April 24, 2020
A Goliath that even David is afraid ofby Ballard Quass
The ongoing failure of drug reformers to attack the DEA
Imagine there was a government agency that everybody agreed was telling lies. Not only that, but everyone knew that these lies had caused millions of depressed patients and wounded soldiers to go without godsend medicines for almost half a century. Now imagine that the agency in question was also known to have deliberately poisoned American citizens with weed killer, and that this weed killer was subsequently found to cause Parkinson's Disease.
Now, imagine that this all occurred in a supposedly free democratic country and yet no one complained. To the contrary, movie studios cranked out propaganda in which this same lying and murderous agency was portrayed as a hero, a hero that clandestinely uses torture and murder to achieve its goals.
Sounds like fiction, huh?
Well, unfortunately, this is not an imaginary scenario. The agency described above is Richard Nixon's Drug Enforcement Agency, and even the most vocal drug policy reformers have been loath to criticize it. Sure, they may point out in passing that the agency is lying about psychoactive substances through their politically motivated drug scheduling system, but they never take the obvious next step and call loudly and clearly for the agency's abolition, let alone for a criminal trial that would hold its leaders responsible for the great unnecessary suffering that they have knowingly caused over the last four and a half decades.
That's the reason why I created the website AbolishTheDEA.com just over a year ago: to finally speak truth to power and tell the DEA in the words of Shakespeare's Laertes: "Thus diddest thou!"
That's also why I fret over the MAPS' organizations approach of "working through the system" to decriminalize psychedelics, since it obliges them to cooperate with the DEA, thereby granting that agency a kind of moral street cred that it does not deserve. This, after all, is the agency that is fighting tooth and nail to keep godsend medications out of the hands of suffering Americans, and why? Merely in order to preserve its own jobs - which brings up another problem with the DEA about which Americans remain mostly silent: the fact that it has a glaringly obvious conflict of interest in establishing the legality of substances, since their whole raison d'etre is to crack down on illegal drugs. And they freely act on that interest, as was demonstrated in 1985 when the agency went against the advice of its own legal counsel and criminalized MDMA, thus throwing thousands of soldiers under the bus by denying them a godsend therapy for PTSD.
For those who need more reasons to hate the DEA, consider that former DEA Chief John C. Lawn poisoned marijuana with paraquat back in the 1980s, a weed killer that has subsequently been shown to cause Parkinson's Disease. That's the moral equivalent of genocide to punish an unpopular law. This is a ruthless agency that has no one's interests at heart but their own, an absurd nature-hating agency that requires researchers to protect supplies of drugs like psilocybin as if they were fissionable nuclear material rather than Godsend plant medicines from Mother Nature.
Such an agency should be a laughable dinosaur in 21st-century America and treated accordingly. The Israelis got rid of their Anti-Drug Agency. Now it's time for the United States to do the same, preferably replacing it with the Drug EDUCATION Agency, an organization tasked with presenting the objective statistical facts about all psychoactive substances, including alcohol and Big Pharma anti-depressants, including both their pros and cons.
But Goliath is still defiantly loitering in the Valley of Elah, taunting free-spirited Americans with his contempt for constitutional niceties and his disdain for human life, practically daring some modern David to come forth and topple him.
Are we going to rise to the challenge and set out, slingshot in hand, or is the DEA a modern-day Stasi that even rebel spirits are afraid to challenge head on?