Legalizing Marijuana: Drug Policy Reform and Prohibition Politics

By Rudolph J. Gerber | Go to book overview

1
HISTORY OF DEMONIZING DRUGS

DEMONIZING BEGINS

On Christmas Day, 1998, on a visit to a British charity hospital, Prince Charles of England advised a multiple sclerosis patient to use marijuana to relieve her pain, advice violating British law. Like the pot admissions of former President Clinton and New York Mayor Bloomberg, such stories about pot’s illegal under-the-counter benefits are numerous, even amusing apart from personal tragedy. Not all the stories amuse.

In March 2000, at 3:30, A.M., Mondovi, Wisconsin, police raided the home of Jacki Rickert, forty-nine years old, wheelchair-bound, and weighing ninety pounds. Rickert’s Ehlers-Danlos syndrome kept her in constant pain and made eating difficult. She smoked marijuana to ease her pain and to stimulate her appetite. She was the last patient excluded from the federal government’s shrunken Investigative New Drug Program that, as of 2001, still permitted the therapeutic distribution of 300 prerolled marijuana cigarettes each month to eight previously authorized patients. The police who searched her home until 10 A.M. found a small amount of marijuana and pressed charges against her. According to her daughter, her mother was only trying for “some semblance of a quality of life.” Rickert’s marijuana, which the government “pretty much told her she could use, helps a little. The whole thing is unbelievable.”1

As these pages are written, the local Arizona press carries a story about a woman from northern Arizona, Deborah Lynn Quinn, thirty-nine years old, born without arms and legs, and sentenced to eighteen months in prison for illegally using marijuana to mitigate her physical plight.2 State

-1-

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Legalizing Marijuana: Drug Policy Reform and Prohibition Politics
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Legalizing Marijuana - Drug Policy Reform and Prohibition Politics iii
  • Contents vii
  • Foreword ix
  • Introduction xv
  • 1: History of Demonizing Drugs 1
  • 2: Presidential Pot Policies 17
  • 3: Enforcement Practices 61
  • 4: Health Effects 77
  • 5: Seeds of the Medical Marijuana Movement 91
  • 6: The People’s Counterattack 105
  • 7: The Medical-Legal Conflict 121
  • 8: Conclusion: Lessons in Political Unscience 135
  • Notes 155
  • Bibliography 173
  • Index 183
  • About the Author 189
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