The Twisted Marijuana History and Why It’s Illegal

Many canaille assume that marijuana was made unlawful through some kind of process involving scientific, medical, and government hearings; that it was to screen the citizens from what was determined to be a dangerous drug. The actual untruth shows a much different picture. Those who voted without ceasing the legal fate of this establish never had the facts, but were dependent on information supplied by those who had a peculiar agenda to deceive lawmakers. You’ll penetrate below that the very first treaty vote to prohibit marijuana was based entirely put ~ a documented lie on the nonplus of the Senate. You’ll likewise see that the history of marijuana’s criminalization is filled through :



Protection of Corporate Profits

Yellow Journalism

Ignorant, Incompetent, and/or Corrupt Legislators

Personal Career Advancement and Greed

These are the real reasons marijuana is illegal. A picture named leaf.gif


For greatest part of human history, marijuana has been completely legitimate. It’s not a recently discovered put in the ground , nor is it a long-settled law. Marijuana has been illegal towards less than 1% of the time that it’s been in application. Its known uses go back farther on than 7,000 B.C. and it was legal as recently as when Ronald Reagan was a stripling. The marijuana (hemp) plant, of direction, has an incredible number of uses. The earliest known woven edifice was apparently of hemp, and across the centuries the plant was used as being food, incense, cloth, rope, and a great deal of more. This adds to some of the destruction over its introduction in the United States, viewed like the plant was well known from the timely 1600’s, but did not come to public awareness as a recreational medicine until the early 1900’s. America’s in the ~ place marijuana law was enacted at Jamestown Colony, Virginia in 1619. It was a canon “ordering” all farmers to increase Indian hempseed. There were several other “fustiness grow” laws over the next 200 years (you could be jailed for not growing hemp during times of shortage in Virginia between 1763 and 1767), and during greatest number of that time, hemp was legitimate tender (you could even pay your taxes by hemp — try that today!) Hemp was of the like kind a critical crop for a tell of purposes (including essential war requirements – rope, etc.) that the government went gone ~ of its way to encourage advance. The United States Census of 1850 counted 8,327 hemp “plantations” (minimum 2,000-acre farm) growing cannabis hemp because cloth, canvas and even the cordage used toward baling cotton.

The Mexican Connection

In the early 1900s, the western states developed signifying tensions regarding the influx of Mexican-Americans. The successful revolt in Mexico in 1910 spilled across the border, with General Pershing’s force clashing with bandit Pancho Villa. Later in that decade, ill-qualified feelings developed between the small farmer and the large farms that used cheaper Mexican labor. Then, the lowness came and increased tensions, as jobs and prosperity resources became scarce.

One of the “differences” seized on during this time was the event that many Mexicans smoked marijuana and had brought the sow with them, and it was from one side this that California apparently passed the primitive state marijuana law, outlawing “preparations of hemp, or loco extirpate.” However, one of the in the ~ place state laws outlawing marijuana may be favored with been influenced, not just by Mexicans using the drug, but, oddly enough, because of Mormons using it. Mormons who traveled to Mexico in 1910 came back to Salt Lake City with marijuana.

The church’s reaction to this may be favored with contributed to the state’s marijuana legal science. (Note: the source for this scheme is from articles by Charles Whitebread, Professor of Law at USC Law School in a wall-~ for the Virginia Law Review, and a language to the California Judges Association (sourced under). Mormon blogger Ardis Parshall disputes this.) Other states quickly followed suit with marijuana prohibition laws, including Wyoming (1915), Texas (1919), Iowa (1923), Nevada (1923), Oregon (1923), Washington (1923), Arkansas (1923), and Nebraska (1927).

These laws tended to subsist specifically targeted against the Mexican-American populousness. When Montana outlawed marijuana in 1927, the Butte Montana Standard reported a legislator’s remark: “When some beet field peon takes a few traces of this stuff… he thinks he has even-handed been elected president of Mexico, likewise he starts out to execute altogether his political enemies.” In Texas, a senator said on the floor of the Senate: “All Mexicans are crazy, and this medicine [marijuana] is what makes them crazy.”

Jazz and Assassins

In the orient states, the “problem” was attributed to a compound of Latin Americans and black jazz musicians. Marijuana and jazz traveled from New Orleans to Chicago, and in consequence to Harlem, where marijuana became one indispensable part of the music scene, even entering the language of the atrocious hits of the time (Louis Armstrong’s “Muggles”, Cab Calloway’s “That Funny Reefer Man”, Fats Waller’s “Viper’s Drag”). Again, racism was apportionment of the charge against marijuana, during the time that newspapers in 1934 editorialized: “Marihuana influences Negroes to see at white people in the notice, step on white men’s shadows and influence by ~s at a white woman twice.” Two other fear-tactic rumors started to expand: one, that Mexicans, Blacks and other foreigners were snaring frosty children with marijuana; and two, the fable of the “assassins.” Early stories of Marco Polo had told of “hasheesh-eaters” or hashashin, from that derived the term “assassin.”

In the prototype stories, these professional killers were given huge doses of hashish and brought to the ruler’s garden (to accord. them a glimpse of the place of bliss that awaited them upon successful realization of their mission). Then, after the effects of the drug disappeared, the cut-throat would fulfill his ruler’s wishes by cool, calculating loyalty. By the 1930s, the legend had changed. Dr. A. E. Fossier wrote in the 1931 New Orleans Medical and Surgical Journal: “Under the sway of hashish those fanatics would madly trifle at their enemies, and ruthlessly butcher every one within their grasp.” Within a excessively short time, marijuana started being linked to fiery behavior.

Alcohol Prohibition and Federal Approaches to Drug Prohibition

During this time, the United States was moreover dealing with alcohol prohibition, which lasted from 1919 to 1933. Alcohol embargo was extremely visible and debated at altogether levels, while drug laws were passed free from the general public’s knowledge. National alcohol prohibition happened through the mechanism of an amendment to the constitution. Earlier (1914), the Harrison Act was passed, what one. provided federal tax penalties for opiates and cocaine.

The treaty approach is important. It was considered at the time that the federal government did not have the inbred power to outlaw alcohol or drugs. It is because of this that alcohol prohibition required a congenital amendment. At that time in our country’s narrative, the judiciary regularly placed the tithe amendment in the path of congressional disposition of “local” affairs, and direct regulation of medical practice was considered superior to congressional power under the commerce stipulation (since then, both provisions have been weakened in the way that far as to have almost nay meaning).

Since drugs could not exist outlawed at the federal level, the settlement was made to use federal taxes at the same time that a way around the restriction. In the Harrison Act, legal uses of opiates and cocaine were taxed (supposedly similar to a revenue need by the treaty government, which is the only second nature it would hold up in the courts), and those who didn’t follow the law found themselves in cause of distress with the treasury department. In 1930, a commencing division in the Treasury Department was established — the Federal Bureau of Narcotics — and Harry J. Anslinger was named adviser. This, if anything, marked the rise of the all-out war opposed to marijuana. A picture named anslinger.jpg

Harry J. Anslinger

Anslinger was every extremely ambitious man, and he recognized the Bureau of Narcotics to the degree that an amazing career opportunity — a repaired government agency with the opportunity to bound both the problem and the explanation. He immediately realized that opiates and cocaine wouldn’t subsist enough to help build his action, so he latched on to marijuana and started to drudge on making it illegal at the founded on level. Anslinger immediately drew upon the themes of racism and rage to draw national attention to the problem he wanted to create. He furthermore promoted and frequently read from “Gore Files” — ferocious reefer-madness-style exploitation tales of ax murderers forward marijuana and sex and… Negroes. Here are some quotes that have been widely attributed to Anslinger and his Gore Files:

“There are 100,000 mass marijuana smokers in the US, and most are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos, and entertainers. Their Satanic science of harmonical sounds, jazz, and swing, result from marijuana employment. This marijuana causes white women to search sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers, and somewhat others.” “…the primeval reason to outlaw marijuana is its purport on the degenerate races.” “Marijuana is one addictive drug which produces in its users lunacy, criminality, and death.” “Reefer makes darkies judge they’re as good as gray men.” “Marihuana leads to pacifism and communist brainwashing” “You smart a joint and you’re probable to kill your brother.” “Marijuana is the ~ly violence-causing drug in the record of mankind.”

And he loved to tug out his own version of the “assassin” definition:

“In the year 1090, in that place was founded in Persia the rigid and military order of the Assassins, whose relation is one of cruelty, barbarity, and kill cruelly, and for good reason: the members were confirmed users of hashish, or marihuana, and it is from the Arabs’ ‘hashashin’ that we regard the English word ‘assassin.’”

A picture named hearst.jpgYellow Journalism

Harry Anslinger got more additional help from William Randolf Hearst, possessor of a huge chain of newspapers. Hearst had lots of reasons to repress. First, he hated Mexicans. Second, he had invested heavily in the squared stick industry to support his newspaper succession and didn’t want to inquire the development of hemp paper in contest. Third, he had lost 800,000 acres of timberland to Pancho Villa, so he hated Mexicans. Fourth, telling gloomy lies about Mexicans (and the apollyon marijuana weed causing violence) sold newspapers, form him rich. Some samples from the San Francisco Examiner:

“Marihuana makes fiends of boys in thirty days — Hashish goads users to bloodlust.” “By the tons it is coming into this country — the sanguinary, dreadful poison that racks and tears not and nothing else the body, but the very disposition and soul of every human essence who once becomes a slave to it in some of its cruel and devastating forms…. Marihuana is a crumbling cut to the insane asylum. Smoke marihuana cigarettes on the side of a month and what was formerly your brain will be nothing no more than a storehouse of horrid specters. Hasheesh makes a murderer who kills for the love of killing off of the mildest mannered man who aye laughed at the idea that any habit could ever get him….”

And other nationwide columns…

“Users of marijuana turn to STIMULATED as they inhale the mix with ~s and are LIKELY TO DO ANYTHING. Most crimes of fierceness in this section, especially in population districts are laid to users of that remedy.” “Was it marijuana, the unaccustomed Mexican drug, that nerved the savage arm of Clara Phillips when she hammered gone ~ her victim’s life in Los Angeles?… THREE-FOURTHS OF THE CRIMES of severity in this country today are committed ~ dint of. DOPE SLAVES — that is a substance of cold record.”

Hearst and Anslinger were then supported by Dupont chemical company and various pharmaceutical companies in the effort to outlaw cannabis. Dupont had patented nylon, and wanted hemp separate as competition. The pharmaceutical companies could neither identify nor standardize cannabis dosages, and over and above, with cannabis, folks could grow their concede medicine and not have to obtain it from large companies. This wholly set the stage for…

The Marijuana Tax Act of 1937.

After couple years of secret planning, Anslinger brought his plan to Congress — complete with a scrapbook replete of sensational Hearst editorials, stories of ax murderers who had supposedly smoked marijuana, and racial slurs. It was a extraordinarily short set of hearings. The individual fly in Anslinger’s ointment was the appearance by Dr. William C. Woodward, Legislative Council of the American Medical Association. Woodward started ~ means of slamming Harry Anslinger and the Bureau of Narcotics during distorting earlier AMA statements that had nought to do with marijuana and construction them appear to be AMA endorsement since Anslinger’s view. He also reproached the legislature and the Bureau for using the denominate marijuana in the legislation and not publicizing it being of the kind which a bill about cannabis or hemp. At this headland, marijuana (or marihuana) was a sensationalist vocable used to refer to Mexicans smoking a deaden with narcotics and had not been connected in ut~ people’s minds to the existing cannabis/hemp introduce. Thus, many who had legitimate reasons to oppose the mandible weren’t even aware of it. Woodward went put ~ to state that the AMA was antagonistic to the legislation and further questioned the approximate of the hearings, coming close to altogether accusation of misconduct by Anslinger and the committee:

“That in that place is a certain amount of stupefying addiction of an objectionable character no one will deny. The newspapers be seized of called attention to it so prominently that there must be some grounds for [their] statements [smooth Woodward was partially taken in by Hearst’s propaganda]. It has surprised me, still, that the facts on which these statements be in possession of been based have not been brought prior to this committee by competent primary testimony. We are referred to newspaper publications with regard to the prevalence of marihuana addiction. We are told that the practice of marihuana causes crime. But to this time no one has been produced from the Bureau of Prisons to expound the number of prisoners who bring forth been found addicted to the marihuana condition . An informed inquiry shows that the Bureau of Prisons has ~t any evidence on that point. You bear been told that school children are superior users of marihuana cigarettes. No human being has been summoned from the Children’s Bureau to unfold the nature and extent of the wont, among children. Inquiry of the Children’s Bureau shows that they take had no occasion to investigate it and perceive nothing particularly of it. Inquiry of the Office of Education— and they certainly should apprehend something of the prevalence of the temperament among the school children of the nation, if there is a prevalent habit— indicates that they be favored with had no occasion to investigate and perceive nothing of it. Moreover, there is in the Treasury Department itself, the Public Health Service, through its Division of Mental Hygiene. The Division of Mental Hygiene was, in the capital place, the Division of Narcotics. It was converted into the Division of Mental Hygiene, I compass, about 1930. That particular Bureau has manage at the present time of the narcotics farms that were created not far from 1929 or 1930 and came into force a few years later. No undivided has been summoned from that Bureau to give evidence on that point. Informal interrogation by me indicates that they be delivered of had no record of any marihuana of Cannabis addicts who be in possession of ever been committed to those farms. The department of Public Health Service has also a division of pharmacology. If you wish for evidence as to the pharmacology of Cannabis, that obviously is the establish in office where you can get direct and primary evidence, rather than the indirect bruit evidence.”

Committee members then proceeded to assail Dr. Woodward, questioning his motives in antagonistic the legislation. Even the Chairman joined in:

The Chairman: If you want to advise us on legislation, you ought to approach here with some constructive proposals, in some measure than criticism, rather than trying to throw obstacles in the practice of something that the Federal Government is severe to do. It has not solely an unselfish motive in this, however they have a serious responsibility. Dr. Woodward: We cannot apprehend yet, Mr. Chairman, why this kiss should have been prepared in private for 2 years without any intimation, even, to the profession, that it was existence prepared.

After some further bantering…

The Chairman: I would like to interpret a quotation from a recent editorial in the Washington Times:

The marihuana cigarette is single in kind of the most insidious of tot~y forms of dope, largely because of the failure of the general to understand its fatal qualities. The Nation is well-nigh defenseless against it, having no Federal laws to cope by it and virtually no organized campaign because combating it. The result is disastrous. School children are the prey of peddlers who disturb school neighborhoods. High school boys and girls bribe the destructive weed without knowledge of its volume of harm, and conscienceless dealers exchange it with impunity. This is a public problem, and it must have national attention. The fatal marihuana cigarette mould be recognized as a deadly unsalable article, and American children must be protected in anticipation of it.

That is a pretty stern indictment. They say it is a public question and that it requires powerful legislation. Of course, in a not partial way, you have responded to every part of of these statements; but that indicates actual clearly that it is an malignity of such magnitude that it is recognized ~ the agency of the press of the country since such.

And that was basically it. Yellow journalism won too medical science. The committee passed the legislation up~ the body. And on the floor of the home, the entire discussion was:

Member from upstate New York: “Mr. Speaker, that which is this bill about?” Speaker Rayburn: “I don’t comprehend. It has something to do with a thing called marihuana. I call to mind it’s a narcotic of some kind.” “Mr. Speaker, does the American Medical Association bear this bill?” Member on the committee jumps up and says: “Their Doctor Wentworth[sic] came below the horizon here. They support this bill 100 percent.”

And ~ward the basis of that lie, in c~tinuance August 2, 1937, marijuana became illegal at the federal level. The unmingled coverage in the New York Times: “President Roosevelt signed today a score to curb traffic in the anaesthetic, marihuana, through heavy taxes on transactions.”

Anslinger similar to precursor to the Drug Czars

Anslinger was essentially the capital Drug Czar. Even though the space of time didn’t exist until William Bennett’s station as director of the White House Office of National Drug Policy, Anslinger acted in a similar fashion. In fact, there are some amazing parallels between Anslinger and the current Drug Czar John Walters. Both had sort of a carte blanche to be of use around demonizing drugs and drug users. Both had supplies and a large public podium in opposition to their voice to be heard and to elevate their personal agenda. Both lied constantly, many times when it was unnecessary. Both were racists. Both had the regard of lawmakers, and both realized that they could lead legislators and others based on lies, separately if they could co-opt the media into squelching or downplaying at all opposition views. Anslinger even had the address to circumvent the First Amendment. He banned the Canadian movie “Drug Addict,” a 1946 documentary that realistically depicted the medicine addicts and law enforcement efforts. He strange to say tried to get Canada to im~ the movie in their own political division, or failing that, to prevent U.S. citizens from since the movie in Canada. Canada refused. (Today, Drug Czar John Walters is wearisome to bully Canada into keeping ill-tempered marijuana laws.) Anslinger had 37 years to become solid the propaganda and stifle opposition. The lies continued the whole time (although the stories would rectify — the 21 year old Florida male child who killed his family of five got younger each time he told it). In 1961, he looked back at his efforts:

“Much of the ~ly irrational juvenile violence and that has written a starting a~ chapter of shame and tragedy is traceable speedily to this hemp intoxication. A horde of boys tear the clothes from brace school girls and rape the screaming girls, some boy after the other. A sixteen-year-good for nothing kills his entire family of five in Florida, a piece in Minnesota puts a bullet through the head of a stranger forward the road; in Colorado husband tries to expel his wife, kills her grandmother in lieu and then kills himself. Every some of these crimes had been proceeded [sic] ~ means of the smoking of one or further marijuana “reefers.” As the marijuana ground grew worse, I knew action had to have ~ing taken to get the proper legislation passed. By 1937 below my direction, the Bureau launched pair important steps First, a legislative chart to seek from Congress a strange law that would place marijuana and its classification directly under federal control. Second, up~ the body radio and at major forums, like that presented annually by the New York Herald Tribune, I told the hi~ of this evil weed of the fields and stream beds and roadsides. I wrote articles in the place of magazines; our agents gave hundreds of lectures to parents, educators, genial and civic leaders. In network broadcasts I reported up~ the growing list of crimes, including homicide and rape. I described the universe of marijuana and its close kinship to hashish. I continued to contrive at the facts. I believe we did a complete job, for the public was alerted and the laws to house them were passed, both nationally and at the represent fully level. We also brought under repress the wild growing marijuana in this land. Working with local authorities, we cleaned up hundreds of acres of marijuana and we uprooted plants sprouting at the same time the roadsides.”

After Anslinger

On a disobey from college in the 70s, I was visiting a house of god in rural Illinois. There in the the humanities racks in the back of the ecclesiastical body was a lurid pamphlet about the evils of marijuana — everything the old reefer madness propaganda with reference to how it caused insanity and murder. I approached the minister and declared “You can’t have this in your church. It’s all lies, and the ecclesiastical body shouldn’t be about promoting lies.” Fortunately, my father believed me, and he had the material removed. He didn’t even comprehend how it got there. But outside of me speaking up, neither he nor the other members of the temple had any reason NOT to think to be true what the pamphlet said. The propaganda puppet had been that effective. The narrative since then has been a constant litany of:

Politicians wanting to be visible tough on crime and passing tougher penalties

Constant increases in expenditure on law enforcement and prisons

Racist persistency of drug laws

Taxpayer funded propaganda

Stifling of diversity speech

Political contributions from corporations that utility from marijuana being illegal (pharmaceuticals, alcohol, etc.)

7000-8000 B.C.
First woven workmanship believed to be from hemp.

Jamestown Colony, Virginia passes regulation requiring farmers to grow hemp.

Hemp was the primary crop grown by George Washington at Mount Vernon, and a minor crop grown by Thomas Jefferson at Monticello.

Maine is the before anything else state to outlaw alcohol.

Pure Food and Drug Act is passed, forming the Food and Drug Administration. First time that drugs possess any government oversight. 1913 California, apparently, passes the first state marijuana jurisprudence, though missed by many because it referred to “preparations of hemp, or loco rid of ~s.”

Harrison Act passed, outlawing opiates and cocaine (taxing theory)

Utah passes state anti-marijuana legal science.

18th Amendment to the Constitution (spirits of wine prohibition) is ratified.

Harry J. Anslinger given curb of the new Federal Bureau of Narcotics (he fragments in the position until 1962)

21st Amendment to the Constitution is ratified, repealing spirits of wine prohibition.

Marijuana Tax Act

Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act

Boggs Amendment to the Harrison Narcotic Act (directory sentences)

Narcotics Control Act adds greater amount of severe penalties

Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act. Replaces and updates tot~y previous laws concerning narcotics and other unsafe drugs. Empasis on law enforcement. Includes the Controlled Substances Act, at what place marijuana is classified a Schedule 1 mix with ~s (reserved for the most dangerous drugs that be favored with no recognized medical use).

Drug Abuse Office and Treatment Act. Establishes federally funded programs during prevention and treatment

Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Changes Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs into the DEA

1974 and 1978
Drug Abuse Treatment and Control Amendments. Extends

1972 act 1988
Anti-Drug Abuse Act. Establishes lapse office: National Office of Drug Control Policy and the Drug Czar

ADAMHA Reorganization. Transfers NIDA, NIMH, and NIAAA to NIH and incorporates ADAMHA’s programs into the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA)



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