Every day I see it: That horrible lie fest of a PSA released by the propagandists known as Above the Influence. The group has been known to release libelous material about users of marijuana, all of which are based on propaganda of the past and pop culture stereotypes. Marijuana doesn’t lower your grades, doesn’t cause you to steal, doesn’t make you passed out at a party so your friends can draw on you, doesn’t make dogs talk to you, doesn’t do any of the stuff these PSAs claim it does – in fact, alcohol causes these things tagged along with acid (considering that dog talking business).
None of these things are new, really.
Marijuana has been demonized over the last one hundred years for several reasons:
• Protection of Corporate Profits
• Yellow Journalism
• Ignorant, Incompetent, and/or corrupt legislators
• Personal Career Advancement and greed
Up until the early 1900s, cannabis has been used to make clothing, rope canvas and other sorts of household, farm work – even war! – materials. Lo and behold, it wasn’t until a few Mormons who went to spread the word in Mexico, that the ever useful cannabis went from saint to sinner. In Mexico, the Mormons witnessed Mexicans using the plant as a pastime. Needless to say, the Mormons took it up, brought it back to Salt Lake City and the church was not happy. In 1915, Utah motioned to make it illegal. Several states followed, including Texas where one senator said on the floor, “All Mexicans are crazy, and this stuff is what makes them crazy.” Nice job.
In the 20s, along with jazz, marijuana was seen as a black thing. Only black people used it and it influenced their devil music. Funny thing is, the white kids snapping their fingers along with the sexualized soundtrack were also trying the drug. Racism, again, reared its ugly little head: “Marihuana influences Negroes to look at white people in the eye, step on white men’s shadows and look at a white woman twice.” More laws were passed, this time with false news stories indicating that marijuana use caused violent crimes and homicides. Great job.
When Harry J. Anslinger came into the story, he was out to make a name for himself in the Bureau of Narcotics.
Using racism, Anslinger made sure that the hero of yesterday old was no the villain for the 20th century:
“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 use. This marijuana use. This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers, and any others.
Anslinger got help from newspaper owner, William Randolph Hearst, who invested in the timber industry to support his newspapers. Hemp threatened his stock hold and there for had an agenda. He was also – surprise, surprise – a racist who hated Mexicans. Using his newspapers more lies were published and more fear was instilled in the “good” people of the country.
Let’s fast forward a bit, shall we? During the Nixon years, The National Commission on Marihuana and Drug abuse was handpicked by Nixon himself – 13 members and most of them were to agree with his view that cannabis was in fact a menace. They later decided that the truth should be revealed. Later, President Reagan would ignore the facts of cannabis, including the health usage.
There are a several positive uses for cannabis, some of which we already knew, but refuse to believe. They include: IBS, general anxiety, PSTD, insomnia, hindering certain cancers (including Breast cancer), chronic pain, depression, etc. So why is this still illegal, and why are we still being lied to? Rather than being “Above the Influence,” we should perhaps be above the lies and propaganda. We should be allowed to know the truth.
Know your death rates:
Deaths caused by Alcohol per year 75,000
Alcohol related car accident fatalities 40,933
Alcohol related illness fatalities 34,833
Deaths caused by under aged drinkers per year 3,500
Deaths caused by drunken homicide by under aged drinkers per year 1,600
Deaths caused under aged drunk driving per year 1,400
Suicide deaths by under aged drinkers per year 260
Nonviolent deaths of under aged drinkers (including alcohol poisoning) per year 300+\-
Deaths caused by Tobacco per year 367,500
Death from prescription drug overdoses per year 20,500
Death caused by illegal drug overdoses per year 4,500
Deaths caused by Marijuana per year 0