New information has come out in the Trayvon Martin tragedy. The dead child’s autopsy shows the presence of marijuana in blood and urine. Let’s start with some detail: “The [marijuana readings] are so low as to almost certainly not be connected to recent intoxication: 1.5 nanograms of THC were found as well as 7.3 nanograms of THC-COOH, a metabolite of THC that can stay in the system for weeks after cannabis has been smoked. Immediately after inhaling, THC levels typically rise to 100 to 200 nanograms per milliter of blood, although there can be a great deal of variation.” Metabolites are waste products. Active parts turn into waste.
“THC in blood or urine tells us nothing about the level of intoxication,” says Carl Hart, associate professor of psychology at Columbia University and author of the leading college textbook on drug use and behavior. “That would be like someone going to have a beer some evening, and when he goes to work the next day, you can find alcohol metabolites in his bodily fluids. That says nothing about his functioning.” Moreover, even if Martin had been stoned out of his mind, it wouldn’t predispose him to violence. “I have given hundreds of doses of marijuana to people in the lab, and no one has gotten violent ever and everyone has been able to respond to the situation in an appropriate manner, when given low or large doses and single or repeated doses,” Hart says.
We come to the reason I have Harry J’s smiling face up there. The media links cannabis to violence. That kid had pot in his system! OMG! Have you ever been to a cannabis-only party where a fight broke out? Me neither. But the media hooks-up cannabis and violence because of Mr. Harry J. Anslinger.
Harry J. was the first head of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics. He did not want his agency to be given authority over marijuana. It’s a weed. How do you eradicate a weed on a national scale? But, when Harry was directed to destroy marijuana he tried to do his best. What Harry did was start a propaganda war against the weed. One effort was to link marijuana to violence. About this same time the police in Florida had been trying for years to institutionalize a man named Victor Licata. Too bad they failed, because Victor killed his family with an ax.
Harry was a man who could tell when opportunity knocked. Ignoring the earlier law enforcement efforts, Harry announced that the killing was because Victor was high on marijuana. There was no evidence of this, but Harry said it anyway. Harry is a government official at a time when the presumption was government people tell the truth. Maybe this marijuana stuff was bad? These misrepresentations went on for years. Publisher William Randolph Hearst sold newspapers relating Anslinger’s lies. Hollywood joined in with some movies, just for the bucks. For most of America this campaign was the first time they ever heard of marijuana. It is very likely that whatever you learned about pot in junior high school had roots in this source.
The roots of the war on drugs are Harry J.’s lies. Those lies made people fear cannabis. That fear allowed the monster that is the war on drugs to spawn, grow and rage out of control beyond all sense. The change now arriving is meeting resistance from the residual strength of the fear and lies crafted in the black heart of Harry J. Anslinger.
Trayvon’s pot use, in the context of the “who is the aggressor” question in the Zimmerman prosecution, is irrelevant. Of Zimmerman and Martin, to which one did the law grant the right to “stand his ground?”
That Travyon’s pot use is raised by media is part of why we are not already re-legalized. Greenies, we still have work to do.
Our original story is from Time.
[image: Google images Harry J. Anslinger]