Podcast 208 – “It’s Time To End The War on Drugs”


Guest speaker: Ethan Nadelmann


[NOTE: All quotations are by Ethan Nadelmann.]

“The War on Drugs, this policy of punitive prohibition, is a horror in our society, something that cannot be morally justified, cannot be justified in terms of health, can certainly not be justified in terms of public safety, that cannot be justified in terms of any kind of fiscal prudence that I’ve ever heard of.”

“The War on Drugs is a cancer in our society, in our American society and in global society.”

Ethan Nadelman“There’s never been a drug-free society, and there’s never going to be a drug-free society. We are moving increasingly into a world in which there will be ever-more psychoactive drugs available.”

“The stand-bys, you know, the old faithfuls of tobacco and alcohol and marijuana and coca cocaine and opium, they’ve been with us for thousands of years in one way or another, and they’re going to continue to be part of our society and our lives, whether we like it or not.”

“When drug treatment gets owned by the criminal justice system, drug treatment simply becomes a synonym for coerced abstinence.”

“We need to aim to cut America’s incarcerated population in half, to pick a rough number.”

“We need to get that term, over-incarceration, into the popular dialogue, into the popular language.”

“One of the definitions of power is when somebody tells you to do something, and you do it without asking why. That’s the definition of power. Somebody tells you to do it and you do it without even asking why, that’s the power of the prison-industrial complex today.”

“California used to be known as the state of higher education and is now known as the state of higher incarnation.”

“When you live in a society where one of the most powerful political forces is the organization which earns its livelihood from keeping its fellow citizens behind bars, I don’t know of any other free society in which that is the case. That’s a distortion.”

“I define recovery as getting to the point where your drug use, if you use drugs, is no longer impairing your life. … That’s the objective, to get on with your life.”

“It’s about accepting that each one of us, who have struggled with drugs, has to find their own path. And that the role of the state should certainly not be to get in the way and optimally to facilitate this.”

“That we are each sovereign over our own minds and bodies, that is the core principle that we have to keep putting out there.”


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Drug Policy ACTION Network

Drug Policy Alliance Network

Parents for Addiction Treatment and Healing

Posted in Cannabis, Culture, Education, Ethan Nadelmann, Future, War on Drugs and tagged , , , , , .

One Comment

  1. Comments from original blog page: http://www.matrixmasters.net/blogs/?p=1462

    Andy )
    thanks lorenzo – do you have anything like this, but for the opposing argument ?

    the most frustrating situation is where we have questionable policies and laws that nobody can even defend ..

    once again, many thanks for all the work you’re doing

    Auberon Barnable
    Good luck finding an opposing argument mate. Of course their policies and laws cannot be defended because these regulations fly in the face of our unalienable right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

    Looking for a rational counter-argument to the war on drugs is like seeking bodhi from a politician.

    blue collar psychedelia? personally, it’s all i know.
    regardless of such class distinctions, to me, what comes first is what one does with their stone. as an artist, simply as a practical matter, i’ve a work ethic regarding any entree’ to the stoned state. this touches upon aesthetics and all terence says about our ‘tastes’. this touches upon set and setting, and non-compulsive use. and so on.
    but further, it touches upon building, and life works. and the arc of such journey.
    many decades ago, william leahy threw me the concept of the journey motif, as a literary idea. it stuck with me, with all the ‘attached significances’ (his phrase) i may have with that. the stories of our lives aren’t just literature, to be sure, but we ought remember we write our lives in some sense every hour of every day. and so on.
    terence has talked about ‘state bounded’ conditions too. conventional reality being one itself, more than any other i’d say. by definition, it is void of transcendance. just say know indeed. once we know the difference…
    i don’t know what to say to those who aren’t “creative” and believe they have no interest or ability in bringing anything back with them from time in the sacred plane. except to say anything will do. and let such pile up. you just got to hit that first key.
    blue collar psychedelia makes me think of the film, ‘the philosopher kings’. i too am such a custodian; i clean the public library at night.
    with or without holy substances, there’s work to be done. how do we transcend the drudgery of conventional reality? (think gary snyder:) do the drudge work. wash the dishes. make the bed. cut up bristol board for drawing. prepare a new blank web page. cleanse your palette and aim yourself. that your works may become past works going forward where you want to go.
    i look at mircea eliade curiously and wonder if he went where he wanted to go…
    i look to at many past writers and artists and see where alcohol betrayed them.:
    kerouac, dylan, countless others.
    body drugs will betray your body every time.
    much cannabis is somewhat like that too. i hope for a future where it’s legality leads to an abundance of cannabis that is far more purely psychotropic than downer or speedy… i might say the same about words and pictures…

    blue collar psychedelia? allow yourself!
    get lost in thought and then make a note. bus bench, coffee shop, whereever. just don’t camp out on the toilet or your wife will take issue!

    didn’t get a single thing accomplished Lorenzo? how is that possible when there is never a moment when nothing is happening! Your own words in “notes to myself” were “…do less and be more”; so, you accomplished ‘being’ pretty darn well. Let’s not downplay the state of being by saying its goofing off.

    Yoga, meditation and tai chi have kept me in touch with the psychedelic experience when I either don’t have access or choose not to use them.

    All I need and I probably don’t need that is a yoga mat time and space to practise.

    If you listen to Nick Sands Albert Hoffmann and many of the old timers they underline the need to dedicate to a daily practise of meditation. This not only integrates into when you have a psychedelic experience but allows the psychedelic experince to be processed more efficiently after it. is over.

    My own personal experiences of meditation and having tried many styles and “techniques ” is stay away from forced concentration or any method that demands effort. The best descriptions that I have come across in my limited search are by Eckhart Tolle and J Krishnamurti. They have using the limited vehicle of words nailed down what meditation is.

    Let me also suggest that the body is primary in our experiences of life and a good physical practise such as yoga is a must if you want to experince life at a higher vibration

    sandoz tabman
    What about starting psychedelic salon meetup groups? People could pick topics or podcasts to listen to and discuss, as well as tell stories and stuff. It would probably be easy to meet in public spaces like a free room at a library or gymnasium. Might be a good way to “find the others” in our local areas, without forking over hundreds of dollars for tickets and transportation like conferences require. If it fails, at least we’d be no worse off than we are now.

    sandoz tabman
    Also, Zuma mentions custodial work… Maybe we could put together crews that would do environmental cleanup work together, like walking alongside a road or a park and spending time together picking up trash. Plenty of room for conversation while doing that, and it could give psychedelic users a good name too.

    Paul Stamets has some great ideas about using different types of mushrooms to form barriers that protect rivers from industrial cattle facility waste. I would recommend doing an interview with Paul Stamets Lorenzo, he has some good stories to tell about sacred mushroom usage, and he wrote what is probably the best field guide available on psilocybe mushrooms called “Psilocybin Mushrooms of the World”… Highly recommended.

    Matt C
    Great podcast! Those are awesome ideas sandoz tabman.

    Did I hear a wish Lorenzo….To have political leaders hear this….Sound like the tribe could make this happen by sending this podcast to the political honchos. I will be sending this out to my local and state Justices, and Representaties, and Sentators…and all their peons of assistants and secretaries.

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