Prohibition – Psychedelic Frontier http://psychedelicfrontier.com make the most of your dose Wed, 16 May 2018 11:00:06 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.5 48719013 My Interview with Rick Doblin, Psychedelic Pioneer http://psychedelicfrontier.com/interview-rick-doblin-founder-maps/ http://psychedelicfrontier.com/interview-rick-doblin-founder-maps/#comments Tue, 01 Jul 2014 13:33:02 +0000 http://psychedelicfrontier.com/?p=3018 My Interview with Rick Doblin, Psychedelic Pioneer

I recently had the good fortune of meeting my psychedelic hero, Rick Doblin, the founder and president of the Multidisciplinary Association of Psychedelic Studies. What’s more, he graciously agreed to an on-camera interview. I asked him about the origins of MAPS, the Russian ban of methadone in Crimean addiction clinics, New Zealand’s new regulatory framework for legal highs, MAPS’ recent partnership with the military to research MDMA as a treatment for PTSD, and much more.

My favorite part is when Rick tells the story of taking LSD on his twenty-first birthday. He heard a siren and became convinced that the Russians were bombing Tampa, and that he was about to die. The story of what he decided to do with his remaining time on Earth is both hilarious and touching. You can find that clip in text format at the bottom of the page, or in the video at 42:30.

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Sasha Shulgin Compares Drug War to Persecution of Galileo http://psychedelicfrontier.com/sasha-shulgin-compares-drug-war-persecution-galileo/ http://psychedelicfrontier.com/sasha-shulgin-compares-drug-war-persecution-galileo/#respond Mon, 07 Apr 2014 11:42:41 +0000 http://psychedelicfrontier.com/?p=2011 Sasha Shulgin Compares Drug War to Persecution of Galileo

I was so struck by this passage from Alexander Shulgin’s book Tihkal (Tryptamines I Have Known and Loved) that I had to share it here:

 

Professor David Nutt has made a similar comparison, describing the UN’s ban on psychedelics as “the worst case of scientific censorship since the Catholic Church banned the works of Galileo.”

You can read the second half of Tihkal (the chemical section) on Erowid, or better yet on isomerdesign.com where it is more accurate and more user-friendly. But the first half of the book remains copyrighted, so if you’d like to read the whole thing, buy a copy! It’s one of the classics of psychedelic literature. Sasha and Ann Shulgin have done more to advance the chemical understanding of tryptamines and phenethylamines than anyone else in history. They are heroes to millions of psychonauts thanks to their many years of courageous self-experimentation and their dedication to sharing the truth, no matter what the cost.

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Reclaiming the Prohibition Debate, Part 6—Asking Questions http://psychedelicfrontier.com/reclaiming-prohibition-debate-6-asking-questions/ http://psychedelicfrontier.com/reclaiming-prohibition-debate-6-asking-questions/#respond Mon, 17 Mar 2014 11:38:36 +0000 http://psychedelicfrontier.com/?p=2087 Reclaiming the Prohibition Debate, Part 6—Asking Questions

This is the conclusion of a six-part series about the Prohibition debate. You can check out Parts 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5, though they are not necessary for understanding this post. In Part 5 I discussed cognitive liberty as a basic human right, and in this final section I review the questions we should be asking about drug policy.

Legality does not constitute endorsement

Prohibition supporters often say that repealing prohibition would “send the wrong message” to America’s youth. But the legislative body is not in the business of sending messages. We do not pass laws to communicate how people should be living their lives, but to forbid certain aggressive behaviors that harm others.

Opting not to punish a certain behavior is a far cry from “endorsement” – it just means that the behavior does not violate the rights of others to such an extent that it warrants punishment.

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What is Cognitive Liberty? http://psychedelicfrontier.com/cognitive-liberty/ http://psychedelicfrontier.com/cognitive-liberty/#respond Mon, 03 Mar 2014 12:30:48 +0000 http://psychedelicfrontier.com/?p=2030 What is Cognitive Liberty?

This is the fifth in a six-part series about how the Prohibition debate is tainted by our unquestioned assumptions. You can check out Parts 1, 2, 3, and 4, but they are not necessary for understanding this post.

Politicians, the media, and everyday citizens tend to frame the prohibition debate as “Should we legalize marijuana?” This language reveals entrenched cultural views not only about drugs, but about the role of government and the freedoms “allowed” to the private citizen.

“Legalize” implies that the role of the government is to selectively allow some things. It isn’t – the role of law is to disallow certain behaviors, as exceptions, because they violate the rights of others. Every behavior is fair game until it is outlawed by a democratic process. So a government does not “legalize” anything — it just takes a behavior off of the prohibited list when that behavior is shown not to violate the rights of others.

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The War on Sweets http://psychedelicfrontier.com/war-sweets/ http://psychedelicfrontier.com/war-sweets/#respond Mon, 03 Feb 2014 12:40:58 +0000 http://psychedelicfrontier.com/?p=1898 The War on Sweets

This is the fourth in a six-part series about how the Prohibition debate is tainted by our assumptions and prejudices. You can check out Parts 1, 2, and 3, but they are not necessary for understanding this post.

We often focus on what would happen if cannabis were legalized. This is a terrible way to frame the debate. It’s worthwhile to consider the effects of any legislative act, of course, but we focus way too much on societal effects and not enough on human rights. We consider the ends at the expense of the means.

An example will illustrate my point. Suppose a society outlaws unhealthy foods and mandates exercise from every citizen under threat of imprisonment. (Suspend your skepticism and assume for the moment that a majority of citizens would support this legislation.)

Forty years later, this is the new normal: some people are healthier, but obesity and heart disease remain major problems due to rampant illegal snacking.

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The Power of Words http://psychedelicfrontier.com/power-words-language-prohibition/ http://psychedelicfrontier.com/power-words-language-prohibition/#comments Mon, 20 Jan 2014 12:45:15 +0000 http://psychedelicfrontier.com/?p=1709 The Power of Words

This is the third in a six-part series about how the Prohibition debate is tainted by our assumptions and prejudices. You can check out Parts 1 and 2, but they are not necessary for understanding this post.

Those who rule symbols, rule us. —Korzybski

Consider the power of words. If we uncritically accept the state-sponsored language, the DEA’s job is to enforce laws that apply to illicit substances. But a humanitarian perspective may sound more like this: the DEA robs and kidnaps individuals who possess, create, or sell some substances, almost none of which are especially poisonous when compared to commonly available items like bleach or gasoline. The DEA is not alone here, but works in conjunction with the state and federal legislatures that draft the laws, the courts that uphold the laws, and local police departments across the country, among other agencies.

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The Gravity of Law: Taking Human Rights Seriously http://psychedelicfrontier.com/gravity-law-human-rights-prohibition/ http://psychedelicfrontier.com/gravity-law-human-rights-prohibition/#respond Thu, 09 Jan 2014 12:30:35 +0000 http://psychedelicfrontier.com/?p=1693 The Gravity of Law: Taking Human Rights Seriously

In Part 1 of this six-part series, I discussed the importance of comparing terms and assumptions before debating drug policy. In this post, I re-examine the nature of law and our disturbingly casual attitude towards coercion and punishment.

The primary function of any government is to protect its constituents’ human rights. The secondary goal is to uphold the smooth functioning of society. Secondary functions include zoning laws, market regulations, welfare programs, and tax collection—these activities don’t protect individual rights per se, but they (arguably) keep society running smoothly without excessively infringing upon our rights.

Not everyone will agree with my definition of government’s functions, or the way I have ordered them, but that’s okay – the whole point of outlining our fundamental beliefs is to identify where exactly we diverge in opinion, and why. In my operating definition, protecting human rights is the prime function of government.

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Myths and Lies of Prohibition http://psychedelicfrontier.com/reclaiming-prohibition-debate-1-myths-lies/ http://psychedelicfrontier.com/reclaiming-prohibition-debate-1-myths-lies/#respond Mon, 06 Jan 2014 12:30:17 +0000 http://psychedelicfrontier.com/?p=1670 Myths and Lies of Prohibition

I have already examined the psychology of Prohibition and our neurotic desire for control. In this six-part series, I focus on the skewed language and unquestioned assumptions that taint the Prohibition debate.

Language always lies… We proceed from one fiction to another, every time we open our mouths to speak.

—Robert Anton Wilson

Language hypnotizes us. We are raised with the phrases and conventions of our culture, and no matter how insidious or wrong-headed they prove to be—no matter how independent-minded we pretend to be—these ideas carry great power over us for our entire lives. When we name things, imbuing them with connotations of good and bad, approved and taboo, we make them real. Not objectively real, but real in our minds—which for human beings is practically the same thing.

When we act as though our concepts are real—as though currency had value, as though laws had power, and as though “sin” and “vice” and “crime” were more than just socially disapproved behaviors—we make them so.

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Uruguay approves world’s first national market for cannabis http://psychedelicfrontier.com/uruguay-approves-worlds-first-national-market-for-cannabis/ http://psychedelicfrontier.com/uruguay-approves-worlds-first-national-market-for-cannabis/#comments Wed, 11 Dec 2013 16:05:18 +0000 http://psychedelicfrontier.com/?p=1848 Uruguay approves world’s first national market for cannabis

The first domino has fallen. In a momentous blow to the War on Drugs, Uruguay has passed a law that regulates rather than criminalizes the cannabis trade, from cultivation to consumption. Countries around the world will be watching to see how this social experiment turns out. When this strategy is shown to reduce crime and violence without leading to the collapse of civilization, it will fuel momentum for the end of Prohibition across the world. Kudos to Uruguay for taking this pioneering first step towards sensible drug policy!

This infographic by the Transnational Institute summarizes the new law.

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Control Freaks: America and its Uncontrolled Substances http://psychedelicfrontier.com/control-freaks-america-uncontrolled-substances/ http://psychedelicfrontier.com/control-freaks-america-uncontrolled-substances/#comments Tue, 26 Nov 2013 18:38:36 +0000 http://psychedelicfrontier.com/?p=1741 Control Freaks: America and its Uncontrolled Substances

I’ve analyzed the psychology of Prohibition before, concluding that the War on Drugs is a deceit maintained by the national ego. In this article I take a deeper look at how the desire for control affects our laws and language. This is a prelude to my six-part essay on language called Reclaiming the Prohibition Debate.

None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.  

—Goethe

Humans like to feel in control. This is not always a bad thing, but it becomes problematic when we are so obsessed with the illusion of control that we forego the real thing.

The war on drugs is a lost war, and worse, a sham intended to placate us. This desperate bid to maintain the appearance of law and order does not benefit us; it benefits the prison-industrial complex (now a lucrative private business, about as anti-humanitarian as a business can get), police departments (who use the War on Drugs to seize property and justify their bloated budgets), pharmaceutical companies (who oppose public access to cheap, effective, and un-patentable chemicals), and of course drug cartels.

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