As American adults take action on their awareness that cannabis, though demonized by propaganda from industrialists with a financial stake in preserving prohibition and politicians who have depended upon using scare tactics to forward their political careers, is substantially safer than America’s most used drugs (tobacco and alcohol), policy creators are expressing concern that today’s youth simply will no longer be cowed into submission by the reiteration of factually biased and medically disproven scare tactics.
America’s youth, just like adults in the US, are fully aware that what they have been told by parties that desire to maintain the prohibition of cannabis over the course of 75 years amounts to factually inaccurate, unsubstantiated propaganda.
The wielders of this three-quarters-of-a-century old propaganda are now coming to the realization that the youth in America can actually educate themselves on the issue of ending cannabis prohibition, can effectively and honestly assess the differences between the prohibited substance cannabis and alcohol, tobacco and other drugs that are widely prescribed by physicians in the US, and have determined that the vast majority of what they have been told by police authorities, political leaders, their churches and schools, is not simply wrong, but is intentionally misrepresentational and supports agendas beyond the oft repeated mantra of prohibitionists; “it’s all about the safety of the children.”
In recent public statements, President Obama’s ‘drug czar’ expressed alarm that teen use of cannabis has gradually increased at the same time teen use of alcohol and tobacco have gradually declined. A recent study from the National Institutes of Health found that teen use of cannabis has grown over the past years, but use of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs, both prescription and illicit, has declined. In the case of alcohol usage by American teens, use has declined to its lowest point since the federal government began tracking alcohol use by minors forty years ago.
Some have analyzed this change as being a positive expression of today’s youth’s ability to decide for themselves whether to use legal drugs that are promoted constantly in American media and culture or to use cannabis, a substance that has been demonized for 75 years by American media and culture. The study results can perhaps signify that America’s youth are aware of the very real dangers of tobacco addiction and alcohol abuse, and are choosing marijuana, a drug that they know presents less risk. Choosing a less harmful drug over more harmful drug could and should be met by our leaders as a very positive sign that indicates a thoughtful choice made by weighing the facts.
The leaders of America’s drug war, when faced with these statistics have instead concluded that the study rather shows that today’s youth are falling under a type of mystical spell that is causing them to “forget” all the propaganda now that adults in this country have demanded that recreational cannabis use be legal.
In recent statements, Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the federal agency that performed the survey, opined that teens’ new attitudes about the dangers of tobacco and alcohol compared to cannabis reflect that our young people’s thoughtful choice is rather a reaction to the fact that recreational use of cannabis is no longer prohibited in Washington and Colorado and that “the deterrent” of illegality “is no longer present.”
Volkow’s belief that young people cannot assess the relative dangers between the legal and constantly promoted drugs alcohol and tobacco and the illegal but much less harmful cannabis is an indication that the enforcers have come to believe their own propaganda. The theorem being promoted by Volkow can be framed thusly; “If it is illegal, it must be wrong, bad and immoral.” The thought process that Americans both young and old may be currently operating under may rather be; “The illegality of cannabis was unnecessary and wrong, and predicated upon bigoted stereotypes dreamed up by industrialists who sought prohibition and, carried forth for seven decades by supine and captured politicians and police authorities for reasons that had nothing to do with public safety.”
If it’s true that this mindset is behind the increase in cannabis use by teens in America that the study identified, then America’s propagandists are themselves coming to new understandings. One is that propaganda no longer will suffice to brow beat thinking people into subordinating their experiences, and, perhaps more frightening to these custodians of culture, that many Americans now understand that they were lied to by their government to support the private wealth of business owners for seventy five years.
Being aware of the nearly century long history of lying and propagandizing may inculcate an awareness in our youth that they should aggressively question some of our nation’s other ‘preordained’ policy assumptions. I ask young Americans to do the research and find out if it is true when our leaders tell us that “we have to kill children in the Middle East to protect our “special relationships” with outlaw regimes”, that “torture is an effective method to gain intelligence”, or that “big banks can never be held to account for the crimes that they commit”. The list of queries is long indeed.
If government officials like Volkow say to you that these preconceptions are unchallengeable and have a quality of ‘religious truth’ to them, you can simply advise that, “torture is illegal by international standards”, that “occupying sovereign countries for 60 years is illegal by international standards”, and that “fraud is a criminal violation throughout the world”. Maybe if the prohibitionists hear that these things are illegal, they will be “deterred” from supporting these anti-human policy pogroms.
cross posted at the marijuana legalization awareness wiki
Photo by Torben Bjørn Hansen under Creative Commons license.