“I am the Lorax. I speak for the trees. I speak for the trees for they have no tongues.”
- Dr. Seuss (The Lorax)
Enter the presumably incorruptible Harry J. Anslinger to spearhead this "War on Drugs." He immigrated to the United States to work on the Pennsylvania Railroad and after making his name as a hard-lined fraud investigator he set his sights on a defenseless plant. Anslinger, anointed the head of the newly minted Federal Bureau of Narcotics along with his media tag team partner William Randolph Hearst sought out to destroy hemp. First order of business, divide and conquer. They demonized marijuana to the point of ridiculous calling it Indian hemp of all things. This anti-hemp propaganda skyrocketed into the stratosphere of the absurd when Anslinger and company published articles and police reports about the dangerous plant. In1933, their campaign gained its most powerful ally and scapegoat in a 19-year-old Italian man named Victor Licata who killed his family with an ax. This was just the hard proof they were looking for. Licata claimed to have blacked out after smoking marijuana and didn't remember committing the crime. The American Magazine published an account of the incident: “An entire family was murdered by a youthful addict in Florida. When officers arrived at the home, they found the youth staggering about in a human slaughterhouse. With an ax he had killed his father, mother, two brothers, and sister. He seemed to be in a daze. He had no recollection of having committed the multiple crimes. The officers knew him ordinarily as a sane, rather quiet young man; now he was pitifully crazed.” This segment was published as the entirety of the story.
“You furnish the pictures and I’ll furnish the war.”
- William Randolph Hearst
Anslinger and Hearst used this to propel reefer madness onto the national stage. They left out information that they saw as either non-vital or unusable. Leaving out that Licata was a lunatic and murdered his family in a psychotic episode. He escaped from two hospitals after the trial and his mental exams were missing from Anslinger's testimony before Congress during the 1937 Marijuana Tax Act hearing. The ensuing media onslaught plunged marijuana down the substance ladder passed alcohol, cigarettes, cocaine, and even heroin. He also used racism as a tool to divide the nation on an issue that wasn’t even related to race. “There are 100,000 total marijuana smokers in the US, and most are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos, and entertainers. Their satanic music, jazz, and swing result from marijuana usage. This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers and any others.” Well, Harry, I don’t think Marijuana had anything to do with it. Rock stars who don’t smoke weed still get laid. That was then, but this is now. Mr. X said, “Until prohibition ends make hay whilst the sun shines.” We took this proverb to heart. It didn’t just become a motto or mantra; it became a creed. With the help of Newsie hating William Randolph Hearst, they created a sensationally absurd anti-marijuana campaign.
|"Hemp is the first necessity to the wealth and protection of the country." - Thomas Jefferson|
Hearst once said, “You can crush a man with journalism.” They crushed their competitor. The crushed it in Congress and in the free market, claiming it was not a viable alternative to wood pulp and nylon. Anslinger said you couldn’t outlaw hemp without outlawing marijuana. In 1936, He reported that his experiments with the harvesting of hemp were not successful. It was all about competition. They knew what they were doing. It was a tool for Dupont to gain complete control of the petrochemical industry. Maybe they knew, maybe they didn’t, but the real money wasn’t in textiles and binding, but energy. Fossil fuels are the only commodities that we can never make more of. All available sources for alternative fuels are crucial to our nation's future.
“Any man who has the brains to think and nerve to act for the benefit of the people of the country is considered a radical by those who are content with stagnation and willing to endure disaster.”
- William Randolph Hearst
Modern Drug Regulations are Nixonian. He probably realized what it was doing to teenagers in America and soldiers in Vietnam. He pushed forward legislation as a scapegoat. It was a good distraction from his shortcomings and Watergate. He needed a cause to get behind and reinforced the stigma against marijuana users. He and the DEA took a hardline attitude toward offenders that only made things worse. The counterculture was amplified to what it is today. In 2001, a Nova Scotian native named Rick Simpson found a cancerous spot on his skin. He did some research and read an article about the benefits of applying topical oil made from marijuana to one’s skin. He discovered that a spot on skin disappeared after a few days after applying the ointment. Researchers in Spain confirmed that THC kills brain-tumor cells in human subjects and shows promise with breast, pancreatic and liver tumors. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, however, still classifies marijuana as a Schedule I drug, meaning that it has no accepted medical use. Unlike Schedule II drugs, like cocaine and methamphetamine, which they believe may provide medical benefits. John Adams once said, "We shall, by and by, want a world of hemp for our own consumption." Today, over 10% of Adults in the US smoke marijuana on a daily basis. That’s 22 million users a DAY. If everyone one of those users buys a gram of marijuana a month, at the market price of $20 a gram, and it is then taxed at roughly the average sales tax of 8% leaving out any additional taxes or fees they see fit to impose, like the ones on cigarettes and soda, would equate to around $1.60 per user per month. That's $35 million a month and yes, of course, it is, $420 million annually. All of this pales in comparison to the money they would save. The United States government this year alone spent $15 billion on the War on Drugs. That’s $500 a second!
|"If the words 'life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness' don't include the right to experiment with your own consciousness, then the Declaration of Independence isn't worth the hemp it was written on."|