Deepak Chopra: Brings ‘morality’ into the debate

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Deepak Chopra Joins Movement to End the War on Drugs; Becomes Newest Member of Drug Policy Alliance Honorary Board

Hello out there,

Aloha. Thank God, Goddess, spirit, nature or The Great You Name It for Deepak Chopra bringing the question of morality into the drug policy debate. It’s the perfect time to do so as the THC Ministry ohana challenges federal law in Motions to Dismiss all of our charges.

Social evolution demands a major change for the better in the way we think about our personal choices, rights and freedoms. As I’ve heard it the word ‘penitentiary’ come from penance, a religious term. (What’s Wikipedia say about it?) It’s seems that in the past prisoners were either made slaves or killed outright. Housing people for long periods of time costs money and manpower; what’s the point? Did churches begin this practice to bring about spiritual change? For punishment? Rehabilitation? Community safety? To teach prisoners a lesson? Exercising power based on a political or social prejudice? Lately it’s become a matter of private prisons making corporate profits with a slave labor force. What’s next?

I’m temporarily surrounded by incarcerated men, most of whom are drug war prisoners who have been faced with a choice of going to trial and risking 20 or 30 years in federal prison, or taking a plead guilty ‘deal’ and accepting 10 years, plus or minus and the extreme danger of being labeled a snitch or a rat for testifying on others. By the way, the stories I hear about what happens to those who take ‘the deal’ by pleading guilty and testifying on other defendants can be truly frightening.

Ministry and religion are much about morality; about what’s right and wrong according to the beliefs of the groups involved. There are many ways to look at things of ‘God’, even the question of God itself, so we get many religions thinking they each have the ‘right way’ to live.

When I challenged the U.S. Army during the Vietman ‘war’ (an un-declared and unjust war) my stance was based on morality. I became a conscientious objector because I had moral beliefs that forbid me from following orders to support the killing of ‘others’. My sincerity was credited with my success in achieving an Honorable Discharge. Hopefully my sincerity will also help to win the challenge that Share and I and the Green Fourteen face now.

Thanks now to Deepak Chopra for bringing the question of morality into the drug policy debate. It’s long overdue … and right on time.

All the best to you,


—–Von Hartmann, Paul on 12/1/2012 7:15 AM wrote:


Deepak Chopra: Newest member of the Drug Policy Alliance’s Honorary Board
By Steve Elliott ~alapoet~ in Global, News Thursday, November 29, 2012 at 11:00 am


Deepak Chopra: Newest member of the Drug Policy Alliance’s Honorary Board
Becomes Newest Member of Drug Policy Alliance Honorary Board

Joins Powerful Group that Includes Former Heads of State, Richard Branson, Arianna Huffington, Sting, Russell Simmons, and Former U.S. Secretary of State, U.S. Secretary of Defense, U.S. Surgeon General, U.S. Attorney General and Chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve

Physician, bestselling author and global thought leader Deepak Chopra has joined the Honorary Board of the Drug Policy Alliance, the U.S.-based organization that is leading the fight for drug policies grounded in science, compassion, health and human rights.

The DPA Honorary Board (see below) includes prominent figures from both the left and the right who are renowned for their leadership in the fields of law, health, business, media and politics – from Harry Belafonte, Russell Simmons and Sting to the former U.S. Secretary of State George P. Shultz, Secretary of Defense Frank Carlucci, and Chairman of the Federal Reserve Paul Volcker.

Chopra is an Indian-American physician who has sold more than 20 million books worldwide, including 19 New York Times bestsellers. He is a former chief of staff at New England Memorial Hospital who went on to found the Chopra Foundation, the Chopra Center for Well-Being and the American Association of Ayurvedic Medicine. He currently serves as Senior Scientist at the Gallup Organization and as an Adjunct Professor of Executive Programs at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University.

Ethan Nadelmann, Drug Policy Alliance: “We are grateful for Deepak’s passion and thoughtfulness in articulating the moral urgency of drug policy reform”
Chopra wrote passionately in the Huffington Post earlier this year about the moral dimensions of the war on drugs and mass incarceration:

“When was the last time Congress or the states looked at prisons with a moral eye? America leads the world in the number of people incarcerated, more by percentage of population than in Stalin’s gulag. A vast disproportion are black. A huge number are non-violent drug offenders, often condemned to outrageous time behind bars thanks to draconian state and federal laws with mandatory sentencing. A recent New Yorker article that outlined the grim statistics of overcrowding and skyrocketing expense called our prison system America’s moral shame.”

Chopra emphasized the drug war’s vastly disparate effect on communities of color:

“Then there is the plight of black America. Dry statistics speak of soaring unemployment, crime, and family breakdown. In the African American community, actual community is hard pressed to survive. Poverty is endemic. Seventy-five percent of black babies are born to single mothers. More young black males are in jail than in college. A hugely disproportionate number of black drug users and dealers are arrested and sent to jail compared to their white counterparts, even though actual drug usage is no higher in the black community.”

“We are grateful for Deepak’s passion and thoughtfulness in articulating the moral urgency of drug policy reform,” said Ethan Nadelmann, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance. “I am delighted that he has joined the Honorary Board of the Drug Policy Alliance. His commitment to this cause provides us with an ally of enormous importance.”

DPA Honorary Board

Former Mayor Rocky Anderson
Harry Belafonte
Richard Branson
Former Defense Secretary Frank Carlucci

Deepak Chopra
Congressman John Conyers, Jr.
Walter Cronkite [1916-2009]
Ram Dass
Dr. Vincent Dole [1913-2006]
Former President of Switzerland Ruth Dreifuss
Former Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders
U.S. District Court Judge Nancy Gertner
Former Police Chief Penny Harrington
Former President of the Czech Republic V#195;#161;clav Havel [1936-2011]
Calvin Hill
Arianna Huffington
Former Governor Gary Johnson
U.S. District Court Judge John Kane
Former Attorney General Nicholas deB. Katzenbach [1922-2012]
Former Police Chief Joseph McNamara
Former Police Commissioner Patrick V. Murphy [1920-2011]
Dr. Beny J. Primm
Dennis Rivera
Former Mayor Kurt Schmoke
Dr. Charles Schuster [1930-2011]
Alexander Shulgin
Former Secretary of State George P. Shultz
Russell Simmons
U.S. District Court Judge Robert Sweet
Former Chairman of the Federal Reserve Paul Volcker

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