The title of this post refers to Patrick Henry (May 29, 1736 - June 06, 1799), twice governor of Virginia.
Patrick Henry was a formidable advocate for personal and state's liberty... He saw the freedom of the People as essential to future of the America all had struggled for. He felt freedom of the states essential, essentially not subservient to a federal government. He saw in Great Briton, at the time of his famous speech (May 23, 1775), "Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death...", a serious threat to the Colonies, to personal freedom. Warships from England had been amassing off our coasts, a fact many in power chose to over-look. The speech is a good one... especially as it makes clear what the goals of our foundling nation were.
Important speech, but what Patrick Henry didn't say was, "Give Me Liberty or Give Me Safety". He implied safety, as to freedom from enslavement by tyrants, infringements on personal liberty, independence. He emphasized state's rights, as in medical marijuana, legalization.
Marijuana has been considered a serious threat to public safety since August 02, 1937. That's when the federal government passed the infamous Marihuana Tax Act. Yes, spelled with an "h" instead of the "j", as it often is withing government.
It wasn't anything like alcohol prohibition. That was the culmination of a movement that began in the 1700's... a subject for another day it's so involved.
There were two sides to the Marihuana Tax Act and resultant prohibition of cannabis. Two major sides with many off-shoots.
The first and foremost reason for the act was to stem in the influx of illegal immigrants from Mexico. Yes, we had problems then we still have problems. Until prohibition in 1937 we'd used cannabis for many reasons in this country. We used it as hemp, for rope, as cannabis in medicine, as ganja for recreation. We didn't call it marijuana, that's for sure.
The second reason for the act to pass, a hugely successful ad campaign presenting marijuana as The Killer of Youth"! We know today the Killer of Youth is alcohol... but the myth persists, especially since so many other harder drugs exists, and it's convent to lump cannabis in with harder drugs. The ad campaign was widely attributed to William Randolph Hearst... a "yellow journalist" and well-known publisher of newspapers. He supported Adolf Hitler's rants originally too, if that's any clue as to his motivations?
But Bill can't take all the credit... much was going on in the 1930's, not the least of which was the growing threat of war in Europe, and a post Depression Era America.WW1 wasn't far behind either, nor were the Roaring Twenties - Speak-Easy's, Prohibition of Alcohol, when by the way, it was legal to consume alcohol, own and possess it - you just couldn't make it, or produce it. The user wasn't a criminal.
We'll call this era, 1860 - 1937, the Post Revolutionary Blues period of American history...
Allegedly, regulation of ganja took place starting in 1860, so I've set the PRB with that date though the source left no source. During the early 1900's I've heard of states regulating cannabis, apparently California was one of the first.
However, there were two major Congressional Acts passed - I've mentioned the Pure Food and Drug Act and the Harrison Narcotics Act before. The first required the container bearing said elixer to contain exactly what was advertised. The second act, recognized plant drugs with concern towards the American People. With on caveat... opium was very popular around the world, and a huge part of the global economy. To stop hard drugs as the Harrison Narcotics act hoped to accomplish, exports from China had to stop.
Fact is, neither cannabis, ganja, hemp nor marihuana are prohibited after passage of those acts. The 18th amendment is next prohibiting production and sale of alcohol. It creates what we now have in "Drug Prohibition". With the addition now, it is also against the law for the individual to use or possess what's prohibited. And to date, no Constitutional Amendment has ever been proposed or passed making a plant illegal to possess, use or grow by an individual.
Current federal law relies on the Interstate Commerce law, as it's base. It adds Nixon's Drug Control act and numerous other acts on top of that. It justify's raids in California, Colorado, etc., based on a claim of federal rights trump state's rights. Exactly what Patrick Henry was afraid of. A new KING!!!
The picture at the conclusion of my last post refers to an on-going initiative in Colorado for this Fall, to pass the first ever (since 1937) full legalization and taxation of cannabis act. The citizen's group: Regulate Marijuana.org is at the heart of sanity the way the majority of people see it in Colorado
As Patrick Henry says in his famous speech:
"Ask yourselves how this gracious reception of our petition (to have cannabis legalized) comports with those warlike preparations which cover our waters and darken our land. Are fleets and armies necessary to a work of love and reconciliation? Have we shown ourselves so unwilling to be reconciled that force must be called in to win back our love?".
The truth is... a crime is committed not when one wants to use, buy or grow a little cannabis... crime occurs when someone is actually threatened, hurt, in danger, robbed, raped, assaulted, harmed, threatened, bullied, etc... and nowhere does personal use of ganja pose a crime.
If you live in Colorado or know anyone who does, encourage them to vote YES.
To those millions of people who enjoy ganja, would like to grow it or hemp, who see laws against a natural commodity illegal, write your Congress persons... write your government! Always vote yes to freedom, and no to liberal control over our lives.
Have a safe and good Memorial Day!