By Berny, @berny.yo
Put the blunt down just for a second. Don’t get me wrong it’s not a new method. Inhale, exhale! Now, check this out.
Did you know that the war on cannabis or “Marijuana” was started – after the Mexican Revolution – by a racist gringo who was prejudiced towards Mexican immigrants?
Before I tell you more about that, let me tell you the history of cannabis. The plant’s history stems back over 10,000 years. In fact, it has been one of the most useful plants on the planet for its versatile usages.
The first written reference to a cannabis product getting you “high” dates back to 2737 BC by the Chinese emperor Shen Nung. That vato knew what was up! Even then, the writings focused on its healing powers.
By 1890, cannabis had become a major cash crop in the U.S. It even sold as over-the-counter medications.
Mexicans also cultivated the plant and referred to it as Marihuana. They had many uses for it including medicine and recreational smoking.
But, they weren’t the only ones. Honest Abe also indulged!
From a letter written by Lincoln during his presidency to the head of the Hohner Harmonica Company in Germany.
That’s right, muthafuckas, President Abraham Lincoln liberated his mind before he “liberated” the slaves. He got high off his little wooden pipe….. private reserve of course.
In 1910, Mexicans started to migrate to the U.S. to escape conflict from the Mexican Revolution -bringing with them their tasty Marihuana. U.S. politicians were quick to jump on the opportunity to label cannabis “Marijuana” in efforts to keep demonizing the plant and associate it with Mexicans to keep a tab on them. They’re doing the same thing today with Cholo fashion.
Now, let me tell you about the racist gringo who started the crusade against weed.
By 1930, Harry J. Anslinger, and his party-killing posse, the Federal Bureau of Narcotics (Now the DEA), popularized the term marijuana when referring to Cannabis. Here are some actual quotes from the bullshit they said;
“Reefer makes darkies think they’re as good as white men.”
“Marijuana is an addictive drug which produces in its users’ insanity, criminality, and death.”
“You smoke a joint and you’re likely to kill your brother.”
“Marihuana leads to pacifism and communist brainwashing”
Everyone knows the only thing bud kills is your appetite.
“There are 100,000 total Marijuana smokers in the U.S., and most are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos, and entertainers. 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.”
Anslinger’s campaigns paid off and, In 1937, Congress passed the Marijuana Tax Act which banned the use and sale of cannabis. Later, with Anslinger’s help, they passed the first mandatory minimum sentencing laws.
They saw that there was an opportunity to make that money, money, money, moneyyy by putting us “coloreds” in prison. They turned incarceration into a big busine$$.
The irony of it all is that the United States government knew bud was not connected to insanity, criminality, and death.
In 1973, a bipartisan committee recommended that President Richard Nixon decriminalize cannabis, but that was not profitable…. so instead, he started the War on Drugs.
“You want to know what this was really all about. The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what I’m saying. We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with Marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course, we did.”
–John Ehrlichman White House Domestic Affairs Advisory 1969-1973
Real quote y’all. The United States stays demonizing political differences and minorities.
**This is where you can take a short smoke break. We promise to lighten it up a bit.
Today, despite the fact that eight states along with the District of Columbia (D.C.) legalized cannabis for recreational use (and 29 states for medical use), mandatory minimums are still in effect across the country. According to the FBI, cannabis arrests still account for nearly half of all drug arrests.
We know that Latinx and Black communities still face disproportionate numbers of arrests for bud possession despite the fact that white people sell and use it just as much as we do.
In California and Los Angeles, there has been great progress in decriminalizing cannabis. Check out the Hood Digest Podcast where we talk about this topic.