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July 17, 2014


Not only where cannabis/marijuana was/had always been legal, but where it had never become illegal and prohibited to begin with.

A friend put me up to this question and it's a very good question. I've touched upon the answer in some of my posts, but I have never written anything directly answering that question.

By now (and I have covered this info many times) most of us should be aware that cannabis became known as marijuana in the early 1930's because marijuana was popular with Mexicans, and illegal immigration was as much of a problem as it is today. The Great Depression was either active or just ended, depending on the circumstances. Individual circumstances. Americans didn't have jobs, nor income. The logic is Mexican immigrants, illegal ones would work for far less than Americans... take jobs away from Americans. The country as a whole was very scared. Afraid! They stood in "bread-lines" for food.

The Emancipation proclamation by President Lincoln angered many. Activist groups formed, some with a lot of clout and money. Jazz music became very popular, and happened to include Black musicians.

It needs to be understood that prior to the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 cannabis/marijuana had never in human history been illegal or prohibited. In the early 1900's two federal acts passed regulating drugs, a first of it's kind type of law. Cannabis was not included as it's a plant. Process the plant and add it to other things and the law took hold... but by itself it was simply a natural, god-given plant, like ginseng, chamomile, green tea. Until 1837 one could ready buy cannabis. At the time it was used mostly as a medicine. It was included in the US Pharmacopedia until around 1942 - the doctors bible for plant medicines.

Southern states were hit hardest by the illegal immigrants, spoke loudest during Congressional hearings. Anti-Emancipation Activists saw what they wanted to see - Black jazz musicians seducing White girls with marijuana. Yellow Journalist's like Randolph Hearst, newspaper mogul, saw a profit in carrying the cause, and Reefer Madness was born.

Marijuana was prohibited due to the Marijuana tax Act of 1937 and for the first time in world history a plant was not only prohibited, but made into a criminal act. A criminal act that would morph over the years into a very serious crime, similar to assault, rape, burglary, 2nd degree murder, or worse.

Today everyone struggles for "the right answer", that is right beneath their noses.

Harry Anslinger, infamous for being the perpetrator of the law actually was opposed in the beginning. He understood it was a plant and that as such it was exempt from consideration. Being pressured, he realized that the "machine-gun control act" that passed during alcohol prohibition, which defied the 2nd Amendment, could work to make marijuana taxable. It was a Slam dunk with only one doctor from the AMA - opposed to prohibition, in attendance. The act passed, history and the future would affect many generations, and the marijuana frenzy spread abroad, as agreements were signed.

The situation that occurred could in no way be fully realized here! We're NOT talking about machine-guns, though that law permitted the marijuana law. We're not talking about gangsters... the focus then were Blacks and Mexicans. There is no connection. Gangsters have nothing to do with Blacks and Mexicans in general.

So, what if, the Marijuana Tax Act had never passed, that clearer heads prevailed, and especially due to the potential of hemp as industrial solutions, marijuana was never made illegal? Wow. We're talking extraordinary competitiveness in manufacturing and product development, the potential for eco-friendly products far sooner than when they became a necessity, and to be honest, marijuana never would have become as popular as it is, as unlike alcohol and tobacco, it's not very addictive. That's not to say some people really find value using it... it means the addiction is not a physical one per se, but rather a choice.

If cannabis had not become marijuana, which alludes to what Mexicans called it, it's unlikely the 60's would have been what they were. People are "creatures of habit" and seriously, cannabis wasn't particularly known to be recreational. It's unlikely it would become known as such either.

Opium has always been there, LSD the CIA developed and yes that would have hit the streets. That may have increased interest in Peyote, and to a slight degree cannabis, but overall, the lack of hybridizing cannabis due to no prohibition would have made more dangerous drugs or synthetics much more controllable - meaning, we wouldn't have the problems we have today with meth, heroin, designer drugs if marijuana had stayed as cannabis.

Cannabis grew naturally in this country until 1937. It was eradicated almost completely. Small natural patches may still exist, but it's rare, considering it used to grow everywhere - and no one took notice. But the federal government eradicated it nonetheless. And left all the poison ivy!

Millions of people today and in history wouldn't have misdemeanor or felony records for possession of marijuana, as it should be, but which it is not. A perfect storm to illustrate how person bias and prejudice can shape a nation and cause hurt to many generations of people.

Can it be said that any good has come from the malignant passage of the Marijuana Tax Act? Unfortunately the answer is no. No, in the sense that, health professionals sometimes caution against using it, maybe for scientific reasons, but it's illegal, so who gives a damn? To many people they wouldn't have even considered using it unless, they had a medical condition that science found that cannabis would help (but scientific research was ground to a halt starting with Nixon in 1970).

Cannabis as hemp was billed as a billion dollar crop in Popular Mechanic's magazine, February 1938 (Link source: Henry Ford planned on using hemp oil as fuel. Nylons from hemp could be made naturally for women, but DuPont saw that as a threat... to nylon. Not only the benefits from competition were lost due to prohibition but many beneficial products were never developed also.

Ask the average person about marijuana and they'll laugh... they likely will not know what to answer to any questions you may have. The reason for that is simple. As long as marijuana remains a Scheduled Federally Prohibited drug, the facade is in place. Even in states where cannabis is legal the question of legitimacy is in question. But the truth is right under our noses... marijuana is no more dangerous than coffee, and just as beneficial if not more.


  1. I can see your post Bob! I can see it! Haha. I have no idea what the country would look like if there were no restrictions, but I am sure we will find out soon enough with the changing climate.

  2. Hey Slam! Welcome back! Not sure if you're literally saying you can see my blog like for the first time or if you can see the world I posed where cannabis is legal?

    It's ironic, I think, that cannabis became "illegal" (though technically only taxable) in November 1937 and the article in Popular Mechanics came out in February 1938. If lives were in danger and the country was truly on the edge of a marijuana crisis, one would think the article would have never been published - but it was (published)! And it was not a joke.

    Imagine the world since then, where if cannabis wouldn't have been an issue, if Congress had never passed the Marijuana Tax Act? An act that was never meant to collect revenue but rather, the tax was so high and intimidating that to pay the tax for growing a plant was prohibition.

    Yes, the "climate is changing".