Wednesday, July 7, 2010

PETER LEWIS: IRA GLASSER is a waste of $$$

Don't Spend Funds on Organizations Headed by the likes of Ira Glasser

This is a letter to Lewis, from a long time activist since the latter 1980s, about the mismanagement of the DPF-DPA

Reportedly, Peter Lewis, longtime funder of the Marijuana Policy Project is shifting his money elsewhere within the field of drug policy reform.
According to multiple sources, Lewis has already assembled a panel including former Executive Director of the ACLU Ira Glasser, Americans for Safe Access Executive Director Steph Shere and former Nebraska Governor Bob Kerry, and tasked them with advising him on moving forward as a supporter of marijuana law reform.
Alas, such efforts are doomed to failure* (a controlled paced agenda taking way more time then necessary in order to protect those markets that the 'drug war' protects), with the inclusion of Ira Glasser, long time Executive Director of the ACLU, member of the Board of Directors of the Drug Policy Foundation and currently the President of the Board of Directors of the DPF’s successor organization, the Drug Policy Alliance.

I base this assessment of Glasser upon my experiences of over 20 years with the DPF-DPA.

The DPF was set up in response to the growing excesses of the ‘drug war’.

Nonetheless it remained comparatively silent on the drug this was in reaction to, cocaine, and how the drug war actually made cocaine into a dangerous drug via what Dick Cowen described as prohibitions iron rule, the shift towards more potent substances. Although we already had a NORML for Marijuana, the DPF acted more as a second Marijuana organization rather than one devoted to any of the other popular ‘controlled substances’, nor the broader human rights issues.

To its credit, the DPF during its early years provided a highly useful platform for different ideas in its conference paper compendiums from 1989 to 1992, with the latter three years including the articles I wrote about coca and cocaine defining how the prohibition breeds its own problems to fight for economic purposes that I would best term as criminal mercantilism.
November 1990; “The Great Issues of Drug Policy”
“The Ever-Changing, Ever-Confused Popular Conception of Cocaine”, by Douglas A. Willinger

November 1991; “New Frontiers in Drug Policy”
“Cocaine Prohibition, Water or Gasoline…?” by Douglas A. Willinger

November 1992; “Strategies for Change”,
“Cocaine Conversion: Onwards to Coca” by Douglas A. Willinger
Alas, after the 1992 conference, the DPF cancelled their regularly held cocaine panel where I was a formal participant in 1991 and 1992- leaving the entire coca-cocaine issue within the since regularly held ‘Latin America’ panel.

Illustration: Douglas Willinger and Ethan Nadelmann at the 1992 DPF conference,
published in the Washington City Paper, December 18, 1992

It was at that 1993 “Latin America’ panel at the 1993 DPF conference, held at the L’Enfant center in Washington, D.C. where I first met Ira Glasser, together with a British medical journalist, Anita Bennett, suggesting coca tea as a birth aid to women, relaxing the vagina to speed childbirth and reduce the instances of brain damage from prolonged labor. He was personable and interested in this and the coca issue more generally- encouraging me to issue my proposal for the next year’s DPF conference; that conference was “The Crucial Next Stage: Health Care and Human Rights”, and my proposal was for a panel “Coca- Turning Over a New Leaf in Reducing Health Care Costs.”
- Coca: powder cocaine and crack substitute: making their abuse obsolete.
- Medical Coca: a multitude of valuable therapeutic applications.
- Coca: the safer alternative to licit stimulants, particularly Tobacco.

Presenting Coca in this context is a potent antidote to popular misconceptions that drug prohibition somehow serves the general welfare. People support prohibition, generally viewing it favorably in inverse proportion to the degree they see illegal drugs as "bad." The story of Coca though is a powerful indictment of prohibition.

Here is something clearly good, useful for a variety of medical uses, and as a daily stimulant. Indeed, to a greater extent than medical Marijuana, drug war proponents acknowledge such medical uses of Coca as a remedy for high altitude sickness, other forms of nausea, and stomach aches; indeed recommendations for these uses of Coca are found in virtually any Andean tourist guide book. People in most parts of the world though are generally oblivious to this, focusing instead the situation with concentrated cocaine that prohibition created and sustains. As people have had the drug issue defined in such a convoluted way to misperceive the illicit market in powder cocaine and crack -- cocaine hydrochloride and sulfate -- as the natural situation that would exist without prohibition, ignorance of Coca is crucial towards maintaining popular support for the drug war!

The social importance of this panel is undeniably high. Let the following serve as but one example. The leaf's reported utility to the newly born --- as Coca is valuable to CNS stimulation and improves the blood count of oxygen, giving it to women in labor has immense potential towards reducing the instances of brain damage amongst new borns (see the Saturday newsletter from the 1993 DPF conference) -- alone could save millions of dollars in medical bills and lost productivity, to say nothing of the prevalence of these heart-breaking tragedies sustained by widespread ignorance of Coca's therapeutic benefits.

Given the President's concerns over reducing health care costs and Coca leaf's potential with this, is extremely valuable to the general welfare. Indeed, perhaps this is the drug policy reformists' most powerful approach towards dispelling the false utopic vision now clouding a clear perspective of the drug war, for nobody can dismiss (or ignore) it without appearing down right callous.

The Clintons ought to find this irresistible.
Alas our positive meeting at the 1993 DPF conference was the first and last time we ever had a conversation.  Not even an acknowledgement as simple as ‘Hello Doug’ at any of the subsequent DPF conferences, of which I have attended faithfully since 1989, with any of my attempt to make contact being met with his eyes shifting elsewhere if not looking directly through me.  This, all despite the interest in the coca issue he expressed to me in 1993. Such was alas a telling indicator of the DPF’s rejection of “Coca- Turning Over a New Leaf in Reducing Health Care Costs” despite its support by Dr. Lester Grinspoon, who was to be the moderator.

So was the one direct following encounter I had with Glasser at the 1997 DPF conference, then held in New Orleans, at a “Cocaine RoundTable” , where I walked in to hearing him ask some very good, relevant questions about cocaine and drug policy reform, stating that the public was scared about cocaine, so we needed some new ways to address the issue. I took that as my opportunity to bring up Coca – after all how much caffeine and nicotine use is really that of dilute caffeine containing beverages and Tobacco products – and how the drug statutes promote drug abuse by shifting markets and profits to highly concentrated form of drugs all encouraged by such statutes basing penalties upon total weight. His response was to sit like a statute and dare not look at me or acknowledge my presence or anything I said.

For a great many drug policy activists Ira Glasser can only look right through us, acting incapable of acknowledging us as human beings- with us not just being us, but the many in general concerning markets worth billions and trillions of dollars, considering the relative safety of cannabis and coca to concentrated forms of cocaine and alcohol and cigarettes.

The dynamics are as if the man, effectively the political capstone of the drug policy reform movement set up in the wake of the 1986 Len Bias cocaine overdose generated hysteria, is directed by those looking out for the established interests protected by the drug war in order to minimize any damage to these interests.
Coca with its market threat to tobacco cannot be discussed.

Notably the occasional DPF conference ‘History Panel' (held at their 1999 and 2003 conferences) entirely excluded the history of cocaine prohibition.

This was despite the latter panel having only 2 speakers- and my availability to give such a presentation from my year’s long work “Coca- Forgotten Medicine” that I have made largely available here at my blog “Freedom of Medicine and Diet”.

Neither can the broader issue of prohibition’s iron law of pushing concentrated forms of drugs, marked by their rejection of anything remotely like my 1997 DPF conference proposal for a panel “Tinctures of Opium, Wines of Coca, etc: Popular, Pre-prohibition Uses of Natural Plants Perverted by Drug Prohibition into today’s “Hard” Drug Plague":
"Hard" drugs - e.g. "heroin" and "cocaine" -- have evoked great fears, leading people to advocate or acquiesce to more repressive and expensive drug laws and drug law enforcement, as if these molecules were necessarily pernicious.

Yet prior to prohibition, opiates and cocaine were widely used as safely as aspirin and caffeine are now. Because we are so conditioned to react to the powder forms of these drugs, we forget that these more direct modes of ingestion -- sniffing, smoking and injecting -- were formerly a relatively rare phenomenon.

Prior to the twentieth century's "war on drugs," most people using these drugs took them in dilute form, whether as raw plant material, or plant preparation of comparable potency. Such plants and their popular preparations, were widely recognized medicinal agents, worldwide.

These substances have long and positive histories predating their criminalization by U.S. federal statute via the 1914 Harrison "Tax" Act and successive laws, and were used throughout the medical community as effective, cheap, and safe treatments for a variety of ailments.

Opium poppies have been taken medicinally for thousands of years, taken topically, smoked and even brewed as a tea, as suggested in Hogshire's "Opium for the Masses.""Cocaine" -- or more accurately, Coca just had many uses. The Extra Pharmacopoeia (the British counterpart to the U.S. Pharmacopoeia) cited Coca as a "nervine andmuscular tonic, preventing waste of tissue, appeasing hunger and thirst, relieving fatigue, and aiding free respiration ... useful in various diseases of the digestive and respiratory organs.... "

Meanwhile, the Wine of Coca, became the most widely praised plant preparation of the time. ’s creator, Angelo Francois Mariani was hailed by Pope Leo XIII as a "benefactor of humanity" for making Coca available around the world- after 40 years of Coca wine distribution."

All of this of course, prior to prohibition. Any honest program of harm reduction in drug use must go beyond the narrow-minded discussion of today's "hard drug problems": heroin and cocaine HCI, to look at Opium and Coca, to reveal the drug war's most intense effects upon drug abuse -- shifting markets to the infinitely more dangerous concentrated substances, while the natural forms are virtually forgotten.
None of that can be discussed, as it threatens the size of the market in Tobacco products, and that in patent medicines- aka pharmaceuticals which are artificially created molecules that can be patented.

Indeed, as stressed by “Coca- Forgotten Medicine”, the selective drug prohibition statues arose out of a campaign coordinated through William Randolph Hearst’s publishing empire and high up officials within both the private AMA-APhA alliance and the public USDA Bureau of Chemistry Bureau Chief Harvey Washington Wiley- all taken together as an agenda of what was to be banned and what was to be protected.
What is a drug habit? .... The habit-forming drugs which are most extensively used are alcohol, nicotine and caffeine. If we class as drug addicts those who have acquired the habit for one or more of these drugs the number of them in the United States would be very close to half or two-thirds of the population. When we speak of drug addicts, however, we usually have in mind a more restricted sense and refer rather to those who are slaves to opium or the coca leaf and their derivatives. ... I would not favor of any restrictive legislation respecting tobacco and tea and coffee, except in so far as children are concerned. [Wiley letter, Wiley papers, box 201; National Archives II]
Some key points:

- Coca, and other popular herbs, including Opium were not patentable- and hence came under attack by the AMA-APhA’s ‘Council on Pharmacy’ for reasons unrelated to any concern about health effects, while the USDA would target Coca as dangerous under a theory confusing the acute toxicity of large amounts of concentrated cocaine as a basis for believing that regular coca consumption thus had to be likewise toxic. As a stimulant, Coca presented a market threat to anything containing caffeine, and Tobacco.

- Cannabis was attacked by some, but would be the focus of yet another one of William Randolph Hearst’s screeds against a plant- whether directly as with MJ, or indirectly with Coca via demonifying “cocaine”.

- Tobacco, which had been commonly breed as ‘Virginia Bright Leaf’ variety, a larger leaf with relatively little psycho activity providing a ‘smoother’ smoking capable of being drawn deeply into the lungs, had in the 1880s become more marketable via the development of industrial cigarette rolling machines greatly lowing costs of production. Although such cigarettes or at least their sale, would be banned in some U.S. states, the landmark 1906 U.S. Pure Foods and Drugs Act allowing the USDA to effectively ban Coca in food products via its empowerment to ban the interstate shipment of so-called ‘adulterated’ substances for containing ingredients that the USDA was so empowered to declare ‘deleterious to human health’; yet this law would effectively exempt Tobacco and nicotine via its expressed limitation to substances contained within the U.S. Pharmacopoeia, from which Tobacco was traditionally listed yet so deleted the previous year in 1905!

Nonetheless, standard historical accounts have defined this as essentially the result of racism- focusing upon the 'reason' presented and pounded into the public via the William Randolph Hearst style ‘journalism’ (then becoming rapidly more deceitful as they became more centrally controlled via consolidation of ownership along with controlling the owners through their various Romish-Masonic network of fraternal orders) – altogether ignoring the economic realities, for the sake of distracting from questioning the very nature of the ruling political reality.

Within the nation set up to lead this 20th century crusade against certain drugs – aka certain plants and their most active alkaloid ingredients – the United States of America, the initial crusade for this emerged in the months after the 2nd Papal Medal award as a benefactor to Vin Mariani creator Angelo Francois Mariani, the U.S. re-start of the project to construct the Panama Canal (potentially shortening Coca supply lines to North Atlantic markets), and the U.S.D.A.'s own exploration of the feasibility to grow Coca within the U.S.

Within that world, behind the mainstream media conceptualization of fear of cocaine via fear of Blacks via such nonsense reporting about Blacks taking cocaine and supposedly becoming impervious to bullets, is the story of a USDA true to its mission established at its founding by U.S. President Abraham Lincoln in 1962- to promote U.S. agriculture.

This mission and motivation is reflected by the USDA’s own writings cir 1908-1912: expressing a specific fear against Coca Leaf's sales growth in the U.S. south-east, particularly as sold and advocated as a ‘tobacco habit cure’- hmm, and it is in the southeastern U.S. where Tobacco is a particularly dominant agricultural commodity. After all, Tobacco is sufficiently established to be represented in stone atop the columns of the U.S Capitol building alongside Cornstalks.

According to the 1910 U.S.D.A. Farmer's Journal Habit-Forming Agents: Their Indiscriminate Sale and Use A Menace to the Public Welfare:
There are quite a number of so-called tobacco habit cures on the market. All of them are ineffective, and some contain cocain in one form or another, which at once indicates the purpose of the promoter of the remedy. Instead of eradicating what is commonly believed to be a comparatively harmless habit, there is grave danger of fastening a pernicious drug habit upon the user. Examples of preparations of this character recently examined and found to contain cocain and caffein derivatives are Coca-Bola, Tobacco Bullets, and Wonder Workers. The Coca Bola is marketed by Dr. Charles L. Mitchell, of "Philadelphia, and the Tobacco Bullets by the Victor Remedy Company, now the Blackburn Remedy Company, of Dayton, Ohio, while the Wonder Workers were produced by George S. Beck, of Springfield,Ohio.
This charge that Coca was an ‘ineffective” Tobacco substitute was nonetheless contradicted by the admission that it was an effective Tobacco substitute- by others within and connected with the USDA-AMA/APhA cigarette-pharmaceutical alliance.

While reflecting the USDA’s convenient yet utterly nonsensical declaration that the alkaloid cocaine was a dangerous and or deleterious drug detrimental to health regardless of the form and mode of admistration, a January 1, 1910 article appearing by E.F. Ladd, a chemist at the North Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station, at pages 63-64 of Volume LIV, Number 1 of the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), under the heading Pharmacology, titled “Coca Bola and Oxy-Tonic: Two Nostrums Exposed by the Chemists of the North Dakota Agricultural Experiment Station”, would state regarding “Coca-Bola’ a coca extract chewing gum
This product, put in the form of a gum, would easily take the place – for one who had formed the habit for cocain – of tobacco; and it might be made to take the place of chewing gum with young people who would be entirely innocent of the intentional use of any such preparation, not knowing the evil effects that would come from its continued use. In the judgment of the writer, no man who will allow his name to be connected with a scheme of this kind should be permitted to disgrace the profession of medicine by using the title M.D.
E.F. Ladd’s above closing words are perversely ironic given the actual contempt for the public’s health this mercantilist pro-Tobacco, anti-Coca agenda presented- given these substance’s relative safeties. Contrary to any assumption the government would ban the more dangerous substance while tolerating or promoting the safer one, the U.S. government ended up doing just the opposite, with Coca and Tobacco at the opposite ends of the spectrum.

Tobacco is perhaps the most dangerous, extracting 400,000 plus reduced lives in the US annually, 6 million annually in both India and China. Their respective pharmacological properties, and thus the fact that this simultaneous market suppression of the safer alternative, Coca, and market promotion of the more dangerous alternative, Tobacco, made this an expensive mistake.

Of these two agricultural commodities with long histories of human use, owing to botanical-weather requirements and volatility, Tobacco is a U.S. agriculture commodity – marked in granite along with cornstalks at the top of the columns of the U.S. Capitol – prominent in its southeast; Coca is the foreign crop, requiring tropical climates, preferably with high elevations absent with the southernmost regions of the U.S.

It is doubtful if it would grow in any portion of the United States. Requiring an average temperature of at least 70o, the only districts at all suited would be Florida and Southern Texas [this was written before the 1898 U.S. acquisition of the Kingdom of Hawaii]; and it is highly probable that proximity to the sea-coast at so low an altitude would prove fatal. Nor would irrigation prove adequate in those countries possessing a long dry season. The plants must not only have an abundant supply of water at the roots; they must be bathed in a humid atmosphere for the greater portion of the year. But from what I have read of some of the countries above named, I am confident that the plant would there find a congenial home. Jamaica offers especially hopeful conditions.
Indeed in January 10, 1904 the Boston Globe reported that the USDA had been experimenting with various ‘poison’ drug crops to ascertain their feasibility as domestic crops.

UNCLE SAM”S POISON FARM: “Government Conducts a Novel industry on the Potomac flats- Plants which yield the Most Powerful and Valuable Drugs Known to Science – Will Start Opium Growing Too In Texas”
“Uncle Sam has started in to grow poisons. He has set up a hashish factory on a small scale, and is about to try the commercial production and manufacture of opium. Deadly nightshade, monkshood, henbane, foxgrove, jimsonweed and wormwood are among the plants which being cultivated in an experiment garden patch, about two acres in extent, on the Potomac flats close by the city of Washington...
This experiment included Coca plants.

Note the deceptive media spin "poison" when Cannabis, Coca and Opium are infinity less toxic than the USDA's protected Virginia Bright Leaf Tobacco

And again from the 1910 U.S.D.A. Farmer's Journal "Habit-Forming Agents: Their Indiscriminate Sale and Use A Menace to the Public Welfare"
During the last twenty years a large number of soft drinks containing caffein and smaller or greater quantities of coca leaf and kola nut products have been placed upon the market. Preparations of this class, on account of insufficient information, were formally looked upon as harmless, but they are now known to be an impending evil. Centuries before cocain was introduced as a remedial agent, wonderful accounts of the energy-creating properties of coca leaves were chronicled. The phenomenal endurance attributed to the Peruvians and others was often ascribed to the stimulating effects produced by the chewing of coca leaves, and this idea has been widely exploited. It is believed to some extent at present that the use of cocain taken internally produces a sense of exhilaration, and the amount of muscular and mental power appears to be temporarily increased. Impetus was given to this belief by the enthusiastic reports of this drug, published not only in medical literature but in the secular press as well. Cocain is one of the most insidious and dangerous habit-forming drugs at present known. Many lives have been wrecked and many crimes have been committed as a result of its use, and strenuous efforts are being made to curtail its employment. The amount present in certain soft drinks is small, to be sure, but such an insidious, habit-forming drug certainly has no place whatsoever in these products. The presence of tropococain, an ally of cocain, has also been established. Not only is it pernicious to add cocain to soft drinks in any quantity (usually in the form of coca leaf extract), but even the use of coca leaf extract so manipulated as to reduce the amount of cocain, or eliminate it altogether, must be looked upon as a questionable practice, because any product or name which would suggest the presence of cocain or its allies, by taste or otherwise, must have a baneful influence. It is known that the very small amounts of morphine or cocain, or even the suggestion of their presence, will tend to destroy the equilibrium of reformed addicts and bring back the former craving. The virtues of coca leaves and kola nuts have been exploited together, and it is only natural that they should be combined in preparations which would represent the purported virtues of both. Such combinations were made with the result that quite a number of so-called soft drinks now on the market contain both of the habit-forming agents, cocaine and caffeine. It was not uncommon to find persons addicted to the use of medicated soft-drinks. It is well-known fact that many factory employees, stenographers, typewriters, and others subjected to mental or nervous strain spend a large part of their earnings for drinks of this character. In passing, it may be of interest to note that life insurance companies are considering the status of soft-drink habitu├ęs as future risks. Various arguments have been advanced in justification of the use of caffeine and the extract of coca leaves, treated or otherwise, in soft drinks. It is a well known that parents, as a rule, withhold tea and coffee from their children, but having no knowledge of the presence of cocain, caffeine or other deleterious agents in soft drinks, they unwittingly permit their children to be harmed by their use. Manufacturers of drinks of this class, containing cocain, have been successfully prosecuted, for example, Koca Nola, Celery Cola, Wiseola, Pillsbury's Koke, Kola-Ade, Kos-Kola, Cafe-Coca, and Koke.
It was clearly the USDA hoodwinking the general public, agricultural mercantilism, cigarette protectionism, passed off as ‘progressive’ legislation to safeguard the public’s health- via distracting from any actual matters of health of consumers via gross lies draped in cunning terminology designed to more stir reaction then thought.

From Licit & Illicit Drugs, by Edward M. Brecher and Consumers Reports at page 230 showing upturns in cigarette use following the times of the 1906, 1914 and 1937 U.S. 'drug control laws'

As this graph from the book "Licit and Illicit Drugs" shows, sales of Tobacco cigarettes drastically increased following the enactment of the 1906 'Pure' Food and Drugs Act and the criminal policies of Harvey Wiley/USDA, each drug control law comes with a spike in cigarette sales growth.

1906-1946 anniversary- 40 years of criminal mercantilism for cigarettes

Such would be the results of Harvey Washington Wiley described critically as:

The story of the Pure Food and Drug Act, as told by Coppin and High, reveals one of the “chief dangers” of regulation in a democratic society, namely, that “personal opinion and special interest can masquerade as objective science and public good, thereby corrupting even potentially useful law."
Discussing how this scheme works would threaten the size of the market in patent medicines- aka pharmaceuticals which are artificially created molecules that can be patented: hence, Ira Glasser, already noted for shaping the ACLU’s policies to conform with his cigarette industry donors, is simply acting in conformity. So how surprising then that Ira Glasser, already noted for shaping the ACLU’s policies to conform with his cigarette industry donors, would exclude the history of Coca?

Secret Documents Reveal A.C.L.U. Tobacco Industry Ties

The ACLU's Tobacco Addiction (American Civil Liberties Union receives donations from tobacco industry)

In 1987, the ACLU's executive director, Ira Glasser, began to solicit Philip Morris for annual grants without first consulting his board of directors, he admitted to me in an October 1992 interview. By that time, the leading cigarette manufacturer had given the tax-exempt ACLU Foundation $500,000. Second-ranking R.J. Reynolds also contributed, but Glasser refused to tell me how much.
National Radio Project Transcript

For more than seventy-five years now, the American Civil Liberties Union has had a very important role in defending the Bill of Rights in the United States. But recently, some longtime supporters of the organization have been raising questions about the ACLU positions on issues involving large corporate interests. One of those interests is the tobacco companies. Now, new information has surfaced about ties between cigarette firms and the American Civil Liberties Union. We invited the Executive Director of the ACLU, Ira Glasser, to be on this program, but he declined. A few days ago, we invited the national ACLU to provide two spokespersons of its choosing to appear on this program, in studio and/or by telephone. The ACLU declined that invitation as well.
Allies: The ACLU And The Tobacco Industry

"At the same time that it takes money from the tobacco industry, it allies itself with the tobacco industry to fight legislation intended to ban or restrict tobacco advertising and promotion--but it does not inform its approximately 300,000 members of either activity."
The ACLU and the Tobacco Companies by Morton Mintz (PDF) (HTML)

And the DPF itself?

According to its 1988-1989 DPF Biennial Report’s March 1990 letter by DPF co-founders Dr Arnold S. Trebach and Kevin Zeese, stating that they began receiving the counsel of the leading Washington, D.C. law firm of Covington & Burling in 1988, receiving ‘valuable advice’ from Marialuisa Gallozzi, “the Covington and Burling associate assigned primary responsibility for advising the [Drug Policy] Foundation”. That firm is a leading firm for the cigarette and pharmaceutical industries founded in 1919 in the post WW1 regulatory era; and that attorney, is a leading food, drug, pharmaceutical, dietary substance and insurance industry specialist, according to the law firms’ web site.

This juxtaposition of legal specialties- all relevant to how the drug prohibition statutes are criminal mercantilism that creates its own problems to fight (the public ‘justification’), for the sake of (the hidden agenda of) protecting markets in other alas intrinsically more dangerous competitors such as Tobacco versus Coca, is a theme I stress in my proposal for 2009, "Agricultural Politics of Drug Policy"

Agricultural policies gave forth the existing drug control regimen; this dates back to its milestone of the 1906 U.S. Pure Foods and Drugs Act granting the Bureau of Chemistry of the United States Department of Agriculture (U.S.D.A.) the power to ban a substance from interstate commerce via declaring an ingredient as deleterious to health, and of limiting its jurisdiction to substances within the U.S. Pharmacopoeia from which Tobacco was conveniently dropped 1 year earlier in 1905.

Since the U.S.D.A. was established to promote agricultural commodities, its empowerment would have severely unappreciated detriments regarding the market protection of the most intrinsically toxic yet domestic agricultural commodity of Tobacco from the foreign 'menace' of least toxic Coca.

With the public health thus beneath mercantilism, the consequences have been thus severe for numerous people, entities and interests.

In each major category of intoxicant used by our species, there appear to be one or two drug plants that researchers have noted, are more controllable, hence safer, than all the other plants or synthetics in that category. Coca leaf stands out among all the stimulants, licit and illicit, as the easiest to control and the one least likely to produce toxicity or dependency.
This pro-Bright Leaf Tobacco, anti Coca agricultural mercantilism has been an absolute disaster for health care costs, and they would know that in 1914:
... there are tens of thousands of people in the United States who die every year from the excessive use of cigarettes; and yet I find Senators still pulling away at the cigarette as thought were a perfectly harmless thing. I believe the Senator will agree with me that there are many thousands of people who die from what is called tobacco cancer, a cancerous growth affecting the throat from overuse of cigars; and we find perhaps 60 percent of the Senators pulling away at the cigar as unconcerned as though no one were dying as a result of these cigars...

U.S. Congress, Senator Porter James McCumber (R) North Dakota,
August 15, 1914
And I think they can figure that out. U.S. Congress 1914 a Disaster!

Alternative Coca Reduction Strategies in the Andean Region, adopted from a contractor report prepared for the U.S. Congress Office of Technology Assessment in July, 1991, ended up presenting findings that contradict this dogma of official policy:
...the utility of traditional coca consumption for Andean populations cannot be ignored. Three physiological benefits of coca use (for relief from altitude sickness, as a remedy to vitamin deficiencies, and in conserving body heat), are specifically appropriate to Andeans who must endure the stresses of high-altitude labor and a low protein diet. Evidence does not [emphasis added] support claims that traditional long-term traditional use is harmful. Rather, the multiple advantages of coca use indicate that it has a strong positive role in Andean health. [47]

Alternative Coca Reduction Strategies in the Andean Region, noted Coca's widespread medicinal/therapeutic/dietary importance as an:

Anesthetic/antiseptic: Indigens and non-indigens apply coca topically as a local anesthetic; coca also has antiseptic qualities. The cocaine alkaloid has been shown to exert a powerful bactericidal action on gram-negative and coccus organisms.

Curative/preventative remedy: Coca tea, consumed by indigenous and non indigenous Andean people, alleviates the symptoms of altitude sickness; combats the effects of hypoglycemia; and helps prevent various lung ailments (an attribute of particular significance to the mining population). For example, chewing coca leaves is believed to limit inhalation of silicates that cause silicosis.

Dietary supplement: Coca leaves contain vitamin A and significant amounts of B, B, and C; they also contain calcium, iron, and phosphorus, in either the leaves or the calcium carbonate customarily taken with the leaves. Leaf chewing helps alleviate nutritional deficiencies of a diet consisting principally of potatoes.

Stimulant: Coca leaves give energy for work, reduces physical discomfort and fatigue, alleviates hunger, sharpens mental processes, and, at high altitudes, helps the chewer keep warm. [48]".. reports that Coca is bad are unfounded," and significantly, though deferring somewhat to political and economic realities, suggests that we consider re-legalizing Coca, and its potential benefits: "Options might include expanding the international market for legitimate coca products (e.g. coca tea, pharmaceuticals). However, the large amounts of coca produced are likely to overflow existing legitimate markets.

Alternatively, developing new products from coca may have some merit. Potential medicinal and therapeutic applications include:

1) treatment for spasmodic conditions of the gastro-intestinal tract, motion
sickness, toothache and other mouth sores;
2) caffeine substitute;
3) anti-depressant; and
4) adjunct to weight reduction and physical fitness.

Examination of the other alkaloids found in coca might yield additional industrial possibilities. Although the research and development time required to bring new products to market may reduce the short term utility of this approach, it could be a useful component in an overall package of efforts to reduce illicit coca production."
The drug policy reform organizations have devoted ridiculously little time on the Coca issue, the issue of Opium and the issue of our God Given 9th Amendment Rights to the Natural Plants Provided by God.

I do not fault NORML or MPP for this because they are obviously devoted to Marijuana.

But the DPF-DPA has no such excuse.

That firm, Covington & Burling, and its certain attorney "assigned primary responsibility to advise the [drug policy] foundation" would definitely be valuable resources for good, especially with spotlighting the status quo's extremely perverse counter-reformationist nature.


Unknown said...

I lost all respect for Ira Glasser when it became clear that he not only failed to reign in Ethan Nadelmann's dysfunctional management style, but actively supported bad decisions. If you look at the recent history of the ACLU and Ira's efforts at undermining the current ACLU director, it becomes apparent that Ethan and Ira are very similar. In short, they cannot stand to be outshined be fellow social justice activists and have been known to destroy the careers of those that do exceedingly good work. Not sure about Ira, but Ethan is more concerned with taking credit for ending the drug war than actually ending it. And yes, cocaine is conspicuously absent from the harm reduction paradigm: legalize marijuana, heroin maintenance, but very little discussion of coca.

Douglas Andrew Willinger said...

"asonic induced chaos?

Anonymous said...

It is never too late to learn. ............................................................