Across the world, increasingly more individuals are asking: Why is marijuana banned? Why are people still sent to prison for using or selling it?
The majority of us assume it’s because somebody, someplace sat down with the clinical evidence, and found out that marijuana is more harmful than other drugs we use all the time– like alcohol and cigarettes.
Someone worked it all out, for our benefit.
But when I started to go through the official archives to learn why marijuana was prohibited back in the 1930s, I found that’s not what took place.
Not at all.
In 1929, a man called Harry Anslinger was put in charge of the Department of Prohibition in Washington DC. However alcohol prohibition must been a catastrophe. Gangsters had taken over whole areas. Alcohol– controlled by crooks– had actually become much more toxic.
So alcohol prohibition swiftly ended– and Harry Anslinger hesitated. He discovered himself in charge of a big federal government department, with absolutely nothing for it to do. Up till then, he must have stated that cannabis was not a problem. It does not harm individuals, he described, and “there is no more absurd fallacy” than the concept it makes people violent.
But then– suddenly, when his department needed a new function– he revealed he had actually altered his mind.
He explained to the public which would happen if you smoked cannabis.
Initially, you will fall under “a delirious rage.” Then you will be grasped by “dreams … of a sexual character.” Then you will “lose the power of connected thought.” Lastly, you will reach the inescapable end-point: “Insanity.”.
Marijuana turns male into a wild beast. If marijuana bumped into Frankenstein’s monster on the stairs, Anslinger cautioned, the monster would drop dead of shock.
Harry Anslinger ended up being consumed with one case in certain. In Florida, a boy called Victor Lacata hacked his family to death with an axe. Anslinger stated to America: This is exactly what will happen when you smoke “the devil weed.” The case became well-known. The moms and dads of the US were frightened.
What proof did Harry Anslinger have? It ends up at this time he wrote to the 30 leading scientists on this subject, asking if marijuana was a threat, and if there must be a ban.
Twenty-nine wrote back and said this was not the case.
Anslinger selected the one scientist who stated yes, and presented him to the world. Journalism– obsessed with Victor Lacata’s axe– cheered them on.
In a panic that grasped America, marijuana was prohibited. The United States informed other nations they needed to do the exact same. Many nations said it was a dumb idea, and chose not to do it. For instance, Mexico decided their drug policy need to be run by doctors. Their medical guidance was that cannabis didn’t trigger these problems, and they chose not to ban it. The US was furious. Anslinger made them to fall into line. The Mexicans held out– till, in the end, the United States cut off the supply of all legal painkillers to Mexico. People began to pass away in agony in their medical facilities. So with regret, Mexico fired the medical professional– and released its own drug war.
However at home, concerns were being asked. A leading American medical professional called Michael Ball wrote to Harry Anslinger, puzzled. He discussed how he had used marijuana as a medical trainee, and it had actually just made him drowsy. Possibly cannabis does drive a little number of people crazy, he stated– however we need to fund some clinical studies to learn.
Anslinger wrote back firmly. “The marijuana evil can no longer be temporized with,” he explained, and he would fund no independent science. Then, or ever.
For several years, doctors kept approaching him with proof he was incorrect, and he began to snap, telling them they were “treading on harmful ground” and they need to watch their mouths.
Today, most of the world is still dealing with the restriction on marijuana that Harry Anslinger created, in the nation-wide panic that followed Victor Lacata’s killing spree.
However here’s the catch. Years later, someone went and took a look at the psychiatric report for Victor Lacata.
It turns out there’s no proof he ever used cannabis.
He had a lot of mental disorders reported in his family. They must been told a year prior to he had to be institutionalized– however they declined. His psychiatrists never even mentioned marijuana in connection to him.
So, does marijuana make individuals mad?
The former chief consultant on drugs to the British federal government, David Nutt, describes– if cannabis causes psychosis in a simple method, then it would display in a straightforward method.
When marijuana use increases, psychosis will increase. And when marijuana usage decreases psychosis will go down.
So does that take place? We have a lot of data from a lot of nations. And it turns out it doesn’t. For example, in Britain, cannabis usage has actually increased by a factor of about 40 since the 1960s. And rates of psychosis? They remained constant.
In reality, the clinical proof suggests marijuana is much safer than alcohol. Alcohol kills 40,000 individuals every year in the United States. Marijuana kills no one– although Willie Nelson states a good friend of his did once pass away when a bale of marijuana fell on his head.
This is why, in 2006, a young man in Colorado called Mason Tvert released a challenge to the then-mayor of Denver and eventual governor, John Hickenlooper. Hickenlooper owned brew-pubs offering alcohol throughout the state, and it made him rich. But he said marijuana was dangerous and needed to be banned. So Mason provided him a challenge– to a battle. You bring a dog crate of booze. I’ll bring a pack of joints. For every hit of booze you take, I’ll take a hit of marijuana. We’ll see who dies first.
It was the ultimate High noon.
Mason went on to lead the project to legislate cannabis in his state. His fellow citizens voted to do it– by 55 %. Now adults can purchase cannabis lawfully, in licensed stores, where they are taxed– and the money is utilized to build schools. After a year and a half of seeing this system in practice, public support for legalization has increased to 69 %. And even Guv Hickenlooper has actually begun calling it “common sense.”.
Oh– and Colorado hasn’t been filled with individuals hacking their households to death yet.
Isn’t it time we paid attention to the science– and lastly put away Victor Lacata’s axe?
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