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 U.S. Prohibition
Marijuana has been prohibited by federal law for irrational reasons, based largely on moral social panics and government induced hysteria.  Much of the basis for prohibiting marijuana in the 1930's was motivated by racist attitudes towards Mexican immigrants.  These immigrants smoked marijuana and also happened to be threatening to take jobs from white Americans.  Racist media mogul William Randolph Hearst and bureacrat Henry Anslinger were at the forefront of the anti marijuana movement, spreading sensationalized, exaggerated, untrue claims about the effects of marijuana and the expanding abuse of the substance by the nation's youth.  Many of their claims still have an effect on the public as open, rational discourse about marijuana is still nonexistent in society even today.

Check out these ads that ran in Hearst's papers:

Undoubtedly, the prohibition of marijuana in the U.S. has had direct effects on why so many people travel to Jamaica.  Prohibiting the drug has exoticized the drug, making it more alluring to people with curious appetites.  Exoticizing marijuana leads to the exoticism of Rastafarianism and the people who believe in the religion.  Exoticism is not equality.  The Rastas have become a tourist attraction rather than a religion to be respected.  All the negative stereotypes associated with people who use marijuana are transferred to Rastas, diminishing the dignity they deserve and negating the significance of their religion.

Some quotes about marijuana:

"In their mad excitement the men tear the garments from their bodies, throw away their weapons, fling the turbans from their heads and, naked to the waist, with disheveled hair and eyes ablaze and extended arms, they continue their mad antics, until foaming at the mouth and bleeding from the nostrils, they sink to the earth and lie huddled in heaps, hopelessly and helplessly intoxicated with the hemp." - New York Herald: Orgies of the Hemp Eaters, 1895

“Marihuana is the most violent drug in the history of mankind.” -Henry Anslinger

"We felt the effects of herb were so dangerous that it was better to lie to the american public to save them rather than tell them the truth..." - Partnership for a Drug Free America 

“Permanent brain damage is one of the inevitable results of the use of marijuana.” 
 -- Ronald Reagan, in the Los Angeles Times. 

 “Marijuana leads to homosexuality, the breakdown of the immune system, and therefore to AIDS.” 
 -- Carlton Turner. White House Drug Czar under Ronald Reagan.

"They used to burn witches. Today we laugh at them. Today we jail people for marijuana. Tomorrow they'll laugh at us." - Robert "Rosie" Rowbotham