Reefer Madness: Why Was Marijuana Made Illegal?

Have you ever tried to right a wrong; yet it still happens, and consequences follow? This is the evolution of the Cannabis plant. Decades of persecution of the plant and the so-called results by actions of users, there is still the relentless advocating of the benefits. The history books; are filled with many reasons marijuana was deemed illegal and harmful for humans, and knowing the truth is refreshing. 

Why Was Cannabis Made Illegal 

Historically, Cannabis was for medical and ceremonial purposes. The criminalization of the plant came about in 1910 in the United States because Mexican immigrants used the plant for medicinal and ceremonial purposes. The other reason that is more ludicrous; is African Americans and their use of the Cannabis plant for inspiration in their music, like Jazz and Blues. The more pointed reason was more racist and sexual; the black musicians; are accused of using weed to entice white women into sexual relationships with them. 

Overtime the war raged and, in 1930, the above-mentioned reasons, were reinforced, as quoted by Mr. Harry J. Anslinger of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics (the original DEA): 

“Most marijuana smokers are Negroes, Hispanics, jazz musicians, and entertainers. Their satanic music is driven by marijuana, and marijuana smoking by white women makes them want to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers, and others.” End quote. 

Congress deemed his reasons as valid and the prohibition on weed grew. The reasons were further validated by the rest of the countries governing administrations. And so, the thing took on a monstrous life of its own. 

The movie world saw it as the very model of making millions; by presenting the movie: Reefer Madness’, in 1936. Stories like Crack Babies and ‘ Miami Face-Eaters,’ did not make the situation any better. It grew worse, as fear was the operative theme in these publications. 

The Crack Babies publication was later discredited; by Dr. Hallam Hurt, the neonatologist at Albert Einstein Medical Center after 25 years. His research published in the Philadelphia Inquirer showed poverty to be the catalyst for any negative outcomes of children living in inner cities, even more than women who used cocaine during pregnancy.

Now the story of Miami Face-eaters took a different turn, as it blamed a mysterious drug called ‘bath salts’ to be the culprit. Bath-salts was a synthetic drug that was said to cause psychotic behaviors in users. The more bizarre thing is; only marijuana, reported to be in the person’s system at the time of his death. And diligent users of marijuana sought to discredit the assumption of marijuana, causing psychotic actions in people that use the drug. The Miami Face-eaters case was solved and deemed, to be, a lack of treatment due to mental health issues. 

Having gone around the mountain for over 100 years; Cannabis, and its products, are now a buzzword. And, the plant is “shouting Freedom!” Because of detailed scientific research which was never done, although the science was not as advanced back then, many governments are waking up to the grave injustice done to Cannabis. The benefits are now being realized and, though slow, decriminalization of the plant and its products have started globally. 



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