Black Lives Matter & Social Health Equity Statement
The American Academy of Cannabinoid Medicine (AACM) Endorses Justice, Humanity, and Black Lives Matter.
The AACM is a medical professional organization. The AACM joins with many other professional groups such as the Drug Police Alliance (DPA) and the International Cannabinoid Research Society (ICRS) in condemning institutional racism in all its many forms, in strongest possible terms.
All humans have very similar anatomy and physiology. That is why when treating illness, health care professionals are or should be color blind. As health care professionals we are aware that there is no appreciative difference in the genetic, anatomical or physiological make up of humans. This is because we can all trace our ancestry back to common ancestors.
Let's face it. The United States is a racist country and has been since at least 1619 with the advent of slavery on our shores. Even before that time the treatment of the indigenous population in the New World left a lot to be desired, albeit that the Spanish in Mexico and the Caribbean were more hateful and brutal than the British. This is scant comfort to those enslaved by the British, French, Portuguese, Dutch and other Europeans.
We Condemn Othering
The technique of “othering” is common throughout the world. The British marginalize the Irish, the Swedes and the Norwegians have a long history of conflict with each other; the Semites, Arabs and Jews, have engaged in othering for millennia. That doesn't make racism, othering, bigotry, whatever it is called, right. It makes it common. This is learned behavior. It is not necessary for human survival. In fact, the conflicts that othering generates are counterproductive and can lead to totally unwarranted and uncalled for violence.
Drug laws have been just another tool used to marginalize discriminate against people. In 1918, Prohibition got its last few votes from anti-German sentiment. This just added to the original support from anti-Irish bigots. The 1914 Harrison Narcotic Tax Act was directed at Asian Americans and African Americans.
The AACM condemns violence and confrontation, particularly by the establishment and particularly when aimed at minority communities. The government should be setting a standard for effective compassionate human interaction.
It is well past time to embrace the basic moral and ethical teachings common to all religions, whether they come from Moses, Jesus of Nazareth, Mohammed, Confucius, Buddha or other prominent historical religious teachers. It is well past time for America to change and live up to our purported values. If we are going to marginalize anyone, it should be those who would divide us and thumb their collective noses at the teaching of the great moral and ethical leaders past and present.
We Support Law Reform to Support Justice
It is well past time to align our laws with justice, not racism. Police who murder unarmed black men not only are racist, but their murderous actions undermine respect for the rule of law. These murders must be held accountable.
It is long past time for drug policy reform. The notorious Harry Anslinger, first director of the BNDD, saw making cannabis illegal as providing yet another tool to target, harass, demean and jail, people of color. Drug policy is just one more racist tool that needs to end.
Spend Government Funds to Make our Quality of Life Better
We need to put our money where our mouth is. AACM stands with the Drug Policy Alliance condemning the misuse of federal funds. Not only do we need to defund the police but “Instead of doubling down on the war on drugs, we need to focus on rebuilding communities and fostering the health and safety for all people. This is true at all times, but especially during a pandemic.”
It only makes sense for the government to fund what works and might actually help fight substance abuse. A simple very helpful action that makes sense is to move non criminal matters from the purview of police to more appropriately trained people like counselors or social workers. The police are currently asked to address matters they have neither been trained for nor meant to deal with. This is a better way to deal with issues that can be vexing for police to deal with. These issues include School deportment, oppositional disorder in teens, substance abuse, quarrels with neighbors, blocking the drive through at Wendy’s and domestic violence. Law enforcement funds should be used to fund better equipped professionals to help limit what we actually expect the police to do and allow them to focus on crime.
We support funding non police staff (let’s call them councilors or community service workers) to deal with the non criminal matters as parenting issues, domestic violence, school deportment and substance abuse. These matters can be addressed with more helpful intervention and treatments by mental health professionals, as opposed to using arrest and incarceration. Having community service officers to deal with social issues will help the police by freeing up the police to deal more effectively with real crime.
Drug Abuse Prevention
For decades harm reduction experts have been saying that the best drug abuse prevention strategy: is to raise emotionally healthy children. In order to do that we need good parenting and raising wanted children in a supportive, emotionally healthy community. Some current police funds should be directed toward achieving that goal.
We need to have an economy that allows parents to have the time and money necessary to have the financial means and quality time to raise happy, healthy children. Local State and National government resources can be used to raise healthy children in a supportive community environment.
Instead of wasting tens of billions on arrest and incarceration, for substance use and abuse, that money would be better spent building a vibrant economy with good-paying jobs, resulting in more intact, happy, caring families with reasonable paying jobs. This is the best strategy for promoting family values and developing self-esteem, good decision-making skills and personal responsibility in our children.
To quote the International Cannabis Research Society (ICRS), “We stand shoulder to shoulder in solidarity with all global movements against individual and systemic racism, including #BlackLivesMatter. We encourage our membership to denounce racism, injustice and inequality in all its forms."