Jack D. Johnson
Member, Iowans For Medicinal Marijuana
P.O. Box 4091
Des Moines, IA 50333

November 16, 1996

Hon. Charles E. Grassley, U.S. Senator
721 Fed. Bldg.
210 Walnut
Des Moines, IA 50309-2140

RE: Public & Scientific Support For Medicinal Marijuana
    Agricultural Support For Industrial Hemp/Marijuana
    Constitutional Violation By Present Federal Anti-Marijuana Laws

Dear Senator Grassley:

* In the past months & years you have continually cited, mistakenly, that there is "no public support for [decriminalization] of marijuana" and that there is "no scientific basis marijuana is harmless" and that it has "no medicinal or public health benefit" to be gained from marijuana.  It is believed your anti-marijuana position is but a reflection of the self-serving status quo of the professional bureaucrats whose 'reports' you steadfastly quote, ie, your exercise in sophist rhetoric as contained in the Congressional Record for Monday, January 22, 1996.   You were no doubt responding to the professional opinions voiced in the 'National Review' opposing the Republican's Drug War as a failed domestic policy.  Your logic & argument was skewered by the fact you labeled a peace-making effort toward decriminalization as "Drug Legalization".  By-and-large the public rejected your thesis by voting in support of decriminalization of marijuana this past November 5th in Calfornia & Arizona.

Of more recent note in yours of October 30, 1996, to marijuana activist Carl E. Olsen of Iowans For Medicinal Marijuana, you continue to parrot self-serving federal bureaucratic reports & statistics.  You must at some point begin to realize the questionable validity of such self-serving reports as the means of those agencies' perpetuation.  It would appear the public is able to make this distinction while you are not.

It is time to take an honest look at the sick politics that foster a war by [north] Americans against Arnericans.  The parallels of the Nazis against the Jews & the Republicans against the drug culture is all too familiar.  The public recognizes a negative & failed policy as contrary to the social conscience, and has made that consensus known by thier recent vote for decriminalization of marijuana.

Regarding scientific findings, your stated opposition to medicinal marijuana is not license for falsehoods, ie, "There have been over 12,000 published scientific studies of marijuana, none of which have shown smoking marijuana to be a safe or effective medicine for the treatment of any condition" as stated in your letter to Mr. Olsen, then you go on to cite yet another self-serving federal bureaucratic study(s).  There are in fact several published scietific articles supporting marijuana as a safe & effective medicine for treatment of a wide range of human maladys.  You are refered to the world's largest drug library @ DRCNet on Internet and the Library at Iowa State U.

As a 30 year marijuana researcher, and as addressed in a previous letter to you earlier this year (your silence giving consent), to deny the phenomena of the many ancient & current medicinal uses of marijuana is to defy the logic of experience over the years.  To make the argument, as you have, I here quote your very words as contained at the second to last paragraph of your statement in the Congressional Record as aforementiomed: "To make the argument [against medicinal marijuana] requires ... suspension of judgement, a willingness to accept assertations over facts, and a professional absence of mind that ignores experience".

As an Iowan, I have to ask what would make such an astute Senatorial politician 'ignore experience'?  You say you have strong feelings about representative government, but representative of who?  Your references are, without exception, the parrotings of the federal bureacracy.  The natural inference from that is you represent the bureaucracy, or the bureaucracy wags the politician, as in the tail wags the dog.
    As an ordinary member of the public, I find it suspect, if not outrightly corrupt, that major pharmeaceutical special interests succeed in gaining the approval of FDA for dangerous drugs far and away more dangerous than marijuana.
    As a citizen, I detect the rotten stink of bureaucratic blocking the availability of marijuana for legitimate research.
    As the son of an Iowa farmer, I question the authority of the Federal Govermment to determine what crops a soverneign State may produce within it's boundaries.
    As a taxpayer, I denounce any expenditure on a war against fellow Americans for exercising thier right to pursue happiness by using marijuana.
    As a victim of glaucoma I've lost the sight of one eye as the result of the bureaucratic repression you sponsor.  On this point, when government acts to deliberately damage a citizen, it's only gain is a loss of respect and faith and trust replaced by an intracable contempt.  What you offer at the third paragraph of page three in your letter to Mr. Olsen is yet further redundancy of yet another government-funded institute which faithfully parrots the bureaucratic line opposing marijuana.  My personal therapeutic experience with a multitude of FDA approved medications did not lower my intraocular pressure sufficient to prevent optic nerve damage & loss of eyesight only occurred after the Feds acted to curtail my use of marijuana.   That is to say, most emphatically, until government interference occurred, treatment by marijuana was effective.  Thanks to the Feds, I am today blind in one eye.
    As a matter of common sense, how 'euphoria' is undesirable or harmful can only be the result of considerable governmental sophistry.

You say "science does not support these claims" that marijuana makes some illnesses easier.  I believe, based upon my own experience & research, that you are stating an intentional falsehood in furtherance of your political opposition to marijuana and desire to carry-on your party's war against marijuana.  There is no sensible or humane reason to continue an active war against a benign plant, a plant that has served man's needs for centuries.

In light of the public support for and historical benefit of marijuana, it would behoove a truly representative government to move accordingly and at the very least free the plant for private use & study.  This act may serve to restore some credibility to politicians and government alike.

It must be recognized that the public is both better informed & educated than it was when the 1937 Marijuana Tax Act was passed (by quorum) as a result of industrial fibre interests and the need for the bureaucrat to justify employment [the BNDD absorbing Treasury agents put out of work by repeal of alcohol prohibition].  The public is aware of the federal-level skulduggery employed to protect & perpetuate federal employment.  The public has grown sick of federal political sophistry & slease, and have shown that contempt by not voting.  The public now represents a silent majority only occassionally stirred to vote when an obvious change is needed and thier representatives fail to make that change; thus California's Proposition 215.

"The best available science, however, clearly and overwhelmingly demonstrates the contrary" you wrote in denial of marijuana's beneficial effects.  Although obviously oxymoronic, I will again address the obvious:
    The science authors you referenced {Leo E. Hollister, Dr. H.S. Greenberg) conducted thier work under gov't grant, and that they conclude alongside the gov't's position is no surprise.  Those articles in various independent medical journals all end noting 'inconclusiveness' and the need for further study which is prohibited by the Federal Government's stramglehold on the very substance under study.
    At the last few symposiums on marijuana, all government agencies invited, stayed away, apparently prefering ignorance.
    Your continued oppositional stance, is, in the opinion of this writer, untenable & counterproductive.

** Marijuana as an agricultural commodity cannot continue to be ignored.  That we as a (so-called) 'free' nation must IMPORT marijuana clothing, birdseed, paper, etc. is absurd in the extreme.  That a ranking member of the Senate Committee on Agricultural opposes marijuana is positively ludicrous.

*** As a high school student, a course in U.S. Government was required.  The representatives upon being elected are required to give an oath to "defend the Constitution".  We were taught the Constitution was designed as a protection against government's tendency to tyrannize it's subjects.  We were taught we had certain 'inalienable rights' in the Bill of Rights.  We were taught that ours is a 'dual system of government' under the Dual Sovereignty Doctrine as expressed by the 10th Amendment to the Constitution.  The Founding Fathers' rationale behind the mandate of separation of powers was to protect us all against encroachment of a centralized government.  The 10th Amendment clearly states that the federal government is a government of very limited powers, that for federal action to be legitimate, it must be authorized by the Constitution.  Congress clearly has no general police power to legislate for the health, welfare, morals, etc. of state citizens, and for that reason the Drug Abuse Prevention Act could not have been enacted to prevent immoral behavior in a State.  What has actually occurred is the passage of a criminal statute under guise of a commercial regulation.

The only authority that Congress could have used in enacting the Substance Abuse Control Act was the Commerce Clause, however is voided by the Supremacy Clause as it can only be invoked when a State law conflicts or impairs a federal statute, negated by the fact the State of Iowa adopted the Uniform Substance Control Act.  Extraterritorial application of a federal statute can only apply when a statute is solely and exclusively the subject matter of the federal government within a sovereign State of the union.   The federal government is otherwise not constitutionally allowed any police power within the sovereign states.
    When the federal government claims jurisdiction over a subject matter, it must do so exclusively over the whole of the entirety of the subject matter, (ie, marijuana) to retain jurisdiction over said subject matter.  Thus, the federal statutes criminalizing or scheduling marijuana is a prima facie unconstitutional statute, and those federal representatives enacting it violated the very oath they were sworn to, ie, defending the Constitution.

The Chief Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court, Wm. Rehnquist, recently addressed federal Congressional over-reaching thus: "[t]he Constitution creates a Federal Government of enumerated powers.  See U.S. Const., Art. I, Section 8 ... the powers delegated by the proposed Constitution to the federal government are few and defined. (emphasis added)  Those which are to remain in the State governments are numerous and indefinite."  Lopez 115 S.Ct. 1624 at 1626 & The Federalist No. 45, pp. 292-293.  The fear of federal tyranny is great when Congress legislates beyond it's express authority.  Never has the Supreme Court declared that Congress may use a trivial commerce impact as an excuse for broad regulation, let alone criminalization, of state or private activities.  Lopez at 1629.

* * * * * * * * * *

Given the wide social acceptance of marijuana citing 20+ million users (U.S.) according to the U.S. Dept. of Justice (1993) the time has come to recognize marijuana as a medicine, as a benign & mildly euphoric plant substance, as not dangerous (no known overdose nor death resulted), all combine to obviate the social need to reform marijuana laws. Given the public support for marijuana decriminalization, politicians have lost their best excuse for failing to act responsibly.  Agricultural interests are expanding to include marijuana as a viable & highly versatile crop commodity.   The U.S. Constitution plainly does not allow the federal government or it's representatives to declare a plant a crime (as in employment justification for a distinct minority of federal agents & bureaucrats) in a State where they have no jurisdiction to begin with over the subject matter, ie, marijuana.

Decriminalization of marijuana is proposed and advanced as a means to begin to heal the wounds of the drug war & restore public trust in politicians and government.   Laws decriminalizing marijuana are needed to free the user of fear of his government's oppressive tendencies.  Remove an anti-government segment and gain their involvement in the democratic process.  There is tax revenues to be appreciated from the legitimate marijuana commodity federally and in each State & locality (prohibitionary taxes will have to end).

My support for decriminalization is limited to marijuana only.  I remain opposed to all dangerous drugs illicitly produced.  My position is the only danger posed by marijuana is the government's unsupported prohibition of it.

You are urged to recognize the public's broad support for medicinal marijuana and the obvious need for decriminalization & reform of existing marijuana laws and it's absurd scheduling as a Class I narcotic.  The public knows better.

Please act responsibly.  You represent the public, not the self-serving bureaucracy.


    Jack D. Johnson

cc: Release of this letter to the public is
    authorized by the writer abovesigned.

    Carl E. Olsen, Iowa
    Mark Greer, California


Des Moines Register - Enlightened Marijuana Votes - November 11, 1996

Des Moines Register - Iowa Group Studying Industrial Hemp - December 4, 1996

Des Moines Register - Marijuana: What's The Fuss? - December 5, 1996