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Weed Is Illegal Because of Racism

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No, Really. It Is.

I’m pretty sure if my D.A.R.E. teacher could see me now, she would be disappointed that her star pupil now has dilated pupils. Life comes at you fast. I am now a habitual imbiber of cannabis and as far as I am concerned, all marijuana is medicinal because when has it not made me feel better?

Well, thanks to racism, I have to be secretive-ish about something that is finally legal in other parts of the country. As 4/20 just passed in a cloud of smoke, we are reminded that something so universally loved and much more innocuous than another way more legal vices is still somewhat illegal today.

So, it started in the early part of the 20th century. Jazz music had just sauntered onto the scene and with it, jazz musicians, and if you know anything about artists, the better the artist, usually the better the drugs, so I’ve heard. Anyway, as you may know, Black music has a way of not just being for Black people (a popular storyline that has replayed itself time and time again throughout history). There were white women who were enjoying the music and might enjoy the musicians as well, and as you know, they couldn’t have any of that.

So, enter Harry Anslinger, the George Washington of “the War on Drugs,” Ronald Reagan before Ronald Reagan was Ronald Reagan, and also one of Billie Holliday’s tormentors.

Anslinger already had it out for drugs before he was appointed to his high-ranking position at the U.S. Department of Treasury’s Federal Bureau of Prohibition and had traveled the world letting other people know that drugs were bad too—great an international killjoy (whispers) who also used morphine on his deathbed—ha.

Anslinger felt that this drug would insight criminality and even ignored the massive amount of data, including from the American Medical Association, that stated otherwise, in order to get the devil’s lettuce off the streets. Even though cannabis use was primarily concentrated in the southwest and in some jazz enclaves, Anslinger was having none of that and used propaganda to promote anti-cannabis sentiments. This propaganda, of course, involved racist undertones. Essentially, they told people that the “jazz grass” was gonna make the already wild and unruly negros even worse, and they were going to take their aggression out on delicate white women who, of course, wouldn’t give them the chance. so the only course of action would be for these deranged addicts is to take it from them. Yes, folks, they sold the story that weed makes you want to rape white women.

They must’ve phased that strain out or something ’cause white women are the last thing I think about when I’m high.

Apparently, this worked because as recently as 2018, Kentucky lawmaker Steve Alford stated, “what you really need to do is go back in the 1930s and when they outlawed all types of drugs in Kansas [and] across the United States. What was the reason why they did that? One of the reasons why — I hate to say it — it’s the African Americans, they were basically users and they basically responded the worst off those drugs just because their character makeup, their genetics, and that.”

Don’t worry, guys. He’s not racist and made sure to state that as well. Even worse was George Zimmerman’s defense attorneys using the cannabis in Trayvon Martin’s system as justification for someone else stalking and murdering him. The term marijuana also became popular because propagandists wanted to associate it with use by Latin Americans, aye dios mío, the racism. Even though Blacks and whites use drugs at relatively the same rates, Blacks are arrested at about four times the rate as whites for the “pimp hem.”

With Black people being such a commodity for filing jail quotas, it’s hard to not feel like it was all part of a big plan—shout out to Michelle Alexander. While the laws have become more lax over time, the fact that they existed in the first place and the reason for it is utterly ridiculous; there racism goes again, blowing my high.

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