Which came first the law or the crime? Have you ever wondered what crime or horrendous act could have possibly been committed to warrant the prohibition of marijuana? I’ve been searching for the answer for a while now and simply can’t seem to find a credible answer to that question.
What I did find was that Hemp was a widely used and highly traded product in America for over 160 years. Our fore fathers, including George Washington and Thomas Jefferson cultivated it and recognized its potential for industrial and medicinal uses. Aside from its medicinal and soothing qualities, Hemp was used to make rope, paper, clothing and multitudes of other products. It was a staple product in American culture and competed with many industries including timber and cotton producers.
Hemp has amazing qualities as a textile. Up until the early 1800’s all linen was made of hemp or flax. Benjamin Franklin built one of the first paper mills which produced hemp paper. Henry Ford designed a car that was made constructed of resin stiffened hemp fibers. He also used hemp to create ethanol.
Over all hemp is an amazing plant. Its fibers are longer and stronger than cotton. It also blocks more UV rays than cotton and even resists molding. In 1938 Popular Mechanics published an article that labeled hemp as a “New Billion Dollar Crop.” Essentially pot has been a building block of American culture and industry from the day Columbus landed on Plymouth Rock. It is difficult to fathom that such a vibrant natural resource has been outlawed due to propaganda.
So where is the crime which constitutes such harsh laws that border infringing upon our civil rights? There must be something that triggered the witch hunt like campaign to criminalize marijuana. The truth is that no crime has ever existed. The criminalization of marijuana is purely driven by propaganda and hatred.
The marijuana witch hunt began during the prohibition era. To truly understand the motives behind marijuana criminalization you must look at the prohibition era’s American way of thinking. This is the period which America was experiencing a great deal of progressive change and prejudice. The motivation for this change partially began in the mid 1800’s
After the civil war Americans seemed to go a bit wild. The west was forming and it was an untamed country at heart. There was a rise in the consumption of alcohol and there where many lawless and free for all atmospheres in the untamed states. Many religious and political sects saw the need for control and order. A great campaign to tame the wild America had begun and it was called “The Temperance movement”.
By the early 1900’s the idea of taming America became an evangelist playground. America was at a turning point of economic depression wrought with uncontrolled drinking and bad habits. In an effort to gain stability the idea of prohibition was initiated by protestant church groups and women’s organizations. Alcohol was rooted out as the cause of America’s downfall and became the target prohibition activists.
By 1917 American legislators ratified the 18th amendment, banning the sale, manufacturing and distribution of alcohol. It was a disastrous attempt by government to control individual rights of consumption. The demand for alcohol did not go away. Instead of controlling the problem, prohibition created crime environments that further united criminal organizations. A government agency called the Bureau of Prohibition was created to combat these crime syndicates. After the repeal of prohibition the Bureau of Prohibition was later absorbed into the Federal Bureau of Investigation and called the Alcohol Beverage Unit. In 1973 Richard Nixon created an agency similar to the Bureau of Prohibition called the Drug Enforcement Agency.
Aside from temperance movement, another factor that contributes to this pig pile of prejudice was the immigration of Mexicans into the U.S. in the early 1920’s. American culture was a pig headed monster that discriminated against anyone who did not fit the bill or took away a natural citizens job. Americans associated smoking marijuana with the Mexican culture and used the plant to single them out as crime causing bandits.
Hatred campaigns used marijuana as a fall guy to instill fear into society about immigrating Mexican nationals. It became a popular excuse to denounce Mexican integration into a prejudice American society. Marijuana smear campaigns did not only target Mexicans, it also was used to create fear of black communities. It’s an ugly truth but a truth none the less. Marijuana was a scape goat for American prejudice. It wasn’t long before marijuana became a propaganda label for violent crime even though no crimes where actually committed because of its use.
In the sixties pot became very popular amongst the Hippie community. America was struggling with internal conflicts fueled by antiwar movements. Once again pot became a scape goat that labeled protesters as Hippie and drug controlled radicals. Finally in 1970 The Controlled Substances Act was established classifying marijuana as a Schedule I drug on the basis that it has a high potential for abuse. The passing of the controlled substance act was blatant hypocrisy. Alcohol which has far more potential for abuse and addiction was never mentioned or added to the schedule one list.
Lawmakers and government agencies like the DEA and FDA continue to maintain that marijuana has no medicinal or industrial use despite its history and continuous medical studies proving otherwise.
So you see there is no real crime involved in the use of marijuana. The only true crime is hiding from the ugly truth of American history. No one was ever killed by marijuana. Nor has any crime ever been committed in the name of marijuana that would warrant its criminalization. The hard fact is that the only reason it is criminalized is due to hate and propaganda.