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October 17, 2009

Brief History of Cannabis Prohibition

To understand why people are persecuted and arrested for cannabis related crimes, one needs to understand the original arguments and politics that made cannabis illegal in the first place.

A great place to start: The History Channels: ( DVD format ): "Hooked: Illegal Drugs and How They Got That Way". Copyright 2000, A&E Television Networks - cat # AAE-70805.

It was not my intention to start my blog off with cannabis reform... but that's where I'm at at the moment... go with the flow, as 'they' say...

The term "marijuana" is of Mexican origin. I can find no American or English dictionary that lists "marijuana" prior to the time in Oct. 1937. Further, not a single reference in history to a problem with cannabis use prior to the cinematic blitz starting early 1930's. What I'm saying is that the "notorious drug we know today as marijuana - the destroyer of youth" didn't exist. In fact, the original Temperance Movement in the 1830's did mention cannabis... but rather, it was considered a far better alternative to alcohol.

Then, In the early 1900's, two major Congressional Bills were passed, the original Food and Drug act, and another... effectively removing a human's beings access to many things. It created laws controlling all know addictive and potentially harmful drugs... opium disappeared, a favorite of many; cocaine disappeared from the beverage Coke and the pharmacy, "patent medicines" now had to label everything in them... not a bad idea, but all these new laws and regulations were a collage of rational understanding, and special interests that created the politics that started it all and exploded.

Oddly, cannabis was not on the list of any of those lists... not until immigration of illegals from Mexico became a problem, early 30's... Great Depression... got problems of our own in America... like it is today.

Mexican's liked marijuana, or that's the history I found... and Governors in Southern States shouted at Washington to do something, keep the illegals out!

So...many years after the other drugs became controlled, "marijuana" was born, and deemed the, "most dangerous drug on the planet".

Cannabis became "marijuana" and the "notorious gateway drug" it is today because of the 1930's politics and the media... WRH! D'Pont. Ironically, Harry Anslinger who is most credited with his demand that cannabis/marijuana be taxed, and effectively outlawed, was very much avoiding and opposed to the idea. Until someone presented the idea that if you treated cannabis like it were a machine gun, you could outlaw it.

And they did.


  1. It will be interesting how the current administration handles this subject. The criminal justice professors, like this one have been advocating softening criminal laws for years.

  2. Thanks Slam... yes it will be something I'll follow. Personally, I feel the idea of "softening criminal laws" misses the reality of the situation. Two of the most dangerous 'recreational drugs' are legal, and you can buy any amount you wish. You could buy up a whole liquor store here in NH. I asked one day when 6 or 7 obvious early 20's guys bought a grocery cart brimming with alcohol. I asked the sales person - "isn't there a limit?" He said "no".

    Marijuana isn't 100% harm free, but it's much, much safer than the legal alternatives, that are accepted without much pause.

    We need laws and regulations based on fact, not fiction, and laws supporting criminalizing and persecuting cannabis users are fictional... they make no sense, are not based on fact, and undermine the trust society has in it's lawmakers.

    President Jimmy Carter understood that in the 1970's, and understood human beings have rights to what they consume. He legalized cannabis - just like that with a stroke of his pen. And just like that, FEAR and Fiction from the government I helped elect, overruled him.

    For what few minutes or days they were reality in Washington was realized. A proud day for me to be an American!