Marijuana has had a long and extremely controversial history, not only in the United States but all around the world. Cannabis is one of human history’s oldest cultivated crops and was first grown at least 12,000 years ago. A variety of ancient cultures used it, including the ancient Chinese, Egyptians, and Indians.
It was even mentioned as a useful medicinal herb by a Chinese emperor some 4,700 years ago. However, the leader in question, Shen Nung, probably didn’t exist! Eventually, cannabis made its way to North America. Weed is a plant that grows naturally, so there didn’t seem to be a problem. That is until the Almighty Dollar became involved.
Having marijuana legally available was terrible news for Big Pharma. They have made a fortune since the late 19th century. A ridiculous anti-weed campaign was launched in the 1930s and culminated in the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937. This law effectively made the herb illegal. Technically it wasn’t unlawful (that didn’t officially happen until 1970). However, the Act made it illegal to produce, sell, or use weed without the federal government’s permission.
Before the Marihuana Tax Act, weed was legally available in drug stores and pharmacies. Almost immediately after the passing of the law, a young Mexican-American became the first victim of the Drug War. Moses Baca was arrested for having a quarter-ounce of marijuana in his drawer and ended up in prison.
Even to this day, anti-marijuana lobbyists fill the public’s minds with lies. They know if the truth ever came out, cannabis would be legalized in the morning. Here are five things THEY NEVER want you to learn about weed.
1 – People Love It
Marijuana is the most popular ‘illicit’ substance in the United States. It is also the most used in the entire world! It is the third most popular recreational drug, legal or illegal, in America. Cannabis lags behind alcohol (used by 61% of adults) and tobacco (31% of adults). A 2017 study sponsored by Yahoo showed that 22% of U.S. adults used cannabis in the previous year. Over 50% have used weed at least once in their lives.
If you were to listen to anti-cannabis lobbyists, you would believe that the majority of Americans hate the stuff. In reality, though, a November 2019 Pew Research Center revealed the opposite.
Support for cannabis legalization is at 67% in the United States, an all-time high.
There are many reasons for the popularity of weed. These include a relatively low price, it helps you relax, and there is no danger of overdose. Remarkably, a naturally grown plant is illegal. Meanwhile, lab-created opioids that kill over 100 people per day are widely available. But that’s Profit Motive for you.
2 – It Wasn’t Made Illegal for the Sake of Public Safety
Anyone who suggests that weed is banned to protect the general public is mistaken. If that were true, why are opioids, alcohol, and tobacco, all legal when they cause FAR more damage than marijuana? One popular theory, which makes a lot of sense, involves William Randolph Hearst. He was a newspaper tycoon and one of the richest men in America. He was the early 20th century’s version of Rupert Murdoch.
Among other things, Hearst owned an enormous number of trees to supply paper. The popularity of weed at the time threatened his investment. Hemp could potentially replace conventional paper and even synthetic materials such as nylon. Hemp also threatened the DuPont empire. The two dominant forces combined their considerable resources.
Then they joined Harry Jacob Anslinger, who was the Commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics. Together, the group used all manner of propaganda tricks to turn the public against marijuana.
Hearst used his media empire to print fake stories of white youths who tried cannabis and ruined their lives. The 1936 movie Reefer Madness is infamous for depicting marijuana users as criminals who lose their minds and kill or commit suicide.
There is one significant issue with the theory. The amount of hemp grown in America at that time wasn’t enough to put a big dent in Hearst’s empire. Nonetheless, perhaps he was concerned enough to ensure it never got that far?
3 – Marijuana Prohibition Was Based on Plain Ol’ Racism
Up until the beginning of the 20th century, the little written about cannabis was positive. In 1876, the New York Times wrote that weed was a useful cure for dropsy. Things began to change in the early 1900s, though, when a large number of Mexican immigrants came to the U.S.
One of the customs they took with them was recreational weed smoking. ‘Marijuana,’ which was misspelled as ‘marihuana’ by American media (perhaps deliberately), was the Spanish word for the plant.
Both Anslinger and Hearst were racists, and the media mogul seized on the opportunity to spread his bile. As part of the propaganda war against cannabis, Hearst and Anslinger leveraged prejudice against Mexican-Americans and associated marijuana as the plant of ‘them.’
Anslinger once wrote: “There are 100,000 total marijuana smokers in the US, and most are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos, and entertainers. Their Satanic music, jazz, and swing results from marijuana use. This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers, and others.” (Emphasis Mine).
Anslinger and Hearst managed to convince large sections of the public that weed was a violence-inducing drug. There was no evidence for this claim whatsoever. They also connected it to minorities. Anslinger even suggested that cannabis made black people ‘forget their place in society.’ The racist narrative surrounding the plant continues to this day. Ethnic minorities are still disproportionately punished for possession of the drug.
4 –Tobacco Kills Millions Each Year in More Ways Than One. Yet It Receives Government Subsidies!
To date, there hasn’t been a single overdose death involving marijuana. However, smoking the herb comes with risks. The process of combustion releases carcinogens. While it produces far less than cigarettes, it is incorrect to suggest that smoking marijuana is entirely safe.
As an excuse to maintain prohibition, it would almost make a tiny bit of sense. However, what about tobacco? It causes more annual deaths than murder, AIDS, heroin, crack, car accidents, cocaine, fire, and alcohol combined! According to the CDC, tobacco causes 480,000 deaths per year. It also states that 16 million Americans live with an illness caused by smoking. Surely, such a toxic substance is illegal… right?
Wrong! Not only is tobacco legal and easy to purchase, but the industry also receives government subsidies! If it wasn’t harmful enough already, tobacco crops are grown with radioactive fertilizer.
Researchers haven’t come up with any real proof that weed is bad for you, yet it remains illegal.
Meanwhile, ‘legal’ drugs such as alcohol, caffeine, and painkillers, kill tens of thousands of people a year. Let’s not get into the chemicals put into our food and water.
Let us reiterate what we said about weed above: In over 12,000 years of use around the world, there has never been a death attributed to the plant. You could theoretically overdose, but it would require smoking at least 20,000 average-sized joints in about 15 minutes!
5 – Weed Is Less Addictive Than Many ‘Legal’ Substances
The Controlled Substances Act (CSA) of 1970 makes clear why marijuana is banned. It states that the herb has no medicinal value and a high risk of addiction. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of studies that make point #1 less than watertight. As for point #2, marijuana is indeed addictive.
However, it is far less so than widely available substances like nicotine, caffeine, alcohol, and sugar. Many years ago, research by the Institute of Medicine on addictive substances was eye-opening. It suggested that approximately 9% of cannabis users develop an addiction. In contrast, 32% of tobacco users and 17% of alcohol drinkers become dependent on these substances.
THE DEA’s Less Than Scrupulous Behavior
The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) is guilty of pretty dodgy behavior to ensure the myth that weed is highly addictive persists. This is a time-honored tradition, and you’ll see it on a host of anti-cannabis sites. They spout statistics without showing any meaning behind the data whatsoever.
The DEA is the king of the addiction lie. In the United States, there are more kids in addiction clinics for weed than for every other substance combined. Wow! This means marijuana IS addictive! Not quite. When a teenager is caught using marijuana, he goes to court. There he receives the choice of going to an addiction clinic or facing a severe penalty. Which one do you think he/she is going to choose?
Now, the DEA can classify these victims as ‘addicts.’ In reality, only about 3% of people in these centers go voluntarily. When medical researchers are asked to name the most addictive drugs, they tend to rate them in the following order:
Weed is less addictive than at least three legal substances, and frankly, you can add sugar to that list too. Of course, chronic cannabis users can expect to experience withdrawal symptoms. However, let’s not pretend that the legal substances mentioned don’t cause more harm than good!
Final Thoughts on Marijuana & What THEY Don’t Want You to Know
The amount of misinformation surrounding marijuana is incredible. We hear about its purported addictive properties and its alleged capacity to lower intelligence. The herb has been on the receiving end of unwarranted criticism for almost a century.
It is remarkable that in the technological age, we are still effectively in the Dark Ages regarding Mary Jane.
Even the Gateway Drug theory, which has been debunked time and again, resurfaces in every anti-weed rant. Here are the facts. Less than 1% of marijuana users move on to cocaine, and even fewer move on to heroin. Most of the time, the prohibition of weed causes the problem. Someone buys cannabis from a dealer and is offered heroin, for example.
Marijuana is not illegal because it is harmful or addictive. It is unlawful because it represents a clear and present danger to Big Pharma and the tobacco industry. Its illegality is based on lies, immorality, and racism. In this day and age, the fact that such propaganda still wins out is unfortunate indeed.