Alexis Carey suffers from Dravet Syndrome, a form of epilepsy that has left the nine-year-old unable to speak or use the bathroom. She is subject to violent seizures that can last an hour or longer. No relief is provided by any of the FDA-approved medications available. When Alexis succumbs to a seizure – she sometimes endures sixty episodes a month – her parents, Michael and Clare, can do little more than act as witnesses to their daughter’s agony. Dravet-induced seizures can cause permanent brain damage, and many children thus afflicted don’t reach adulthood.
If the Careys lived in Utah, Alexis would have access to cannabidiol (CBD), an orally administered oil (sometimes called “Charlotte’s Web”) that has been very effective in treating Dravet’s Syndrome and a number of other illnesses, including some forms of cancer. However, the family resides in Idaho, where CBD is illegal because it is derived from the evil communist demon weed called marijuana.
CBD has a very low THC content, which means that it has no psychoactive effects. But this matters not to the Gem State’s noble defenders of public virtue: On February 20, 2013, the Idaho State Senate’s State Affairs Committee unanimously approved a measure resolving never to permit legalization of marijuana for any reason, and a second resolution petitioning the White House to carry out stern and strict enforcement of all federal anti-marijuana statutes. The first was later approved by the full Legislature, but the latter was voted down.
Alexis’s parents have lobbied the state Legislature to enact an exception for CBD use in treatment of Dravet Syndrome. Although some legislators expressed sympathy, no tangible progress was made, which means that the family cannot expect relief until sometime next year, at best. In the meantime, Alexis’s condition will continue to deteriorate.
In desperation, Michael and Clare have considered moving to Colorado, where CBD is readily available. Rather than being forced into exile, they have contemplated the possibility of driving to Colorado and returning with a load of Charlotte’s Web. Given the opportunistic ruthlessness with which Idaho State Police troopers enforce – and exploit — the state’s marijuana ban, this would very likely mean that they would be intercepted at the border and face both imprisonment and the loss of everything they own through the state-licensed larceny called “asset forfeiture.”
“Would a prosecutor even take a case like that, and say `I’m going to prosecute you for having hemp oil with 0.3 percent THC in it?’” mused Clare in an interview with BSU’s Public Radio affiliate.
The living answer to that question is Monte Stiles, retired federal prosecutor and ideological architect of Idaho’s draconian anti-marijuana campaign. He is precisely the kind of self-enraptured world-improver who would be willing to turn parents into felons and paupers because they seek to treat their incurably sick little girl with a substance that is banned by the State for no rational reason.
Stiles combines the destructive, dictatorial sanctimony of Savonarola with the pathological implacability of Javert. He sincerely believes himself to be the divinely commissioned tutor to the public, defender of “the children,” and scourge of the “New Barons of Pot.” In his wisdom – and who are we to challenge it? – it is necessary that Alexis and others like her suffer, rather than using treatments that would undermine the state-imposed orthodoxy that “marijuana is a crude street drug” with no beneficial uses.
Left untreated, Alexis’s Dravet Syndrome will leave the child’s tiny body wracked with painful convulsions. For Stiles and his allies, this is simply the price that must be paid in order to hold at bay what he calls the “Trojan horse of marijuana as `medicine.’”
Stiles spent 28 years as a federal prosecutor, all but four of them focusing on drug prohibition efforts. Since retiring from that post he has tirelessly promoted prohibition both here and abroad. Despite the fact that he has no medical credentials, Stiles pontificates that there is no “acceptable” medical use for marijuana, and that the “end game” of any effort to establish medical exceptions is decriminalization of “the recreational use of everything.”
This was essentially the state of affairs in the 19th century, when Stiles’ devout Mormon forebears fortified themselves with stimulant-rich “Mormon Tea,” cannabis and heroin were prominently listed ingredients in widely used cough syrup preparations, and cocaine – which was advertised as a topical analgesic for teething pains – could be purchased at the local apothecary.
If Stiles were still in office, he not only would prosecute Michael and Clare for bringing CBD back from Colorado, he would seize their bank accounts, their home, and their property, and use his influence to arrange for the same penalties to be imposed on their suppliers in Colorado and anybody who did business with them.
“The saddest part of this story [the rapid normalization of marijuana use] is the fact that our federal government has always had the ability to shut this down,” wrote Stiles in a January 2013 op-ed column. “As a federal drug prosecutor for almost 25 years, I know that we didn’t have to endure a decade or more of so-called `medicinal’ marijuana before the pretense was dropped and full legalization efforts began. For the price of a postage stamp and some paper, the federal government could send a notice of forfeiture to marijuana landlords. This would be most effective in states like Arizona and New Jersey where only one dispensary exists….”
Stiles no longer has the power to dispossess people by decree, but he continues his relentless evangelism on behalf of prohibition. He was most likely the ghostwriter of a January 2013 letter to the White House on behalf of the Association of Idaho Cities demanding that the Obama administration crack down on state-level efforts to decriminalize the use of
marijuana. The AIC condemned legalization of marijuana as “a disaster for our country and the worldwide war against drugs” and urged action “to enforce federal drug laws in all states and uphold international treaties relating to the control of illegal drugs in the world.”
That letter, which provided the template for the state legislature’s subsequent anti-marijuana resolutions, could be construed as an act of treason in the strict constitutional sense of the expression. Article III, section 3 of the U.S. Constitution defines “Treason against the united States” – note the plural – as “levying war against them, or in adhering to their enemies….” The signatories of the AIC’s letter to the White House, and the legislative Quislings who called for a federal anti-marijuana crack-down, were urging Obama to take violent action against states that have exercised their reserved powers under the Tenth Amendment to opt out of the marijuana prohibition regime. This would be done, furthermore, to enforce the UN’s 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs – an anti-constitutional pact enacted by an unaccountable foreign assembly.
Only the sacred cause of drug prohibition could inspire Idaho’s Republican-dominated political establishment to beg Barack Obama to use whatever means he deems necessary to enforce UN-mandated “international law.”
While Idaho government’s anti-marijuana zealotry is globalist – in effect, if not in intent – Stiles’s vision of a “drug-free society” can be accurately described as communist. Not Marxist, mind you; he doesn’t present a theory of class struggle that conduces toward the final victory of the proletariat. What Stiles proposes is the organization of society into “planned communities” administered by visionaries like himself.
In February 2013, the same month that the incomparably righteous Idaho Legislature enacted its “Prohibition now – prohibition forever!” resolution, Stiles produced a detailed manifesto entitled “The Path: A Vision for American’s [sic] Future.” Displaying the monomania of an instinctive totalitarian, Stiles outlines a planned community in which the central organizing principle is an abhorrence of all government-banned substances.
“The Path provides leaders with the opportunity to say, `This is the way. Let’s go there together,’” exhorts Stiles. He then outlines the “Seven Significant Steps” that we must follow under the diligent oversight of our inspired rulers. Of course, seeking to establish a “drug-free” community is an undertaking as senseless as trying to overtake the horizon – but for those who seek the power to “improve” other people through the threat and exercise of violence, it’s the journey that matters, not the destination.
The “planned community” limned by Stiles is a bizarre Landru-cult, minus the annual catharsis of state-licensed hedonism. Imagine Mao’s Cultural Revolution filtered through Ned Flanders’s aesthetic lens, with the role of Red Guards played by a hyper-authoritarian faction of Up With People, and you’ll get a rough idea of what Stiles has in mind.
Like Barack Obama, Stiles fancies himself a revolutionary “community organizer,” calling for the creation of “Community coalitions … formed around 12 community sectors, including schools, businesses, churches, youth organizations, parents, and civic organizations.” This would allow a targeted city to qualify for subsidies through the Federal Drug Free Community Grants Program – and that’s when the fun will really begin.
“Leaders” will be identified, a community “kickoff” event will be held, “community sectors” will be enlisted to “gather data” – that is, collect intelligence on suspected deviants. Inmates of the local government schools would endure daily agitprop barrages and be expected to take part in liturgies of conformity. School hallways would teem with “law enforcement resource officers” empowered to carry out “suspicion-based drug testing” of students.
Similar policies would be imposed in the workplace, in the churches, in civic organizations, and anywhere else people might repair in search of a brief respite from the relentless attentions of their archons. Citizens would be expected to offer public ritual denunciations of “the notion that your state should surrender to the drug culture by normalizing substance abuse – in any form.”
According to Marx’s manifesto, communism is distilled into a single principle: “The abolition of private property.” Through the practice of “asset forfeiture,” American police departments have been immeasurably more effective in establishing communism than Leon Trotsky’s Red Army ever was. Not surprisingly, in Stiles’ pseudo-puritanical dystopia the police would have free rein “to effectively investigate, seize, and forfeit the drug-related assets of drug traffickers” and devote a portion of the plundered proceeds to “drug education efforts” to explain “why drug education and enforcement is important to everyone.”
Totalitarian blueprints demand ideological regimentation of family life, and “The Path” is no exception. Parents would be required to harangue their children “at least once a week” regarding the “values and expectations” of the community.
Here Stiles neglected an opportunity to tout the accomplishments of an Idaho parent who exhausted himself in the prohibitionist crusade: Former state DARE coordinator Larry McGhee, a 30-year law enforcement veteran who devoted most of his career to combating drug use.
During that time, as it happened, McGhee’s daughter and grand-daughter both became drug addicts, but somehow this didn’t impeach his credibility as a state-commissioner moral scold. His family’s tragic experience underscores the fact that it’s impossible to create a “drug-free” world– but Stiles, who worked closely with McGhee, simply will not abandon that pretense, or the conceit that children should be treated as community property.
The very existence of the “drug culture” — which apparently includes everybody who is not a prohibitionist fanatic – means that “children are being deprived of their right to `life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” Stiles insists.
The “right” of children to live in a “drug-free community” must be the “first priority,” Stiles decrees. In his ideal “community,” the rights of parents would be contingent upon their compliance with prohibitionist priorities.
Given the priorities expressed in “The Path,” it’s reasonable to conclude that if Stiles were still a federal prosecutor, and Alexis Carey’s parents obtained CBD to treat her Dravet Syndrome, he would not only seek their imprisonment and impoverishment, he would most likely try to terminate their parental rights and dispatch their suffering daughter into the foster care system. This would be justified by the necessity of preserving her “right” to endure a brief and pain-saturated existence as a member of a “drug-free community.”