They partied in mile-high Denver Sunday, but there would be no legal observances marking the special April 20 holiday in Pennsylvania and much of the country still mired in a pot-fearing ‘Dark Ages’ of the expensive, ineffective War on Weed.
There were, nonetheless, 4/20 ‘happenings’ around the nation on April 20 and/or at 4:20pm. And, this year those ‘happenings’ have a heightened interest due to major changes on marijuana from full legalization in Colorado and Washington State to public opinion polls consistently showing overwhelming support for ending the expensive and ineffective War on Weed.
Disgraced former U.S. President Richard Nixon, forced to resign from office for serious misdeeds, launched the War on Weed months before the 1972 release of the report from his presidential commission that studied the drug. One major conclusion of that commission was to decriminalize marijuana. The Schafer Commission was chaired Raymond Schafer, an ex-governor of Pennsylvania whose credentials included being a former federal prosecutor, a conservative and a Republican. Members of that Schafer Commission included two U.S. Senators and one Congressman – persons who were not ‘stoners’ in tie-dye tee shirts.
TCBH takes a 4/20 look at marijuana, particularly examining developments in the state Ray Schafer once governed. This special package includes articles by Abigail Ferenczy, Olivia La Bianca and Michelle Kapusta.
The most pernicious misbeliefs about marijuana have been repeatedly proven false by authoritative studies conducted under the auspices of governmental authorities. However, those scientifically based study results debunking the professed dangers of ‘pot’ are persistently rejected by elected officials and law enforcement authorities intent on maintaining the destructive prohibition on pot.
The federal government first outlawed marijuana in 1937, ironically just four years after the federal government ended its failed prohibition on the sale and use of alcohol.
Marijuana is a ‘Gateway’ drug:
“The practice of smoking marijuana does not lead to addiction in the medical sense of the word…Use of marijuana does not lead to morphine or heroin or cocaine addiction…”
– 1944 report from the New York Academy of Medicine conducted at the request of the then New York City Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia.
Marijuana causes violent criminal behavior:
“The weight of the evidence is that marijuana does not cause violent or aggressive behavior…if anything, marijuana generally serves to inhibit the expression of such behavior.”
— 1972 report of the National Commission on Marijuana and Drug Abuse appointed by then President Richard M. Nixon who launched the ‘War on Drugs’ in June 1971. (Nixon rejected his Commission’s recommendation to decriminalize marijuana for personal use.)
Marijuana has no medical value:
“Marijuana is one of the safest therapeutically active substances know to man. By any measure of rational analysis cannabis can be safely used with a supervised routine of medical care.”
– 1988 ruling by Francis Young, the Chief Judge of the federal Drug Enforcement Administration.( Judge Young’s ruling to remove marijuana from the DEA’s list of most dangerous drugs was rejected by the then head of the DEA.)
Teen marijuana use is increasing:
“The rate of current marijuana use among youths aged 12 to 17 decreased from 8.2 percent in 2002 to 7.2 percent in 2012.”
– 2013 finding of the annual national survey on drug use and health conducted by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.