By Vivian McPeak


We've heard it all at one time or another. Pot is the "gateway" drug. "It will rot your brain, get you hooked, and even kill you." The truth, however, is that prohibition is more likely to do these things to you than the herb.


In fact, all the marijuana in the world could not do as much harm as cannabis prohibition has done. America's insidious pot laws have left a long trail of shattered lives and broken dreams. How many children have grown up without a parent? How many good, decent parents have been locked away with rapists, murderers and thieves? How many Americans have had everything stolen from them – their cars, their homes, their money, even their freedom?


We've been denied housing and employment. We've even been denied an education. What other segment of our society has been denied student loans, welfare, and other entitlements? What sense does it make to deny an American a chance to get an education? How does that help our country?


Historians will look back upon cannabis prohibition as one of the darkest chapters in American history. This wonderful, therapeutic, and incredibly useful natural herb has resulted in millions of Americans being treated in the same manner as terrorists. The institutionalized prejudice against cannabis enthusiasts has led to wholesale denials of constitutionally endowed liberties for untold American citizens who have posed no tangible threat to themselves or to society. It has been a shameful, disgraceful saga of corporate influence, science fiction and propaganda, all promulgated by cowardly, opportunistic politicians playing off the fears and concerns of a misinformed public. Pot users have been scapegoated, stereotyped, and relegated to second-class citizen status for decades. We've been the brunt of jokes, ridicule, and scorn. And our own nation has waged war on us.


We've had the United States military used against us in our own country. We've had the best funded domestic campaign ever waged anywhere relentlessly levied against us. We've been harassed, profiled, criminalized – even killed. And all the time nobody has been able to present any credible evidence why a single person should be imprisoned for pot. Instead we have heard lie after lie, distortion after distortion. We have been told that pot is highly addictive and that pot kills brain cells. We've been told it makes you sterile, and we have even been told it will grow breasts on men!


We've been told that cannabis is 20 times more carcinogenic than tobacco, but oddly enough, we have not seen the dying patients. In fact, we've seen the opposite, and now science indicates that cannabis might just hold the key to a cancer cure. Now wouldn't that just be the scandalous irony of the century?


An even worse scandal could take place after prohibition has been repealed. It is safe to assume that the same corporate monsters who have been clamping prohibition down in place for profits will be poised to profit from the kind herb once the laws have changed. You can bet multinational corporations such as The Monsantos will come rushing in to capitalize on the new emerging market. They will attempt to highjack the pot market and genetically alter cannabis so only they can produce seeds and clones.


We must stand up to this madness. As Americans, we must slice through the decades of oppression by advancing the truth about cannabis by every means possible. We must talk to people, call our legislators, and write letters to the editors of our local media outlets. Every cannabis enthusiasts has to come out of the closet and scream from the rooftops that cannabis should be legalized.


These are the last days of prohibition. Take a good look at what it has done. To quote Jack Herer, one of the late great freedom fighters, at the 2009 Seattle Hempfest: "Hemp will be the future of mankind or there will be no future."