The age old question we have all been wondering.. why tf is weed illegal in the first place?
A part of me wishes that there was a good answer with good reason, but the fact is that it's all complete nonsense and propaganda. Now of course, we are a little biased since we are living the Canna Queen lifestyle. But, our bias comes from experiencing all of the comfort and magic that Cannabis (not just Marijuana, but various forms such as Hemp and CBD) can bring into your every day life.
Before we can understand why Cannabis (specifically Marijuana) has been so demonized in the United States, we have to understand the history of usage of the plant itself.
History of Cannabis
According to the University of Sydney, Cannabis originated in central Asia/western China and has been used for its healing properties since 2800 BC. The guys and gals have BEEN harnessing its power, people!
Between 129-200 BC, a Greek physician named Galen was using cannabis for its therapeutic properties and for mood enhancement. Sounds familiar, right? The mood stabilizing joint on the porch after an afternoon spiral?
So HERE is the gag! The American government was the one bringing the Cannabis here in the first place during the 17th century. They were like "hey guys, we would absolutely LOVE if you would just grow a bunch of Hemp because we're kind of in our crafty era making rope, sails, clothing and such."
Hemp daddies making rope in Denis Diderot's 1762
Then the Civil War happened, and they were like "Yeah guys never mind, we're over the hemp thing because we found some super cheap and low key shitty materials overseas. Thanks again!"
Fast forward to 1841, and an Irish lad named William Brooke O’Shaughnessy brought some Cannabis over to the US after living in India (okay study abroad moment!). He introduced the plant to Western medicine after noting a case where Cannabis stopped a child from having convulsions. Let's give this king a round of applause!
Read more about William Brooke O’Shaughnessy
A few decades later, two scientists named Dunstan and Henry were able to isolate Cannabinol.
Mini Science Lesson
- Cannabinol is a compound isolated from the Cannabis plant that has potential immunosuppressive and anti-inflammatory properties.
- Cannabinol is a metabolite of THC (the compound in the Cannabis plant that makes you feel "high"). A metabolite is a substance that is required to metabolize, or break down, another chemical. Cannabinol binds to cannabinoid receptors in your body (basically the landing pads for Cannabis compounds so your body can feel the effects of the chemical).
Everything seems to be on the up and up at this point, but the 1900's is where things get really wild.
When Americans started hating on Cannabis, a bunch of propaganda depicting Mexican Immigrants using Marijuana popped up to show that is EVIL! You know, since America historically loves nothing more than bullying immigrants.
However, in the early 1900's, Cannabis was especially demonized in Mexico by their own government.
Hallucinogenic drugs were used in Mexico for a long time, but they were all demonized during the colonial era. The Spanish associated them with “the devil and madness.” But the gag is, the Spanish were the ones that brought cannabis to Mexico in the first place in the 16th century to be used as industrial fiber!
Despite what was actually going on, the press saw the influx of Mexican immigrants to the US as an opportunity to do what they do best: indulge in SENSATIONALISM! Sensationalism in the press is defined as the "use of exciting or shocking stories or language at the expense of accuracy, in order to provoke public interest or excitement" (from Oxford Languages).
What better way to get all Americans on board with the "I hate Marijuana" train than to throw immigrants under the bus. Classic USA move! The most annoying part is that there is little evidence of Mexican Immigrants using Marijuana at all, as they were actually coming over to America to buy it in pharmacies and sell it back in Mexico. How embarrassing for the US once again.
Our absolute favorite part about the whole bullying campaign on Marijuana is the super popular 1936 film Reefer Madness.
This film is the epitome of "they thought they ate."
Back in the good 'ol 1930's, there was really only ONE source for entertainment and news, and people weren't exactly using discernment back then. Everything they saw on TV or in the theatre had a HUGE impact on culture, and the purpose of this film was to portray Cannabis as a highly addictive drug that causes mental disorder and violence.
Us vibing out and getting creative during our daily joint sesh:
Anyone who actually smokes Marijuana or uses any other types of Cannabis products knows that this is the most ridiculous idea in the entire world. However, in the 1930's this was MAJOR TEA and the nasty Marijuana smokers HAD to be stopped from trolling the streets and selling drugs to minors!
Marijuana was officially criminalized and taxed for medical and recreational use in 1937 through the Marijuana Tax Act. Lame way to segway into the late 1900's in my opinion, but as we have noticed things really just went down hill after the flapper era.
Then in 1940, scientists were able to effectively isolate our queen that we know and love, CBD. Our other queen THC was isolated further down the line in 1964.
Now we hit 1970: The DIRTY HIPPY era.
People were on either one side or the other:
The free-love hippy side or the pull yourself up from your bootstraps club no fun club. In the midst of all the psychedelic fun that was going on in the 70's, Richard Nixon implemented the War on Drugs in 1971. Of course, the war on drugs was yet another way for the American government to scrutinize and punish POC and anyone who wasn't conforming to their weird matrix ideals.
When Ronald Reagan ran for office in 1980, he was LIVING for the War on Drugs and made it his mission to carry out this legacy.
His presidential campaign called marijuana “the most dangerous drug in the United States” and implemented government funded anti-cannabis media campaigns, more funding for law enforcement, involving the military, reduced emphasis on drug treatment, and more drug testing of Federal employees. Seriously what a freaking buzzkill oh my god.
This lame war on drugs continued under George Bush in 1989 with the "three strikes you're out" policy, which involved extremely harsh federal prison sentencing for drug related "crimes." I just want to know, how is vibing a crime. I'll give you two seconds to come up with an answer!
Now that you have gone through the Cannabis Journey from BC to 1980's, it is easy to see where everything went wrong. Your boomer parents hate Cannabis because they don't understand it, and they were told their entire lives that it's horrible and bad.
Part of our job as a new generation is to understand the roots of the Cannabis Bullying Campaign and to educate those around us on the benefits and its history. We don't need to walk around shaming everyone and getting all angry when a boomer is like "Marijuana is the devil's lettuce!"
All we can do is take the time to tell the story of Cannabis, and to provide a different perspective. Don't worry about convincing everyone, it just aint gonna happen.
In the mean time, find your Cannabis-loving pockets of the Earth and continue to learn more about the plant and its benefits, especially how it can benefit you personally in your day to day life. We are on this journey together, and there is always more to learn!
- Join our Juicy Queen Facebook Group if you want to be a part of a community of women where we share our cannabis tips and secrets, connect with each other, and ask questions!
Thank you so much for reading, we will see you next time on High Tea: The Juicy Blog!
-Tara and Evey
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