Why is Marijuana Illegal?
By Mark Wunder | October 20, 2012 04:46:02 AM PDTIn 1619, the Jamestown colony of Virginia passed a law, which required all colonists to cultivate hemp, for use as paper, clothing, sails, etc. Later, in the 1700’s, hemp was the primary crop grown by Washington and the secondary crop grown by Jefferson. Now however, cannabis remains classified as a Schedule I controlled substance under the Controlled Substances Act. This entails that there is no recognized medical use of marijuana and that it is federally illegal. This came to be in 1937, with the implementation of a heinous act know as the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937. This essentially created a federal ban on anyone growing or otherwise having anything to do with cannabis. Astonishingly, more than 99% of the time humans have know about marijuana, it has been legal. Only in relatively recent times have we declared an all-out war on this amazing, healing and resourceful plant. The beginning stages of marijuana moving towards becoming federally illegal most likely began in the United States in the early 1900’s. During this time, the western United States, namely California, began receiving a large influx of Mexican-Americans. Many of these immigrants smoked marijuana, and brought both bud and seed with them to these states. Perhaps most amazingly is that in 1910, when hundreds of Mormons left Salt Lake City to visit Mexico on a religious mission, they returned with marijuana seed and bud as well, and were known to grow and smoke it. This caused a serious uproar in the Church of Latter Day Saints, as you can probably imagine. California and Utah became the first states to create laws outlawing marijuana, and over the course of the next 17 years, 9 additional states followed suit by outlawing marijuana, including Texas, Wyoming, Oregon, Arkansas, Washington, Nevada, Nebraska, Montana and Iowa. The West weren’t the only ones experiencing non-Caucasians being the primary users of marijuana. Over in the eastern United States it was becoming known that the majority of marijuana smokers were black and Latin musicians, namely Jazz musicians. You can see how times were certainly different in 1934, with this quote from a newspaper regarding marijuana use: “Marihuana influences Negroes to look at white people in the eye, step on white men’s shadows and look at white women twice.” Dripping with ignorance and racism, this belief and sentiment spread like wildfire among “prominent whites” in the coming years. This was by no means the end of the ignorance towards marijuana. During the 1930’s two more fear-tactics used to eventually outlaw marijuana came around. One was the sentiment that African-Americans and Mexican-Americans were luring white children to “the dark side” with marijuana. Another fear-tactic used was contorting the story of Marco Polo. Some early stories of Marco Polo describe hashashins, derived from the word “assassin“, or those warriors who would eat hashish in the garden of a ruler with a specific quest for them. While they were sitting, very high in the garden, whatever they experienced would give them the knowledge to complete the mission. This was later contorted by ignorant whites in the 1930’s to mean that anyone who ate, smoked or otherwise ingested hash or marijuana, would immediately turn violent and savage. Also in 1930, an arrow would strike marijuana and its users straight in the heart, with the implementation of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, led by marijuana tyrant, Harry J. Anslinger. Anslinger was famous for using fear-tactics to pursue his dream of making marijuana completely federally illegal. He was quoted telling the press, “There are 100,000 total marijuana users in the US, and most are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos, and entertainers. Their satanic music, jazz and swing, result from marijuana use. This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers, and any others.” Too bad racism wasn’t made federally illegal. Anslinger also showed more ignorance with many other quotes about marijuana, such as “You smoke a joint and you’re likely to kill your brother,” and “Marihuana is the most violence-causing drug in the history of mankind.” Then he later contradicted himself, saying “Marijuana leads to pacifism and communist brainwashing.” Twisted journalism also played a part in outlawing marijuana, when Anslinger got assistance from William Randolf Hearst, an ambitious member of the timber industry and owner of a huge newspaper chain. He was eager to help Anslinger outlaw cannabis, since his reasons for investing in the timber industry was to generate materials for his newspaper chain and hemp was therefore his arch-nemesis. Secondly, he was a notorious racist, mostly against Hispanics after he lost nearly a million acres of timberland in Pancho Villa. With his power in the press, he constantly slandered Mexican-Americans blaming them for the notorious “drug problem” in the United States. Finally, the demise of marijuana came in 1937, with the Marihuana Tax Act. Anslinger spent two full years meticulously preparing his argument for outlawing marijuana. As you will see, 100% - that’s right 100% - of his argument was based on lies. Not once did he cite a fact or legitimate source in his outrageous and ignorant remarks towards marijuana. When he finally presented his case before congress, he even had a scrapbook he had compiled, which was full of slanderous and false newspaper articles about marijuana from Hearst’s newspapers, such as the San Francisco Examiner. In the scrapbook, he also had a multitude of demeaning racist remarks and lies of more than one axe murderer who had reportedly smoked marijuana and gone on to murder their victims. Despite a protest from Dr. William C. Woodward, Legislative Council for the American Medical Association, that Anslinger’s remarks were outrageous and unfounded, Congress ignored the advice of a medical doctor on the American Medical Association and instead listened to the propaganda spewed by Anslinger. Movies in later years like Reefer Madness, simply continued to wrongfully instill fear towards marijuana in the general public.
Guest | Nov 17, 2011
In a way, those tactics are no different than those used by Stalin, Hitler and all those dictators. pretty much bs.
Guest | Nov 21, 2011
and yet alcohol is legal???!!! Does this make sense to anyone?
lindzzz | Nov 23, 2011
It was all Anslingers fault! End the unnecessary prohibition of marijuana!
Guest | Dec 6, 2011
FREE THE TREE!!!
Guest | Dec 6, 2011
Anslinger was nothing but a slandistic, ignorant bastard.
Guest | Jan 4, 2012
It's all about money. People who medicate don't drink as much. Tax on alcohol goes to govt. but how do you tax something that everyone can grow at home?
Guest | Feb 29, 2012
As a federal employee since 1987 and a medical marijuana patient since 2009 due to a rare disease (Sarcoidosis) I find it interesting that California has had the law since 1996 and we still have issues about legalization. We are legal already the Federal Goverment needs to get on board do what they do best and tax the stuff.
MamasMeds | Mar 11, 2012
It's amazing to me that we can go, in less than 100 years, from riding horses and buggies and communicating through the telegraph system, to iphones and smart cars etc. but we can't get past the ignorance and conniving influence of big business and stupid people with personal agendas. We follow hypocrites in government and allow them to rule us instead of standing up for what's best for ourselves. I'm tired of being controlled by an idiotic government and a power hungry DEA and big businesses who do things purely for there own benefit. Oh the joys and extremes of Capitalism!
Guest | Apr 23, 2012
I find it highly wrong that cannabis is illegal when alcohol is. I'm a 16 and a girl and i smoke it everyday, nearly everyday i have an arguement with a boy because they find it discusting that I smoke it. But for the first time the other day I asked my teacher how alcohol is legal and why cannabis isn't, she told me it was because alcohol has been round for many years and it has grown to so many peoples cultures and we celebrate with alcohol. Found it so crazy!
Guest | Jun 10, 2012
Anslinger, Hearst, the Duponts and pharmaceutical companies are responsible for the criminalization of marijuana. It was solely for their profit, at the expense of the citizens of our country. We now have prisons run by private businesses who also financially benefit from these terrible laws. It is time to end these awful laws. We need to legalize, regulate and tax marijuana, and promote the use of hemp for other uses.
Guest | Jun 21, 2012
free my homie let it grow an it will grow on u
happygrow | Jul 26, 2012
Yes! DUPONT and pharmaceutical companies are also responsible for the prohibition on marijuana...All for monetary gain!!!!! Not for the well being of the people!
Guest | Aug 11, 2012
its a fucking plant...legalize it for fuck sake...damn
Guest | Oct 20, 2012
Man ima fuckin kill the Fuck face tht thought of makin bud illegal
Guest | Oct 20, 2012
The Rockefellers got it out lawed aswell john ford created ethanol and methanol from hemp When building his first car they bought the blueprints for it because it was ran on hemp they hense the fuel prices. The entire monetary system is corrupt and it has been from day 1. People are naive The press create fear and mayhem. And yes it is partly true they can't tax. has its easy to grow. Read up on how much you can produce with hemp. Cloths paper oils and 0000s more