Home > civil liberties, criminal justice > Sen. Schumer’s misguided campaign against synthetic marijuana

Sen. Schumer’s misguided campaign against synthetic marijuana

That’s the topic of my latest post over at Examiner. Check it out here.

Sen. Charles Schumer’s (D- N.Y.) crusade against synthetic marijuana, which he sees as an “emerging drug crisis,” not only misses the broader point in its entirety, but also demonstrates severe ignorance with respect to history (We need national legislation to ban ‘synthetic pot’, March 21).

While synthetic marijuana may have some adverse health effects, its mere existence is the larger issue. Synthetic marijuana is nothing but a byproduct and phenomenon of drug prohibition itself. If marijuana were legal, this synthetic that has Schumer so worked up wouldn’t even exist, as there would be zero demand for it. And if it’s health reasons that concern Schumer so, he can take solace in the fact that no documented case exists of anyone dying or contracting lung cancer from marijuana use.

Moreover, as a New Yorker, Schumer shows his ignorance by failing to know his prohibition history. During alcohol prohibition, prominent New York organized crime figures capitalized on the demand for booze by selling cheap bathtub gin and beer. These “synthetic” alternatives were largely made up of toxic chemicals and sometimes-even poison – obviously much more detrimental to public health than the real thing. Following the repeal of alcohol prohibition, those dangerous alternatives vanished from the marketplace.

If Sen. Schumer knew his history, he’d understand that the problem is prohibition itself – as it creates incentives that lead to the creation of these new, more harmful synthetic alternatives.

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