Tuesday, April 19, 2005

CNN.com - High court agrees to review hallucinogenic tea case - Apr 19, 2005

In a previous entry dated 04/07/2005, "Manila's battle with the Church", I made mention about a Church in New Mexico getting into trouble for using tea laced/made with a hallucinogen i.e. hoasca tea.

Anyway, this is simply an update and goes towards showing two things.

1. The USA's current drugs policy is very ethno-centric. I made prior mention on how the Rastafarians believe that alcohol and tobacco were the White Man's drugs sent to destroy them while marijuana (Ganja) brought them into closer union with the divine spirit(s). There is some element of truth in this particularly when one views the highly destructive effects of alcohol on the Aboriginal Community in Australia (the massive welfare hurts but only by propagating the use of alcohol and the lack of incentive to work, more than anything else...guilt has its price). But at any rate, it would seem that the current permissible use of (harmful) drugs all of which have their roots in the Old World (mostly Europe).

2. The policy is seriously irrational. It seems that the only manner in which one could reconcile their drug policy is a) accept the ethno-centricity of the policy and b) the desire to draw a bright red line in a misguided attempt to 'solve' the drug problem.

It is evident that harm is not an issue here. In comparison to alcohol (4% of annual deaths) and tobacco (4.1% of annual deaths), this tea used solely for religious purposes and which the lawyers claim has no ill effects is not just mild but harmless. Even marijuana, while more dangerous per 'toke' (because smokers hold in the smoke for a longer period) is in absolute terms much much less harmful than cigarettes. A heavy user of marijuana takes about 4-5 'tokes' a day (average users apparently smoke less than 1 per day) while heavy smokers of cigarettes can go through 2-3 packs a day.

HOWEVER, on the particular facts, I think the majority opinion (6-3) may be right. I think it would set too dangerous a precedent if a religious community could use their status as a religion to bypass state laws, see the Mormon's ex-polygamy laws. So while I think in general, the drug laws ought to be changed to something similar to say the more liberal and tolerant version advocated by the Netherlands, there should not be exceptions carved out for religious groups.



At 7:51 PM, Blogger W.C. Varones said...

This is the kind of thing that makes me want to leave the Republican Party.

At 10:10 PM, Blogger Shaun Lee said...

Don't lose hope man, remember the root of the Republican Party, more than 70% of you are centralist (Republicans For Choice).

As you said, it's been highjacked by extremist conservatives.


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