Now that many politicians and the public are taking a more objective look at marijuana, many are asking about the legal history of marijuana and how it ended up in the category of drugs deemed most dangerous by the federal government Schedule I. At this time we saw an influx of immigration from Mexico into states like Texas and Louisiana. Not surprising, these new Americans brought with them their native language, culture and customs.
Background For most of human history, marijuana has been completely legal. Its known uses go back further than 7, B. 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.
Hemp was such a critical crop for a number of purposes including essential war requirements — rope, etc. The Mexican Connection In the early s, the western states developed significant tensions regarding the influx of Mexican-Americans. 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. Mormons who traveled to Mexico in came back to Salt Lake City with marijuana.
Mormon blogger Criminalization of marijuana Parshall disputes this. Other states quickly followed suit with marijuana prohibition laws, including WyomingTexasIowaNevadaOregonWashingtonArkansasand Nebraska These laws tended to be specifically targeted against the Mexican-American population.
Again, racism was part of the charge against marijuana, as newspapers in editorialized: By the s, the story had changed. Alcohol Prohibition and Federal Approaches to Drug Prohibition During this time, the United States was also dealing with alcohol prohibition, which lasted from to National alcohol prohibition happened through the mechanism of an amendment to the constitution.
Earlierthe 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.
Since drugs could not be outlawed at the federal level, the decision was made to use federal taxes as a way around the restriction. Anslinger was named director. This, if anything, marked the beginning of the all-out war against marijuana. 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.
Anslinger immediately drew upon the themes of racism and violence to draw national attention to the problem he wanted to create. Here are some quotes that have been widely attributed to Anslinger and his Gore Files: 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.
Hearst had lots of reasons to help.
First, he hated Mexicans. Third, he had lostacres 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 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….
Most crimes of violence in this section, especially in country districts are laid to users of that drug. 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 This account only scratches the surface of the story. If you want to know more about the history of marijuana, Harry Anslinger, and the saga of criminalization in the United States and elsewhere, visit some of the excellent links below.
The following states have passed laws decriminalizing certain marijuana possession offenses. Typically, decriminalization means no arrest, prison time, or criminal record for the first-time possession of a small amount of marijuana for personal consumption. Nov 02, · Watch video · Marijuana Tax Act.
The Marijuana Tax Act of was the first federal U.S. law to criminalize marijuana nationwide. The Act imposed an excise tax on the sale, possession or transfer of all hemp. (That the marijuana was a causal factor for the crime was taken for granted.) “How many murders, suicides, robberies, criminal assaults, holdups, burglaries and deeds of maniacal insanity it causes each year can only be conjectured,” Anslinger wrote in a article in American Magazine title “Marijuana, Assassin of Youth.”.
During hearings on marijuana law in the ’s, claims were made about marijuana’s ability to cause men of color to become violent and solicit sex from white women. This imagery became the backdrop for the Marijuana Tax Act of which effectively banned its use and sales. Decriminalization of non-medical cannabis in the United States Jump to Early use and criminalization Marijuana (cannabis) is an herb drug, which contains a very active component deltatetrahydrocannabinol (THC).