Cannabis News
  Uncovering Marijuana's Sordid Past
Posted by CN Staff on October 26, 2007 at 11:15:31 PT
By Lucas McMillan 
Source: Times-Delphic  

cannabis Iowa -- Marijuana is the most widely used illicit substance in the world. According to the FBI, one cannabis user is arrested every 40 seconds in the United States.

The trade of marijuana is also one of the most profitable international businesses in the world, raking in billions and billions of dollars every year. It knows no boundaries, political or geographical.

Despite most governments' best efforts to eliminate the trade of it, weed is nearly impossible to get rid of because of its sheer pervasiveness in our world and our culture. There is a very real social stigma built around weed, and it can sometimes be hard to separate the myth of marijuana from the reality.

There are decades upon decades of economic, political, medical, and even racial views of this drug that need to be peeled away to uncover the truth.

Marijuana, besides being one of the most common drugs, is also one of the oldest. Everyone from practicing Hindus to the Assyrians routinely used cannabis as both a medical treatment and a religious ritual.

Marijuana was even sold openly at medical markets in the U.S. from the 1700s through the late 1800s.

However, the legality of marijuana was heavily influenced by racism and xenophobia in the early 20th century. In 1910, large numbers of immigrants came into the U.S. to flee the Mexican Revolution and brought with them the concept of smoking hash recreationally.

Many Americans, especially the multitude of unemployed at the time, feared and resented the immigrants. By 1931, 29 states had passed anti-cannabis legislation.

The federal government's attitude towards marijuana was also one of racism and suspicion.

Take Harry J. Anslinger, the first director of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, who, in 1937, said, "There are 100,000 total marijuana smokers in the US, and most are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos and entertainers," he said. "Their satanic music, jazz and swing result from marijuana use. This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers and any others."

Clearly, a vicious social stigma was being built around marijuana, and it would prove to be long lasting.

Weed is still considered a deleterious drug to this day, and those impressions can be traced back to the early - to mid-20th century, when the American government propagated outrageous and over-the-top myths about marijuana's effects on the human brain.

It was claimed - through informational films, the most infamous being Reefer Madness - that ingesting hash would cause everything from sexual promiscuity to full-blown dementia in people.

In reality, the effects of marijuana are much harder to determine and much less dramatic.

According to a case study done by the medical department at UCLA, marijuana does not increase a person's chances of getting cancer in any significant way. It also doesn't cause people to commit more violent crime or become sex-crazed maniacs, as shown in early anti-marijuana propaganda films.

These early claims about weed seem laughable now, but some remnant of them persists to this day in many people's minds. It is much less clear how smoking weed affects a person's mental health, however.

In a study done earlier this year, Dr. Stanley Zammit of Bristol University in England found that those people who smoke cannabis are 40 percent more likely to have a psychological disorder than those who don't. It is not clear, however, if those with pre-existing mental conditions are more prone to smoking marijuana or vice versa.

Another confusing aspect about marijuana is the debate over the so-called "gateway drug" theory.

This theory proposes that people who use marijuana regularly are more likely to use harder drugs eventually than someone who never smoked cannabis.

Some scientists have debated and even refuted this theory, but several tests have been done with results pointing towards its validity. For instance, a study done in Australia that involved children who smoked weed regularly at the age of 15 were in some cases 15 times more likely to be using hard amphetamines by their 20s.

So why is marijuana illegal if its legal status was determined by the public's xenophobia and racism a century ago? So many stigmas have grown up around it over the years that legalizing it now is a more daunting task than ever before.

With all that said, marijuana isn't exactly good for you. The smoke inhaled is on par with that of smoking a cigarette and some studies even claim that one joint is equal to smoking five cigarettes. The tendency for weed users to hold the smoke in their lungs for long periods of time increases the damage that it does.

But it's not clear that THC is carcinogenic, said a report in Time Magazine.

"The latest research suggests that THC may have a dual effect, promoting tumors by increasing free radicals and simultaneously protecting against tumors by playing a beneficial role in a process known as programmed cell death."

It is still very much associated with crime, counter-culture and ill health, despite other drugs being just as likely, if not more likely, to be involved with such things. There is a growing movement in the U.S. and elsewhere around the world to legalize weed once and for all, an uphill battle to say the least.

Can this movement overcome the strong social stigmas surrounding marijuana that have persisted for nearly a century? It is a complex issue, with many gray areas in both the medical and political fields. The legalization issue will be explored in part two of this series.

Part one of a two part series.

Complete Title: Racism, Social Stigma and Criminalization: Uncovering Marijuana's Sordid Past

Source: The Times-Delphic (IA)
Author: Lucas McMillan
Published: October 25, 2007
Copyright: 2007 The Times-Delphic

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Comment #17 posted by Hope on October 28, 2007 at 21:04:45 PT
It still would have been a better title....
Racism, Social Stigma and Criminalization: Uncovering Marijuana Prohibition's Sordid Past

[ Post Comment ]

Comment #16 posted by FoM on October 28, 2007 at 18:06:04 PT
Just a Note
When I can't fit the full title at the top of the article I have to make it fit the header and then add the full title at the bottom of the page. I wasn't sure if it was noticed or not.

Complete Title: Racism, Social Stigma and Criminalization: Uncovering Marijuana's Sordid Past

[ Post Comment ]

Comment #15 posted by RevRayGreen on October 28, 2007 at 17:57:43 PT
Lucas McMillan
has yet to respond to my emails.

[ Post Comment ]
Comment #14 posted by whig on October 28, 2007 at 17:06:23 PT
Uncovering Marijuana Prohibition's Sordid Past
Great headline.

[ Post Comment ]
Comment #13 posted by Hope on October 28, 2007 at 16:52:14 PT
Uncovering Marijuana Prohibition's Sordid Past
Per Comment 8 by Toker00.

Come on MSM!

Let's see that headline!

Let's see that article!

Expose it. Come on. It's your job.

Do it!

[ Post Comment ]

Comment #12 posted by John Tyler on October 28, 2007 at 08:09:28 PT
widely used
According to US Gov. studies and U.N. Studies cannabis is the most widely use, “currently illegal” plant in the world. A title awarded to not other plant. These studies suggest that this is a bad thing, if you believe that cannabis is bad. However, you have to ask yourself, why is cannabis so widely used, by so many people in so many places, if it is as bad as the prohibitionist contend? The answer is simple to those who know this plant. It is widely used because it is relatively easy to grow, and it is good in all of its many aspects. Just because deluded prohibitionists say it is bad, doesn’t make it so.

[ Post Comment ]
Comment #11 posted by Had Enough on October 27, 2007 at 06:57:54 PT
Me Too!!!

What’s the deal here with the use of the word Sordid?

Sheeze Louise…

How much longer are we going to have to hear this crap!!!

Re-legalize Cannabis and Hemp farming, and allow people to grow and get this world back on track, time is running out if it's not too late already. No more wars for oil, cleaner industries, cleaner skies, cleaner water, cleaner economy.

Just do it. It only makes sense.

[ Post Comment ]

Comment #10 posted by Toker00 on October 27, 2007 at 06:41:40 PT
Prohibition's Falling Down,
Falling Down,

Falling Down.

Prohibition's Falling Down,

With shouts of Mayday!

The D.E.A. sure makes us Frown,

Makes us Frown,

Makes us Frown.

The D.E.A. sure makes us Frown,

Let's End Their Heyday!

Now it's time to shut them Down,

Shut them down,

Shut them down.

Now it's time to Shut Them Down

And End Their Payday!

Robin Died But Not In Vain,

Not in Vain,

Not in Vain.

Robin Died But Not In Vain

She's turned things Our Way!


[ Post Comment ]

Comment #9 posted by mayan on October 27, 2007 at 06:33:10 PT
King Hemp
I just stumbled onto this over at rense...

King Hemp V: Industrial Disease:

[ Post Comment ]

Comment #8 posted by Toker00 on October 27, 2007 at 05:15:28 PT
"Uncovering Prohibition's Sordid Past."

Now THERE's a title that rings of Truth.

Compared to cannabis, prohibition is the real Frankenstein.

Everything they say about cannabis bounces off and sticks to Prohibition.

[ Post Comment ]

Comment #7 posted by Hope on October 26, 2007 at 22:13:37 PT
The PROHIBITION of the plant
is what has been "Sordid"! And Cannabis Prohibition has been very, very sordid, indeed.

[ Post Comment ]
Comment #6 posted by Hope on October 26, 2007 at 22:11:40 PT
John Tyler comment 4

[ Post Comment ]
Comment #5 posted by fight_4_freedom on October 26, 2007 at 21:25:46 PT:

Today VIDEO from Tucker on MSNBC
Discussion about Ron Paul and his passionate following, mentions how he agrees with Paul on the marijuana issue. check it out

[ Post Comment ]
Comment #4 posted by John Tyler on October 26, 2007 at 20:07:53 PT
What sordid past?
What is this Sordid Past business? If anything is sordid it’s the way some misguided people have maligned this noble plant that has fed, clothed, and comforted humanity for over two thousand years. This is a miracle plant and we should be grateful for it. No other plant can do what this one can do. It should be celebrated.

[ Post Comment ]
Comment #3 posted by whig on October 26, 2007 at 18:12:18 PT
Cannabis is legal. The prohibition is unconstitutional. I'll keep saying this unless someone tells me to stop.

[ Post Comment ]
Comment #2 posted by mayan on October 26, 2007 at 18:06:19 PT
So why is marijuana illegal if its legal status was determined by the public's xenophobia and racism a century ago?

The illegal status of cannabis has nothing to do with it's negative health or behavioral effects because there aren't any. As I've said time and again, the war on recreational cannabis stems from the war on industrial and medicinal cannabis. Expose the motives of cannabis prohibtion and you expose the motives of almost all of the injustices in this country today...

SHADOW OF THE SWASTIKA: The Real Reason the Government Won't Debate Medical Cannabis and Industrial Hemp Re-legalization:


ENDGAME- ALEX JONES - Blueprint for Global Enslavement:

Bill Clinton Shamed In Public Confrontation (full version):

World Premiere- The Reflecting Pool- Ft. Lauderdale Int'l Film Festival- Nov. 3rd:

25 Reasons Why "White Collar Terrorists" Are To Blame for 9-11, "America's New War," and the Impending World War III:

More Ways to Stop the Next 9/11:

[ Post Comment ]

Comment #1 posted by RevRayGreen on October 26, 2007 at 16:26:45 PT
You know I'm
all over this one, Brother Carl Olsen forwarded me the link......... To: Sent: Fri, 26 Oct 2007 08:05:20 -0500 Subject: [IowaMedicalMarijuana] Why is marijuana illegal?

The Times-Delphic Thursday, October 25, 2007 Drake University 124 N. Meredith Hall Des Moines, IA 50311 515-271-2020

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