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Abbie Hoffman

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For six years, the only consistent thing about our national drug policy has been its inconsistency. Harsher penalties, urine testing, hysteria, budget cuts and the simplistic "Just Say No!' campaign (the equivalent of telling manic depressives to "just cheer up") have returned drug education and treatment to the Reefer Madness era.
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"Reefer Madness" in The Nation (21 November 1987)

 
Abbie Hoffman

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The centerpiece of the cultural counterrevolution is the snowballing campaign for a "drug-free workplace" a euphemism for "drug-free workforce," since urine testing also picks up for off-duty indulgence. The purpose of this '80s version of the loyalty oath is less to deter drug use than to make people undergo a humiliating ritual of subordination: "When I say pee, you pee." The idea is to reinforce the principle that one must forfeit one's dignity and privacy to earn a living, and bring back the good old days when employers had the unquestioned right to demand that their workers' appearance and behavior, on or off the job, meet management's standards.

 
Ellen Willis
 

Traffic in marihuana is increasing to such an extent that it has come to the be cause for the greatest national concern.
This drug is as old as civilization itself. Homer wrote about, as a drug that made men forget their homes, and that turned them into swine. In Persia, a thousand years before Christ, there was a religious and military order founded which was called the Assassins and they derived their name from the drug called hashish which is now known in this country as marihuana. They were noted for their acts of cruelty, and the word "assassin" very aptly describes the drug.

 
Harry J. Anslinger
 

"He's like a drug for you, Bella." His voice was still gentle, not at all critical. "I see that you can't live without him now. It's too late. But I would have been healthier for you. Not a drug; I would have been the air, the sun."
The corner of my mouth turned up in a wistful half-smile. "I used to think of you that way, you know. Like the sun. My personal sun. You balanced out the clouds nicely for me."
He sighed. "The clouds I can handle. But I can't fight with an eclipse."

 
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A Justice Department survey reports that 70 percent of those arrested for serious crimes are drug uses, which may mean that "drugs cause crime." A more sophisticated analysis suggests that the high cost of drugs, a result of their prohibition, forces drug users to turn crime to support an unnecessarily expensive habit.
Drug prohibition, by giving young people the thrill of breaking the law and giving pushers a strong incentive to find new customers, may actually increase the number of drug users. Moreover, out policy of pressuring friendly governments to wipe out drug cultivation has undermined many of those regimes and provoked resentment against us among their citizens and government officials.
We can either escalate the war on drugs, which would have dire implications for civil liberties and the right to privacy, or find a way to gracefully withdraw. Withdrawal should not be viewed as an endorsement of drug use; it would simply be an acknowledgment that the cost of this war- billions of dollars, runaway crime rates and restrictions on our personal freedom is too high.

 
David Boaz
 

There's a sense that the drug war has proven its failure. Five or six years ago, people would say, "Well, we haven't really tried it." It's hard to say that with credibility any more. People tend to get bored with old ideas. and the war on drugs is becoming an old idea. There's a kind of natural pendulum or circularity, where people begin to think that change is inevitable. And that's going to happen in the drug area.

 
Ethan Nadelmann
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