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Why is Marijuana Illegal?

“Herb is the healing of a nation, alcohol is the destruction” is a popular quote from the late Bob Marley who is one of the most recognizable advocates for marijuana. Given the present events going on in this country during the Covid-19 pandemic from the recent U.S. Capitol Riots by extremist supporting President Donald Trump to the Black Lives Matter fight for equality. As we start this new year with newly elected President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris and with the Democrats taking over the majority in both houses of Congress. There is a good chance that the M.O.R.E. Act (Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement) has a good chance of being passed which is also a bill that is sponsored by then Senator Harris. This does bring the question; Why is marijuana illegal in the first question? Well just like many other factors throughout American history, the key component is racism.

Harry Jacob Ansliger, this mother fucker right here (One time for the people in the Back) THIS MOTHER FUCKER RIGHT HERE plays a vital part on why marijuana itself is banned but first I’m going to focus on how did marijuana make it to the states and how it started to receive a negative portrayal. It first started with our friends South of the Border and no I’m not talking about Pedro’s attraction off I-95 in Dillon, SC with its huge fireworks store and 60 ft tall sombrero hat. I’m talking about our neighbors in Mexico. From 1910 to 1920 was the Mexican Revolution and during this period there was a mass immigration to the US, mainly Texas and throughtout the Southwest which ironically was all lands owned by Mexico until 1848 after the Mexican-American war (Manifest Destiny is a bitch). Before this immigration, cannabis was widely consumed for medicinal purposes and hemp for industrial. Marihuana was the common word widely used among immigrants who were moving to the states. During this period due to paranoia and xenophobia; the word cannabis was largely replaced by marijuana to associate with the foreignness of the immigrants coming from Mexico because during this period, the ideology essentially was “If it ain’t white, it ain’t right”. This ideology was vastly increased by the media through the cinemas. The Birth of a Nation was the first blockbuster in cinema history that led to extremist movement for racism with groups such as the Ku Klux Clan using this film as a motivator.

The marijuana equivalent was released in 1936 and was called “Reefer Madness”; a film about teenagers getting addicted to marijuana cigarettes and listening to jazz music and throwing wild parties (sounds like a good time to me!) During the 1930s, Harry Ansliger (the white dude pictured above) was the head of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics. Prior before taking this position; he was the head of the Department of Prohibition and during this time he quoted many times during the period that marijuana was harmless and people who smoked it were not dangerous or violent. This position he took changed once he took over the Narcotics department and grouped marijuana as a danger along with other drugs such as heroin and opium due to prohibition being repealed by the 21st amendment. Using racist propaganda hyped by the media and films such as Reefer madness in addition to needing a new drug to focus on, he took a hardline approach by grouping marijuana use with African Americans and Mexican immigrants and as a threat to white Americans everywhere with quotes such as “Reefer makes darkies think they're as good as white men” or “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 usage. This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers and any others”(Ain’t that some shit). In the private sector, its widely suspected that William Randolph Hearst, a newspaper publisher and the company Dupont, started a smear campaign against industrial hemp to eliminate it as a competition for synthetic materials(such as nylon). Plenty of scientist under Ansliger told him the drug wasn’t dangerous but his self interest dismissed there claims. This all led to the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 which allowed the government to proscute anyone in possession , use or selling of marijuana. A study by The La Guardia Committee, which was the first in depth study on marijuana and were dissmisve of the claims that marijuana resulted in insanity. This act is essentially a cash grab by the United States over the next 30 years then finally in 1968 under President Johnson’s administration, this act was overturned and was proven to be unconstitutional with the violation of the 5th amendment during the court case Leary v. United States

“The Act raises an insignificant amount of revenue and exposes an insignificant number of marijuana transactions to public view, since only a handful of people are registered under the Act. It has become, in effect, solely a criminal law, imposing sanctions upon persons who sell, acquire, or possess marijuana." Quick summary of the last paragraph, essentially Ansliger used the power of his office to target minorities by associating marijuana as a destructive drug used by mainly Blacks, Latinos and Asians even though scientist that work with the government through test said that marijuana doesn't make people violent or insane. A common white narrative where only using the facts when it aligns with your interest. (See Donald Trump)

Going to have to take a break from writing this blog, think of it as half time as you continue reading as I provide more bullshit from past elected officials and how they use bullshit laws for personal gain, must be the American Dream or as Dave Chappelle's character from Chappelle's Show Clayton Bigsby "If you have hate in your heart, Let it Out; White Power". Please enjoy one of my favorite marijuana songs "Still Blazing" by Wiz Khalifa.

Y'all good! Hope yall ready for some more babyback bullshit. Well we are going to start in the 1960s which were a very wild time in American society. From the election and assassination of John F Kennedy to Civil Rights Movement led by prominent leaders Malcom X and Martin Luther King Jr. Focusing on the main purpose of this article, we are going to focus on the rise of the Hippies. Hippy culture became a counterculture from the expected mainstream American culture. Starting on college campuses in California and spreading throughout the rest of the United States and Canada. The culture mainly arise to the opposition of the Vietnam War and not having trust in the government (Black people been saying this for a hot min) but they were big advocates for marijuana and are a primary reason why the marihuana tax act was overturned. Not because they were necessarily activist but more for the reason of we can't arrest middle to upper class white people. Enter Richard Nixon aka Captain Watergate.

In 1970, the Controlled Substances Act was the first official act to classify drugs into 5 schedules with 1 being the drugs that have the highest chance of an addiction. Passed by 91st Congress and signed by President Richard Nixon, this act gave two government powers, the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) and the FDA ( Food and Drug Administration) to label and enforce drugs in one of 5 classes. Marijuana is label a schedule 1 drug. This was also a focus from Nixon which started the "War on Drugs" campaign which was the United States movement to fight against the illegal drug trade.

Section 1 of The 13th Amendment states:

"Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction" (also check out the 13th documentary on Netflix). In clarity, everyone has the right to freedom except criminals. Well during Nixon's War on Drugs and carried on with Gerald Ford and Ronald Reagan administrations, African Americans, Hippies and other minorities were disproportionately targeted and caused a massive spike in incarcerations which led to more public funding for prisons. During this time since, minorities would routinely have there time sentences be a lot longer in comparison to White Americans. Its like imagine you have to go to jail for 4 years for an eighth of mid grade weed while the white dude gets community service even though he had a quarter pound.

Enter 1994 Crime Bill; a bill that was sponsored by then Senator and current President Elect Joe Biden which some aspects of the bill I do agree with which includes statutes for hate crimes, sex crimes and gang related crime and allowed a Sex Offenders database in each state. The main flaws in this bill was over $10 billion dollars in funding for prison and another $6 billion dollars in prevention but no focus on rehabilitation. This bill lead to an even higher incarceration rate among Black Americans while giving police more influence into forcing and developing laws.

If you are reading this line then welcome to the end of this blog! My closing viewpoint before I let you go is to not necessarily make this blog post to advocate for marijuana even though I am all for it being legal. It's to provide how self interest of a few led to distrust of the legal system and the lawmakers along with a fear of law enforcement and how it wrecked the minority communities. President Biden, I voted for you not because I believe in you but because you were the better option. Your crime bill has a lot of blood that we will hold you responsible for and Vice President Kamala Harris, you have had your fair criticism of your career as a prosecutor. We presently have a very divided America right now but I will be fair but critical of your administration as they take over to hopefully start the healing process of this country. In the words of the late Nate Dogg; "Smoke Weed Everyday"! Thank you for reading this blog post of the Holy City High. #NappyOut

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As we enjoy the first day of February and the start of black history month. I feel like this is the appropriate time to address the future plans for 2022. - Nominate the Holy City High for Best Local

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