America’s war on marijuana is made up many battles most of which the empire, oops! I mean the government won, during Obama’s era the ‘rebel scum’ kind of won. But now, a new sheriff is in town and his name is Donald J Trump. The best way to describe Trump’s rise to power is in song.
To half the population, Trump is a savior and to the other half, he is how should I put this? Let’s not get into that. In early 2018, the current attorney general Jeff Sessions launched a new war on marijuana. This new war is just another battle in a long list of battles, the question is, is America’s war on marijuana winnable?
Just saying, it is not easy to beat a plant that can grow anywhere, but that’s just my opinion. Anyways, let me take you back to the beginning.
The golden age 1600-1900
There was a time in America when the production of marijuana was encouraged. Back then, marijuana plants were used to make clothes, sails, and rope. Did you know that, In Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Virginia hemp was used as legal tender back in 1619? In fact, farmers in Virginia were required by law to grow marijuana. After the civil war, marijuana products were openly sold as medicine in public pharmacies.
That changed in 1906 when the Pure Food and Drug Act, was introduced. Marijuana products didn’t vanish from the shelves; the act only required over-the-counter remedies that contain marijuana to be labeled.
Between 1910 and 1920, the Mexican revolution happened, as a result of that. Mexican immigrants flooded into the United States. They brought with them recreational use of marijuana. As expected, Americans freaked out. Then the great depression happened.
The fear of marijuana 1930’s
The great depression began in 1929 and lasted for ten years; this makes it the longest and most severe depression in US history. It resulted in massive unemployment and a sharp increase in crime and violence. As public concern rose, researchers linked the increase in deviant behaviors, crime, and violence to marijuana. The fear and Increased public resentment of Mexican immigrants led to the creation of the FBN.
The FBN (Federal Bureau of Narcotics)
By 1931, marijuana was illegal in 29 states and the bureau’s (FDN) first commissioner was Harry J. Anslinger. FBN’s task was to end social problems that were linked to marijuana use such as crime and violence. In 1936 The Motion Pictures Association of America banned the showing of narcotics in films.
National propaganda campaign
The national propaganda campaign was kicked off with reefer madness, a movie produced by Louis Gasnier. The film was financed by a church group whose aim was to persuade Americans that marijuana is evil thus the name “evil weed”. It led to the release of similar movies such as:
- The devil’s harvest
- Assassin of youth
The campaign culminated in the passing of the Marijuana Tax Act. Because of that act, marijuana became officially illegal in America as a whole. The first victim of this new war was a young Mexican named Moses Baca. he was caught with an ounce weed.
During World War 2, American farmers were encouraged to grow marijuana to help with the war effort. This was necessary because the military needed parachutes, marine cordage, and other necessities made from hemp. The “hemp for victory” campaign was launched and it resulted in the harvest of 375,000 acres of hemp.
Back to Business
After the war, the government of the day introduced stricter federal laws such as the Boggs Act 1952 and Narcotics Act 1956. Under these Acts, if you were caught in possession of marijuana, you could face a minimum sentence of 2-10 years plus a fine of up to $20,000. In 1968, the FBN merged with the Bureau of Dangerous Drugs of the Food and Drug Administration.
That ‘marriage’ led to the creation of the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs.
The Modern War
In 1989, President George W. Bush declared a new war on drugs in a televised speech. This was followed by high profile raids on pot clinics in California and a lot of arrests. In 1996, voters in California passed Proposition 215 which allowed the sale and use of marijuana for patients with cancer, AIDs, and other painful illnesses.
During Bush’s era, the government sank a lot of money on the war on marijuana. But the funny thing was marijuana remained plentiful.
The Obama Era
During the Obama era, a policy was introduced that allowed states to legalize marijuana without federal interference. Four years later, Washington and Colorado voted to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. In 2014, Colorado rolled out the sale of recreational marijuana followed by Washington.
Is Donald Trump Winning America’s War on Marijuana
The current president of the United States of America is at war with California, the president’s targets are immigrants, cannabis, and the environment. In January of this year, the Trump administration announced a policy that may allow prosecutors to target marijuana operations in California.
According to the current Attorney General, Jeff Sessions “Good people don’t smoke marijuana”, that is a statement he made back in 2016 when he was a senator. So it came as no surprise when he rescinded the Obama era policy (Cole memorandum) that helped states legalize marijuana.
So, is Trump winning the war on marijuana?
At the moment, the marijuana industry is threatened by fear, uncertainty, and doubt. No one is sure about what happens next, because of that. Most investors are limiting capital flows into the marijuana industry.
What we are sure of is. It is very difficult to undo the flourishing marijuana industry. Support for marijuana legalization is rising among people of different ages and political beliefs. This is a small win for supporters of marijuana legalization, but the war is not over.
Will the trump administration launch its own war on marijuana or will it leave marijuana alone? Tell us what you think in the comment section.