I feel the need to make a disclaimer regarding this post. I must express my personal opinion that one is better off if food and water are the only substances they are dependant on. To be addicted to drugs, alcohol or cigarettes is far from being a preferable way to live one’s life yet many find themselves addicted to a substance at some point in their life. My issue is minimizing the harm. The Western lifestyle is highly prone towards addictive behavior. The United States does not stand alone, look at Europe, addictive behavior is endemic to the west. One does not to see obsessive-compulsive and addictive disorders as frequently in Africa or Asia. In a nutshell the purpose of this first paragraph is to say with utmost clarity that I in no way advocate drug use. One could infer from the following post that I am in some way glorifying drug use, nothing could be further from the truth, I am just sentimental. Having said that, as someone who has experimented with a variety of substances, I must say (for me) the two most dangerous and toxic substances I have put in my body are tobacco and alcohol. This post is dedicated to those readers who have no exposure to the “drug scene”, those who would have no knowledge of the trends of the market. As someone who has consumed marijuana in the past I need to introduce you to a fact that is common knowledge to folks who were smoking marijuana in the mid to late 1980’s.
Before I let that cat out of the bag however I need to give you an excerpt from my “conversation” with G Gordon Liddy on the subject of the difference between alcohol and marijuana. Sometime in 1989 or 1990 G Gordon Liddy and Timothy Leary were doing the college circuit debating “the state of the mind vs. the mind of the State”. They came to UVM to debate at Ira Allen Chapel. I was one person away from asking G Gordon Liddy my question when the question/answer session was cut off. However I was invited to a post-debate meet & greet session. When I entered the reception room there was Tim Leary surrounded by his hippie minions and on the other side of the room was G Gordon Liddy with his control-freak minions. When I entered the room I gave a nod to Tim but walked over to Liddy’s table to ask him my question which was essentially: “alcohol is legal and has serious health consequences, shouldn’t marijuana be legal as it has relatively few negative health consequences as compared with alcohol-or should we just prohibit alcohol again?” Liddy took the position that alcohol has a long tradition of use-not just as an intoxicant-but as an aid to the palette and digestion when consuming food etc. Which is true and with which I would not argue. Then I suggested that we could make alcohol-free booze for those with digestive problems and G Gorgon Liddy’s answer to me was that “I have yet to taste a good alcohol-free Chianti.” Liddy’s point was that alcoholic beverages are pleasurable to the palette and should thusly not be banned whereas he could not imagine how “burning vegetable matter under one’s nose could possibly please the palette”.
When I had my first toke it was the last days of “Acapulco Gold”. I will never forget that pot. Not only was it delicious but it also was the most mesmerizing weed I ever saw. It looked like the bud was dipped in gold. I have been to Amsterdam and visited their cafes. One would be hard pressed to make the case that the patrons were there just to get high. If that were the case then why would there be such a wide variety of marijuana products? As a consumer, I can remember trends in what was coming down the chain from 1976 onward which proves that marijuana does not affect one’s long-term memory and gets me back to that cat in the bag.
When it comes to cannabis products and long-term trends the general rule is that hashish is more common in Europe and marijuana is more common in North America. Less often marijuana is available to consumers in Europe and Hashish is available to consumers in North America. The cat in the bag concerns a time when hashish-particularly from Afghanistan-was widely available in North America.
In the year 1979 the Soviet Union invaded the country of Afghanistan. They essentially walked into the country and took it over. For a short while they seemed to rule but then the CIA got involved in supporting the Mujahideen and pretty soon those godless communists were crying for their lord as US-made stinger anti-aircraft missiles put the fear of god into Soviet helicopter gunship pilots who had previously mowed down these folks with impunity. All that was necessary to even the score was a “freedom fighter” armed with a shoulder-fired stinger anti-aircraft missile sitting on the top of a mountain. They would utter the words “Allu Akbar” and pull the trigger while pointing the tube in the rough vicinity of a Soviet helicopter. Pretty soon the playing field was even. It was not Pope John Paul II who dealt the deathblow to the Soviet Union; I would argue the Mujahideen and the CIA did more to twist the knife in the belly of the USSR than the Pope. The Pope was not the reason the majority of Soviet veterans who returned from the Afghan conflict were heroin addicts. The Pope did not finance and train the Mujahideen. Yeah, he might have supported Solidarity in Poland, but he could not bleed the Soviet army the way the Mujahideen did with US support.
At this time I need to remind you of Ronald Reagan’s quote: “One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.” Reagan also correctly predicted that the next big threat to the US would be terrorism, or to use his own words, “freedom fighting”. Personally I have serious doubts about 911 being perpetrated by Bin Laden alone but I will save that for a later post.
Anyways, certain savvy cold warriors figured out that communism would not be given its deathblow in El Salvador but in Afghanistan. It was not until 1985 that the CIA began upping the ante in the Afghan conflict and armed the mujahideen with weapons that could be traced back to the US, namely the Stinger anti-aircraft missile.
I want to get sidetracked for a moment. When the bombing of Tora-Bora began I would bet you my bank balance that the reason the CIA knew about the existence of the Tora-Bora cave-complex was because they were the ones who had it built. Not only that, as I have heard, and have yet to corroborate, the construction company hired to build said cave-complex (which consists of hundreds of miles of concrete tunnels) was Bin Laden construction, a small outfit out of Saudi-Arabia. What is indisputable however is that the Tora Bora complex was built with your tax dollars. This cave complex was built to withstand Soviet bombing and was used to store weapons for the Mujadideen who were beginning to turn the tide against their Soviet occupiers.
Now as far as trends in cannabis products is concerned; in the mid and late 1980’s there was a dearth of domestic marijuana thanks to Reagan’s efforts towards marijuana eradication with his “war on drugs” and programs like CAMP (Campaign Against Marijuana Production) which was particularly active on the west coast. Simultaneously there was a glut of fresh Afghani hash. I visited a friend in 1985 who was a mid-level marijuana dealer in a city in New England. When I entered his apartment my eyes were drawn to a wall where kilos of Afghani hash were stacked three feet high along a wall that was about ten feet long. If you were to look closely at one of the kilos you would see embossed on the side a stamp of an arm clutching an M-16 rifle with the words “smoke out the Russians” wrapped around it. I was living in northern California in 1985-86 and that same hash was widely available on the west coast as well. I have taken an albeit informal poll of marijuana smokers who all corroborate this story.
At this point the pertinent question should be “who could have been smuggling such large quantities of Afghani hash to the US and disperse it to the four corners of the country?” I can’t prove that the CIA was behind this but it sure wasn’t Bin Laden. What is indisputable is the fact that the CIA was behind the arming, training and support of the Mujahideen resistance fighters. In fact the textbooks used in the madras’s in Afghanistan and Pakistan, known for educating their pupils to wage jihad against the infidel Soviets and still in use to this day, were published in the US and written (essentially) by the CIA.
If you have any doubts that the policy of prohibition has harmful if unintended consequences they should be dashed by now. It should be noted that the other major conflict with the Soviet Union going on at the time was the war in El Salvador. I don’t need to tell you that the Contras were financed by the proceeds from cocaine sales. Finally it should be obvious that the CIA is pretty good at screwing up and is a threat to our national security.
If you looked at “my favorite books” you will note that “Charlie Wilson’s War” received only three stars despite the excellent research and mesmerizing writing style of its author George Crile. The reason it didn’t get four stars is because the author left out the role of illegal drugs as a component of the war effort. Maybe he is saving that story for another book. If so I look forward to reading it and posting it as another favorite. Incidentally, unless channeled directly by God, no book gets five stars. That’s just how my rating system works. There may be a revelatory divine book worthy of five stars-I just haven’t read it yet.
One of the more surreal public service announcements I ever saw was an ad sponsored by the Partnership for a Drug Free America (who incidentally get their funding from the pharmaceutical industry and the association of distilleries) that appealed to the patriotism of pot smokers to quit, using the argument that drugs support terrorism. I could not underemphasize the irony of appealing to the patriotism of a citizen who is held as a criminal by their country simply for their choice of inebriant. Not to mention the above stated facts concerning the CIA’s involvement with the Mujahideen and the glut of Afghani hash at a time when the war on communism was in full swing.
If I were in my right mind I would wait a while longer to post this-that I might elaborate more-but I feel the need get it out there as my site has been getting some hits and I want to provide my regular readers with something new. Bear with me; my day job has been taking a lot of my spare time as of late. Thank you for reading-P.