I just read a story on Huffington/Mediaite/Politico about the DEA oversight committee in Congress. The head of the Drug Enforcement Administration was appearing. She was
grilled questioned by Congressmen Jared Polis and Steve Cohen. They are both Democrats. They both disapprove of our country’s policies toward marijuana users.
“Is crack worse for a person than marijuana?” Polis asked.
“I believe all illegal drugs are bad,” Leonhart replied.
“Is methamphetamine worse for somebody’s health than marijuana?”
“I don’t think any illegal drug is good.”
“Is heroin worse for someone’s health than marijuana?”
“Again, all drugs…”
“It’s either ‘yes,’ ‘no,’ or ‘I don’t know.’”
The scene was scarcely different with Cohen asking these questions.
“Would you agree that marijuana causes less harm to individuals than meth, crack, cocaine, and heroin?” he asked.
“As a former police officer, as a 32-year DEA agent, I can tell you that I think marijuana is an insidious drug,” Leonhart replied.
“That’s not the question I asked you, ma’am. Does it cause less damage to the American society and to individuals than meth, crack cocaine and heroin? Does it make people have to kill to get their fix?”
“I can tell you that more teens enter treatment for marijuana.”
“Can you answer my question? Answer my question, please.”
Neither congressman got the answer they wanted, apparently, before their respective times expired.
I graduated high school in 1968. We all inhaled.
I have friends and relatives in California who have prescriptions for medical marijuana. I’m not a doctor, but I think they’re legally doing the same thing I did illegally in the 60s and 70s (and maybe the 80s… who can remember clearly). None of them are degenerates… well, any more than they were before they started smoking.
As Representative Ron Paul so eloquently pointed out, it’s not legality that controls these controlled substances.
“How many people here would use heroin if it were legal? I bet nobody would,” he said to applause and laughter.
The problem isn’t what pot does to you. The problem is what arresting 18 year olds (or adults) does to them. Does the punishment fit the crime?
Where would my career be if I had been arrested? I suspect many (most) of you could ask the same question and shudder at the answer.
When I was 18 I thought pot would be legal by now. By age 30 I realized it would remain illegal forever. Now I’m not so sure.
I don’t want people driving stoned. I don’t want students getting high (like they don’t already). The only thing legalizing pot will change is how many are arrested. I can live with that.
Note: The marijuana tax stamp pictured above is real.