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 reasoning to America’s marijuana laws 30 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 people 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 1998, there are 42 states with special alternative incarceration camps implementing similar programs.
The inmates are handled with robotic precision, and those who don’t conform are subject to incarceration in the state penitentiary. Most of these young offenders are in for marijuana. Even more states are considering implementing similar programs.*
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, we look at some of these infamous studies . . .