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UNDERSTANDING THE INTERNATIONAL DRUG LEGALIZATION STRATEGY

I.  THE GOAL: The final goal of the drug reform, harm reduction, or drug legalization movement is to make mind altering drugs legal to use and sell, and to make drug use acceptable - in other words to normalize drug use. 

Drug reform is a three step process that begins with the faulty premise that drug use is inevitable, moves to a position that drug use should be acceptable, and ends in a fantasy that drug use is desirable.    

II.  THE MOTIVES:  There are four main motives behind the legalization movement and many of those involved in the movement have mixed, or multiple motives.  These motives primarily apply to the legalization movement and do not apply to well-intentioned individuals who currently support legalization as a result of that movements persuasion: 

A.  Justifying and enabling one's own drug use; 

Many (but not all) of the leaders of the legalization movement readily proclaim that they enjoy (or enjoyed) using illegal drugs.  The attachment that drug users have for their favorite chemicals is intense and a driving motivation for some to dedicate their whole life work to the legalization quest.  Without this powerful attachment of users to their drugs of choice, the movement would never have been able to sustain or generate any support beyond a few obscure academic types.   

It is a simple step for those who like and use drugs to further justify their behavior by extending the rationale As it is alright for me to use drugs, to it is alright for others to use drugs, to everybody must get stoned. 

B.  Imposing ones personal moral views on society; 

The drug legalization movement speaks in terms of right and wrong, and good and bad, far more often than those opposed to legalization do.  They clearly state that it is wrong to prohibit consenting adults from using drugs.  They believe that they hold the moral high ground and that their view of right and wrong is superior to that of most straight citizens and theological leaders 

.Ironically part of their moral high ground is to swiftly denounce any who dare to imply that drug use is wrong or immoral on the basis that moralizing of this kind is itself wrong and immoral.

            C.  Making money - greed; 

Greed is a powerful incentive and there are definite profits to be reaped from a legal drug market.  One of the co-operators of a store selling marijuana to AIDs sufferers as so-called medical use stated that they reaped $500,000 per week in sales, and undercover agents found that they could buy marijuana far cheaper on the streets than at the clubs where the weed was sold out of compassion for the sick.   

The legalization movement itself has provided jobs and opportunity, receiving millions in foundation grants and funding.  Publications like ARolling Stone@ that reap millions from alcohol and tobacco industry marketing funds would have large new advertising accounts.  Billions in narcoterrorism and trafficker funds that currently cannot easily be laundered would become available providing opportunity for investment groups, especially those who deal in currency. 

D.  Imposing one=s policy and ideological views on society. 

Regardless of motive or purpose the pro-drug reform/harm reduction/legalization movement nearly always claims that objective policy and economic analysis is the foundation of their position.  There is a strange pro-drug imbalance in the studies, reviews and analysis offered by these groups.  The goal of keeping children off of drugs is never the baseline to determine policy and the problem statement being researched is pregnant with ideological determinations.  Should economic or foreign policy concerns take precedence over risk to children and non-drug users? 

The drug problem is very much perceived by ones experience.  Those who attend ivory league colleges and debate the issue at the economic club, or who work in wealthy think tanks on abstract intellectual issues, see a very different problem than those who work with abused children, or those who live near a crack house, or those who have a child or parent addicted to marijuana.  One of the first million dollar donors to the legalization movement perceived the drug laws as about sort of repealing the sixties.     

III.  ORGANIZATIONAL STRUCTURE 

The legalization movement has diverse elements and although it is not all one united conspiracy, its leaders do conspire to achieve its ends.  The movement has existed since the 1960's, but a major change came when huge multi-million dollar donations were made in the late 1980's and early 1990's.  A steady flow of cash has been maintained since that time.    

Legalization organizations seldom agree on detailed strategy or positions, but the common bond of wanting drugs legalized, and the fact that the main funding is held in the hands of a few elites, helps to quell unrest.  Since the money began to flow into the movement, decision-making power has shifted from the less affluent and more radical grass roots user advocates, to the affluent, more educated, white male establishment types.  The new power elite have a strong drive to be accepted and respected by society, the old guard used drugs in part to rebel against such acceptance.

The dominant pro-drug organizations are now modeled after public relations firms and political think tanks and lobby groups.  Most of the major pro-drug legalization and counter culture publications have fully commercialized operations, with magazines like Rolling Stone dependent upon advertising revenues from large tobacco companies, the alcohol industry, and even the U.S. Army! 

A general breakdown of the organizations includes the following components: 

A.  The Soros Conglomerates 

1.  Foundation - Open Society Fund Giving

a.  Europe

b.  Maintenance Treatment

c.  Lawyers and Jurisprudence

d.  Prevention

e.  Lobbying and advertising

f.  Conferences

g.  Public relations and media

h.  Think tanks and policy institutes

1.  Lindesmith Center

i.  Internet 

B.  Other donors and foundations 

1.  Policy and Political Groups

a.  Lindesmith

b.  DPF

c.   MPP, CJPF, MAPS, etc. 

D.  Jurisprudence (court advocacy)

1.  ACLU

2.  Lindesmith, NORML, et all 

E.   Media

1.  All groups 

F.  Grassroots activists

1.  Smoker party events (Boston, Michigan) 

G.  Pop Culture

1.  Music

a. MTV

b.  Performers

2.  Publications

a.  Drug magazines

b.  Mainstream

c.  Pop culture

H.  Political Lobby Groups 

I.    Hempies 

J.  Ravers 

K.  Drug defense lawyers 

L.  Bogus Professional Groups 

M.  Special Interest Groups

1.  Conservatives (CATO, Buckley)

2.  Gay

3.  Abortion

4.  Religion

5.  Anarchists

6.  Elderly

7.  Parents of prisoners 

N.  Policy Groups and Think Tanks

1.  Hidden identity

2.  Polls, studies, and statistics 

IV.  STRATEGY OBJECTIVES 

Drug legalization advocates know that they must change current opinions, perceptions, beliefs, policies and laws that hinder drug acceptance and legalization.  Early on, legalization proponents recognized that truth, facts, and science were not their allies.  The carefully planned strategy that evolved replaces truth with propaganda, conceals facts with emotions, and counter acts medical science with aggressive marketing.   

The three core objectives of the drug legalization strategy are as follows: 

A.  OBJECTIVES 

OBJECTIVE 1: To create an urgency for change by fostering dissatisfaction and despair with current anti-drug efforts.

To alter the status quo and change existing anti-drug attitudes drug legalization proponents must highlight fears and misperceptions to develop an openness to change.  By fostering frustration and hopelessness, societal resolve against drug use is undermined.  The underlying presupposition of the legalization movement is that anti-drug efforts (especially in the United States) have failed, and are doomed to failure.  The continued existence of drug problems, and propagandistic references to prohibition and Vietnam, are marshaled as evidence to support the call for change. 

OBJECTIVE 2: To redefine the drug problem from a focus on the risks, damages, and costs of drug use and drug chemistry (especially for children) onto the alleged costs of anti-drug efforts and laws (on adults), and onto so-called drug misuse instead of the costs of drug use. 

1.  Shift the focus away from the risks and costs that drug use and drug users impose on non-users; 

2.  Discredit anti-drug policy and laws by fostering division and forcing false extremes; 

3. Create myths of positive effects of drugs and lost opportunities from existing drug policy. 

OBJECTIVE 3: To establish accepting and living with drug use@ as the societal goal for drug policy.

1.  Minimize and downplay the dangers and risks associated with drug use; 

2.  Distinguish drug use from so-called drug misuse; 

3.  Shift the discussion and goal to safer ways to allow drug use and responsible drug use; 

4.  Reinforce myths of positive uses of drugs. 

 B.  TACTICS 

An array of tactics are employed to achieve pro-drug legalization objectives.  A key to the pro-legalization argument is not to get pinned down with factual details and to move swiftly from one point to another.  Continually changing and mixing the topics helps to avoid clear analysis from transpiring and covers up logical weaknesses and fallacies.  Tactics overlap among objectives and include the following:     

Objective 1 : We need change, the drug war has failed.   

TACTIC 1.  Apply a faulty and biased benefit-cost analysis to current drug   efforts. 

a.  Drugs are still available, crime and addiction still exist

b.  Prohibition did not work, drug policy is hypocrisy

c.  The government is against the people

TACTIC 2.  Attack what works 

a.  No drug use programs such as DARE

b.  Asset forfeiture

c.  Drug testing

d.  Eradication and interdiction

e.  Mandatory minimums 

 Objective 2: The real drug problems are the problems associated with drug polices and laws, not the problems caused by drug use and effects. 

TACTIC 1.   Create and exaggerate the costs and benefits of existing drug policy and laws and make the exception, the norm: 

a.    Statistical manipulation

1. Prisons

b.    Political hot buttons

1.  Race

c.    Appeal to self-interest

1.  Civil liberties

d.    Bias studies and research

1.  Interdiction

2.   Foreign relations

e.    Faulty economic theory

1.  Organized crime

2.  Treatment

f.    Addiction (opportunity cost invented)

g.    Sickness (opportunity cost invented) 

TACTIC 2.  Cause division among treatment, prevention, and enforcement, and force artificial choices and false extremes.  

a.  Law enforcement OR treatment?

b.  Law enforcement OR prevention?

c.  Health OR laws?

d.  Drug-free OR free?

e.  Abstinence OR truth?

f.  Use or die?

g.  Punishment or compassion?

h.  Reform or lock up forever? 

TACTIC 3.  Create myths that a positive opportunity is being lost due to drug laws and policy 

a.  Addicts suffer needlessly

b.  AIDS reduction

c.  Funding loss for health and education

d.  Treatments not developed

1.  Psychedelic psychology

2.  Marijuana as medicine

3.  Addiction cures

e.  Hemp manufacturing

f.  Stress relief and Arecreation@

g.  Taxes, jobs, redirected funding 

 Objective 3: We can successfully accept and live better with drug use. 

            TACTIC 1: Minimize and downplay the dangers and risks associated with drug use 

a. Give marijuana a good name 

1.  Deny and discredit science and scientists

2.  Compare drug harms with alcohol damages

3.  Define harm as overdose deaths or short term toxicity

a. No one died from an overdose of pot

4.  Environmental nonsense

5.  Freedom issue

6.  Pop culture icon - drugs are cool 

b.  Selective comparison of drugs and alcohol  

c.  Attribute all drug harm to misuse and avoid the concept of risk to non-users

 

TACTIC 2: Shift the focus from non-drug use, to accepting drug use and safer  ways to use drugs  

a.  Normalize drug use by rewriting history 

1.  Drugs, God, and human culture 

2.  Misstate the experience of other nations

a.  Amsterdam

b.  Swiss 

b.  Campaign for Harm Reduction or Harm Minimization 

1.  Treatment

                           2.  Prevention and education

           a.  Teach responsible drug use 

                           3. Enforcement

 

V.  METHODS EMPLOYED TO LEGALIZE DRUGS  

Every public relations, lobbying, and propaganda technique available is used in the drug legalization movement.  The massive funds expended are primarily directed to marketing and media campaigns.  Objective research and science is not generally supported, nor is treatment designed to get people off of drugs.  The commitment to the ill and poor appears peripheral and is limited to causes that promote the pro-drug legalization agenda.      

A.  The methods and techniques used include:

 

                               1.  Internet - The Internet is dominated by pro-drug legalization forces and is the main method used to advance legalization causes.  Internet uses include:

a.  Misinformation -especially for the young

b.  Lobbying (monitor and influence)

c.  Media (monitor and influence)

d.  Communications

e.  Recruitment

f.  Anti-drug monitoring activity

                                2.    Debates 

        3.    Publications

        4.    Lobbying

        5.    Media Events, talks shows and news influence

        6.    Recruit and reward

        7.   Conferences

        8.    Direct Mail

        9.    Advertising (all media)

       10.  Legal advocacy

       11.  Popular culture

       12.  Grant and other funding

       13.  Studies, statistics, and polls

       14.  Bandwagon  

B.   Different groups are targeted and different techniques employed to gain influence as the following table demonstrates. 

 

 

Target Audience

 

Method

 

Goal

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Global Community

 

$ funding of conferences, groups and activities; Internet linkage; traveling experts; committees; media; entertainment;

 

Alter UN Treaty; change laws and policies; foster division; export pro-legalization policy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Youth

 

Media and entertainment industry; Internet; publications; popular culture; user rallies, raves, parties, concerts; fashion, debates

 

Weaken harm perception and increase use; threat to parents; make freedom the issue; keep future of movement strong.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Elderly

 

Advertising (TV, radio); talk shows; debates; letters; conferences; awards

 

Apply pain, death, and suffering fears; keep older users active; medical use

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Legislators

 

Lobby email, letters, visits, protests, conference invitations; media, columns; awards; Aexpert@ witnesses; stack hearings; plant staff;

 

Impact legislation, get inside information and advance notice; impact funding; attack opponents; leaks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Media

 

Internet letters, press conferences, information source, talk shows, appearances, news events, recruit and award, debates

 

Obtain and influence media coverage; bias reporting in pro-drug favor to influence public

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Users

 

Drug culture publications; defense bar; music and entertainment; rallies, parties, concerts; sellers; head shops, growers

 

recruit workers and volunteers; recruit crowd; disrupt and intimidate opponents; cheerleader squad

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Courts

 

Select test cases and causes; ACLU; defense lawyers; jury awareness; appeals

 

Change laws via judiciary; get public sympathy; raise $ from defense bar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Health and Treatment

 

Conferences; associations; Internet; support funding vs. Enforcement; grant funding; publications; debates

 

Promote harm reduction; Divide health and enforcement; obtain compromise for political support; foster maintenance programs; compassion

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

College Students

 

Same as for youth plus college course material and organizations; political activist work; tie in to environment

 

Future workers and influence

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Intellectual elites, think tanks, and professionals

 

$ donations; conferences; publications; Internet, stacking staff and research

 

Promote abstract pro-drug policies; influence media and lawmakers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

General Public

 

 

All of the above; especially news, advertising, and talk shows; plus mainstream magazines and targeting opinion leaders

 

Slowly alter opinion, educe perception of drug use harm; wear out resolve; discredit enforcement

 VI. SUMMARY

The pro-drug legalization strategy is multi-faceted and continually evolving.  The many twists and turns taken help evade careful analysis and make it harder to pin down constantly shifting positions.  Opinion takes precedence over facts, and emotional feelings overrule logical reasoning.  Facts and logic are not the primary means of persuasion utilized. 

Marketing and propaganda techniques employed at times include sensationalism, disinformation, character assassination, lies, polarization, fear mongering, misdirection, cliches, appeals to self-interest, bias and prejudices, drama, and staging events and audiences. 

As long as the focus is kept away from the harms and risks of drugs and drug users, especially children and non-users, the legalization movement is bound to gain ground.  The strategy employed misdirects discussion to side issues and avoids responding to the question, Ahow will their proposal keep children off of drugs and protect those who do not use drugs?   The battle is. in essence, one for the hearts, minds, and souls of our children and our future.  If this point is surrendered, then all else is moot.