I was recently talking about the history of marijuana. I thought that the prohibition of Cannabis had been for political reasons, but wasn’t sure about the exact reasons. I received a challenge to find a “real” reason for the prohibition of Cannabis. I did some research and found out some interesting facts.
At first marijuana was banned as a matter of course–the next step in the pharmaceutical industry’s crack down on recreational drugs. Basically, Big Pharma saw the use of recreational drugs as a hindrance to their “legitimate” business. First they focused on Cocaine and Opium, then they moved on to Marijuana. Of course, back then, the US Government didn’t have the balls they do now. They weren’t sure if they had the right to simply outlaw the drugs, so the put such outrageous taxes on them that no one could afford them. Eventually they moved on to outlawing them.
Then there was the reputation that Mexican immigrants gave to it. In Mexico Marijuana was known as “loco weed” and had the reputation for driving people crazy and making them do outrageous and criminally insane things. Of course, there was no evidence of this, just rumors. There were some scientists who tried to say that these stories were exaggerated, at best, but their voices were drowned out by the mob of scared and angry politicians.
Of course Cannabis became the subject of political scrutiny again in the 1960s. Studies showed that the early rumors were obviously false and there were a lot of positive qualities in Cannabis. All of that fell to the wayside with Nancy Reagan and her “War on Drugs.” The Bush’s carried on that tradition, continuing to fill jails and spend billions.
One argument that continues to be made against the legalization of Marijuana is that it is a “gateway drug.” In other words, it introduces kids to drugs, making them curious about more dangerous ones. But wait, aren’t alcohol and tobacco drugs AND legal?! Both alcohol AND tobacco are far more dangerous and far more addictive than marijuana, yet people are worried that Marijuana will introduce harder drugs to their children? The grocery store introduces harder drugs to their children than Marijuana does!
This is a radio show that covers much of what we talked about here:
Now let’s go over life in the US before 1937. Hemp was one of the major textiles produced here. The fabric produced by hemp is many times more durable than any other fabric we know of. This is why many US flags sewn in hemp before it was banned in 1937 are still in pristine condition in museums all over the country, while cotton, wool and other types of flags have degraded to the point of pretty much non-existence. Hemp rope is known to be stronger, lighter and more durable than any other kind of rope. That is why it was used for sailing for centuries. (It still is in some parts of the world.) When Henry Ford created his Model T, it was designed with durable Hemp siding and was created to use hemp bio-fuel. All of this could not continue once hemp was banned in 1937. Hemp textiles are extremely durable and often times much better than what we use today. By continuing to make excuses to keep this plant illegal, a plant that had no logical reason to be illegalized in the first place, we are depriving ourselves of a vast array of extraordinary wonders that could make our lives better, healthier and environmentally cleaner.