Although the title "Czar Nicholas" has a certain attractive historical resonance and although the position would benefit from being managed by 1. a respected scientist rather than a political hack, 2. someone who has personally experienced both the positive and negative effects of the substances he would be regulating, Nick Herbert, Physics PhD (Stanford 1967) has decided not to accept Barack Obama's offer to be America's next drug czar. Nick feels that his powers are better directed to developing the world's next Brand New Science rather than presiding over the winding down of America's ill-conceived. non-scientific and economically and humanly wasteful War on Drugs.
However, if President Obama's choice for this crucial post is interested in true change for the betterment of America rather than mere cosmetic postering for the media, I would offer one piece of advice that I consider absolutely essential for a rational American drug policy to replace our present drug laws which can only be characterized as irrational and even insane.
Legalize marijuana immediately.
With no more than stroke of a pen, Obama has the ability to set into motion powerful forces that will transform America for the good.
1. Americans will now be free to produce in their own backyards, vacant lots and fallow fields a valuable economic product that will employ millions of people in a traditional occupation that, unlike the failing financial institutions, actually produces a concrete good rather than merely moving numbers from the accounts of poor people to the accounts of rich people. Billions of dollars in Real Value will be created by the spontaneous acts of millions of ordinary citizens returning to the soil. And thousands enterprising Americans will invent Brand New Businesses to support, publicize and market what their fellow Americans have produced. Made in USA could once again become a source of pride in the world.
2. Marijuana is medicine. As testified by thousands of satisfied users and hundreds of scientific studies. Making marijuana legal will not solve America's health care crisis but it will signal a small step in the right direction. And this bold move will demonstrate that Obama Really Cares about the well-being of the American people rather than being just another mouther of empty platitudes.
3. Scientists will also be free to explore this remarkable substance. Naturally occuring cannabinol receptors in the brain seem to possess an unusual backwards-acting neuro-stimulator action in the brain that is unique and worthy of further study. With the stroke of a pen, Obama can demonstrate that he is a Friend of Science by opening up this promising new area of brain research that is currenty halted by anti-science federal regulations.
4. The term "recreational substance" should not be demonized. Americans spend billions of dollars on purely recreational media, games and travel. With the stroke of a pen Obama will be opening up a new (for some) channel of pleasure for many, many sick, depressed and bored Americans. Millions will thank him. And the money will roll in. Did I mention that all marijuana sales will be taxed just like alcohol and hence will provide a much-needed source of funding for our increasingly indebted government, as well as employment for new tax collectors? The long-running Dutch experiment permitting regulated consumption of cannabis products in special "coffee houses" provides a valuable precedent for our own home-grown American implementation of the basic human right to "the pursuit of happiness."
5. Hundreds of thousands of prisoners will be released, freeing up our overcrowded jails for the necessary business of housing the "real criminals" who are a true danger to our society.
6. The numerous blue-ribbon commissions convened by various administrations have unanimously agreed that the dangers of marijuana are exaggerated especially as compared to the well-known ills of deceptively legal substances such as tobacco and alcohol. Nonetheless, marijuana, like sugar and aspirin, is surely not a harmless substance. Hence reasonable laws should be enforced that restrict its use to mature adults.
7. As a producer rather than a consumer of a substance in high demand, American will, by the stroke of Obama's pen, begin to reverse the steeply negative trend of the international trade war that has seen America's steel mills, our automobile factories and our heavy industry being outclassed by foreign competitors. Only America's farms are still competitive and here Obama can create a new and very valuable farm product to help an embattled USA win the World Trade War.
To the very important position of America's next drug czar, Nicholas says No. But he is not alone in believing that any drug czar who is seriously interested in bettering this nation and its wonderful people must Legalize Marijuana Immediately. No joke.