Why was marijuana outlawed to begin with?


Thanks for this. It seems we are finally making progress in some areas, but the federal laws and treaty obligations regarding hemp are going to be a minefield for years to come. The filling of our “prisons for profit” with small time pot users is a tragedy that will have negative effects until we reverse our course and start using reason in the passage of our laws.


From memory the film ‘Grass’ touched on this, ironically paranoia induced fear of Mexican migrant workers.


Trust me, whatever the current rationale, that’s still the reason.



Maybe I’m just a cynic but I thought the ‘war on drugs’ had only profit taking as a goal. Sure, there has been government and private propaganda that played in to racial fears, social stigma, and religious moralities but who paid for that propaganda?

Keeping competitive natural drugs off the market benefits a few groups as does making sure your nylon, paper, and oil interests are kept secure via prohibition of the competition.
These days, there are billions of dollars to be made in keeping private prisons full and DEA agents well paid. Prohibition is an industry, and a profitable one to boot.

Ever wonder why pot is illegal in California? Some might say its because the illegal side of the market has too much to loose to allow it to be sold in a free market.

Just ask yourself who benefits from the system and you will see why it is illegal.


it’s a french word. US executed all the french words.


Well that’s kind of crazy, any government would make far more out of consumption and taxation.

so really don’t think it’s that. “Really” it’s another of those so called “moral” crusades.

According to the 1985 book on the history of cannabis, The Emperor Wears No Clothes, it was the cotton fiber industry that started the campaign to stop hemp fiber production after the invention of the hemp mill (pre-WWII). After a short legalization in WWII to help in the war effort, the cotton and the new poly fiber industry piled on to outlaw the plant. Sure the book is a pot-head’s history with some/several inaccuracies, but make sense in context with propaganda like Refer Madness, and hyperbole like your quote from Harry. I just hope this trend toward legalization will also lead to a rise in hemp-based fiber products. I would imagine that hemp paper would be cheaper and have less impacts on our lands than wood pulp. We shall see…


But then those taxes might go to “blah” people, and not the fine upstanding moral characters who take jobs at the DEA or have businesses and contracts that support this pointless nonsense.


Wrongly classifying the thing he’s talking about, and lying about what it does – good thing his DEA successors never followed THAT trend!


It must be buried in the oath for that office. “I hereby promise to toe the corporate line on marijuana, suppress studies counter to the established policy, and vacillate with every fibre of my being when brought before Congress. So help me [insert deity].”


Sure…but at what cost? I don’t want my teenage daughter getting knocked up by some pant-sagging, dope-smoking rapper…

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It’s easy (is it easy?) to accept that the initial motivation for prohibition was as stupid and evil as the motivation for its continuation.
It’s chilling to consider that the prison-industrial complex so quickly caught the bug for the enslavement of minorities.
That sounds a little wrong. The prison industrial complex grew out of the industry of slavery pretty much directly, so perhaps it is the bug in this metaphor…


I just want to point out that, to Anslinger’s audience, apparently the only thing worse than a white woman seeking sexual congress with “any others” (presumably meaning anybody handy) was that they might seek sex with a negro or an entertainer <clutches pearls>.

That had to be part of Errol Flynn’s appeal, I’m thinking… oh, those sinful pot-smoking Hollywood heartthrobs, they’s takin’ our wimmin!


Given the more-or-less-immediate postbellum embrace of mass criminalization and prison labor leasing, it was less of a ‘caught the bug’ and more of a ‘designed as a substitute when the original was outlawed’.

There have been innovations, though. ‘Civil’ forfeiture (in addition to producing an endless stream of cases with really wacky names) was a stroke of malign brilliance…


I’m no expert but I believe that even being ‘out of work’ was a crime, punishable by jail time.


@Charleston_Chu : Smoking pot lowers sperm count. So in that regard legalization is in your interest too!

No need to imagine. It’s known that hemp produces at least 4-5 times as much paper per acre and year. Also hemp paper has better properties than wood paper. Check out how well the declaration of independence survived the years. It is written on hemp paper.

Other things were hemp is better than the things we use now is building materials (google “hempcrete”), insulation and some oils.


You mean “freedom words”.

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