Thursday, November 13, 2014

Dante Explains Shit: Marijuana Laws

Weed! Marijuana. Ganja. The Devil's Weed. Papa Smurf. I made the last one up. Its known by many things but illegal is the most prevalent. Now, while marijuana laws are slowly changing possessing weed will get you in jail or fined no matter how much of it you have. Most people just think that weed is bad and should be illegal without really know why it is in the first place. So in this Dante Explains Shit I'm gonna do a Cliff Notes version of the history of marijuana and how it got to the point where smoking a plant will get your freedom taken away.

Since the 1800's marijuana was used for medical purposes. People like to think that only in recent decades its been used to treat pain and illnesses but its been hundreds of years. I think I need to clarify something. When people think of hemp they think of marijuana. You can not get high from hemp no matter how much you smoke. Though they are from the same plant one is male and the other female.

Hemp is used for many things. Fabric, building material, and also paper. Hemp is one of the strongest materials on the planet and unlike most plants. The sails of ships were made of the stuff. Jeans were made from it. The first two drafts of the Declaration of Independence were written on it. Hemp is cheap, strong, and easy to grow. Like my penis.

During World War 2 Japan was like “Fuck you guys!” and the government begged farmers to start growing the stuff. Henry Ford created a “green” car that was made of hemp, wheat, and had plastic panels. The car was 1000 pounds lighter than regular cars, had ten times the strength of steel, and could not dent. It also ran on hemp gasoline. This sounds like science fiction but this is all true.

Knowing how great this stuff is, how did we get to the point where it was outlawed?

You've heard of the Prohibition Era. From 1920 till 1933 alcohol was banned in America. Now, I've always said that even if the world was ending we'd find a way to get high or drunk. You take one thing away, like alcohol, something else has to replace it. In this case it was marijuana. Marijuana had been used for years prior to this, aka cannabis, but with the absence of alcohol people needed to find a way to get fucked up. Of course after alcohol was no longer criminalized the use of marijuana dropped.

A large part of the criminalization of marijuana came from William Randolph Hearst (as well as the DuPont family who made money from manufacturing paper, plastic, and paint/Andrew Mellon who was Secretary of the Treasury that was hugely invested in DuPont). Hearst was as rich as a god. He also happened to be racist as shit and the most powerful newspaper owner in the country. Not one of...the most. Knowing that hemp was easy to grow and how useful it was, hemp would lower the need for the paper he was using for his newspapers and magazines. He had to do something to stop the production of hemp and using his power, money, and influence he helped create Reefer Madness.

If you've never seen Reefer Madness it is a classic comedy. People smoke weed and lose every bit of shit they are in possession of. It was aimed at teenagers, White ones, and if you let your kids smoke this weed they got from Blacks and Hispanics your sons would become crazed killers and your daughters would be raped.

Next thing you know...illegal! Hemp was made illegal with the help of a comedy that was taken as fact even though you can't get high from it. You would think that almost a hundred years later that we would get our shit together and learn more about something like this. Hemp can not be grown in the U.S but it can be purchased and shipped here. Does that make any sense? Right now you can go buy hemp seed oil, make tea from it, and buy products that are made primarily of it. But don't you dare grow it! Eat four teaspoons of nutmeg if you wanna get fucked up but a seed that can't get you high is a no-no.

Due to the Controlled Substance Act a plant you can not get high from is banned. In some states it is legal to grow it but you can still be arrested for it. This is like getting permission from your spouse to have sex with someone but that they will fuck you up on a whim. Its legal, but not at the same time. Though a lot of states have legalized the use of marijuana for the treatment of pain from cancer, depression, and too many other illnesses to list, federally it is still illegal. Again. Legal and not at the same time.

Now while I do not smoke weed I do think it should be legalized but controlled the same way that alcohol and cigarettes are. No teen should be smoking it because fuck you your life ain't that rough. What I believe makes it harder for many people to say yes to legalizing it are the people who advocate it. This is what people imagine the average weed smoker, or stoner, looks like.

People who advocate the legalization of weed get upset and combative with others who don't want it legal. This is the opposite approach that needs to be taken. There are a lot of things that I do not partake in that I want legal. Gay marriage, travel to Cuba from the U.S freely, and making marijuana legal. The people that do use it need to make sure they can control themselves. While I don't mind my bus driver smoking it, I don't want to get on the bus and have the smell of it radiating off of him the same way I wouldn't want the smell of booze.

So I think I explained enough. Of course there is more to it than what I explained. You don't even need to smoke weed to get the benefits of it. Lollipops, brownies, and even pills (edibles) are being used to treat people who want the product for more reasons than just to get high. Honestly, texting while driving is a bigger issue than this to me.

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