Most of you have probably seen Reefer Madness, the ridiculous propaganda film set about by the U.S. government to discourage the use of marijuana. The movie debuted in 1936 making arbitrary claims, calling Cannabis The devils weed, and stating that weed is more dangerous that cocaine or opium. This was the outlook of the government at the turn of the century, but in fact pot was smoked as early as 2700 BC, in China. In 500 AD marijuana spread to Europe and Africa where it was cultivated and smoked for its medicinal qualities. By 1545 marijuana had been introduced to the New World where it was grown as a cash crop alongside tobacco and cotton. Sold in bars throughout the Americas pot was seen as tobaccos little brother. It is reported that several of our founding fathers including Benjamin Franklin and George Washington smoked ganja out of water hookahs with Turkish emissaries shortly after the revolutionary war. After this experience both Franklin and Washington began to grow weed for themselves. At the turn of the 20th century marijuana began to gain popularity and by the 1920s was the drug of choice for Americas youth. Historians say this popularity is what led to its prohibition. But history itself tells a different story. Whenever something be-it and idea, substance, or social behavior, becomes popular, American companies brand and market it for all its worth. Take for example punk rock which originally was a counterculture but through marketing was assimilated into mainstream society. So why is it that the same fate was not suffered by marijuana, why was it made illegal?
In 1937 the first official action was taken against weed, the Marihuana Tax Act. The act itself did not criminalize the possession of cannabis but levied a tax on anyone dealing the substance. This didnt just mean the buds anything with hemp or hemp oil in it was essentially taxed out of business. A legitimate dealer was required to have a tax stamp but no stamps were ever printed. These over elaborate regulations prevented marijuana from being a profitable source of income. In reference to the International Opium