Or Ganja, (flower) another term we were so kindly gifted from the ancient culture of India. Recreational Marijuana is only legal in 16 states, and medically legal in 36. Ridiculous, I know, considering the plant has industrial as well as medicinal properties. So who do we blame for the extreme hatred and false stigmas of Cannabis Culture? Well, now that I’ve got your attention, lets figure it out.
Everyone who’s anyone has heard of the infamous “War On Drugs”, a “war” declared by Nixon, in June of 1971, because drug use was “Public Enemy Number One.” Right, drug use. The hard stuff, I know what you’re thinking. The stuff that should be stopped, the stuff that kills its users and destroys lives. Crack. Heroin. Meth. Surely not our beloved hemp. But during an interview in 94, Nixon’s former domestic policy chief let it slip that the elusive “War On Drugs” had ulterior and rather racist motives behind it. He chose to associate Cannabis with the “hippies” and heroin with the black culture, allowing him to raid homes, break up meetings and vilify entire communities.
Now lets pause here for a second before the eye rolling continues, and grind up some nuggets of information. Cannabis shows up in history as early as 2737 BC, but not as you think of it now. It was a crop harvested in China for it’s fiber and oils to be used in making clothing, rope, and paper. Similar to tree farming for house lumber or school notebook paper. All of Asia, India and Europe were utilizing cannabis for both medicinal and industrial benefits. By 3000 BC, Egypt was also heavily reliant on the plant for its medicinal and spiritual purposes. So why? Why, if multiple countries have been utilizing this plant for centuries, for various other things- that don’t include a lighter and a bag of Doritos, does the glorious Us of A hate it so much? Why is it treated like the ex who got the sports car and the boat in the divorce? And when did we get the divorce?
In 1906, the Pure Food and Drug act was passed requiring certain drugs including Cannabis to be accurately labeled. Okay sure, no problem.
In 1930, the Federal Bureau of Narcotics was formed as way to “outlaw” and “control” any and all recreational drugs. (Funny how that works considering I didn't mention recreational uses for Cannabis, nor was it ever referred to as a drug.)
In 1932, the US passed the “Uniform State Narcotic Act”. Making all drug trafficking laws the same nationwide. (Now were talking narcotics, hard stuff, not hemp oil, right?)
In 1937, the US then decided the Narcotic act didn’t cover nearly all of the things they wanted to control, so they made the possession or transfer of cannabis for recreational uses illegal. Again, mildly amusing when you think about all the uses and wonder who was the one to determine the cannabis was being used recreational and not medicinally? I’m not sure either.
By 1970 the US had introduced another “act” that essentially rated drugs in order of danger, and their addictive potential. 5 for the least, 1 for the worst. This is where one of these boneheads having ignored literally all of History, knowing cannabis “didn’t hurt anybody” or “make anyone violent” decided to make Cannabis a Schedule 1 drug, based on a single piece of
So do we blame the bonehead? Yes, we blame the bonehead, well sort of. In 1930, secretary of treasury Andrew Melon was forced to appoint his future son in law, Harry Anslinger as the head of the Narcotics Bureau. When the alcohol band lifted, Harry found himself bored with his position and started releasing statements against the use of cannabis despite having stated prior that he had no problems with it because it “didn't make anybody violent.” His statements became so ridiculous he even went as far as claiming a boy from Florida who had murdered his parents with an axe, was high on the “devil’s weed.”
So it appears the “divorce” actually happened in the 30’s, but the anger over the boat and the sports car didn’t hit until the 70’s. And all because someone got bored over his lack of things to control. Talk about your ultimate control freak. Fast forward now to 2021, history has proven Cannabis to have multiple medicinal properties, and it’s still only medically legal-with a card and a strict diagnosis in 36 out of 50 states. As the never ending “War On Drugs” rages on, and global pharmaceutical companies continue to rule the world, full Cannabis Legalization for recreational purposes may always be just above the horizon, just out of our reach, however, that doesn’t stop the legal states from putting Cannabis Dispensaries up like coffee shops.
Check out our Marijuana Conspiracy Episode for more!