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L. Neil Smith's
Number 577, July 4, 2010

"He pissed me off."

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It's About Damned Time
by L. Lawrence Baird

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Special to Tthe Libertarian Enterprise

Today the California Secretary of State announced the assignment of PROPOSITION 19 to the cannabis legalization initiative which will be on the ballot in November. This amazing turn of events makes me reflect back on the sixties when I not only bought into the "Reefer Madness" mind set, but actively promoted it.

Along with one of California's first narcotics officers, we would give our presentations to any group that would listen, trot out our display of vile drugs along with pictures of before and after photos of youthful looking people followed by the same ones looking like victims of Nazi concentration camps, obviously from smoking one marijuana cigarette which led them on to become full blown heroin addicts, committing any crime to get their fix.

At the same time Ronald Reagan and a plethora of other well knowns were telling us how wonderful nicotine cigarettes were and how they assisted in digestion. Right! Many of have seen how nicotine assists in the digestion and have watched people die a slow miserable death from stomach and colon cancer. No digestion problems at all after you smoke enough cigarettes, in fact no problems at all during that long dirt nap.

Not too many years later it was discovered by such luminaries as Steve Kubby that cannabis retards the spread of cancer.

This makes perfect government sense. They subsidize and promote a substance that is a known killer and prosecute anyone who uses the beneficial substance. This proves a quote from another sage, "Government is a disease masquerading as it's own cure".

Long before this discovery, as a park ranger I began to see the insanity of cannabis prohibition. Working in Southern California I learned about three plants that are perfectly legal and far more hallucinogenic and dangerous than cannabis. Jimson Weed, Indian Tobacco and Edgar Alan Poe's drug of choice, Belladonna. All grow wild and are seldom a problem. Some such plants have been used for centuries by Native Americans in their religious rites.

The Libertarian position of decriminalizing drugs always kept me out of the party and in the GOP until I began to learn about the insanity of the drug war, and reading a few statistics, like the percentage of the population that were addicts before the drug war began (3%) and the number today (3%).

Bottom line is billions of dollars of our tax dollars have been spent on the failed war on drugs with the only effect being the lives ruined by incarceration and the spread of cancer because an effective medicine is not only criminalized but demonized.

We in Czeckoslofornia have a reputation of having some pretty oppressive laws, but this will be the exception. We will eliminate the state crime of medicating or partying with cannabis and release all those people jailed for using this harmless plant.

Be sure to encourage all your California friends to vote for and promote California's proposition 19, because as California goes, so goes the nation.

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