Who's High here?: Answering the DEA In this audio essay from his KUCI fm radio broadcast, The SoCal Byte, Nathan wonders if the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency is suffering from altered state deprivation.
If you’ve never been high in your life, artificially high, then my thoughts are with you. By choosing to forego entry into the realm of altered states, you dramatically decreased the bandwidth that informs your decisions.
Now don’t read me wrong. I’m not saying you need to be blithering in order to evaluate a situation. I am saying, however, that you need to balance your sobriety — your norm, your narrows — with something… not sober. Even if it’s just holding your breath, or hyperventilating, or getting dizzy, it’s enlightening to have access to an altered state that reveals a different perspective. Of course, there are dangers involved. But what’s the alternative? Not getting high is a gateway to fabrications and hallucinations that are commonly caused by that delusional mindset we call "altered state deprivation." For example:
Almost nine years after medical marijuana supporters asked the US government to reclassify cannabis — nine years to take into account the expanding volume of research that clearly demonstrates marijuana’s effectiveness in treating diseases like glaucoma, multiple sclerosis, neuropathic pain and muscle spasticity — our Drug Enforcement Administration concluded that cannabis has "no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States." Is this not delusional?
Pot has been approved by California, Alaska, Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, Michigan, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Washington and Washington DC as a beneficial treatment for a range of illnesses, and yet our federal government chooses to pretend that cannabis is not only medically impotent, but that it belongs on the controlled substance most dangerous list, Schedule One, the same category as heroin. And what are we to conclude? The obvious. Our government is exhibiting the classic symptoms of altered state deprivation: hallucinations and fabrications.
In a recent study that evaluated alcohol, cocaine, heroin, ecstasy and marijuana, ranking them based on how destructive they are to individual consumers and also to society, heroin, crack cocaine and crystal meth were the most destructive to individuals, while alcohol, heroin and crack cocaine were the most detructive to society. Overall, alcohol ranked number one in destructiveness, followed by heroin and crack cocaine. Where was our Schedule One drug marijuana? Kicking back in dead last. And yet, in spite of Alcohol’s number one ranking as the most destructive drug for society, our government doesn’t even consider it a controlled substance — thereby keeping it off any drug schedule.
Heroin, by contrast, does have a medical use. Under the chemical name diacetylmorphine, it is prescribed for pain relief. However, if not used properly it can be lethal. Marijuana, on the other hand, has never been a killer. To say marijuana is the equivalent of heroin is like saying Stimpy is the equivalent of Ren. It’s like saying Easter is the equivalent of the Fourth of July. It’s like saying all sorts of things you wouldn’t want to say, unless you’re either hallucinating… or getting paid to lie. And therein lies the rub.
The factors that play into illegality are not always based on science. The revenue and taxation collected from the alcohol and tobacco industries play heavily in deciding what’s outside the law and what’s not. And then there’s the matter of the drug enforcement job market. As California author and politician Upton Sinclair once said, “It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.” The war on drugs creates an entire voting block of people whose salaries depend on their not understanding why what they're doing is fabrication. Decriminalizing marijuana — dropping it from Schedule One — would result in lay-offs at the DEA and all related anti-pot industries. For politicians, that might not be keeping in their image. Decriminalization or worse yet legalization, would put a frightening number of prison guards and prison administration personnel out of work. No more marijuana inmates, no more guard jobs. It’s the money, honey.
Look at it this way: To work for the industry that profits from marijuana’s dangerous drug status is the equivalent of working as a lawyer for the estate of Leona Helmsley’s dog. You’re job isn’t honorable. And you’re a leach, a tick, a flea.
But enough name calling. Nathan has a plan to remove cannabis from Schedule One. Are you ready? Light one up.
Let’s roll the prison guards and the DEA a nice fat one. Let big pharma join the circle, too. They can all get blazed. This altered state experience might cause them to see the error of their ways. Then we can put the whole lot of them in retirement. Let them ride the pony on some government pension plan. I’d be willing to pay my share to bankroll this. It couldn’t be any more expensive than the $24 billion we spend a year on the War on Drugs and what a sight it would be — contented and retired ex-prison guards and DEA personnel on cannabis leave. Meanwhile, there would be no more incentive to fabricate stories about marijuana having "no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States." Why, I can name one medical use already: Calming a prison guard.
Now, you might think this idea is far-fetched, and that I’m the one in an altered state. But given the fantasy world of the Drug Enforcement Administration, I have to wonder: Who’s high here?