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
"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
-- 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