extended network of people, know someone who has been through drug or alcohol rehab including but not exclusive to some 12-step based program? And of you who have yourself or who know someone who’s been to rehab, how many of you know that this someone is still drinking or using? Right. And just for giggles, how many of you know someone who’s been through rehab and is now clean and sober for over a year? Over two years? Clean and sober for over five years?

And now almost every one of you have your hands resting in your lap again. Thank you for participating in that sobering little exercise.

Welcome to the multi-billion dollar, revolving door, biggest snake oil scam in the history of humankind. Welcome to Drug Policy Industries Incorporated. Please check your personal use, your valuable relationships, your health, your dignity and your future security at the door. These will not be returned to you after the tour. They will not be returned to you at all.

If a skillet to an egg is your brain on drugs, then a nuclear bomb to the supermarket’s egg aisle is this country’s brain on drug policy. And that would make sense, right? Why wouldn’t we call out the nukes to deal with this situation that we straightfaced call a war? We aren’t kidding. Make no mistake. It is real war…with advanced weaponry, spies, guerrilla tactics, unmarked graves, and a body count that stacks as high as a mountain range and its being waged today, right here in your own city and all around the globe. And like so often is true in war, there aren’t just two opposing sides, but various factions with different objectives, all duking it out on the battlefield. And there is, of course, always the great hallmark of every war, the carnage of the innocent.

This is war torn America, 2017 and one of the front lines in our favorite War of Recreation.

And a truce? Hopes for peace? As Annie Lennox sings on one of the Eurythmics albums “peace…is just a word. Is just a word.”

And all of it, sixty years, multiple failed states, scores of new prisons, millions of ruined lives and an impossible to tally body count and still counting… All of it based entirely on lies. Because the War on Drugs has never been and will never be about a drug free anywhere. It more closely resembles, at least ideologically, a tussle between the cartel and the pharmaceutical companies for who will control your daily habit.

And we sit here, most of us knowing someone from our friends and family who is a victim of war, some of us being victims ourselves, we sit here and do nothing but swallow hook line and sinker pails of propaganda that we know from our own lives and experience and that we can see with that own eyes is not true.

But none of this even begins to approach deconstructing the network of financing for sub sanctioned operations that black market money provides for nationalist and ideological non-state organizations, terrorist cells, crime families, and even, if the past holds true and we have no reason to believe that it does not, the CIA. It may not even be a stretch to say that all war and civil unrest in the world is at this point to some degree drug war.

But just because we cannot take on Goliath in any meaningful way at this time, this must not be allowed to mean that we can not employ sensible, proven, harm reductive, life affirming policies that benefit drug users, their families and communities by restoring dignity and humanity and implementing best practices that save lives and preserve health. It is only in this way that we may once again honor and uphold the greatest traditions of American values. Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

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