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WHY IS MARIJUANA ILLEGAL?
(Author's Notes)

As I stated in Chapter Eighteen, the entire subject of why marijuana is illegal and the damage this has done to our country is hard for me to wrap my head around, so I took the time to research and report the history of how marijuana became criminalized in 1937. I hope you will find it as interesting as I did!
This topic had particular relevance to me, since for the most part I was living with a bunch of drug dealers. Since they were at the camp, they were non-violent drug dealers by definition. Most of them were nothing like I had pre-conceived, which was a bunch of low-class, dirty, pockmarked slimers. I was shocked to meet so many well-groomed, intelligent, educated and personable men instead. Men who liked to smoke and sell weed, for which they were inordinately punished. None of it sat very well with me, so I set out to understand it. Easier said than done.

In 2013, 4.9% of the world’s population—two hundred thirty-two million people—used marijuana. Are they all criminals? 

As stated previously, ultra-conservative fanatics (Tea Partiers of the 1930s) once portrayed marijuana smoking as a nefarious, devil-spawned activity. They masterminded the movie Reefer Madness, depicting how pot smoking literally caused insanity and even death to otherwise normal, clean-cut teens. One puff of pot was purported to be the beginning of the end, a direct path to addiction, violence, insanity and suicide!

People of intelligence everywhere are dumbfounded when it comes to understanding the United States’ ridiculous position on marijuana, but just a little research demystifies the entire issue. The information is out there, it just doesn’t get much media attention. Surprise. As usual, the root of this nonsense lies in greed, political agenda, and bought-and-paid-for ‘leadership’. One would think that the criminalization of marijuana was based on years of extensive research, studies, interviews and clinical data collected and compiled from a bevy of educated, intelligent and varying sources, to protect citizens from what was determined to be a dangerous drug. But it wasn’t. To understand this, we must start at the beginning.

Cannabis is the most popular drug in the history of the Earth. Its first documented use has been traced as far back in history as 7000 BC. It has been used in nearly every civilization, and on every continent – most likely since the beginning of time. Hemp (the commonly used term for high-growing varieties of the cannabis plant) is one of the strongest natural fibers in existence, and over the centuries has been used in the manufacture of rope, oil, wax, cloth, paper, pulp, fuel, parachutes and seed foods to name a few. So strong, even, that Henry Ford used it as a replacement for steel panels on his prototype ‘green’ automobile, which was to run on hemp gasoline (as was Rudolph Diesel’s original motor design). Ford’s revolutionary new car was 1,000 lbs. lighter than its steel counterpart, and its hemp-based panels were ten times as strong and undentable with a sledgehammer. However, after marijuana was declared illegal, products manufactured from fossil fuels—gasoline and plastics—immediately took their place. Coincidence?

By 1930, sixteen states had banned the use of marijuana except for medicinal purposes. Recreational use of marijuana was legal in every other state in the Union until 1937, when the federal government effectively criminalized it. FDR signed the Marihuana Tax Act into law after ninety-two seconds of debate on the floor of the House, opening the door to a brand new era of aggressive federal government expansion.

Note: “Marihuana” was the most common spelling used in federal government documents at the time the law was written. It is spelled “marijuana” currently.
It took thirty-two years for the Supreme Court to get around to declaring this law unconstitutional… but by that time the damage had been done. Since that time, over twenty million Americans had been arrested and convicted of marijuana crimes, at a cost to taxpayers of hundreds of billions of dollars… and we now have more prisoners than Stalin ever had in his gulags.

So what the fuck happened? How could it be that George Washington grew hemp himself, as did former presidents Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, James Monroe, Andrew Jackson, Zachary Taylor and Franklin Pierce… and today marijuana is classified as a Schedule 1 drug? For Chrissake, in Virginia citizens were allowed to pay their taxes with hemp… and two drafts of the Declaration of Independence were written on it!

Just one hundred years ago, heroin and cocaine could be purchased at any local pharmacy. Today, you could spend life in prison for selling marijuana.

Marijuana has remained on Schedule 1 despite decades of protest, placed on this list directly beside the most deadly hallucinogens known to man—heroin, LSD, mescaline, MDMA (ecstasy), GHB (the date rape drug), psilocybin, and methaqualone (Quaaludes). It’s classified as one level more dangerous than cocaine and methamphetamines! Ironically, the three criteria for classifying a drug to be on Schedule 1 drug have never been met. As written, they are: 1) The substance has a high potential for abuse (wrong), 2) The substance has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the U.S. (wronger), and 3) There is a lack of accepted safety for the use of the drug under medical supervision (wrongest).

***

Although this seems inexplicable, really it isn’t. By signing the overbroad and calculated ‘Controlled Substances Act’ (“CSA”) in 1970, President Nixon ensured the success of the prison industrial complex as well as a half-dozen other industries, including paper, cotton, alcohol, tobacco, prescription drugs and fossil fuels. By doing so, he ignored the recommendations of the American Medical Association, the LaGuardia Report, and the Shafer Commission… all of whom strongly recommended that the substance NOT be criminalized.

The Shafer commission was established in Part F of the CSA, to study cannabis abuse in the United States for the purpose of determining its classification. Its chairman, Raymond P. Shafer, recommended that marijuana be decriminalized in his first report to Congress. “The criminal law is too harsh a tool to apply to personal possession even in the effort to discourage use. It implies an overwhelming indictment of the behavior which we believe is not appropriate. The actual and potential harm of use of the drug is not great enough to justify intrusion by the criminal law into private behavior, a step which our society takes only with the greatest reluctance”. He stated flatly that even the constitutionality of criminalizing marijuana was suspect at best. Once again, the voices of reason were silenced, sublimated to the personal agendas of the Suits On Top. The SOTS struck again, and as usual the agenda was money. It’s not progress, it’s regress.

But that’s an inevitable consequence when a handful of jackasses get into positions of power. They lie in wait for the perfect set of circumstances to appear, for the stars to align in such a way that they can work their magic and capitalize on the situation. Pulling the wool over the eyes of the people. Just as they did in the early 1930’s when the SOTS set the stage to pull off this epic stunt, another in a long-running series of crimes against Americans and all of humanity.

Thirteen years after the Eighteenth Amendment was passed in 1920, prohibition was repealed and that’s when opportunity knocked. There was already a bureaucracy in place to battle the bootleggers, but now it had nothing to do so they focused on banning narcotics. The Great Depression had kicked in, and resentment against Mexican Americans was at an all-time high… since we didn’t need migrant workers anymore and they were occupying jobs that could have gone to real Americans. Since many of the migrant workers smoked marijuana, it was thought that banning the substance would encourage a mass exodus. Several other major forces were also at work at the same time, and several of the world’s biggest players went to work.

Enter William Randolf Hearst, an ultra-conservative nationalist and anti-communist publisher who owned of a huge chain of newspapers across America. He hated Mexicans since he lost production on 800,000 acres of timberland in Mexico due to the constant looting of his mother’s ranch by Pancho Villa and his band of rebels during the Mexican Revolution. His heavy investment in the timber industry was also threatened by the development of hemp paper… which was becoming very real due to improvements in decorticator technology. This machine efficiently separated the long hemp fibers from pulp, making hemp a legitimate threat to his empire. Therefore, he was highly motivated to destroy the hemp industry and slander Hispanics, as were the Duponts… who produced the chemicals that converted wood into paper, among other things. In 1935 the Dupont’s developed their new and revolutionary synthetic fiber—nylon. By 1940, they were producing 12 billion pounds of nylon annually and they did not want to share the market with hemp producers. So they were motivated to be anti-hemp activists as well.

It so happens that Andrew Mellon, Secretary of the Treasury and the wealthiest man in America at that time, was heavily invested in Nylon. He felt that the success of Nylon depended largely on its ability to replace hemp in the marketplace. Giant pharmaceutical companies were also interested in removing cannabis, so people would have to purchase their medicines instead of growing it themselves. Last but not least, John D. Rockefeller was staring at a giant surplus of gasoline, so he was working his plan to have gasoline engines become the industry standard.

In 1930 Andrew Mellon appointed Harry J. Anslinger as commissioner to the Treasury Department’s newly-created Federal Bureau of Narcotics (FBN), precursor to the DEA. Together with Hearst and DuPont, they devised a highly sensational anti-marijuana campaign to eliminate hemp as an industrial competitor, propelling it to a national movement. It was like a perfect storm, and the attack on marijuana was on track. Newspaper mogul Hearst unleashed a yellow-journalism campaign of unprecedented proportion, demonizing the cannabis plant and representing that there were de facto links between cannabis and violent crime.
A few of the headlined articles from the San Francisco Examiner are printed below.

“Marijuana makes fiends of boys in thirty days—Hashish goads users to bloodlust.”

“By the tons it is coming into this country—the deadly, dreadful poison that racks and tears not only the body, but the very heart and soul of every human being who once becomes a slave to it any of its cruel and devastating forms…  Marijuana is a short cut to the insane asylum. Smoke marijuana cigarettes for a month and what was once your brain will be nothing but a storehouse of horrid specters. Hasheesh makes a murderer who kills for the love of killing out of the mildest mannered man who ever laughed at the idea that any habit could ever get him…”

Not to be outdone, Anslinger continued the barrage with his own commentary:

“There are 100,000 total marijuana smokers in the U.S., 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 user’s 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.”

This was the guy that the Secretary of the Treasury put in charge… his future nephew-in- law. The rest is history: Twenty million marijuana arrests and convictions, fossil fuel pollution, continuous wars and conflict over oil, deforestation and environmental chaos… not to mention the destruction of many small farmers. As a point of reference, in 1935 over 116 million pounds of hemp seed was used for paint or varnish, and in the late 1930’s hemp was poised to become a billion dollar renewable energy crop. In a marquis display of its own confliction and duplicity, the U.S. government actually had the balls to ask farmers to grow as much hemp as possible in 1942, after Japan cut off our supply of raw fiber during World War II. They needed the material for producing marine cordage, parachutes and other military necessities. So, the same government that had banned marijuana five years earlier, rushed tons of free hemp seeds to farmers, granting them draft deferments for staying home and growing hemp! Google the “Hemp for Victory” video if you can’t believe it. FYI, in 1943, American farmers harvested 375,000 acres of hemp. Also, note that hemp was quickly restored to its illegal status directly after the war ended. To this day the United States remains the only developed nation in the world that prohibits industrial hemp production.

That begs the question, though, about the fate of all those poor souls who smoked marijuana during the temporary government moratorium during the war. Specifically, the ones who became homicidal, suicidal, insane murderers as a result of having one puff! And what about all the poor white women who were raped because of it? Unbelievable.
For the grand finale in this theatre of the absurd, in April of 2015, the National Cancer Institute finally came out and stated that marijuana killed cancer cells, after decades and decades of denial. Still it remains illegal.

All because a few greedy, conscienceless men of influence—like Hearst, Anslinger, Mellon, and Dupont—who used their power to serve themselves instead of the masses. True conspirators. The SOTS were full of shit then, and they’re full of shit now.

 

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© 2015 Steve Caputi, All Rights Reserved.