Marijuana is not illegal because it is unhealthy (it’s not) or because it has negative effects on the mind (it doesn’t). There is no logical or sound reason why marijuana cannabis is illegal in the United States. This ignorant legislation was the result of lies, corrupt motives, vague wording and demonization. This is the real story:
Marijuana has been around for a LONG time. It was ingrained into the culture of America as early as the Jamestown era. Prior to the federal ban in 1937, hemp (marijuana) plants were a huge business for their potential to be made into a variety of products, including cloth, rope and food.
America loved the marijuana plant until it became associated with Mexicans in the early 1900’s. Mexicans were the latest group of immigrants and of course Americans jump to hating anything that is new and different, (ex. Africans, Irish, Chinese). So when they came over the board smoking marijuana, people noticed and California quickly became the first state to outlaw the “preparations of hemp, or loco weed.”
Soon state after state was making marijuana illegal for various, often racist reasons. A prime example of this was one legislator’s comment on the decision in Montana:
“When some beet field peon takes a few traces of this stuff… he thinks he has just been elected president of Mexico, so he starts out to execute all his political enemies.”
Another Texan senator said on the floor of the Senate: “All Mexicans are crazy, and this stuff [marijuana] is what makes them crazy.”
Excellent reasoning for making ‘loco weed’ illegal.
The next source of pot demonization came from Mr. Henry Hearst, famous yellow journalist. Hearst made it his goal to wipe hemp completely off the map. His reasons are as follows:
1) Mexicans had brought it over and were associated with it, and Hearst hated Mexicans.
2) Hearst invested heavily into the timber industry to support his newspaper business and he did not want hemp as a competitor.
3) Stories of marijuana making Mexicans rape white men made for riveting stories in his newspaper.
Here are some excerpts about marijuana from his journalism and others like it:
“By the tons it is coming into this country — the deadly, dreadful poison that racks and tears not only the body, but the very heart and soul of every human being who once becomes a slave to it in any of its cruel and devastating forms…. Marihuana is a short cut to the insane asylum. Smoke marihuana cigarettes for a month and what was once your brain will be nothing but a storehouse of horrid specters. Hasheesh makes a murderer who kills for the love of killing out of the mildest mannered man who ever laughed at the idea that any habit could ever get him….”
– San Francisco Examiner
“Users of marijuana become STIMULATED as they inhale the drug and are LIKELY TO DO ANYTHING. Most crimes of violence in this section, especially in country districts are laid to users of that drug.”
“Was it marijuana, the new Mexican drug, that nerved the murderous arm of Clara Phillips when she hammered out her victim’s life in Los Angeles?… THREE-FOURTHS OF THE CRIMES of violence in this country today are committed by DOPE SLAVES — that is a matter of cold record.”
The third driving force behind the illegalization was the director of the newly-created Federal Bureau of Narcotics (FBN), Harry Anslinger. Like many other corrupt politicians, he saw his job as a business opportunity rather than an organization to promote the public well-being. Anslinger wanted the FBN to be a massive organization and he thought that the war on cocaine and opiates weren’t big enough targets for his goal to be reached. Consequently he latched on to marijuana and began a campaign portraying the plant as a cause of violence and social disorder.
Chief among his exploits were the so-called “Gore Files” that “documented” the horror stories of marijuana usage. Here are some quotes from those files:
“This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers and others.”
“You smoke a joint and you’re likely to kill your brother.”
“Marijuana is an addictive drug which produces in its users insanity, criminality and death.”
“Reefer makes darkies think they’re as good as white men”
“Marijuana is the most violence-causing drug in the history of mankind.”
Anslinger planned for two years and finally brought The Marijauna Tax Act of 1937 (making marijuana illegal on the Federal level) to Congress He brought with him a book full of Hearst’s ridiculous stories, quotes from the “Gore Files” and a whole bunch of racist comments. The only person that stood in his way was Dr. William C. Woodward, Legislative Council of the American Medical Association (AMA).
The brave Dr. Woodward criticized Anslinger for construing AMA statements to make them appear in support of his anti-marijuana legislation. He also reprimanded the legislature and the FBN for using the term “marijuana” in the legislation, which at the time was not publicly known to represent hemp/cannabis. Marijuana was a racist term used to describe the smoking of cannabis by Mexicans. Thus many people who had a vested interest in marijuana such as hemp farmers, vendors and cannabis smokers did not know that this new law would outlaw their beloved hemp. A very snide trick indeed…
Woodward went on to accuse Anslinger of using hearsay evidence and listed the many holes in his “scientific” reasoning for making marijuana illegal. The legislature and Anslinger both retorted by stating that Woodward only had criticisms and no hard evidence as to why marijuana should remain legal.
The Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 was then OK’d by the committee and passed on to the house floor. There, the discussion was exactly this:
“Mr. Speaker, what is this bill about?”
Speaker: “I don’t know. It has something to do with a thing called marihuana. I think it’s a narcotic of some kind.”
“Mr. Speaker, does the American Medical Association support this bill?”
Member on the committee flat out lies: “Their Doctor ‘Wentworth'[sic] came down here. They support this bill 100 percent.”
And that was it. Because of one final lie, marijuana was made illegal in the United States.
Since then marijuana has been made a Schedule 1 substance, which by definition has no medical benefits. Except for medical marijuana has been legalized in numerous states and it has been proven to have a wide variety of beneficial medical effects.
The ONLY side-effect of marijuana usage is temporary short-term memory loss due to chronic use. It does not kill brain cells like alcohol and you can safely drive on it. It stimulates appetite. It heighten your creative capabilities. It makes music sounds better, food taste better, sensations feel better, and makes everything just that much more fun. And yet it remains illegal while cancer-causing, highly-addictive cigarettes and alcohol remain totally legal. It’s almost funny how ridiculous the whole thing is. Almost.