Common Sense- Lets Use It
Drug War Casualty: Common Sense
Along with truth and honest debate, we have often lost common sense. In 1970, the government began drug scheduling – putting substances in one of five categories to determine the degree of regulation. Currently, marijuana, heroin and hallucinogens are Schedule I – illegal under all circumstances – cocaine is schedule II, and so forth.
In 1986, so as to consolidate the drug war and cover any loopholes, Congress passed the Controlled Substances Analog Act. This abominable law targeted so-called "designer drugs." This meant that any chemical that was molecularly similar, or similar in effect, to any Schedule I or II drug would immediately be treated as Schedule I. You could see the absurdity in this, since what constitutes a similar effect is somewhat subjective and the government has a hard time deciphering such things fairly. Why is LSD illegal when you can get atropine and belladonna, mandrake and other plants that do something "similar" enough? And what constitutes similarities in molecular structure is a somewhat useless question, when we consider that a simple modification can turn nutmeg into a hallucinogen.
Whereas before, government pursued enumerated drugs, now we were moving to a day when drugs would only be safe if they were exempted from prohibition.
Occasionally, the drug war has singled out relatively benign substances in addition to the regulars. For those of you who use Sudafed, you will sympathize with this. I find that pseudoephedrine is one of the few over-the-counters that works for me. It clears up my sinuses. I am a big fan.
But now you must go through an Orwell novel just to get the stuff. You have to show your ID and sign your name to a federal database so they can assure you don’t buy more than your monthly allowance. The idea is this will stop people from manufacturing meth.
In just the time I’ve been an active drug war opponent, I have seen the government widen its ridiculous drug war to include a number of supposedly horrible menaces – the reefer madness de jour. They’ve targeted Qat, a leaf that is widely chewed in East Africa and especially by Somali immigrants; GHB, a chemical that is made in everyone’s brain; ephedra, a natural stimulant that when used responsibly avoids many of the nasty side effects of caffeine. And, now, there is the scare about the "new marijuana" – salvia divinorum, a plant that virtually no one is addicted to and that very few people even find recreational.
Meanwhile, of course, tobacco claims hundreds of thousands of lives a year and alcohol causes tens of thousands of is associated with a third or half of suicides and homicides. The damage done to the system by tobacco and its high rate of addictiveness and the toxicity, neural degeneration, heart, liver, muscle birth and pancreatic problems caused by alcohol, which has a chemical withdrawal, unlike cocaine and heroin, indicates these drugs are the most dangerous in our society. Some prohibitionists believe these too should be outlawed. That is of course the logical implication of drug war reasoning.