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Is marijuana really bad?

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posted on May, 16 2005 @ 09:25 PM
As others have mentioned, taken to extremes, any drug is bad. Marijuana certainly slows down certain aspects of your mind, so it's not recommended if you're job is, say, flying airplanes or operating heavy machinery. Some people can also become dependent on it psychologically, though there is no proof that it is a physically adictive drug. It's also illegal, and some employers will test you for it, although in many regions small quantities posessed for personal use is becoming for all means and purposes decriminalized (I refer you to NORML's website if you want to check out if your locale is such an area).

That said, I've always thought it to be more benign than many legal drugs. Unlike nicotine, it is not physically adictive, so your chances of smoking daily for a long duration and developing lung cancer is minimal compared to cigarettes. Also, unlike alcohol, it doesn't make one belligerent. If forced to choose, I'd much rather be locked in a cell with a dozen stoned people than a dozen drunk people.

-koji K.

posted on May, 16 2005 @ 09:32 PM
This thread made me think of a song I hadn't heard in years...

Went uptown to see my cousin
Plays guitar, sounds like a chainsaw buzzin'
In the crowd, I see his mom and dad
I said "Hey, hey Uncle, man your son is bad"

But sometimes, sometimes bad is bad
Cool is a rule, but, sometimes, bad is bad.

Across the street, a neon sign
All you can eat for a dollar ninety nine
Our sould stew is the baddest in the land
But one dollar's worth was all that I could stand

But sometimes, sometimes bad is bad
Cool is a rule, but, sometimes, bad is bad.

Back uptown to see marie
Nobody home, I opened the door with my key
"I love you, Huey" was the note I read
But there's a strange pair of shoes underneath the bed

But sometimes, sometimes bad is bad
Cool is a rule, but, sometimes, bad is bad...

-Huey Lewis and The News

Sorry that just came to my mind, thought I'd throw it in here.

posted on May, 16 2005 @ 10:19 PM
Pot is a psychotropic substance. Keep in mind, pot's not just illegal, its 'as illegal' as crack and heroin. They're all 'schedule 1' drugs or somesuch.

Pot is a chemical that alters brainchemistry and can cause delusions, etc, ie its psychotropic, as opposed to alcohol, which is merely a depressant and not psychotropic (tho I suppose one could make a sensible arguement that, in the long term, it is). Clearly, the government can't decide whats a 'good mind altering drug' and whats a 'bad one'.

True, technically cigarettes and caffeine affect the mind, but lets be realistic, Pot is clearly a 'drug', thats not just a social conception. Pot has 'good effects', and 'bad effects'. It can result in clearing up glaucoma, or drastically reduced motor skills, loss of thinking ability, and strong paranoia. These are all arguements for considering it 'bad' and 'banworthy'. I don't think one needs a conspiracy 'to put potheads in jail for a while' to explain why pot is illegal.

Also, the gateway effect alone argues for legalization, but that might just be a social effect.

posted on May, 17 2005 @ 12:44 AM
Some of you're points have been good. Specifically, the fact that anything in excess is bad. But to really know how dope effects people you either haveto:

a. Have smoked dope habitually for a year or so

b. Be or have been a drug dealer

or prefereably

c. Both of the above

Having been the the C category for a number of years i have a good grasp at its benefits and it pitfalls. I'd have to say its as evil as alcohol. Granted you cannot become addicted physically to the drug (though thats definatly debatable) but its a mental thing (as someone previously mentioned) Very rare use isn't necessarily harmful, but if used often it dulls the brain, both in its creative capacities and for peoples abilities to think quick.

To me theres no wander why its illegal in most countries. It wrecks lives. And theres no nicer way to put it. Granted some people remain fine and are not too adversly effected by it but i by in large it ****s peoples lives up. A stepping stone to speed, coc aine, heroin etc. etc. I know people who spend all their money on the stuff. Living day to day for the stuff. Of course its not physically addictive, but the process in which most people smoke it (through a bong) is a physically addictive process.

It's illegal for a good reason.

posted on May, 17 2005 @ 09:38 AM

Originally posted by benevolent tyrant

Originally posted by syrinx high priest
all i can say is my 3 happy successful friends drink, but don't smoke, and my 2 miserable, broke, single friends smoke. I don't need a degree to tell me pot is bad, mkay !
Using this sort of logic, you don't deserve a degree nor should you think of even trying to obtain one. I can name just as many people who have had their lives ruined by alcohol while also being able to name just as many people who use marijuana responsibly. Responsibility, I might add, is the key word in regards the use of any substance. Whether it is marijuana, alcohol, food, coffee, prescription drug or aspirin, responsibility is essential. Responsible use of marijuana is proven to be safe -- no reported deaths have been attributed to the use of marijuana in it's 4,000 year history!

noone has ever been in a car wreck while high ? committed suicide ? fallen off a hotel balcony ? what kind of reporting did they have 4,000 years ago ?

you have zero credibilty with that ridiculous statement. Argue for pot all you want, i really don't care. I've seen it destroy the lives of 2 of my friends. Try getting a job with a possession rap.

Why do you cough when you inhale ? Are your lungs trying to tell you something ?

posted on May, 17 2005 @ 09:44 AM

It's not a war on drugs, It's a war on personal Freedoms, lets keep this in mind at all times


you wanna smoke crack, go for it, I hope you die, more oxygen for me, don't put that meth away on account of me~sings~

posted on May, 17 2005 @ 10:44 AM

Originally posted by syrinx high priest

you have zero credibilty with that ridiculous statement. Argue for pot all you want, i really don't care. I've seen it destroy the lives of 2 of my friends. Try getting a job with a possession rap.

Your statements are about just as credible. Two of your friends lives got ruined. Ohhh stop the presses, verdict in; Marijuana found guilty.

Here in California Possession is a misdemeador, punishable by 100.00$ fine, no big deal ( without prescription, under 1 oz). You can still get a job, just not for the federal or state government (usually)

All this hoopla is rediculous. I guess this is what 20+ years of "just say no", and red ribbon week will get you. Fear and disinformation. Thank God I am too old to have gone through that #e. Never mind the fact that it is one of the oldest cultivated herbs known to man, let''s not forget people it is a plant, a simple little plant. What is there to fear from a plant?

Overuse of anything is bad, not just a drug. Try eating strawberries for a month and see how healthy you are. Any substance, any behaviour, any action can lead to addiction (physical, or mental)

Other than the toxic effects of smoking, the side effects of Cannabis are negligible, as most have stated it is a mental addiction. Lackadaisical behaviour can be attributed to many things, not just Marijuana. Hell some people stay home and play video games all day (not on drugs) Should Video games be illegal, are video games bad? Some people stay home online all day or night, should that be illegal? Is the internet bad? Or perhaps we just live in an age where people do not take any responsibility for their own actions?hmmm?

If you smoke weed and becaome a wastoid...That is your fault and no-one, and nothing elses (including the weed) . Hell even if you do heroin and become a wastoid, that is your fault and not the heroin. I have known, and history has recorded some of the most successful, insightful, and creative people have eiither used, and or abused "drugs" (do not make me list them please).

All these areguments are a direct result of racist, and mis-informed drug policies, that have been partially responsible for a generation or two of people who simply refuse to take any responsibilty for their actions. Oh it must of been the weed that ruined my two friends lives, could'nt be them could it? No that could not be. Must be the weed!

Why do you cough when you inhale ? Are your lungs trying to tell you something ?

Smoke is bad for you that's why, ANY SMOKE NOT JUST CANNABIS. As previously stated there are plenty of means of ingestion besides smoking.

Oh and for the genius who said that waterpipes (bongs) were "addictive"...that's just nonsense. Ingesting cannabis through a water pipe is the second best way to ingest it(after eating). Water is a very purifying agent and cleans out most of the excesss tars that everyone bitches and whines about.

Once again as someone who finished college(whilst smoking), and is currently working on another degree (whilst smoking, I have a prescription now perfectly legal :up
I can not help but laugh at all this paranoia surrounding a simple little plant. Are there not more pressing issues that should be addressed, as opposed to the supposed "dangers" of a naturally occuring plant? Or are these seriously the things that keep you up at night?

[edit on 17-5-2005 by phoenixhasrisin]

posted on May, 17 2005 @ 10:50 AM
Alot of hoopla over something that became illegal, only because during the prohibition, it was the new "vice" to use when alcohol was bannished. So they ran out and banished Cannabis too....

posted on May, 17 2005 @ 11:02 AM
too sad, denial aint just a river in egypt ! Thats right, there's no dain bramage, no effect what so ever, just keep smoking, everythings gonna be allright.....

When you are on an oxygen tank, hacking your way to an early death, just keep telling yourself it was the gov't conspiracy, not the bong hits. And our insurance premiums will be paying your bills (but thats another story)

BTW, have you ever seen a dirty bong ? What do you think your lungs look like ?

posted on May, 17 2005 @ 11:14 AM

Originally posted by phoenixhasrisin
Oh and for the genius who said that waterpipes (bongs) were "addictive"...that's just nonsense. Ingesting cannabis through a water pipe is the second best way to ingest it(after eating).

Bongs are one of the worst ways to ingest any smoke because the humidity is greatly increased after it passes through the water. I know people who have permanent/chronic respiratory and thoracic damage due to smoking bongs.


posted on May, 17 2005 @ 11:20 AM

Originally posted by syrinx high priest
too sad, denial aint just a river in egypt ! Thats right, there's no dain bramage, no effect what so ever, just keep smoking, everythings gonna be allright.....

When you are on an oxygen tank, hacking your way to an early death, just keep telling yourself it was the gov't conspiracy, not the bong hits. And our insurance premiums will be paying your bills (but thats another story)

BTW, have you ever seen a dirty bong ? What do you think your lungs look like ?

Not like the bong water.....The water is a filter. If the water is black then it did it's job filtering, the stuff before it got to your lungs. Think a little.

Curious, how old are you.

I was raised around marijuana, grew up fine, finished school, continued education, was successful in my carreer, and am now back in school. Save your nancy reagan just say no, crap for someone else.

When and if I do get cancer (highly unlikely) That will be my problem, that I will deal with, and yes it will be my fault. I won't go blaming the substance, but rather my behaviour.

Take responisbility for your own lives, and quit trying to find a scape-goat around every corner....oh yeah and in the meantime....don't worry about mine, or try to hinder my pursuit of happiness either. If I get lung cancer I am the one who will have to deal with it not you. That is the problem with America, too many people worried about other peoles lives, instead of their own.

posted on May, 17 2005 @ 11:22 AM

Originally posted by sanctum

Originally posted by phoenixhasrisin
Oh and for the genius who said that waterpipes (bongs) were "addictive"...that's just nonsense. Ingesting cannabis through a water pipe is the second best way to ingest it(after eating).

Bongs are one of the worst ways to ingest any smoke because the humidity is greatly increased after it passes through the water. I know people who have permanent/chronic respiratory and thoracic damage due to smoking bongs.


What does the humidity have to do with anything? So do all people that live in the southern United states have "permanent/chromic repiratory thoracic damage" or people that live in other humid climates?

Of course not all peoples bodies can handle the same things as everyone elses. Think of it as weeding out the weak (pun fully intended)

Sorry but if you are going to smoke, a bong is the safest , and cleanest way. FACT.

[edit on 17-5-2005 by phoenixhasrisin]

posted on May, 17 2005 @ 12:34 PM

noone has ever been in a car wreck while high ? committed suicide ? fallen off a hotel balcony ? what kind of reporting did they have 4,000 years ago ?

Im pretty sure he was refferenceing over doseing, not death as a result of being high, all sorts of accidents happen in an altered state. Hell i fell off a balcony once and all i had in me was nyquil oddly enough ive done similiar while not ingesting anything , accidents happen high or not.

It's not a war on drugs, It's a war on personal Freedoms, lets keep this in mind at all times


you wanna smoke crack, go for it, I hope you die, more oxygen for me, don't put that meth away on account of me~sings~

If you do some homework you will notice the "War on drugs " campaign began during the nixon era and as most history shows will say the campaign began do to the youth getting high and questioning the goverments. So yes it esentially was an imposement on personal freedoms. As for the crack and meth comment you must remember we are discussing marijuana not crack nor meth, they are seperate drugs. Comparing the them is like comparing asprin to oxycotin, they are both pain relievers as the others are both drugs but there is a great deal of difference between the two. Foir instance the first time you try crack you can become physically addicted to it or even better your heart can explode, where as pot does not contain physically addictive substances and instead of the heart exploding you giggle and get very hungry. ( thats a pretty big difference)

Depends on the person. It affects people differently.

That has got to be the most intelligent statement in this thread, all drugs effect people differently even asprin. I know two now retired nasa scientists that worked on the space program until the shuttle development, both of these individuals smoke at least one to two joints a day and have done so for the past 45+ years. They litterally are rocket scinientists they have families and are by no means half baked. In addition i know several engineers , doctors , lawyers, etc that also smoke on a regular basis. Then at the same time i have a brother in law who is a prime definition of burn out. He hasnt had a full time job in over 8 years and he lives to smoke pot, he has the mentality of a 12 year old, so there are two sides to every coin. There are those that would argue " just imagine how inteligent the people you mentioned before would be if they didnt smoke pot" however this is not the case. Most of if not all of the people i mentioned i good paying jobs that are payed for thier inteligence cannot even function without pot. It is not a matter of being addicted its a matter of prior to thier usage of pot they lacked the ability to shut down for the day their brains never stopped which sounds like fun but it isnt. My brother in law on my wifes side isnt the sharpest tool in the shed but he isnt a moron however he smokes a little every day if not he is subject to violent outbursts. When i say violent this is a guy who had to take anger manegment 3 times while in the marines. If he smokes a little he is the most polite person you have ever seen , if not he is a hazard waiting to happen.

Personally i dont smoke pot , i drink and i have to do so every night in order to shut my brain down and generally i still cant go to sleep until 3am even after 12 beers. I dont get slobering drunk , my family and freinds will tell you they have never seen me drunk they have often questioned how i can drink so much without it making me pass out or act stupid and i respond with i know my limit ( and yes i admit ive passed it before ) i can somewhat regulate my intake to my brain functions until i get it to a calm level and there i can finally go to sleep. With pot i cant do this, the few times ive smoked it has made me so damn paranoid i couldnt stand it and it has hit me like a brick wall one minute im fine the next my motor skills have gone to hell, i even got so bad one time i halucinated ( yes it was only pot , as a matter of fact i was told it wasnt even good pot ) So i decided pot was not for me but ive seen it work wonders for others.

So is pot good or bad? it can be either, with someone with an addictive personality it can turn them to burn outs becuase they are high all the time. For those who suffer from a restless mind it can be the only thing that makes them functional. Then you have the medicinal properties which are numerous as to making it a pill or a patch unfortunetly you loose something when doing so. Smoking a drug is one of the quickest ways to get it into the blood stream and get the effects desired , pills and patchesdo work but not as fast or as well additionally the munchies which is often the desired effect also does not come into play on thc patches or pills. True smoking anything is bad but look at it this way say a lung cancer patient who hasnt eaten for a week due to kemo can take a toke and get thier appetite back enough to get their strength up or starve to death, i personally wouldnt choose starvation.

Willie nelson is world famous for his herb and he hasnt done to bad for himself, and there are many others that can say the same. Yet you will also have your stoners who dont amount to $hit, but who is to say they would have anyway? One nice aspect of a pot head versus a drunk is have you ever seen an violent pot head? Ive seen tons of angry drunks but never an angry pothead, ive also never known of smoking pot leading to a violent crime or even a robbery, ( unless its stealing 10 bags of chips from a local gas station ) However ive seen alchol lead to violent crimes and robbery. Both substances lower your ability to reason thus making you make poor judgment but pot also makes you lazy plus even if you where to want to commit a crime you would forget about it before you got to the car if you where high on just pot. ( most likely end up giggling in the driveway as you cant remember what you where heading to the car to do )

All drugs have pros and cons to some extent and very few can be summed up into a good or bad category, however i dont think pot should be a schedule 1 drug..........

posted on May, 17 2005 @ 12:41 PM
Vaporize. The health risk is purely paranoiac.

Some good points have been made, but I believe there were signifigant errors...

One is the comment on bong humidity. Are you going to put the humidifier people on alert, and sue the bejesus out of them for making products that are dedicated to the specific function you think is unhealthy? Try dry, hacking lungs, and you'll beg for humidity. It clears congestion by allowing more effective expectoration, and filters contaminants from the air you breathe. Humid air is a good thing, as long as you don't live in a sauna 24/7.

However, when hitting a bong, be reasonable about your hits. There's nothing funny about a collapsed lung, except perhaps the face you make.

Marijuana is mentally addictive, but that addiction is an illusion. It's your brain trying to get you to fill its receptors..dirty little brain...

Anyway, the brain knows what it wants, and it will induce behaviors that satisfy its requirements. People get addicted to table's human nature. Don't blame the drug, blame the intricacies of our evolved reward system.

Making a plant illegal is the height of hubris. Anyone who needs this explained to them has no faith, no reverence for the natural world, and no humility. They burn this stuff by the acre, for no other reason than because it exists. Humans are like that sometimes...

People need to learn to control themselves, or suffer the consequences. It is impossible to motivate another to truly change, they must initiate the change on their own, otherwise it won't stick. If you want to punish a human for his brain, and punish a plant for its oil, you are what's known as a tyrant, one who wishes to impose his/her worldview on others using force. Tyrants, unlike plants, are bad.

I understand the reasons to not smoke, as I'm sure many smokers do. Some people don't realize that it makes them less motivated, some people even like the feeling of being sedated. They aren't my problem, and they're not the state's problem, until they do something that injures another citizen. It really is that simple. Apologists for the liberty thieves are wearing on my nerves, and I'm as patient as can be.

All human cultures use drugs. Every culture in human history used drugs. Our simian ancestors use drugs. Bears use drugs, deer use drugs, it's not a human problem (perhaps mammalian). The use of drugs is perfectly healthy, and a choice that we, as human beings, are capable of making without anyone else's threats, thank you very much. Drug abuse is a lack of willpower, and I would reccomend treating the source. Teach willpower, it can be done. Perhaps schools and parents should take responsibility and give students the tools they need in order to survive, instead of scaring them with lies and exagerations about insanity and terrorism. Or am I the crazy one?

Talking honestly about a problem is always preferable to propaganda, when the desire is to promote learning. That's not the agenda these days though, is it? No..the order of the day is compliance. Kneel before the emperor, kiss the ring, work at McDonalds or WalMart, choose between two equally horrendous candidates, and accept your lot in life.

I hope they legalize Marijuana in an effort to sedate the population. I doubt it will happen though, people who smoke marijuana may not be the brightest bulbs in some ways, but they do have one advantage...

Because of the chemical properties of THC, it is possible to increase the brains efficiency after smoking. The process of THC intake involves flooding the synapses with drug-laced fluids. The response in those sectors that contain cannabanoid receptors light up like the fourth of July, new pathways are constructed, new thought parameters established, new tangents explored, and most importantly, new connections are made.

THC is like an alternate run-time mode for your brain, it allows compartmentalized memory storage, exclusive software, it's own bugs, and of course a nifty interface. The Bong = Partition for your brain.

When you run the THC OS, it has trouble retrieving information from the Sober OS, which explains the occasional stupidity. When you run the Sober OS however, all the pathways that were opened in the last month or three remain OPEN! That means, with careful dosage and scheduling, you could actually increase your brain power by smoking THC!

Read all about it in my fabulous new book...

Seriously though, this post has gone on long enough, sorry to once again be so long winded. 2 more quick points.

People say all sorts of things about marijuana, many of which are false, or at the least, misleading. Find out for yourself, and use civil disobedience to prove to the government your resolve to think for yourself, that's my advice. Disobey those laws that are ill conveived and hurtful, and don't ever, ever hurt your fellow citizens with your behavior...that would make you a criminal instead of a protester.

Marijuana being criminalized helps this country's economy in a big way, it keeps prisons, courts, hospitals, health care workers, and federal agencies in business, not to mention shores up the textiles, energy, pharmaceutical, plastics, and petroleum industries against competition.
I think this problem could be surmounted by returning to an agricultural economy, actually utilize the vast expanses of land in this country. With advances in hydroponics, even cities can house enormously efficient hydro warehouses, supplying food, energy, and fiber - enough to feed/clothe/heat millions of people. A hemp economy is renewable, clean, safe, and of course, bumper-crop-alicious.

EDIT: Sorry about that..I was probably stoned or something.
(spelling, grammar)

[edit on 17-5-2005 by WyrdeOne]

[edit on 17-5-2005 by WyrdeOne]

posted on May, 17 2005 @ 01:10 PM
Great posts phoenixhasrisin.
Like it or hate is pot has been around since the dawn of time. And will be around until far after we are dead. So everyone who is whining and complaining about how bad pot really is....... maybe don't do it in the first place?!?!

I, for one, have smoked pot for a few years now. But I do so with my own accord, and at a maximum of 1-2 per week. I started noticing that my depression that I have had for over 5 years actually started DISAPPEARING!! I quit taking my anti-depressants and I have been very happy and not had any symtoms of depression for over 1.5 years!

Actually I found that the anti-depressants were turning me into a vegetable, and that the pot was bringing me back in to reality. Funny how a so called illegal drug has better health effects then a so called legal "anti-depressant"

I am not telling everyone to go out and smoke pot if they have depression. I am just letting everyone know that if used medicinally... pot can be a very useful and wonderful thing.

posted on May, 17 2005 @ 01:14 PM
"Sorry but if you are going to smoke, a bong is the safest , and cleanest way. FACT. "

why am I so preachy on this subject ? I'm the annoying ex-user !

and I would have to say a glass pipe with a little air chamber to catch the ashes and a carb is the way to go. the metal bowls in bongs aren't good long term.

posted on May, 17 2005 @ 01:16 PM

Originally posted by CPYKOmega
Pot is harmless if it is done recreationally as in once a week. If you start doing it every day then you will eventually start experiencing short term memory loss. It is much safer then alcohol and cigarettes as it has no toxic properties and nothing is added to the plant after it is harvested.

Here are some facts about marijuana...

1) It is not addictive as most people think. There is a mental addiction that comes with it just like any other legal drug (Alcohol, Caffine, Cigs)

2) There has been no recorded death involving the use of marijuana alone, and no one has ever Overdosed on Marijuana.

3) The Hemp leaf is very beneficial as it can be used for making clothes, rope, food, oil, fuel, paint, coal, plastic, housing... etc etc.

4) THC which stands for delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol is the chemical in pot which gives a person their high and the funny thing is THC is naturally produced in the brain anyways. The brain has natural THC receptors.

So all in all the over-hyped war on pot in the USA is just a bunch of crap. Because in all truth drinking alcohol and smoking cigarettes is much much worse then smoking once joint once or twice a week.

Smoking kills hundreds of thousands of lives a year. Alcohol kills thousands with drunk driving. Yet why is it that an illegal drug kills 0?????

Someone please answer this one for me.

Simply put: $$$.

The government seems to think they wont make their money on it because anyone can grow marijuana. Make it legal and no doubt people are throwing seeds down.

This is NOT the case for alcohol and cigs... not quite as easy for the average joe to make. I honestly think that if it were to become legal, the gov would make TONS of $$$ off it.

It's just so ridiculous. Can they honestly say with a staight face... that of alcohol, cigs, and marijuana... that marijuana is the killer here? I have had a grandmother die from alcohol. I have had a another grandmother die from lung cancer from cigs. I know no one who has died from Marijuana.

Just plan silly.


posted on May, 17 2005 @ 01:54 PM

Originally posted by phoenixhasrisin
Sorry but if you are going to smoke, a bong is the safest , and cleanest way. FACT.

Perhaps not...
Lung: Causes and Prevention
Updated: Mar 15th 2005

Smoking through a 'bong' (water-cooled pipe) offers no substantial protection.



posted on May, 17 2005 @ 01:55 PM

Originally posted by syrinx high priest
all i can say is my 3 happy successful friends drink, but don't smoke, and my 2 miserable, broke, single friends smoke. I don't need a degree to tell me pot is bad, mkay !

I know Doctors & Lawyers that get high...I know bums that don't but drink...however, I would never make any decisive conclusions on several's just not an intelligent way.....if you base your knowledge on anything on five friends....I feel bad for ya!

Faeryland…No you don’t…you know from one person that had a pot problem…a person can have a problem with anything….

And to whomever it was that says bongs are bad due to the humidity!? Tha’ts the dumbest thing I have heard here for a bit….and I have heard some doozies!

For the record, I don’t smoke pot, I don’t drink either…had a heroin addiction as a kid…kicked it at 19…anything taken to access is bad….but if you count all the people killed, maimed and injured from alcohol related accidents (cars, fights, robberies)…diseases from alcohol, broken home and marriages, children hurt…it will far outdo the drug problem…as to the real reason Marijuana is illegal, I re-post what I wrote in another thread….after all this topic comes up all the time here..

Most of the history of marijuana's criminalization has been based on lies. The actual reasons why marijuana is illegal are:

Protection of Corporate Profits
Yellow Journalism
Ignorant, Incompetent, and/or Corrupt Legislators
Personal Career Advancement and Greed

For most of human history, marijuana has been completely legal. It's not a recently discovered plant, nor is it a long-standing law. Marijuana has been illegal for less than 1% of the time that it's been in use. Its known uses go back further than 7,000 B.C. and it was legal as recently as when Ronald Reagan was a boy.

The marijuana (hemp) plant, of course, has an incredible number of uses. The earliest known woven fabric was apparently of hemp, and over the centuries the plant was used for food, incense, cloth, rope, and much more. This adds to some of the confusion over its introduction in the United States, as the plant was well known from the early 1600's, but did not reach public awareness as a recreational drug until the early 1900's.

America's first marijuana law was enacted at Jamestown Colony, Virginia in 1619. It was a law "ordering" all farmers to grow Indian hempseed. There were several other "must grow" laws over the next 200 years (you could be jailed for not growing hemp during times of shortage in Virginia between 1763 and 1767), and during most of that time, hemp was legal tender (you could even pay your taxes with hemp -- try that today!) Hemp was such a critical crop for a number of purposes (including essential war requirements - rope, etc.) that the government went out of its way to encourage growth.

The United States Census of 1850 counted 8,327 hemp "plantations" (minimum 2,000-acre farm) growing cannabis hemp for cloth, canvas and even the cordage used for baling cotton.

The Mexican Connection

In the early 1900s, the western states developed significant tensions regarding the influx of Mexican-Americans. The revolution in Mexico in 1910 spilled over the border, with General Pershing's army clashing with bandit Pancho Villa. Later in that decade, bad feelings developed between the small farmer and the large farms that used cheaper Mexican labor. Then, the depression came and increased tensions, as jobs and welfare resources became scarce.

One of the "differences" seized upon during this time was the fact that many Mexicans smoked marijuana and had brought the plant with them.

However, the first state law outlawing marijuana did so not because of Mexicans using the drug. Oddly enough, it was because of Mormons using it. Mormons who traveled to Mexico in 1910 came back to Salt Lake City with marijuana. The church was not pleased and ruled against use of the drug. Since the state of Utah automatically enshrined church doctrine into law, the first state marijuana prohibition was established in 1915. (Today, Senator Orrin Hatch serves as the prohibition arm of this heavily church-influenced state.)

Other states quickly followed suit with marijuana prohibition laws, including Wyoming (1915), Texas (1919), Iowa (1923), Nevada (1923), Oregon (1923), Washington (1923), Arkansas (1923), and Nebraska (1927). These laws tended to be specifically targeted against the Mexican-American population.

When Montana outlawed marijuana in 1927, the Butte Montana Standard reported a legislator's comment: "When some beet field peon takes a few traces of this stuff... he thinks he has just been elected president of Mexico, so he starts out to execute all his political enemies." In Texas, a senator said on the floor of the Senate: "All Mexicans are crazy, and this stuff [marijuana] is what makes them crazy."

Jazz and Assassins

In the eastern states, the "problem" was attributed to a combination of Latin Americans and black jazz musicians. Marijuana and jazz traveled from New Orleans to Chicago, and then to Harlem, where marijuana became an indispensable part of the music scene, even entering the language of the black hits of the time (Louis Armstrong's "Muggles", Cab Calloway's "That Funny Reefer Man", Fats Waller's "Viper's Drag").

Again, racism was part of the charge against marijuana, as newspapers in 1934 editorialized: "Marihuana influences Negroes to look at white people in the eye, step on white men's shadows and look at a white woman twice."

Two other fear-tactic rumors started to spread: one, that Mexicans, Blacks and other foreigners were snaring white children with marijuana; and two, the story of the "assassins." Early stories of Marco Polo had told of "hasheesh-eaters" or hashashin, from which derived the term "assassin." In the original stories, these professional killers were given large doses of hashish and brought to the ruler's garden (to give them a glimpse of the paradise that awaited them upon successful completion of their mission). Then, after the effects of the drug disappeared, the assassin would fulfill his ruler's wishes with cool, calculating loyalty.

By the 1930s, the story had changed. Dr. A. E. Fossier wrote in the 1931 New Orleans Medical and Surgical Journal: "Under the influence of hashish those fanatics would madly rush at their enemies, and ruthlessly massacre every one within their grasp." Within a very short time, marijuana started being linked to violent behavior.

Alcohol Prohibition and Federal Approaches to Drug Prohibition

During this time, the United States was also dealing with alcohol prohibition, which lasted from 1919 to 1933. Alcohol prohibition was extremely visible and debated at all levels, while drug laws were passed without the general public's knowledge. National alcohol prohibition happened through the mechanism of an amendment to the constitution.

Earlier (1914), the Harrison Act was passed, which provided federal tax penalties for opiates and coc aine.

The federal approach is important. It was considered at the time that the federal government did not have the constitutional power to outlaw alcohol or drugs. It is because of this that alcohol prohibition required a constitutional amendment.

At that time in our country's history, the judiciary regularly placed the tenth amendment in the path of congressional regulation of "local" affairs, and direct regulation of medical practice was considered beyond congressional power under the commerce clause (since then, both provisions have been weakened so far as to have almost no meaning).

Since drugs could not be outlawed at the federal level, the decision was made to use federal taxes as a way around the restriction. In the Harrison Act, legal uses of opiates and coc aine were taxed (supposedly as a revenue need by the federal government, which is the only way it would hold up in the courts), and those who didn't follow the law found themselves in trouble with the treasury department.

In 1930, a new division in the Treasury Department was established -- the Federal Bureau of Narcotics -- and Harry J. Anslinger was named director. This, if anything, marked the beginning of the all-out war against marijuana.

Harry J. Anslinger

Anslinger was an extremely ambitious man, and he recognized the Bureau of Narcotics as an amazing career opportunity -- a new government agency with the opportunity to define both the problem and the solution. He immediately realized that opiates and coc aine wouldn't be enough to help build his agency, so he latched on to marijuana and started to work on making it illegal at the federal level.

Anslinger immediately drew upon the themes of racism and violence to draw national attention to the problem he wanted to create. Some of his quotes regarding marijuana...

"There are 100,000 total marijuana smokers in the US, and most are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos, and entertainers. Their Satanic music, jazz, and swing, result from marijuana use. This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers, and any others."

"...the primary reason to outlaw marijuana is its effect on the degenerate races."

"Marijuana is an addictive drug which produces in its users insanity, criminality, and death."

"Reefer makes darkies think they're as good as white men."

"Marihuana leads to pacifism and communist brainwashing"

"You smoke a joint and you're likely to kill your brother."

"Marijuana is the most violence-causing drug in the history of mankind."
And he loved to pull out his own version of the "assassin" definition:

"In the year 1090, there was founded in Persia the religious and military order of the Assassins, whose history is one of cruelty, barbarity, and murder, and for good reason: the members were confirmed users of hashish, or marihuana, and it is from the Arabs' 'hashashin' that we have the English word 'assassin.'"
Yellow Journalism

Harry Anslinger got some additional help from William Randolf Hearst, owner of a huge chain of newspapers. Hearst had lots of reasons to help. First, he hated Mexicans. Second, he had invested heavily in the timber industry to support his newspaper chain and didn't want to see the development of hemp paper in competition. Third, he had lost 800,000 acres of timberland to Pancho Villa, so he hated Mexicans. Fourth, telling lurid lies about Mexicans (and the devil marijuana weed causing violence) sold newspapers, making him rich.

Some samples from the San Francisco Examiner:

"Marihuana makes fiends of boys in thirty days -- Hashish goads users to bloodlust."

"By the tons it is coming into this country -- the deadly, dreadful poison that racks and tears not only the body, but the very heart and soul of every human being who once becomes a slave to it in any of its cruel and devastating forms.... Marihuana is a short cut to the insane asylum. Smoke marihuana cigarettes for a month and what was once your brain will be nothing but a storehouse of horrid specters. Hasheesh makes a murderer who kills for the love of killing out of the mildest mannered man who ever laughed at the idea that any habit could ever get him...."
And other nationwide columns...

"Users of marijuana become STIMULATED as they inhale the drug and are LIKELY TO DO ANYTHING. Most crimes of violence in this section, especially in country districts are laid to users of that drug."

"Was it marijuana, the new Mexican drug, that nerved the murderous arm of Clara Phillips when she hammered out her victim's life in Los Angeles?... THREE-FOURTHS OF THE CRIMES of violence in this country today are committed by DOPE SLAVES -- that is a matter of cold record."
Hearst and Anslinger were then supported by Dupont chemical company and various pharmaceutical companies in the effort to outlaw cannabis. Dupont had patented nylon, and wanted hemp removed as competition. The pharmaceutical companies could neither identify nor standardize cannabis dosages, and besides, with cannabis, folks could grow their own medicine and not have to purchase it from large companies.

This all set the stage for...

The Marijuana Tax Act of 1937.

After two years of secret planning, Anslinger brought his plan to Congress -- complete with a scrapbook full of sensational Hearst editorials, stories of ax murderers who had supposedly smoked marijuana, and racial slurs.

It was a remarkably short set of hearings.

The one fly in Anslinger's ointment was the appearance by Dr. William C. Woodward, Legislative Council of the American Medical Association.

Woodward started by slamming Harry Anslinger and the Bureau of Narcotics for distorting earlier AMA statements that had nothing to do with marijuana and making them appear to be AMA endorsement for Anslinger's view.

He also reproached the legislature and the Bureau for using the term marijuana in the legislation and not publicizing it as a bill about cannabis or hemp. At this point, marijuana (or marihuana) was a sensationalist word used to refer to Mexicans smoking a drug and had not been connected in most people's minds to the existing cannabis/hemp plant. Thus, many who had legitimate reasons to oppose the bill weren't even aware of it.

Woodward went on to state that the AMA was opposed to the legislation and further questioned the approach of the hearings, coming close to outright accusation of misconduct by Anslinger and the committee:

"That there is a certain amount of narcotic addiction of an objectionable character no one will deny. The newspapers have called attention to it so prominently that there must be some grounds for there statements [even Woodward was partially taken in by Hearst's propaganda]. It has surprised me, however, that the facts on which these statements have been based have not been brought before this committee by competent primary evidence. We are referred to newspaper publications concerning the prevalence of marihuana addiction. We are told that the use of marihuana causes crime.

But yet no one has been produced from the Bureau of Prisons to show the number of prisoners who have been found addicted to the marihuana habit. An informed inquiry shows that the Bureau of Prisons has no evidence on that point.

You have been told that school children are great users of marihuana cigarettes. No one has been summoned from the Children's Bureau to show the nature and extent of the habit, among children.

Inquiry of the Children's Bureau shows that they have had no occasion to investigate it and know nothing particularly of it.

Inquiry of the Office of Education--- and they certainly should know something of the prevalence of the habit among the school children of the country, if there is a prevalent habit--- indicates that they have had no occasion to investigate and know nothing of it.

Moreover, there is in the Treasury Department itself, the Public Health Service, with its Division of Mental Hygiene. The Division of Mental Hygiene was, in the first place, the Division of Narcotics. It was converted into the Division of Mental Hygiene, I think, about 1930. That particular Bureau has control at the present time of the narcotics farms that were created about 1929 or 1930 and came into operation a few years later. No one has been summoned from that Bureau to give evidence on that point.

Informal inquiry by me indicates that they have had no record of any marihuana of Cannabis addicts who have ever been committed to those farms.

The bureau of Public Health Service has also a division of pharmacology. If you desire evidence as to the pharmacology of Cannabis, that obviously is the place where you can get direct and primary evidence, rather than the indirect hearsay evidence."
Committee members then proceeded to attack Dr. Woodward, questioning his motives in opposing the legislation. Even the Chairman joined in:

The Chairman: If you want to advise us on legislation, you ought to come here with some constructive proposals, rather than criticism, rather than trying to throw obstacles in the way of something that the Federal Government is trying to do. It has not only an unselfish motive in this, but they have a serious responsibility.

Dr. Woodward: We cannot understand yet, Mr. Chairman, why this bill should have been prepared in secret for 2 years without any intimation, even, to the profession, that it was being prepared.
After some further bantering...

The Chairman: I would like to read a quotation from a recent editorial in the Washington Times:
The marihuana cigarette is one of the most insidious of all forms of dope, largely because of the failure of the public to understand its fatal qualities.

The Nation is almost defenseless against it, having no Federal laws to cope with it and virtually no organized campaign for combating it.

The result is tragic.

School children are the prey of peddlers who infest school neighborhoods.

High school boys and girls buy the destructive weed without knowledge of its capacity of harm, and conscienceless dealers sell it with impunity.

This is a national problem, and it must have national attention.

The fatal marihuana cigarette must be recognized as a deadly drug, and American children must be protected against it.
That is a pretty severe indictment. They say it is a national question and that it requires effective legislation. Of course, in a general way, you have responded to all of these statements; but that indicates very clearly that it is an evil of such magnitude that it is recognized by the press of the country as such.
And that was basically it. Yellow journalism won over medical science.

The committee passed the legislation on. And on the floor of the house, the entire discussion was:

Member from upstate New York: "Mr. Speaker, what is this bill about?"

Speaker Rayburn: "I don't know. It has something to do with a thing called marihuana. I think it's a narcotic of some kind."

"Mr. Speaker, does the American Medical Association support this bill?"

Member on the committee jumps up and says: "Their Doctor Wentworth[sic] came down here. They support this bill 100 percent."
And on the basis of that lie, on August 2, 1937, marijuana became illegal at the federal level.

The entire coverage in the New York Times: "President Roosevelt signed today a bill to curb traffic in the narcotic, marihuana, through heavy taxes on transactions."

Anslinger as precursor to the Drug Czars

Anslinger was essentially the first Drug Czar. Even though the term didn't exist until William Bennett's position as director of the White House Office of National Drug Policy, Anslinger acted in a similar fashion. In fact, there are some amazing parallels between Anslinger and the current Drug Czar John Walters. Both had kind of a carte blanche to go around demonizing drugs and drug users. Both had resources and a large public podium for their voice to be heard and to promote their personal agenda. Both lied constantly, often when it was unnecessary. Both were racists. Both had the ear of lawmakers, and both realized that they could persuade legislators and others based on lies, particularly if they could co-opt the media into squelching or downplaying any opposition views.

Anslinger even had the ability to circumvent the First Amendment. He banned the Canadian movie "Drug Addict," a 1946 documentary that realistically depicted the drug addicts and law enforcement efforts. He even tried to get Canada to ban the movie in their own country, or failing that, to prevent U.S. citizens from seeing the movie in Canada. Canada refused. (Today, Drug Czar John Walters is trying to bully Canada into keeping harsh marijuana laws.)

Anslinger had 37 years to solidify the propaganda and stifle opposition. The lies continued the entire time (although the stories would adjust -- the 21 year old Florida boy who killed his family of five got younger each time he told it). In 1961, he looked back at his efforts:

"Much of the most irrational juvenile violence and that has written a new chapter of shame and tragedy is traceable directly to this hemp intoxication. A gang of boys tear the clothes from two school girls and rape the screaming girls, one boy after the other. A sixteen-year-old kills his entire family of five in Florida, a man in Minnesota puts a bullet through the head of a stranger on the road; in Colorado husband tries to shoot his wife, kills her grandmother instead and then kills himself. Every one of these crimes had been proceeded [sic] by the smoking of one or more marijuana "reefers." As the marijuana situation grew worse, I knew action had to be taken to get the proper legislation passed. By 1937 under my direction, the Bureau launched two important steps First, a legislative plan to seek from Congress a new law that would place marijuana and its distribution directly under federal control. Second, on radio and at major forums, such that presented annually by the New York Herald Tribune, I told the story of this evil weed of the fields and river beds and roadsides. I wrote articles for magazines; our agents gave hundreds of lectures to parents, educators, social and civic leaders. In network broadcasts I reported on the growing list of crimes, including murder and rape. I described the nature of marijuana and its close kinship to hashish. I continued to hammer at the facts.

I believe we did a thorough job, for the public was alerted and the laws to protect them were passed, both nationally and at the state level. We also brought under control the wild growing marijuana in this country. Working with local authorities, we cleaned up hundreds of acres of marijuana and we uprooted plants sprouting along the roadsides."
After Anslinger

On a break from college in the 70s, I was visiting a church in rural Illinois. There in the literature racks in the back of the church was a lurid pamphlet about the evils of marijuana -- all the old reefer madness propaganda about how it caused insanity and murder. I approached the minister and said "You can't have this in your church. It's all lies, and the church shouldn't be about promoting lies." Fortunately, my dad believed me, and he had the material removed. He didn't even know how it got there. But without me speaking up, neither he nor the other members of the church had any reason NOT to believe what the pamphlet said. The propaganda machine had been that effective.

The story since then has been a continual litany of:

Politicians wanting to appear tough on crime and passing tougher penalties
Constant increases in spending on law enforcement and prisons
Racist application of drug laws
Taxpayer funded propaganda
Stifling of opposition speech
Political contributions from corporations that profit from marijuana being illegal (pharmaceuticals, alcohol, etc.)

Wheeeeeeeeew...and "that's" why it's illegal!

[edit on 5/17/05 by LadyV]

posted on May, 17 2005 @ 02:04 PM
Very nice post LadyV.....

Unfortunately the only ones who will probably read it all, are the ones who already had the info to begin with.

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