Newly revised and edited into a one-volume edition, Drugs are NOT the Devil’s Tools takes the reader through the history of drugs, the origin of the onerous United States drug laws, and why research and use of medical marijuana is fueling change. Dr. David Bearman shows how, through intertwining motives of discrimination and greed, often under the guise of morality, those in power have created a drug policy that is completely dysfunctional. As he points out, our drug laws have been very effective in further marginalizing discriminated-against groups and a total failure in every other respect.
From the Middle Ages through the present, the tactic of demonizing drugs and those accused of using them has been used against pagans, witches, Aztecs, Incas, Native Americans, Irish, Germans, Blacks, Chinese, Sikhs, Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, Catholics, Jews and Italians, among others.
If people let government decide which food they eat and medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under tyranny. – Thomas Jefferson
Using an historical perspective, Dr. Bearman shows how that there has never been a civilization in the history of mankind that has not been without some form of mind-altering and addictive substance. He also demonstrates that the very real medical properties of cannabis were recognized thousands of years ago, along with the medicinal use of other banned substances including opium and coca as well as the now legal “drugs” alcohol and tobacco.
The book covers the history of drugs from 2657 BC through the present-day and the growing recognition of the very important medical properties of cannabis as well as other currently banned substances.
Dr. Bearman’s reasonable suggestions about how to fix the U.S. drug policies–by implementing a harm reduction policy to replace the “War on Drugs”– are extraordinarily relevant. A must-read for anyone who cares about the health and welfare of our society.
Cannabis was legal and on pharmacy shelves in the United States from mid-19th century until 1942. It was considered one of the best pain relievers and was prescribed by doctors on a regular basis. So why was it outlawed and how did the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 come into being? It is a perfect demonstration of the confluence of greed, money, discrimination and power.
William Randolph Hearst had been conducting a yellow journalism campaign against Hispanics and Mexicans since the Spanish-American War of 1898. Hearst-papers lambasted Mexican immigrants for laziness and contributing to crime. William Randolph Hearst’s hostility was believed to have been accelerated by Pancho Villa, who had appropriated over 1,000,000 acres of his land in northern Mexico during the Mexican Revolution in 1910.
Henry J. Ansliger, was appointed to be the Director of the newly formed Federal Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drug Agency in 1930. The FBN was responsible for enforcing federal drug laws against heroin, opium, and cocaine…but not cannabis because it was not considered a dangerous drug.
Anslinger, married the niece of Andrew Mellon, the wealthy financier and, not so coincidentally, the du Pont family’s banker. Mellon was also secretary of the U.S. Treasury. It was in this capacity that he appointed his niece’s husband, Anslinger, to be the first director of the FBN.
DuPont® saw low cost hemp as a threat to their developing petrochemical line which provided gas additives, nylon, lubricants and more to which they held the patents. Anyone could grow hemp. Henry Ford was an outspoken advocate of using hemp to fuel automobiles.
In 1933, Anslinger launched a national propaganda campaign, speaking across the country and writing many commentaries in newspapers and magazines–with assistance from the Hearst syndicate–against what he called the evils of “marihuana” or marijuana. Most people did not know “marijuana” was cannabis so there was no real objection from the public. In fact it was the Spanish slang name for cannabis.
Anslinger asserted a bogus relationship between marijuana (never using the word cannabis) with murder, mayhem, Mexicans, Negroes and jazz. Anslinger worked hard to associate the word “marijuana” with depraved behavior and heinous acts. He was a great publicist. And Hearst papers happily carried and added exaggerated/fictitious stories of their own to add fuel to fire.
This racist assault culminated in the 1937 Marijuana Tax Act (MTA), in spite of the chief spokesman for the American Medical Association testifying that cannabis was medicine and the AMA knew of no dangers from the medicinal use of cannabis.
The MTA did not outlaw cannabis/hemp but placed a prohibitive tax on hemp, making it cumbersome and expensive to use hemp industrially or cannabis medicinally. It effectively shut down the hemp and medicinal cannabis industries in the United States. The MTA was used as yet another tool to marginalize Blacks and Hispanics.
For thousands of years, since the time of the pagans and the witch hunts, drug policy has been used to demonize certain plant material and to marginalize the people who use it for recreational, spiritual and medical purposes. In the United States, over the last hundred years, a constant barrage of misinformation, propaganda and outright lies have shaped the average American belief that cannabis is a dangerous substance.
By 1942 cannabis was off pharmacy shelves and very few were growing hemp in the United States. Although Henry Ford had built an experimental car in 1939 that ran on hemp ethanol and had a body made of resin-stiffened hemp that was 10 times stronger that steel, the petroleum industry won. We have been paying for it ever since. The demonization of cannabis made it all possible.
As the government continues to support the criminalization of cannabis to reinforce the belief that cannabis is a dangerous substance, the Institute of Medicine (1999) and the National Academy of Science (2017) have reported that cannabis has medicinal value.
From the Marijuana Tax Act in 1937 to Nixon’s War on Drugs to the present, those behind the promotion and passage of U.S. drug laws frequently have had a vested interest, usually financial or political or both. By giving racist-driven forces a powerful cudgel to beat down already marginalized populations and preventing serious research on the medical potential of cannabis and cannabinoids, we have been unable to do additional studies on the several tests that shows cannabis kills cancer cells.
Drugs Are NOT The Devil’s Tools explains all of this in fascinating detail and makes it clear that now is the time for a new paradigm.
Dr. Bearman presents in his book the background of U.S. policy in the field of illicit drugs as well as the medicinal use of many of them. The book emphasizes the Cannabis plant which is a treasure trove of therapeutically important compounds and provides a good overview of medical cannabis in the context of the U.S. changing approach to drug policy. I have no doubt that this policy change and the expansion of research in this field will lead in the coming years to numerous additional medical applications of Cannabis.”
Raphael Mechoulam, PhD
Professor of Medicinal Chemistry,
Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Isolator of THC and Anandamide
A realistic and intelligent, yet down-to-earth discussion of one of the most critical issues in our country….”
Rarely has someone been able to merge cultural history, current day policy issues, and herbal therapeutics so masterfully. Dr. Bearman has immeasurably improved our understanding of substance use and abuse and how to manage it.”
Arnold Leff, MD
Former Deputy Associate Director, President’s Special Action Office on Drug Abuse Prevention under Drug Czar Jerome Jaffe.former Cincinnati Commissioner of Health Clinical Professor of Medicine at Stanford University
…A good doctor’s common-sense advice on drugs, prohibition, and what the government doesn’t want you to know.”
Oliver Stone Filmmaker
Fascinating, thoroughly researched, and superbly illustrated. Bearman’s new text maps out the history of drug policy while revealing intriguing aspects of pharmacology. Readers will realize the false starts and odd turns that have led us to our current predicaments as they see his rational and compelling recommendations for improving policy, treatment and prevention.”
Mitch Earleywine, Ph.D.
Professor of Psychology at the State University of New York at Albany Board of Directors, NORML
Dr. David Bearman has produced the definitive text on the strange, complex, and often hypocritical relationship that America has with drugs. Our impractical, ineffectual drug policies are so poorly designed that they are dragging American society down. Anyone with a genuine interest in our future health and viability as a nation must read this book. Dr. Bearman’s book gives us the impetus and direction we need to change our course for the better and now is the time to do that.”
Gregory T. Carter, MD, MS
University of Washington School of Medicine
co-director, Muscular Dystrophy Association
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