If you’re a #TLDR person, here’s the shortest answer- $$$

To elaborate- as I posted yesterday, there are numerous studies that say marijuana is firmly between benign and beneficial- a small sampling of them, many performed by the US Government, are available on yesterday’s post (http://wp.me/paRLC-3T).  So, setting aside the benefits of marijuana, (medical uses, from cancer helping to pain relief, a self-medication for stress, mental stimulation, etc…), and the few side effects that actually do matter, (impairment- seriously, don’t toke and drive), which mirror our society’s favorite* drug alcohol, and we have laws to deal with them that can be expanded to cover MJ.

If Marijuana has not be proven harmful- and seriously, check the studies- then why does the government and “moral authorities” pour so much time and effort into stopping it? Essentially, it comes down to money- there have been a few industries that have a vested interest in fighting this “vile scourge”.

Originally, the main player in starting the Prohibition of Marijuana was the lumber industry- now, I know its hard for young people to understand, but before e-books, there were books, and they took a lot of paper to make.  The lumber industry, which has a large portion of its goods dedicated to taking trees and making paper from them, didn’t like hemp- which can be used for paper quite easily and is a seasonal crop, as opposed to a multi-year investment as are trees.  This effort was spearheaded by Harry J. Anslinger, then head of the Federal Narcotics Bureau, who has conflicting interests with the lumber and other industries, such as cotton.  His tireless efforts in ignoring the science and beating the drums of fear paid off with the banning of the use of marijuana, and its eventually classification as a Schedule-1 drug, (in the same camp as Herion and Meth- ironically, COCAINE is Schedule-2)

Now, we have the lumber industry, with some collusion from the cotton and various chemical industries, having significant interest in keeping their competitor hemp/marijuana illegal.  Since the 1980s, there have been two more players- the first is Reagan’s War on Drugs.  This made the usage of marijuana a significantly more painful offense, often with mandatory prison time.  Concurrent with this was the rise of the private prison industry.  Now, take note of the word “private”- these prisons, which need to be stocked, are run on a profit model.  In other words, more Americans incarcertated, regardless of the crime, is more money they prisons and their stockholders can make.  As of 2006, roughly half of state prisoners, and 90% of federal prisoners, were in prison for non-violent offenses, the vast majority of them for drug possession, with the vast majority of the drug in possession being marijuana.  As of 2003, in fact, more than 58% of women in federal prison were there for possession of drugs, with it being estimated that 50% were in prison for marijuana possession alone.  That’s a lot of money, and a lot of lives ruined.

Taken all together, it makes sense that these industries, and their money, speaks quiet loudly to our politicians.  Individual citizens and states have taken to decriminalizing and/or legalizing medical marijuana, and in the rare case, marijuana outright.  And yet, the DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency) continues to exercise federal laws in those states- leading to more arrests, more repression of medical and overall industrial benefits, and more ignoring of the people’s will.  Because of money speaking louder than the people to the politicians, (I know, the sky is still blue too).

 

Which really means, we need to talk louder.  Whether you enjoy smoking marijuana to relax or to expand your mind, (there is quiet a variety, after all), because you or someone you love is suffering from cancer, or you just think its frakkin’ stupid that we make a greatly useful plant illegal instead of gaining the benefits from it- keep speaking- louder, clearly and consistently- to those in power and those who will listen to you.

 

*Okay, caffeine might be the favorite- seems to be stiff competition…

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