In his high school days in Hawaii, Barack Obama hung out with a circle of friends nicknamed “the Choom Gang” — “choom” being Hawaiian slang for smoking marijuana. Almost all the students in this group went on to be entirely productive and successful citizens — writers, lawyers, businessmen and, of course, President of the United States.
This is by way of reminding everybody out there that cannabis is still listed by the DEA as “Schedule 1″, along with meth and heroin, and that Obama could start the descheduling process for marijuana himself instead of passing the buck to Congress. Obama himself is living proof that cannabis should be descheduled; his legacy could only be improved by ending a program of persecution based entirely on the deceptions and racism of Harry Anslinger and Richard Nixon.
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At last report, 22 veterans a day are committing suicide due to depression and other post-traumatic stress. Today, DCMJ and the Weed For Warriors Project threw a Smoke-In and Die-In at Lafayette Square in front of the White House. “Easier access does not equal EQUAL access” said WFW’s Brandon Wyatt, an Iraq War veteran and attorney who uses cannabis to heal his PTSD.
The DEA schedule of narcotics — in which cannabis is classifed alongside heroin — was a product of the Nixon era, when the modern War On Drugs started cranking up. Tricky Dick himself, on a leaked White House tape, was said to have called marijuana “…the drug of choice of Mexicans, hippies and niggers.”
Here’s former White House Domestic Affairs Advisor, the notorious John Ehrlichman, with a slightly more nuanced framing of this policy in a 1994 interview:
“The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what I’m saying? We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.”
–John Ehrlichman, Nixon Domestic Affairs Advisor, 1994
The DEA schedule is Nixon’s schedule, part of a policy born out of deception and racism. It’s time to DEschedule cannabis.
We’ll be at the White House on May 20, how about yourself?
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