Tuesday, August 21, 2007

ONDCP's David Murray stymied by prohibition. Poor guy.

Buried in an article from today's New York Times, David Murray, the "chief scientist" for the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, admits that the prohibition of drugs makes it much more difficult for public health researchers and law enforcement to study and keep track of them.

In discussing a new research technique that could enable law enforcement to determine where and how a given sample of marijuana was grown, Murray reveals his true awareness that taxing and regulating the plant would contribute to a better understanding of its effects and would bankrupt some the armed and violent gangs that currently make a big hunk of change distributing it on the black market.

Meanwhile, Dr. Murray is optimistic that the Marijuana Signature Project will help the agency better understand and control the flow of the drugs.

“We can’t go out and find this information because it’s an illegal activity where they shoot you in the back alley if you try to find out,” Dr. Murray said. “Today we’re making guesses. This will guide us toward a scientific basis.”

Can someone remind me why it makes sense to cede control of marijuana and other drugs to cartels and gangs instead of actually regulating the market?

photo: NYT

1 comment:

JT Barrie said...

What difference would understanding of how a product was produced make - if users do not avail themselves of medical help because they're engaged in a criminal activity? It would only serve to make their propaganda seem more credible. Of course, using those involved in the criminal justice system as your research samples makes a lot of sense - if you want to depict users as being more paranoid and delusional than nonusers. Let's face it: the drug war has always been about targeting user classes anyway. We never had problems with Meth when chief users were suburbanites looking for a "pick me up". It's only when Hell's Angels started marketing it to street people to raise money for legal bills that government took notice.