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Racism is the reason Cannabis was ever illegal, here’s the facts.
Cannabis has been used for thousands of years for medicinal, spiritual, and recreational purposes. However, in the early 20th century, the plant became the target of a propaganda campaign that linked it to crime, violence, and racial stereotypes. This campaign eventually led to the prohibition of cannabis in the United States and other countries around the world.
The origins of cannabis prohibition can be traced back to the early 1900s, when Mexican immigrants began migrating to the United States. These immigrants brought with them their cultural practices, including the use of cannabis as a recreational drug. This alarmed some Americans, who associated the drug with Mexican culture and believed that it caused violence and criminal behavior.
In the 1930s, a man named Harry J. Anslinger was appointed as the first commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics (FBN). Anslinger was a staunch supporter of cannabis prohibition and used his position to spread misinformation about the drug. He claimed that cannabis caused insanity, violence, and sexual promiscuity, and that it was a threat to American society.
Anslinger’s propaganda campaign was aided by media outlets, which published sensationalized stories about cannabis use. One of the most famous examples is the 1936 film “Reefer Madness,” which portrayed cannabis as a dangerous drug that caused users to go insane and commit acts of violence.
In addition to racial stereotypes, cannabis prohibition was also driven by economic and political factors. In the early 20th century, many states were struggling with alcohol prohibition, which had led to an increase in organized crime and corruption. Prohibitionists saw cannabis as a new target, and argued that it would help to combat crime and corruption.
The prohibition of cannabis had a devastating impact on communities of color. Police officers targeted black and Hispanic communities, and used cannabis prohibition as a pretext for harassment and violence. Many people were arrested and imprisoned for cannabis-related offenses, even though they posed no threat to society.
Today, the racist roots of cannabis prohibition are widely recognized. Many advocates for cannabis legalization argue that it is a form of reparations for the harm caused by prohibition. They argue that legalizing cannabis and expunging the criminal records of those convicted of cannabis-related offenses is a step towards healing the wounds of the past.
In conclusion, the history of cannabis prohibition is deeply rooted in racism and xenophobia. The propaganda campaign led by Harry J. Anslinger and others used racial stereotypes to stigmatize cannabis and justify its prohibition. While cannabis legalization is now gaining momentum in many parts of the world, it’s important to remember the racist origins of prohibition and work towards creating a more just and equitable society.