“Prison is for rapists, thieves, and murderers. If you lock someone up for smoking a plant that makes them happy, you’re the fucking criminal.” – Joe Rogan
Washington D.C. — The timeless words of Joe Rogan seem to be taking their toll on the consciences of American politicians. To kidnap and lock people in a cage for a personal choice and action that harms no one, is an evil act. Some politicians are figuring this out — or at least pandering to public demand. Either way, the result is the same.
Despite largely continuing the drug war and drastically increasing raids on medical marijuana facilities as compared to his predecessor, Barack Obama has somehow managed to dupe people into thinking he was pro legalized pot. And now, as his reign comes to an end, he seems to be reversing course.
Over the years, Obama has blown a lot of smoke (pun intended) when it came to his views on the war on drugs. He’s played Mr. Nice Guy while his heavily militarized government task forces have laid waste to the rights and property of peaceful people trying to help their fellow man by growing medical marijuana.
Under Obama, police in America, through the federal 1033 program, have acquired MRAP’s, grenade launchers, and even Apache attack choppers; most of which have been used enforcing immoral and unethical drug laws.
However, no one, not even the almighty Barack Obama, can stop an idea whose time has come.
The people have spoken, and politicians who continue to call for the imprisonment of non-violent individuals for their personal choices are being exposed for the vile and obstinate tyrants they are.
Apparently this notion has made it to the ear of his majesty, Barack Obama. In a recent show of humanity, he’s freed several dozen more non-violent drug offenders.
According to Reason Magazine, this latest batch of commutations raises Obama’s total so far to 872, nearly all of them involving nonviolent drug offenders. That is more commutations than were issued by his 11 most recent predecessors combined. According to theWhite House, the 688 commutations since the beginning of 2016 are “the most ever done by a president in a single year”—not surprising, since Obama’s commutations have been strikingly backloaded, with 79 percent coming during his last year in office and 98 percent in the second half of his second term. He shortened just one sentence during his first term.
As the chart shows below, either Obama’s conscience is weighing on him or political pressure is is winning.
According to a report from Reason:
Obama clearly is trying hard to make up for lost time. In a speech on Tuesday, Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates said there will be “many more [commutations] to come.” Wednesday White House Counsel Neil Eggleston said Obama is committed to “using his clemency authority through the remainder of his time in office.” If he maintains this month’s rate in November, December, and January, his total will be around 1,500. If he picks up the pace, he could still reach the “thousands” predicted in 2014.
Even 2,000 commutations would represent just 6.9 percent of the 29,000 or so petitions Obama has received, making him slightly more merciful than Richard Nixon by that measure. That nevertheless would represent a huge improvement from where Obama stood just six months ago.
Any time the state admits it was wrong, and innocent people are freed from their cages of oppression; it’s a win for freedom. If one life is spared the horrid fate of being caged like an animal for possessing or ingesting a plant that grows from the ground, this is good news.
However, there are tens of thousands of non-violent drug offenders locked in steel cages across this country, many of them are in for possession alone. The slow and rusty cogs of the bureaucratic leviathan can’t turn fast enough. For every non-violent drug offender the president frees, five more are thrown in. Why?
Locking up drug users has proven to be quite the profitable venture.
It is much easier to walk out on the street corner and shakedown a teenager who may have an illegal plant in his pocket than it is to examine the evidence in a rape or murder case. The so-called “Private” Prisons know this and have subsequently found their niche in this immoral war on drugs.
The term Private Prison is a farce from the get-go.
A truly Private prison would not be solely funded by taxpayer dollars. These Private prisons are nothing more than a fascist mixture of state and corporate, completely dependent upon the extortion factor of the state, i.e., taxation, as a means of their corporate sustenance.
A truly Private prison would have a negative incentive to boost its population for the simple fact that it is particularly expensive to house inmates. On the contrary, these fascist, or more aptly, corporatist prisons contractually require occupancy rates of 95%-100%.
The requirement for a 95% occupancy rate creates a de facto demand for criminals. Think about that for a second; a need or demand for people to commit crimes is created by this corporatist arrangement. The implications associated with demanding people commit crimes are horrifying.
Creating a completely immoral demand for “criminals” leads to the situation in which we find ourselves today. People, who are otherwise entirely innocent, are labeled as criminals for their personal choices and thrown in cages. We are now witnessing a vicious cycle between law enforcement, who must create and arrest criminals, and the corporatist prison system that constantly demands more prisoners.
The police and prison corporations know that without the war on drugs, this windfall of money, cars, and houses — ceases to exist.
If you want to know who profits from ruining lives and throwing marijuana users in cages, we need only look at who bribes (also known as lobbies) the politicians to keep the war on drugs alive.
Below is a list of the top five industries who need you locked in a cage for possessing a plant in order to ensure their job security.
- Police Unions: Coming in as the number one contributor to politicians for their votes to lock you in a cage for a plant are the police themselves. They risk taking massive pay cuts and losing all their expensive militarized toys without the war on drugs.
- Private Prison Corporations: No surprise here. The corporatist prison lobby is constantly pushing for stricter laws to keep their stream of tax dollars flowing.
- Alcohol and Beer Companies: These giant corporations hate competition, so why not pay millions to keep a cheaper and far safer alcohol alternative off the market?
- Pharmaceutical Corporations: The hypocrisy of marijuana remaining a Schedule 1 drug, “No Medical Use Whatsoever,” seems criminal when considering that pharmaceutical companies reproduce a chemical version of THC and are able to market and sell it as such. Ever hear of Marinol? Big pharma simply uses the force of the state to legislate out their competition; which happens to be nature.
- Prison Guard Unions: The prison guard unions are another group, so scared of losing their jobs, that they would rather see thousands of non-violent and morally innocent people thrown into cages, than look for another job.
What does it say about a society who’s resolute in enacting violence against their fellow human so they can have a job to go to in the morning?
The person who wants to ingest a substance for medical or recreational reasons is not the criminal. However, the person that would kidnap, cage, or kill someone because they have a different lifestyle is a villain on many fronts.
When does this vicious cycle end?
The good news is that the drug war’s days are numbered, especially seeing that it’s reached the White House, and they are taking action, even if it is symbolic. Evidence of this is everywhere. States are defying the federal government and refusing to lock people in cages for marijuana. Colorado and Washington served as a catalyst in a seemingly exponential awakening to the government’s immoral war.
Following suit were Oregon, D.C., and Alaska. Medical marijuana initiatives are becoming a constant part of legislative debates nationwide. We’ve even seen bills that would not only completely legalize marijuana but deregulate it entirely, like corn.
As more and more states refuse to kidnap and cage marijuana users, the drug war will continue to implode. We must be resilient in this fight.
If doing drugs bothers you, don’t do drugs. When you transition from holding an opinion — to using government violence to enforce your personal preference, you become the bad guy. Don’t be the bad guy.