Intellectual (dis)honesty

However those involved in the medical marijuana movement may want to spin the closing of 160 California pot clubs, it is, in reality, a black eye for the movement. And it is part of a systematic backlash I have been predicting for some time. I take no special pleasure in being right, as I'm just one of many who saw this coming and believe medical marijuana is the wrong strategy for moving the drug debate forward. (And the recent sex scandal involving Rob Kampia isn't helping either.) But what I find most problematic is the intellectual dishonesty of many inside the medical marijuana movement.

Scratch nearly every medical marijuana reform leader and you'll expose an advocate for the total repeal of drug prohibition. That's the goal, and they'll tell you so. And if you're lucky, they will also say that medical marijuana really is their Trojan Horse for attaining said goal. Their rationale for this deception is that most Americans are not ready (read; sophisticated enough) to have that conversation. Really? A Zogby poll a few months ago found that 76% of Americans believe the drug war has failed. Granted, a few of them believe we're just not trying enough, but a significant number believe fundamental change is needed, and more than a few believe repealing drug prohibition to be the best course of action. So why is it that our drug policy reform leaders remain fixated on medical marijuana?

Estimates vary as to the number of medical marijuana patients in the US, as most states do not employ registration schemes. But a fairly good guess is around 350,000. Another fairly good guess is that roughly 40 million Americans will smoke cannabis for fun at least once in 2010. So medical marijuana patients represent under 1% of all cannabis consumers. I'm all for medical marijuana, and have said so here and so many other places, including in my book and college lectures. I just believe it's time to rethink the strategy of using medical marijuana as our principle means of effecting real drug policy reform. Doing so will allow those claiming leadership in drug policy reform circles to look inside their hearts and come clean, and admit advocating for the full repeal of drug prohibition is the right and most responsible path going forward.

Stay healthy and high when it helps