Vice Squad
Friday, February 27, 2004
From Michael Pollan's The Botany of Desire

Primo research assistant Ryan Monarch has been reading The Botany of Desire, and brings Vice Squad's attention to this passage (page 126, footnotes omitted) concerning the increasing intolerance towards marijuana in the US during the 1980s and beyond:

"The swiftness of this change in the weather, the demonizing of a plant that less than twenty years ago was on the cusp of general acceptance, will surely puzzle historians of the future. They will wonder why it was that the 'drug war' of the '80s, '90s, and '00s fought the vast majority of its battles over marijuana. They will wonder why, during this period, Americans jailed more of their citizens than any other country in history, and why one of every three of those were in prison because of their involvement with drugs, nearly fifty thousand of them solely for crimes involving marijuana. And they will wonder why Americans would have been willing to give up so many of their hard-won liberties in the fight against this plant. For in the last years of the twentieth century a series of Supreme Court cases and government actions specifically involving marijuana led to a substantial increase in the power of the government at the expense of the Bill of Rights. As a result of the war against cannabis, Americans are demonstrably less free today."

And for what noble purpose, as Vice Squad makes a habit of asking? To make it a little bit harder for some of our friends and neighbors to consume a substance that they desire to consume.

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