A recent article in the African American newspaper the Florida Courier headlines “Dope-smoking judge cuts deal”. According to the article, Circuit Court Judge Lawrence Korda was caught taking a toke under a shade tree in a Hollywood park, near a group of children. He formally apologized, and was ordered to undergo six months of drug testing and 25 hours of community service.
Having been discovered by two officers in training, the judge was made to lay on the ground by the non-uniformed officers who said they smelled’ marijuana, and followed its scent to the judge. Which brings up a curious question, how were they able to identify the smell of marijuana? At what point in training is law enforcement familiarized with the aroma of Cannabis Hemp? When uniformed officers arrived to back up the two trainees, the judge was not arrested. Apparently, they were exercising their tight of officer’s discretion.
Angry parents turned out with signs at the judge’s hearing urging stiff punishment’, says the article, in an effort to have him removed from the bench. Is there a justifiable reason to remove this judge from the bench? It is highly likely that he’s been smoking marijuana all of his adult life, if not from before then, and more than likely all of his professional career.
Nevertheless, the question is this: Did it affect his performance? His impartiality? His concept and understanding of the law? The NAACP says he set a bad example by smoking marijuana, but what was the bad example? The fact that it is illegal and Mr Korda is a judge could be reason enough to justify the claim that he set a bad example, but the lack of any quantitative evidence of its toxicity in turn justifies the judges lackadaisical attitude about its criminality.
Ever since 1937, when the unconstitutional Marijuana Tax Act was enacted, people have been going underground to hide their use of Cannabis Hemp. From the president’s office, to the judge’s seat, to the lawyer’s office, to the officer’s patrol car, to the average American’s home, has been the social, and in the case of former president Ted Kennedy, the medicinal use of marijuana, and all without harm or danger befalling the American public, without national interests being jeopardized, or criminals receiving undue leniency. Quite possibly why some of the parents of children sentenced by Judge Korda where as upset as they were.
What is this senseless prohibition, this nonsensical opposition to marijuana and those who use it? No where can there be found concrete evidence-that is evidence than can be interacted with and/or observed-to support the federal claim that marijuana is a danger to humans, and of no medicinal or industrial value.
Everywhere there is evidence that supports the exact opposite. Industrialize countries are growing the plant for its fiber, others nations are growing it for is seed oil, and still others are growing it for its nutritional value. It is the only naturally balanced food that contains all the essential amino acids the human body needs in what has been referred to as an optimum 3-1 ratio.
Not to mention its medicinal and therapeutic capabilities. There is scientific evidence that suggests the human body even has built in receptors for the psychoactive ingredients in Cannabis Hemp, lending credibility to the claims of those who smoke that marijuana is not addictive. There are no pot heads’ robbing and killing for a fix. There are no pot houses’, no anonymous bodies of overdosed marijuana addicts.
There are no Cannabis Hemp addicts like there are opium addicts, like there are heroin addicts, like there are morphine addicts, like there are coffee addicts, or like there are alcoholics and nicotics’. There are merely people who are perceived to be slacking, lazy, unemployed, good for nothings, who are not contributing to society because they are smoking marijuana.
Of course some of this is true, but these are the exceptions that prove the rule. Judge Korda is one among many highly educated professionals who have been forced out of hiding and made a prominent example of the injustice of marijuana prohibition when there never was a public call for it. Futhermore the original law that sought to banned it through taxation was later overturned as unconstitutional.
As of now there are pending bills in various state legislatures supporting is legalization, organizations standing behind its medicinal and therapeutic value, and people who populate these organizations from all walks of life. From the very prominent and powerful to the low and innocuous.
Ironically, if Judge Corda had been smoking a cigarette, none of this would have happened to him. Regardless of the scientific evidence of the danger smoking, and of second hand smoke. Regardless of the surgeon general’s warning that it is a potential threat to normal fetal development. Despite the fact that cigarettes kill over four hundred thousand Americans every year. He would’ve been literally passed over, and left unmolested by those officers in training.
He would not have been made to lay prone on the ground, with his face in the dirt for an indeterminate amount of time while these trainees waited for uniformed backup. Even worse, he would not have had to suffer the humiliation of being treated like a common criminal. When alcohol and tobacco are allowed to destroy lives daily, alongside the likes of prescription medicines and over the counter drugs that are also killing people every day, why is it that this level of prohibition against a plant that has been scientifically proven to be non-toxic(the toxic threshold of cannabis is equivalent to four pounds consumed in fifteen minutes, an inhuman feat)?
Is it necessary that this judge lose his seat because he was smoking marijuana in a relatively open area? Parents smoke and drink around their kids all of the time, but they are not judged as criminal examples of parents. There is no concerted federal effort to grind out the stubs of cigarettes forever. Even the somewhat spotty campaign to curb cigarette smoking is nowhere near the amount of money spent on marijuana prohibition. But tobacco users are dropping like flies, and the government continues to accept its tax revenue from cigarette sales, and without any guilt apparently.
Is it because the government is comprised of individuals rather than is an individual entity itself? Every politician in Washington can stand by and honestly say It’s not my fault that tobacco is killing Americans’, and technically it isn’t. The same is true for alcohol. In fact, the government tried to prohibit alcohol, yet was thwarted in its efforts by the public’s sheer will as they continued to manufacture and sell black market’ alcohol.
Does that means that we the people are responsible for the over 100,000 alcohol related deaths each year? Or that those who drink alcohol are also responsible for the consequences? That alcohol manufacturers are innocent in their effort to provide the drinking public with a convenient product, even though many of them are literally killed by it?
If this is the case, and it certainly seems to be, then why can’t the same rules of self-determination apply to Cannabis Hemp? For one simple reason: Its seed. A product cannot be manufactured and sold to the public at a profit if the public can obtain that same product more cheaply than they can purchase it.
An ironic, but non-coincidental side note is that the manufacture of a synthetic form of Cannabis Hemp’s psychoactive ingredient is promoted as a ‘safe’ alternative to smoked Cannabis Hemp. Called Marinol’ by the company that produces it, Unimed Pharmaceuticals, a wholly owned subsidiary of Solvay Pharmaceuticals, the FDA approved this synthetic form of THC for prescription, and is promoted by the D.E.A. as the ‘answer’ to medicinal marijuana. .
This serves as a means to bring my previous statement into high relief: Because this synthetic version of THC can be sold at a profit to the public, it has been approved, to do the very thing that the government’s Schedule One listing of Cannabis Hemp cannot be used for: Medicine. It also serves to make the statement that government prohibition via the infamous Schedule One list is not-and may never have been-a credible reason to continue Cannabis Hemp prohibition. The FDA’s approval of a prescribed synthetic form of Cannabis hemp’s well known psychoactive ingredient is a public recognition of the medicinal capabilities of marijuana by an official government entity.
There may be an argument that this particular synthetic drug is an isolated form of a very particular ingredient, and because of this, less of a danger to the humans who may use it. In fact the DEA uses the very same claim, but the very idea is ludicrous. Every synthetic-that is manmade-drug of any kind has associated side effects and a lethal level of toxicity.
This means that an equivalent amount of ‘Marinol’ consumed relative to true Cannabis Hemp is very likely to result in physical harm, bodily malfunction, or death. Because it is synthetic, the very ingredients used to create it are poisonous in sufficient qualities to human beings. This is why all synthetic drugs are required to have warnings on their labels suggesting that they be used as directed. To use them otherwise could directly result in human harm and/or death.
Even aspirin kills four hundred people a year, and anyone can easily overdose on it at will. Sleeping pills are a popular method of suicide, but there is no nationwide ban on their sale, manufacture, or possession. None of the prohibitive laws in place against Cannabis Hemp are actually serving the purpose they were originally purposed to do; i.e. to protect the public from inadvertent harm.
In the recommendation given to President Nixon by the Shafer Commission of 1972, the committee stated that the government’s effort at taxing marijuana was to prevent or control behavior, rather than to protect the citizenry. Furthermore, its recommendation that Cannabis Hemp be decriminalized was prejudicially and arbitrarily rejected by Nixon. He wanted a war on Cannabis Hemp, he is quoted as saying, and that is exactly what we have.
The correctional system in the United States has more individuals incarcerated for possession, use, or distribution of Cannabis Hemp than many nations have in their entire prison system. In other countries, such as Amsterdam, where public use of Cannabis Hemp is tolerated, even provided for, there was no related increase in crime. No Cannabis Hemp related victims suffering from frequent or daily use. No imbecilic individuals padded away in insane asylums because of a lack of functional brain cells.
In other words, Amsterdam’s cultural experiment’ has not engendered the particular ailments humans are said to suffer with marijuana use according to prohibition resources in the US governmental. The fears of marijuana use have turned out to be phantom shadows; insubstantial and immaterial. Yet and still, onward continues the prohibition juggernaut against this innocent plant.
At some point it will become apparent to the people of all nations that government oversight is a false illusion of security and safety when poisons are allowed to be marketed and sold at a national level, when a comparatively harmless plant is the victim of unjustified prohibition. At some point, the public must come to know that the responsibility lies with them rather than with those in power over them to determine the right of highly volatile circumstantial subjects such as Cannabis Hemp.
The public is not supposed to be excluded from the Hall of Reasoning. They are supposed to be an integral part, rather than an after thought, as is the case here. The federal government and the DEA’s heavy-handed approach to medicinal marijuana has caused an organized movement to defy the federal government’s arbitrary criminal legislation. Even though sick people are going to jail, after having their homes invaded by gestapo like police officials who destroy the plants they are growing for medicine.
Even in cases where the state has voted to amend its constitution to allows for such use, as is the case in California, the federal government exhibits its arbitrary nature by refusing to acquiesce to the will of the people. The will of the people is supposed to be the deciding factor that determines what the people shall and shall not have, not government officials socially removed from the issue by way of the archaic and ignorant claims concerning marijuana.
In the case of Judge Korda, it’s likely too late to save him from his mistake, but he wont be sharing in the corralling of victimless, nonviolent users of Cannabis Hemp. He wont be subject to the humiliation, injustice, and persecution the rest of marijuana’s users are subject to when faced with the same situation. As a judge, he is a prominent example of an individual who has made a conscious choice to decide for himself whether or not there is a danger associated with marijuana use.
Also as a judge, he sets the stage for others to represent themselves as advocates’ for deregulation as highly educated, high profile, and private connoisseurs of Cannabis Hemp. The reason for this is as has been stated previously: There are no dangers evident with the consumption of Cannabis Hemp, and therefore no logical reason to continue this crusade against its prohibition.
To deregulate-rather than legalize-is to remove the stigma of the ignorant and erroneous claims associated with this plant, placing it back into the hands of man, as it has been since the beginning of historical time. Prohibition of this plant is a relatively recent event concerned with Cannabis Hemp’s industrial capability as an economic and environmentally friendly alternative to petrochemical products, natural’ resources such as trees for paper, and refined automotive fuels.
All jesting aside, the technology now exists to modify or completely revamp the current gasoline combustion systems in use now. It is not necessary that even economy vehicles be capable of a hundred and twenty miles an hour when posted federal speed limits proscribe more sedate levels. It is like providing infants with running shoes, or putting powerful, oversized brakes on a child’s training bike.
Yet and still, the prohibitive ban on Cannabis Hemp has claimed another prominent victim, and the forces that drive its machinery continue to do so, without regard for individual, equity, or personal choice. It is high time something was done to put the people back in the driver’s seat where their private lives are concerned, rather than being the passengers or passers by in a system driven by profiteers and capitalists who have not the public’s best interest at heart, but their greedy own.