Anybody who has dabbled in marijuana use understand that it offers a wide variety of mental and physical health benefits. However, pot is still illegal in many states and understanding why marijuana was made illegal can educate you on why these laws need to be thrown out.
The earliest anti-marijuana laws were state-based: Utah passed the first ban on marijuana in 1910, followed by Wyoming (1915), Texas (1919), Iowa (1923) and many others. These laws were actually fairly racist and pointed directly at the Mexican-American population that had provided the Mormons (who had heavily political sway in Utah) with their favorite drug.
However, the first federal marijuana ban came in 1937 at the urging of a man named Harry Anslinger. He and the treasury department secretly drafted a bill called “The Marihuana (sic) Tax,” and masked it as a revenue bill.
Before congress voted on the bill, Anslinger gave a speech in which he said “…The marijuana cigarette is one of the most insidious of all forms of dope, largely because of the failure of the public to understand its fatal qualities.”
That’s right: fatal qualities. (It is virtually impossible to overdose on marijuana.)
The bill passed without even taking a roll call vote. And marijuana is still illegal in the country, in spite of its many positive mental and physical health benefits and the manufacturing potential of hemp.
The latter point is actually a lot more relevant than it appears. For evidence exists that anti-marijuana laws have less to do with its “fatal qualities” than it does with the terror hemp inspires in paper manufacturers. Hemp paper would not only be less expensive than wood paper, but easier and quicker to renew.
Thread and cloth manufacturers also oppose hemp because they fear the ways this adaptable material would make their products completely irrelevant.
One could argue that pot’s only “insidious” because of the threat it poses to large industries. Currently, the US is seeing the tide turn in favor of legalizing marijuana, and marijuana, in all its forms, is becoming more widely acceptable.
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