busted: america's war on marijuana
regarding my self-outing
Update: What happened to Keenan after the original broadcast

Regarding my self-outing as both cannabis consumer and cultivator, I cannot tell a lie. Three powerful influences daily affect my behavior. First, "a maligned vision of history," George Washington chopping cherry trees and not hemp, incites my civic duty to correct our misinformed cultural foundation.

Next, "a lurking sense of inexorable injury" excites my social efforts to sidestep catastrophe with double-dare-honest education.

Lastly, "a good hit off the homegrown" every now and then simply does wonders to revitalize the spirit, let me tell you.

A dozen years of dirt under the nails put me somewhere between parvenu and professional. With a degree in engineering and not botany, it's just a hobby of mine - what I do, not what I am. However, if you agree that experience fosters credibility, then please consider the rehabilitation of this flowering founding father beyond my short, obviously cannabinoid-addled, appeal. After study and deliberation I do believe standards of public safety will not suffer and, in fact, standards of living will actually improve.

Describing American hemp prohibition -- Grohibition, I call it -- as an "island of insanity" insults the insane. Lifetime prison terms for shouting "He's got nothing on!" leave the emperor still showing his nakedness. As the lock-step letter of the law marches over liberties, as taxpayer resources fund the extermination of a plant and its human sympathizers, as the "lucky" incarcerations of medical martyrs Will Foster and Todd McCormick re-illuminate the "unlucky" killings of Donald Scott, Gary Shepherd, and Scott Bryant, let us not forget that the price of zero-tolerance paranoia - I fear, so you suffer - includes the itchy trigger finger as well as the jailer's key.

Yet zero-tolerance brings this story around to cancer. God willing I enjoy this fall my fourth year as a survivor of a metastatic testicular seminoma. At the time of prognosis my surgeon, oncologist, and (most importantly) wife shared one clear feeling on the matter: just say no to procrastinating with a life-threatening disease. (My momentary poster-boy PSA, apt for everybody: sudden painless swelling is BAD. Check it out while you can.)

In time health was restored with the help of strong faith, good people, and modern technology all pulled together in time of need. Not entirely the dunce, it occurs to me this same therapy might deal with another impersonal, life-threatening growth I know, and as with any war, information technology often proves the most valuable propaganda weapon for reaching good people.

"Frontline" exposure of my example could potentially overturn decades of misinformation, sixty fields per second striking at the root of fear - ignorance.

You don't coddle cancer just because it's yours - this senseless, aberrant War against Creation must be stopped. It's high time we look at big prison-state government and think "sudden, painless swelling." Like cannabis, self-examination cannot be administered in toxic doses.

Best regards, Doug Keenan
April 1998

"Remember this, my friends, there are no such things as bad plants or bad men. There are only bad cultivators."
Victor Hugo

The day after FRONTLINE's broadcast of


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