As incredible as we humans are, and amazing as our accomplishments have been, we’ve still some major injustices left to eradicate.
While not as pressing as say, Israel’s oppression of Palestine, an issue that is not given its due credence for its crimes against humanity is… drug prohibition. Yes, the war on drugs is a tragedy of the utmost proportions for many reasons, of which here are two:
First, we’re spending billions a year on soldiers, cops and jails to fight drugs, while the only tangible results are the creation of a gigantic black market to prop up powerful organized crime syndicates.
Second, we’ve actually been stifling our world’s GDP by not harnessing the full potential of a few highly beneficial plants, like Cannabis and Coca, which could each be multi-billion dollar businesses on their own.
So why does the war on drugs persist? Surely not because it has been successful. Today, even though narcotics are cheaper and stronger than ever before, prohibition does far more damage to society than the drugs they vilify.
No, what it boils down to is that these beneficial plants are being made illegal because of their very usefulness. Cheap and plentiful, they offer tremendous competition for other billion dollar industries – a notion vibrantly described by the writers at Absolute Despotism:
Marijuana’s probably bad for you, but so is shoving pine cones up your ass. The reason marijuana’s illegal and pine cones aren’t, is because you can’t use pine cones to make paper… But in the 1930’s a new machine called a “decorticator” made it profitable to produce paper from hemp. So profitable that Popular Mechanics called hemp the “New Billion-Dollar Crop” and reported “10,000 acres devoted to hemp will produce as much paper as 40,000 acres of average [forest] pulp land.”
Well a lot of people, including newspaper tycoon William Randolph Hearst, owned a shit load of timberland, and because people don’t like it when new technology comes along and fucks up their business, Hearst started calling hemp marijuana, and launched a newspaper campaign to ban his competition. It worked, and even though the American Medical Association was against banning marijuana (seriously), in 1937 it was outlawed. So thanks to people like Hearst, marijuana was outlawed to prevent competition from hemp.
Hearst was just one powerful guy in the paper industry. Now picture similar rich tycoons within Cannabis’ other competing fields, like oil, cotton, pharmaceuticals, alcohol and tobacco, and we begin to see the real reasons drug prohibition is still around – big money in a few pockets.
But here’s the good news: the sham known as drug prohibition is being exposed to a growing audience. Soon, in the same fashion that alcohol prohibition was demolished, enough of us will stand together against further injustice and bring the world’s war on drugs to a well-deserved end.