After 75 years of prohibition, last night the voters in Washington state and Colorado came to their senses and voted to legalize cannabis. This is an historic first step toward ending 75 years of a misguided and unjust war on cannabis. This is a war perpetuated by government propaganda, and it has been fueled every step of the way by ignorance, bigotry, and, not insignificantly, by the self-interest of government bureaucrats and law enforcement agents, as well as those in the drug-testing industry, addiction-treatment business, and prison business—all of whom profit from the war on drugs.
After wasting over a trillion dollars of our national treasure, after damaging millions of lives by criminalizing and incarcerating people for using an herb known to be less harmful than tobacco or alcohol, today there is reason to hope that this shameful chapter in our nation’s history is coming to a close.
In The Botany of Desire, Michael Pollan predicts that our descendants will look back on the war on drugs, and on cannabis in particular, as one of the most shameful and barbaric episodes in our nation’s history. I think he’s right and, given our history, that’s saying something.