Monday, August 19th, 2019

Why Is Marijuana Banned? The Real Reasons Are Worse Than You Think

Published on August 1, 2016 by   ·   No Comments
Cannabis-Marijuana-Pot-Bust
Anonymous

Across the world, more and more people are asking: Why is marijuana banned? Why are people still sent to prison for using or selling it?

Most of us assume it’s because someone, somewhere sat down with the scientific evidence, and figured out that cannabis is more harmful than other drugs we use all the time—like alcohol and cigarettes.

Somebody worked it all out, in our best interest.

But when I started to go through the official archives—researching my book Chasing The Scream: The First and Last Days of the War on Drugsto find out why cannabis was banned back in the 1930s, I discovered that’s not what happened.

Not at all.

In 1929, a man called Harry Anslinger was put in charge of the Department of Prohibition in Washington DC. But alcohol prohibition had been a disaster. Gangsters had taken over whole neighborhoods. Alcohol—controlled by criminals—had become even more poisonous.

So alcohol prohibition finally ended–and Harry Anslinger was afraid. He found himself in charge of a huge government department, with nothing for it to do. Up until then, he had said that cannabis was not a problem. It doesn’t harm people, he explained, and “there is no more absurd fallacy” than the idea it makes people violent.

But then—suddenly, when his department needed a new purpose—he announced he had changed his mind.

He explained to the public what would happen if you smoked cannabis.

First, you will fall into “a delirious rage.” Then you will be gripped by “dreams… of an erotic character.” Then you will “lose the power of connected thought.” Finally, you will reach the inevitable end-point: “Insanity.”

Marijuana turns man into a wild beast. If marijuana bumped into Frankenstein’s monster on the stairs, Anslinger warned, the monster would drop dead of fright.

Harry Anslinger became obsessed with one case in particular. In Florida, a boy called Victor Lacata hacked his family to death with an axe. Anslinger explained to America: This is what will happen when you smoke “the demon weed.” The case became notorious. The parents of the US were terrified.

What evidence did Harry Anslinger have? It turns out at this time he wrote to the 30 leading scientists on this subject, asking if cannabis was dangerous, and if there should be a ban.

Twenty-nine wrote back and said no.

Anslinger picked out the one scientist who said yes, and presented him to the world. The press—obsessed with Victor Lacata’s axe—cheered them on.

In a panic that gripped America, marijuana was banned. The US told other countries they had to do the same. Many countries said it was a dumb idea, and refused to do it. For example, Mexico decided their drug policy should be run by doctors. Their medical advice was that cannabis didn’t cause these problems, and they refused to ban it. The US was furious. Anslinger ordered them to fall into line. The Mexicans held out—until, in the end, the US cut off the supply of all legal painkillers to Mexico. People started to die in agony in their hospitals. So with regret, Mexico sacked the doctor—and launched its own drug war.

But at home, questions were being asked. A leading American doctor called Michael Ball wrote to Harry Anslinger, puzzled. He explained he had used cannabis as a medical student, and it had only made him sleepy. Maybe cannabis does drive a small number of people crazy, he said—but we need to fund some scientific studies to find out.

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 years, doctors kept approaching him with evidence he was wrong, and he began to snap, telling them they were “treading on dangerous ground” and should watch their mouths.

Today, most of the world is still living with the ban on cannabis that Harry Anslinger introduced, in the nation-wide panic that followed Victor Lacata’s killing spree.

But here’s the catch. Years later, somebody went and looked at the psychiatric files for Victor Lacata.

It turns out there’s no evidence he ever used cannabis.

Read More HERE

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