Suppression & Repression In Drug Testing

1937: Hemp banned. An estimated 60,000 Americans smoke “marijuana,” but virtually everyone in the country has heard of it, thanks to Hearst and Anslinger’s disinformation campaign.

1945: Newsweek reports that over 100,000 people now smoke marijuana.

1967: Tens of millions smoke cannabis regularly, with many people growing their own.

1987: One in three Americans have now tried it at least once, and some 10% to 20% of Americans still choose to buy and smoke it regularly, despite urine tests and tougher laws.

Throughout history, Americans have held the legal tradition that one could not give up one’s Constitutional rights—and if someone was stripped of these protections, then he or she was being victimized. By 1989, if you sign up for an extracurricular activity in school or apply for a minimum wage job, you could be asked to forgo your right to privacy, protection from self-incrimination, Constitutional requirements or reasonable grounds for search and seizure, presumed innocence until found guilty by your peers, and that most fundamental right of all: personal responsibility for your own life and consciousness. By 1995, the supreme court upheld that these intrusions into your privacy were constitutional.

Factories & The Navy

The Navy and the other Armed forces, as well as many civilian factories, will boot you out if you smoke marijuana; even if you smoke it 30 days before testing and while off duty. These tests are done at random and often do not include liquor, tranquilizer or other speed-type drugs. However, according to OSHA and insurance actuarial findings, plus the AFL-CIO, it is alcohol that is involved in 90 – 95% of drug related factory accidents.

In fact, numerous U. S. Army tests of the effects of cannabis on soldiers (through the 1950’s and 60’s) at Edgewood Arsenal, Maryland, and elsewhere, show no loss of motivation or performance after two years of heavy (military sponsored) smoking of marijuana.

This study was repeated six more times by the military and dozens of times by universities with the same or similar results. (Also, Panama/Siler study; Jamaican study, British Indian Hemp Report.)

South African gold and diamond mines allowed and encouraged Blacks to use cannabis/Dagga in order to work harder.

Privacy Is A Right

Groups like NORML, HEMP, ACLU, BACH and the Liberatarian Party (for example) feel that as long as military personnel (unless on alert) or factory workers do not smoke cannabis while on duty or during the period four to six hours before duty, it’s their own business. This is consistent with the conclusions of the U. S. government’s own Siler Commission (1933) and Shafer Commission (1972) Reports, as well as the LaGuardia report (1944), the Canadian Government Study (1972), Alaska State Commission (1989), and the California Research Advisory Panel (1989), all of which held that no criminal penalties are in order for its use.

Inaccurate Urine Testing

Military/factory worker marijuana urine tests are only partially accurate and do not indicate the extent of your intoxication. They indicate only whether you have smoked or been in the presence of cannabis smoke in the last 30 days. Whether you smoked an hour ago or 30 days ago—and sometimes if you haven’t smoked it at all—the test results are the same: Positive.

John P. Morgan, M. D., stated in High Times (February 1989), “The tests are far from reliable., Tampering and high rates of false-positives, false-negatives, etc. are common and further these testing companies are held to no standards but their own.”

At 20-50 nanograms (billionths of a gram) per milliliter of THC Carboxy Acid (a metabolite) these tests can be read as positive or negative—yet results derived from this part of the scale are known to be meaningless. To the untrained eye, any positive indication sends up a red flag. And most testers are untrained and uncertified. Still, the decision to hire, fire, detain, re-test or begin drug abuse treatment is made for you on the spot.

“I believe the tendency to read the EMIT (the urine test for THC metabolites) test below the detection limit is one of the important reasons why the test was not often confirmed in published reports,” Dr. Morgan said.

In 1985, Milton Wisconsin high school kids were ordered to have urine tests weekly to see if they smoked pot. Local “Families Against Marijuana” type organizations were demanding this testing, but not for liquor, downers or other hazardous drugs.

Hundreds of communities and high schools throughout the country were awaiting the outcome of constitutional challengers in Milton in 1988 before implementing similar testing programs in their own school districts. Testing for high school students participating in extra-curricular activities has since been widely adopted and continues across the United States in 1995.

For instance, in Oregon, the testing of high-school athletes has spread by court order to any and all extra-curricular activity. Band members and majorettes—even debate team members, some debating on the marijuana issue—can now be tested at will.

And…Babe Ruth

Former Baseball Commissioner Peter V. Ueberroth in 1985 ordered all personnel, except unionized players, to submit to these urine tests. From the owners to the peanut vendors to the bat boys, it is mandatory in order to be employed. By 1990, it had been incorporated into all contracts, including ball-players.

Aside from the civil liberties questions raised, it is apparently forgotten that “Babe” Ruth would regularly invite reporters to accompany him while he drank 12 beers prior to playing a game, during alcohol prohibition.

Many “dry” organizations and even the League Commissioner implored him to think of the children who idolized him and stop, but the “Babe” refused.

If Peter Ueberroth or his ilk had been in charge of baseball during prohibition, the “Sultan of Swat” would have been fired in shame and millions of children would not have proudly played in “Babe Ruth Little Leagues.”

Tens of millions of average Americans choose to use cannabis to relax during their time off therefore risking criminal penalties. Job performance should be the principle criterion for the evaluation of all employees, not personal life style choices.

The Babe Ruths of sports, the Henry Fords of industry, the Pink Floyds, Beatles, Picassos and Louis Armstrongs of the arts, and one out of ten Americans have become criminals—and thousands unemployed—for smoking cannabis, even when merely unwinding in the privacy of their own homes.

Robert Mitchum’s film career was almost destroyed by a 1948 marijuana arrest. Federal Judge Douglas Ginsburg was on the verge of being appointed to the U. S. Supreme Court in 1987 when it was revealed that he had smoked grass while a university professor and his name was withdrawn from nomination. However, Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas’ 1991 admission that he smoked marijuana in college was not an issue in his controversial confirmation.

(Taken from The Emperor Wears No Clothes, The authoritative Historical Record of the Cannabis Plant, Marijuana Prohibition, & How Hemp Can Still Save the World by Jack Herer.)

Posted by A. Shapiro
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