The Hofmann Report Autumn 1998Myron Stolaroff
Throughout history people have used mind expanding substances to explore consciousness and enhance their lives. Our purpose at the Albert Hofmann Foundation is to gather the records of these endeavors and to further the understanding and responsible application of psychedelic substances in the investigation of both individual and collective consciousness.
To our Friends and Supporters:
In the last report, I mentioned the satisfaction resulting from books I have written which stir up dormant personal connections of the past. Those who are familiar with the many benefits derived from the responsible use of psychedelics are hard pressed to understand the ardent negative evaluation by many government officials, mainstream scientists, and the public at large. Consequently it is gratifying to hear from those who are willing to speak up and share their personal experiences. Here is a recent letter forwarded to me by MAPS:
Dear MAPS and Mr. Stolaroff,
In these times where there is so much misinformation regarding the true nature and potential of psychedelic substances, we strongly encourage those willing to share similar stories and experiences to contact The Albert Hofmann Foundation at the address below. MAPS and AHF have not devoted specific space to the War on Drugs, as there are other organizations devoting their full attention to this issue. The Drug War has created a powerful climate of widespread resistance to rational and scientific evidence. This makes the job of educating the public concerning the true values and potentials of psychedelic substances considerably more difficult.
One of the most extreme documents concerning drugs that has recently appeared in print comes directly from the headquarters of the United Nations. They have issued a report (available from www.undcp.org) entitled the International Narcotics Control Board Report for 1997. Two persons very knowledgeable in this field, when first receiving this report, were convinced that it was a spoof on the Internet. Not so. Here are a few excerpts followed by my comments. The indented paragraphs are direct quotes from the INCB report:
While the elimination of all forms of drug experimentation, use and abuse will never be achieved, it should not be a reason to give up the ultimate aim of all prevention efforts, namely a drug-free society.
Humans have always used drugs, and if history teaches anything, they always will. The illogical attachment to this unrealistic objective obscures the rational examination of the situation and the development of more suitable solutions, such as harm reduction.
Restricting supply through interdiction, for example, pushes up the price of illicit drugs and makes them less available.
Have we totally forgotten the days of Prohibition? The scarcity of alcohol drove up prices, making it extremely lucrative for gangsters to take over the liquor trade. According to historian Andrew Sinclair, "National Prohibition transferred $2 billion a year from the hands of brewers, distillers, and shareholders to the hands of murderers, crooks, and illiterates." Conditions became so bad with gangster wars, bribed judges, prosecutors, and cops, that the nation readily turned to the repeal of prohibition, the only constitutional amendment ever repealed. Yet close examination reveals many direct parallels between those days and current drug prohibition. For example, a recent drug king in Mexico grossed an estimated income of $200,000,000 per week. U.S. murder rate, which dropped approximately 50% after Prohibition, has now resumed the same level, 10 per 100,000. Former Colombia high court judge Gomez Hurtado at a drug-policy conference in 1993, told Americans that the income of the drug barons exceeds the American defense budget. Yet supplies of drugs in America remain undiminished. In 1995, world coca cultivation reached a new high of 530,000 acres.
Article 3 of the United Nations Convention against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances of 1988 refers to "publicly inciting or inducing others, by any means, to commit any of the offenses established in accordance with this article or to use narcotic drugs or psychotropic substances illicitly" (subparagraph 1 © (iii)) and requires each party to establish such conduct as a criminal offense under its domestic law. (Emphasis added.)
Writers and publishers of articles and books on this subject may well be indicted under such laws!
In some countries, the criminalization of public incitement to use drugs illicitly may run counter to guarantees of freedom of expression, either included in the constitution or embodied in statute law, judicial decisions or customary practice. It should, however, be the duty of States to find a practical way of conciliation between the contradictory exercise of rights. The freedom of expression cannot remain unrestricted when it conflicts with other essential values and rights. (Emphasis added.)
The above statement completely negates the remarkable wisdom of the founding fathers who wrote our constitution. For the most part wise, deeply spiritual men, they anticipated the circumstances whereby in the future men highly invested in their own self-interest would justify the trampling of the individual rights of others. Our Constitution has already been trampled in many areas by the War on Drugs. Let's hope we have the good sense to prevent further decimation of what many wise experts have considered the most valuable constitution ever conceived to preserve personal liberty.
Sensationalism, the desire to be provocative and the need for higher ratings, may also be behind the fact that several television companies in some countries in western Europe appear to be broadcasting many more programmes in support of a change in the drug law, if not the outright legalization of drugs, particularly cannabis, than programmes examining the consequences of following such a policy and the harm arising from it.
The above statement appears to be pure speculation. There is no objective data presented to substantiate this view. The statement totally ignores large bodies of evidence, gathered over millennia and by numerous official government studies, which justifies the actions of many honest, sincere people devoted to the truth.
Governments are also invited to seek the cooperation of the telecommunications industries and software providers in removing illegal subject matter from the Internet.
What is the definition of illegal subject matter, and how is this distinguished from educational material?
The Board wishes to remind parties to the 1988 Convention that article 3 of that Convention requires them to establish as a criminal offense public incitement or inducement to use drugs illicitly.(Emphasis added.)
This latter statement should make the pharmaceutical companies happy!
Beyond the above specific excerpts, the overall tone of the entire document appears to be written to emphasize and harden a specific point of view, that drugs are harmful and are destroying society to the extent that almost any means to eradicate them are acceptable. Harry Anslinger, in a 30 year career as head of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, had convinced America of the evil of drugs with minuscule dependence upon facts. His ability to sway America through the ingenuity of his own fabrications had apparently convinced recent administrations that scientific data and the reports of prestigious presidential commissions need not be taken into account in pursuing their relentless War on Drugs. No scientific evidence is presented anywhere to substantiate the claims of harm and evil that are incorporated in so much current political rhetoric. In fact, programs and studies in other nations -- England, Holland, Switzerland -- handle the drug problem with much greater effectiveness, much lower costs, and ways that permit addicts to be useful and productive members of society, which seems a far more compassionate approach.
For those interested in psychedelics, we have seen our government officials and medical experts declare that the early successful research with psychedelics have no scientific bearing because the evidence is only "anecdotal." Yet in the drug war, government bodies assail us with information that cannot even meet the requirements of "anecdotal," but fall more into the categories of conjecture and misperception.
Let us hope that widespread knowledge of documents like this INCB Report of 1997, as well as excellent books like Dan Baum's Smoke and Mirrors and Mike Gray's Drug Crazy will help citizens everywhere more accurately evaluate the War on Drugs.
Myron Stolaroff, Editor
The Albert Hofmann Foundation
1278 Glenneyre Street, Unit 173 - Laguna Beach, California 92651
Phone: 310/281.8110 - Fax: 714/497.0463
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