A brief history of the criminalization of cannabis
Many people assume that marijuana was made illegal through some kind of process involving scientific, medical, and government hearings; that it was to protect the citizens from what was determined to be a dangerous drug.
The actual story shows a much different picture. Those who voted on the legal fate of this plant never had the facts, but were dependent on information supplied by those who had a specific agenda to deceive lawmakers. You'll see below that the very first federal vote to prohibit marijuana was based entirely on a documented lie on the floor of the Senate.
You'll also see that the history of marijuana's criminalization is filled with:
Protection of Corporate Profits
Ignorant, Incompetent, and/or Corrupt Legislators
Personal Career Advancement and Greed
These are the actual reasons marijuana is illegal.
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This account only scratches the surface of the story. If you want to know more about the history of marijuana, Harry Anslinger, and the saga of criminalization in the United States and elsewhere, visit some of the excellent links below. (All data and quotes for this piece came from these sources as well).
The History of the Non-Medical Use of Drugs in the United States by Charles Whitebread, Professor of Law, USC Law School. A Speech to the California Judges Association 1995 annual conference.
THE FORBIDDEN FRUIT AND THE TREE OF KNOWLEDGE: AN INQUIRY INTO THE LEGAL HISTORY OF AMERICAN MARIJUANA PROHIBITION by Richard J. Bonnie & Charles H. Whitebread, II. VIRGINIA LAW REVIEW. VOLUME 56 OCTOBER 1970 NUMBER 6
The Consumers Union Report - Licit and Illicit Drugs by Edward M. Brecher and the Editors of Consumer Reports Magazine
The History of the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 By David F. Musto, M.D., New Haven, Conn. Originally published in Arch. Gen. Psychiat. Volume 26, February, 1972
The Report of the National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse I. Control of Marihuana, Alcohol and Tobacco. History of Marihuana Legislation
The Marihuana Tax Act of 1937. The history of how the Marihuana Tax Act came to be the law of the land.
Marijuana - The First Twelve Thousand Years by Ernest L. Abel, 1980