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Legalize Essay, Research Paper

From the beginnings of human civilization, there have been people, organizations, and governments who have tried to control the populous by prohibiting certain behavior. When America was born, it became a haven for people who wanted to express themselves freely, without fear of persecution or death. However, since 1937 our government has begun to slip back in time (with brief periods of improvement) concerning the way people are able to express themselves. When this nation declared its independence, its people were granted life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness; all of which have been threatened by the prohibition of hemp and marijuana.

The prohibition of marijuana or Cannibus Sativa can be traced back to the Spanish American War. While the war was going on, Pancho Villa s troops were known for smoking what they called marijuana, which was not a common name for Cannibus at that time in the U.S. Villa s troops captured a large piece of land that was owned by William Randolph Hearst, a dominate force in the newspaper industry. This piece of land was to be used for paper production

Hearst quickly attacked this killer weed, which for nearly 5,000 years had been used for countless practical products on top of an endless list of medical aliments. His

motive: destroy the fact that marijuana and hemp were useful and profitable so he could dominate the market for paper and other timber products, as well as helping the synthetic and petroleum industries. He used the public s prejudices against Hispanics and African-Americans to fuel his headlines. Hearst began by saying that the Mexicans were crazy and extremely lazy people who smoked marijuana. After that he attacked the black, jazz musicians of the 1920 s. Hearst s papers ran articles about “marijuana-crazed negroes” raping white women and playing “voodoo-satanic” jazz music. . Hearst s only claim to fame among users of marijuana is that he introduced the word into our vocabulary.

Marijuana s next advisory was Harry J. Anslinger, the former assistant Commissioner for Alcohol Prohibition and the nephew-in-law of Treasury Secretary Andrew Mellon. Anslinger was appointed the head of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics in 1931, a job designed just for him. He was responsible for devising one of the greatest propaganda campaigns in history. One of his most famous articles, which was just one of many hundred, tells a story of a girl who committed suicide by falling out of a window after smoking marijuana. Even though this story was a complete lie, Anslinger used it in front of Congress during hearings of a marijuana prohibition law that had been disguised as a revenue tax bill.

This became known as the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937. With it came a complete prohibitive use of hemp or pot. This also brought the rise of marijuana s next enemy.

Dupont, which introduced its synthetic fiber nylon the same year. This new “fiber” took over numerous markets that normally would have gone to hemp. Dupont made a deal

with General Motors, from 1922 to 1984, to supply them with the synthetic materials they needed for all their cars. Dupont also made chemical additives that were to be used in gasoline. For informational purposes, DuPont owned and financed approximately 30% of Hitler’s I.G. Corps, the military-industrial backbone of the fascist Third Reich.

Now that the government had control of hemp and marijuana; Hearst, Mellon, Anslinger, and Dupont could rest assure that their financial interests were protected.

The Controlled Substance Act of 1970 was the next large-scale blow to marijuana. Over the years many state laws had been passed to outlaw pot, but this law was on the federal level. This allowed the government to place Cannibus in a hole with opium and heroin, two deadly substances that had been driving the black market. This hole was called Schedule I, a list with criteria such as a high level of abuse, no medical purpose in the U.S., and a lack of safety. Marijuana does not share any of these characteristics, and the government knows this whole heartily.

The fiercest opponent marijuana has ever known is “The War on Drugs.”

Nixon started this “war” in 1971. Billions have been spent on enforcement of the government s policies to “teach” the population that marijuana is bad and any one who uses it is sick. In order to teach everyone our prison population has increased from 4% of the world to 25% in a little more than ten years. Prejudices are still being used, as 68% of blacks in California have been imprisoned for drug possession, not sale or the

manufacturing drugs. In 1999, the Sentencing Project reported that between 1980 and 1997, drug arrests tripled in the United States. In 1997, four out of five drug arrests (79.5%) were for possession, with 44% of those arrests for marijuana offenses. It would be difficult for the government to legalize it now, since so much of our lives depend on the synthetic and oil based products of today.

However, the plethora of items that can be made from hemp are just as good, if not better than non hemp products. It takes only one acre of hemp to equal 4 acres of wood when processed for paper. Also, hemp s mature state only takes 100 days to reach; while wood s mature state takes anywhere from 50-500 years, depending on the different types of trees.

In 1938, only a year after marijuana-hemp had been made illegal, Popular Mechanics published an article saying that hemp was the “New Billion Dollar Crop.” The article told of a wonderful plant that had more than 25,000 different uses, and also the fact that it could be grown in every state of the Union. In 1942 the U.S. Army and Department of Agriculture released a film titled “Hemp for Victory.” Now even though the government was completely anti-Cannibus up to the time of WWII, farmers were asked to grow hemp. As soon as the war was over all hemp production stopped. No one asked why.

Within my lifetime I hope to see the entire world change its Cannibus policies. Maybe there will be a need for a natural fuel, or the Greenhouse effect will become more

of a problem. Whatever the catalyst, people will see the endless benefits of this plant sooner or later. And we ll all wonder how we got along without it.

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