Sunday, October 28, 2007

Mother of all failed wars claims another victim

By Libby

The War on Some Drugs has been going on for over 80 years now. Our government has poured hundreds of billions of dollars into 'fighting' it to no real effect. People still use, and abuse, illegal drugs. The Bush administration can't be blamed for starting it, but they certainly carry the onus of having escalated it and skewing its focus in the most cruel and counterproductive manner possible.

This administration has largely poured its billions in wasted tax dollars to fight terminally ill and chronic pain patients. Despite their recent foray into shutting down meth labs, the main thrust of their offensive has been against Americans who find relief in a natural herb and doctors who treat chronic pain. Our prison system is now the largest in the world and hundreds of thousands of otherwise law abiding and productive citizens languish in jail cells for non-violent marijuana offenses.

However you feel about the issue, these facts are undeniable. Marijuana is not a drug. It's a naturally occuring plant with medicinal properties and its efficacy has been proven time and time again in scientific studies. Futhermore of all the 'drug' users in our society, the ones that least deserve persecution for their 'crime' are medical marijuana patients. Many states have recognized this and enacted laws not only to protect them but to provide them their medicine.

The DEA, despite its false assertions to the contrary has targeted this population because they're easy to hit. They arrest them in wheelchairs and hospital beds and lock them up without access to their one source of relief. And today we mourn the latest victim of this cruel insanity.

Robin Prosser, a Missoula woman who struggled for a quarter century to live with the pain of an immunosuppressive disorder, tried years ago to kill herself. Last week, she tried again. This time, she succeeded. [...]

She was a high-profile campaigner for the Montana Medical Marijuana Act, and like others, she was dismayed when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that drug agents could still arrest sick people using marijuana, even in states that legalized its use.

The ruling came to haunt Prosser in late March, when DEA agents seized less than a half ounce of marijuana sent to her by her registered caregiver in Flathead County.

At the time, the DEA special agent in charge of the Rocky Mountain Field Division said federal agents were “protecting people from their own state laws” by seizing such shipments. [emphasis added]

What a steaming crock. The DEA is only interested in one thing. Coming up with statistics on arrests that justify their bloated budgets and they don't have to work very hard to find registered medicinal users. Prosser was targeted for her activism. She made too good a poster person for the cause and she paid the price.

“I feel immensely let down,” Prosser would write a few months later, in a guest opinion for the Billings Gazette published July 28. “I have no safety, no protection, no help just to survive in a little less pain. I can't even get a job due to my medical marijuana use - can't pass a drug test.”[...]

In her guest opinion, Prosser wrote that: “I'm 50 years old, low-income and sick. I spend most days in my apartment in bed, with no air conditioning, unable to go outside because I can't tolerate the sun.”

And now she's dead. Prosser was no threat to society but our government killed her as surely as if they had put a gun to her head and pulled the trigger. The pain and the persecution by her own government left her with no option but to take her life. This shouldn't happen in a civilized society.

If you're not convinced, try checking the facts at Drug War Facts, DRC, DPA, MPP, NORML and LEAP, against the ONDCP and DEA's self-serving propaganda. I challenge anyone to review the body of evidence and still find a reason to support these failed policies.

We are already fifty years late in reforming our drug laws. Incarceration and interdiction do more harm than the use of the substances themselves. Ending these failed tactics would solve a plethora of ills directly caused by prohibition. This is a cause that non-consumers need to embrace out of humanity and pragmatism. If we join together and demand our politicians address reform and abolish these inhumane nanny laws, perhaps Robin Prosser could be the last victim of this failed war and we can begin to repair the damage this war has done to our fellow Americans.

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