Now that marijuana legalization is regularly supported by majorities in poll after poll, the dinosaurs still supporting the drug war are becoming increasingly desperate in their scaremongering. The public and even some politicians are rapidly evolving on marijuana policy but the drug war dinosaurs can’t change their ways. The New York Times’ weeklong editorial support for legalization has all usual prehistoric beasts thrashing about in the tar pits, wailing their last pathetic shrieks before extinction.
Behold the behemoth Argentinosaurus, the Office of National Drug Control Policy, a massive bureaucratic sauropod that’s grown to the size of a Boeing 737 with a $366 million budget. Where it once thundered across the land, every stomp of its federal foot shaking the earth, it now meekly offers platitudes like “The Obama Administration continues to oppose legalization of marijuana and other illegal drugs because it flies in the face of a public health approach to reducing drug use and its consequences” while the president engages in beer summits, pharmaceutical ads rule the airwaves, and the Drug War budget is still 60% drug war to 40% “public health approach.”
Witness the deceptively powerful Triceratops, the American Society for Addiction Medicine, whose three-pronged approach of arrest, drug court, and forced rehab brings in a steady stream of employed, insured adults almost guaranteed to boost ASAM members’ rehab success statistics. “Prohibition reduced the public’s alcohol intake considerably,” its president, Stuart Gitlow, informs the Times. “The rate of alcohol-associated illness dropped in similar fashion. Prohibition was perhaps a political failure, but an impressive success from a public health standpoint.” Unless, of course, you considered the public health standpoint of shifting beer drinkers to hard liquor and people being shot by Al Capone’s gang.
Look, quick! It’s the nimble Compsognathus, a two-foot, bird-like representative of the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America, an organization funded largely by makers of synthetic heroin. “The marijuana industry, like Big Tobacco, has shown that it has no compunction about marketing its products to our young people,” writes Scott M. Gagnon , a youth anti-drug crusader in Maine. “Marijuana is not a safe drug. It harms youths. It harms economies, with extra social costs. How can this be the way forward for America? Don’t our communities deserve better?” Like, perhaps, almost 10,000 marijuana jobs and thousands more marijuana-related jobs in Colorado, with lower crime rates and tax revenue for schools?
Of course, no dinosaur exhibit is complete without the Tyrannosaurus Rex ; all mouth, small brain, and tiny little forelimbs with no distinguishable purpose. “Project SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana) … calls upon the federal government to step up its strategy to reduce marijuana use and its consequences,” writes Kevin A. Sabet before flashing those scary T.Rex teeth. “The call comes amid a New York Times editorial urging national legalization, despite early data showing increases in poison center calls, treatment admissions, and stoned driving in Colorado.” Scary, because he’ll use the word “poison” to describe Maureen Dowd’s edible overdosing, because he’ll note rehab increases from legal pot smokers whose employers still drug test, and because he’ll ignore that Larimer County DUI checkpoint in May that found zero stoned drivers out of over 1,500 cars checked.
“In that state, where the legalization of retail marijuana began on January 1st,” Sabet wails as his useless forelimbs struggle in the tar, “crime has increased and marijuana revenue has barely reached a third of projections.” Natural selection is favoring those whose brains can read Denver crime stats, which are down in nearly every category, and those who can understand that even a downward revision in revenue estimates for a brand new market means we’re bringing in brand new tax revenue.
So long, Drug War Dinosaurs. The intelligent mammals with endocannabinoid systems are taking over.