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Why is Michael R. Taylor, with a clear connection and history to a company like Monsanto, whose main product is agricultural chemicals (that many argue are dangerous to the consumer) the current head of the FDA?

Why is any amount of fluoride allowed, or put, into public water supplies?

Why did the government spend six-and-a-half times as much money on “defense” spending as it did national education in 2013?

Why does it appear that local police forces are continuing to look more like small military forces?

Why are incidences of police brutality, misconduct, and legal ignorance so commonly recorded on video, and how many cases are occurring off camera?

Why is it that so many Americans are unaware of what February 19, 1942 represents, and why aren’t more people afraid something like this may happen again?

Why can the sentence of death be carried out on a defendant who has been found guilty of manufacturing, importing or distributing a controlled substance as part of a “continuing criminal enterprise,” and, more importantly ,why aren’t people aware the government has been retaining the right to execute people over this form of drug offense?

Why did non-violent drug offenders account for 50 percent of our federal prisoners in 2010, and more than 20 percent of the overall national prison population in 2011?

Why do we arrest people for nonviolent, victimless, offenses when their aren’t enough resources at the local level, supposedly, to deal with many cases of violence, rape and theft appropriately?

Why is Grandma’s medical grow operation viewed on the same level, legally, by the federal government, as an unstable and dangerous meth lab?

These are not questions to which I have the answers, but if they aren’t questions you have been asking yourself and others, the time to start was yesterday.

You may have some catching up to do, and possibly some waking up to do, but it’s OK. Everyone sleeps from time to time. Here is a buzzing alarm, a cup of coffee, a friend desperately banging at the door pleading for your mind to wake up, we don’t have any more time. Change depends on you, and if we do not change, we are headed for disaster.

So then, why does the United States federal government continue to claim cannabis has no medical benefits when a federally funded institution — the National Cancer Institute (NCI) — just released contrary findings?

The NCI clearly stated direct introduction of large amounts of cannabinoids to the system “inhibited the survival of both estrogen receptor–positive and estrogen receptor–negative breast cancer cell lines” in a recent study. They also acknowledge the benefits cannabis can have in concert with chemo for improving quality of life and reducing side effects.

So then, why — in the face of this new science, when a Time Magazine public opinion poll already showed more than 80 percent of the country favored medical cannabis 10 years ago, and support has done nothing but grow as new states start adopting medical marijuana laws — does our federal government continue to consider marijuana a Schedule I narcotic?

Cannabis should be DE-scheduled, but if our federal government isn’t ready for that step, why haven’t they passed complete power over medical marijuana down to the state level and avoided numerous enforcement situations that directly contradict the will of the people and science?

Many people, nationwide, would like to believe that our government is a benevolent force — protecting our health, educating our children, defending our safety and protecting our best interests. If this wasn’t the belief that many people had, we would have never allowed our government the amount of regulatory control it currently has.

If we didn’t firmly trust our government, we as people would not have allowed the government to regulate our food or water, we wouldn’t have allowed any government involvement in any form of healthcare at any point, we would not have allowed them to get involved with the education of our children, the control of our money, the regulation of our business or the care of our elderly.

It’s with that level of trust in mind, that the new findings of the NCI are disturbing to me for many reasons, and the best metaphor I can give is that of a cheating spouse. In situations of infidelity the crux of the issue is often not just the act at hand, but the pattern of lies and deceit that came along with it. Because of that one point of misplaced trust that’s been abused, all other points of trust now come into question. If your partner was willing to lie about cheating, what else were they willing to lie about?

Dr. Timothy Leary: "The Universe is an intelligence test." [Acceler8tor]
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Dr. Timothy Leary:
“The Universe is an intelligence test.”

If our government has been lying to us about the cure for cancer, isn’t that as serious as a lover lying about an affair? If other activist movements and individuals, all the way from the Civil Rights movement and Malcolm X, to people like Bill Hicks or Timothy Leary, have all been telling us basically the same thing — “Hey!!!! Wake Up!!! They’re fucking lying to you!” — then isn’t that the same as a friend trying to warn another friend they are being cheated on?

And beyond the lies, what’s the hardest part to deal with about cheating? The sudden realization that person does not actually have your best interests in mind, that they don’t love you or care about you, but they are willing to pretend like they do to serve their own needs.

So then, if one’s been cheated on, but feels their life and the amount of time with the cheating individual is too complicated and longstanding to break free from, what does the cheated-on person do? What should the victim of these lies and sneaky behavior expect? Complete transparency and nothing less.

There is no reason that every conversation that occurs in politics, with the rare exception of conversations directly relating to military action/secrets, isn’t publicly recorded and presented to the public via the Internet. There is no reason that every e-mail, step and word uttered by the politicians, who were supposed to represent us and instead decade after decade manipulated us to favor corporate interests, shouldn’t be public record.

I believe the full investment and employment history of every official should be a matter of public record the second they run for office or are being included in a selection process for a position. I believe that with the long-standing history of lies our government has been caught in, complete transparency of the government and every individual involved in the political process should only be the first step. A complete re-appraisal of our whole political system should be undertaken, and the current national fiscal and employment crises seem to support that idea.

There is an explanation, however, that could explain the cannabis predicament of the current generation, while still giving our government and individuals due credit for benevolence: cognitive biases. Cognitive biases are a psychological phenomenon that effect even the most intelligent and gifted minds, and can cause judgment so poor it can appear irrational. Many of these cognitive biases come into play when a person is trying to justify or rationalize something they believe they already know.

Since the times of “Reefer Madness,” when people like Harry Anslinger and William Randolph Hearst, who passionately twisted the words of the International Opium Convention, predate the birth of many of today politicians, and the propaganda and lies that were used all were emotionally charged, it’s understandable that these values were adopted at a young age without much resistance. With this already-established bias against the “Devil Weed,” many cognitive biases can come into play.

Some of the cognitive biases could be affecting politicians, such as “bandwagon effect,” meaning an individual is inclined to believe something simply because others believe it. The bandwagon effect could then be reinforced by another cognitive bias called the “confirmation bias,” which basically says people (subconsciously, or without realizing it) only will recall memories or search for information in way that confirms what they already think they know.

The confirmation bias can be further fueled by a cognitive bias called the illusion of validity, where even after the credibility of an experiment, experimenter, test or fact has been thoroughly called into question or discredited, people are still likely to value the information and incorporate into their knowledge.

The real evidence that some of these cognitive biases are probably occurring comes with what I’d consider, clear displays of the “overconfidence effect” by cannabis prohibitionists. The overconfidence effect says that when someone is to sure of something, it usually means they are wrong.

No academically minded individual — or even any person with even the slightest bit of common sense — would be stupid enough to ever say they were sure of something or close-minded enough to disregard new scientific data, unless some sort of cognitive bias or other cognitive disconnect was occurring.

There are many other cognitive biases that could be playing a part, many of which could even be effecting the researchers involved in cannabis studies, such as the expectation bias, observer-expectancy effect, and congruency bias. I suggest researching those ones, and in the process you will likely discover many other cognitive biases that could be effecting this situation.

There are many possibilities that are much darker then cognitive biases though, and I think it’s fair to paint one of those scenarios too. What if politicians, and other influential people involved in cannabis prohibition and the continued federal fight against medical marijuana, already knew all of these things?

What if they already fully knew that cannabis cured cancer, that it was harmless, that it had numerous other medical benefits as well as possible spiritual (or at least, relaxation) benefits and that the continued War On Drugs was doing nothing but destroying innocent lives and creating a market for street crime and drug cartels?

What if they actually already knew all these things… then, what could their motives be?

One theory is that drug laws are all part of the new slavery. In 2011, as I mentioned earlier, more than 20 percent of the nation’s overall prison population had been put away for nonviolent drug-related crimes. That’s roughly 500,000 more people in the prison system.

Why on earth would that be something our government would want? One simple word: labor. That’s 500,000 more people the government can extort for labor at an extreme fraction of minimum wage.

December 1865, and the 13th Amendment, might not have marked the end of slavery, but the shift of slavery from being a completely racial issue, to being a racial issue with a class component. Now we don’t use the word “slave” — we use the word “prisoner.” We don’t use the phrase “slave catcher;” now we call them “police.”

Now it’s not just a racial issue, it’s a class and racial issue. Now it’s not a plantation or slave owners, it’s corporations and aristocrats. Same shit, different wrapper and a sparkly bow, but still the same old shit.

And coming to these realizations about the government we loved so dearly, is one of the biggest and last effects the War On Drugs has to offer.

So, I hope that there are just some cognitive biases in play, due to the lies of evil men that have already passed. If not, medical marijuana — and the War On Drugs and cannabis in general — may have been the sloppily discarded love note we needed to discover our government was cheating on us, and not just because it didn’t know better, but because it doesn’t care about us.

If this isn’t just a horrible error that’s soon to be remedied, then the government has slowly turned into a system that does nothing but cater to itself and the wealthy, while turning anyone in the lower class into a slave, one way or another.

Hopefully that terrible reality isn’t the case, because there’s no free North anymore, and no underground railroad to save anyone.

We’ve only got you and me.

I’ve already started to wake up. Now it’s your turn.


Zero wrote this article for Toke Signals.
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Zero wrote this article for Toke Signals.


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