President Jimmy Carter addressed Congress on another kind of harm done by prohibition and the drug issue August 2, 1977, saying that penalties against possession of a drug should not be more damaging to an individual than the use of the drug itself.
Therefore, I support legislation amending federal law to eliminate all federal criminal penalties for the possession of up to one ounce of marijuana.
However, his efforts to apply even this bit of reason to Americas marijuana laws 21 years ago were derailed by a Congress determined to show that it is tough on crime, no matter whether an action is criminal or poses any real threat to society, no matter how many persons are hurt in the process.
And this attitude of intolerance and oppression has escalated in the post-Carter years.
By 1990, some 30 states had established Special Alternative Incarceration (SAI) camps (called boot camps) where non-violent, first time drug offenders are incarcerated in a boot camp-like institution, verbally abused, and psychologically worn down to break them of their dissident attitude towards drug use. Now, in 1999, there are 42 states with special alternative incarceration camps implementing similar programs.
The inmates are handled with robotic precision, and those who dont conform are subject to incarceration in the state penitentiary. Most of these offenders are in for marijuana. Even more states are considering implementing similar programs.*
* In These Times, Gulag for drug users, December 20, 1989, pg. 4.
What pretext has been used to rationalize this anti-American policy? A handful of official government reports and studies that are touted by the DEA, politicians, and the media to show that marijuana really is damaging to an individual.
Next chapter, we look at some of these infamous studies.
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