End Marijuana Prohibition Now
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By Christine V. Edmond
The first anti-cannabis law went into effect in 1937 with the “Marihuana Tax Act of 1937.” That means cannabis (also known as marijuana, pot, weed, etc.) has only been illegal for 79 years in the United States. On April 23 at 10 a.m., the U.S. Capitol will be filled with supporters of cannabis legalization for the first rally and March Against Prohibition.
Understanding the history of marijuana is key to an audience who does not consume or accept violating the law for any reason (although these same people may speed, bypass or slow down rather than stop at a “Stop” sign, litter, or jaywalk). In an article from The Fix, Maia Szalavitz reminds us that:
“The truth is that our perceptions of marijuana—and in fact all of our drug laws—are based on early 20th century racism and “science” circa the Jim Crow era…The main reason to prohibit marijuana, he said was “its effect on the degenerate races.” Although it sounds absurd now, it was this type of propaganda that caused the drug to be outlawed in 1937—along with support from the Hearst newspapers, which ran ads calling marijuana “the assassin of youth” and published stories about how it led to violence and insanity.”
Please take a moment to think of all the violent and insane people you know who occasionally or frequently consume cannabis…
Why Legalize It Now?
Cannabis enthusiasts each have their own personal reasons for supporting full or partial legalization. Medicinal benefits tend to be a go-to response for many, and we see that with the 24 states, including the District of Columbia, that have a medical marijuana component to their legislation.
Hemp, a variety of cannabis, conveys the industrial value of the plant. Hemp can be and has been used for cloth, paper, and as a food source. It is a high quality fiber, complete protein, and excellent source of healthy oils like omega-3 fatty acids, according to a FOX News Health article. Farmers can get excited about the possibilities to grow hemp for medicinal and industrial purposes!
Realize the economic benefits that the entire country could reap with a legal market, just like Colorado. The Motley Fool released an article explaining some of the positive financial outcomes we could see from legalizing pot. Could a legal market help America’s debt problem?
Still, others see cannabis as a supplement or replacement for alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs, and want to enjoy the recreational (yet still medical) and social benefits of cannabis. For some, getting high feels good.
Circling back to the history of cannabis and its current state, many people who have enjoyed cannabis as a recreational yet emotional and/or spiritual healing substance and were also found guilty for possessing, growing, sharing, or consuming are locked into the justice system. Between 2001 and 2010, there were 8.2 million marijuana arrests and blacks are nearly 4 times more likely than whites to be arrested for marijuana, according to the ACLU. The unjust incarceration rates are reason alone to see the war on cannabis as a civil rights issue. If you did not know, slavery still exists.
The Constitution’s 13th Amendment abolishing slavery states, “Neither slave nor involuntary servitude, except as punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.”
That means the people who can go to jail or prison simply for having one gram of marijuana on their persons is subject to slavery. No Justice. No Peace.
Can you think of other reasons cannabis should be legal and decriminalized (really, around the world)?
Join us on Saturday, April 23 at 10 a.m. at the U.S. Capitol as we rally and march to the National Cannabis Festival (ending at 19th and Independence Ave SE) for March Against Prohibition and to share your story and/or reason for wanting to end cannabis prohibition. The time is now.