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Decriminalizing Consciousness

Published: July 1, 2011, Author: JayTaber

In light of the colossal failure of the world war on drugs, one might think the United Nations would step forward to end the human rights abuses and official violence associated with this misguided global project. Given the fact that psychoactive plants have provided therapeutic medicinal relief to humankind for millenia, one might imagine the senseless campaigns against entheogens like cannabis, psilocybin and peyote would someday come to an end.

But the UN is also a collection of states with conflicts of interest that prevent humanitarian perspectives from prevailing. Perhaps most prominent in these interests is the militarization of police and commercialization of militaries that undergirds the criminalization of sacred, therapeutic botanicals. The consequence of such misguided and corrupt policies, unfortunately, is the marginalization and even demonization of indigenous sacred rituals, practices and ceremonies.

As the epidemic of mental, spiritual and social affliction expands exponentially, leading the World Health Organization to declare depression as second only to heart disease as a disabling condition, it is disappointing to witness organizations like the UN International Narcotics Control Board continuing in the wrong direction on ethnobotanicals. If humankind is to find new directions in the evolution of contemporary society, ancient indigenous knowledge and modern therapeutic practice will need to inform each other.

Toward that end, the International Center for Ethnobotanical Education, Research and Service — a Netherlands non-profit — is campaigning for a more enlightened UN response. Take a look at this and other initiatives aimed at ameliorating the militaristic mindset behind the war on drugs and therapeutic botanicals.

Imagine a future where consciousness is no longer a crime.

Chief George Manuel Memorial Indigenous Library

The library is dedicated to the memory of Secwepemc Chief George Manuel (1921-1989), to the nations of the Fourth World and to the elders and generations to come.

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