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April 27, 2006

NORML Aftermath 2

Yesterday, I said  I'd comment on the FDA 'press release' released on the first day of last week's NORML Convention. Well; it was both pathetic and political: unsigned, covering no new ground and  most noteworthy  for its inaccuracy and political ineptitude. In fact, it was so bad that the mainstream media  jumped on it almost from from the start: the most influential early report by Gardiner Harris of the NYT,  quickly set the tone by  immediately noting its political nature and soliciting critical opinions from a variety of sources, including an annoyed John Benson, one of the senior authors of the original IOM report.

For someone like myself, who has been following the sparring between federal authorities and reformers for years, the shabby pretext for releasing this 'report' on 4/20, its lack of content, plus its scientific and political ineptitude all represented new lows for the other side. Also surprising was the volume of critical media commentary, the degree to which drug war hypocrisy was openly recognized, and the willingness of many sources to  take the policy to task. Clearly, an opportunity to make some political hay had been presented to 'reform.'

What has been very disappointing–– but not that surprising–– has been the manifest inability of 'reform leaders' to recognize the golden opportunity they were just handed by proponents of the policy they are supposed to be opposing. Their timid, business-as-usual attitude was typified by a quote from Ethan Nadelmann who, instead of noting the obvious sins of the press release, took it at face value and simply complained it would make things more difficult.

Obviously Ethan has never heard of the football maxim that the best defense is a good offense. What will it take for 'reform' to wake up to the fact that the dishonesty and egregious manipulation of science by the drug war is that policy's greatest political vulnerability?

Posted by tjeffo at April 27, 2006 05:09 PM


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