On this issue of cannabis I have gone from tacitly supporting prohibition. To supporting decriminalization. To supporting legalization. (This was over many years.) It has become obvious to me that the continued restrictions on marijuana really are about lining the pockets of cronies within the government and outside of it, particularly in Pharma.
I will say that no drug is totally “safe.” And pot can cause dependence on a psychological level. But generally, well, let’s be adults about things. It’s probably safer than roller skating.
In our interview, Belita was hesitant to speak too openly but mentioned that when she first went to work with the DEA (she was contacted and became familiar with agency’s goals), she was told “‘Marijuana is safe, we know it’s safe, but it’s our cash cow and we will never, ever, give it up.’” When the DEA seizes a car or makes a drug bust, it’s likely they’ll find wads of money. They turn in the pot (or other drugs) — and keep the cash. Civil asset forfeiture law essentially gives the police and feds free reign, and they have confiscated billions of dollars from Americans, a majority of whom have not been charged with a crime.
Belita, like many people, posits that the DEA is not willing to give up the long disproven idea that marijuana is a “gateway drug.” Unlike heroin, most people are open to trying marijuana. At high school or college parties, it’s much more likely that a joint is being passed around than a needle. While a joint conjures up images of Bob Weir or SOJA on stage, a needle brings to mind a lifeless Philip Seymour Hoffman or Basquiat.