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Essays and Commentary on Drug Prohibition

Pot of Trouble

"Grow marijuana for medical use in California, and you can get off. Do it in Oklahoma, and you can get 93 years." An article from Reason Magazine, May 1997, by Adam J. Smith, assistant director of the Drug Reform Coordination Network in Washington.

An Analysis of Drug Prohibition as (Irresponsible) Public Policy

"Until the public understands the nature of prohibition and how the prohibition lobby perpetrates its monstrous fraud, Clinton and our other political leaders will not be held accountable for leading America down this long road of folly." By Tom O'Connell, MD.

The Role of Cognitive Errors in the Drug Policy Debate

"People often don't think clearly. So much is well known to everyone, including drug policy reform advocates who frequently confront the muddled thinking so often characteristic of prohibition advocates. What is less well known is that an entire body of scientific literature has accumulated concerning the cognitive errors that lead to the development and maintenance of erroneous judgments and beliefs. Knowledge of this literature is vital to an understanding of how otherwise (seemingly) rational people can so persistently resist the force of evidence." By David Hadorn, M.D.

Is the Bill of Rights a Casualty of the War on Drugs?

"Challenging the war on drugs is the most important issue facing civil liberties and the preservation of the Bill of Rights." By Eric E. Sterling, President, The Criminal Justice Policy Foundation.

Copitalism: Police State Promoters & Profiteers

"From drug detection, undercover infiltration and electronic tracking, to incarcerating those captured and convicted, private companies are cashing in on the War on Some Drugs and profiting from the police state. This new breed of "copitalist" is a powerful force with a strong self-interest in keeping certain drugs illegal and their users vilified." By Richard Glen Boire, from the pages of The Entheogen Law Reporter.

Rethinking Drug Prohibition: Don't Look for U.S. Government Leadership

"Drug Prohibition is today too important a tool for U.S. political institutions, and too critical an issue for certain economic interests, to expect that significant drug-law reform will be initiated in the United States." By Peter Webster.

The Case for Drug Legalization and Decontrol in the United States

"Legalization and decontrol is the correct solution because it will eliminate most of the evil surrounding the drug trade; it will have many desirable consequences and very few bad side effects, all of which can be overcome; and, finally, it is the ethical and prudent thing to do in a nation of free people who will not tolerate being told how to live their lives, particularly by people whose actions are not even based on decent motives or good will." By Thomas L. Wayburn, Ph.D.

Science and Drug Policy

"What will it take to put science back into drug policy? Nothing less than courageous leadership, both from the scientific community and from politicians. At present such leadership is conspicuously lacking. Thus, for the foreseeable future, the public must pay the price of anti-scientific policies, in terms of dollars, destruction of civil liberties, and ruined lives, while the scientific community looks on—passive, vanquished, impotent." By Daid Hadorn, M.D.

Struggling With the "Demonization" Demon

"Ensconced deep within the conviction of most people, [the] idea of the innate evil of specified "drugs" lies within the realm of religious dogma, safely beyond the reach of reason. It justifies not only asinine policy decisions, but also Draconian punishments for drug users and precludes any rational discussion of policy which does not expressly condemn or attempt to eliminate drug use." By Tom O'Connell, MD.

History of the Marijuana Gateway Myth

"In 1951, Harry Anslinger was testifying about why we needed tougher drug laws. Just before he testified, the head of the Federal addiction research program testified that they knew for certain that all of the reasons that had been given for outlawing marijuana in 1937 were entirely bogus. They knew for certain that marijuana did not cause insanity, criminality and death. Anslinger was left with no reason for tougher laws so he made up—on the spot, with not a shred of evidence—the assertion that marijuana is the certain stepping stone to heroin addiction." By Clifford A. Schaffer.

Holy Wars: A Review of David Wagner's The New Temperance

"Several recent and well-written books have each, from a different perspective, attempted to reveal to the general public and policy-makers the utter futility and tragedy of that great 20th Century fiasco, Substance Prohibition. But David Wagner's new book, The New Temperance, is much more than just another exposť of Drug War folly. Instead, we are given a cogent historical and sociological analysis of "The American Obsession with Sin and Vice" to the valuable end that we may understand the present Prohibition in the much larger context of the nature and character of American tradition, religion, politics, and mores in general." By Peter Webster.

The Drug Policy Debate

Further Opinion Pieces from The Schaffer Library. Essays by Judge James P. Gray, Thomas L. Wayburn, Ph.D., Kirby Cundiff, Ph.D., Tod Mikuriya, M.D., Paul Hager, Frederick H. Meyers, M.D., and others.

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