So you’re walking home from work.. “what’s that!!!” you suddenly catch a whiff of that gaunja smell looming in the air! Your guard is up, “SOMEBODY IS SMOKING ILLEGAL DRUGS!” RED ALERT – Shields to maximum, purse/wallet/phone check!! You start to look around for the CRIMINAL, for he’s probably been in and out of prison numerous times committing endless crimes from manslaughter to rape and undoubtedly is a phedophile! You mentally toughen up, “if that ganja smoking bastard tries to steal from me, i’ll fuck him up!!!” and start remembering some of those kung fu moves your friend showed you!
OR if you’re like me, you smell that creamy weed aroma and think “DAMN, that’s SOME GOOD SHIIIIIIIIIII!!!” An example which leads us onto what we’re going to be exploring in this article as to how cannabis has ascertained such a bad reputation despite there being so much illegitimacy in the claims for it’s prohibition.
Politics – 9 times out of 10 the dirty variety.
Hemp (Cannabis plant) has been used since the 1600 as one of the first woven fabrics i.e. roping, cloth work, mats, chairs, brushes and pretty much everything. It had been used as a medicine for many thousands of years all over the world being used in China and the Middle East for treating conditions like constipation, malaria and rheumatism. Cannabis was sold quite freely in shops and it is commonly known Queen Victoria was administer cannabis regularly to ease her period pain. It was actually the invention of needle syringes approximately near the end of the 19th century that marked an end of the widespread medicinal use. To which the early 20th the plant started making headlines about it’s recreational usages. Thus the roots as to why it’s become so villainised in our modern society follow the path as to why it was made illegal. N.B The illegality of cannabis is still very unclear with lots of conspiracy elements involved some deserving more credit than others with the addition of all the recent scientific studies and reports and older ones i.e.
The 1968 Wootton Report, a Home Office investigation into the effects of cannabis concluded: “There is no evidence that this activity is causing violent crime or aggression, anti-social behaviour, or is producing in otherwise normal people conditions of dependence or psychosis requiring medical treatment.”
However 45 years later after the original Wootton Report and many others have been published it is still illegal to grow, produce, possess or supply Cannabis in the UK so the real question has to be ask is why do our governments keep cannabis prohibited on what basis.
“CONSPIRACY!!!” you all scream out and immediately many dismiss you as “one of those ay!”, but lets be honest the government’s bottom line explanation on cannabis prohibition makes no sense either so perhaps giving a lot more credit to the theories as to the real reason our government choose to ban it. Let start by examining the infamous American propaganda video “Reefer Madness” (originally titled “Tell Your Children” or sometimes found as “The Burning Question”, “Dope Addict”, “Doped Youth” and “Love Madness”) released in the 1936 promoting cannabis as the first step to all psychotic illnesses and generally suggesting completely over the top scenerios. Thankfully this video is generally now seen in it’s more comedic form, but the question as to why the US and every government tried as hard to wash the mind of their public is still unanswered. So what are the possible motives?
During the revolution in 1910 many Mexicans crossed over the boarder travelling to numerous places within American with many debarking in California. Many had brought this south american sounding plant “marijuana” with them and soon enough this difference, as a group of people, was noted and thus within the same year California was the first state to outlaw the “preparations of hemp, or loco weed.”. This was soon followed by some of the other states including Wyoming in 1915, Texas in 1919, Iowa, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Arkansas all in 1923 finally with Nebraska & Montana in 1927. The general consensus was these laws were designed to target the Mexican people living within America. Many public sources quote a senator in Texas, telling the floor of the Senate that “All Mexicans are crazy and this stuff [cannabis] is what makes them crazy”.
LATINOS & BLACKS
Now in the early 1930’s this marijuana plant was becoming an epidemic as it was spreading across America mainly through Latin Americans and black jazz musicians. During this time jazz and marijuana had become indivisible to the jazz scene as it travelled hand in hand crossing from New Orleans to Chicago and then finally Harlem with many of big black artists of that time like Louis Armstrong,Cab Calloway, Fats Waller’s making mention to the plant in songs like “Muggles”,”That Funny Reefer Man” and “Viper’s Drag”. Similar patterns where happening around the globe with recreational / musical use of cannabis became every popular growing at it’s heights during the 40/50’s among migrants from the Caribbean arriving in the UK, with the first ever drugs bust taking place at the Jazz Club Number 11 Club in Soho.
Another man we owe greatly for the illegalisation of cannabis is Harry J. Anslinger, whom in 1930 was appointed head of the newly formed U.S. Treasury Department’s Federal Bureau of Narcotics. The trouble with this new department was that there just wasn’t enough cases of cocaine or forms opiates to bust, so they turned their focus to marijuana and began trying to make it illegal at the federal level. He drew national attention to marijuana by accrediting it to racial and very violent cases and promoted his Gore Files, which was “Reefer-madness” style accounts of violent crimes being commited by blacks on this drug. A few other quotes from his Gore Files:
“There are 100,000 total marijuana smokers 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.”, “…the primary reason to outlaw marijuana is its effect on the degenerate races.”, “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.”, “Marihuana leads to pacifism and communist brainwashing”, “You smoke a joint and you’re likely to kill your brother.”, “Marijuana is the most violence-causing drug in the history of mankind.”
Now back in the 1930’s along with cloth and woven hemp was also originally one of the competitors to nowadays timber based paper. Our modern day Rupert Murdoc equivalent of the generation was a man named William Randolf Hearst who owned of a massive chain of newspapers. William Hearst had invested a lot in the timber industry for the production of his newspapers and with the oncoming threat of hemp paper taking over it was in his great interest to favour Harry J. Anslinger campaign on marijuana.
Hearst had numerous reasons to help. Firstly right off the bat he was widely reported to hate Mexicans. 2) He had heavily invested in the timber industry to show his support to his newspaper chain which he didn’t want to see the development of hemp paper in competition. 3) He had lost 800,000 acres of timberland to Pancho Villa, so this further completed his resolve to further hate Mexicans. 4) He was selling many newspapers with headlines about the devils marijuana causes violence, while not only misinforming the general public but getting extremely rich in the process.
Generally we see that money has been a good agenda behind many a suspected conspiracy and while cannabis has many medical properties and can really be grown almost in any weather and soil conditions i.e. many people can grow the plant fairly effortlessly. This fact alone potentially points to pharmaceutical companies losing billions every year. These pharmaceutical companies are the same ones that fund the campaigns to get parties into power and the parties are threatened that if they legalise Cannabis then the company will no longer fund them.
For the United Kingdom during it was in 1928 cannabis was made illegal for all purposes i.e medicinal / recreational. After an international drugs conference which took place in Geneva, Switzerland where an Egyptian delegate managed to persuade all the attendee countries that cannabis was a danger to society comparing it directly to studies and effects of opium usage. Immediately after the conference laws banning cannabis were implemented. Using this process of false fear mongering, many countries also followed in suit resulting in the the majority of the world implentments similar variations of cannabis laws, based on this research as the unknown risk looming upon society is why many felt prohibition was the safest measure to take.
Be it government conspiracy or politics, racism, greed or fear mongering, the fact remains that consuming cannabis is still completely illegal in most countries with it’s roots stemming from why most likely due some of the above. This article intends to only scratch the surface of the real story of why cannabis is shunned in modern society. If you are interested in this topic and would like to know more about the history of marijuana check out some of the links below.
• The History of the Non-Medical Use of Drugs in the United States by Charles Whitebread, Professor of Law, USC Law School. A Speech to the California Judges Association 1995 annual conference.
• THE FORBIDDEN FRUIT AND THE TREE OF KNOWLEDGE: AN INQUIRY INTO THE LEGAL HISTORY OF AMERICAN MARIJUANA PROHIBITION by
Richard J. Bonnie & Charles H. Whitebread, II. VIRGINIA LAW REVIEW. VOLUME 56 OCTOBER 1970 NUMBER 6
• The Consumers Union Report – Licit and Illicit Drugs
by Edward M. Brecher and the Editors of Consumer Reports Magazine
• The History of the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937
By David F. Musto, M.D., New Haven, Conn.
Originally published in Arch. Gen. Psychiat. Volume 26, February, 1972
• The Report of the National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse
I. Control of Marihuana, Alcohol and Tobacco.
History of Marihuana Legislation
• The Marihuana Tax Act of 1937.
The history of how the Marihuana Tax Act came to be the law of the land.
• Marijuana – The First Twelve Thousand Years by Ernest L. Abel, 1980