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On January 15, 2014 1934, speaking out against the United States' ongoing national decriminalization of cannabis recent repeal of Prohibition through ratification of the 21st amendment, as well as the enactment of restricted legalization initiatives in Colorado and Washington the Cullen-Harrison act, the DEA operations chief unofficial spokesman for the Anti-Saloon League James Capra appeared before the US Senate. Public opinion having long ago turned against him and his ideological allies, he sought to persuade lawmakers of the alleged mistake we as a nation had made in entertaining the relaxation of cannabis law repealing Prohibition.

His words were fearful, animated, and he spoke heatedly of the doom waiting for us if this state of affairs isn't changed.

I have to say this… going down the path to legalization Prohibition repeal in this country is reckless and irresponsible. I’m talking about the long-term impact of legalization repeal in the United States. It scares us.
There are more dispensaries bars in Denver than there are Starbucks soda fountains. The idea somehow… that this is somehow good for us as a nation, that this is good for the next generation coming up is wrong. It’s a bad thing, and this body will get its door knocked on ten years from now and say, ‘How did we get where we got?'
This is a bad experiment. It’s going to cost us in terms of social costs.
In his fear he forgot a few things.

First and foremost Mr Capra forgot that putting human beings in cages is generally a bad thing and something which societies, and the human beings who build them, would seem to want to avoid.

He forgot the social costs of ruining countless lives for such a relatively benign vice, its exceedingly easy instigation, and its outrageously lucrative facilitation. He forgot that society itself has ways of mitigating "social costs", and that losers are still losers whether or not they are breaking the law. He forgot that the next generation, while they should be strongly dissuaded and prevented from partaking in that vice, will likely find doing so more difficult with this change in its status. He forgot that businesspeople tend to follow laws and regulations while criminals scoff at them by definition. He forgot that strict laws prohibiting such vices and their accompanying infrastructures have in reality had questionable positive effect over time, although they have spawned entire underground industries; lawless enterprises which are extremely far-reaching, powerful and lucrative, along with being totally unregulated and answering to no one but themselves. Such people wielding such power is apparently not scary enough by comparison.

Mr Capra also forgot that much of the so-called "evidence" put forward to justify continued criminalization is based on bad science, fear-mongering and fabrications, and he forgot that many Americans realize the falsity of that evidence and are then left with shaken trust in their government. Or at least, with that last, he forgot that people losing trust in their government is a bad thing.

Interestingly, he also forgot to include precisely what scares him so much. Change, I think, and the loss of status that will follow him through that change. Scary stuff for a fear-mongering man.

The thing that scares me is government action which is based on fear, lies and zealotry.

Originally posted to Hammerhand on Sat Jan 18, 2014 at 06:44 PM PST.

Also republished by DKos Cannabis Law and Drug War Reform.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Heh, echos of the 1930's, indeed (16+ / 0-)
    First and foremost Mr Capra forgot that putting human beings in cages is generally a bad thing and something which societies, and the human beings who build them, would seem to want to avoid.

    He forgot the social costs of ruining countless lives for such a relatively benign vice...

    Exactly.
  •  I'm against victimless crimes. (21+ / 0-)

    If drug abuse is a concern this least effective tool for prevention is the blunt force of arrest and incarceration.
    I guess the only victim of cannabis legalization would be the DEA and the growing prison industrial complex they facilitate.

    -4.38, -7.64 Voyager 1: proof that what goes up never comes down.

    by pat bunny on Sat Jan 18, 2014 at 07:28:07 PM PST

    •  Along with all the folks who've made billions (11+ / 0-)

      off of that blunt force approach.

      •  Interestingly enough ... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        wilderness voice, RMForbes
        Newspaper mogul William Randolph Hearst's empire of newspapers began publishing what is known as "yellow journalism", demonizing the cannabis plant and putting emphasis on connections between cannabis and violent crime.

         Several scholars argue that the goal was to destroy the hemp industry largely as an effort of Hearst, Andrew Mellon and the Du Pont family.

         They argue that with the invention of the decorticator - hemp became a very cheap substitute for the wood pulp that was used in the newspaper industry.

        They also believe that Hearst felt that this was a threat to his extensive timber holdings. Mellon was Secretary of the Treasury, as well as the wealthiest man in America, and had invested heavily in nylon, DuPont's new synthetic fiber.

         He considered nylon's success to depend on its replacement of the traditional resource, hemp.

        According to other researchers there were other things than hemp more important for DuPont in the mid-1930s: to finish the product (nylon) before its German competitors, to start plants for nylon with much larger capacity, etc.

        Speaking of how billionaires were so involved.

        “Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.” ... Voltaire

        by RUNDOWN on Sun Jan 19, 2014 at 12:03:50 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Hemp is not commercially viable as wood pulp (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          spacecadet1

          replacement because once timber is harvested it can be stacked and held for months before processing. Once hemp is harvested it will likely start to rot unless a lot of biocide is used. And a standing forest can be ravaged at less cost than growing a crop every year. Laws and regulations to protect forests? Yeah, ask your spotted owl how succesful that is in the long run or better yet ask The Georgia-Pacific Kochs.

          Life is just a bowl of Cherries, that stain your hands and clothes and have pits that break your teeth.

          by OHdog on Sun Jan 19, 2014 at 05:01:11 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  That's major BS (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            RUNDOWN

            It's criminal that we are cutting down our forests which are the lungs of our planet to produce paper products. Hemp produces over four times the short fiber paper pulp than an acre of timberland. Hemp requires only a very small percentage of the caustic chemicals required to turn timber cellulose into a finished paper product and hemp produces a superior products that can be recycle more times than timber based paper products. If there was just one product that needs to be made from hemp (and there are over 50,000) it is toilet tissue. Why are we cutting down trees to flush them down the toilet?

            Really don't mind if you sit this one out. My words but a whisper -- your deafness a SHOUT. I may make you feel but I can't make you think..Jethro Tull

            by RMForbes on Sun Jan 19, 2014 at 12:19:08 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Notice I said that it is easier for corporations (0+ / 0-)

              like the Kochs' Georgia-Pacific to continue non-sustainable harvest of their vast forest holdings than to move to anything else. And the point about rotting of the hemp stalk unless they are used in a timely manner is still true. Solve that and you are a new CEO.

              Life is just a bowl of Cherries, that stain your hands and clothes and have pits that break your teeth.

              by OHdog on Mon Jan 20, 2014 at 04:45:42 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Hemp was a primary commodity crop for mellenia (0+ / 0-)

                The rotting of hemp stalk wasn't an issue then so why would it all of the sudden be an issue now. If anything with our access to mechanical separators (hemp decorticators) there is no reason that a crop of hemp couldn't be processed in a timely manner locally. If they could produce almost all of their paper products from hemp short fiber pulp for the first hundred years of our history when they had to separate the bast fibers from the pulp by hand, why do you think we couldn't do better now with modern machinery?

                Really don't mind if you sit this one out. My words but a whisper -- your deafness a SHOUT. I may make you feel but I can't make you think..Jethro Tull

                by RMForbes on Mon Jan 20, 2014 at 09:47:06 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Hemp fibers make great paper (and a lot of other (0+ / 0-)

                  products too) but if paper making is a year around industry what do you do even in those areas with long growing seasons where two hemp crops a year are possible? One way is just like linen production for flax by retting (controlled rotting). But this source says that water use is extensive for that process and is labor intensive too. So maybe a combination of mechanical and retting separation would let the process go 7/365 but it won't be so simple as some enthusiats maintain.

                  Life is just a bowl of Cherries, that stain your hands and clothes and have pits that break your teeth.

                  by OHdog on Tue Jan 21, 2014 at 06:38:59 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Actually in many areas across American (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    OHdog

                    it is possible to grow hemp year round producing more than three hemp crops a year. Early in our history the colony of Virginia produced hemp year round for the USS Constitution alone which required at least 11 acres in year round production to produce the sails, ropes, charts, Bibles and uniforms for this ship alone.

                    Really don't mind if you sit this one out. My words but a whisper -- your deafness a SHOUT. I may make you feel but I can't make you think..Jethro Tull

                    by RMForbes on Tue Jan 21, 2014 at 10:27:41 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  Also, hemp paper could be added to recycled (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:
                    OHdog

                    paper which will extended the number of times paper can be recycled.

                    Really don't mind if you sit this one out. My words but a whisper -- your deafness a SHOUT. I may make you feel but I can't make you think..Jethro Tull

                    by RMForbes on Tue Jan 21, 2014 at 10:32:51 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                  •  Interesting (0+ / 0-)

                    Can't exactly grow a full grown tree in a year - or year round neither.

                    But as anyone who's spent time around paper mills can attest - trees are usually felled and arrive at the mill within a few hours - so timber "rotting" (which yes, it does) is usually not the issue anyway.

                    The chemicals used to process that wood pulp are a serious issue however.

                    “Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities.” ... Voltaire

                    by RUNDOWN on Thu Jan 23, 2014 at 06:49:12 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

      •  What about our bull shit jobs? (0+ / 0-)

        These are the people who have turned our country into a police state.  Now, the peasants are revolting.

        Joy shared is doubled. Pain shared is halved. Spider Robinson

        by nolagrl on Wed Jan 22, 2014 at 07:54:51 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  And, just because it can't be said enough... (14+ / 0-)

    actual drug enforcement in these United States is racist.

    If they'd thought to work that into the original prohibition we'd probably still have it.

    One good thing about music, when it hits you feel no pain -Bob Marley

    by Darwinian Detritus on Sat Jan 18, 2014 at 07:39:36 PM PST

    •  Indeed, demonization of the 'other' (8+ / 0-)

      has always gone hand in hand with the madness.

      •  Laws against marijuana were sparked by (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        qofdisks, ER Doc, outragedinSF

        racist fears in the beginning. Racist hatred of Latino and Black users was the prime motivation.

        "There are 100,000 total marijuana smokers in the U.S., and most are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos and entertainers. Their Satanic music, jazz and swing result from marijuana use. This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers and any others."

        “Reefer makes darkies think they're as good as white men."

        Although it sounds absurd now, it was this type of propaganda that caused the drug to be outlawed in 1937—along with support from the Hearst newspapers, which ran ads calling marijuana “the assassin of youth” and published stories about how it led to violence and insanity. Anslinger remained as head of federal narcotics efforts as late as 1962, whereafter he spread his poisonous message to the world as the American representative to the U.N. for drug policy for a further two years.

        Before marijuana was made illegal, the American Medical Association’s opposition to prohibition was ignored, as was an earlier report on marijuana in India by the British government, which did not find marijuana to be particularly addictive or dangerous. That “Indian Hemp Drugs Committee” report had concluded way back in 1894 that, “The moderate use of hemp drugs is practically attended by no evil results at all.”  

        This is a clear, concise step-by-step explanation:   Why is marijuana illegal?

        "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

        by YucatanMan on Sat Jan 18, 2014 at 10:37:43 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  End the War on Drugs. Now. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Hammerhand

    We have to to even stand a chance to get a reign on the military-industrial complex.

  •  One minor complaint (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Hammerhand

    Can we please be done with strikeouts as a literary technique?

  •  I'd like to recommend Ken Burns' "Prohibition" (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elkhunter, Hammerhand, spacecadet1

    documentary.

    Amazing story, much more modern and current than you'd expect. Apparently Prohibition was a 100 year movement.

    Democracy - 1 person 1 vote. Free Markets - More dollars more power.

    by k9disc on Sun Jan 19, 2014 at 01:26:24 AM PST

    •  Thanks (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      k9disc

      I ran into that title while doing some (minimal) poking around for this diary. Looked very interesting, I'll check it out.

      •  It's fascinating... the Prohibition Lobby was the (0+ / 0-)

        first 'corporate' style lobby - highly centralized, mass mailing and mass marketing. Apparently they were super successful electorally to.

        There are lessons there about electoral strategy and tactics, for sure.

        Peace~

        Democracy - 1 person 1 vote. Free Markets - More dollars more power.

        by k9disc on Sun Jan 19, 2014 at 08:45:30 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Read "Last Call" by Daniel Okrent (0+ / 0-)

      That Ken Burns doc was based on that. I recommend both highly.

      “If you can convince the lowest white man he’s better than the best colored man, he won’t notice you’re picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he’ll empty his pockets for you.” Lyndon Baines Johnson

      by spacecadet1 on Sun Jan 19, 2014 at 11:25:54 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  The right wing government types already lost this (4+ / 0-)

    one. My prediction is the big tobacco companies are going to turn into big marijuana companies (at least in the US) and turn to making joints instead of butts. Why? Profit.
    It's  a ready-made industrial conversion which involves very little change in their business model except type of main ingredient. Think farmers will take big bucks to grow pot instead of the tobacco they used to?
    Colorado is being watched very carefully. Right now it seems like legal pot sales is a big winner, both in private profits and state tax revenues. Wait till Washington gets going. Wait until California gets into it. The market will explode with money. Big business will follow, and make Congress follow too.
    And here's my own little "secret plot" item: the US Surgeon General just released a report that links smoking with a whole range of cancers, not just lung, and other major diseases. OK. Now we've known about smoking and cancer  since the  first official reports fifty years ago. And it's taken this long to find out about this new info?
    I suggest that this report, and the media play it received, is part of a plan used as a reason tobacco companies cite to get out of the tobacco market  and turn to marijuana. Maybe they had a part in getting it out there, maybe not. Change usually comes as a series of small steps, some obvious, others not so. To get people to switch from tobacco to pot because it's healthier? I've seen more outlandish strategies.  But on top of the  already huge pent-up demand for legal pot, a smooth advertising and PR campaign to buy pot in convenient cigarette packs would not be an impossibility for tobacco companies to find a whole new cash crop. No bans on advertising pot cigarettes on TV, in mags, or on billboards, is there? Hmmmmmmm.......
    Once upon a time, 54% of Americans smoked cigarettes. Those days are long gone -- but do you think the cigarette companies wouldn't like to see those numbers again for something they sell?

    Ash-sha'b yurid isqat an-nizam!

    by fourthcornerman on Sun Jan 19, 2014 at 01:35:01 AM PST

    •  It's not just the herbal cannabis that will help (0+ / 0-)

      our family farms, there is also cannabis hemp which will be a major benefit for American farmers of all size. Hemp is an excellent rotation crop that actually leaves the fields more fertile after harvest than before planting. Hemp is drought resistant and requires little to no chemical fertilizers/pesticides/herbicides. Hemp will add a valuable cash crop for our farmers.

      Really don't mind if you sit this one out. My words but a whisper -- your deafness a SHOUT. I may make you feel but I can't make you think..Jethro Tull

      by RMForbes on Sun Jan 19, 2014 at 12:28:35 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

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