Fracking Worse Than You Think: Delusional America and Special Interest Gangs

fracking water

Mam, your water’s just fine, a pungent gasoline smell is normal nowadays. news.nationalgeographic.com

A recent peer reviewed study has revealed that greenhouse gas emissions from drilling and fracking are 50% worse than previously thought. According to the Harvard study US fossil-fuel-industry methane leaks are dramatically higher than the official estimates have claimed. Not surprisingly, the coal seam gas industry in Australia (one of the largest in the world) has rejected the study outright.

The report, published in the US journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, directly challenges the EPA’s decision to cut its methane emission (produced from fossil fuel extraction) estimates by 25% for 1990 – 2011. The report states that:

We find that [methane] data from across North America instead indicates the need for a much larger adjustment of the opposite sign

Fracking is altering the climate far faster than we first thought. However, before we continue with fracking, let’s first understand the difference between Australia’s coal seam gas and America’s natural gas.

Coal Seam Gas Vs. Natural Gas:

As an end-use product, coal seam gas is the same as natural gas...The only difference between CSG and natural gas is in the way that it is formed by nature. CSG is composed predominantly of methane and small percentages of nitrogen and carbon dioxide. The coal seam is both the source and the reservoir, which is different from the sandstone reservoirs of conventional oil and shale gas. As coal forms over millions of years, large quantities of methane-rich gas are generated and trapped in coal seams by water and ground pressure. CSG is trapped in the coal in tiny fractures, or cleats, under hydrostatic pressure. CSG is extracted at low pressures from coal.
Shale gas is methane held within shale layers, rather than a coal seam. Shale is much harder than coal and always requires fracturing ('fracking') to allow the gas to flow.
fracking graphic

Seems pretty technical boys, just throw in all the chemicals you can’t pronounce. http://www.usatoday.com

While natural gas produces less CO2 than coal, the savings become irrelevant when considering the amount of methane that is sprayed into the atmosphere from methane leaks at well sites and while transporting the fuel. The reason for all the worry is that methane traps about 20 times more heat over a 100 year period compared to CO2, despite remaining in the atmosphere for less time.

Related Article: What is the Solution to Smog? A Vacuum! 

A natural gas addiction has infected the U.S. with fracking spreading across the country like a viral epidemic. Fracking is the process of harvesting natural gas, or shale gas.  It involves mixing dangerous chemicals with large quantities of water and sand and injecting the mixture into shale wells at extremely high pressure. It is for this reason that fracking is believed to be poisoning well water all across the U.S. and in other areas of the world. According to the NRDC (Natural Resources Defence Council):

Over the last decade, the industry has drilled thousands of new wells in the Rocky Mountain region and in the South. It is expanding operations in the eastern United States as well, setting its sights most recently on a 600-mile-long rock formation called the Marcellus Shale, which stretches from West Virginia to western New York.  Fracking is a suspect in polluted drinking water in Arkansas, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, West Virginia and Wyoming, where residents have reported changes in water quality or quantity following fracturing operations.

fracking U.S.

The U.S. is ripe for the fracking! http://www.geomore.com

Immense wells of shale gas are spread across most of the U.S. mainland.  These sites each undergo several fracking pumps. Although the media portrays natural gas as the new and improved, next-gen, problem free energy source, it couldn’t be further from the truth. Pipeline incidents and injuries abound and reports of polluted drinking water continue to pop up across the nation with greater frequency. Studies have directly linked shale gas fracking to:

The EPA still has not issued its report on the effect of fracking on drinking water. Despite all of the science pleading with us to reconsider our actions, fracking continues unimpeded.

Related Article: A Cheaper Alternative to Pollution

 

Fracking Denial and Delusions

By far the worst issue surrounding fracking is that as a whole, we still seem to have no clue that fracking is even taking place, let alone destroying the water supply and decimating the health of 1000’s of people as well as the land.  I suppose this isn’t surprising though as many nations are just as clueless about climate change. Afterall, climate denial is a real thing, actively and directly supported by a large number of the 90 institutions that are responsible for climate change since the industrial revolution. So, why shouldn’t the natural gas and fracking industries involve the same type of nonsense?

 

fracking climate

Superhuman denial abilties…
http://www.frankejames.com/

The truth is that human beings, especially us good ol’ Americans, will buy into anything given the opportunity. People are often fooled into passionate belief, and the denial campaigns and propaganda of billion dollar industries do a great deal of fooling.

Related Article: Climate Change too Fast for Evolution 

Let’s consider climate change again: Many Americans continue to believe that climate change is either a hoax or an over-dramatized issue.  This ignorance is a wrench in the spokes of global progress, especially in light of increasingly volatile weather patternsincreasing extinctions in land and marine lifewarnings from scientists across the globe; and the potential loss of trillions of dollars due to the costly effects of climate change.  This is cognitive dissonance in its purest form: we know the facts, but we are refusing to change.

 

Crony Capitalism and Special Interest

Despite America’s lack of progress in reducing emissions, most Americans’ desire a green, renewable energy policy. This applies to fracking as well; a large number of Americans are completely against it. Unfortunately though, oil, coal, and gas companies are at the top of the special interest dole list.

Special interest comes in the form of better government subsidies, tax cuts, court rulings, and allowances. We all know it takes place, and it has been widely practiced and wildly accepted. It is called crony capitalism, and it has been an an ongoing, yet somehow overlooked problem in America.

Related Article: Team Red = Team Blue

fracking george bush

No. Well, for the entertainment value, yes. bigdanblogger.blogspot.com

When Bush appointed Dick Cheney to lead an energy task force to revolutionize America’s energy policy, Cheney quickly organized a private meeting with fossil fuel giants at the head of the fracking movement. Companies such as Exxon Mobil, Conoco, Shell Oil, BP America and Chevron made the top of the list.  Today, these companies are still given billions of dollars in tax cuts and subsidies despite raking in hundreds of billions of dollars in private profit. According to PBS:

In 2005, Bush, who has received more from the oil and gas industry than any other politician, signed an energy bill from the Republican-controlled Congress that gave $14.5 billion in tax breaks for oil, gas, nuclear power and coal companies. The Energy Policy Act of 2005, which was based on recommendations by Cheney’s energy task force, also rolled back regulations the oil industry considered burdensome, including exemptions from some clean water laws. All of this transpired only one year after Congress passed a bill that included a tax cut for domestic manufacturing that was expected to save energy companies at least $3.6 billion over a decade.

During the time that Bush and Cheney, both of whom are former oil executives, have been in the White House, the oil and gas industry has spent $393.2 million on lobbying the federal government. This places the industry among the top nine in lobbying expenditures. The industry has also contributed a substantial $82.1 million to federal candidates, parties and political action committees, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. 80 percent of the industry’s contributions have gone to Republicans.

It is clear that special interest is taking place and is supporting companies in defiance of America’s health, wealth, and overall best interest. The truth is that a complete multi-industry infiltration of the U.S. government has taken place. Men and women with stake in the fracking, agriculture, pharmaceuticals and more are casting votes and making decisions that directly benefit the industries and leave citizens stripped of their money and power.

 

Monsanto the Usurper

The most obvious example of a corporation infiltrating the U.S. government is that of Monsanto. Monsanto, in case you didn’t know, is responsible for destroying thousands of local farms, using known harmful herbicides, pesticides, and fungicides, using chemicals responsible for colony collapse disorders in bees, and much more.

Related Article: The Senate is Useless and Should be Dismantled

Monsanto and Monsanto products are banned in several countries.  Numerous petitions to cut government ties to Monsanto have circulated, yet to no avail.  I wonder, why they didn’t succeed?

First, follow this link to view a list of 71 senators who voted against your right to know if what you are eating is GMO. Oh, and that’s despite 90% of the population saying they would be in favor of mandatory labeling.

fracking monsanto us

Whoa, there must be some huge cracks in the U.S. government for these people to slip through. https://www.facebook.com/GrowFoodNotLawns

Next, check out the following list of U.S. government/Monsanto ties and the answer will be obvious.

David Beier 
MONSANTO POSITION: Head of Government Affairs for Genetech, (Now Monsanto)
FEDERAL POSITION: Chief Domestic Policy Advisor to Vice President Gore

William Conlon:
MONSANTO POSITION: Worked for Monsanto’s Legal Team
FEDERAL POSITION: Department of Justice

Sam Skinner:
MONSANTO POSITION: Worked on Monsanto’s Legal Team
FEDERAL POSITION: Department of Justice

Robert Fraley:
MONSANTO POSITION: Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer
FEDERAL POSITION: Serves as advisor in public agencies, including the USDA, among others

Michael A. Friedman:
MONSANTO POSITION: Senior Vice President for Clinical Affairs at G.D. Searle &Co. (Merged with Monsanto)
FEDERAL POSITION: Acting Commissioner of the FDA

Marcia Hale
MONSANTO POSITION: Director of International Government Affairs
FEDERAL POSITION: Assistant to President Clinton and Director of Government Affairs

Arthur Hull Hayes:
MONSANTO POSITION: Consultant to Searle’s (merged with Monsanto) Public Relations Firm
FEDERAL POSITION: Previously was FDA Commissioner

John L. Henshaw:
MONSANTO POSITION: Director of ESH Quality & Compliance
FEDERAL POSITION: Senior Advisor to U.S. Secretary of Labor

Rob Horsch:
MONSANTO POSITION: Vice President of Product and Technology Cooperation
FEDERAL POSITION: Advisor to the National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy

Michael Kantor:
MONSANTO POSITION: Board of Directors, also represented Monsanto as a lawyer
FEDERAL POSITION: U.S. Secretary of Commerce

Gwendolyn S. King:
MONSANTO POSITION: Monsanto Board Member
FEDERAL POSITION: Commissioner of SSA 1989-1992

Richard J. Mahoney:
MONSANTO POSITION: CEO of Monsanto for 14 years
FEDERAL POSITION: Serves as Director of U.S. Soviet, Japanese and Korean Trade Councils, a Member of the U.S. Government Policy Committee

Margaret Miller:
MONSANTO POSITION: Oversaw the Approval of rBGH, was a top Monsanto scientist
FEDERAL POSITION: In, 1991, Margaret was appointed Deputy Director of the FDA

George Poste:
MONSANTO POSITION: Sits on Monsanto’s Board of Directors, previously a Monsanto Animal Specialist
FEDERAL POSITION: In 2002, Poste was appointed head of Bioterrorism division of Homeland Security

William D. Ruckelshaus:
MONSANTO POSITION: Member of the Monsanto Board of Directors
FEDERAL POSITION: In 1970, he was the first Chief Administrator for the EPA, later the acting director of the FBI, then Deputy U.S. Attorney General

Donald Rumsfeld:
MONSANTO POSITION: Previous CEO of Searle (merged with Monsanto), he successfully had ASPARTAME legalized while in that position.
FEDERAL POSITION: Appointed to Secretary of Defense in 1975, then appointed to Secretary of Defense again in 2002

Suzanne Sechen:
MONSANTO POSITION: Worked on Monsanto-funded rGBH in connection with her graduate work at Cornell University
FEDERAL POSITION: FDA Reviewer on Scientific Data

Robert B. Shapiro:
MONSANTO POSITION: Previously the President and CEO of Monsanto, Chairman and CEO of Nutrasweet, and Chairman and CEO of Monsanto
FEDERAL POSITION: Previously Served as President’s Advisory Committee on Trade Policy and on the White House Domestic Policy Review of Industrial Innovation

Islam Siddiqui:
MONSANTO POSITION: Former Vice President of CropLife America, which represented Monsanto
FEDERAL POSITION: Chief Agricultural Negotiator for the Office of the Trade Representative

Michael Taylor:
MONSANTO POSITION: Former Attorney for Monsanto for seven years, previous h Head of the Monsanto Washington D.C. Office
FEDERAL POSITION: Former FDA Deputy Commission for Policy. In 2010, appointed by the FDA as a senior advisor of the FDA Commissioner

Dr. Charles Thomas:
MONSANTO POSITION: Previous Monsanto Researcher in charge of the Manhattan Project, creating the atomic bomb. Later, became Monsanto’s Chairman of the board.
FEDERAL POSITION: Previously Served as a consultant to the National Security Council and as a U.S. Representative of the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Commission

Clarence Thomas:
MONSANTO POSITION: Former lawyer for Monsanto, a notorious chemical polluter. Thomas would later cast the decisive vote in 2000 on the Supreme Court, ratifying the stolen election that put George W. Bush Jr. into office
FEDERAL POSITION: In 1991, was appointed to the U.S. Supreme Court

Anne Veneman:
MONSANTO POSITION: Previously served on the Board of Directors of Calgene, a Monsanto Biotech subsidiary
FEDERAL POSITION: In 2001, was appointed Head of the USDA

Jack Watson:
MONSANTO POSITION: Former Staff Lawyer with Monsanto in Washington D.C.
FEDERAL POSITION: Chief of Staff to President Carter

Seth Waxman:
MONSANTO POSITION: Hired by Monsanto to prosecute two Farmers who fought against Monsanto’s Seed Policies in 2002
FEDERAL POSITION: Former U.S. Solicitor General

Dr. Virginia Weldon:
MONSANTO POSITION: Retired Senior Vice President for Public Policy at Monsanto
FEDERAL POSITION: Previously, was a member of the FDA’s Metabolism & Endocrine Advisory Committee

Rufus Yerxa:
MONSANTO POSITION: Former Chief Counsel at Monsanto
FEDERAL POSITION: In 1993, was nominated as U.S. Deputy to the World Trade Organization

Toby Moffett:
MONSANTO POSITION: Monsanto Consultant
FEDERAL POSITION: U.S. Congressman (D)

Dennis DeConcini:
MONSANTO POSITION: Monsanto Legal Counsel
FEDERAL POSITION: U.S. Senator (D)

Josh King:
MONSANTO POSITION: Director, International Government Affairs
FEDERAL POSITION: White House Communications (Clinton)

Carol Tucker-Forman:
MONSANTO POSITION: Monsanto Lobbyist
FEDERAL POSITION: White House Appointed Consumer Advisor (Clinton)

Linda Fisher:
MONSANTO POSITION: Vice President, Government & Public Affairs
FEDERAL POSITION: Deputy Administrator EPA (Clinton, Bush)

Lidia Watrud:
MONSANTO POSITION: Manger, New Technologies
FEDERAL POSITION: USDA, EPA (Clinton, Bush, Obama)

Hillary Clinton:
MONSANTO POSITION: Rose Law Firm, Monsanto Counsel
FEDERAL POSITION: U.S. Senator (D), Secretary of State (Obama)

Roger Beachy:
MONSANTO POSITION: Director, Monsanto Danforth Center
FEDERAL POSITION: Director USDA, NIFA (Obama)

 

How to Patch a Sinking Ship

It appears that industries spanning every sector, including fracking, agriculture, pharmaceuticals and more are playing a game with the U.S. government, swapping players each season for their own sake, not mine and yours. When congress, the congress of the people, stops acting in the people’s best interest we have a serious problem. Right now we are in the heart of the danger zone. What are we to do?

permaculture fracking system

So, let’s make this happen immediately. shadesofgreeninc.org

In a capitalistic society you are a consumer first and foremost.  A capitalistic society feeds on your spending, and it feeds you with the sweet satisfaction of ‘things.’  You have power in your purchases; use your buying power to support sustainability-minded companies. If companies are getting away with infiltrating and orchestrating sections of the government, then why not make sure they are excellent companies willing to appease, not disease the masses.

Buy local, support the little guy. Sure, it may sometimes be more expensive, but try not spending your money on a few of your monthly non-essentials and you’d be surprised how quickly your savings add up.

Related Article: Income Inequality in America

Become more independent and deplete your dependence on ‘the system’ by making purchases with awarenessFind satisfaction in the little things and start wanting less. Become more aware of how each and every decision you make affects the rest of the world.  Imagine that everyone else on planet Earth is you; what effect would you like to have on yourself?

Grow a garden, go foraging for food, or keep honeybees. Learn about permaculture and begin practicing a zero-waste lifestyle. It’s way easier than you think, and is actually really fun.

Arguably the most important thing you can do is vote. Contact your elected officials  and tell them what you think. Demand that they act as your representative, not a rogue speaker. Help fight fracking by joining organizations that fight to stop it.

Educate yourself and spread awareness about issues that are important to you.

Consider. Constantly consider the effect you are causing.

 

 

 

Source:

http://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/harvard-fracking-study-rings-methane-alarm-bells-in-australia-20131126-2y87s.html#ixzz2lu8UBq6R

http://www.sbs.com.au/news/article/2013/03/12/factbox-csg-australia

http://epa.gov/climatechange/ghgemissions/gases/ch4.html

http://www.dartgas.com/content/Document/Factsheets/What%20is%20CSG.pdf

http://www.nrdc.org/energy/gasdrilling/

http://www.nature.com/news/is-fracking-behind-contamination-in-wyoming-groundwater-1.11543

http://www.nicholas.duke.edu/news/radioactive-shale-gas-contaminants-found-at-wastewater-discharge-site

http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2012/04/fracking-could-cause-elevated-levels-of-air-pollutants-near-gas-wells/256158/

http://www.news.cornell.edu/stories/2012/03/reproductive-problems-death-animals-exposed-fracking

http://www.npr.org/2012/01/05/144694550/man-made-quakes-blame-fracking-and-drilling

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/blogpost/post/monsanto-petition-tells-obama-cease-fda-ties-to-monsanto/2012/01/30/gIQAA9dZcQ_blog.html

http://www.businessinsider.com/epa-data-links-groundwater-contamination-fracking-2012-10

http://www.dangersoffracking.com/

http://www2.epa.gov/hfstudy

http://www.fractracker.org/map/

http://www.climatecentral.org/news/americans-uninformed-about-fracking-says-new-study-16762

http://www.pewresearch.org/2006/02/28/both-reds-and-blues-go-green-on-energy/

http://www.pbs.org/now/shows/347/oil-politics.html

http://www.organicconsumers.org/gefood/countrieswithbans.cfm

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/blogpost/post/monsanto-petition-tells-obama-cease-fda-ties-to-monsanto/2012/01/30/gIQAA9dZcQ_blog.html

http://www.organicconsumers.org/articles/article_27635.cfm

http://justlabelit.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/Mellman-Survey-Results.pdf

http://www.monsanto.com/whoweare/pages/robert-fraley-bio.aspx

http://organicconsumers.org/monsanto/revolvedoor.cfm

http://www.rense.com/general33/legal.htm

http://www.aiard.org/meetings/2004forum/horsch.htm

http://www.monsanto.com/whoweare/pages/gwendolyn-king-bio.aspx

http://www.nytimes.com/1983/08/02/business/talking-business-with-mahoney-of-monsanto-farm-subsidy-complications.html

http://organicconsumers.org/monsanto/revolvedoor.cfm http://www.gao.gov/assets/200/196503.pdf

https://webapp4.asu.edu/directory/person/629659

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Donald_Rumsfeld#Career_in_government_.281962.E2.80.931977.29

http://www.gao.gov/assets/200/196503.pdf

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_B._Shapiro

http://www.gao.gov/assets/200/196503.pdf

http://www.nap.edu/booksearch.php?booksearch=1&record_id=4548&term=monsanto&chapter=338-353

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/07/supreme-court-monsanto-seeds_n_1946361.html

http://www.organicconsumers.org/corp/veneman.cfm

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/20/business/justices-signal-a-monsanto-edge-in-patent-case.html?_r=0

http://beckerexhibits.wustl.edu/mowihsp/bios/weldon.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rufus_Yerxa

http://www.organicconsumers.org/corp/foremancfa.cfm

http://one.gaslandthemovie.com/take-action/contact-elected-officials

 

 

 

https://wondergressive.com/news/90-companies-responsible-climate-change/

https://wondergressive.com/news/fooling-people-into-passionate-belief/

https://wondergressive.com/news/warning-weather-hazards-ahead/

https://wondergressive.com/news/unprecedented-changes-and-extinctions-occurring-in-marine-life/

https://wondergressive.com/news/climate-change-too-fast-for-evolution/

https://wondergressive.com/news/costly-climate-changes/

https://wondergressive.com/news/ask-an-astrobiologist-global-warming-and-what-to-expect/

https://wondergressive.com/news/indiana-blue-laws-exemplify-crony-capitalism-time-to-punish-politicians/

https://wondergressive.com/news/mystery-of-the-dyingdisappearing-honeybees-solved/

https://wondergressive.com/news/bowman-monsanto-court-case/

https://wondergressive.com/news/afraid-to-wake-up-conquering-fear-and-living-the-lives-we-want/

https://wondergressive.com/news/the-wonderful-healthier-life-changing-and-life-lengthening-world-of-fasting/

https://wondergressive.com/news/awareness-and-dealing-with-rejection/

https://wondergressive.com/news/edible-landscapes/

https://wondergressive.com/news/healthy-honey-bees/

War on Drugs Farce Continues Unabated

In unsurprising news, the War on Drugs continues to be farcical disgrace. In the most recent example of ineptitude and futility, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime has released a report about an unprecedented rise in the development of new psychoactive substances (NPS). They also admit that the new illicit substances can actually be more dangerous than the ones the US has been attempting to eradicate for decades.

The UNODC reports:

 “This is an alarming drug problem – but the drugs are legal. Sold openly, including via the internet, NPS, which have not been tested for safety, can be far more dangerous than traditional drugs. Street names, such as “spice”, “meow-meow” and “bath salts” mislead young people into believing that they are indulging in low-risk fun. Given the almost infinite scope to alter the chemical structure of NPS, new formulations are outpacing efforts to impose international control. While law enforcement lags behind, criminals have been quick to tap into this lucrative market. The adverse effects and addictive potential of most of these uncontrolled substances are at best poorly understood.”

The irony is that if drugs like marijuana, cocaine and opium were legal and regulated, these new designer drugs probably would never have been created. After all, why buy a substance that can imitate a pot high when you can just pick up some pot? Keeping these drugs illegal ensures a market for alternatives, regardless of how much more dangerous they may be.

The UNODC even admits that there is no way to control these new creations because of the sheer complexity of their chemical structures. However, this won’t stop governments from trying to eliminate these new drugs by using force, the only tool they know. Over 40 states have enacted bans on synthetic cannabinoids alone. This futile game of Whack-a-Drug-Mole goes on.

The War on Drugs exacerbates the problems of illicit substances because it artificially lowers the supply, but can do nothing about the demand. Oriana Zill and Lowell Bergman of PBS’ FRONTLINE “War on Drugs” special explain:

“What keeps the drug industry going is its huge profit margins. Producing drugs is a very cheap process. Like any commodities business the closer you are to the source the cheaper the product. Processed cocaine is available in Colombia for $1500 dollars per kilo and sold on the streets of America for as much as $66,000 a kilo (retail).  Heroin costs $2,600/kilo in Pakistan, but can be sold on the streets of America for $130,000/kilo (retail). And synthetics like  methamphetamine  are often even cheaper to manufacture costing approximately $300 to $500 per kilo to produce in clandestine labs in the US and abroad and sold on US streets for up to $60,000/kilo (retail).”

There is intense competition to sell such a profitable product. The real, underlying problem with illegal drugs isn’t that they are dangerous—alcohol and tobacco are plenty dangerous– it’s that disputes are solved with gang violence rather than corporate lawsuits. It’s not as if Gang A can call the police or file a legal complaint when Gang B does something unseemly. A legal judicial framework is necessary to eliminate the violence now associated with the drug trade. After all, the same brutality was seen during America’s failed experiment with Prohibition in the 1920s when rival mob bosses were fighting for control over hooch. Alcohol is once again legal: When was the last time Coors and Anheuser-Busch had a violent turf war?

Like Prohibition in the 20s, the immense profitability of illicit substances has lead to an explosion in crime. In Mexico alone, drug-related violence claimed the lives of an estimated 60,000 people since 2006. Especially hard hit are journalists who try to shed light on the activity of the cartels. Mexico is the fourth most dangerous country for reporters, ranking behind only Syria, Somalia, and Pakistan. Over 50 have died or disappeared in the past seven years. In 2012, the bodies of two mutilated corpses were found tied up and dangling from a pedestrian bridge in Nuevo Laredo. A sign above them threatens:

“This is going to happen to all of those posting funny things on the Internet. You better fucking pay attention. I’m about to get you.”

Whereas Samsung and Apple intimidate each other through legal action, drug cartels rely on more visceral tactics.

For all that drug war proponents get wrong about the evils of illicit substances, they have inadvertently stumbled onto a profound truth: Marijuana is indeed a gateway drug. However, rather than being an inevitable rung on the ladder to harder drugs, pot is instead almost universally a person’s first entryway into the black market. It teaches people how to find drug dealers and how to negotiate with them. It teaches them the rules of underground markets and how to avoid the police. It teaches and constantly reinforces a contempt for authority.

Some do use this information to seek out new highs, but nowhere near the amount that drug warriors would have one fear. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, 12th-graders overwhelmingly prefer the softer stuff. The highest level of use in 2012 was alcohol, with 41.5% reporting that they had partaken in the past month. The second highest rate was marijuana with 22.9% having toked in the past 30 days. After that the usage rates nosedive: 1.1% for cocaine, .5% for methamphetamine, and .3% for heroin.

Exactly like Prohibition in the 1920s, current drug policy actively makes drug use more dangerous than it would be otherwise. For most high school students, it is dramatically easier to buy pot rather than alcohol for the blindingly simple reason that drug dealers don’t check for IDs. Another sinister aspect of prohibition is the lack of quality control. Pure coke or heroin can be cut with myriad substances in order to stretch the dealer’s supply and increase profits. Often these drugs are mixed with harmless products like baking soda, but not always. Dealers around the country have recently been cutting their heroin with fentanyl, a synthetic painkiller. The combination is extremely potent and often deadly. Since 2006, hundreds of deaths in Chicago alone have been attributed to this potentiality lethal combination.

By keeping business deals securely in the black market, drug prohibition ensures that users are at the whim of their providers. They certainly can’t call the cops if a dealer spikes his supply. Their only real recourse is to either shut their mouths or try to deal out some street justice, which only further exacerbates the problems of prohibition.

It’s time to end the damaging and pointless War on Drugs. While we’re at it, maybe we can end all wars against nouns. The War on Poverty and the War on Terror don’t seem to be terribly successful either, do they?

 

Sources:

http://www.unodc.org/unodc/en/frontpage/2013/June/2013-world-drug-report-stability-in-use-of-traditional-drugs-alarming-rise-in-new-psychoactive-substances.html

http://www.ncsl.org/issues-research/justice/synthetic-drug-threats.aspx

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/drugs/special/math.html

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/mexico-deadly-journalists-targeted-cartels-article-1.1334310

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-10681249

http://www.drugabuse.gov/related-topics/trends-statistics/monitoring-future/trends-in-prevalence-various-drugs

http://www.buffalonews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20130607/CITYANDREGION/130609332/1002