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History of Marijuana Prohibition

Cannabis Sativa has been around for thousands of years, but you may be surprised how recently it has been since our current regulatory structure madness was created. Indeed, as recently as the early twentieth century there still was no government oversight effecting the prohibition of marijuana. In 1906, the Pure Food and Drug Act was passed and that was the very beginning of the FDA, what most people think of as the Food and Drug Administration.

reefer madness propaganda

Although marijuana was completely unregulated up to this time in history, since the creation of the FDA, marijuana acceptance has been trapped in a sort of legal, moral, and ethical tug-of-war. The first actual marijuana specific law, however, did not come about till the year 1913, when, believe it or not, California was the first state to pass a marijuana related law. Reputedly, this law wasn’t even really noticed by most people of that day, as the law stipulated “preparations of hemp or loco weed” rather than just explicitly use the scientific term for marijuana, Cannabis Sativa.

Shortly thereafter, however, the anti-marijuana lobby began to take shape at a much brisker pace. This incline in marijuana regulation was surrounded and inexplicably linked to the efforts of some toward the prohibition of other “dubious” substances including alcohol, cocaine, and opiates like opium, which is derived from the poppy plant. The FDA had then, as it does to this day, a tremendous amount of dictatorial power over what was, and what was not, considered acceptable for a person to decide to put into their own body.

In 1915, the state of Utah passed a state anti-marijuana law, but that was fairly mild in comparison to what was about to take shape. Through what was arguably one of the most effective propaganda campaigns in known history, the U.S. Government set out to demonize the marijuana plant as “evil”, “deadly”, and utterly “corrosive to the human soul”. In 1930, Harry J. Anslinger, a staunch advocate of the prohibition movement, was put in charge of these efforts and given control of the newly formed Federal Bureau of Narcotics, an earliest interpretation of what is now called the Drug Enforcement Agency, or DEA.

From that point on, marijuana has had an increasingly tough time in the legislative sense. While alcohol prohibition was actually repealed in a 1933 move that even included the ratification of a new 21st Amendment to the Constitution, in 1937, marijuana prohibition first reared its head in the form of the Marijuana Tax Act. Combining this new law, the highly ambitious “reefer madness” propaganda campaign, and a large amount of “yellow journalism”, the marijuana plant was doomed to the second class public opinion that it was just plain dangerous, and useless for human consumption, and it has been an uphill battle for this plant ever since. Currently in the U.S., over 800,000 marijuana related arrests are made each year.

Awareness and Understanding

cannabis uses

As many are probably aware of these days, marijuana has become a frequent topic in American political discourse, as well as in many other nations around the world. It seems as though the world is in a state of re-realization of what positive benefits the marijuana plant has to offer, how we can sensibly regulate its use, and why the alternative perspectives being enforced through current laws have largely gotten it, well, pretty much all wrong.

Throughout the extent of recorded history, marijuana has only been illegal for about 1% of the time. Indeed, in the United States, a nation largely responsible for most of the intentional dispraise injected into the public discourse about marijuana, the plant has only been illegal since the late 1930’s. Even then, the primary reason was a financial based political gain for a few greedy and perhaps quite power-hungry men. Indeed, few truly know the history of cannabis.

Through a concerted attempt to demonize the marijuana planet and all who would dare to use it, the U.S. government set into motion one of the most elaborate propaganda campaigns in all of history. In the early thirties, Henry J. Anslinger was recruited to tell the world that, inevitably, if a person were to come into contact with this “radical tool of the devil”, they could expect insanity, violence, and gross moral turpitude to ensue.

Fortunately though, people around this nation, as well as globally conscientious thinkers have grown past the understanding that most of this propagandist hyperbole as just that, a massive and organized campaign to forcefully alter and control the way they consciously feel and think about cannabis. Throughout the world there are organizations popping up that are dedicated to reversing the misinformation that was forcefully administered over the first half of the twentieth century.

In the U.S., for example, people are rapidly waking up to not only the lies that have been told, but also to the actual useful truths about marijuana, and its seemingly natural fit with our human genetics.

2014 marijuana legalization voting

Just today, we learned about the state of Oregon getting full legalization onto their November voting ballots. A non-profit awareness group raised over a million dollars for the campaign and have set their goals much higher as they ramp up media coverage before voters head to the polls.

Oregon should be the latest state to allow for full legalization, it looks like their initial plan is to regulate the plant similarly to how alcohol current is. Additionally, over 23 states have already based state-wide measures to allow doctor certified patients to use medical cannabis to mitigate chronic and debilitating circumstances.

But the U.S. certainly isn’t alone in their revelation about the need for legal changes in regards to adult marijuana use, as many nations either already have or are seriously considering new approaches of full-out legalization.