Why is Marijuana Illegal?

January 23, 2008

Why is Marijuana Illegal? 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:

  • Racism
  • Fear
  • Protection of Corporate Profits
  • Yellow Journalism
  • Ignorant, Incompetent, and/or Corrupt Legislators
  • Personal Career Advancement and Greed

These are the actual reasons marijuana is illegal.Marijuana Leaf For most of human history, marijuana has been completely legal. It’s not a recently discovered plant, nor is it a long-standing law. Marijuana has been illegal for less than 1% of the time that it’s been in use. Its known uses go back further than 7,000 B.C. and it was legal as recently as when Ronald Reagan was a boy.The marijuana (hemp) plant, of course, has an incredible number of uses. The earliest known woven fabric was apparently of hemp, and over the centuries the plant was used for food, incense, cloth, rope, and much more. This adds to some of the confusion over its introduction in the United States, as the plant was well known from the early 1600′s, but did not reach public awareness as a recreational drug until the early 1900′s.America’s first marijuana law was enacted at Jamestown Colony, Virginia in 1619. It was a law “ordering” all farmers to grow Indian hempseed. There were several other “must grow” laws over the next 200 years (you could be jailed for not growing hemp during times of shortage in Virginia between 1763 and 1767), and during most of that time, hemp was legal tender (you could even pay your taxes with hemp — try that today!) Hemp was such a critical crop for a number of purposes (including essential war requirements – rope, etc.) that the government went out of its way to encourage growth.The United States Census of 1850 counted 8,327 hemp “plantations” (minimum 2,000-acre farm) growing cannabis hemp for cloth, canvas and even the cordage used for baling cotton.

The Mexican Connection:

In the early 1900s, the western states developed significant tensions regarding the influx of Mexican-Americans. The revolution in Mexico in 1910 spilled over the border, with General Pershing’s army clashing with bandit Pancho Villa. Later in that decade, bad feelings developed between the small farmer and the large farms that used cheaper Mexican labor. Then, the depression came and increased tensions, as jobs and welfare resources became scarce.One of the “differences” seized upon during this time was the fact that many Mexicans smoked marijuana and had brought the plant with them.However, the first state law outlawing marijuana did so not because of Mexicans using the drug. Oddly enough, it was because of Mormons using it. Mormons who traveled to Mexico in 1910 came back to Salt Lake City with marijuana. The church was not pleased and ruled against use of the drug. Since the state of Utah automatically enshrined church doctrine into law, the first state marijuana prohibition was established in 1915. (Today, Senator Orrin Hatch serves as the prohibition arm of this heavily church-influenced state.)Other states quickly followed suit with marijuana prohibition laws, including Wyoming (1915), Texas (1919), Iowa (1923), Nevada (1923), Oregon (1923), Washington (1923), Arkansas (1923), and Nebraska (1927). These laws tended to be specifically targeted against the Mexican-American population.When Montana outlawed marijuana in 1927, the Butte Montana Standard reported a legislator’s comment: “When some beet field peon takes a few traces of this stuff… he thinks he has just been elected president of Mexico, so he starts out to execute all his political enemies.” In Texas, a senator said on the floor of the Senate: “All Mexicans are crazy, and this stuff [marijuana] is what makes them crazy.”

Jazz and Assassins

In the eastern states, the “problem” was attributed to a combination of Latin Americans and black jazz musicians. Marijuana and jazz traveled from New Orleans to Chicago, and then to Harlem, where marijuana became an indispensable part of the music scene, even entering the language of the black hits of the time (Louis Armstrong’s “Muggles”, Cab Calloway’s “That Funny Reefer Man”, Fats Waller’s “Viper’s Drag”).Again, racism was part of the charge against marijuana, as newspapers in 1934 editorialized: “Marihuana influences Negroes to look at white people in the eye, step on white men’s shadows and look at a white woman twice.”Two other fear-tactic rumors started to spread: one, that Mexicans, Blacks and other foreigners were snaring white children with marijuana; and two, the story of the “assassins.” Early stories of Marco Polo had told of “hasheesh-eaters” or hashashin, from which derived the term “assassin.” In the original stories, these professional killers were given large doses of hashish and brought to the ruler’s garden (to give them a glimpse of the paradise that awaited them upon successful completion of their mission). Then, after the effects of the drug disappeared, the assassin would fulfill his ruler’s wishes with cool, calculating loyalty.By the 1930s, the story had changed. Dr. A. E. Fossier wrote in the 1931 New Orleans Medical and Surgical Journal: “Under the influence of hashish those fanatics would madly rush at their enemies, and ruthlessly massacre every one within their grasp.” Within a very short time, marijuana started being linked to violent behavior.

Alcohol Prohibition and Federal Approaches to Drug Prohibition

During this time, the United States was also dealing with alcohol prohibition, which lasted from 1919 to 1933. Alcohol prohibition was extremely visible and debated at all levels, while drug laws were passed without the general public’s knowledge. National alcohol prohibition happened through the mechanism of an amendment to the constitution.Earlier (1914), the Harrison Act was passed, which provided federal tax penalties for opiates and cocaine.The federal approach is important. It was considered at the time that the federal government did not have the constitutional power to outlaw alcohol or drugs. It is because of this that alcohol prohibition required a constitutional amendment.At that time in our country’s history, the judiciary regularly placed the tenth amendment in the path of congressional regulation of “local” affairs, and direct regulation of medical practice was considered beyond congressional power under the commerce clause (since then, both provisions have been weakened so far as to have almost no meaning).Since drugs could not be outlawed at the federal level, the decision was made to use federal taxes as a way around the restriction. In the Harrison Act, legal uses of opiates and cocaine were taxed (supposedly as a revenue need by the federal government, which is the only way it would hold up in the courts), and those who didn’t follow the law found themselves in trouble with the treasury department.In 1930, a new division in the Treasury Department was established — the Federal Bureau of Narcotics — and Harry J. Anslinger was named director. This, if anything, marked the beginning of the all-out war against marijuana.A picture named anslinger.jpg

Harry J. Anslinger

Anslinger was an extremely ambitious man, and he recognized the Bureau of Narcotics as an amazing career opportunity — a new government agency with the opportunity to define both the problem and the solution. He immediately realized that opiates and cocaine wouldn’t be enough to help build his agency, so he latched on to marijuana and started to work on making it illegal at the federal level.Anslinger immediately drew upon the themes of racism and violence to draw national attention to the problem he wanted to create. Some of his quotes regarding marijuana…

“There are 100,000 total marijuana smokers in the US, and most are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos, and entertainers. 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.”“…the primary reason to outlaw marijuana is its effect on the degenerate races.””Marijuana is an addictive drug which produces in its users insanity, criminality, and death.””Reefer makes darkies think they’re as good as white men.””Marihuana leads to pacifism and communist brainwashing””You smoke a joint and you’re likely to kill your brother.”“Marijuana is the most violence-causing drug in the history of mankind.”

And he loved to pull out his own version of the “assassin” definition:

“In the year 1090, there was founded in Persia the religious and military order of the Assassins, whose history is one of cruelty, barbarity, and murder, and for good reason: the members were confirmed users of hashish, or marihuana, and it is from the Arabs’ ‘hashashin’ that we have the English word ‘assassin.’”

A picture named hearst.jpgYellow Journalism

Harry Anslinger got some additional help from William Randolf Hearst, owner of a huge chain of newspapers. Hearst had lots of reasons to help. First, he hated Mexicans. Second, he had invested heavily in the timber industry to support his newspaper chain and didn’t want to see the development of hemp paper in competition. Third, he had lost 800,000 acres of timberland to Pancho Villa, so he hated Mexicans. Fourth, telling lurid lies about Mexicans (and the devil marijuana weed causing violence) sold newspapers, making him rich.Some samples from the San Francisco Examiner:

“Marihuana makes fiends of boys in thirty days — Hashish goads users to bloodlust.” “By the tons it is coming into this country — the deadly, dreadful poison that racks and tears not only the body, but the very heart and soul of every human being who once becomes a slave to it in any of its cruel and devastating forms…. Marihuana is a short cut to the insane asylum. Smoke marihuana cigarettes for a month and what was once your brain will be nothing but a storehouse of horrid specters. Hasheesh makes a murderer who kills for the love of killing out of the mildest mannered man who ever laughed at the idea that any habit could ever get him….”

And other nationwide columns…

“Users of marijuana become STIMULATED as they inhale the drug and are LIKELY TO DO ANYTHING. Most crimes of violence in this section, especially in country districts are laid to users of that drug.” “Was it marijuana, the new Mexican drug, that nerved the murderous arm of Clara Phillips when she hammered out her victim’s life in Los Angeles?… THREE-FOURTHS OF THE CRIMES of violence in this country today are committed by DOPE SLAVES — that is a matter of cold record.”

Hearst and Anslinger were then supported by Dupont chemical company and various pharmaceutical companies in the effort to outlaw cannabis. Dupont had patented nylon, and wanted hemp removed as competition. The pharmaceutical companies could neither identify nor standardize cannabis dosages, and besides, with cannabis, folks could grow their own medicine and not have to purchase it from large companies.This all set the stage for…

The Marijuana Tax Act of 1937

After two years of secret planning, Anslinger brought his plan to Congress — complete with a scrapbook full of sensational Hearst editorials, stories of ax murderers who had supposedly smoked marijuana, and racial slurs.It was a remarkably short set of hearings.The one fly in Anslinger’s ointment was the appearance by Dr. William C. Woodward, Legislative Council of the American Medical Association.Woodward started by slamming Harry Anslinger and the Bureau of Narcotics for distorting earlier AMA statements that had nothing to do with marijuana and making them appear to be AMA endorsement for Anslinger’s view.He also reproached the legislature and the Bureau for using the term marijuana in the legislation and not publicizing it as a bill about cannabis or hemp. At this point, marijuana (or marihuana) was a sensationalist word used to refer to Mexicans smoking a drug and had not been connected in most people’s minds to the existing cannabis/hemp plant. Thus, many who had legitimate reasons to oppose the bill weren’t even aware of it.Woodward went on to state that the AMA was opposed to the legislation and further questioned the approach of the hearings, coming close to outright accusation of misconduct by Anslinger and the committee:

“That there is a certain amount of narcotic addiction of an objectionable character no one will deny. The newspapers have called attention to it so prominently that there must be some grounds for [their] statements [even Woodward was partially taken in by Hearst's propaganda]. It has surprised me, however, that the facts on which these statements have been based have not been brought before this committee by competent primary evidence. We are referred to newspaper publications concerning the prevalence of marihuana addiction. We are told that the use of marihuana causes crime. But yet no one has been produced from the Bureau of Prisons to show the number of prisoners who have been found addicted to the marihuana habit. An informed inquiry shows that the Bureau of Prisons has no evidence on that point.You have been told that school children are great users of marihuana cigarettes. No one has been summoned from the Children’s Bureau to show the nature and extent of the habit, among children.Inquiry of the Children’s Bureau shows that they have had no occasion to investigate it and know nothing particularly of it.Inquiry of the Office of Education— and they certainly should know something of the prevalence of the habit among the school children of the country, if there is a prevalent habit— indicates that they have had no occasion to investigate and know nothing of it.Moreover, there is in the Treasury Department itself, the Public Health Service, with its Division of Mental Hygiene. The Division of Mental Hygiene was, in the first place, the Division of Narcotics. It was converted into the Division of Mental Hygiene, I think, about 1930. That particular Bureau has control at the present time of the narcotics farms that were created about 1929 or 1930 and came into operation a few years later. No one has been summoned from that Bureau to give evidence on that point.Informal inquiry by me indicates that they have had no record of any marihuana of Cannabis addicts who have ever been committed to those farms.The bureau of Public Health Service has also a division of pharmacology. If you desire evidence as to the pharmacology of Cannabis, that obviously is the place where you can get direct and primary evidence, rather than the indirect hearsay evidence.”

Committee members then proceeded to attack Dr. Woodward, questioning his motives in opposing the legislation. Even the Chairman joined in:

The Chairman: If you want to advise us on legislation, you ought to come here with some constructive proposals, rather than criticism, rather than trying to throw obstacles in the way of something that the Federal Government is trying to do. It has not only an unselfish motive in this, but they have a serious responsibility.Dr. Woodward: We cannot understand yet, Mr. Chairman, why this bill should have been prepared in secret for 2 years without any intimation, even, to the profession, that it was being prepared.

After some further bantering…

The Chairman: I would like to read a quotation from a recent editorial in the Washington Times:

The marihuana 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.The Nation is almost defenseless against it, having no Federal laws to cope with it and virtually no organized campaign for combating it.The result is tragic.School children are the prey of peddlers who infest school neighborhoods.High school boys and girls buy the destructive weed without knowledge of its capacity of harm, and conscienceless dealers sell it with impunity.This is a national problem, and it must have national attention.The fatal marihuana cigarette must be recognized as a deadly drug, and American children must be protected against it.

That is a pretty severe indictment. They say it is a national question and that it requires effective legislation. Of course, in a general way, you have responded to all of these statements; but that indicates very clearly that it is an evil of such magnitude that it is recognized by the press of the country as such.

And that was basically it. Yellow journalism won over medical science.The committee passed the legislation on. And on the floor of the house, the entire discussion was:

Member from upstate New York: “Mr. Speaker, what is this bill about?”Speaker Rayburn: “I don’t know. It has something to do with a thing called marihuana. I think it’s a narcotic of some kind.”“Mr. Speaker, does the American Medical Association support this bill?”Member on the committee jumps up and says: “Their Doctor Wentworth[sic] came down here. They support this bill 100 percent.”

And on the basis of that lie, on August 2, 1937, marijuana became illegal at the federal level.The entire coverage in the New York Times: “President Roosevelt signed today a bill to curb traffic in the narcotic, marihuana, through heavy taxes on transactions.”

Anslinger as precursor to the Drug Czars

Anslinger was essentially the first Drug Czar. Even though the term didn’t exist until William Bennett’s position as director of the White House Office of National Drug Policy, Anslinger acted in a similar fashion. In fact, there are some amazing parallels between Anslinger and the current Drug Czar John Walters. Both had kind of a carte blanche to go around demonizing drugs and drug users. Both had resources and a large public podium for their voice to be heard and to promote their personal agenda. Both lied constantly, often when it was unnecessary. Both were racists. Both had the ear of lawmakers, and both realized that they could persuade legislators and others based on lies, particularly if they could co-opt the media into squelching or downplaying any opposition views.Anslinger even had the ability to circumvent the First Amendment. He banned the Canadian movie “Drug Addict,” a 1946 documentary that realistically depicted the drug addicts and law enforcement efforts. He even tried to get Canada to ban the movie in their own country, or failing that, to prevent U.S. citizens from seeing the movie in Canada. Canada refused. (Today, Drug Czar John Walters is trying to bully Canada into keeping harsh marijuana laws.)Anslinger had 37 years to solidify the propaganda and stifle opposition. The lies continued the entire time (although the stories would adjust — the 21 year old Florida boy who killed his family of five got younger each time he told it). In 1961, he looked back at his efforts:

“Much of the most irrational juvenile violence and that has written a new chapter of shame and tragedy is traceable directly to this hemp intoxication. A gang of boys tear the clothes from two school girls and rape the screaming girls, one boy after the other. A sixteen-year-old kills his entire family of five in Florida, a man in Minnesota puts a bullet through the head of a stranger on the road; in Colorado husband tries to shoot his wife, kills her grandmother instead and then kills himself. Every one of these crimes had been proceeded [sic] by the smoking of one or more marijuana “reefers.” As the marijuana situation grew worse, I knew action had to be taken to get the proper legislation passed. By 1937 under my direction, the Bureau launched two important steps First, a legislative plan to seek from Congress a new law that would place marijuana and its distribution directly under federal control. Second, on radio and at major forums, such that presented annually by the New York Herald Tribune, I told the story of this evil weed of the fields and river beds and roadsides. I wrote articles for magazines; our agents gave hundreds of lectures to parents, educators, social and civic leaders. In network broadcasts I reported on the growing list of crimes, including murder and rape. I described the nature of marijuana and its close kinship to hashish. I continued to hammer at the facts. I believe we did a thorough job, for the public was alerted and the laws to protect them were passed, both nationally and at the state level. We also brought under control the wild growing marijuana in this country. Working with local authorities, we cleaned up hundreds of acres of marijuana and we uprooted plants sprouting along the roadsides.”

After Anslinger

On a break from college in the 70s, I was visiting a church in rural Illinois. There in the literature racks in the back of the church was a lurid pamphlet about the evils of marijuana — all the old reefer madness propaganda about how it caused insanity and murder. I approached the minister and said “You can’t have this in your church. It’s all lies, and the church shouldn’t be about promoting lies.” Fortunately, my dad believed me, and he had the material removed. He didn’t even know how it got there. But without me speaking up, neither he nor the other members of the church had any reason NOT to believe what the pamphlet said. The propaganda machine had been that effective.The narrative since then has been a continual litany of:

  • Politicians wanting to appear tough on crime and passing tougher penalties
  • Constant increases in spending on law enforcement and prisons
  • Racist application of drug laws
  • Taxpayer funded propaganda
  • Stifling of opposition speech
  • Political contributions from corporations that profit from marijuana being illegal (pharmaceuticals, alcohol, etc.)

PART I: WHY IS HEMP SO IMPORTANT?

1) What is hemp?
For our purposes, hemp is the plant called `cannabis sativa.’ There are other plants that are called hemp, but cannabis hemp is the most useful of these plants. In fact, `cannabis sativa’ means `useful (sativa) hemp (cannabis)’.`Hemp’ is any durable plant that has been used since pre-history for many purposes. Fiber is the most well known product, and the word `hemp’ can mean the rope or twine which is made from the hemp plant, as well as just the stalk of the plant which produced it.
2) What is cannabis?
Cannabis is the most durable of the hemp plants, and it produces the toughest cloth, called `canvass.’ (Canvass was widely used as sails in the early shipping industry, as it was the only cloth which would not rot on contact with sea spray.) The cannabis plant also produces three other very important products which the other hemp plants do not (in usable form, that is): seed, pulp, and medicine.The pulp is used as fuel, and to make paper. The seed is suitable for both human and animal foods. The oil from the seed can be used in as a base for paints and varnishes. The medicine is a tincture or admixture of the sticky resin in the blossoms and leaves of the hemp plant, and is used for a variety of purposes.
3) Where did the word `marijuana’ come from?
The word `marijuana’ is a Mexican slang term which became popular in the late 1930′s in America, during a series of media and government programs which we now refer to as the `Reefer Madness Movement.’ It refers specifically to the medicine part of cannabis, which Mexican soldiers used to smoke.Today in the U.S., hemp (meaning the roots, stalk, and stems of the cannabis plant) is legal to possess. No one can arrest you for wearing a hemp shirt, or using hemp paper. Marijuana (The flowers, buds, or leaves of the cannabis plant) is not legal to possess, and there are stiff fines and possible jail terms for having any marijuana in your possession. The seeds are legal to possess and eat, but only if they are sterilized (will not grow to maturity.)Since it is not possible to grow the hemp plant without being in possession of marijuana, the United States does not produce any industrial hemp products, and must import them or, more often, substitute others. (There is a way to grow hemp legally, but it involves filing an application with the Drug Enforcement Administration and the DEA very rarely ever gives its permission.) This does not seem to have stopped people from producing and using marijuana, though. In many of the United States, marijuana is the number one cash crop, mostly because it fetches a very high price on the black market.
4) How can hemp be used as a food?
Hemp seed is a highly nutritious source of protein and essential fatty oils. Many populations have grown hemp for its seed — most of them eat it as `gruel’ which is a lot like oatmeal. The leaves can be used as roughage, but not without slight psycho-active side-effects. Hemp seeds do not contain any marijuana and they do not get you `high.’Hemp seed protein closely resembles protein as it is found in the human blood. It is fantastically easy to digest, and many patients who have trouble digesting food are given hemp seed by their doctors. Hemp seed was once called `edestine’ and was used by scientists as the model for vegetable protein.Hemp seed oil provides the human body with essential fatty acids. Hemp seed is the only seed which contains these oils with almost no saturated fat. As a supplement to the diet, these oils can reduce the risk of heart disease. It is because of these oils that birds will live much longer if they eat hemp seed.With hemp seed, a vegan or vegetarian can survive and eat virtually no saturated fats. One handful of hemp seed per day will supply adequate protein and essential oils for an adult.
5) What are the benefits of hemp compared to other food crops?
Hemp requires little fertilizer, and grows well almost everywhere. It also resists pests, so it uses little pesticides. Hemp puts down deep roots, which is good for the soil, and when the leaves drop off the hemp plant, minerals and nitrogen are returned to the soil. Hemp has been grown on the same soil for twenty years in a row without any noticeable depletion of the soil.Using less fertilizer and agricultural chemicals is good for two reasons. First, it costs less and requires less effort. Second, many agricultural chemicals are dangerous and contaminate the environment — the less we have to use, the better.
6) How about soy?
Is hemp competitive as a world source of protein?Hemp does not produce quite as much protein as soy, but hemp seed protein is of a higher quality than soy. Agricultural considerations may make hemp the food crop of the future. In addition to the fact that hemp is an easy crop to grow, it also resists UV-B light, which is a kind of sunlight blocked by the ozone layer. Soy beans do not take UV-B light very well. If the ozone layer were to deplete by 16%, which by some estimates is very possible, soy production would fall by 25-30%.We may have to grow hemp or starve — and it won’t be the first time that this has happened. Hemp has been used to `bail out’ many populations in time of famine. Unfortunately, because of various political factors, starving people in today’s underdeveloped countries are not taking advantage of this crop. In some places, this is because government officials would call it `marijuana’ and pull up the crop. In other countries, it is because the farmers are busy growing coca and poppies to produce cocaine and heroin for the local Drug Lord. This is truly a sad state of affairs. Hopefully someday the Peace Corps will be able to teach modern hemp seed farming techniques and end the world’s protein shortage.
7) How can hemp be used for cloth?
The stalk of the hemp plant has two parts, called the bast and the hurd. The fiber (bast) of the hemp plant can be woven into almost any kind of cloth. It is very durable. In fact, the first Levi’s blue jeans were made out of hemp for just this reason. Compared to all the other natural fibers available, hemp is more suitable for a large number of applications.Here is how hemp is harvested for fiber: A field of closely spaced hemp is allowed to grow until the leaves fall off. The hemp is then cut down and it lies in the field for some time washed by the rain. It is turned over once to expose both sides of the stalk evenly. During this time, the hurd softens up and many minerals are returned to the soil. This is called `retting,’ and after this step is complete, the stalks are brought to a machine which separates the bast and the hurd. We are lucky to have machines today — men used to do this last part by hand with hours of back-breaking labor.
8 ) Why is it better than cotton?
The cloth that hemp makes may be a little less soft than cotton, (though there are also special kinds of hemp, or ways to grow or treat hemp, that can produce a soft cloth) but it is much stronger and longer lasting. (It does not stretch out.) Environmentally, hemp is a better crop to grow than cotton, especially the way cotton is grown nowadays. In the United States, the cotton crop uses half of the total pesticides. (Yes, you heard right, one half of the pesticides used in the entire U.S. are used on cotton.) Cotton is a soil damaging crop and needs a lot of fertilizer.
9) How can hemp be used to make paper?
Both the fiber (bast) and pulp (hurd) of the hemp plant can be used to make paper. Fiber paper was the first kind of paper, and the first batch was made out of hemp in ancient China. Fiber paper is thin, tough, brittle, and a bit rough. Pulp paper is not as strong as fiber paper, but it is easier to make, softer, thicker, and preferable for most everyday purposes. The paper we use most today is a `chemical pulp’ paper made from trees. Hemp pulp paper can be made without chemicals from the hemp hurd. Most hemp paper made today uses the entire hemp stalk, bast and hurd. High-strength fiber paper can be made from the hemp baste, also without chemicals.The problem with today’s paper is that so many chemicals are used to make it. High strength acids are needed to make quality (smooth, strong, and white) paper out of trees. These acids produce chemicals which are very dangerous to the environment. Paper companies do their best to clean these chemicals up (we hope.) Hemp offers us an opportunity to make affordable and environmentally safe paper for all of our needs, since it does not need much chemical treatment. It is up to consumers, though, to make the right choice — these dangerous chemicals can also be used on hemp to make a slightly more attractive product. Instead of buying the whiter, brighter role of toilet paper, we will need to think about what we are doing to the planet.Because of the chemicals in today’s paper, it will turn yellow and fall apart as acids eat away at the pulp. This takes several decades, but because of this publishers, libraries and archives have to order specially processed acid free paper, which is much more expensive, in order to keep records. Paper made naturally from hemp is acid free and will last for centuries.
10) Why can’t we just keep using trees?
The chemicals used to make wood chemical pulp paper today could cause us a lot of trouble tomorrow. Environmentalists have long been concerned about the effects of dioxin and other compounds on wildlife and even people. Beyond the chemical pollution, there are agricultural reasons why we should use cannabis hemp instead. When trees are harvested, minerals are taken with them. Hemp is much less damaging to the land where it is grown because it leaves these minerals behind.A simpler answer to the above question is:Because we are running out! It was once said that a squirrel could climb from New England to the banks of the Mississippi River without touching the ground once. The European settler’s appetite for firewood and farmland put an end to this. When the first wood paper became a huge industry, the United States Department of Agriculture began to worry about the `tree supply.’ That is why they went in search of plant pulp to replace wood. Today some `conservatives’ argue that there are more forests now than there ever were. This is neither true, realistic nor conservative: these statistics do not reflect the real world. Once trees have been removed from a plot of land, it takes many decades before biological diversity and natural cycles return to the forest, and commercial tree farms simply do not count as forest — they are farm land.As just mentioned, many plant fibers were investigated by the USDA — some, like kenaf, were even better suited than cannabis hemp for making some qualities of paper, but hemp had one huge advantage: robust vitality. Hemp generates immense amounts of plant matter in a three month growing season. When it came down to producing the deluge of paper used by Americans, only hemp could compete with trees. In fact, according to the 1916 calculations of the USDA, one acre of hemp would replace an entire four acres of forest. And, at the same time, this acre would be producing textiles and rope.Today, only 4% of America’s old-growth forest remains standing — and there is talk about building roads into that for logging purposes! Will our policy makers realize in time how easy it would be to save them?
11) How can hemp be used as a fuel?
The pulp (hurd) of the hemp plant can be burned as is or processed into charcoal, methanol, methane, or gasoline. The process for doing this is called destructive distillation, or `pyrolysis.’ Fuels made out of plants like this are called `biomass’ fuels. This charcoal may be burned in today’s coal-powered electric generators. Methanol makes a good automobile fuel, in fact it is used in professional automobile races. It may someday replace gasoline.Hemp may also be used to produce ethanol (grain alcohol.) The United States government has developed a way to make this automobile fuel additive from cellulosic biomass. Hemp is an excellent source of high quality cellulosic biomass. One other way to use hemp as fuel is to use the oil from the hemp seed — some diesel engines can run on pure pressed hemp seed oil. However, the oil is more useful for other purposes, even if we could produce and press enough hemp seed to power many millions of cars.
12) Why is it better than petroleum?
Biomass fuels are clean and virtually free from metals and sulfur, so they do not cause nearly as much air pollution as fossil fuels. Even more importantly, burning biomass fuels does not increase the total amount of carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere. When petroleum products are burned, carbon that has been stored underground for millions of years is added to the air; this may contribute to global warming through the `Greenhouse Effect’, (a popular theory which says that certain gases will act like a wool blanket over the entire Earth, preventing heat from escaping into space.) In order to make biomass fuels, this carbon dioxide has to be taken out of the air to begin with — when they are burned it is just being put back where it started.Another advantage over fossil fuels is that biomass fuels can be made right here in the United States, instead of buying them from other countries. Instead of paying oil drillers, super-tanker captains, and soldiers to get our fuel to us, we could pay local farmers and delivery drivers instead. Of course, it is possible to chop down trees and use them as biomass. This would not be as beneficial to the environment as using hemp, especially since trees that are cut down for burning are `whole tree harvested.’ This means the entire tree is ripped up and burned, not just the wood. Since most of the minerals which trees use are in the leaves, this practice could ruin the soil where the trees are grown. In several places in the United States, power companies are starting to do this — burning the trees in order to produce electricity, because that is cheaper than using coal. They should be using hemp, like researchers in Australia started doing a few years ago. (Besides, hemp provides a higher quality and quantity of biomass than trees do.)
13) How can hemp be used as a medicine?
Marijuana has thousands of possible uses in medicine. Marijuana (actually cannabis extract) was available as a medicine legally in this country until 1937, and was sold as a nerve tonic — but mankind has been using cannabis medicines much longer than that. Marijuana appears in almost every known book of medicine written by ancient scholars and wise men. It is usually ranked among the top medicines, called `panaceas’, a word which means `cure-all’. The list of diseases which cannabis can be used for includes: multiple sclerosis, cancer treatment, AIDS (and AIDS treatment), glaucoma, depression, epilepsy, migraine headaches, asthma, pruritis, sclerodoma, severe pain, and dystonia. This list does not even consider the other medicines which can be made out of marijuana — these are just some of the illnesses for which people smoke or eat whole marijuana today.There are over 60 chemicals in marijuana which may have medical uses. It is relatively easy to extract these into food or beverage, or into some sort of lotion, using butter, fat, oil, or alcohol. One chemical, cannabinol, may be useful to help people who cannot sleep. Another is taken from premature buds and is called cannabidiolic acid. It is a powerful disinfectant. Marijuana dissolved in rubbing alcohol helps people with the skin disease herpes control their sores, and a salve like this was one of the earliest medical uses for cannabis. The leaves were once used in bandages and a relaxing non-psychoactive herbal tea can be made from small cannabis stems.The most well known use of marijuana today is to control nausea and vomiting. One of the most important things when treating cancer with chemotherapy or when treating AIDS with AZT or Foscavir, being able to eat well, makes the difference between life or death. Patients have found marijuana to be extremely effective in fighting nausea; in fact so many patients use it for this purpose even though it is illegal that they have formed `buyers clubs’ to help them find a steady supply. In California, some city governments have decided to look the other way and allow these clubs to operate openly.Marijuana is also useful for fighting two other very serious and wide-spread disabilities. Glaucoma is the second leading cause of blindness, caused by uncontrollable eye pressure. Marijuana can control the eye pressure and keep glaucoma from causing blindness. Multiple Sclerosis is a disease where the body’s immune system attacks nerve cells. Spasms and many other problems result from this. Marijuana not only helps stop these spasms, but it may also keep multiple sclerosis from getting worse.
14) What’s wrong with all the prescription drugs we have?
They cost money and are hard to make. In many cases, they do not work as well, either. Some prescription drugs which marijuana can replace have very bad, even downright dangerous, side-effects. Cannabis medicines are cheap, safe, and easy to make.Many people think that the drug dronabinol should be used instead of marijuana. Dronabinol is an exact imitation of one of the chemicals found in marijuana, and it may actually work on a lot of the above diseases, but there are some big problems with dronabinol, and most patients who have used both dronabinol and marijuana say that marijuana works better.The first problem with Dronabinol is that it is even harder to get than marijuana. Many doctors do not like to prescribe dronabinol, and many drug stores do not want to supply it, because a lot of paperwork has to be filed with the Drug Enforcement Administration. Secondly, dronabinol comes in pills which are virtually useless to anyone who is throwing up, and it is hard to take just the right amount of dronabinol since it cannot be smoked. Finally, because dronabinol is only one of the many chemicals in cannabis, it just does not work for some diseases. Many patients do not like the effects of dronabinol because it does not contain some of the more calming chemicals which are present in marijuana.
15) What other uses for hemp are there?
One of the newest uses of hemp is in construction materials. Hemp can be used in the manufacture of `press board’ or `composite board.’ This involves gluing fibrous hemp stalks together under pressure to produce a board which is many times more elastic and durable than hardwood. Because hemp produces a long, tough fiber it is the perfect source for press-board. Another interesting application of hemp in industry is making plastic. Many plastics can be made from the high-cellulose hemp hurd. Hemp seed oil has a multitude of uses in products such as varnishes and lubricants.Using hemp to build is by no means a new idea. French archeologists have discovered bridges built with a process that mineralizes hemp stalks into a long-lasting cement. The process involves no synthetic chemicals and produces a material which works as a filler in building construction. Called Isochanvre, it is gaining popularity in France. Isochanvre can be used as drywall, insulates against heat and noise, and is very long lasting.`Bio-plastics’ are not a new idea, either — way back in the 1930′s Henry Ford had already made a whole car body out of them — but the processes for making them do need more research and development. Bio-plastics can be made without much pollution. Unfortunately, companies are not likely to explore bio-plastics if they have to either import the raw materials or break the law. (Not to mention compete with the already established petrochemical products.)

Part II: WELL WHY AREN’T WE USING HEMP, THEN?
1) How and why was hemp made illegal?
Tough question! In order to explain why hemp, the most useful plant known to mankind, became illegal, we have to understand the reasons why marijuana, the drug, became illegal. In fact, it helps to go way back to the beginning of the century and talk about two other drugs, opium (the grandfather of heroin) and cocaine.Opium, a very addictive drug (but relatively harmless by today’s standards) was once widely used by the Chinese. The reasons for this are a whole other story, but suffice to say that when Chinese started to immigrate to the United States, they brought opium with them. Chinese workers used opium to induce a trance-like state which helped make boring, repetitive tasks more interesting. It also numbs the mind to pain and exhaustion. By using opium, the Chinese were able to pull very long hours in the sweat shops of the Industrial Revolution. During this period of time, there was no such thing as fair wages, and the only way a worker could make a living was to produce as much as humanly possible.Since they were such good workers, the Chinese held a lot of jobs in the highly competitive industrial work-place. Even before the Great Depression, when millions of jobs disappeared overnight, the White Americans began to resent this, and Chinese became hated among the White working class. Even more than today, White Americans had a very big political advantage over the Chinese — they spoke English and had a few relatives in the government, so it was easy for them to come up with a plan to force Chinese immigrants to leave the country (or at least keep them from inviting all their relatives to come and live in America.) This plan depended on stirring up racist feelings, and one of the easiest things to focus these feelings on was the foreign and mysterious practice of using opium.We can see this pattern again with cocaine, except with cocaine it was Black Americans who were the target. Cocaine probably was not especially useful in the work-place, but the strategy against Chinese immigrants (picking on their drug of choice) had been so successful that it was used again. In the case of Blacks, though, the racist feelings ran deeper, and the main thrust of the propaganda campaign was to control the Black community and keep Blacks from becoming successful. Articles appeared in newspapers which blamed cocaine for violent crime by Blacks. Black Americans were painted as savage, uncontrollable beasts when under the influence of cocaine — it was said to make a single Black man as strong as four or five police officers. (sound familiar?) By capitalizing on racist sentiments, a powerful political lobby banned opium and then cocaine.Marijuana was next. It was well known that the Mexican soldiers who fought America during the war with Spain smoked marijuana. Poncho Villa, A Mexican general, was considered a nemesis for the behavior of his troops, who were known to be especially rowdy. They were also known to be heavy marijuana smokers, as the original lyrics to the song `la cucaracha’ show. (The song was originally about a Mexican soldier who refused to march until he was provided with some marijuana.)After the war had ended and Mexicans had begun to immigrate into the South Eastern United States, there were relatively few race problems. There were plenty of jobs in agriculture and industry and Mexicans were willing to work cheap. Once the depression hit and jobs became scarce, however, Mexicans suddenly became a public nuisance. It was said by politicians (who were trying to please the White working class) that Mexicans were responsible for a violent crime wave. Police statistics showed nothing of the sort — in fact Mexicans were involved in less crime than Whites. Marijuana, of course, got the blame for this phony outbreak of crime and health problems, and so many of these states made laws against using cannabis. (In the Northern states, marijuana was also associated with Black jazz musicians.)Here is where things start to get complicated. Put aside, for a moment, all the above, because there are a few other things involved in this twisted tale. At the beginning of the Great Depression, there was a very popular movement called Prohibition, which made alcohol illegal. This was motivated mainly by a Puritan religious ethic left over from the first European settlers. Today we have movies and television shows such as the “Untouchables” which tell us what it was like to live during this period. Since it is perhaps the world’s most popular drug, alcohol prohibition spawned a huge `black market’ where illegal alcohol was smuggled and traded at extremely high prices. Crime got out-of-hand as criminals fought with each other over who could sell alcohol where. Organized crime became an American institution, and hard liquor, which was easy to smuggle, took the place of beer and wine.In order to combat the crime wave, a large police force was formed. The number of police grew rapidly until the end of Prohibition when the government decided that the best way to deal with the situation was to just give up and allow people to use alcohol legally. Under Prohibition the American government had essentially (and unwittingly) provided the military back-up for the take-over of the alcohol business by armed thugs. Even today, the Mob still controls liquor sales in many areas. After Prohibition the United States was left with nothing to show but a decade of political turmoil — and a lot of unemployed police officers.During Prohibition, being a police officer was a very nice thing — you got a relatively decent salary, respect, partial immunity to the law, and the opportunity to take bribes (if you were that sort of person.) Many of these officers were not about to let this life-style slip away. Incidentally, it was about this time when the Federal Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs was reformed, and a man named Harry J. Anslinger was appointed as its head. (Anslinger was appointed by his uncle-in-law, Andrew Mellon, who was the Secretary of the United States Treasury.) Anslinger campaigned tirelessly for funding in order to hire a large force of narcotics officers. After retiring, Anslinger once mused that the FBNDD was a place where young men were given a license to steal and rape.The FBNDD is the organization which preceded what we now call the DEA, and was responsible for enforcing the new Federal drug laws against heroin, opium, and cocaine. One of Anslinger’s biggest concerns as head of the FBNDD was getting uniform drug laws passed in all States and the Federal legislature. (Anslinger also had a personal dislike of jazz music and the Black musicians who made it. He hated them so much that he spent years tracking each of them and dreamed of arresting them all in one huge, cross-country sweep.) Anslinger frequented parent’s and teacher’s meetings giving scary speeches about the dangers of marijuana, and this period of time became known as Reefer Madness. (The name comes from the title of a silly movie produced by a public health group.)
2) OK, so what the heck does all this other stuff have to do with hemp?
To make a long story short, during the first decades of this century, opium was made illegal to kick out the Chinese immigrants who had flooded the work-force. Cocaine was made illegal to repress and control the Black community. And, marijuana was made illegal in order to control Mexicans in the Southeast (and Blacks.) All these laws were based mainly on emotional racism, without much else to back them up — you can easily tell this by reading the hearings held in state legislatures. Also at this time, the end of Prohibition left us with a large force of unemployed police officers, who looked for work enforcing the new drug laws. Consequently, these same police officers needed to convince the country that their jobs were important. They did so by scaring parents about the dangers of drugs. All this set the stage for a law passed in the Federal legislature which put a prohibitive tax on marijuana. This is what killed the hemp industry in 1937, since it made business in hemp impossible.Before the 1937 Marijuana Tax Act, the state of Kentucky was the center of a relatively large American hemp industry which produced cloth and tow (rope for use in shipping.) The industry would have been larger, but hemp had one major disadvantage: processing it required a lot of work. Men had to `brake’ hemp stalks in order to separate the fiber from the woody core. This was done on a small machine called a hand-brake, and it was a job fit for Hercules. It was not until the 1930′s that machines to do this became widely available.Today we use paper made by a process called `chemical pulping’. Before this, trees were processed by `mechanical pulping’ instead, which was much more expensive. At about the same time as machines to brake hemp appeared, the idea of using hemp hurds for making paper and plastic was proposed. Hemp hurds were normally considered to be a worthless waste product that was thrown away after it was stripped of fiber. New research showed that these hurds could be used instead of wood in mechanical pulping, and that this would drastically reduce the cost of making paper. Popular Mechanics Magazine predicted that hemp would rise to become the number one crop in America. In fact, the 1937 Marijuana Tax Act was so unexpected that Popular Mechanics had already gone to press with a cover story about hemp, published in 1938 just two months after the Tax Act took effect.
3) Now wait, just hold on. You expect me to believe that they wouldn’t have thought to pass a better law, one that banned marijuana and allowed commercial hemp, instead of throwing the baby out with the bath water?
There’s more. `Chemical pulping’ paper was invented at about this time by Dupont Chemicals, as part of a multi-million dollar deal with a timber holding company and newspaper chain owned by William Randolph Hearst. This deal would provide the Hearst with a source of very cheap paper, and he would go on to be known as the tycoon of `yellow journalism’ (so named because the new paper would turn yellow very quickly as it got older.) Hearst knew that he could drive other papers out of competition with this new advantage. Hemp paper threatened to ruin this whole plan. It had to be stopped, and the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 was the way they did it. As a drug law, the Tax Act really was not a very big step — it did not really accomplish much at all and many historians have caught themselves wondering why the bill was even written. Big business interests took advantage of the political climate of racism and anti-drug rhetoric to close the free market to hemp products, and _that_, my friend, is how hemp became illegal.(Whew!)For the 1930′s, this business venture was one very large transaction; it included other timber companies and a few railroads. Dupont’s entire deal was backed by a banker named Andrew Mellon. Don’t look up! That’s the same Andrew Mellon who appointed his nephew-in-law Harry Anslinger to head up the FBNDD in 1931. The Marijuana Tax Act was passed in a very unorthodox way, and nobody who would have objected was informed about the bill. The American Medical Association found out about the bill only two days before the hearings, and sent a representative to object to the banning of cannabis medicines. A hemp bird seed salesman also showed up and complained. However, the bill was passed, partially due to the testimony of Harry J. Anslinger.Not that Americans would have protested against this bill, even if they had known it existed most Americans did not know that cannabis hemp and marijuana is the same thing. The separate word `marijuana’ was one of the reasons for this. Nobody would associate the evil weed from Mexico with the stuff they tied their shoes with. Also, this was the time when synthetic fabrics were the latest fad — nobody was interested in natural fibers any more. To top this all off the word `hemp’ was often wrongly used to refer to other natural fabrics, specifically jute.The ignorance of hemp continues today, but it is even more scary. During the 1970′s (Reefer Madness II) all mention of the word `hemp’ was removed from high school text books here in the United States. So much for free speech! When Jack Herer, the world’s most beloved hemp activist, asked a curator at the Smithsonian Museum why this word had been removed from all their exhibits, the answer he got was astounding: “Children do not need to know about hemp anymore. It confuses them.” Jack Herer went on to uncover a film made by the United States government, a film which the government did not want to admit existed. The film “Hemp For Victory” details how the United States government bypassed the Tax Act during World War II, when they needed hemp for the War Effort, and ran a large hemp-growing project in Kentucky and California. (Bravo, Jack!)
4) Is there a lesson to be learned from all this?
Several. The first is that hate does not pay. It is ironic that the racism of the American people would end up hurting them this way — a sort of divine justice if you will. Because Americans were blinded by fear, hatred, and intolerance of other races, they allowed a prosperous future to slip between their fingers. Another thing this whole history tells us is that Americans need to take Democracy more seriously. If they had devoted more of their time to informing themselves about the world around them, they would have known what the real issues were. Instead they read the tabloids — look where that has gotten us. Finally, now that we have put marijuana prohibition into historical context, we can see clearly that it had nothing to do with public safety, or national security, or what have you. By all rights, marijuana should not have been made illegal in the first place. If today prohibition still has no rational basis to stand on, then let us repeal it.One point which bears emphasizing is this: the laws which are passed in this country may not mean what they say on paper. Historically the United States has a long record of passing laws with ulterior motives. Even when there is no ulterior motive, though, passing laws which are not specific enough leads to abuse. Most of our tough drug laws are like this — enacted to fight drug kingpins, but enforced against casual drug users and small-time drug dealers. In fact, most of these laws never even get used against a real drug kingpin, and the first people prosecuted under the statutes are not what the legislators had in mind. If this upsets you, you should pay more attention to what goes on in your legislature.

Part III: DOES IT? DOESN’T IT? IS IT TRUE THAT?———————————————————————–The next question would normally be “Why is it _still_ notlegal,” but since we have uncovered an understanding of thehistory, it is time to take a little detour. Politicianslove to tell us that marijuana must remain illegal for ourown good. In the next section we will examine some of theso-called facts about marijuana so that you can decide foryourselves whether you agree or not. Is marijuanaprohibition there to protect the people, or is it just theresult of decades of refusal to admit ourmistakes?———————————————————————–
1) Doesn’t marijuana stay in your fat cells and keep you high for months?
No. The part of marijuana that gets you high is called `Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol.’ Most people just call this THC, but this is confusing: your body will change Delta-9-THC into more inert molecules known as `metabolites,’ which don’t get you high. Unfortunately, these chemicals also have the word `tetrahydrocannabinol’ in them and they are also called THC — so many people think that the metabolites get you high. Anti-drug pamphlets say that THC gets stored in your fat cells and then leaks out later like one of those `time release capsules’ advertised on television. They say it can keep you high all day or even longer. This is not true, marijuana only keeps you high for a few hours, and it is not right to think that a person who fails a drug test is always high on drugs, either.Two of these metabolites are called `11-hydroxy-tetrahydrocannabinol’ and `11-nor-9-carboxy-delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol’ but we will call them 11-OH-THC and 11-nor instead. These are the chemicals which stay in your fatty cells. There is almost no Delta-9-THC left over a few hours after smoking marijuana, and scientific studies which measure the effects of marijuana agree with this fact.
2) But … isn’t today’s marijuana much more potent than it was in the Sixties? (Or, more often … Marijuana is 10 times more powerful than it was in the Sixties!)
GOOD! Actually, this is not true, but if it were, it would mean that marijuana is safer to smoke today than it was in the Sixties. (More potent cannabis means less smoking means less lung damage.) People who use this statistic just plain do not know what they are talking about. Sometimes they will even claim that marijuana is now twenty to thirty times stronger, which is physically impossible because it would have to be *over* 100% Delta-9-THC. The truth is, marijuana has not really changed potency all that much, if at all, in the last several hundred years. Growing potent cannabis is an ancient art which has not improved in centuries, despite all our modern technology. Before marijuana was even made illegal, drug stores sold tinctures of cannabis which were over 40% THC.Even so, the point is moot because marijuana smokers engage in something called `auto-titration.’ This basically means smoking until they are satisfied and then stopping, so it does not really matter if the marijuana is more potent because they will smoke less of it. Marijuana is not like pre-moistened towelettes or snow-cones. There is nothing forcing marijuana smokers to smoke an entire joint.Experienced marijuana users are accustomed to smoking marijuana from many different suppliers, and they know that if they smoke a whole joint of very potent bud they will get `TOO STONED’. Since being `too stoned’ is a rather unpleasant experience, smokers quickly learn to take their time and `test the waters’ when they do not know how strong their marijuana is.
3) Doesn’t Marijuana cause brain damage?
The short answer: No.The long answer: The reason why you ask this is because you probably heard or read somewhere that marijuana damages brain cells, or makes you stupid. These claims are untrue.The first one — marijuana kills brain cells — is based on research done during the second Reefer Madness Movement. A study attempted to show that marijuana smoking damaged brain structures in monkeys. However, the study was poorly performed and it was severely criticized by a medical review board. Studies done afterwards failed to show any brain damage, in fact a very recent study on Rhesus monkeys used technology so sensitive that scientists could actually see the effect of learning on brain cells, and it found no damage.But this was Reefer Madness II, and the prohibitionists were looking around for anything they could find to keep the marijuana legalization movement in check, so this study was widely used in anti-marijuana propaganda. It was recanted later.(To this day, the radical anti-drug groups, like P.R.I.D.E. and Dr. Gabriel Nahas, still use it — In fact, America’s most popular drug education program, Drug Abuse Resistance Education, claims that marijuana “can impair memory perception & judgement by destroying brain cells.” When police and teachers read this and believe it, our job gets really tough, since it takes a long time to explain to children how Ms. Jones and Officer Bob were wrong.)The truth is, no study has ever demonstrated cellular damage, stupidity, mental impairment, or insanity brought on specifically by marijuana use — even heavy marijuana use. This is not to say that it cannot be abused, however.
4) If it doesn’t kill brain cells, how does it get you `high’?
Killing brain cells is not a pre-requisite for getting `high.’ Marijuana contains a chemical which substitutes for a natural brain chemical, with a few differences. This chemical touches special `buttons’ on brain cells called `receptors.’ Essentially, marijuana `tickles’ brain cells. The legal drug alcohol also tickles brain cells, but it will damage and kill them by producing toxins (poisons) and sometimes mini-seizures. Also, some drugs will wear out the buttons which they push, but marijuana does not.
5) Don’t people die from smoking pot?
Nobody has ever overdosed. For any given substance, there are bound to be some people who have allergic reactions. With marijuana this is extremely rare, but it could happen with anything from apples to pop-tarts. Not one death has ever been directly linked to marijuana itself. In contrast, many legal drugs cause hundreds to hundreds of thousands of deaths per year, foremost among them are alcohol, nicotine, valium, aspirin, and caffiene. The biggest danger with marijuana is that it is illegal, and someone may mix it with another drug like PCP.Marijuana is so safe that it would be almost impossible to overdose on it. Doctors determine how safe a drug is by measuring how much it takes to kill a person (they call this the LD50) and comparing it to the amount of the drug which is usually taken (ED50). This makes marijuana hundreds of times safer than alcohol, tobacco, or caffiene. According to a DEA Judge “marijuana is the safest therapeutically active substance known to mankind.”
6) I forgot, does marijuana cause short-term memory impairment?
The effect of marijuana on memory is its most dramatic and the easiest to notice. Many inexperienced marijuana users find that they have very strange, sudden and unexpected memory lapses. These usually take the form of completely forgetting what you were talking about when you were right in the middle of saying something important. However, these symptoms only occur while a person is `high’. They do not carry over or become permanent, and examinations of extremely heavy users has not shown any memory or thinking problems. More experienced marijuana users seem to be able to remember about as well as they do when they are not `high.’Studies which have claimed to show short-term memory impairment have not stood up to scrutiny and have not been duplicated. Newer studies show that marijuana does not impair simple, real-world memory processes. Marijuana does slow reaction time slightly, and this effect has sometimes been misconstrued as a memory problem. To put things in perspective, one group of researchers made a control group hold their breath, like marijuana smokers do. Marijuana itself only produced about twice as many effects on test scores as breath holding. Many people use marijuana to study. Other people cannot, for some reason, use marijuana and do anything that involves deep thought. Nobody knows what makes the difference.
7) Is marijuana going to make my boyfriend go psycho?
Marijuana does not `cause’ psychosis. Psychotic people can smoke marijuana and have an episode, but there is nothing in marijuana that actually initiates or increases these episodes. Of course, if any mentally ill person is given marijuana for the first time or without their knowledge, they might get scared and `freak.’ Persons who suffer from severe psychological disorders often use marijuana as a way of coping. Because of this, some researchers have assumed that marijuana is the cause of these problems, when it is actually a symptom. If you have heard that marijuana makes people go crazy, this is probably why.
8 ) Don’t users of marijuana withdraw from society?
To some extent, yes. That’s probably just because they are afraid of being arrested, though. The same situation exists with socially maladjusted persons as does with the mentally ill. Emotionally troubled individuals find marijuana to be soothing, and so they tend to use it more than your average person. Treatment specialists see this, and assume that the marijuana is causing the problem. This is a mistake which hurts the patient, because their doctors will pay less attention to their actual needs, and concentrate on ending their drug habit. Sometimes the cannabis is even helping them to recover. Cannabis can be abused, and it can make these situations worse, but psychologists should approach marijuana use with an open mind or they risk hurting their patient.Marijuana itself does not make normal people anti-social. In fact, a large psychological study of teenagers found that casual marijuana users are more well adjusted than `drug free’ people. This would be very amusing, but it is a serious problem. There are children who have emotional problems which keep them from participating in healthy, explorative behavior. They need psychological help but instead they are skipped over. Marijuana users who do not need help are having treatment forced on them, and in the mean-time marijuana takes the blame for the personality characteristics and problems of the people who like to use it improperly.
9) Is it true that marijuana makes you lazy and unmotivated?
Not if you are a responsible adult, it doesn’t. Ask the U.S. Army. They did a study and showed no effect. If this were true, why would many Eastern cultures, and Jamaicans, use marijuana to help them work harder? `Amotivational syndrome’ started as a media myth based on the racial stereotype of a lazy Mexican borracho. The prohibitionists claimed that marijuana made people worthless and sluggish. Since then, however, it has been scientifically researched, and a symptom resembling amotivational syndrome has actually been found. However, it only occurs in adolescent teenagers — adults are not affected.When a person reaches adolescence, their willingness to work usually increases, but this does not happen for teenagers using marijuana regularly — even just on the weekends. The actual studies involved monkeys, not humans, and the results are not verified, but older studies which tried to show `amotivational syndrome’ usually only suceeded when they studied adolescents. Adults are not effected.The symptoms are not permanent, and motivation returns to normal levels several months after marijuana smoking stops. However, a small number of people may be unusually sensitive to this effect. One of the monkeys in the experiment was severely amotivated and did not recover. Doctors will need to study this more before they know why.
10) Isn’t marijuana a gateway drug? Doesn’t it lead to use of harder drugs?
This is totally untrue. In fact, researchers are looking into using marijuana to help crack addicts to quit. There are 40 million people in this country (U.S.) who have smoked marijuana for a period of their lives — why aren’t there tens of millions of heroin users, then? In Amsterdam, both marijuana use and heroin use went *down* after marijuana was decriminalized — even though there was a short rise in cannabis use right after decriminalization. Unlike addictive drugs, marijuana causes almost no tolerance. Some people even report a reverse tolerance. That is, the longer they have used the less marijuana they need to get `high.’ So users of marijuana do not usually get bored and `look for something more powerful’. If anything, marijuana keeps people from doing harder drugs.The idea that using marijuana will lead you to use heroin or speed is called the `gateway theory’ or the `stepping stone hypothesis.’ It has been a favorite trick of the anti-drug propaganda artists, because it casts marijuana as something insidious with hidden dangers and pitfalls. There have never been any real statistics to back this idea up, but somehow it was the single biggest thing which the newspapers yelled about during Reefer Madness II. (Perhaps this was because the CIA was looking for someone to blame for the increase in heroin use after Viet Nam.)The gateway theory of drug use is no longer generally accepted by the medical community. Prohibitionists used to point at numbers which showed that a large percentage of the hard drug users `started with marijuana.’ They had it backwards — many hard drug users also use marijuana. There are two reasons for this. One is that marijuana can be used to `take the edge off’ the effects of some hard drugs. The other is a recently discovered fact of adolescent psychology — there is a personality type which uses drugs, basically because drugs are exciting and dangerous, a thrill.On sociological grounds, another sort of gateway theory has been argued which claims that marijuana is the source of the drug subculture and leads to other drugs through that culture. By the same token this is untrue — marijuana does not create the drug subculture, the drug subculture uses marijuana. There are many marijuana users who are not a part of the subculture.This brings up another example of how marijuana legalization could actually reduce the use of illicit drugs. Even though there is no magical `stepping stone’ effect, people who choose to buy marijuana often buy from dealers who deal in many different illegal drugs. This means that they have access to illegal drugs, and might decide to try them out. In this case it is the laws which lead to hard drug use. If marijuana were legal, the drug markets would be separated, and less people would start using the illegal drugs. Maybe this is why emergency room admissions for hard drugs have gone down in the states that decriminalized marijuana during the 70′s.
11) I don’t want children (minors) to be able to smoke marijuana. How can I stop this?
Legalize it. They can smoke it now; it is about as easy to get as alcohol. There would be less marijuana being sold in schools, playgrounds, and street corners, though, if it was sold legally through pharmacies — because the dealers would not be able to compete with the prices. If you are a parent, the choice is really up to you: Do you want your children to sneak off with their friends and use marijuana which they bought off the street, or do you want to talk to them calmly and explain to them why they should wait until they are older? Your children are not going to walk up to you and tell you that they use an illegal drug, but if it was not such a big deal they might give you a chance to explain your feelings. Besides, would you rather children use speed, cocaine, and alcohol?Consider, also, that children have a natural urge to do things that they aren’t supposed to. It is called curiosity. By making such a fuss over marijuana, you make it interesting (some call it the `forbidden fruit’ factor.) This is made worse when children are lied to about drugs by teachers and police — they lose respect for the school and the government. In a lot of ways, it is the hysteria about drugs which causes the most harm. When marijuana users do none of the horrible things they are supposed to, children may think that other more harmful drugs are OK, too. Your children will not respect you unless you are calm and give good reasons for your rules. The first step is for you, the parent, to learn the facts about drugs.
12) Won’t children be able to steal marijuana plants that people are growing?
Well, if you are worried about them stealing the hemp plants from the paper-pulp farm down the road, you should know that the commercial grades of hemp do not contain much THC (the stuff that gets you high.) If they were to smoke it, they would probably just get a headache. Otherwise, it should be the responsibility of the grower to take measures to prevent this. Most “home-grown” marijuana is cultivated indoors anyway. If the children in your town have nothing better to do than go around stealing marijuana to smoke, your town needs to buy a library or something.
13) Hey, don’t you know that marijuana drops testosterone levels in teenage boys causing [various physical and developmental problems]?
Marijuana does not turn young healthy boys into lanky, girlish looking wimps, no. This scare tactic (call it homo-phobic if you will) was a common device used in early anti-drug literature. It attempts to scare boys away from marijuana by telling them, essentially, that it will turn them into a girl. Young men probably should not use marijuana heavily (see the section on amotivational syndrome), but the risks are not horrendous.Anti-marijuana pamphlets used this claim often during Reefer Madness II, but the studies which are cited are mostly faulty or misinterpreted. This is not to say that marijuana use does not affect childhood development at all, just that the effects are not as drastic as some people would like them to sound. In fact they are pretty much unknown.
14) Doesn’t heavy marijuana use lower the sperm count in males?
Not by much, (if at all) and this can be a good thing. It does not make you impotent or sterile. (If it did — there would be no Rastafarians left!) Give those testicles a rest, already! Marijuana is certainly _not_ birth control, please don’t let your lover tell you it is.Many people think that marijuana enhances their sex lives. It is not an aphrodisiac, that is, it does not make people want to have sex. What it does do for some people is make everything more sensual — it makes food taste better and feelings and emotions more vivid.
15) I heard marijuana use by teenage girls may impair hormone production, menstrual cycles, and fertility. Is this true?
Also unproven and unfounded, but there is no data available to tell either way, (and it won’t be coming from the U.S. — current U.S. laws prohibit research on women.) This is the female version of the boy’s “It’ll turn you into a sissy” tactic. As far as anyone knows, it is only a scare tactic.
16) I forgot, does marijuana cause short-term memory impairment?
Go away.
17) Isn’t smoking marijuana worse for you than smoking cigarettes?
There are many reasons why it is not. You may have heard that “one joint is equal to ten cigarrettes” but this is exagerrated and misleading. Marijuana does contain more tar than tobacco — but low tar cigarettes cause just as much cancer, so what is that supposed to mean? Scientists have shown that smoking any plant is bad for your lungs, because it increases the number of `lesions’ in your small airways. This usually does not threaten your life, but there is a chance it will lead to infections. Marijuana users who are worried about this can find less harmful ways of taking marijuana like eating or vaporizing. (Be careful — marijuana is safe to eat — but tobacco is not, you might overdose!) Marijuana does not seem to cause cancer the way tobacco does, though.Here is a list of interesting facts about marijuana smoking and tobacco smoking:

  • Marijuana smokers generally don’t chain smoke, and so they smoke less. (Marijuana is not physically addictive like tobacco.) The more potent marijuana is, the less a smoker will use at a time.
  • Tobacco contains nicotine, and marijuana doesn’t. Nicotine may harden the arteries and may be responsible for much of the heart disease caused by tobacco. New research has found that it may also cause a lot of the cancer in tobacco smokers and people who live or work where tobacco is smoked. This is because it breaks down into a cancer causing chemical called `N Nitrosamine’ when it is burned (and maybe even while it is inside the body as well.)
  • Marijuana contains THC. THC is a bronchial dilator, which means it works like a cough drop and opens up your lungs, which aids clearance of smoke and dirt. Nicotine does just the opposite; it makes your lungs bunch up and makes it harder to cough anything up.
  • There are benefits from marijuana (besides bronchial dilation) that you don’t get from tobacco. Mainly, marijuana makes you relax, which improves your health and well-being.
  • Scientists do not really know what it is that causes malignant lung cancer in tobacco. Many think it may be a substance known as Lead 210. Of course, there are many other theories as to what does cause cancer, but if this is true, it is easy to see why NO CASE OF LUNG CANCER RESULTING FROM MARIJUANA USE ALONE HAS EVER BEEN DOCUMENTED, because tobacco contains much more of this substance than marijuana.
  • Marijuana laws make it harder to use marijuana without damaging your body. Water-pipes are illegal in many states. Filtered cigarettes, vaporizers, and inhalers have to be mass produced, which is hard to arrange `underground.’ People don’t eat marijuana often because you need more to get as high that way, and it isn’t cheap or easy to get (which is the reason why some people will stoop to smoking leaves.) This may sound funny to you — but the more legal marijuana gets, the safer it is.

It is pretty obvious to users that marijuana prohibition laws are not “for their own good.” In addition to the above, legal marijuana would be clean and free from adulturants. Some people add other drugs to marijuana before they sell it. Some people spray room freshener on it or soak in in chemicals like formaldehyde! A lot of the marijuana is grown outdoors, where it may be sprayed with pesticides or contaminated with dangerous fungi. If the government really cared about our health, they would form an agency which would make sure only quality marijuana was sold. This would be cheaper than keeping it illegal, and it would keep people from getting hurt and going to the emergency room.

18 ) Don’t children born to pot-smoking mothers suffer from “Fetal Marijuana Syndrome?”
If a fetal cannabis syndrome exists, cases are so rare that it cannot be demonstrated. Many mothers use marijuana during pregnancy — it controls the nausea called `morning sickness’ and many say it actually increases the appetite and reduces stress. This is especially important in less developed countries, where modern medical care is not as easily available, but even so, the benefits of responsible marijuana use may outweigh the risks even under modern medicine.Studies conducted in Jamiaca have shown that mothers who smoke marijuana have healthier children, but this may be due to the extra income generated by marijuana dealing and other factors. It has been a common ploy in the War on Drugs to claim that marijuana, and especially cocaine, causes birth defects or behavior problems like alcohol does. This scares caring mothers into thinking drugs are `evil.’ The claims are not based on valid scientific research — many of them do not even consider the life-style or living conditions of the mothers before pointing at drugs with the blame.Obviously, pregnant mothers should not smoke as much pot as they possibly can. If marijuana is abused, it may hurt the health of both mother and child. Delta-9-THC does cross the placenta and enter the fetus. Oddly, though, the marijuana metabolite, 11-nor-9-carboxy-delta-9-THC does not, and the fetus does not break delta-9-THC down into 11-nor like the mother’s body does, so unborn children are not exposed to 11-nor. The third trimester is the time when the child is most vulnerable. Parents should bear these facts in mind when they make decisions about using cannabis.
19) Doesn’t marijuana cause a lot of automobile accidents?
Not really. The marijuana using public has the same or lower rate of automobile accidents as the general public. Studies of marijuana smoking while driving showed that it does affect reaction time, but not nearly as much as alcohol. Also, those who drive `stoned’ have been shown to be less foolish on the road (they demonstrate `increased risk aversion’.) Recent studies have emphasized that alcohol is the major problem on our highways, and that illicit drugs do not even come close to being as dangerous.As funny as it may seem, you may be safer driving `stoned’, as long as you aren’t `totally blasted’ and seeing things — but few users are irresponsible enough to drive in this state of mind, anyway. Still, many people have reported making mistakes while driving because they were stoned.There are those who think that marijuana is a major problem on the streets, because of a newspaper article or news story which they have seen which said a large number of people who were killed in driving accidents tested postive for marijuana use. For various reasons, these studies are not reliable:

  • Some studies use drug tests which can only tell whether a person has used marijuana in the last month.
  • Some studies were done near colleges or other areas where drinking, marijuana use, and accidents are all very high, and they did not correct for age or alcohol use.
  • In many of the studies there were more stoned drivers killed — but it was not their fault, and when the police “culpability scores” were factored in marijuana was not to blame for the accidents.
20) Aren’t you afraid everyone will get hooked?
Marijuana produces no withdrawal symptoms no matter how heavy it is used. It is habit forming (psychologically addictive), but not physically addictive. The majority of people who quit marijuana don’t even have to think twice about it. Comparing marijuana to addictive drugs is really quite silly.For a drug to be physically addictive, it must be reinforcing, produce withdrawal symptoms, and produce tolerance. Marijuana is reinforcing, because it feels good, but it does not do the other two things. Caffeine, nicotine and alcohol are all physically addictive.
21) Is urine testing for marijuana use as a terms of employment a good idea? I want to make sure my business is run safely.
No! Some of your most brilliant, hard working, and reliable employees are marijuana users. When you drug test, you put all marijuana users in the same place as the abusers — the unemployment line. Drug testing is bad for business. (Not to mention it is an invasion of privacy.) If a worker has a drug problem, you can tell by testing how well he does his job. Firing *all* the drug users who work for you will hurt your business, costs money, and will get people very mad at you — and for what? There isn’t even any hard evidence that marijuana users have more accidents or health problems.Your employees will probably resent being drug tested; drug testing allows an employer to govern the actions of an employee in his off time — even when these actions do not effect his job performance. (As told above, marijuana drug tests do not test whether a person is `high’. They test whether or not they have used in the last few weeks.) Asking employees to urinate in a plastic cup every month is not a good way to make them feel like part of the business, or make friends, either. There is growing concern about drug tests, sometimes because they misfire and accuse the wrong person, but mostly because they might be used to find out other confidential information about an employee. Legal professionals are beginning to question whether they are even constitutional.
22) Isn’t all this worth the trouble, though, in order to reduce accident risks and health care costs?
Everyone knows that marijuana users are bad employees, right? Wrong — or at least someone forgot to tell the millions of hard working marijuana smokers that. Drug testing companies will hand you piles of statistics which they say prove marijuana use costs you money. The truth is there are just as many studies which show that marijuana users are more successful, use less health care, and produce more than non-users. Before you buy into workplace drug testing, make sure you get the other side of the story.In the 1980′s, the Bush administration went to great lengths to promote drug testing. In fact, George Bush estimated the cost of drug use at over 60 billion dollars a year, based on a study which supposedly showed that persons who had used marijuana at some time during their life were less successful. The very same study could be used to show that current, heavy users of marijuana and other illegal drugs were actually more successful. Something is a bit fishy here, and when you add to that the fact that several former heads of the DEA and former Drug Czars now own or work in the urinalysis industry, this whole scene begins to smell a bit funny.
23) Wouldn’t it be best to just lock the users all up?
How do you plan to pay for that? Already, well over five percent of the people in this country (U.S) are in custody (including probation, parole, bail, etc.) Murderers and rapists are being let out of our penatentiaries right now to make room for a few more `deadheads’ — there are about 2,500 Grateful Dead fans in our federal prisons. Imprisoning one person for one year costs about $20,000. The United States leads the world in imprisonment — at any one time, 425 people out of every 100,000 are behind bars. In the Federal Prison System, one fifth of the prisoners are drug offenders who have done nothing violent. State laws are usually less strict, but state mandatory minumum sentences for drugs are getting more popular.Our prisons and our courtrooms are so crowded that the American Bar Association’s annual report on the state of the Justice System is basically one long plea for an end to drug laws that imprison users. Even the Clinton Administration recognizes that locking people up is not the solution. This is especially true for the people who actually have drug abuse problems — they need treatment, not mistreatment. The Drug War put mandatory minimum jail sentences for drug crimes on the lawbooks. If we do not take those laws (at least) back off, we will be in sorry shape come the end of the century. A retroactive policy of marijuana legalization or decriminalization would go a long way in helping to solve this crisis.Also consider this — Once a person gets put in jail, he becomes angry with the world. He will probably be victimized while he is there, and most likely will learn criminal behaviors from hard-core violent offenders. There is also a very good chance that he will have caught AIDS or tuberculosis by the time he gets let back out. By locking up drug users, you are digging yourself a very big trench to fall in — is it worth it?Besides, lots of these people don’t deserve to be in jail. Why should they serve time just because they like to get `high’ on marijuana? Especially when someone can drink alcohol without being arrested… what kind of law is that? You have to think about what kind of a world you are making for yourself before you act. How are the police of the future going to treat the people? How far are you willing to let the government go to get the drug users? How many of your own rights will you sacrifice by trying to jail `the druggies’?
24) I heard that there are over 400 chemicals in marijuana… Wellllll…?
True, but so what? There are also over 400 chemicals in many foods, (including coffee, which contains over 800 chemicals and many rat carcinogens) and we don’t see police arresting people in McDonald’s, or giving Driving while Eating citations. Only THC is very psycho-active; a few other chemicals also have very small degrees of psycho-activity. People who use marijuana do not get sick more, or die earlier, or lose their jobs (except to drug tests), or have mutant kids… so what’s your point?The fact that there are over 60 unique chemicals in cannabis, called `cannabinoids,’ is something that scientists find very interesting. Many of these cannabinoids may have valuable effects as medicine. For example, `cannabinol’ is a cannabinoid which can help people with insomnia. Doctors think that this chemical is why most patients prefer to use marijuana rather than pure Delta-9-THC pills (called dronabinol) — the cannabinol takes the edge off being `high’ and calms the nerves. Another cannabinoid, `cannabidiolic acid’, is a very effective anti-biotic, like pennicillin. Many of these chemicals can be extracted from marijuana without any fancy laboratory equipment.
25) Doesn’t that stuff mess up your immune system and make it easier for you catch colds?
Marijuana (Delta-nine-THC) does have an `immunosuppressive effect.’ It acts on certain cells in the liver, called macrophages, in much the same way that it acts on brain cells. Instead of stimulating the cells, though, it shuts them off. This effect is temporary (just like the `high’) and goes away quickly; people who suffer from multiple sclerosis may actually find this effect useful in fighting the disease.Recent research has also found that marijuana metabolites are left over in the lungs for up to seven months after the smoking has stopped. While they are there, the immune system of the lungs may be affected (but the macrophages do not get “turned off” like in the liver.) The effects of smoking itself are probably worse than the effects of the THC, and last just as long.All this said, doctors still have not decided whether marijuana users are at risk for colds or not. With the possible exception of bronchitis, there are no numbers which suggest that marijuana users catch more colds, but… this did not stop Carlton Turner, a United States Drug Czar, from saying many times in his public addresses that marijuana caused AIDS and homosexuality. His claims were so ridiculus that the Washington Post and Newsweek Magazine made fun of him, and he was forced to resign.Today, AIDS patients use marijuana to treat their symptoms without any aparrent problems. Some studies suggest that marijuana may actually stimulate certain forms of immunity. Researchers have tried to show major effects on the healthy human’s immune system, but if marijuana does have any substantial effects, good or bad, they are either too subtle or too small to notice.

Part IV: WHY IS IT STILL ILLEGAL?
1) Why is it STILL illegal?:
The official answer: Because you shouldn’t use it. You can’t use it because it is illegal, and it is illegal so you can’t use it. You should not use it. It is illegal. It is illegal so you should not use it.The manic-depressive answer: It’ll never happen. People are too unorganized/stupid/disempowered. It’s just futility. Try, but don’t expect to get anywhere. I won’t get my hopes up.The paranoid-schizophrenic answer: Don’t you SEE?!?!? The guys at the top have it SEWN!! They own everything. They’ll never let it happen. I shouldn’t even be talking to you, but let me give you some advice!! listen… you shouldn’t mess with THEM, THEY know everything. THEY are practically psychic, see? And the only way to get it to happen is to become one of THEM. You’d better watch it, or THEY will come and take you away — THEY do that, you know. It’s all a CONSPIRACY!!!The neurotic answer: Marijuana? Eeek! Don’t you know that stuff is dangerous? People don’t make laws for no good reason, you know! Where did you hear about marijuana? Wait! Don’t tell me, I don’t want to know. If anybody even knew you thought it should be legal — well — they’d never talk to you again! Don’t you know that marijuana this… marijuana that… … … …THE REAL ANSWER: Marijuana is still illegal because enough people have not yet stood up together and said:

         `` THIS IS STUPID!!                 I WANT CANNABIS HEMP LEGAL!!!FOR PRODUCTS;FOR MEDICINE;FOR FOOD;FOR FUN;FOR GOODNESS'S SAKE!  ISN'T THAT WHAT LIFE'S ALL ABOUT ?!''

Without large-scale grass roots support, marijuana will never be legal. Every person that stands up for marijuana/hemp legalization makes us that much stronger, and our voices that much louder. Believe me, we appreciate all the support we get. Almost as importantly, it makes it that much harder for people to say “that’s a stupid idea” or “nobody really believes that.”If you aren’t convinced yet, Or if you are having trouble swallowing any of the answers given, I encourage you to learn more about the issues. Try the sources listed at the end.If you’re with us, let us know! Let everybody know, unless it will get you canned or arrested, but most importantly, keep an eye on what’s going on, and try to lend a hand when you can. Also, know your stuff, so if you have to, you can convince a friend or loved one that *you* are not nuts — the rest of the world is.

2) What can I do to bring some sense into our marijuana laws?
There are many things you can do. Activists are working right now at all levels to reform marijuana laws. If you cannot afford to be an activist, there are many ways you can help — activists find themselves short of money, time, and occasionally even friendly company. Get to know a hemp or marijuana legalization activists in your area, and just keep up to date on what they are planning. Odds are you will find something that you can easily do which will help them out a whole lot. There is a list available called the Liberty Activist’s List which will give you the phone numbers or address of groups near you. Also, you may call the National Office of NORML (The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws) at 1-202-483-5500. The most important thing you can do on your own, though, is to keep tabs on your state and local legislators, and let them know that this is an issue to be taken seriously.Many activist groups offer `memberships.’ These usually involve a fee for joining the group, and a newsletter that keeps you up to date on the group’s activities. This way you know when and why to write your legislators, and thought provoking information which you normally would not get is delivered to you. If and when you need to, most importantly, you will be able to contact the group and seek or give advice.
3) Where can I get more information?
Many places. One of the best is by using electronic communications. The Information Superhighway has been a tremendous leap forwards for our movement, and there is a lot of information available. Start by sending e-mail to “({{{readme}}})”. There is an e-mail file-server set up at this address, and just about anyone with Internet e-mail can use it. The server contains many files about marijuana, and more importantly directories and pointers on how to get more information by WWW, GOPHER, FTP, IRC, and TELNET. For a overview list of these resources send mail to “({{{netlinks}}})”. If you have trouble making this work, send a note asking for help to “verdant@twain.ucs.umass.edu”A copy of the Liberty Activist’s List is also available through this server, by mailing to “({{{groups}}}).” This will help you get in touch with activists near you. If you are interested, there is an excellent mailing list devoted to Drug War issues. It is called DRCnet and you may send mail to “borden@netcom.com” for information on becoming involved.
4) Umm, I’m computer illiterate, so that just went way over my head.Are there any good books I could go get instead?
Here is a list of some of the must-read books and articles about marijuana and legalization. Check the source section of this FAQ for more information about these and other sources.“The Emperor Wears No Clothes” by Jack Herer pub. Queen of Clubs/HEMP, 1993/1994“Hemp, Life-Line to the Future” by Chris Conrad pub. data pending“Marihuana Reconsidered” by Lester Grinspoon pub. 1977. Harvard University Press. pub. 1993 data pending.“Marihuana the Forbidden Medicine” by Lester Grinspoon pub. Yale University Press 1993. *** Journal Articles of General Interest ***“Marijuana Laws: A Need for Reform” by Roger Allan Glasgow in “Arkansas Law Review” Vol. 22(340) pp. 359-375.*** Government commissions recommending legalization ***The Panama Canal Zone Report of 1925, pub. United States Government.Mayor LaGuardia’s Committee on Marijuana (New York) Report issued 1944. (Initiated 1938 — an extensive study of marijuana) pub. New York City GovernmentThe Final Report of the Le Dain Commission on Marijuana Legalization, pub. Canadian Gov’tFinal Report if the National Commission on Marijuana, 1972, pub. United States Government entitled “Marijuana — a Signal of Misunderstanding” *** Court Rulings ***“In the Matter of Marijuana Rescheduling Petition” by Hon. Francis L. Young Docket# 86-22 1989.
5) Do you have any advice for people who want to organize their own group? There are some very good books that will help new organizers hit the ground running. Here are two titles you should try to locate:Si Kahn “Organizing: A Guide For Grassroots Leaders” McGraw-Hill 1982 0-07-033215-0 (0-07-033199-5 paperback)Ed Hedemann “The War Resisters League Organizers Manual” 1981 0-940862-00-X The War Resisters League 339 Lafayeyette St., New York, NY

PART V: SOURCES BY QUESTION NUMBER(Sorry for the pathetic bibliography. As soon as time and software permits it will be cleaned up, cross referenced, and expanded.)
1) What Is Hemp?
“Hemp” by Lyster H. Dewey pp. 283-346. pub. United States Departmentof Agriculture, 1913.
“The Emperor Wears No Clothes: The Authoritative Historical Record ofthe Cannabis Plant, Marijuana Prohibition, & How Hemp Can Still Savethe World” by Jack Herer pub. Queen of Clubs HEMP Publishing, 1993.
“The Marijuana Farmers” by Jack Frazier pub. Solar Age Press NewOrleans, 1972.
2) What is cannabis?
“Hemp, Life-line to the Future” by Chris Conrad pub data pending.
(Mexican slang term)
“The Emperor Wears No Clothes The Authoritative Historical Record ofthe Cannabis Plant, Marijuana Prohibition, & How Hemp Can Still Savethe World” by Jack Herer pub. Queen of Clubs HEMP Publishing, 1993.
(hemp can be grown legally)
“Hemp, Life-line to the Future” by Chris Conrad pub data pending.
John Birrenbach’s legal hemp FAQ pub. Institute for Hemp 1993.
(number one cash crop)
“Drugs, Crime and the Justice System” pub. United States GovernmentPrinting Office Washington, DC. December, 1992.
“Information Please Almanac” pub. Simon and Schuster New York, 1993.
4) How can hemp be used as a food?
(protien)
A. J. St. Angelo, E. J. Conkerton, J. M. Dechary, A. M. Altschul in“Biochimica et Biophysica Acta” Vol. 121 pp. 181. 1966.
A. J. St. Angelo, L. Y. Yatsu, A. M. Altschul in “Archives ofBiochemistry and Biophysics” Vol. 124 pp. 199-205. 1966.
“Chromatography of Edestine at 50 Degrees” by D. M. Stockwell, J. M.Dechary, A. M. Altschul in “Biochimica et Biophysica Acta” Vol. 82pp. 221. 1964.
(essential fatty acid oils)
“Fats that Heal, Fats that Kill” by Udo Erasmus pub.
“Hemp-seed Oil Compared with Other Common Vegetable Oils” by GeraldX. Diamond in “Cannabis Hemp Information Kit” pub.
“Therapeutic Hemp Oil” by Andrew Weil M.D. in “Natural Health”March/April, 1993.
5) What are the benefits of hemp compared to other food crops?
“Hemp” by Lyster H. Dewey pp. 283-346. pub. United States Departmentof Agriculture, 1913.
“The Emperor Wears No Clothes: The Authoritative Historical Record ofthe Cannabis Plant, Marijuana Prohibition, & How Hemp Can Still Savethe World” by Jack Herer pub. Queen of Clubs HEMP Publishing, 1993.
6) How about soy? Is hemp competitive as a world source of protein?
(hemp vs. soy)
“Hemp” by Lyster H. Dewey pp. 283-346. pub. United States Departmentof Agriculture, 1913.
“Chromatography of Edestine at 50 Degrees” by D. M. Stockwell, J. M.Dechary, A. M. Altschul in “Biochimica et Biophysica Acta” Vol. 82pp. 221. ed. pub., 1964.
(resistance to UV-B sunlight)
“UV-B Effects on Terrestrial Plants” by Manfred Tevinie, Alan H.Teremura in “Photochemistry and Photobiology” Vol. 50 Iss. 4 pp.479-487. pub. Pergamon Press Oxford, New York, 1989.
(agricultural consequences of drug policy in underdeveloped nations)
cites pending
7) How can hemp be used for cloth?
“Hemp, Flax, Jute, Ramie, Kenaf and Other Industrial Fibers aComparison of Properties and Applications ” by Gerald X. Diamond in“Cannabis Hemp Information Kit” pub Washington Citizens for DrugPolicy Reform.
“Hemp” by Lyster H. Dewey pp. 283-346. pub. United States Departmentof Agriculture, 1913.
“The Emperor Wears No Clothes The Authoritative Historical Record ofthe Cannabis Plant, Marijuana Prohibition, & How Hemp Can Still Savethe World” by Jack Herer pub. Queen of Clubs HEMP Publishing, 1993.
“The Marijuana Farmers” by Jack Frazier pub. Solar Age Press NewOrleans, 1972.
8) Why is it better than cotton?
“Hemp, Flax, Jute, Ramie, Kenaf and Other Industrial Fibers aComparison of Properties and Applications ” by Gerald X. Diamond in“Cannabis Hemp Information Kit” pub. Washington Citizens for DrugPolicy Reform.
9) How can hemp be used to make paper?
“It’s Time to Reconsider Hemp” by Jim Young in “Pulp & Paper” pp.7. June, 1991.
“Hemp Variations as Pulp Source Researched in the Netherlands” by E.P. M. de Meijer in “Pulp & Paper” pp. 41-42. July, 1993.
“The Manufacture of Paper from Hemp Hurds” by Jason L. Merril in“USDA Bulletin/Yearbook of the United States Department ofAgriculture” Iss. 404 pp. 7-25. pub. United States Department ofAgriculture
10) Why can’t we just keep using trees?
“The Production and Handling of Hemp Hurds” by Lyster H. Dewey in”USDA Bulletin” Iss. 404 pp. 1-6. pub. United States Department ofAgriculture.
“Hemp” by Lyster H. Dewey pp. 283-346. pub. United States Departmentof Agriculture, 1913.
11) How can hemp be used as a fuel?
“Farming For Fuel]” by Folke Dovring pub data pending.
“Pretreatment Research Overview” by K. Grohmann, R. Torget, M.Himmel in “The DOE SERI Ethanol From Biomass Program” pub. TheUnited States Department of Energy.
“Overview: The DOE SERI Ethanol From Biomass Program ” by C. E.Wyman pub. The United States Department of Energy.
12) Why is it better than petroleum?
“Towards a Green Economy” by Lynn Osburn (pamphlet)
other cites pending
13) How can hemp be used as a medicine?
“Marijuana, The Forbidden Medicine” by Lester Grinspoon M.D. andJames B. Bakalar pub. Yale University Press New Haven, 1993.
“Therapeutic Issues of Marijuana and THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol)” byJ. Thomas Ungerieder, Therese Andrysiak in “The International Journalof the Addictions” Vol. 20 pp. 691-699. ed. pub. M. Dekker New York,1985.
14) What’s wrong with all the prescription drugs we have?
“Marijuana, The Forbidden Medicine” by Lester Grinspoon M.D. andJames B. Bakalar pub. Yale University Press New Haven, 1993.
15) What other uses for hemp are there?
“The Emperor Wears No Clothes The Authoritative Historical Record ofthe Cannabis Plant, Marijuana Prohibition, & How Hemp Can Still Savethe World” by Jack Herer pub. Queen of Clubs HEMP Publishing, 1993.
Note: 93/94 edition of the Emperor only.Part II: WELL WHY AREN’T WE USING HEMP, THEN?
1) How and why was hemp made illegal?
“Drugs and minority oppression” by John Helmer pub. Seabury PressNew York, 1975.
“The Emperor Wears No Clothes The Authoritative Historical Record ofthe Cannabis Plant, Marijuana Prohibition, & How Hemp Can Still Savethe World” by Jack Herer pub. Queen of Clubs HEMP Publishing, 1993.
2) OK, so what the heck does all this other stuff…
“The Manufacture of Paper from Hemp Hurds” by Jason L. Merril in“USDA Bulletin/Yearbook of the United States Department ofAgriculture” Iss. 404 pp. 7-25. pub. United States Department ofAgriculture
“New Billion-Dollar Crop” in “Popular Mechanics” February, 1938.
“Flax and Hemp From the Seed to the Loom ” by George A. Lower in“Mechanical Engineering” February, 1937.
3) Now wait, just hold on. You expect me to believe….
“Hemp, Life-line to the Future” by Chris Conrad pub data pending.
“The Emperor Wears No Clothes The Authoritative Historical Record ofthe Cannabis Plant, Marijuana Prohibition, & How Hemp Can Still Savethe World” by Jack Herer pub. Queen of Clubs HEMP Publishing, 1993.
“New Billion-Dollar Crop” in “Popular Mechanics” pub. February,1938.
“Flax and Hemp From the Seed to the Loom ” by George A. Lower in“Mechanical Engineering” February, 1937.
4) Is there a lesson to be learned from all this?
“Manufacturing Consent” by Noam Chomsky pub data pending.
“Marijuana Laws: A Need for Reform” by Roger Allan Glasgow in“Arkansas Law review” Vol. 22 Iss. 340 pp. 359-375.Part III: DOES IT? DOESN’T IT? IS IT TRUE?
1) Doesn’t marijuana stay in your fat cells and keep you high …
“Marijuana Chemistry Genetics, Processing, and Potency” by MichaelStarks pub. Ronin Inc., 1990.
“Marijuana Cannabinoids Neurobiology and Neurophysiology” ed. LauraMurphy, Andrzej Bartke ed. pub. CRC Press Boca Raton, FL, 1992.
2) But … isn’t today’s marijuana much more potent than it was…
“Cannabis 1988. Old Drug, New Dangers The Potency Debate ” by ToddH. Mikuriya M.D., Michael R. Aldrich Ph.D. in “Journal ofPsychoactive Drugs” Vol. 20 Iss. 1 pp. 47-55 pub. Haight-AshburyPublications in association with the Haight-Ashbury Free MedicalClinic San Francisco, Calif. : January March, 1988.
3) Doesn’t Marijuana cause brain damage?
“The Chronic Cerebral Effects of Cannabis Use I Methodological Issuesand Neurological Findings ” by Renee C. Wert Ph.D., Michael L. RaulinPh.D Vol. 21 Iss. 6 pp. 605-628. 1986.
“The Chronic Cerebral Effects of Cannabis Use II PsychologicalFindings and Conclusions ” by Renee C. Wert Ph.D., Michael L. RaulinPh.D Vol. 21 Iss. 6 pp. 629-642. 1986.
“Neurotoxicity of Cannabis and THC A Review of Chronic ExposureStudies in Animals ” by Andrew C. Scallet in “Pharmacology,Biochemistry & Behavior” Vol. 40 pp. 671-676. 1991.
“Chronic Marijuana Smoke Exposure in the Rhesus Monkey IVNeurochemical Effects and Comparison to Acute and Chronic Exposure toDelta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in Rats” by Syed F. Ali, Glenn D.Newport, Andrew C. Scallet, Merle G. Paule, John R. Bailey, WilliamSlikker Jr in “Pharmacology, Biochemistry & Behavior” Vol. 40 pp.677-682. 1991.
“Behavioral, Neurochemical, and Neurohistological Effects of ChronicMarijuana Smoke Exposure in the Nonhuman Primate” by William SlikkerJr. et al. in “Marijuana Cannabinoids Neurobiology andNeurophysiology” Laura Murphy, Andrzej Bartke ed. pub. CRC Press BocaRaton, FL, 1992.
(the following are the studies which were found to be flawed)
“Effects of Cannabis Sativa on Ultrastructure of the Synapse inMonkey Brain” by J. W. Harper, R. G. Heath, W. A. Myers in “Journalof Neuroscience Research” Vol. 3 pp. 87-93. 1977.
“Chronic Marihuana Smoking Its Effects on Function and Structure ofthe Primate Brain ” by R. G. Heath, A. T. Fitzjarrell, R. E. Garey,W. A. Myers in “Marihuana: Biological Effects Analysis, Metabolism,Cellular Responses, Reproduction and Brain ” Gabriel G. Nahas, W. D.M. Paton ed. pub. Pergamon Press Oxford, 1979.
“Cannabis Sativa Effects on Brain Function and Ultrastructure inRhesus Monkeys ” by R. G. Heath, A. T. Fitzjarrell, C. J. Fontana, R.E. Garey in “Biological Psychiatry” Vol. 15 pp. 657-690. 1980.
(D.A.R.E. says pot kills brain cells)
DARE Officers training manual section T page 5.
4) If it doesn’t kill brain cells….
“Structure of a Cannabinoid Receptor” by L. A. Matsuda , S. J.Lolait , M. J. Browstein, A. C. Young, T. I. Bonner in “Nature” Vol.346 Iss. 6824 pp. 561-564. August, 1990.
(marijuana does not wear out it’s receptors)
“Chronic Exposure to Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol Fails toIrreversibly Alter Brain Cannabinoid Receptors” by Tracy M. Westlake,Allyn C. Howlett, Syed F. Ali, Merle G. Paule, Andrew C. Scallet,William Slikker Jr. in “Brain Research” Vol. 544 pp. 145-149. 1991.
5) Don’t people die from smoking pot?
Bureau of Mortality Statistics, 1988.
“In the Matter of Marijuana Rescheduling Petition: Opinion andRecommended Ruling, Findings of Fact, Conclusions of Law and Decisionof Administrative Law Judge Francis L. Young ” by Hon. Francis L.Young September, 1988.
(allerigic reaction is rare)
“Marijuana and Immunity” by Leo E. Hollister M.D. in “Journal ofPsychoactive Drugs” Vol. 24 Iss. 2 pp. 159-164. pub. Haight-AshburyPublications in association with the Haight-Ashbury Free MedicalClinic San Francisco, Calif. : April,June, 1992.
6) I forgot, does marijuana cause short-term memory impairment?
cites pending
7) Is marijuana going to make my boyfriend go psycho?
“A Brief, Critical Look at Cannabis Psychosis” by Amit Basu in “TheInternational Journal on Drug Policy” Vol. 3 pp. 126-127. 1992.
8 ) Don’t users of marijuana withdraw from society?
“Adolescent Drug Use and Psychological Health” by Jonathan Shedler,Jack Block in “American Psychologist” Vol. 45 Iss. 5 pp. 612-630.
“Substance Use and Abuse Among Teenagers” by Michael D. Newcomb,Peter M. Bentler in “American Psychologist” Vol. 44 Iss. 2 pp.242-248. 1989.
“Cognitive Motivations for Drug Use Among Adolescents LongitudinalTests of Gender Differences and Predictors of Change in Drug Use ” byMichael D. Newcomb, Chih Ping Chou, P. M. Bentler, G. J. Huba in“Journal of Counseling Psychology” Vol. 35 Iss. 4 pp. 426-438. pub.American Psychological Association Washington,DC, 1988.
“Personality Characteristics of Adolescent Marijuana Users” by JohnE. Mayer, Jeffrey D. Ligman in “Adolescence” Vol. 24 Iss. 96 pp.965-976. 1989.
“Cannabis Use and Sensation Seeking Orientation” by K. PaulSatinder, Alexander Black in “The Journal of Psychology” Vol. 166pp. 101-105. pub. Journal Press Provincetown, MA, 1984.
9) Is it true that marijuana makes you lazy and unmotivated?
“Behavioral and Biological Concomitants of Chronic Marijuana Use” byDr. Jack H. Mendelson 1974. (US Army study)
(adolescent amotivational-like syndrome)
“Chronic Marijuana Smoke Exposure in the Rhesus Monkey II Effects onProgressive Ratio and Conditioned Position Responding ” by Merle G.Paule, Richard R. Allen, John R. Bailey, Andrew C. Scallet, Syed F.Ali, Roger M. Brown, William Slikker Jr. in “The Journal ofPharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics.” Vol. 260 pp. 210-222.ed. pub.
“Up in Smoke Arkansas Study Raises Doubts About Marijuana Risks ” byMara Leveritt in “Arkansas Times” pp. 11-12. September 16, 1993.
(use of marijuana and other drugs in a positive role in work)
“Working Men and Ganja Marijuana Use in Rural Jamaica Melanie CreaganDreher ” by Melanie Creagan Dreher pub. Institute for the Study ofHuman Issues Philadelphia, 1982.
“The working addict David Caplovitz ” by David Caplovitz pub. M. E.Sharpe, White Plains, NY, 1976.
10) Isn’t marijuana a gateway drug? Doesn’t it lead to use of …
“Who Says Marijuana Use Leads to Heroin Addiction?” by Jerry Mandelin “Journal of Secondary Education” Vol. 43 Iss. 5 pp. 211-217.pub. California Association of Secondary School AdministratorsBurlingame, CA May
“Marihuana reconsidered Lester Grinspoon. ” by Lester Grinspoon M.D.1928- pub. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA, 1977.
(emergency room admissions)
cites pending
11) I don’t want children (minors) to be able to smoke …
(a good book about drugs for parents and children)
“From Chocolate To Morphine” by Andrew Weil pub. data pending (a new edition will be coming out very soon!)
12) Won’t children be able to steal marijuana plants that people…
(industrial hemp has very low THC content)
“Hemp Variations as Pulp Source Researched in the Netherlands” by E.P. M. de Meijer in “Pulp & Paper” pp. 41-42. pub. July, 1993.
13) Hey, don’t you know that marijuana drops testosterone levels…
“Behavioral, Neurochemical, and Neurohistological Effects of ChronicMarijuana Smoke Exposure in the Nonhuman Primate” by William SlikkerJr. et al. in “Marijuana Cannabinoids Neurobiology andNeurophysiology” pp. . Laura Murphy, Andrzej Bartke ed. pub. CRCPress Boca Raton, FL, 1992.
14) Doesn’t heavy marijuana use lower the sperm count in males?
“Marihuana A Signal of Misunderstanding ” pub. U.S. GovernmentPrinting Office Washington, 1972.
15) I heard marijuana use by teenage girls may impair hormone…
“Marihuana A Signal of Misunderstanding ” pub. U.S. GovernmentPrinting Office Washington, 1972.
16) I forgot, does marijuana cause short-term memory impairment?
Go away.
17) Isn’t smoking marijuana worse for you than smoking cigarettes?
(more tar in smoked marijuana, but claims exaggerated)
“Pulmonary Hazards of Smoking Marijuana as Compared with Tobacco” byTzu Chin Wu, Donald P. Tashkin , Behnam Djahed , Jed E. Rose in “NewEngland Journal of Medicine” Vol. 318 Iss. 6 pp. 347-351. pub., 1988.
(low-tar cigarettes just as carcinogenic)
“The Association of Lung Cancer with Tar Content of Cigarettes” byFranz P. Reichsman pub., 1980. (Thesis)
(lung damage from smoking)
“Marijuana Exposure and Pulmonary Alterations in Primates” bySuzanne E. G. Fligiel, Ted F. Beals, Donald P. Tashkin, Merle G.Paule, Andrew C. Scallet, Syed F. Ali, John R. Bailey, William SlikkerJr. in “Pharmacology, Biochemistry & Behavior” Vol. 40 Iss. 3 pp.637-642. ed. pub., 1991.
“Chronic Marijuana Smoke Alters Alveolar Macrophage Morphology andProtein Expression” by Guy A. Cabral, Amy L. Stinnet, John Bailey,Syed F. Ali, Merle G. Paul, Andrew C. Scallet, William Slikker Jr. in“Physiology, Biochemistry and Behavior” Vol. 40 pp. 643-649. ed.pub., 1991.
(Lead 210 and N Nitrosamines in tobacco)
Joseph DiFranza in NEJM Vol. 306 Iss. 6 pub. February, 1982. andresponses in Vol. 307 Iss. 5 pub. July, 1982.
18 ) Don’t children born to pot-smoking mothers suffer from Fetal …..
“Effects of Prenatal Exposure to Cannabinoids” by Ernest L. Abel in“CurrentReasearch on the Consequences of Maternal Drug Abuse”Theodore M. Pinkert ed. NIDA Research monograph # 59
“The Effects of Early Marijuana Exposure” by Ernest L. Abel, Gary A.Rockwood, Edward P. Riley in “Handbook of teratology” pp. 267-288.
(Jamaican studies)
“Prenatal Marijuana Exposure and Neonatal Outcomes in Jamaica AnEthnographic Study ” by Melanie C. Dreher , Kevin Nugent, RebekahHudgins in “Pediatrics” Vol. 93 Iss. 2 pp. 254-260. pub. February,1994.
(THC fetal exposure)
“Placental Transfer and Fetal Disposition ofDelta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) During Late Pregnancy in the RhesusMonkey” by William Slikker Jr, H. C. Cunny, J. R. Bailey, M. G. Paulein “” pp. 97-102.
“The Influence of Anesthesia, Pregnancy, and Sex on the PlasmaDisposition of Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol and11-nor-9-carboxy-delta-9-Tetrahydrocannabinol in the Rhesus Monkey”by Merle G. Paule, John R. Bailey, William Slikker Jr. in “” pp.315-320. ed. pub.
19) Doesn’t marijuana cause a lot of automobile accidents?
NHTSA statistical study pub. 1992, data pending
NHTSA Amsterdam study pub. 1994, data pending
Australian statistical survey pub 1993, data pending
20) Aren’t you afraid everyone will get hooked?
“Behavioral, Neurochemical, and Neurohistological Effects of ChronicMarijuana Smoke Exposure in the Nonhuman Primate” by William SlikkerJr. et al. in “Marijuana Cannabinoids Neurobiology andNeurophysiology” Laura Murphy, Andrzej Bartke ed. pub. CRC Press BocaRaton, FL, 1992.
“Marihuana A Signal of Misunderstanding ” pub. U.S. GovernmentPrinting Office Washington, 1972.
“The Marijuana Problem in the City of New York” (Mayor Laguardia’sCommission on Marijuana. The text of the decision can be found in athree volume set entitled “The Marijuana Papers”) more pub. datapending.
“Marihuana reconsidered Lester Grinspoon.” by Lester Grinspoon M.D.1928- pub. Harvard University Press Cambridge, MA, 1977.
21) Is urine testing for marijuana use as a terms of employment…
“Applicant Testing For Drug Use A Policy and Legal Inquiry ” byJonathan V. Holtzman in “William and Mary Law Review” Vol. 33 pp.47-93. pub., 1991.
22) Isn’t all this worth the trouble, though, in order to reduce…
“Social Behavior, Public Policy, and Non-harmful Drug Use” byCharles Winick in “The Milbank Quarterly” Vol. 69 Iss. 3 pp.437-459. ed. published for the Milbank Memorial Fund CambridgeUniversity Press New York, NY, 1991.
other cites pending (mail the faq maintainor)
23) Wouldn’t it be best to just lock the users all up?
“Drugs, Crime and the Justice System” pub. United States GovernmentPrinting Office Washington, DC December, 1992.
“The State of Criminal Justice, an annual report” by the AmericanBar Association, 1993 pub. U.S. Government Printing office.
“Social Behavior, Public Policy, and Non-harmful Drug Use” byCharles Winick in “The Milbank Quarterly” Vol. 69 Iss. 3 pp.437-459. pub. published for the Milbank Memorial Fund CambridgeUniversity Press New York, NY, 1991.
24) I heard that there are over 400 chemicals in marijuana…
(800 chemicals in coffee)
“Too Many Rodent Carcinogens Mitogenesis Increases Mutagenesis ” byB. N. Ames, L. S. Gold in “Science” Vol. 149 pp. 971. ed. pub.,1990.
(other cannabinoids)
“Marijuana Chemistry Genetics, Processing, and Potency ” by MichaelStarks pub. Ronin Inc., 1990.
“Marijuana, The Forbidden Medicine” by Lester Grinspoon M.D. andJames B. Bakalar pub. Yale University Press New Haven, 1993.
25) Doesn’t that stuff mess up your immune system…
(liver macrophages)
“Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol A Novel Treatment for ExperimentalAutoimmune Encephalitis ” by W. D. Lyman , J. R. Sonett , C. F.Brosnan , R. Elkin , M. B. Bornstein in “Journal of Neuroimmunology”Vol. 23 pp. 73-81. 1989.
(lung macrophages and other cells)
“Chronic Marijuana Smoke Alters Alveolar Macrophage Morphology andProtein Expression” by Guy A. Cabral, Amy L. Stinnet, John Bailey,Syed F. Ali, Merle G. Paul, Andrew C. Scallet, William Slikker Jr,1991.
(general overview)
“Marijuana and Immunity” by Leo E. Hollister M.D. in “Journal ofPsychoactive Drugs” Vol. 24 Iss. 2 pp. 159-164. pub. Haight-AshburyPublications in association with the Haight-Ashbury Free MedicalClinic San Francisco, Calif. : April,June, 1992.
(Carlton Turner)
“Official Corruption Carton Turner” by Jack HererJack Herer in “TheEmperor Wears No Clothes The Authoritative Historical Record of theCannabis Plant, Marijuana Prohibition, & How Hemp Can Still Save theWorld” pub. Queen of Clubs HEMP Publishing, 1993.

// DrugSense Drug War Clock

58 Responses to “Why is Marijuana Illegal?”

  1. [...] bookmarks tagged determined Why is Marijuana Illegal? saved by 1 others     ugottalovejonhcena36 bookmarked on 01/23/08 | [...]

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  5. deb said

    Looking for a Doctor to presribe medical marijuana in SW or NW MT

  6. M Metner said

    This is one incredible piece of literature. It gives me hope for our future. I even felt relaxed while reading it. I don’t currently use cannabis. But, I hope to one day. For my arthritis pain. When we get it legalized.Thanks for all the hard work. You are the best.

  7. Ryan Billard said

    Hell guys Marijuana is not illegal if you dont get caught.If you get caught then its illegal.BUT HELL MAN WEED ALL THE WAY JUST GIVE IT 10 YEARS AND THEN THE PRESIDENT WILL BE SITTING IN HIS OFFICE SMOKING A FUCKING B.L.U.N.T.BLUNT MAN AND JOINTS IN HIS ASSTRAY!!!

  8. TOM RHODES said

    I HAVE MEDICAL CARD FOR MARIJUANA HERE IN OREGON.

    I BELEIVE YOUR ESSAY IS RIGHT ON THE MARK.

    THIS COUNTRY SO WRONG ABOUT A LOT OF THINGS, AND
    THIS ONE SUBJECT IS SO RIGHT.

    THE AMA A MR.WOODWORTH IS RIGHT ABOUT THE RACISM
    USED ON MARIJUANA. I HAVE KNOWN THIS SINCE I FIRST SMOKED MJ, I WAS 16 YEARS OLD.

    I HAD A DEBATE ON THIS SUBJECT THAT PRINTED IN MY
    HIGH SCHOOL PAPER. I WENT TO SUNSET HIGH SCHOOL
    IN BEAVERTON 48. I AND MY BROTHER DEBATED THE OTHER TWINS, IN MY CLASS, AND GUESS WHAT ONE OF THEM CHANGED HIS ATTITUDE. HE SMOKED IN COLLEGE
    AS HE WAS AGAINST MARIJUANA AND WHEN HE SMOKED IT,
    HE FOUND THE LIES SURROUNDING IT.

    NOW HE GROWS HIS OWN AND IS IN FAVOR OF IT OF LEGAL MARIJUANA. I WAS SURPRIZED AT THIS. THIS HAPPENED AT MY 10 YEAR HIGH SCHOOL REUNION, 1985.

    IT FOR ME IT HAS FINALLY BEEN LEGAL FOR MEDICAL MJ, AND HAVE HAD A PERMIT FOR 4 YEARS.

    IT SHOULD BE LEGAL FOR EVERYONE OVER THE AGE OF 18.

    THAT IS ALL I HAVE TO SAY.

    THANK YOU,

    TOM R.

  9. Haley said

    i think that if they can make liquar and alchol legal for people over the age of 21, when that causes wreaks, murders, fights, violence and mush more, MARIJUANA should be legal. what does it do? it chills you out, puts you in a good mood, i have never heard of someone dying from smoking pot but i have from beer!

    4 of my good friends just got arrested for growing. 31 plants. and now the news say they were “bad” people. hah. they were better than anyone i had ever met.

    SMOKING MARIJUANA DOES NOT MAKE YOU A BAD PERSON, JUDGING OVER THINGS YOU DONT UNDERSTAND IS!

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  11. S.L said

    I used to have strong pain in my back due to hard work, my doctor gave me paragin forte to ease the pain. Then after a long period i started noticing the side effects and refused to take any more pills to ease the pain. I started taking marijuana and it helped me, actually my back is fine now. I then realised that it also lowered my stress. I also switched alchohol during holidays with marijuana instead. And my body is way more healthy now. I think its a shame that a miracle like that is illegal.
    And I hope that one day, one of my days, I will see that glorious day marijuana is legalized.

  12. said

    Thanks your message has very much helped me:)

  13. Taylor said

    I completely agree with everything you said, I dont think I’ve ever heard it said that good though.

  14. Nick S said

    This is all true, but sadly enough it wont make any differance untill we all stand up together, walk on DC and make those b@$#@rds listen to our voice. I’ve been useing Cannabis since I was about 16, and my father since he was about 18, niether of us has ever used any other “Hard Drug”, and we have no desire to. The problems that I have with the whole criminalization of Cannabis is most people I have had to deal with, have the problem with assuming that because they dont like something they can disregard another persons rights, illegalize it, and tell them to quit or suffer legal ramifications. The second problem is the fact that people want to blame me that I cant get a job because I smoke, as if it were my fault, when the fact is that I would have no problem at all, getting a job if it wasnt for all of the testing and ignorant assumtions by those who think that they are better than me, because I choose to smoke. The one that I realy love, however, is the one where a mom comes up to me and says that I am polluting the air and creating a health hazard for theyre children, when they put out more pollutants from theyre cars exhaust in the five minute drive to work, in one day, than I do in a week, smoking both Cannabis and tobacco. The biggest problem though, is, I am tired of being considered a criminal, the same as a thief or murderer, just because I have chosen to use a plant that has been in use by humans for over 9,000 years. Enough said, I just wish those people out there will stop preaching equality, and tolerance for race, sex, religion, creed, ect, ect, untill they are ready to start practicing those same ideas with people like me. Personaly, I think we need to set a date, and everyone walk on theyre states capital and have a “Smoke-Out”, everyone go to theyre capitals respectivly and smoke a joint, bowl, blunt, or whatever, if thousands of people where to show up in each state, to the point that daily buissness is halted because of standing room only in the streets, the government might just have to sit down, shut up, and listen to us, and what we have to say. I say April 20, 2009, “Opperation Smoke-Out” now all we have to do is congrigate together and “express” our opinion.

    • WeEdBosS said

      i think weed should toatally be leagal b/c it like rules man and um its sweet some people said that it may like even have some like medical and even clothing or fabric benafits and that its illegal b/c the goverment cant profit off it but i like it and um it is pretty sweet.(if they made weed clothes,fabric,or mediceine i would just smoke it instead of use it).

  15. Great article! A lot of people seem to forget that cannabis became illegal due to a lot of silly reasons and not because it is a dangerous drug.

  16. slade said

    i personally dont smoke for the reason of getting caught, but i think that marijuana should be LEGAL.

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  18. sara said

    that was really awesome.

    anyone want to be an activist?

    call 973-409-3274 and press #

    tell everyone you know.

  19. noa lum said

    dope.
    word rasta

  20. legalizepot420 said

    are you a stoner?

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  24. Amazing read. I would like to quote you in my documentry I am working on. Please let me know if you would be interested.
    Anneliese Curtis Place
    Queen of nigtlife

  25. Eco Green said

    Politicians are 10 years behind the times when it comes to hemp use. People have been fighting for a long time against marijuana and pot prohibition with some movement going on now. Still too slow for those caught up in the jail system for possessing a little weed. Our freedoms have been trampled on by folks who know nothing about how beautiful cannabis can be for someones life, if one learns how to grow cannabis. Keep up the good work.

  26. Hemp said

    Check out Time4hemp.com for more information and our weekly podcast about what is going on. Lots of great information all for free.

  27. Matt S said

    This is by far the best informative page on cannabis, all in all it not only explains but goes into detail about the history and possible future of the plant. I am 18 years old and have been smoking for a few years and can say I strongly support the use of cannabis on a personal level. I believe that if you want to smoke then you should be allowed to do so and if you don’t then at least have the decency and common courtesy to respect the choices made by others. People who consume this herb are not only reasonable but usually very understanding and kind and honestly whats wrong with that? With the world being in the state it’s in today and where we’re headed as a population, I really don’t see legalizing it as being harmful…if anything it would help. I’m currently on probation now for simple possession and it makes me sick to know that I’m now looked down upon in society for using a plant. I caused no harm to anyone and did not force anybody to partake in the act. It’s absolutley insane that this simple plant is not only illegal but ridiculed as being dangerous and a waste of time. I’m glad that I’m not the only one who feels this way. I hope that one day (hopefully soon) we as human beings can come together and recognize more important issues rather than worry about something so petty as this. To whomever that wrote this, I thank you for standing up and voicing your opinion and letting me know that I’m not alone on this issue.

  28. hasan said

    I currently have my own , unbiassed private exposure to blazing cannabis, and regardless of how oftentimes users declare “it’s good with this” and “very good regarding that”, Let me tell people that it almost wrecked my life man! Look, I am aware that there are folks who are able to simply up and quit, yet there are various other people who have the hardest time trying to quit smoking bud. The primary problem with being hooked on cannabis is usually that the cravings is really a psychological one, definitely not bodily.

  29. An added benefit is the ability for the electronic smoker to smoke in virtually any place or any environment. Pubs, Clubs, restaurants, theaters

  30. While Electronic cigarettes look, feel and taste much like traditional cigarettes, they function very differently. You see, electronic cigarettes do not actually burn any tobacco, but rather, when you inhale from an e-cigarette, you activate a “flow censor” which releases a water vapor containing nicotine, propylene glycol, and a scent that simulates the flavor of tobacco. All of which simply means that electronic cigarettes allow you to get your nicotine fix while avoiding all of the cancer causing agents found in traditional cigarettes such as tar, glue, hundreds of additives, and hydrocarbons.

  31. Bob Iadone said

    Pete,

    I thought both these videos summed up the truth about the cause:

    Continued success with your efforts.

    Best,

    Bob

  32. Jimmy Konga said

    I honestly cannot believe that politicians were that ignorant to pass such a ridiculous bill. How do you ban something that has been used by humanity for over thousands of years?

    I say they should prohibit aspirin, morphine, alcohol, and other dangerous, yet legal drugs. Or call themselves national hypocrites and legalize it.

  33. malinally said

    My sincere opinion as a citizen of this beautiful country that all the world dreams of coming here and be happy, prosper not be ruined by the bad image it has by now on this dependency of illegal drugs , my sincere opinion is if I could do change in this world I would putout a very hard investigation house by house as social workers could go to houses and just write down all of a homes problems or if they had an addict at home, well imagine all these hard fines be given to these addicts or if they cannot pay , of course they are sick and only lazy around well a good fine or imprisonment where they could stay and be taught the good way of life instead of keeping then out here damaging the image of our country and damaging the new young generations, well this way no one would be out free and this no one could buy illegal drugs, imagine no more dependence or mno more ordering, or buying marijuana cigarettes, or other hard drugs, and this way ha, ha, ha, no more business for the suposesly millionaire business of drug trafickers and cartels earning the money the lazy way poisoning innocent persons who are caught on this stupid addiction , in my sincere opinion if other decent persons, earn the day to day hard worked 8 to 5 jobs or sweating, at the labor field, or other decent jobs and earn their money the correct way, then WHY SHOULD THIS LAZY PEOPLE< COWARDS< AFRAID TO EARN THE MONEY THE CORRECT WAY AS THEY SAY IN SPANISH" PONLE A LA FRIEGA< THAT IS SWEAT YOU
    OUR GOD KNOWS

  34. Nati said

    I don’t see how Marijuana is a dangerous drug, because Tabacco is dangerous, it has chemicals in it, it kills people all the time. Tabacco gives us cancer. I never heard Marijuana does that, its grown natrually from the ground. In my opinion Marijuana is the safest drug out there. Even better then over the counter medication. theres no over dose, and no side affects besides getting high.

  35. Alex said

    My dad’s one of those guys who doesn’t like how the government’s changed since the founding fathers, and he will sit down and talk you blue in the face about any issue regarding the government. I tried maryjane for my first time in 8th grade, I was 14. He found out, I got in trouble, dadada you know the drill. It surprised me to later find out he was for the legalization of marijuana, I asked him why, and he told me this exact story. My dad, knows his stuff when it comes to government, so its safe to say you do too, at least on this issue. 100% thumbs up to you, thanks for putting in your time to make this website. I wish everyone here could see things like how you do.

  36. Will said

    Now that marijuana is coming to the people and the real effects,I think us be perfect to start a major marijuana rally,I no that I would join u I an instant,yea I do smoke weed but I’m not a pot head,I use it to relax and study,if it was legal it’d be easier for me and everyone else that uses it for a good reason, if u start a rally for marijuana to be legal email me at willwrff@aol.com and I’ll be happy to join and I know many people that would live to join and could help with the legalization MARIJUANA today MARIJUANA tomorrow and MARIJUANA forever

  37. greg vogt said

    the ONLY reason hemp is illegal is because the rich does not want it legal..cause all of us can grow it and send it in to make money..they want to be the only ones to make money..do you have any idea how much the gas people would lose if hemp were made illegal and gas was made from it like henry fords first model-t was to run the car on gas and oil?you know how much money the chemical people would lose if it were made legal?? they would lose hundreds of trillions of dollars a year..paper will be made from it and the herst industry will be out..there are part of all the newspapers all over..we need it legal for the over 26,000 uses for it..you can throw your plastic bottle anywhere..it will decompose back into the soil..we wont have any more problems like what happened in the gulf..it will open over 20 million jobs instantly and unimployment will go down to like 1.5%..but you cant tell the rich that..AND it will stop that new world order thing that wants to wipe out 80% of the population cause it is easier to control 20% and we are not part of that 20%..only the rich are..time to spread the wealth!!

  38. weedpharmer said

    I, too, would like to be able to use this paper as a reference in an upcoming work. Much of this is covered by Jack Herer, but I found this one to possess a conversational rhetoric today’s masses need to hear. If I cannot cite the author by name I will cite “anonymous poster, wordpress.com article: (http://legalizepot.wordpress.com/2008/01/23/why-is-marijuana-illegal/)”. I’d love to include an interview.

  39. [...] course these cameras are used anyway in the invasive freedom-destroying property-rights destroying war on certain vegetation the system doesn’t like, which is just a an excuse to dominate our lives and gradually create a police state. I notice one [...]

  40. kerry said

    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:

    Racism
    Fear
    Protection of Corporate Profits
    Yellow Journalism
    Ignorant, Incompetent, and/or Corrupt Legislators
    Personal Career Advancement and Greed
    These are the actual reasons marijuana is illegal.

    Background

    For most of human history, marijuana has been completely legal. It’s not a recently discovered plant, nor is it a long-standing law. Marijuana has been illegal for less than 1% of the time that it’s been in use. Its known uses go back further than 7,000 B.C. and it was legal as recently as when Ronald Reagan was a boy.

    The marijuana (hemp) plant, of course, has an incredible number of uses. The earliest known woven fabric was apparently of hemp, and over the centuries the plant was used for food, incense, cloth, rope, and much more. This adds to some of the confusion over its introduction in the United States, as the plant was well known from the early 1600′s, but did not reach public awareness as a recreational drug until the early 1900′s.

    America’s first marijuana law was enacted at Jamestown Colony, Virginia in 1619. It was a law “ordering” all farmers to grow Indian hempseed. There were several other “must grow” laws over the next 200 years (you could be jailed for not growing hemp during times of shortage in Virginia between 1763 and 1767), and during most of that time, hemp was legal tender (you could even pay your taxes with hemp — try that today!) Hemp was such a critical crop for a number of purposes (including essential war requirements – rope, etc.) that the government went out of its way to encourage growth.

    The United States Census of 1850 counted 8,327 hemp “plantations” (minimum 2,000-acre farm) growing cannabis hemp for cloth, canvas and even the cordage used for baling cotton.

  41. kerry said

    The Mexican Connection

    In the early 1900s, the western states developed significant tensions regarding the influx of Mexican-Americans. The revolution in Mexico in 1910 spilled over the border, with General Pershing’s army clashing with bandit Pancho Villa. Later in that decade, bad feelings developed between the small farmer and the large farms that used cheaper Mexican labor. Then, the depression came and increased tensions, as jobs and welfare resources became scarce.

    One of the “differences” seized upon during this time was the fact that many Mexicans smoked marijuana and had brought the plant with them, and it was through this that California apparently passed the first state marijuana law, outlawing “preparations of hemp, or loco weed.”

    However, one of the first state laws outlawing marijuana may have been influenced, not just by Mexicans using the drug, but, oddly enough, because of Mormons using it. Mormons who traveled to Mexico in 1910 came back to Salt Lake City with marijuana. The church’s reaction to this may have contributed to the state’s marijuana law. (Note: the source for this speculation is from articles by Charles Whitebread, Professor of Law at USC Law School in a paper for the Virginia Law Review, and a speech to the California Judges Association (sourced below). Mormon blogger Ardis Parshall disputes this.)

    Other states quickly followed suit with marijuana prohibition laws, including Wyoming (1915), Texas (1919), Iowa (1923), Nevada (1923), Oregon (1923), Washington (1923), Arkansas (1923), and Nebraska (1927). These laws tended to be specifically targeted against the Mexican-American population.

    When Montana outlawed marijuana in 1927, the Butte Montana Standard reported a legislator’s comment: “When some beet field peon takes a few traces of this stuff… he thinks he has just been elected president of Mexico, so he starts out to execute all his political enemies.” In Texas, a senator said on the floor of the Senate: “All Mexicans are crazy, and this stuff [marijuana] is what makes them crazy.”

  42. kerry said

    Jazz and Assassins

    In the eastern states, the “problem” was attributed to a combination of Latin Americans and black jazz musicians. Marijuana and jazz traveled from New Orleans to Chicago, and then to Harlem, where marijuana became an indispensable part of the music scene, even entering the language of the black hits of the time (Louis Armstrong’s “Muggles”, Cab Calloway’s “That Funny Reefer Man”, Fats Waller’s “Viper’s Drag”).

    Again, racism was part of the charge against marijuana, as newspapers in 1934 editorialized: “Marihuana influences Negroes to look at white people in the eye, step on white men’s shadows and look at a white woman twice.”

    Two other fear-tactic rumors started to spread: one, that Mexicans, Blacks and other foreigners were snaring white children with marijuana; and two, the story of the “assassins.” Early stories of Marco Polo had told of “hasheesh-eaters” or hashashin, from which derived the term “assassin.” In the original stories, these professional killers were given large doses of hashish and brought to the ruler’s garden (to give them a glimpse of the paradise that awaited them upon successful completion of their mission). Then, after the effects of the drug disappeared, the assassin would fulfill his ruler’s wishes with cool, calculating loyalty.

    By the 1930s, the story had changed. Dr. A. E. Fossier wrote in the 1931 New Orleans Medical and Surgical Journal: “Under the influence of hashish those fanatics would madly rush at their enemies, and ruthlessly massacre every one within their grasp.” Within a very short time, marijuana started being linked to violent behavior.

    Alcohol Prohibition and Federal Approaches to Drug Prohibition

    During this time, the United States was also dealing with alcohol prohibition, which lasted from 1919 to 1933. Alcohol prohibition was extremely visible and debated at all levels, while drug laws were passed without the general public’s knowledge. National alcohol prohibition happened through the mechanism of an amendment to the constitution.

    Earlier (1914), the Harrison Act was passed, which provided federal tax penalties for opiates and cocaine.

    The federal approach is important. It was considered at the time that the federal government did not have the constitutional power to outlaw alcohol or drugs. It is because of this that alcohol prohibition required a constitutional amendment.

    At that time in our country’s history, the judiciary regularly placed the tenth amendment in the path of congressional regulation of “local” affairs, and direct regulation of medical practice was considered beyond congressional power under the commerce clause (since then, both provisions have been weakened so far as to have almost no meaning).

    Since drugs could not be outlawed at the federal level, the decision was made to use federal taxes as a way around the restriction. In the Harrison Act, legal uses of opiates and cocaine were taxed (supposedly as a revenue need by the federal government, which is the only way it would hold up in the courts), and those who didn’t follow the law found themselves in trouble with the treasury department.

    In 1930, a new division in the Treasury Department was established — the Federal Bureau of Narcotics — and Harry J. Anslinger was named director. This, if anything, marked the beginning of the all-out war against marijuana

  43. kerry said

    Harry J. Anslinger

    Anslinger was an extremely ambitious man, and he recognized the Bureau of Narcotics as an amazing career opportunity — a new government agency with the opportunity to define both the problem and the solution. He immediately realized that opiates and cocaine wouldn’t be enough to help build his agency, so he latched on to marijuana and started to work on making it illegal at the federal level.

    Anslinger immediately drew upon the themes of racism and violence to draw national attention to the problem he wanted to create. He also promoted and frequently read from “Gore Files” — wild reefer-madness-style exploitation tales of ax murderers on marijuana and sex and… Negroes. Here are some quotes that have been widely attributed to Anslinger and his Gore Files:

    “There are 100,000 total marijuana smokers in the US, and most are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos, and entertainers. 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.”

    “…the primary reason to outlaw marijuana is its effect on the degenerate races.”

    “Marijuana is an addictive drug which produces in its users insanity, criminality, and death.”

    “Reefer makes darkies think they’re as good as white men.”

    “Marihuana leads to pacifism and communist brainwashing”

    “You smoke a joint and you’re likely to kill your brother.”

    “Marijuana is the most violence-causing drug in the history of mankind.”

  44. kerry said

    And he loved to pull out his own version of the “assassin” definition:

    “In the year 1090, there was founded in Persia the religious and military order of the Assassins, whose history is one of cruelty, barbarity, and murder, and for good reason: the members were confirmed users of hashish, or marihuana, and it is from the Arabs’ ‘hashashin’ that we have the English word ‘assassin.’”

    Yellow Journalism

    Harry Anslinger got some additional help from William Randolf Hearst, owner of a huge chain of newspapers. Hearst had lots of reasons to help. First, he hated Mexicans. Second, he had invested heavily in the timber industry to support his newspaper chain and didn’t want to see the development of hemp paper in competition. Third, he had lost 800,000 acres of timberland to Pancho Villa, so he hated Mexicans. Fourth, telling lurid lies about Mexicans (and the devil marijuana weed causing violence) sold newspapers, making him rich.

    Some samples from the San Francisco Examiner:

    “Marihuana makes fiends of boys in thirty days — Hashish goads users to bloodlust.”

    “By the tons it is coming into this country — the deadly, dreadful poison that racks and tears not only the body, but the very heart and soul of every human being who once becomes a slave to it in any of its cruel and devastating forms…. Marihuana is a short cut to the insane asylum. Smoke marihuana cigarettes for a month and what was once your brain will be nothing but a storehouse of horrid specters. Hasheesh makes a murderer who kills for the love of killing out of the mildest mannered man who ever laughed at the idea that any habit could ever get him….

  45. kerry said

    And other nationwide columns…

    “Users of marijuana become STIMULATED as they inhale the drug and are LIKELY TO DO ANYTHING. Most crimes of violence in this section, especially in country districts are laid to users of that drug.”

    “Was it marijuana, the new Mexican drug, that nerved the murderous arm of Clara Phillips when she hammered out her victim’s life in Los Angeles?… THREE-FOURTHS OF THE CRIMES of violence in this country today are committed by DOPE SLAVES — that is a matter of cold record.”

    Hearst and Anslinger were then supported by Dupont chemical company and various pharmaceutical companies in the effort to outlaw cannabis. Dupont had patented nylon, and wanted hemp removed as competition. The pharmaceutical companies could neither identify nor standardize cannabis dosages, and besides, with cannabis, folks could grow their own medicine and not have to purchase it from large companies.

    This all set the stage for…

    The Marijuana Tax Act of 1937.

    After two years of secret planning, Anslinger brought his plan to Congress — complete with a scrapbook full of sensational Hearst editorials, stories of ax murderers who had supposedly smoked marijuana, and racial slurs.

    It was a remarkably short set of hearings.

    The one fly in Anslinger’s ointment was the appearance by Dr. William C. Woodward, Legislative Council of the American Medical Association.

    Woodward started by slamming Harry Anslinger and the Bureau of Narcotics for distorting earlier AMA statements that had nothing to do with marijuana and making them appear to be AMA endorsement for Anslinger’s view.

    He also reproached the legislature and the Bureau for using the term marijuana in the legislation and not publicizing it as a bill about cannabis or hemp. At this point, marijuana (or marihuana) was a sensationalist word used to refer to Mexicans smoking a drug and had not been connected in most people’s minds to the existing cannabis/hemp plant. Thus, many who had legitimate reasons to oppose the bill weren’t even aware of it.

    Woodward went on to state that the AMA was opposed to the legislation and further questioned the approach of the hearings, coming close to outright accusation of misconduct by Anslinger and the committee:

  46. kerry said

    “That there is a certain amount of narcotic addiction of an objectionable character no one will deny. The newspapers have called attention to it so prominently that there must be some grounds for [their] statements [even Woodward was partially taken in by Hearst's propaganda]. It has surprised me, however, that the facts on which these statements have been based have not been brought before this committee by competent primary evidence. We are referred to newspaper publications concerning the prevalence of marihuana addiction. We are told that the use of marihuana causes crime.

    But yet no one has been produced from the Bureau of Prisons to show the number of prisoners who have been found addicted to the marihuana habit. An informed inquiry shows that the Bureau of Prisons has no evidence on that point.

    You have been told that school children are great users of marihuana cigarettes. No one has been summoned from the Children’s Bureau to show the nature and extent of the habit, among children.

    Inquiry of the Children’s Bureau shows that they have had no occasion to investigate it and know nothing particularly of it.

    Inquiry of the Office of Education— and they certainly should know something of the prevalence of the habit among the school children of the country, if there is a prevalent habit— indicates that they have had no occasion to investigate and know nothing of it.

    Moreover, there is in the Treasury Department itself, the Public Health Service, with its Division of Mental Hygiene. The Division of Mental Hygiene was, in the first place, the Division of Narcotics. It was converted into the Division of Mental Hygiene, I think, about 1930. That particular Bureau has control at the present time of the narcotics farms that were created about 1929 or 1930 and came into operation a few years later. No one has been summoned from that Bureau to give evidence on that point.

    Informal inquiry by me indicates that they have had no record of any marihuana of Cannabis addicts who have ever been committed to those farms.

    The bureau of Public Health Service has also a division of pharmacology. If you desire evidence as to the pharmacology of Cannabis, that obviously is the place where you can get direct and primary evidence, rather than the indirect hearsay evidence.”

    Committee members then proceeded to attack Dr. Woodward, questioning his motives in opposing the legislation. Even the Chairman joined in:

    The Chairman: If you want to advise us on legislation, you ought to come here with some constructive proposals, rather than criticism, rather than trying to throw obstacles in the way of something that the Federal Government is trying to do. It has not only an unselfish motive in this, but they have a serious responsibility.

    Dr. Woodward: We cannot understand yet, Mr. Chairman, why this bill should have been prepared in secret for 2 years without any intimation, even, to the profession, that it was being prepared.

    After some further bantering…

  47. kerry said

    The Chairman: I would like to read a quotation from a recent editorial in the Washington Times:

    The marihuana 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.

    The Nation is almost defenseless against it, having no Federal laws to cope with it and virtually no organized campaign for combating it.

    The result is tragic.

    School children are the prey of peddlers who infest school neighborhoods.

    High school boys and girls buy the destructive weed without knowledge of its capacity of harm, and conscienceless dealers sell it with impunity.

    This is a national problem, and it must have national attention.

    The fatal marihuana cigarette must be recognized as a deadly drug, and American children must be protected against it.

    That is a pretty severe indictment. They say it is a national question and that it requires effective legislation. Of course, in a general way, you have responded to all of these statements; but that indicates very clearly that it is an evil of such magnitude that it is recognized by the press of the country as such.

    And that was basically it. Yellow journalism won over medical science.

    The committee passed the legislation on. And on the floor of the house, the entire discussion was:

    Member from upstate New York: “Mr. Speaker, what is this bill about?”

    Speaker Rayburn: “I don’t know. It has something to do with a thing called marihuana. I think it’s a narcotic of some kind.”

    “Mr. Speaker, does the American Medical Association support this bill?”

    Member on the committee jumps up and says: “Their Doctor Wentworth[sic] came down here. They support this bill 100 percent.”

    And on the basis of that lie, on August 2, 1937, marijuana became illegal at the federal level.

    The entire coverage in the New York Times: “President Roosevelt signed today a bill to curb traffic in the narcotic, marihuana, through heavy taxes on transactions.”

    Anslinger as precursor to the Drug Czars

    Anslinger was essentially the first Drug Czar. Even though the term didn’t exist until William Bennett’s position as director of the White House Office of National Drug Policy, Anslinger acted in a similar fashion. In fact, there are some amazing parallels between Anslinger and the current Drug Czar John Walters. Both had kind of a carte blanche to go around demonizing drugs and drug users. Both had resources and a large public podium for their voice to be heard and to promote their personal agenda. Both lied constantly, often when it was unnecessary. Both were racists. Both had the ear of lawmakers, and both realized that they could persuade legislators and others based on lies, particularly if they could co-opt the media into squelching or downplaying any opposition views.

    Anslinger even had the ability to circumvent the First Amendment. He banned the Canadian movie “Drug Addict,” a 1946 documentary that realistically depicted the drug addicts and law enforcement efforts. He even tried to get Canada to ban the movie in their own country, or failing that, to prevent U.S. citizens from seeing the movie in Canada. Canada refused. (Today, Drug Czar John Walters is trying to bully Canada into keeping harsh marijuana laws.)

    Anslinger had 37 years to solidify the propaganda and stifle opposition. The lies continued the entire time (although the stories would adjust — the 21 year old Florida boy who killed his family of five got younger each time he told it). In 1961, he looked back at his efforts:

  48. kerry said

    “Much of the most irrational juvenile violence and that has written a new chapter of shame and tragedy is traceable directly to this hemp intoxication. A gang of boys tear the clothes from two school girls and rape the screaming girls, one boy after the other. A sixteen-year-old kills his entire family of five in Florida, a man in Minnesota puts a bullet through the head of a stranger on the road; in Colorado husband tries to shoot his wife, kills her grandmother instead and then kills himself. Every one of these crimes had been proceeded [sic] by the smoking of one or more marijuana “reefers.” As the marijuana situation grew worse, I knew action had to be taken to get the proper legislation passed. By 1937 under my direction, the Bureau launched two important steps First, a legislative plan to seek from Congress a new law that would place marijuana and its distribution directly under federal control. Second, on radio and at major forums, such that presented annually by the New York Herald Tribune, I told the story of this evil weed of the fields and river beds and roadsides. I wrote articles for magazines; our agents gave hundreds of lectures to parents, educators, social and civic leaders. In network broadcasts I reported on the growing list of crimes, including murder and rape. I described the nature of marijuana and its close kinship to hashish. I continued to hammer at the facts.

    I believe we did a thorough job, for the public was alerted and the laws to protect them were passed, both nationally and at the state level. We also brought under control the wild growing marijuana in this country. Working with local authorities, we cleaned up hundreds of acres of marijuana and we uprooted plants sprouting along the roadsides.”

  49. brodey tremblay said

    so i was wondering who wrote this, when they wrote it and all that stuff. i am writing an english paper and this site has helped me alot and i need to use sources

  50. Awesome issues here. I am very happy to peer your post. Thank you a lot and I’m looking ahead to touch you. Will you please drop me a mail?

  51. canna said

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