Monday, May 22, 2006
Dana Beal, Pt. 2
Let me see:
Alan Clear and HRC are allowed to have a distinct position, and respected for it.
Alan St. Pierre, who was invited to speak by the way and apologized that he couldn't make it because there was a NORML board meeting that day - is allowed to stake out a distinct position.
Ethan Nadelman, who pushes heroin legalization as opposed to ibogaine, has a distinct political position and is respected for it by DRCnet.
Rob Kampia, who's putting on the gala around the corner from 9 Bleecker with John Conyers, Peter Lewis and Tommy Chong, is certainly respected, even though according to certain ex-NORML board members he doesn't even smoke pot.
Jack Cole of LEAP is well respected, even though he's kind of a bone-headed ex-narc libertarian who won't even evaluate the difference between pot, ibogaine and hard drugs.
Dan Goldman of SSDP, who graciously spoke at City Hall about HEA reform, etc, has a position a lot like ours, actually, yet you're not trashing him.
Randy Credico of the William Kunstler fund has, I guess, the same positions as the woman who showed up from Drop the Rock, and in fact he and Ethan, in an exercise of mutual back-patting, gave each other awards a few years back!
So let's see - what is our position that is so controversial that you think we should modify it? We believe in a harm reduction approach to marijuana and other drugs based on the Dutch approach, and took a lot of flack in the harm reduction movement in the 90's for supporting the coffee shop model (touted every year by the cannabis cup) of "market separation" of pot and hard drugs - in addition to clean needles, decrim of personal use amounts of all drugs, and methadone/opiate maintenance for those who need it. Also (and this is where it gets controversial, folks), we support outright legalization of psychedelic drugs in addition to cannabis, with ibogaine (naturally, since we invented it) readily available as an alternative to being strung out on methadone for the rest of your life.
The only thing that seemed to get through to you and Danny at City Hall was when that guy John, who's been on methadone since the '80s and was one of the smoke-in kids we developed ibogaine for, said he didn't have the money to get a treatment, and I said I would see what I could do. You may not realize it, but there are plenty of people who come to our event who are on methadone, because NYC is riddled with them. They smoke pot too, since in New York, unlike the rest of the country, they don't throw you off the program for it (even though the system is trying to force all the AIDS patients to do it instead of medical marijuana, to which it is far inferior).
Also, you may not realize it, but it takes tens of thousands, not thousands, of dollars to put on the event here. Mostly just to poster up the city, because we don't have WBCN to support us the way they do in Boston. So a thousand here or there doesn't even give you bragging rights. And High Times management is never, ever going to come up with even $5,000. The only thing you guys can come up with ARE the celebs.
Understand that we have to do a delicate dance. To get our permit we have to convince council-member Alan Gerson (who got us back into Washington Square for the first time in 10 years - a major victory you conveniently left out of your story because ibogaine was responsible - that ours is a harm reduction event, involving all the positions outlined above. To get the kids we put out posters and hand bills clearly calling it a marijuana march. To mollify the cops, we put out press releases calling it the "Cures Not Wars parade," and asking people not to smoke (wink, wink, nudge, nudge). And then once we get everyone together, we educate them as best we can, and NO MATTER WHAT WE DO OR SAY, the media report it as a predominantly marijuana event ANYWAY.
So what's the problem here? Is it that we actually tackle the whole panoply of drugs issues? Or is it that you're just jealous that we came up with something that turns methadonians, crackheads, crystal-freaks and junkies back into regular human beings who can smoke pot and maybe have a beer without relapsing to hard drugs? (I could explain how ibogaine does that, but I don't get much access to the pages of your magazine).
As the man said, why can't we all just get along?
Cures Not Wars