Thoughts On Coca, Cannabis, Opium & Tobacco – Gifts Of The Great Spirit

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Poppy Juice, Synthetic Pills, & The Trap Of Addiction

“The Intercept” has just run an excellent piece outlining the lobbying efforts of the Opioid Manufacturing sector of the Pharmaceutical Industry to scuttle new Federal regulations that would attempt to make it harder for doctors to prescribe Opioid drugs like Oxycontin. The major manufacturers involved in the lobbying are Purdue, Cephalon, Endo, and Janssen (a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson).

The efforts of these parasitical manufacturers to maintain open season on the wholesale addicting of new “patients” while at the same time keeping up the flow of millions of tablets of these drugs that somehow manage to leak into the street market ( who, us?), is symptomatic of the thug-like nature of virtually the entire pharmaceutical industry.

When you look at the numbers you see that pills are the main “Opioid” killers, not Heroin, not Morphine, and certainly not Opium from the Poppy, and for all the hype about synthetic Opium pills like Oxy, the job they do of relieving pain is no better than a pipe of good opium. Of the 47,000+ drug overdose deaths counted by the CDC in 2014, 8800 were due to Heroin, which leaves +38,000 due largely to pills.

The single justification for the “Opioid” pill industry’s existence is that their products are claimed to be safer than natural Opium, Morphine, or Heroin. If you want to find the reason for the industry’s panic at the increase in Opioid pill deaths, look at the ratio between deaths from the dreaded slayer of youth Heroin and the supposedly safe if used as directed wonder pill.

If a huge part of your industry’s claim to fame is that your product is safer than the juice of the poppy then you have to be pretty upset when people are finally realizing that your pills are killing users nearly 5:1 compared to the fruits of the little flower.

Consider for a moment two possible tracks for our society – the one we are on and the one that could have been, and yet might be.

The track our society has taken is to turn our health, just like we’ve turned most of the other key aspects of our lives, over to highly intrusive institutional management. Most of us no longer have any management role in our food, our children’s education, our family and community security, our finances, or our privacy. One of the results of our capitulation to pervasive institutional management of our lives is that the exponentially-growing health industry, always quick to spot (or make) an opportunity, responded by creating vast numbers of expensive, enormously profitable drugs for all those astounding new diseases of modern society that patients are required to take by their doctors who give no natural options in place of the medical management system’s proprietary pharmaceuticals.

The second track, which might have been, is that all of the medical knowledge gained by doctors, patients and society at large in the 1700s and especially the 1800s regarding three of the great natural drugs – Opium, Coca and Cannabis – might have been kept and nurtured rather than discarded and largely forgotten. Had those three natural medicinal drugs not been demonized and outlawed as part of the warped spiritual movement of the early 1900s that gave birth first to Prohibition and later to the War On Drugs, these three great natural drugs would be available today as a part of the :People’s Pharmacy” just like hundreds of other herbal, natural medicines.

The industrial pharma industry would still have developed, and a lot of people would still be victims of their concoctions, but without the legal framework lovingly erected over decades by authoritarian conspirators there would be a whole segment of the Medical industry devoted to the use of all natural medicines, not just those permitted by the state as part of its role in enforcing the monopoly of Industrial Pharma over medicinal products.

Even more important, a nationwide, community-bases network of natural medicine practitioners would have evolved – people in every community who knew how to grow all of the ancient medical herbs and who utilized the advances of technology to produce ever-more effective but still natural medicines.

Of course we have a great model for this system in the network of Medical Cannabis growers and patients who are finally emerging after the long night of Prohibition – which is still in the very earliest stages of dawning – to point to and see what might have been for ALL the great natural medicines and not just Cannabis, and not just in a few states in the US and a few countries in the world.

In a society where those who wanted any form of any natural drug could grow and prepare it for themselves, or could go to a reputable dispensary or belong to a regulated collective, then we would certainly have some addicts among these people, but they would be able to lead as normal a life as they chose to live without the constant suffering, pain, and jeopardy of addiction to “illegal drugs” and all the horrors that go with that scene.

People with little income would not be driven to prostitute themselves and do violence to feed a drug habit if the drugs they wanted were freely available in safe, natural forms. It is possible, is it not, that given access to natural drugs in a climate free of violence and exploitation many if not most people could use drugs and still lead a normal life even if trapped in circumstances of poverty.

I believe that centuries of recorded experience in societies worldwide shows that the overwhelming problem with addiction is how society treats addicts. If an addict is free to lead an otherwise productive and normal life, many will do so, and those who won’t would have been lost whether drug laws made them criminals or not.

Perhaps what makes addiction so awful for so many people isn’t what the drug does to them, it’s what society does to them as a consequence of their addiction. The popular image of addiction is what is used to sell all the prevention/intervention programs that flourish around addicted people. Human degradation in every form is shown as a consequence of drug addiction, and many people buy that and think no further. But consider the number of people who are technically addicted who lead normal, productive lives in comparison with those whose lives are supposedly ruined by addiction, you begin to realize that plenty of people are addicted to drugs and other substances and don’t descend to street prostitution, emaciation, bleeding scabs and sleeping in alleys. It seems that one begins to see that maybe it is circumstances and not the drugs themselves that determine the direction that addiction takes. Remove all the harsh punishments for addiction and I wonder – what would happen to addiction?

If the illegal status of drugs and the consequences for addiction were removed, at least drug addiction would no longer be part of the trap that ensnares millions of people in the US. Poverty and exploitation would continue in other ways – unless of course (you never know) some kind of new dynamic was released in poor communities by removing the key role of criminalized drug addiction in keeping the iron collar of poverty and exploitation firmly clamped around their necks.

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Resisting The War On Drugs In Peru’s Coca Valley

The BBC has done it again with outstanding photography and gripping first-person stories of the Mochileros who farm and trade Coca in this beautiful valley deep in the Peruvian Andes. The atrocities that the US Drug Laws and our paramilitary War On Drugs have committed in the communities of this remote valley are well-documented in this excellent photo-essay although the crimes and their consequences are implicit rather than explicit. How the people of this beautiful valley live now is well documented here; how they could be living if not for the criminal insanity of the US is left unsaid.

Coca growing goes back to pre-historical times in this valley but the modern world’s insatiable demand for Cocaine has warped traditional Coca Leaf growing into a dangerous mix of guerillas, drug cartels, government agents, and foreign military/covert operations.

The BBC tells this story with a level of story and graphics that takes you directly into the Mochileros’s world and allows you to walk with them on their dangerous path through the mountains with a backpack full of Cocaine.

As I read this story I couldn’t help but wonder what life could be like in this beautiful valley if the people were free to tap into their Andean heritage to make natural coca medicines for the world instead of being forced to work as human mules.

To read BBC’s “Coca Valley” click here.

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War On Drugs: $5-7 Trillion In Damage To Children

“Death Comes For A Child”, Kathe Kollwitz, 1934

Children of parents incarcerated under drug laws suffer injuries so severe and so devastating that if their case could be brought before a jury they would be compensated at the same level as a quadriplegic child victim of a drunk driver.

The masterminds behind the US War On Drugs have always sold it on the basis of the terrible costs that drugs impose on innocent children. But quite the opposite is true – it is the Police State and its vicious drug laws that make criminals out of parents and thereby impose horrific, life-crippling costs on millions of their children.

Approximately 500,000 of the 900,000+ parents in US State & Federal prison in any given year are there for drug-related crimes. The 1,000,000+ children of these Drug Law prisoners are especially victimized because the crime under which their parents are imprisoned does not exist in nature.

Even in the most remote societies on earth, murder is murder and theft is theft. These are natural crimes, and are universally punished. But drug crimes only exist when governments create them, a process that is historically corrupt and self-serving.

Illegitimate government agencies that injure children while exercising illegitimate authority based on an illegitimate legal structure ought to be held accountable, even if that means simply calculating and naming the harm that these thugs in suits and uniforms do to children.

Most of us know that the Drug Laws cost our American society $100 Billion a year in state and federal “drug fighting” budgets, but my goal in this post is to out one of the rarely-considered costs of the WOD – the lifetime costs of the predictable and preventable damage done to children and families of parents imprisoned under these laws.

The Lifetime Damage Done To Children

The research is unequivocal. Kids with parents in prison face greater exposure than parented children to an array of harmful events and experiences that have lifetime consequences including early violent death. These kids suffer far more than their parented peers from early pregnancy, dropping out of school, gang involvement, a juvenile arrest record, lifetime poor health, risky sexual and chemical behavior, unemployment, and lifetime dependence on social services. Whatever life was like before their parent was imprisoned, it is far worse these kids afterwards.

It is unfair that any children suffer because of the crimes of their parents, but there is a difference between children of parents who, for example, commit violent deadly crimes and children of people imprisoned for drug crimes.

Children of violent criminals lose their parents as a result of their parents’ wrongdoing, and what happens to these children isn’t right, or just, but it isn’t the result of a corrupt government system. But children who lose parents imprisoned under the drug laws are victimized not by their parents but by a corrupt, entrenched system.

Neither the crime nor the agencies and courts nor the cartels nor the pervasive exploitation of the poor would exist if not for these Drug Laws. And neither would the damage that Drug Laws do to the children of those who are illegitimately imprisoned under those laws.


Hey Kid – What’s Your Life Worth?

If your parent is imprisoned because of drug laws, and especially if that person is your only parent, then your life probably isn’t worth a whole lot. Here are some of the reasons why – and good luck kid.

  1. You’re probably going to earn a lot less in your lifetime than your parented counterparts
  2. You will probably be sexually abused and physically mistreated or assaulted by adults multiple times.
  3. You’re are more likely to be a victim of violent street crime than your parented counterparts
  4. You will also be more likely to commit violent crime than your parented counterparts
  5. You’re health will probably never be good and you will probably die young
  6. You will probably have low social and communications skills and will not be able to develop support networks
  7. You will probably live in blighted and polluted surroundings
  8. You will probably have low self-esteem and be victimized by others
  9. You will probably have a juvenile and then an adult police record
  10. You will probably have multiple sexual contacts resulting in pregnancy
  11. If you are male you will probably not take a role in your children’s lives; if you are a female you will probably be a single mother
  12. Your children and grandchildren are more likely be born neurologically & physically damaged than those born to your parented counterparts

Since the rise of the Police State founded on Drug Laws in the early 1970s approximately 5 to 7 Million children have had parents imprisoned because of these laws. Many if not most of these children have experienced the life just outlined, and incurred the resulting lifetime injuries, as a direct result of having their parent imprisoned under Drug Laws.

So, what would the damages to their lives be worth, in a sane world?

If a child is horribly injured and crippled for life as a consequence of a deliberate malicious act of a person or institution, society’s laws typically hold that person or institution to be both criminally and civilly liable for the injuries they caused to the child. There is no reason at all why the government, institutional and corporate Drug Law predators and beneficiaries shouldn’t be held accountable for the injuries they have caused over the past 50 years.

There is a lot of precedent for assigning legal liability to governments and institutions as well as to individuals, groups and organizations for injury that they cause. Specifically, compensating children for harm done to them under the legal cover provided by criminally negligent private and public institutions is well established. For examples we need look no further than the huge sums paid as War Crimes compensation by governments for atrocities committed by their military forces, the Billions paid by corporate criminals worldwide as civil – rarely criminal – penalties for their desecration of human environments and lives, and the enormous sums paid by Catholic Dioceses around the world to compensate victims for the crimes against their childhood by pedophile priests.

Which brings us back to the roughly 1 million children in any given year in the US who have lost their parent – often their only parent – to the drug law system. Is there a reasonable figure for the damage done to each of these children by the Drug Laws and if so, what is it?

Given that some children of Drug Law prisoners suffer more severely than others. Some are rendered into the equivalent of a lifetime quadriplegic by having a parent taken away, while others are cared for by other loving adults until their parent can return and suffer only minor damage. It is impossible to say how many of the 1 Million children of imprisoned parents in a given year will suffer severe damage, but another glance at the first table in this post would suggest that 50-75% of them may well be traumatized for life by what they are forced to endure by the Drug Laws.

So would an average of $1 Million per child be too much compensation for the suffering, pain, and a lifetime of potential productivity and happiness taken away from 1 Million children by the false imprisonment of their parent under Drug Laws?

Would anyone be satisfied with a $1 Million jury award for a child made quadriplegic by a drunk driver or turned into a vegetable by being sexually assaulted and beaten?

Probably not. $1 Million is probably ridiculously low. So since it is way too conservative, let’s use $1 Million as a basis for calculating the total cost of the War On Drugs in terms of damage to children.

A number of research studies agree that the total number of children of parents imprisoned under the Drug Laws since the early 1970s is between 5-7 Million children.

Assuming an average of $1 Million in lifetime damages per child, this means that the War On Drugs has caused between $5-$7 Trillion in total damages to children and families since its most recent incarnation began in the early 1970s.

That $5-$7 Trillion is real money lost to millions of children over their lifetimes. Their loss is certainly as real as the loss to a child who is permanently injured in an accident. That $5-$7 Trillion is not simply income and opportunity that these children will collectively lose because they will never have the opportunity to obtain it, it is a cost also born by the greater society. When the children of prisoners suffer their loss, society also suffers that loss because it represents the productivity, health and well-being of that person that will never be realized and in far too many cases they become a social welfare burden.

The damage and lifetime costs to each child victim of the War On Drugs begin the moment that prison cell door slams behind their Mommy or Daddy just as surely as the damages and lifetime costs begin the moment a drunk slams into a child on a bike.

In Conclusion

If I seem to be stretching things a bit with the notion that the US government has been assaulting millions of parents under false pretext for nearly 50 years with its War On Drugs and in the process crippling millions of their children for life, please reflect on how many children the US military assaults, cripples and kills by self-proclaimed “accident” or as admitted and excused “collateral damage” every year around the world. Is this a government that is above feeding off the lives of its weakest and poorest?

While the Drug Law structure is solidly entrenched and fully institutionalized, especially at the federal level, it ultimately has no legitimacy except for what comes out of the barrel of a gun.

In the next part of this ongoing series of posts I plan to calculate the economic loss imposed on those tens of millions of people around the world who must endure the hell on earth of violence, crime, poverty and degradation that has been created not by the evil of drugs, as generations of propagandists have claimed, but by the evil and devastating Drug Laws that have been endlessly promoted and often imposed on other countries by the US government.


Coca Leaf Health Spas In Mexico – Centros de Coca Curación

The recent ruling by the Mexico Supreme Court that opens the way to the legalization of recreational Marijuana in Mexico has also potentially opened the door to a powerful new economic resource for the country, which would piggyback on an already-existing medical tourism industry. With very little effort, Mexico could create a nationwide system of “Centros de Coca Curacion” and become the leading center for Coca Leaf therapy in the world.

Each year hundreds of thousands of North Americans and Europeans head to Mexico for everything from dental procedures to fertility treatment to intricate neurosurgery. They are comfortable doing so because for generations North Americans andbalenearios3 Europeans have experienced successful, inexpensive, highly competent medical treatment in Mexico. Medical treatment in Mexico is a known, fully accepted option. There are even a number of US health insurers who pay for medical treatment in Mexico such as BlueShield of California through its “Access Baja” health plan.

All that Mexico would have to do would be to legalize the possession and use of Coca Leaf and at least two potentially huge new medical industries would open up. Coca Leaf spas where people could go for relaxation and treatment, and Coca Leaf medications similar to those already being manufactured in Bolivia and Peru. Medical treatment at Coca Leaf spas would be closer, cheaper, and more familiar than having to fly to the southern Andes. Plus Mexico has a huge traditional community of healers as well as all varieties of contemporary medicine from allopathic to naturopathic MDs.

Freely available Coca Leaf medications in the form of teas, pastilles and – almost certainly – some version of Vin Mariani would soon make their way into the world market. This is already happening in Peru and Bolivia.


There would be no need for the Mexican government to spend a single peso to accomplish this. Turn on the green light and Mexican entrepreneurs would jump on this opportunity immediately.

Mexico would not have to wait for Mexican farmers to get Coca plantations established – it would be a simple matter of the Mexican government allowing the regulated importation of fresh Coca Leaf from Bolivia while licensed & regulated Coca plantations were coming of age in the Mexican mountains. Since it takes several years to get a Coca plantation fully productive the imported leaf option would enable the Mexican Medical Coca Leaf industry to begin immediately, with existing health spas and clinics, and even straightforward tourism destinations, simply adding Coca Leaf treatment to their healing repertory.


This activity wouldn’t interfere with the powerful cartels either. It would be relatively easy to control where the freshly harvested Coca Leaf wound up, and the cartels have no trouble getting all the Cocaine they want from Colombia anyway. Besides, there would probably be at least a few Cartel leaders smart enough to see the incredible opportunity in Coca Leaf spas, just as I am quite certain that the imminent legalization of Cannabis has quite a few Cartel leaders contemplating the potential of Medical Cannabis treatment centers.

Mexico has no shortage of fantastically beautiful mountain and coastal locations for both kinds of spas – Coca Leaf and Cannabis – and could in a very short time become a global medical tourism destination. However, perhaps more important to the revival of rural Mexico’s economy, there are over a hundred natural hot springs that are not used much if at all by tourists and outsiders, known to the locals as “Balenearios”. You can find an extensive listing of Mexican Balenearios in a fine book by Mike Nelson entitled “Spas and Hot Springs of Mexico”.

While these locally-known resources are not usually set up for accommodating outside visitors, the simplicity of making Coca Leaf treatments available to visitors would mean that with very little effort – a few guest houses and a little restaurant or two – hundreds of struggling little towns throughout Mexico’s mountainous regions could transform themselves into destinations for the more adventurous health seekers who wanted to avoid the cloying atmosphere of upper-class health spas. Balenearios are primarily located in the states of Aquascalientes (duh), Guanajuato, Michoacan, Mexico, Morelos, Puebla, Queretaro, Hidalgo and San Luis Potosi, so medical travelers would have a wide range of choices.

This means that instead of having to travel to Peru or Bolivia for access to Coca Leaf for treating and curing everything from Alzheimer’s to Congestive Heart Failure, North Americans could travel easily and inexpensively to Mexico. And of course many Mexicans living in the US would be even more incentivized than non-Hispanics to make the journey for Coca Leaf treatment as an alternative to the broad range of diseases and conditions that are treatable and curable with this simple, powerful, natural medicine.


There is also other reasons why Mexico should consider making Coca Leaf legal immediately. It would bring new life to small towns that have local hot springs and possibly traditional healing centers in remote areas. In many cases it would give Mexicans living in the hostile environment of the US, working for slave wages, an opportunity to return home and earn a good living in their home town or village. Finally – and this is no small matter – it would give Mexicans an excellent opportunity to give the Estados Unidos a great big middle finger salute and a hearty “Hasta la vista, baby”.

Oh, and just because it would be the right thing to do, the Mexican government ought to pass laws ensuring that no US citizens who was or is a US Federal government employee in any of the agencies involved in narcotics law enforcement, could receive treatment in any licensed Mexican Medical Coca Leaf or Medical Cannabis spa. Decisions to profit from participation in evil should have consequences, after all.

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A Compelling, Fact-Based Argument For Worldwide Legalization Of Coca Leaf

taita_sonqoThe internet is so deep and wide that no matter how often and how well one searches there is always more to find. I would like to share something I just found with readers of panaceachronicles, in case some of you have not yet read the absolutely stunning article entitled “The Wonders of the Coca Leaf” by Alan Forsberg (2011).

If you have never heard of this remarkable work I am not surprised – neither had I. It seems to have circulated widely in Latin America journals and on Latin American websites but not very much elsewhere in the world. So when I did run across multiple references to it while doing a deep search of some Latin American scientific & medical journals over the weekend and came across at least a dozen links to the article I started trying to download and read it. However when I began following those links – surprise! – most of them were broken and the few that were not 404 somehow froze when I tried to download and read the article. Coincidence, or censorship?

But as almost always happens the censors missed one link, and I was finally able to download the document. I have saved it (offline) just in case you try to access it through this link and find that the link is now mysteriously broken. If that happens let me know and I’ll be happy to send the document to you – with apologies to the author who I am not able to locate to request permission to do so. I will keep looking for Alan, not just to request his permission but also to offer him my profound gratitude for his seminal work.

The article itself is incredibly well-written, thorough, and fully documented, and the hyperlinked bibliography will allow you to browse a wealth of information resources that our society’s keepers would prefer to keep invisible. However, as those of us in the US and the rest of the world awaken and begin to join the fight that the Bolivian people have begun to unshackle this potent natural medicine, this article will provide us with a sharp blade to cut through the evil bullshit that has been piled on the heads of generations of suffering people by the corrupt and manipulative governments, corporations and institutions of the world.

I hope – I know – that you will enjoy reading this work of genius, and will come away from the experience determined to do for Coca Leaf what you have already done for Cannabis.

Here is a glimpse of the table of contents, and a link that I hope works for you.

The Wonders of the Coca Leaf By Alan Forsberg (2011)


> The Historical Use Value of Coca as a Food and Medicine

> The Traditional Meanings of Coca and its Development as a Symbol of Ethnic Identity

> Coca as a Tool for Social Interaction and Spiritual Protection

> Coca and the Western World: A History of Substance Abuse and Political Pressure

> Development of an International System of Control: Coca Taken Prisoner

> The Social Force of Rebellion behind Coca Deprivation

> A Different Approach to Coca Production – Turning Over a New Leaf

> Suppression of Scientific Research on the Benefits and Uses of the Coca Leaf

> Contemporary Non-traditional Uses of the Leaf: Sharing its benefits with Modern Society

> INCB and the Frontal Assault on Coca

> Coca as an intangible heritage of humanity: Freeing coca from the shackles of international law

> Bibliography

Finally, here is the author’s statement at the conclusion of his essay.

“The overwhelming scientific evidence accumulated in the past 50 years should be enough to allow the international community to correct the historical mistake33 that was made when coca was included on the list of drugs banned by the 1961 Single Convention and coca chewing was slated to be abolished. But there is the danger in the tendency of a reductionist scientific viewpoint to diminish the significance of this complex wonder to merely a chemical compound, a highly nutritious food supplement, or versatile medicine. Equally troubling is the profit-making tendency to want to “add value” by treating this sacred leaf as a raw material to be refined in order to extract a flavoring agent or isolate its notorious alkaloid without recognizing the natural coca leaf’s holistic goodness as well as its sacred and social qualities as an intangible heritage of humanity offered by Andean-Amazonian cultures. The prophetic “Legend of the Coca Leaf” presages us of the difference between the way the leaf is used traditionally in the Andes, and the corrupted form used by Western conquerors. As the Sun God said to the Andean wise man Kjana Chuyma: “[coca] for you shall be strength and life, for your masters it shall be a loathsome and degenerating vice; while for you, natives, it will be an almost spiritual food, for them it shall cause idiocy and madness” (Villamil 1929, Hurtado 2004a).”

“People everywhere need to learn to respect the beneficial and mystical qualities of coca leaf in its natural state and recognize the idiocy and madness behind its prohibition in international law. To do so will require a serious re-evaluation and education campaign to overcome cultural barriers and long held stereotypes. The Bolivian and other Andean governments should discard the INCB directive to “formulate and implement education programs aimed at eliminating coca leaf chewing, as well as other non-medicinal uses of coca leaf” and rather take the time to “educate others about the coca leaf and the need to correct this historical mistake” because, as Virginia Aillón, first secretary to the Bolivian Embassy in Washington states: “Coca is not cocaine. Coca is medicine, food, coca is fundamentally cultural” (Armental 2008, Ledebur 2008 pp.2 & 5).”

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The War On Drugs: “Let’s Get Real” Accounting

Most readers of this blog don’t have to be convinced that the “War On Drugs” has created more suffering, ruined more lives, and cost more in both money, shattered dreams, and human degradation than all those fearsome fruits of the Poppy, Cannabis and Coca plants combined. You can even throw in the Nazi chemist’s delight – Amphetamines – and any other laboratory creations you can think of, and you still won’t come close to the destruction of human lives and communities caused by the “War On Drugs”.

Even so, I have rarely seen anything approaching an accounting that includes both what the government spends on the “War On Drugs” and the monetized costs of the widespread human damage this so-called war causes to people, families, and communities. I can’t claim any special accounting expertise, but in this series of posts I would like to first review as many of the obvious but rarely aggregated direct costs as possible, and then in the next post I’ll try to point out some of the costs that have been discounted, manipulated and deliberately hidden in order to serve the interests of those who are in the business of profiting from this so-called war- which of course is about as successful as all the other military wars that our dear leaders have waged over the past 50 years or so.

Introduction: The Insatiable Federal Appetite For Drug Money
Even if you don’t have to be convinced that the “War On Drugs” is a total loser, you might still be surprised at the massive herd of Federal pigs that are slurping that the money trough, and the total cost of feeding all that pork.

Let’s begin with the Drug Enforcement Agency. Although this agency is entirely make-work for otherwise unemployable thugs and goons, nevertheless they have managed to stay at the public feed trough for decades.

A quick glance at the “White Budgets” of the DEA reveals that over the course of its existence, 1972-2015, the DEA has cost just over $50,000,000,000 (Billion) in tax money extorted from the American people. I call the figures below the DEA “White Budget” because they reveal only the above-the-table allocations by Congress for this gang of Storm Troopers – not the hidden “Black Budget” which cannot be known, but which is probably at least the equivalent amount. That would suggest a 43 year total cost – just for the DEA – of $100,000,000,000. That’s a lot of living-wage teacher’s salaries, women & child health clinics, orphan diseases research, merit-based college scholarships, and other useless shit that we are continually reminded have to be sacrificed to pay DEA agents and bureaucrats to keep our kids safe from drugs.

So Much For The DEA – What’s The Total Federal WOD Budget?

The Federal government does a fantastic job of hiding and obscuring the amount of money it spends each year on the “Drug Problem” which, of course, it created decades ago in order to create a vast network of highly-paid public “servants” fighting day and night to preserve the American way of life and keep our kids safe. Here is a graphic showing the aggregated annual cost of what Federal agencies admit they are spending. (This graphic says nothing about what State City, County and Local agencies are spending on the WOD, nor does it include the “Black Budgets” of these agencies.) It does show that the total Federal spending on the bogus, useless, destructive “War On Drugs” is costing at least $25 Billion dollars a year (White Budget only.).


What Pigs Besides DEA Are Feeding On The “Drug Problem?
Finally, here is a list of pigs at the WOD trough and the money they are slurping down that (foolish me) could have been spent on real education, real tax reduction for working people, real disease prevention, treatment and cures, bridges that won’t fall down and roads that won’t kill you. 


Some of the agencies on this list may surprise you – they did me, until I realized that when there is a load of money the size of the pile generated by the “War On Drugs” everybody wants to dive in and gulp down as much as they can. And they do.




OK – I’ll stop here for Part One.

Coming next in Part Two – costs that have nothing to do with the budgets of bloated, useless US Federal programs and agencies. For example, I’m going to try to calculate the lifetime costs to society of having 5-7 million children a year ripped from their parents because those parents are in prison for “drug crimes”. And as you’ll see, there’s more to this accounting – much more.


Were All These People Insane, Or Are We Missing Something Important?

Angelo Mariani was without doubt the most successful, and probably the most ethical of all of the 19th Century manufacturers of Coca Leaf-based tonics. Unlike most other manufacturers, of which there were hundreds in Europe and the US, he practiced strict quality control, even to the point of developing proprietary Coca plantations in Peru and Bolivia where his proprietary Coca Leaf was grown, harvested, processed and shipped to Europe under carefully controlled conditions.

In contrast most other tonic manufacturers used cheap, dried-out Coca Leaf scrap that was the reject of Coca harvests in Peru and Bolivia – literally the scrapings from the Coca Leaf processing floors in those countries. And reminiscent of the Cocaine trade today these unscrupulous manufacturers didn’t hesitate to adulterate their products with whatever cheap crap they thought they could get away with to bulk out their products.

In addition, the Bordeaux wine that he used as the base and Coca solvent for his tonic was sourced from several prominent French chateau producers, whereas other manufacturers who tried to copy Mariani’s success used the cheapest red swill they could obtain. Again, exactly the kind of behavior we see in 99% of today’s Cocaine (and Heroin) markets.

As a result Mariani’s tonic delivered the same quality medication to patients from one bottle to the next, and it was also pleasant-tasting, and because of these qualities it remained the premium Coca Leaf tonic on the market for decades both in Europe and North America.

Mariani’s attention to detail, and his energetic marketing, primarily through the publication of testimonials from prominent users of his products worldwide, were responsible for his life-long success and should be studied carefully by entrepreneurs in the Medical Marijuana space today.

In this post you’ll get a sense of how doctors and patients of the late 19th Century viewed Vin Mariani tonic. As you read through these excerpts from their correspondence to Mariani you have to ask yourself – were all these people simply idiots, or were they competent physicians and completely sane patients? It follows that if they were neither insane nor idiots, then perhaps the insane idiots are those who stand in the way of sick people having access to pure, natural Coca Leaf remedies today.

These remedies are certainly available (see this post on medicinal tonics being produced in Bolivia today), and given the outstanding economic success of Medical Marijuana in those US states where it is finally legal, you have to ask yourself “What are we waiting for? Why aren’t we growing Coca and producing Coca Leaf medicines in the US today?”

Here are a few of the testimonials from the files of Angelo Mariani:

Meulan, March 17, 1874.
I wish to inform you that I have nothing but good results to report in all the cases in which I have employed the Vin Mariani in my practice. Yours, very respectfully,

Paris, May 12, 1874.
One of my patients, Lady Superior of a convent in the environs of Paris, affected with a profound anemia, which has resisted all treatment, and which, by the long use of iron and quinine, had become complicated with constipation and gastric disturbance, was relieved of the latter symptoms after twenty days’ treatment with Vin Mariani, and under the influence of this same medicine her anemia gradually lessened, and in the course of three months disappeared.

10 Rue Castiglione, Paris.
Obliged by professional duties to be continually near sick people, who often do not leave me time to take my meals, I desired to experiment with Coca as an analeptic. My trials have been with Vin Mariani. and here is what I have found :

A Bordeaux-glass full of this wine has always sufficed to make me forget hunger and to sustain my strength. I felt a slight warmth and general toning up of the body; the digestion of the meal which followed was always more easy than when I had not taken the Mariani Wine, and, although I had not a sensation of voracious hunger as I had without it, I ate very well, the stomach appearing more robust and more active.

La Porta, February 15, 1877.
Having had such splendid results in my practice with the Vin Mariani since a number of years, I counsel you to have your vrine tried in London and New York, for I am persuaded that in all the great centres, where tlio incessant occupation and the abnormal kind of life led there fatally engender anemia, Vin Mariani is able to render the greatest services.
Member of The Academie de Médicine, formerly Chief Physician of Napoleon III. , Emperor of the French, Grand Officer of the Legion of Honor.

Paris, December, 15 1876.
Since some time I prescribe to my patients Vin Mariani, and, in the cases of gastric trouble and anemia, I have had nothing but praise for the results obtained.

M. Mariani, Paris : London.
Since using your wine my digestion is splendid and my strength is returning. Respectfully,

Paris, January 25, 1876.
M. Mariani, Paris :
“Ne pigeat ex plebeis sciseltari si quid ad curationem utile,” said Hippocrates (in prœceptis), that is to say, let us not disdain popular remedies. It was with eagerness that I welcomed in my practice the Vin Mariani, based upon Peruvian Coca, a plant so popularly used in its native place. I have proved the efficacy of your preparation, which is at the same time useful and agreeable, in cases of nervous over-excitation with sleeplessness, of uni-lateral headaches, in throat diseases accompanied with pain, in spasms of the stomach with intense thirst, and sometimes in bilious vomiting. By re-establishing the digestive functions, Vin Mariani restores the general strength of the organism, and becomes a tonic without having the inconvenience of other medicaments, called tonics, which produce constipation. As the first of all therapeutical rules is, for me, the one well known since Hippocrates, which has been newly brought forward in our days by Hahnemann, under the formula — Similia similibus curantur, I think that the efficacy of Coca, in the affections I have just enumerated, is due to the application of the homœopathic law; and the well-known fact, that the natives deceive their hunger and; calm the cravings of their stomach by chewing and swallowing a substance which habitually increases the appetite, is a confirmation of my idea.

New York, August 16, 1884.
I have prescribed the Mariani Wine extensively during the last year, and with very favorable results. Its tonic and stimulant properties are very marked, particularly as manifested in its action on the nervous and muscular systems. It is well borne by even delicate stomachs. In my experience the weaker and more delicate the subject, the more pronounced its action and the more permanent its effects. While not a universal panacea for all the ills of life, it is a very valuable therapeutic agent, and certainly possesses most of the properties claimed for it.
161 E. 31st Street, New York.

New York, February 5, 1884.
Dear Sir : — I have examined morphologically your Mariani Wine, and also have tested it on patients, and I can cordially recommend it as being up to its standard, and of utility in cases where wine and Coca are indicated. Yours very truly,

Fayetteville, N. C, February 21, 1884.
Messrs. Mariani & Co., New York,
Dear Sirs : — I find Vin Mariani a most excellent – in fact, an indispensable – remedy in nervous debility. A patient of mine, a constant sufferer in this way, experiences immediate and absolute relief by the use of Mariani’s Wine, while nothing else affords him the least comfort. Your preparation of the diug cannot be too highly recommended.
Yours truly, H. W. LILLY, M.D.

London, November 9, 1882.
M. Mariani :
At the special recommendation of Dr. Lennox Browne, of London, I have tested carefully the Vin Mariani, and I recognize that its splendid effect upon the voice is extremely satisfactory, and almost instantaneous. For over two years I have tried it, ordering it to my pupils, both ladies and gentlemen, whom I had under my care for the development of the voice, and I have invariably remarked that, whenever they had any difficulty in singing or elocution, the Vin Mariani enabled them to continue the lesson, •which, without it, would have been utterly impossible. I have thus every reason to be glad that my attention was called to this remarkable preparation, and am convinced that all artists and orators will welcome it and be happy to adopt it.

Brevooet House,
Fifth Avenue (near Washington Square),
New York, December 5, 188i
Messrs. Mariani & Co.,
19 E. 16th Street, New York,
Gentlemen : — Madame Valleria has desired me to state that she was greatly benefited by the using of your wine. Dr. Morell Mackenzie, of Harley Street, London, W., some years ago (three or four) recommended Madame Valleria in a similar instance to use your wine, and then, as now, she obtained instant and complete benefit from so doing, and, with compliments, I remain
Your obedient servant, R. H. PERCY HUTCHINSON.

Paris, December 2, 1880.
My Dear Sir: – Well ! yes; know it, and let me write it to you, though I have frequently told it you. Your Vin Mariani is indeed excellent, and equalled by nothing. I drink it, I absorb it, and so also does my family, and we are all deriving so much good from it that I shall never be without it. On my voice it acts like a charm. My friends and brother artists, to whom I have recommended it, drink it regularly and likewise speak in highest terms of the Vin Mariani, and I can only say I advise all artists to give it an experiment, and guarantee they will adopt its use and thank you for it, as I do with all my heart .
Of the Opera.

Dear M. Mariani : Paris, November 12, 1881.

“Your wine indeed has again saved me! Upon my arrival at the opera and just before the commencement, when I was to sing, I found I had got a severe attack of aphonia, which has disappeared as if by enchantment after I had taken slowly a glassful of your wonderful Vin Mariani. It is to be hoped that all singers will become aware of and utilize the excellent properties of your preparation.

I have tried everything, and never have found anything like it. If the government understood all its duties, it would provide a certain quantity daily for the use of our corps of lyric artists— at all events for all the pupils pf the Conservatory of Music.
Gratefully, I am yours, VICTOR CAPOUL,
Of the Opera,

Fifth Avenue Hotel
Deae Doctor : August 24, 1884
We wish to pay a tribute to the excellence of the Mariani Wine. We invariably use it during our professional labors, and find it very efficient as a tonic which strengthens the vocal organs. We never travel without it, and thank you very much for recommending us to use it. Yours, etc.,

No. 21 Fifth Avenue,
New York, December 10, 1883.
Dear Sir: – I have had occasion to speak with many of my brother-artists of the Vin Mariani. Yesterday 1 was suffering with a lowering of the voice and determined to take this wine. Well, I can assure you that it gave me im- mediate relief, and that I shall always make use of this Vin Mariani on all occasions that I have any trouble with my voice. If 1 had a singing school, I should give to my pupils, as a specific for strengthening the vocal cords, this Mariani Wine. Accept my most sincere congratulations, and believe me,
Yours faithfully, GIUSEPPE DEL PUENTE.

220 W. 38th Steeet
March 20th, 1884.
My Dear Sir: – I desire to testify to the excellent effects of the Vin Mariani. Having been for months troubled with nervous prostration, I was delighted to find the wine a most strengthening tonic. It was prescribed for me by my physician. Recommending it heartily to all who all called upon to endure the fatigues of public life, I am, dear sir,
Very sincerely yours, HENRIETTA BEEBE.

New York, July 16, 1884.
Deae Sir :— I have often wished to express to you the wonderful results produced upon my voice by the use of the Vin Mariani, prescribed by my physician eighteen months ago. During my sojourn South I had occasion to use it many times, with marvellous results; when my voice was exhausted from excessive use and so hoarse that not one word out of ten was understood, I would take a sherry glass full of the Vin Mariani and captivate my audience by my full and brilliant voice, really astonishing myself thereby. It certainly is invaluable to vocalists and elocutionists— soothing irritation of the throat, and giving strength and brilliancy to the voice. Feeling deeply grateful, I am,
Most respectfully yours, MARG. BOULIGNY.

Messrs. Maeiani & Co., New York, December 16, 1883.
Gentlemen : — I have used your wine during several years, and have found it excellent. I am well satisfied with it, and cheerfully authorize you to use my name.
Very respectfully, E. FURSCH MADI.

Mariani & Co., Mystic Bridge, Ct., August 12, 1884.
Deae Sirs :— I have taken your Wine of Coca since July 24th, as directed by my physician. I am pleased to write you that I have been greatly benefited by it. My lungs are better, and my general health is in every way improving. I can safely recommend it to my friends as the best tonic I have ever taken. My home physician is so much pleased with the effect of the wine upon me that he has already sent to you for a dozen bottles.
Respectfully yours, FANNIE S. WILLIAMS.

St. James’ Hotel
Mariani & Co., N. Y. City, February 25, 1884.
19 East 16th Street, N. Y. City,
Gentlemen: – For several years I have been using various preparations of Coca, and within the last few months, having had my attention called to your Vin Tonique Mariani, have been using it. I think it by far superior to any that I have yet seen, and I have derived great benefit from its use. Judging it from my own experience, I can and do most heartily recommend it.
Yours, etc., EMORY A. STORRS,

Continental Hotel
Mariani & Co., N. Y., August 25, 1884.
Gentlemen: — It affords me great satisfaction to give you the result of my personal experience in the use of Vin Mariani. For the past three years I have, under the direction of my physician, relied upon it in serious emergencies of illness and overwork. It sustains vitality in conditions of extreme exhaustion, and restores strength more quickly than any other tonic I have used, never causing the least unpleasant reaction.

I have tested it during long journeys, under the pressure of continued physical and mental strain, and have found it unfailing in its good effects. Frequently, when in travelling I have been unable to obtain my regular food, a small quantity of Vin Mariani has afforded me satisfactory nourishment.

I am so convinced of its beneficial nature, that I have induced many of my friends to use it, and their experience coincides with mine.
Respectfully yours, JULIET CORSON.

(The following is from the eminent Professor J. M. Carnochan, M.D., of New York, Professor of Surgery, former Surgeon-in-Chief to the State Emigrants’ Hospital, Health Officer of the Port of New York, and one of the Commissioners of the Health Department of the City of New York, etc.)

M. Mariani, Paris : New Yoek, August 29, 1884.
I have for the last eight or ten years often recommended the Vin Mariani to patients laboring under abnormal conditions of the system, re- quiring a mild tonic and stimulating influence, with marked and excellent results. For convalescents, also, I consider it a very useful remedial agent.

Mr.. A. Mariani, Paris, October 19, 1880.
Dear Sir : — As a rule I object to having my name used as recommending any special preparation of a drug, for this very easily and frequently leads to abuse; but I am willing to make an exception in your case, and to express at your desire, in writing, my opinion of your Wine of Coca – an opinion with which you are personally well acquainted. Since my attention has been called to the good effects of your wine by Drs. Morell Mackenzie and Lennox Browne, of London, I have tried it myself, and have observed its use by Dr. Fauvel, in his clinique and in his private practice. There can be no doubt that, properly used, it is an excellent general tonic; that it has a special beneficial action upon the digestive and respiratory organs, and that, by its stimulation of the nervo-muscular system, it enables persons to undergo physical exertions to which, without it, they would at the time not be equal, and seemingly – certainly so far as I have been able to discover – without consequent reaction of over-fatigue. The latter effect I have particularly observed, as to vocal efforts, in the cases of speakers and singers.

19 Harley Street, Cavendish Square, W.
London, July 6th, 1885
Gentlemen: – I have much pleasure in stating that I have used the Vin Mariani for many years, and consider it a valuable stimulant, particularly serviceable in the case of vocalists.
Yours faithfully,
Consulting Physician to the Hospital for Diseases of the Throat; late Physician to the London Hospital.

Wiener K. K. Allgem. Krankenhaus
Vienna, July 20th, 1885. f
Messrs. Mariani & Co.
Dear Sirs : — I have used your Vin Mariani for the past three years, and have much pleasure in testifying to its many excellent qualities, combining as it does the well known constitutional effects of Cocaine with that of a mild stimulant exhibited in an acceptable form. Among the conditions in which I have found it of valuable service, I may mention in the debility occurring after prolonged illness – in Oedema of the Larynx accompanying albuminuria, in the slow convalescence after diphtheria, and especially in Graves’ disease, in which latter it not only acts as a cardiac sedative, but also diminishes the accompanying exophthalmos and laryngeal congestion.
I have the honor to be, Yours respectfully,

Montreal, Canada.
Professor in Laryngology, McGill University, and Laryngologist and Rhinologist to Montreal General Hospital.
Saratoga Springs, July 20, 1885.
Gentlemen : — I have used the Vin Mariani in my practice quite largely for the last four years with most excellent results, and I consider it greatly superior to any other preparation in the market.
Very truly yours, CLINTON WAGNER, M.D.,

341 5th Avenue, New York.
New York, August 28th, 1883.
Gentlemen : — I have been acquainted with Mariani Wine for a considerable time, and have had occasion to recommend it frequently. I deem it a most excellent adjuvant in the class of cases to which it is recommended, and I hope in the future to still further demonstrate its usefulness.
Very respectfully,
149 W. 23rd Street.

Utica, New York, July 17th, 1885.
My Dear Sirs : — I have used the Vin Mariani in many cases, and have had considerable experience with it. In my opinion it is the best preparation of Coca attainable, and can be relied upon in many conditions of debility and feeble heart action when this valuable drug is called for.
Very sincerely yours,

Boston, December 15, 1884.
Messrs. Mariani & Co.: – Enclosed please find amount for two cases Vin Mariani, which please send by Adams’ Express. I use it in my own family. I have been more than pleased with its action, and consider it far ahead of any other preparation of coca, be they wines, fluid extracts, or elixirs. I have tried in my practice no less than six different preparations.
Yours very truly,

Hudson, New York.
Gentlemen : — Your Vin Mariani is giving excellent results. I am well pleased with its effects.
Yours truly,
C. P. COOK, M.D., Health Officer.

New York, June 24th, 1885.
Dear Sirs: — Permit me to say that I am, and have been for years past, using your preparations of Coca, and that I fully endorse all the views that I formerly expressed about them. They are the only preparations of Coca from which I can obtain any medicinal results, and necessarily I use them exclusively, and consider your wine superior to any other makes. Many thanks are due you for your excellent preparations, and I trust others will obtain as good results from them.
Very respectfully yours,

153 East 77th Street.
Vicksburg, Miss.
Gentlemen : — The “Thé Mariani” is certainly a surprising invigorator. 1 am using it with great satisfaction in debilitated subjects. Were the several fluid extracts and preparations of Coca now on the market of better grade, Coca would hold the place it deserves. Yours is the only preparation I use with confidence. Very respectfully,
H. P. BRISBANE, M.D., Health Ofiicer.

Boston, Mass., October 3rd, 1885.
Dear Sirs: – My first acquaintance with the use of Vin Mariani was made in Paris, France, in the summer of 1880, when my attention was called to it by Dr. J, Marion Sims, who recommended it as a superior tonic for nervous prostration. I have continued to use it and prescribe it ever since with entire satisfaction. I prescribe your Elixir Mariani as a brain food, and as a stimulant to the nervo-muscular system it gives immediate and lasting effect. I also have used your “Thé Mariani” in sweetened milk, and think it excel- lent. I am so convinced of the beneficial effect of these preparations that I hardly know how I could practice without them in such cases.
I am, respectfully yours,

Brooklyn, New York, June 23rd, 1885.
Gentlemen: – As regards your preparations of Coca, it gives me pleasure to say that at the present time I can obtain none which is so satisfactory as your Vin Mariani and your Thé. I have always found same uniformly excellent and reliable. My opinion of the value of Coca in general is so well known that I need not express it.
Respectfully yours,
Health Department, Sanitary Bureau,

New York, October 3rd, 1885.
Mariani & Co.
Gentlemen: – I have frequently prescribed your Vin Mariani, and am familiar with its merits. I have, however, never seen any of your other preparations of Coca, and would be indebted to you for samples you so kindly offered. If they are up to the standard of your wine, you deserve to reap great rewards for devising and introducing them.
Very truly yours,

New York, September 14th, 1883.
Dear Sirs: – I have used your Vin Mariani with decided benefits. Of the many preparations of Coca I find the Mariani wine the best, and I have tried many of the others. It produces an immediate tonic effect, and the improvement is lasting. I have ordered it for many of my patients, and it has not disappointed me.
Very truly yours,

Augusta, Ga., January 13th, 1885.
Gentlemen: — I have been prescribing your Vin Mariaiii for some time, and with entire satisfaction. I am just recovering from an attack of diphtheria, which 1 contracted from a patient, and on account of my extreme debility I took your wine and have finished the fourth bottle, and can say I am a new creature since I commenced it, and certainly shall continue taking it for some time. Without doubt it is the greatest tonic ever made, and I am prescribing it every day.
Very truly yours.

Yonkers, New York, May 6, 1884.
Dear Sirs : — When in Paris I heard of the Vin Mariani, and the good results from using the same, particularly in the treatment of certain obscure nervous diseases. Since my return home I have advised in quite a number of these nervous cases the taking of the Vin Mariani, and with most favorable results. Am pleased to say that the Vin Mariani continues its reputation, and is growing in favor.
Yours respectfully,

Amherst, N. H., November 12th, 1884.
Gentlemen: – I had occasion many times to use the Vin Mariani in my practice, and found it the most elegant and efficacious preparation of Coca. It entirely covers and conceals the rather disagreeable taste of the drug, and in my estimation the wine itself is a most happy adjunct to the Coca, in that the alcohol therein contained quickens the absorption of it into the circulation, and, with the essential ether of the wine, adds to the strength-giving properties of the Coca. I consider that the Vin Mariani has saved my wife from sickness, which would have resulted from the breaking down of her nervous system. I have every reason to congratulate myself on the marked effect which the Vin Mariani has upon her. I am glad to recommend it as a superior preparation.
Yours, etc.,

From Columbus Medical Journal:
“Cocaine in Headache.”
We received several months ago a supply of the justly celebrated Vin Mariani, with the request that we use it personally for the relief of headache – which is the bane of our life. This wine has for its active ingredient a concentrated extract of the leaves of Erythroxylon Coca – the plant from which the new anӕsthetic is obtained. Each wine-glassful contains the equivalent of about 30 grains of the leaves. Although we have used the Vin only when we felt the attack coming on, it has uniformly aborted the attack promptly and thoroughly. We have used it with others, and with essentially the same success. We have also prescribed it as a tonic in dyspepsia and nervous prostration, and with excellent results.”— J. F. Baldwin, M.D., Editor.

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Coca Leaf Prior To Criminal Bankers, Corrupt Governments, Media Flacks, Pharmaceutical Quacks And Barrio Boys With Bling

I thought that you might find it interesting how contemporary these comments are on the differences between Coca Leaf and Cocaine, considering that they are from the introduction to Dr. W. Golden Mortimer’s 1901 book “History of Coca”. You can read “History of Coca”in its entirety in my eBook “The Coca Leaf Papers”, which also contains complete text, bibliographic links, and illustrations from several other early books on the remarkable medical uses of Coca Leaf, all written well before the deviously-named “War On Drugs”.

(Please note – when Dr. Mortimer says “Coca” he is referring to “Coca Leaf”.)

As to the value of Coca, there cannot be the slightest doubt; as to its utter harmlessness there can be no question. Even cocaine, against which there has been a cry of perniciousness, is an ally to the physician of inestimable worth, greatly superior – to compare it to a drug of recognized potency, not because of any allied qualities – to morphine.”

“The evils from cocaine have arisen from its pernicious use, in unguarded doses, where used hypodermatically or locally for anaesthesia, when an excessive dose has often been administered, without estimating the amount of the alkaloid that would be absorbed, and which might result in systemic symptoms. Medicinally employed, cocaine in appropriate dosage is a stimulant that is not only harmless, but usually phenomenally beneficial when indicated.”

“There has been a looseness of interpretation regarding the term stimulant, which has engendered a dread unfounded in fact. There is a vague belief that any substance capable of producing stimulation, first elevates the system and then depresses it by a corresponding fall. The physiological law that stimulants excite to action, and that all functional activity is due to stimulation is forgotten or not generally appreciated. The name stimulant has commonly suggested alcoholics, while alcoholics suggest intoxication and a possible degradation.”

“It recalls a thought of De Quincey when told that an individual was drunk with opium, that certain terms are given too great latitude – just as intoxication has been extended to all forms of nervous excitement, instead of restricted to a specific sort of excitement. As expressed by him: “Some people have maintained, in my hearing, that they have been drunk upon green tea; and a medical student in London, for whose knowledge in his profession I have reason to feel great respect, assured me, the other day, that a patient in recovering from an illness, had got drunk on beefsteak.”

“It will be shown by ample testimony that Coca is not only a substance innocent as is tea or coffee – which are commonly accepted popular necessities – but that Coca is vastly superior to these substances, and more worthy of general use because of its depurative action on the blood, as well as through its property of provoking a chemico-physiological change in the tissues whereby the nerves and muscles are rendered more capable for their work.”

“Strong as may appear this assertion, I believe that the facts here presented will amply indicate that sufficient has not been said upon the benefits to accrue from the liberal use of Coca, Indeed, our knowledge of it is yet in its infancy, and if this present writing will but excite others to continue these investigations and experiments. Coca will achieve the position it should maintain as an aid and support to humanity worthy the greatest popularity and the highest possible respect.”

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Coca & The Curing Of Drug Addiction

In this short passage from “The History of Coca” by Dr. William Golden Mortimer, MD (1901), we have a compelling summary of what was known at the time by physicians in the US and Europe regarding the use of Coca Leaf as a remedy/cure for a range of diseases and conditions. Although only mentioned briefly here, the use of Coca Leaf infusion (tea) as an effective support for addicts withdrawing from both alcohol and the opiates (opium, morphine and heroin) make me wonder this treatment is not available. With the deputy director of the DEA announcing a “crackdown” on prescription painkillers and intoning the terrible toll of 120 people a day being killed by these opiate-analogues as well as by good old heroin itself (a gift of the Chinese as part of their drug warfare against America), I have to think that there is a serious disconnect between those who want to treat the suffering and those who want to punish the sufferers.

And as an aside, I don’t see the DEA “cracking down” on the cigarette industry which is killing over 1000 people a day – do you? Now that’s not an epidemic – it’s an atrocity. But a few thousand deaths a year is termed an “epidemic” as a way to justify a bloated, out-of-control drug bureaucracy and make scary headlines designed to herd parents of young children further into the “Just Say No” world of fantasy terrors. Here is what the Washington Post had to say about this “epidemic”: ” State and federal officials have pressed their campaign against prescription drug abuse with urgency, trying to contain a scourge that kills more than 16,000 people each year. The crackdown has helped reduce the illegal use of some medications and raised awareness of their dangers. But at the same time that some pain medications have become less available on the street and pricier, many users have switched to cheaper heroin, since prescription pills and heroin are in the same class of drugs and provide a comparable, euphoric high.”

16,000 people a year? Of course every life has value, but numbers matter too. Is all the suffering and disruption that the DEA is causing doctors and their patients really justified by these numbers, compared with other preventable deaths caused by industrial criminals?

People who are part of the community that wants to see effective treatment in support of addicts ought to be rising up and demanding that Bolivia be allowed to export her Coca Leaf medications to the US where they should be freely allowed for use in the treatment of addictions of all kinds.

Here is what Dr. Mortimer had to say – over a hundred years ago.

“Perhaps one of the most valuable as well as wonderful properties of Coca is the facility with which it meets and extinguishes the craving for opium in the victims to that fearful habit. Professor Palmer, of the University of Louisville, Kentucky, has an article upon this subject in the Louisville Medical Journal, for 1880, and he therein narrates three cases in which he found the Coca a complete and easy substitute for the opium or morphine which had been habitually taken. One sufferer had been in the habit of taking thirty grains of morphine daily, and yet abandoned that drug wholly, and at once, and without the slightest difficulty, by resorting to the fluid extract of Coca whenever the craving attacked him.  Nor can this be considered simply an exchange of masters, since the uniform testimony of even those who have used Coca for a long time, and continuously, is that abstention from its employment is perfectly easy, and is not accompanied by any feelings of distress or uneasiness whatever.  Were Coca of no other use than this it would be a boon to afflicted humanity such as no one who has not been bound hand and foot in the slavery of opium can appreciate.”

“Dr. Bauduy, of St. Louis, early called the attention of the American Neurological Association to the efficiency of Coca in the treatment of melancholia, and the benefit of Coca in a long list of nervous or nerveless conditions has been extolled by a host of physicians. Shoemaker, of Philadelphia, has advocated the external use of Coca in eczema, dermatitis, herpes, rosacea, urticaria and allied conditions where an application of the Fluid Extract of Coca one part to four of water lends a sedative action to the skin.”

“The influence of Coca on the pulse and temperature has suggested its employment in collapse and weak heart as recommended by Da Costa, and it has been favorably employed to relieve dropsy depending on debility of the heart, and for uraemia and scanty secretion of urine. In seasickness Coca acts as a prophylactic as well as a remedy. Vomiting of pregnancy may be arrested by cocaine administered either by the mouth or rectum. In the debility of fevers Coca has been found especially serviceable, and in this connection Dr. A. R. Booth, of the Marine Hospital Service, at Shreveport, Louisiana, has written me that he considers cocaine one of the most valuable aids in the treatment of yellow fever.”

“By controlling nausea and vomiting, as a cardiac stimulant, as a haemostatic when indicated, to hold in abeyance hunger, which at times would be intolerable but for the effect of cocaine. One who has seen a yellow fever stomach, especially from a subject who has died from “black vomit,” must have been impressed with the absolute impossibility of such an organ performing its physiological functions. Dr. Booth makes it an inflexible rule, never to allow a yellow fever patient food by the mouth until convalescence is well established. In cases of fine physique he has kept the patient without food for ten or twelve days, and in two cases fourteen and fifteen days respectively, solely by the judicious administration of cocaine in tablets by the mouth. Of two hundred and six cases of yellow fever treated in this manner there was not one relapse. A similar use is made of cocaine to abate the canine hunger of certain cases of epilepsy and insanity, as well as to appease thirst in diabetes.”

“The Peruvian Indians employ Coca to stimulate uterine contractions and regard it as a powerful aphrodisiac. Leopold Casper, of Berlin, considers Coca one of the best of genital tonics, and many modem observers concur in this opinion. Vecki says that cocaine internally to a man aged fifty-six invariably occasioned sexual excitement and cheerfulness. The Homoeopaths who have long regarded Coca as a valuable remedy, employ Coca in sexual excesses, especially when dependent on onanism. Allen has given a “proving” of Coca that covers twelve pages, and Bering’s Materia Medica gives provings by twenty-four persons, and recommends Coca in troubles coming with a low state of the barometer. Hempel says: “I have found a remarkable aversion to exertion of any kind in consequence of nervous exhaustion frequently relieved with great promptness by Coca.””

“But it is not my intention to here enumerate the various symptoms for which Coca is regarded as a specific. I have only space to briefly suggest its possible application as a remedy. A resume of the various conditions in which Coca has commonly been found serviceable, and its relative employment as classified from the experience of several hundred physicians, correspondents in this research, will be found tabulated in the appendix. Coca may be given in doses equivalent to one or two drachms of the leaves three or four times a day, either as an infusion or as a fluid extract or wine; the latter especially being serviceable for support in acute disease as well as an adjunct indicated in those conditions where its use may tend to maintain the balance of health.”


The Cultivators Handbook of Marijuana – The Back Story

I’ve just returned from a month-long trip to Oregon to help celebrate the dawn of full legalization of Cannabis for Medical and soon for Recreational purposes. It has been a long road since I first wrote the Cultivator’s Handbook of Marijuana in 1968-69, and far too many of the people I knew and loved in those days are now gone. Some of them died of natural causes, and some died in the interminable wars of aggression that this country has been fighting, but many of them died as a result of spending years, and sometimes decades of their lives in state and federal prisons for the absurd offense of growing  this gift of our loving planet. I dedicate this post to all my friends from those days, those still alive and those long gone.

In the course of meeting and talking with young people living fully in today’s world I was asked many times (well, once or twice) to tell the story of how I came to write Cultivator’s Handbook, so I thought that I would put it into writing for anyone who might find it worth reading. I know that old guys can be tedious and boring with their tales of youthful exploits so I’ll try to keep this as short as possible, without leaving out details that might be of interest to you, dear reader.

I am posting this on Independence Day to honor the freedoms that so many have fought, suffered and died for – especially the freedom to grow and use the natural medicines placed on this beautiful green planet by a loving Mother Nature.
Origins Of The Cultivators Handbook

In the 1960s when not otherwise occupied I was making regular trips to Mexico, Colombia, Morocco, and Lebanon to collect botanical and herbal medicine specimens and bring them back for the appreciation of collectors and connoisseurs, but after a while it became clear that such scientific expeditions were being ever more seriously frowned upon, so I decided to settle in Oregon and practice what I had learned from indigenous growers during my overseas forays.

For a couple of years I grew some pretty nice specimens in the hills around Eugene, and developed a solid clientele for my medicinal plants. However, those were the days when monsters like J. Edgar Hoover and John Mitchell ruled the land and I saw friends who were in the same business of creating special herbal medicines being harassed, arrested and in one case that still saddens and angers me, shot full of very big, bloody holes.

So just as I had decided to get out of the herbal medicine and botanicals business I decided to exit the medicinal plants growing business. I was pretty bummed out that I was prevented from doing work that was so much fun, that didn’t hurt a soul, and that let me make a pretty good living doing what I loved.

Those were the days of revolutionary thinking in America – the Vietnam War resistance movement, the Black Panthers, the Students for a Democratic Society, the Non-Violent Student Coordinating Committee, and many other brave and sometimes foolishly optimistic movements whose fervor and commitment are hard to imagine in today’s passionless society. It was an inspiring time to be young, and as I searched for a path to take now that my old ways were behind me I wanted it to be a passionate choice. I had already served in the Peace Corps in Africa in the mid-60s, and done my share of community organizing in America, so I was looking around for something else I could do that would make a positive difference in peoples’ lives.

A good friend and I were sitting on the banks of the McKenzie River outside of Eugene, toking on some fine bud and discussing cosmic ideas and I was telling her how much I regretted not being able to pursue my botanical interests when she said “Why don’t you write a book about growing? They can’t bust you for writing a book, can they?”

You know those cartoons where a light bulb flicks on over the character’s head when they get an idea? There was a definite flash somewhere overhead.

Creating Cultivators Handbook

I had never written a book but I sometimes wrote research papers for students at the University of Oregon who didn’t want to write their own, so that evening I sat down with a couple of joints and a few beers and put a sheet of paper in my typewriter and just started writing. Since I had written probably a hundred or more research papers and essays I wasn’t especially worried about what I was getting into. I knew that I had to write a book for people who didn’t care about literary style but just wanted useful, practical information on how to grow high quality marijuana. I also knew, because I called a lawyer friend, that I couldn’t use photographs to illustrate the book because the Feds would use those photos as evidence of either illegal cultivation or – if I claimed that I was merely photographing the work of others, criminal conspiracy. In either case they could, and surely would put me away for a long, long time.

I had a young friend Terry who was a fine artist and who had seen his share of botanicals, so I asked him if he could do a series of pen & ink drawings for the book. He loved the idea and we sat down together for a long afternoon as I outlined each section of the book that would need an illustration and he did some quick sketches for each section. By the end of the day we had what I guess you could call a storyboard – I knew what each of the book’s sections was going to be about, and Terry had rough sketches of what he would do to produce each of the drawings.

Terry and I agreed that the drawings needed to convey information but not just be technical – they had to reflect the counterculture and had to have a unique character. This suited Terry just fine – he was already a well-known street artist in Eugene and he had a unique style, which I loved. His stylistic hero was Robert Crum, but Terry took that style to a higher level.

Creating the layout for “Cultivator’s Handbook” was simplicity itself. I wrote the book on my manual typewriter, and handed over each day’s work to a good friend who was an editor at the Eugene Augur. She put her suggested edits in the margins and gave them back to me, and then I typed out the edited copy triple-spaced and gave them back to her. Then she made her final edits in red ink above each line. Through a friend I had access to an IBM Selectric typewriter, so after I got back the final edited pages of a chapter I would just type them up in a nice, clean text block, put a page number at the bottom of the block, and that was it. I had made a dummy master of the book and so I was able to keep track of the page layout, including Terry’s illustrations which I simply pasted in place. The whole process went remarkably smoothly.

Getting The First Copies Printed

The next challenge was to figure out how to get Cultivators Handbook into print. That problem was quickly solved by my friends John and Patty who were co-publishers of the Eugene Augur, one of the many counter-culture newspapers that appeared across the country in the 60’s as a voice of the anti-war, anti-establishment movement. Operating out of an old industrial loft in downtown Eugene the Augur staff worked with old but smooth-running printing and binding equipment. I approached John and Patty and asked them if they could print a few hundred copies of my book, and after putting the project to a vote of all members of the Augur collective it was agreed.

There were a few obstacles that still had to be overcome. I had to have the cover printed elsewhere because the Augur equipment only handled B&W. Since it was a short, quick one-color print job I didn’t have any trouble getting the first cover printed. Then I had to lay out the book again to conform to the dimensions that the Augur’s equipment could handle. Many people commented on the odd shape of the early editions of the Cultivator’s Handbook and wondered why I chose to make the book in this unusual, almost square shape, but the answer was that it was the only way I could get the book printed. Finally, although the Augur had saddle-stitching equipment to staple the book together, their collating equipment couldn’t handle the book. I’ll tell you the remarkable way that was handled in a moment.

I got the new layout done in record time and John & Patty gave me a time between editions of the Augur for printing 500 copies. I got to the Augur offices early in the morning and within a few minutes the first pages were rolling off the press. As each set of pages was printed they were taken over to the trimming machine.

The Augur had a large totally empty room adjacent to its offices, and in preparation for the collation the staff of the Augur had placed markers on the floor corresponding to each of the 25 sets of pages that would ultimately make up the 100 page book. After printing each page was run through a folding machine, and then the set of 500 folded sheets was taken into the collating room. So within a few hours we had 25 stacks of printed pages lined up in this large room. At that point every member of the Augur staff, along with me and a few of my friends, lined up and began walking down the line of stacks picking up one folded page at a time, placing them inside each other in order. As each person came to the end of the line they had a full collated book, which was then matched up with a folded and trimmed cover and taken over to the saddle-stitching machine. A few staples into the folded spine of the book and it was finished, and then it went into a box.

The whole process of producing the first 500 copies of Cultivators Handbook took almost an entire day, and one of the many remarkable things about the whole experience was that nobody on the Augur staff would take a penny for their efforts. John and Patty told me that everybody considered that they were participating in a revolutionary act and didn’t want to be paid. I did manage to get everybody to share pizzas and beer and of course there was plenty of smoke. As we all stood around eating pizza and talking about the day I felt a stronger sense of brotherhood and sisterhood than I had ever experienced before.

Taking Cultivators Handbook To San Francisco

One of my old growing friends was a tall, red-haired hippie named Chuck who drove an ancient flatbed Ford farm truck, and Chuck had volunteered to drive me and my books down to San Francisco, which is where I figured my strongest market was. I gave 25 copies to the Augur and signed a book for each staff member and a few of my friends who had helped with the project, and we all carried the boxes of books downstairs to Chuck’s truck. We loaded about 450 books onto the bed of the truck, tied them down with al old tarp, and after a round of hugs and handshakes Chuck and I drove off toward San Francisco. It was about five in the afternoon.

We drove south at about 50 mph – the best that Chuck’s old truck could manage. At about midnight we crossed the California border, and rolled into Shasta County. Of course we had been smoking the whole way, but neither of us was sleepy and we had San Francisco figured for a sunrise arrival.

Both Chuck and I were pretty surprised when a cop lit us up and pulled us over, because there was no way that we were speeding in that old farm truck. We had the windows down and hoped that the cop wouldn’t smell the Marijuana in the cab. (We were pretty naïve.) The cop walked up and asked Chuck for his license and registration, which I was happy to see he actually had in the glove compartment.

Then rather than making an issue out of what he could clearly smell, he asked what we had under the tarp on the truck.

“Books” I said.

“Books? he said.

“Yes, books” I said.

“Show me” he said.

So I climbed out of the truck and walked to the back of the truck and untied the tarp. Hoping to skate by I showed him the boxes of books.

“Open a box and show me” he ordered. So I popped the top of a box and tilted it toward him a little, hoping that he would see that the boxes did indeed contain books and not actually see what the books were. No such luck.

“Hand me one of those books” he said. So I did. He looked at the cover, riffled through the pages, and said “Where did you get these books?”

“I wrote it” I said, “and we’re taking them to bookshops in San Francisco.”

He then ordered Chuck out of the truck, and sat us both down alongside the road. Telling us to stay put he went back to his patrol car and got on the radio. Within minutes the whole highway was lit up with police coming from both directions, with full lights and sirens. It was quite a show – exactly what cops love to do. People driving by in both directions slowed and looked us over – loving what they saw. Law enforcement at its best – arresting hippies. Chuck and I looked at each other and Chuck said “We might be delayed a little bit in getting to San Francisco”. I agreed that it sure looked that way.

After a dozen or so sheriff’s deputies and CHP had pulled up, a plain white car also pulled up and out climbed a cop who was obviously going to be in charge of things. He was in civilian clothes but his badge hung from his belt and it was clear that he was very, very official.

He stopped and talked with the cop who had originally stopped us, looked over the book, and then walked over to where we were sitting alongside the road.

“You wrote this? He asked. I said that I had.

“Well,” he said,” this looks like a pretty detailed guide to performing a very illegal act.”

Then he said “Nothing illegal about writing a book though.”

Like an idiot I thanked him.

Chuck and I looked at each other and I could see we were both thinking “Holy shit!”

“Now” said the sheriff, “with a truckload of these books you boys wouldn’t be STUPID enough to be smoking dope while you’re driving through my county, would you?”

“Oh no sir” Chuck and I chorused.

“Well, that’s good” he said. “I can’t imagine that ANYONE would be that STUPID, can you?”

“Oh no sir” Chuck and I nodded.

“Well then boys, why don’t you climb back into your truck and be on your way” he said.

Chuck and I couldn’t believe our good luck, but we didn’t hang around to savor the moment. As we started the engine the Sheriff came up to the driver’s side window and said “Just in case you boys ARE stupid enough to be smoking dope with a truckload of these books I’m going to radio ahead to the other counties you’re going to be traveling through and ask them to keep an eye on you.”

“Thank you Sheriff” Chuck and I chorused, and we drove off. As soon as we were out of sight of the cop cluster Chuck reached into the glove compartment and pulled out his stash and tossed it out the window as I cleaned out the ashtray and did the same thing. We kept the windows open to air the cab out really good, and after a few miles we both began to relax and enjoy talking about our remarkable escape. After all, those were the days when a joint could send you to prison for a long, long time. We speculated on why the sheriff had let us go and decided that either he was a closet hippie – not very likely, we agreed – or he had decided that busting us would be too much publicity for Cultivators Handbook.

We drove on through the night, high on our good fortune and ready for dawn to arrive. In several counties on the way to San Francisco we were followed closely by a patrol car but nobody stopped us, and when we arrived in Marin there was nobody watching us. We pulled up in front of the Tides bookstore in Sausalito at about 7AM, parked the truck, and found a place to have breakfast while we waited for Tides to open.

First Reactions In San Francisco

As I recall the Tides Bookstore opened at 9 in the morning and Chuck and I were there to say hi to the owner Herb Beckman who was opening up the store. I ha a copy of Cultivators Handbook ready to show him and was all ready to give him a long pitch on why I wanted Tides to be the first bookstore to carry the book, but he just thumbed through it, handed it to another guy who was with him and said “Let’s buy some of these.”

The guy turned to us and asked how many we had with us. I told him that we had printed 500 books and that we had 450 of them left in boxes of 25. He said “Give us a hundred” and walked into the store carrying the book that I had given Herb Beckman. I could see a few early customers gathering around him to look at the book and as Chuck and I carried the four boxes into the store three or four of them reached into the first box we set down and wanted to buy them right there. Beckman said “Wait a minute – I haven’t even paid these guys yet” and asked me what my wholesale price was. I told him that the wholesale price was 50% which made it $1.00 each. He pulled a checkbook out from under the counter, started writing me a check, and said “How come so cheap – this book is going to be a best-seller.”

I didn’t have an answer to that, and I was pretty dumbfounded to hear someone who was a legend in the book business talk like that, but by then about ten people were lined up at the cash register waiting with their copies of the book. “How many copies did you print” Beckman asked, and when I told him 500 he said “Better go home and print five thousand – quickly.” Then he said “Where else are you going with these books today and I told him we were heading for City Lights in San Francisco, and he said “I’ll call them and tell them you’re coming. And then I want you to drive down to Menlo Park and see a guy named Stuart Brand who is starting up a thing called “Whole Earth Catalog”. I’ll call him too and tell him you’re coming. Then get your ass back to Oregon and get at least 5000 of these printed right away.”

Just like anybody who was barely literate in the 60’s I knew all about City Lights bookshop and the poet/founder Lawrence Ferlinghetti, but as Chuck and I drove across the Golden Gate Bridge into San Francisco I had a hard time believing that I was actually going to meet the man. We pulled up in front of City Lights and I was surprised at how tiny it was, but when we went inside it seemed to go on forever. Ferlinghetti was at the counter and as he eyes the box of books I was carrying he said “You the guys from Oregon with the dope book?” I said yes and handed him a copy. He stood there looking it over and after a while he kind of grinned and said “This is gonna shake up the establishment pretty nicely. What made you think of writing a book like this?”

He offered us a cup of tea and we sat around for an hour or so – with Lawrence fucking Ferlinghetti! – talking about writing as a revolutionary act and laughing at how this little book was going to pull a end run on Hoover and the FBI and all the Narcs. He warned me straight-faced to be damned careful because even though writing a book was legal he and I knew, and the cops and politicians knew too, that the right book in the right hands could be virtually unstoppable. “The only way they will be able to stop this thing is if they can stop you and do it soon” Ferlinghetti said, and Chuck and I immediately thought about that Sheriff in Shasta County. We told Ferlinghetti about the incident and he frowned and said –“That was no cop – that was a guardian angel. I hope you learned whatever you were supposed to learn.”

We assured him that we appreciated what had happened, and that we appreciated his advice. He took 100 books and, just like what happened at the Tides, as we began carrying the books into City Lights and setting the boxes on the counter people began reaching into the boxes and lining up to pay for them. Ferlinghetti kept pointing at me and saying “He’s the guy who wrote this. Go shake his hand.” Which they did. I never felt quite so honored.

Chuck and I soon piled into the truck and headed for the Whole Earth truck Store in Menlo Park. Stuart Brand wasn’t there but an assistant of his, whose name I can’t remember, recognized us and said “You’re the guys Herb Beckman just called about. I’ve got to see this book!” He sat down with a copy of the book and read through it for a few minutes and then said “I’ll take what you have left.” We had carried our last ten boxes of 250 books into the office in this crowded little space that was jammed with stacks of all kinds of tools, books, cases of provisions – everything that anyone familiar with today’s Prepper stores would find very familiar.

In fact the Whole Earth catalog and Truck Store, which began literally with Stuart Brand and his wife selling survival gear out of the back of a truck to hippie communes around Northern California, can and should be seen as prophesying the evolution of the Prepper movement generations before that movement emerged in response to the social/financial chaos that marks today’s world.

The Whole Earth Truck Store guy took a couple of minutes reading through the Handbook and said “You’ve got to get back to Oregon and get more of these printed right now. I’ll give you an order for a thousand – when can you deliver?”

That was pretty stunning. I told him how these first copies had been produced and that I was going to have to find a printer because there was no way that we could produce a thousand copies by hand. He laughed and said that he predicted that pretty soon I would have to think about printing tens of thousands of books, not thousands, and as it turned out he was right.

Chuck and I left Menlo Park and drove back to Eugene without stopping – or being stopped – and we arrived early in the morning. Chuck dropped me off at my house and I thanked him for everything he had done. He said “Don’t thank me man; I feel like I’ve just witnessed a great movement forward in the revolution.” We hugged each other and I went inside to wake up my wife and tell her everything that had gone down in the last few days. I didn’t know it, but life was just about to get very complicated, and very interesting.

Finding A Printer In J. Edgar Hoover’s America

When I began the search for a high-volume printer who could produce 5000 books at a time I was pretty naïve about what was coming. I looked through the Eugene yellow pages and found several likely-looking printers and made appointments. I had a stash of cash from my days of selling botanicals so I was pretty confident that I wouldn’t have a problem. After all, despite its subject matter, this was just a book and I was going to pay cash.

The first printer I visited with was a really nice guy who had a first-class print shop, and although he was as straight as they came he wasn’t too phased by what I was asking him to do. I could tell that my offer of cash up front made the whole deal pretty attractive, and so in just a few minutes we had a deal. I pulled my laid-out book out of a box and he called in his shop foreman and we went over everything. My layout was pronounced camera-ready, and so I went home that afternoon and told my wife that the deal was done and that we would have a book printed in a week or so. I was amazed that it had been so easy – I had expected to have to go through more than one printer to find someone willing to print my book.

This was, after all, early 1969. Nixon was president, Hoover was still running the secret police, and the Vietnam War was still killing thousands of people a day. Possession of even a joint was getting people 50 year jail terms, growers and dealers were being sent to Federal maximum security prisons, and Nancy Reagan was still years away from getting her nasty little fangs into the American jugular.

Even so, I was optimistic. After all, this was a book about growing Marijuana, not a Marijuana garden. I had never heard of Mr. Murphy and his Law.

Three days later I got a call from the printer. He asked me to drop by to discuss a problem, so I went over to his shop. When I walked in he had my layout pages in a box on his desk. I wasn’t totally surprised – I hadn’t actually expected getting my book printed to go as smoothly as it seemed to have done.

He told me that someone in his shop was a member of the John Birch society and when he had seen the plates being made he had called to he Portland FBI office. Apparently there was a high speed caravan of Feds that hit Eugene within hours, where they were joined by local police and Lane County deputies, arriving at the printers with lights flashing and sirens going. I was, of course, oblivious – I lived miles away and didn’t see or hear any of the commotion. Apparently it took a major police presence to arrest my little book. The printer was both nervous and amused as he related this to me – he was obviously worried about the impact of all this on his business, and told me that he was sorry but couldn’t print my book. The Feds had apparently threatened him with conspiracy if he did. I started to argue but took a look at his face and realized that it would do no good. Besides, he was a nice guy and was legitimately worried what the police action would do to his business, so I asked him for the plates, which I had already paid for, and told him that I would find another printer.

He looked embarrassed and told me that the FBI had confiscated the plates as “evidence” and had ordered him not to refund my money. I knew that they couldn’t legally do that but I really had no choice. I didn’t have the money to make a legal issue out of it and besides, I realized that I needed to make getting the book printed my priority, not fighting a losing battle with the Feds.

So I swallowed my financial loss, grateful that at least I had my layout which the printer told me the Feds had overlooked (they weren’t all that bright even in those days), so I thanked him for saving my layout, shook hands, and left.

As I pulled out of the printer’s parking lot I noticed a black car following me and thought – not too subtle. I went home and told my wife what had happened and she was a little freaked out, but I was still confident that there was a big difference between writing a book about growing Marijuana and actually growing it.

I spent the next few days looking up printers all over the Willamette Valley as far away as Portland, and called at least half a dozen to make appointments. I visited with them one after another and explained what I was looking for and two of them said sure, they would print my book. The others flat refused – Oregon was an odd mix of hippies, rednecks, and right-wingers in those days (much like today in fact.)

But the really funny thing was that within a single day after each of the two printers agreed to print “Cultivators Handbook”, and before I could even deliver the layout to them, each of them called me and said that they had decided not to take the job. After a bit of pushing one of them admitted that they had been visited by FBI agents right after I had left and were told that if they printed my book they would be prosecuted for “conspiracy” and other unspecified charges.

With the black car still parked conspicuously outside my house, and with funny little clicks and buzzes on the phone, I figured that I was under pretty tight watch, so I realized that I was going to have to do some creative thinking to get my book printed.

My first thought was to drive down to California and look around. At first that seemed like a good idea, but I realized that even the most liberal California printers would still be vulnerable to FBI intimidation, so I rejected that idea. I was pretty bummed out.

Inspiration Strikes

Then one evening I came up with what even today I regard as one of my best moves ever. In the little coastal town of Florence there was a newspaper publisher whose reputation as an ultra right-winger was well known. His name was Dave Holman. His letters to the editor of other Oregon newspapers were famous, and newspapers all over the state regularly re-printed his editorials. But, I noticed that Dave wasn’t really a right-wing nut case. His ideas were always based on a deep respect for the US Constitution and his editorials were almost always about how the rights and responsibilities of citizens were being subverted by left-wing politicians. I actually agreed with a lot of what Dave had to say because although I was out near the fringe in terms of social policies and progressive politics I was also pretty conservative when it came to questions of Constitutional rights and responsibilities and I did think that a lot of the far left wing of American politics, and even the anti-war movement, were dominated by people with anti-American agendas.

Since I knew that my telephone was tapped I decided to just drive down to Florence and put my case in front of Dave Holman without an appointment, which would only have alerted the FBI. Of course there was the little matter of that black sedan that was always parked just down the street from my house these days, but I figured I could have a little fun with them while accomplishing my objective.

So early one morning I walked out to my car with a duffle bag, a pair of clippers, and a few other items that a grower who was heading out to harvest a patch would need. Since it was October I figured that the stake-out team would draw the obvious conclusion and get really excited. Not only are we going to stop this hippie from printing his book, we’re going to bust him with his dope harvest! Visions of promotion must have been dancing in their little brains. Maybe even presented to them by J. Edgar himself!

I pulled away and headed for Florence, a small coastal town. Halfway there the road climbed through the Coast range and there were dozens of Forest Service and logging roads that cut off into the valleys of the Coast Range. In fact this was a great growing area, and I pretty much knew every spot where people were growing, so I chose a pulloff that wouldn’t lead anywhere near paydirt for the Feds who were now a mini-caravan of two cars and a van, all maintaining what they thought was a discreet distance.

I even signaled my turn, just to be sure they knew where I was going. I drove about a mile up into the woods and then pulled over, went back to my trunk and got out my gear, and headed into the woods. I could hear my tail pull within a hundred yards or so and kill their engines.

I was in fairly rugged country, and I had dressed for it – books, jacket with a hood, jeans, etc. I knew that the Feds would be in street shoes, suits, and neckties, so I led them up and down and around for an hour or so, and then headed back to my car. To their credit I never saw them but I knew that they were there because I walked slowly and never tried to evade them. I just wanted to tire them out a little.

I got back to my car, put everything in the truck, and started my engine. Then I sat there for a few minutes and smoked a joint, which I carefully field-stripped when I was finished. Then I turned my car around, being sure to make a lot of noise, and headed back down the road where I had come. Sure enough, there were the two cars and the van all pulled off the road back in the woods trying to be inconspicuous. I looked straight ahead playing “I don’t see you!” and when I got back to the highway I turned and headed for Florence.

I was pretty sure that they were going to pull me over but they didn’t, instead following me all the way into Florence. I figured they wanted to see where I was going, and were developing visions of busting not only me but maybe a whole bunch of hippie criminal commie dopers.

When I pulled up in front of the Florence newspaper office I could almost hear the collective “Huh?” from the little convoy behind me, and as I walked into the newspaper office with the box of layout in my arms they must have been salivating. I walked up to the secretary and asked if Dave Holman was in and could give me a few minutes.

Just to set the scene, I was a stereotype of the long-hair bearded hippie – the kind of person that Dave was always going on about subverting basic American principles, etc. Dave’s secretary asked what my business was and I said that I had a book that I wanted to have printed and that I knew how much Dave respected the 1st Amendment and the US Constitution and thought that he was the person with the courage to do the job, She looked me over pretty good and then picked up the phone and said “Dave, there’s a hippie out here who wants you to print his book and he says you’re the only person in the state with the guts to do it. Shall I send him in?”

She showed me into Dave’s office and I got my first look at the fire-breathing Dave Holman. He was short, muscular, with the buzz-cut pugnacious look of a former Marine, and he was sitting behind his desk with his arms crossed and a “I can tear your heart out and eat it” look on his face.

He didn’t ask me to sit down, so I stood there with my little box in my arms. “What’s this about a book that you think I’m the only guy with the guts to print”, he growled. I took that as an invitation to sit down, which I did, and then I took out the book’s layout sheets and laid them on the desk in front of him.

He riffled through them and looked at me very intensely. “Do you know who I am?” he asked. I said that I did indeed, and that there probably wasn’t anyone in the state who believed more strongly in freedom of the press than he did.

“Why are you coming to me to print this piece of shit?” Dave growled.

“Because the FBI has been following me around the state intimidating printers and telling them they are going to be charged with conspiracy if they print it” I said.

“Bullshit” Dave growled again.

His office window was facing the street, so I walked over to the window and sure enough there were the two black Fords each with two guys in suits and shades in the front seat. There was another guy, who must have come from the van, popping the trunk of my car. He was pulling my duffle bag out with a big grin on his face. I had an even bigger grin on my face as I thought about all the lab time the FBI was going to spend trying to identify the flakes of oregano, parsley, basil, and other dried herbs I had but in the bag that morning.

“Take a look Dave” I said. “Those are a bunch of FBI agents are waiting to come into your office after I leave and have a chat with you. They appear to also be checking my car for illegal substances – which they aren’t going to find”

“We’ll see about that” Dave growled – it seemed to be his favorite form of verbal communication. “Wait here” he ordered, and he got up and walked out through the office and outside. I watched through the window as he walked up to the first car and knocked on the driver’s window. The suit inside rolled down the window and words were exchanged. I imagined Dave growling at the agents. The driver reached into his suit and pulled out what was obviously a piece of ID. Dave took it and looked at it, then handed it back and came back into the office.

“Watch this” he growled – but it seemed to be a slightly friendlier growl. “I’m calling an old friend of mine who happens be the FBI agent in charge of the Portland office.”

He dialed and I heard the phone on the other end pick up. “This is Dave Holman in Florence”, he growled. “Put me through to (I can’t remember the name).”

The FBI guy came on the line and said something, and Dave growled into the phone “I’ve got this guy Bill Drake in my office and he wants me to print his book about growing Marijuana, and I’ve got two of your agents outside on the street. You’ve got ten minutes to tell them to leave, and I’m printing this guy’s goddamn book, and I better not see any of your agents anywhere near my shop or his house or I’m going to tear you and your agency a new asshole.”

The he slammed down the phone and turned to me and said “How are you going to pay for the printing?” I pulled a wad of cash out of my pocket and said “How much to print five thousand copies?”

“You want me to print five thousand copies?” Dave growled. Do you have any idea how long it’s going to take to sell five thousand copies?”

When I told him that I had a written order for a thousand already, and had verbal orders for another thousand, he looked at me over his glasses, doodled on a pad on his desk for a little while, and said “Son, you may have something here. Tell you what. I’ll print those 5000 copies for you on the basis of your order here for a thousand copies. You pay me $500 now and the balance when you come back to me with your next order.”

I couldn’t believe my good fortune. I not only had a printer for my book, but a printer who had just told the FBI to fuck off, and one who was also going to work with me to get as many copies of my book printed as I could sell without asking for a lot of front money – and all this from a guy who was well-known around Oregon as one of the toughest newspapermen in the state. I had obviously had that guardian angel that Ferlinghetti talked about following me around.

The End

Well, not really the end, but a story has to stop somewhere and after I was able to get that 5000 book printing done by Dave Holman I sold out within a couple of weeks and came back to Dave for another 5000 copies. And it went on like that for years.

There were lots more things that happened along the way – new friends, lots of help from strangers, pretty continual shadowing by the cops, numerous attempts at entrapment, travel to some very interesting places – but few things in my life have ever quite equaled the satisfaction that I got out of creating that little yellow book and helping hundreds of thousands of people rebel against and ultimately, many years later, be able to change the repressive laws of the tyrannical governments that work so hard at enslaving our minds and bodies under the laughable proposition of “protecting” us.

This post is my thank you to all my brothers and sisters who made my own adventure possible, and who have never stopped believing in and working toward freedom for us all.