Screwtape Cannabis: A Letter in Support of Prohibition

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Dear Spider Mite:

Thanks for your recent letter. I caution you that the reforms created by the legalization movement are growing worse than you seem to acknowledge. As your delightful mother always taught you, serving Satan is its own reward. But I assure you that failing him is not its own punishment. Visit your grandfather, Demon Wormwood, and smell the sizzling sulfur of his cell in the Ninth Circle of Hell. That’s what he earned for letting alcohol prohibition get repealed. May Our Father Below let Wormwood’s memory be a lesson to all who serve The Dark One. I shudder to think what you’ll receive if cannabis loses its current status.

That said, not all is lost. I like your idea about lulling the reformers to sleep. As Demon Screwtape once said, “the safest road to Hell is the gradual one – the gentle slope, soft underfoot, without sudden turnings, without milestones, without signposts.” Chin up, dear Spider Mite! Support their inaction and the promotion from Tempter to Demon can still be yours.

Let them keep thinking that they’ve already won. No Indica could be more sedating! Let them publish long essays on how their victory is a fait accompli. Let the lefty newspapers (the ones that half the country never reads) spout on and on about truth and justice and other intangibles. Then let the media turn back to their usual shenanigans. Reformers can continue to celebrate their petty gains while three-quarters of a million annual arrests drain law enforcement and court resources. You can triumph, you little devil!

The issue of medical use can turn to your advantage. First, always put “medical” in quotation marks, as if every symptom the plant has ever allayed must have been some bogus psychosomatic claptrap. May the work of The Father of Lies be your guide. Repeat how there aren’t enough randomized clinical trials. Make government agencies bury requests in red tape and bureaucratic bullshit. Make each state create a list of approved conditions (rather than let trained physicians who know the patients personally choose their treatment). You know, don’t let the process work like every other medication in the country. Above all, let those who’ve experience relief themselves get treated like naïve hippies.

Next, keep those seized babies out of the media. The government is already on your side. Let experienced professionals quake in fear of losing their jobs after the way we shafted that woman in Arizona. When all else fails, spread the word that only part of the plant is safe, suggesting that elaborate and rare steps are essential. Then legislators can propose limited laws that won’t help all the children or anyone who needs THC. After that, label anyone who opposes these laws a baby-hater. You know how humans are about their offspring, and how much Beelzebub disdains them!

I regret that two states have created taxed and regulated markets in cannabis. Pitting the reformers against each other is your only option here. See if you can get them into squabbles. Get idealistic ones to rant when the laws are not perfect. Then get the others to settle for concessions that the prohibitionists wouldn’t have had the guts to request. Drag those corny academics into the fray so they can split hairs about nonsense and drop their recondite words like smelly little grenades. When all else fails, encourage citizens in these states to think that their job is done while other locales continue to slam the cuffs on anyone carrying a gram and a pinch.

But above all, make everyone think that the movement needs no more cash and no more effort because reform is bound to happen.

Praise Lucifer,

Demon Anslinger


Photo Credit: By Anonymous (Upper Rhine) (postcard) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons