Marijuana: The history and hysteria


Ganja, hookah, pot, grass, Mary Jane, Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) whatever you want to call it, we all know about marijuana.

While the drug may go by dozens of names, there seems to be only two opinions regarding this recreational substance, pro-pot, or anti-pot.

This is something that I began thinking about after Washington and Colorado legalized marijuana. Out of the 50 U.S. states, only two have legalized marijuana, while other states have slowly began to either decriminalize the substance, or allow the use of pot for medical purposes only. I think marijuana’s use for medical reasons confuses me about the substance’s severity.

With all of this in mind, I delved into the history behind the drug to find out why pot is considered taboo.

I discovered that the regulations behind cannabis are controlled at the state level, but the federal level of government still considers it illegal.

Thus, it is up to state politicians to decide the legality behind marijuana. According to, marijuana is listed as a schedule-one substance under the Controlled Substances Act of 1970.
This is considered to be the highest classification under this piece of legislation.

The government has classified cannabis with potential high abuse and with no established safe medical use; this is clearly incorrect, because thousands of people smoke marijuana to ease the pain of medical conditions.

No deaths directly attributed to marijuana have occurred, The Huffington Post reported. While no one has ever died from smoking marijuana that is not to say that no one has died while driving under the influence. CBS Seattle reported that one in nine people involved in fatal car accidents could test positive for amounts of THC in his or her bloodstream.

In order for someone to be at risk of death from smoking large amounts of THC, they would have to smoke a joint containing 20,000 to 40,000 times the amount of normal THC found in a joint. This makes me question why there is hysteria?

According to a 2007 documentary titled, “The Union: The Business Behind Getting High,” The documentary highlights a film created in 1936, a propaganda tool to hinder marijuana use called “Reefer Madness.” Marijuana hindrance began years prior to the film’s premiere.

Newspaper empire owner William Randolph Hearst started the propaganda in the early 1930s when he printed, falsified and exaggerated stories highlighting the evils of marijuana.

The film then co-aligned with this plot to promote the dangers of marijuana.

Arguments arose that the Hearst and the wealthy DuPont families used the film as a smokescreen to prevent marijuana cultivation and importation. Hemp oil could be used for a variety of products and threatened Hearst and the DuPont’s affluence. The DuPont family held numerous patents on chemicals used in manufacturing plastics, paper and paints that could potentially become useless if hemp was widely cultivated according to the reported that hemp, or the stalk of the pot leaf, has the ability to be used for various other products, could be widely used within the textile industry and is in an incredibly durable chemical and product. The negative propaganda was so effective that in 1930 the Federal Bureau of Narcotics was created.
In 1937 the Anslinger Act, or the Marijuana Tax Act, was passed by congress criminalizing marijuana at the state and federal level.

I do not mean to say that everyone should immediately legalize marijuana. I just think that marijuana is a substance labeled a terrible narcotic when in actuality it is not that harmful.

If anything, alcohol could be considered a more dangerous substance.

We have already tried to ban alcohol and look how that turned out.

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