social media to report to the DEA
social media to report to the DEA

Social Media Companies Required to Report Cannabis Users to the DEA? - The War on Drugs in the Digital Era

Privacy rights and civil liberties could be out the window for cannabis users on social media!

Posted by:
Reginald Reefer on Monday Jul 31, 2023

social media companies to report to the DEA

The Drug War in the Digital Era & Why Your elected Officials hate you!


In the digital era, the War on Drugs has taken on a new dimension, raising profound concerns about privacy, civil liberties, and the abuse of power by elected officials.


For decades, this relentless war has been waged against drug use, leading to a massive prison population in the United States.


The very people who advocate for this draconian approach are complicit in violating our human rights and undermining the principles of freedom and justice. And who are these people that advocate for these laws?  I’m so glad “I” asked, allow me to explain.


In this opinion piece, we explore how the War on Drugs has evolved in the digital age, how it infringes upon our rights, and why it's high time to rethink this failed policy (obviously).


The failed war on drugs is evolving…maybe


The War on Drugs, with its heavy emphasis on punitive measures and mass incarceration, is not supported by science or evidence-based approaches. There is no credible research to suggest that one can "arrest" their way out of a drug problem. Rather than addressing the underlying issues of addiction and substance abuse, this failed policy perpetuates a cycle of punishment that does little to promote public health or address the root causes of drug use.


One of the most concerning aspects of the War on Drugs is its role in recreating a prison population that is owned and controlled by the state. The 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, passed in 1865, abolished slavery and involuntary servitude, "except as a punishment for a crime." This exception has been exploited to target and incarcerate individuals, particularly those from marginalized communities, for non-violent drug offenses. The incarceration of millions of people for drug-related offenses has created a modern form of legalized slavery, where individuals lose their liberty and freedom due to the criminalization of drug use.


Moreover, the War on Drugs has given law enforcement unprecedented power to encroach on other freedoms, such as search and seizure, surveillance, and asset forfeiture. RICO (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations) laws have been used to target drug offenders and strip them of their assets, often without due process or fair trial. This erosion of civil liberties raises significant concerns about the abuse of power and the erosion of the principles upon which our nation was founded.


Now, while I have spoken a lot about the past of the War on Drugs, it’s time today to take a look at a proposed future…if passed.


The Digital War on Drugs


The Cooper Davis Act, as reported by MarijuanaMoment, has raised significant concerns about privacy, civil liberties, and the potential for abuse in the digital era. The act proposes amending the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) to require social media companies and other communication service providers to report instances of suspected drug activities, such as sales, manufacturing, or possession with intent to distribute fentanyl, methamphetamine, prescription opioids, and counterfeit drugs. While the bill does not specifically target marijuana and other controlled substances, it creates a landscape of mass surveillance that could have far-reaching implications on individual freedoms and privacy.


The article highlighted the stance of Senator Ron Wyden, who firmly opposed the bill, arguing that it would perpetuate the discriminatory consequences of the War on Drugs. He argued that the legislation's broad mandate would require platforms to scan user communications for any content that could be interpreted as related to drug sales or use, leading to a significant risk of unwarranted surveillance and referrals for prosecution. Wyden expressed concerns that this approach could disproportionately impact communities of color, replicating the historical patterns of racial bias seen in drug law enforcement.


The Cooper Davis Act, while claiming it does not "require" companies to actively search for drug-related content, imposes substantial fines for failure to report such content to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) if the companies become aware of it. This potential for financial penalties places significant pressure on service providers to monitor user communications and report any suspected activities, regardless of their accuracy or legitimacy.


Furthermore, the bill allows social media companies to report to the DEA based on a "reasonable belief" that a user is involved in prohibited drug activities. This broad and vague criterion further adds to the risk of unwarranted surveillance and referrals, as it leaves ample room for subjective interpretations and potential misuse of the reporting system.


In the digital era, where technology plays an integral role in our daily lives, the Cooper Davis Act raises alarming possibilities of mass surveillance. Imagine engaging in casual conversations with friends or acquaintances about a cannabis convention or a marijuana-related event, only to be unknowingly spied on by law enforcement at the bidding of the government. The very technology that has become an essential part of our existence, connecting us to the world, could be turned against us, potentially violating our privacy and rights.


This scenario paints a disconcerting picture of a society where private conversations, online discussions, and personal interactions are subject to scrutiny and potential intrusion by government agencies. The Act's emphasis on encouraging social media platforms and communication service providers to report any suspected drug activities creates a pervasive culture of suspicion, where individuals may hesitate to express their opinions freely and openly, fearing unwarranted consequences.


The impact of such surveillance on personal freedom and autonomy is profound. The right to engage in private conversations and express oneself without fear of surveillance is a cornerstone of democratic societies. When individuals feel compelled to self-censor or avoid discussing certain topics due to potential monitoring, the very essence of freedom of speech is compromised.


Moreover, the Cooper Davis Act could potentially lead to the surveillance and targeting of individuals for simple drug possession discussions. Innocent people may be referred for investigation and prosecution based on misinterpretations or misunderstandings of their conversations. This scenario further underscores the risks associated with mass surveillance and the potential for overreach and abuse of power.


It’s not as if we haven’t seen the US government use their “special powers” to push agendas that do not benefit the population. Of course, we’re all already aware that we are being surveilled. In fact, some stoners believe that if you’re not on a list somewhere – you’re not living your best life!


What can be done?


Combating the oppressive policies of the War on Drugs from the comfort of our homes may seem like a daunting task, but there are several powerful ways individuals can make a difference and contribute to change. While revolution may not be the immediate solution, collective efforts and grassroots actions can have a significant impact on dismantling unjust drug laws and advocating for more equitable policies.


One of the most accessible ways to participate in the fight against the War on Drugs is through civic engagement. Individuals can call, email, or write to their elected representatives to express their concerns and opposition to legislation like the Cooper Davis Act. By voicing their opinions, constituents can remind their representatives that they are elected to serve the people and not the interests of corporations or law enforcement agencies.


Education is another potent tool in challenging the War on Drugs. People can engage in conversations with friends, family, and community members to raise awareness about the harmful consequences of drug criminalization. By disseminating accurate information and debunking the myths surrounding drugs, individuals can challenge the stigmatization and fear-based narratives that have perpetuated the War on Drugs for decades.


Inventing new slang for drug-related subjects might seem like a lighthearted approach, but language plays a powerful role in shaping perceptions and cultural attitudes. Creating new terminology can help shift the narrative away from negative and punitive associations and towards more empathetic and compassionate views of drug use and its impact on individuals and communities.


While Nixon was the president responsible for the passage of the Controlled Substances Act, the ramifications of this law continue to impact lives to this day. It is essential to understand the historical context of such legislation to recognize its roots in systemic racism and the influence of corporate interests. Although direct evidence of pharmaceutical companies' involvement may be speculative, it is not unreasonable to be vigilant about potential conflicts of interest between corporations and lawmakers.


To combat the system, individuals must come together and build communities that reject oppressive ordinances and draconian policies. This grassroots approach can start at the local level, with town by town and city by city movements advocating for drug policy reform. Local initiatives can include advocating for decriminalization, supporting harm reduction programs, and demanding greater transparency and accountability from law enforcement agencies.


Additionally, supporting organizations and advocacy groups focused on drug policy reform can amplify individual efforts. Joining forces with like-minded activists and experts can create a more substantial collective voice that demands change on a larger scale. These organizations often engage in lobbying efforts, conduct research, and mobilize communities to influence policymakers and public opinion.


As the war on drugs relies heavily on punitive measures, advocating for alternatives to incarceration is crucial. Supporting diversion programs, restorative justice practices, and drug courts can lead to more compassionate and effective approaches to addressing drug-related issues. These programs focus on treating drug use as a public health concern rather than a criminal offense, fostering rehabilitation and reintegration into society.


Finally, individuals can use their voting power strategically. Supporting candidates who prioritize drug policy reform and social justice can create a path towards legislative change. Researching candidates' positions and records on drug-related issues can inform decisions at the ballot box, ensuring that elected officials are accountable to their constituents' interests and well-being.


While revolution may be a distant goal, the collective actions of individuals can create meaningful progress in dismantling the War on Drugs. By challenging oppressive laws, fostering education and understanding, and supporting alternative policies, people can work towards a more just and equitable future. Together, we can shift the narrative surrounding drug use, address the root causes of the drug crisis, and build a society that values compassion, freedom, and individual rights.






What did you think?

ganja leaf left  Keep reading... click here  ganja leaft right

Please log-in or register to post a comment.

Leave a Comment: