Keep up the fight after graduation

Brian Yetzer and Brian Yetzer

As I complete my studies here at BG, I often wonder when and how I will continue my activism for a change in the federal ban on marijuana. It wasn’t until I founded BGSU National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws that I realized that my feelings toward pot laws were shared by a significant number of students who weren’t criminals; rather, only people with a desire to educate the public about the damaging effects of prohibition and a constitutional right to alter their consciousness.

Consider the price society is paying for marijuana prohibition: farmers are denied a chance to join the growing worldwide hemp industry; humiliation and loss of privacy are inherent in widespread drug testing; millions of seriously ill patients are denied safe, inexpensive relief; billions of dollars are wasted each year to enforce marijuana laws; property valued at more than $1 billion is seized each year; 6 million people a year are under court supervision; and families are ripped apart. Prohibition in general breeds violence among dealers and violence to innocent bystanders, political corruption, law enforcement corruption and destabilizes international borders.

So why continue this boondoggle? Isn’t our government providing Americans truthful and accurate information regarding marijuana and the devastating effects produced by our failed drug policies? The answer is: no.

How can you trust a government that (mis)appropriates $19 billion to fund a war against our own people every year? This figure doesn’t include the cost of an ever-growing prison population. According to the latest U.S. Department of Justice report, one in every 142 U.S. residents is now in prison or jail, and, for the first time in history, there are over 2 million inmates, more than 60 percent of whom are incarcerated for drug-related charges.

Ironically, this money is spent in many states that are facing some of the largest budget deficits in history. This forces them to release many violent criminals early to make room for thousands of non-violent drug users. Do you feel that policies like this make your streets safer from crime and addiction?

How can you trust an administration that believes in states’ rights and then raids California medicinal marijuana clinics with SWAT teams, even though the voters passed Proposition 215 in 1996 that exempts patients who use marijuana under a physician’s supervision from criminal penalties? “Compassionate Conservatism” is laced with hypocrisy when the sick and dying are denied God-made medication.

How can you believe that we live in a capitalist society when we are the only industrialized nation to deny farmers the right to join the growing multi-billion dollar hemp industry? Our government must be aware that hemp is nonpsychoactive and can be used to produce thousands of products far superior and healthier than many on the market today. There needs to be a change in this country but we need more people asking questions. How can you make a difference? Take time to visit Websites such as or Read books such as “Why Our Drug Laws Have Failed” and “What We Can Do About It” to educate yourself about how our constitutional rights and freedoms have been slowly eroding.

Then, help spread the word that we no longer tolerate a growing bureaucracy that supports drug barons and terrorists alike, all the while throwing recreational users in prison where drugs are just as pervasive.

Finally, vote for candidates that wish to overhaul existing prohibition laws. Many politicians are too afraid of appearing “soft” on drugs but these individuals aren’t courageous or informed enough to tackle the issue.

In conclusion, anyone can become an armchair critic but few have the knowledge, fortitude and persistence necessary to facilitate change. True activism is derived from the sense of empowerment that is both liberating and patriotic.