Why is Cannabis still Illegal? The Politics of Demonization
Why is Cannabis illegal? This question is asked too often already. Especially, after the experience with the prohibition of alcohol. In this post, we will dive deep into the history of Cannabis.
History is like statistically collected data. The facts are often skewed for whatever reason but there is truth to be found within that skewage. Much of the real history of cannabis and the people who enjoy it is clouded in controversy. Clouded or not, the plant has a symbiotic relationship with humans that dates back over 12,000 years. Some of the earliest wandering humans felt it was such an important plant they scattered it everywhere they went. They even took it with them to the grave like Aryan Gobi Stoner .
The Birth Place of Cannabis
Dravidians thought to be the original habitats of the Indian subcontinent migrated from Africa 50,000 years ago. They were mostly peaceful farmers who had no desire to wage war. The Aryans were warrior nomads who had weapons of war, chariots, other means of destruction. Invasion and assimilation were the methods the Aryans used to further their trade and knowledge empires. The exact dates they assimilated Northern India are unknown but their impact is still present today. Why they stopped short of taking the more fertile earth to the south where the Dravidians fled is somewhat of a mystery. The obvious reason is historically documented. Over-expansion leaves the homelands vulnerable. They could have also been called to assist in the conquest of China, which led to the eventual demise of the Aryan conquest in the east. There is a very sound theory that the Aryans brought cannabis, opium, and other medicines with them on their travels and that is how it found its way to India and spread throughout the region.
It is thought that the botanical birthplace of cannabis is around the Steppes region in Mongolia which, coincidentally is also where men first learned to ride horses (even though horses are native to North America). This would certainly paint a nice picture for some as the Aryans expanded into the Steppes slowly then seemed to be all over the known world within the span of a few centuries after that. The Aryans were big fans of assimilating local gods and their rituals. Just like the Romans after them, they had learned it was easier and more productive to retool native religions than to ban them. The people were more cooperative if left to their own religious attachments. This was done to most of the Dravidian gods including Shiva.
Legends around Cannabis
Another legend has it that the god Shiva (Shankur) brought cannabis through modern-day Pakistan to India over 5000 years ago. His origins are said to have been from somewhere in the southern Indus Valley also the supposed origin of the opium poppy. From his style of dress, we can conclude that he is an ancient figure, dressed in animal skins and still maintaining a wild bond with the other animals around him so that figure may be inaccurate. My guess is that Shankur came from the region of Ur at around 7000 BC. There is more than enough evidence to support that this is true. He was probably recognized as a god because of his knowledge of the wild including medicinal herbs.
There are quite literally thousands of stories about his exploits and tribulations but the one common link to them all is the god’s love of cannabis. Somehow his love of cannabis has not found its way into his following, however. It is considered a sin to smoke marijuana outside of ritualistic use amongst modern Shivites which is something that is obviously contrary to the wishes of the god. I suspect that influence came from the cannabis persecution epidemic spawned by the French back in the early 1800s because the British did an in-depth study on cannabis in 1894 and found it to be not a threat but a possible benefit to society. The Brits did play a large part in how cannabis and other beneficial medicinal herbs were thought of in the media and were also the ones who eventually gave the public eye cannabis conjunctivitis. Their Roman yearning for overindulgence got the better of them when they discovered the poppy!
The Opium War
Opium was one of the early “spices” that the seaworthy adventurers of Western Europe stumbled across in their travels. In the 1500s the Portuguese encountered opium in China. Some sailor decided to smoke some and this changed how opium was consumed. It went from being medicine to being a recreational intoxicant. It also made the effects more intense, immediate, and addictive! The Chinese government considered this use of medicine as barbaric and chose to disassociate itself with this type of behavior.
England soon found a taste for the drug too. In 1606 Elizabeth the 1st chartered vessels to find the finest “Indian Opium” and transport it back home. It was known as Indian opium because its origins were to remain a mystery and nothing was more mysterious at the time than India. Opium was actually being smuggled out of China to India by the British.
Then in the early 1700s, the Dutch go so far as to introduce the Chinese population to smoking opium. In 1729 Emperor Yung Cheng issues an edict prohibiting the smoking of opium and its domestic sale except by a licensed physician. Keep this in mind. The gangsters make lemonade out of this lemon soon after this. Britain’s hunger for opium came in the form of conquest now as it started establishing territorial domain over Bengal and the opium-producing regions of India.
The British Opium Empire
By 1793 the British East India Company had established a monopoly on the opium trade. In the early 1800s, the British Levantine Company bought half of the opium coming out of Turkey destined for Europe and the States. In 1805 British smugglers were sneaking opium back into China where it was completely banned by Emperor Kia King only a few years previous. This was very profitable as several historical figures made their money by addicting the Chinese to opium.
Americans, like John Jacob Astor and John Cushing to name just a few of the more infamous drug smugglers of their time. By the 1830s Britain was importing 22,000 lbs of opium from Turkey alone. Within ten years it’s a baby colony in America over 24,000 lbs. Opium dependency had become big business and the commonwealth was cashing in! China, however, had become less of an attractive market. In 1839 the Imperial commissioner ordered all foreign traders to surrender their dope. The Brits responded by sending in warships which sparked the first Opium War. Two years later the Chinese were defeated and were forced to pay a huge indemnity and lost the island of Hong Kong to the British! In less than 10 years, China once again struggles to free itself from the tyranny of British induced opium addiction.
The French now join the party and China is once again brought under the heel and robbed of its wealth. As a result, the importation of opium in China is legalized! Opium production in French-occupied territories throughout Indochina also increases as a result. The Brits finally admitted they were opium pushers in 1878 when they passed the Opium Act. It basically allowed the indigenous people that the British had worked so hard to addict to be the only one who would have legal access. It was a quasi-admission of guilt, it was yet another instance of how the Brits were humoring the governments of the territories they had acquired while building a more permanent legacy through drug addiction. A public outcry from home was coming and something had to be done or all that tyranny was for naught!
The Cannabis Hysteria
Cannabis hysteria in France seemed to get its start in Egypt. Napoléon and his merry men had occupied Egypt (on Shorty’s bucket list) but soon found out the predominant morality was Islamic and did not consume liquor. It didn’t take long for the lushes in the troop to stumble across cannabis and it spread like wildfire through the group. This was not a good thing in the eyes of many who had already seen what opium and cocaine were doing to other Frenchmen. One French officer (who really missed his booze) even went so far as to say “the mass of [Egypt’s] male population is in a perpetual state of stupor!” In reference to cannabis as a means to call attention to its use among other officers in charge of troops. Sound familiar?
Now you know where that false stigma came from! You can imagine what Napoléon thought when he heard that his men were hitting on the hookah! The statement had such an effect on cannabis that the dogma still sticks to cannabis today like dogshit on your shoe! I will give a turd its doo though. Back in those times, cannabis was often mixed with other, more potent psychoactive substances like Opium, Datura, Mandrake, and Henbane. It is easy to see how people who didn’t know the culture became confused. Control over the troops using it soon waned and rather than seek more hardline solutions from within, Napoléon decided to enact laws forbidding the use or sale of cannabis by the native Egyptians who had been peacefully using and trading cannabis for over 4000 years!
European Soldiers Hungry for Drugs
In contrast to this, Elizabethan era Europe was hungry for the new wonders the returning soldiers brought back with them from other lands. More came home addicted to opiates than any other drugs but they all became guilty by association. Cocaine and even more so, cannabis was an unfortunate casualty of that but that could be used as a distraction. More on that later!
The French had been involved in opium trade for some time but now a large domestic market was also beginning to come to fruition. Out of work mercenaries turned privateers began fulfilling the needs of the many much to the horror of the Church (who would prefer that the faithful spend every penny on their empty promises) and local governments (ditto). Even though it is thought that the cannabis came to Egypt through Islamics from Syria, the predominantly Islamic state of Egypt decided to term the evil cannabis threat as “Indian Hemp”.
Again and Again the “Indian” Shit!
They also went so far as to request that “Indian Hemp” be added to the list of drugs that needed to be administered by physicians only with the International Opium Convention in 1925 . It is another example of how two cultures who used to trade products and exist peacefully, for the most part, were suddenly at odds with each other because of foreign intervention. The British rolled into Egypt in 1882. Within two years of that, cannabis cultivation was made illegal by the Egyptian Government most likely because of the nightmares the previous owners instilled in them or did the British discover that Chinese and Indian doctors were having success using cannabis to wean addicts off of opiates and decide to secretly dispose of that little rid bit of knowledge? All this skullduggery has built some of the wealthy families in Europe and the Americas. They were very intent on keeping that wealth at any costs!
The Opiate Crisis
With the opiate crisis that rivals the one we have today ( ?? ) and activists becoming more and more difficult to pay or bump off, our crafty dope runners had to find a more posh act. When the Chinese government tried to clean its act up it had a similar dilemma. They put it in the hands of the people trusted most. Their medical community. This was the perfect way to carry on with their little criminal enterprise, but how to build it so it never raises suspicion? How do you involve thousand of goody two shoe doctors in your scheme without one blowing the whistle on the whole caper? The answer is, it is better if you use them without their knowledge. One of those goody shoes was a troublemaking American missionary doctor by the name of Hampden Coit DuBose. Dr. DuBose went to China as a missionary in the guise of a doctor (it is no fucking wonder the Chinese hate foreigners at this point ). He ran more of a power play campaign than he did actually treating people. He established the Anti-Opium League in China and went so far as to chase down a hundred physicians in China and get a hound dog assessment from each one of them. His first bestseller, Opinions of Over 100 Physicians on the Use of Opium in China became the weapon he used to fight his way to power. It was also just what the crime lords needed to further their plans.
Hammy D had more or less called attention to another Intolerance Movement issue like alcohol but the public was already very aware of an opiate issue in their own cities. No, what the good reverend did was go around to every country leader and allow them, through his grace, to wash their hands of their dirty business by allowing only physicians to be allowed to peddle that dope! Perfect! Dope selling dupes in place! That also cleared the way to continue to grow and process opium legally with the protection of some very powerful governments. Time to ramp up production! The control of the opium and the money being made never changed hands. They would simply produce the product now and make it available to the doctors. Of course a little on the side too. Do we have to keep our boys on the street fed too?
The Rise of the Pharma Industrie
The doctors started lining up like carnies! “Hey, junkie gotta beer gotta get a bit morphine here! Just a couple shots and you won’t be addicted to that nasty habit of smoking opium any more!” Suddenly an entire industry arose with all kinds of backyard chemists searching for that one magical compound that would ease the sufferings of those who somehow were predisposed to becoming addicted to opiate medications. One German manufacturer went from making fabric dyes to refining opium in just a few short years and was destined to become one of the most powerful companies in the world.
That’s right! The same company that makes chewable orange candy flavored aspirin for children also at one time made heroin for children. Here kiddy got a new one for ya right here! It will help you kick the morphine addiction you got from the guys down the street. Habit forming?! Would we make it for kids if it was habit forming? I mean come on!
The Germans had been kept on a short leash, drug wise, their supplies always seemed to be lacking which led them to the eventual synthesis of an opiate compound that was later “recovered“ by allied forces and patented under a new name (methadone)streets Germany, by contrast, was flooded with pharmaceuticals. It is well known that Hitler’s personal physician hit him up with large doses of opiates, cocaine, and methamphetamine on a regular basis. There is quite a bit of evidence that drug use was rampant amongst the new Aryans. We are getting a bit ahead of ourselves here because all these moments in history interlink a bit out of chronological order. Keep that in mind as we bounce around a bit. We will revisit the Germans’ contribution to this mess soon enough!
The Public Concern about Drug Addiction
The public in several countries is becoming more and more concerned about the drug addiction menace that was surfacing as more and more of its population was overdosing and or becoming exposed and addicted. The blame was cast upon many other indulgences and races of the time, those being alcohol, cocaine, and finally cannabis.
The opium dynasty needed the perfect fall guy, a distraction to make it just a few more years where it could absorb enough government interest to become untouchable. First, they tried alcohol but the people through a shitfit over that so exposure was too risky. Cocaine was kind of a nice backup plan to be truthful so that left that stinky useless weed that nobody but Latinos and Jazz musicians smoke as their new dodge. It was also feared as the only known cure at the time! Demonize that dirt weed my brethren and we all will prosper! Turns out it was also a great way to eliminate your competition in the pharmaceutical industry! Suddenly cannabis is dangerous. No, the heroine is fine! It is prescribed by your doctor and made in Germany! They make things well there, don’t they?
That marijuana tincture you have there was probably grown in a toxic landfill in the slums of Mexico. You better shape up mister! Soon the alcohol Prohibitionists who were still licking their wounds from their defeat, the churches who got wind of the devil’s lettuce, and a few defunct government agency thugs who were out of work after prohibition all joined hands and skipped toward the cannabis pyre on their new witch-hunt. Nobody really knew much about the herb which was good but what made it perfect was there was nobody who knew enough about cannabis to defend it. The English and the French want no association with cannabis (because they are already so filthy one more thing might bring God down to wipe their evil asses off the face of the earth) so they move this part of the process to a “test country” a place where they both have interest, Canada.
The Anti-Cannabis Propaganda
Anti-cannabis propaganda started essentially in Canada with Emily Murphy, one of the early Canadian women’s rights activists who was heavily endorsed by the British and held several high offices in the Canadian Parliament. That evil skank! Her trashy propaganda piece, the Black Candle (1922) while obviously racist negative cannabis propaganda to the informed public we are now spread panic about the horrors of drug use by ethnic groups and their hunger to destroy the white race to the undereducated citizens of the day. Here is a quick excerpt from Wiki to give you an idea of just how misinforming this piece of shit really was… Using extensive anecdotes and “expert” opinion, The Black Candle depicts an alarming picture of drug abuse in Canada, detailing Murphy’s understanding of the use and effects of opium, cocaine, and pharmaceuticals, as well as a “new menace”, “marihuana”. A “new” menace? How about the latest distraction! Check out the cover of the book, a Chinese opium pipe yes but fortified by the title of “Judge” a title used to imply the text was written by someone with an authoritative perspective.
The piece is 100% propaganda and is clearly an attempt by the emerging pharmaceutical industry to gain control over the use of drugs in their territories. The piece failed horribly to convince most of the members of parliament when questioned if the book had influenced their decision to add cannabis legislation to the docket. Most even went so far as to say they doubted her credibility but they were never really her intended targets. The propaganda was obviously aimed at the general public who was up in arms about opium addiction. The other purpose of the book is another distraction which was to insinuate that the Chinese were luring white Canadians into opium dens to get them hooked so they could dominate the world! In reality, most of the opium dens were run by the French and the British! More lies and abominations! The book did strike hard with the public.
Finally, a drug that they could blame for their addicted family members and have that confirmed by their doctors as a drug of questionable usefulness because up until that time, nobody had even really heard of it. In 1923, prime minister William Lyon Mackenzie King’s Liberal government introduced an Act to Prohibit the Improper Use of Opium and other Drugs. The original “List” was: opium, morphine, cocaine, and eucaine. The names on that act read like a French phone book, King was the only Brit. Then heroin, codeine, and mysteriously cannabis indica was added. I say mysteriously because heroin and codeine were expected to be added because they were known to be addictive but from what can be gleaned from what was written at the time, most officials were shocked to see cannabis added to the list.
Politics of the Economic Miracle
If you look at the list mentioned above, it is almost entirely comprised of opiate products. Look more closely at the addendum. Two out of three are opiates with a less habit-forming drug being thrown in as a dodge. Think I am being dramatic? Is there any other drug on that list that ends up being demonized? Yes to a small extent but not to the point that it actually becomes illegal and completely out of a physician’s reach! Cannabis is the only non-habit forming medicinal herb on the list. Never in the history of the world has anyone died from consuming it so it is also nontoxic unlike the other toxic and extremely addictive substances on this list! See the fall guy connection manifesting now?
Now, look at the title of the Act. The purpose not to make anything illegal, it is a government sponsored act to ensure the Opium Kings had complete control over how when and where their products were consumed by using doctors as that tool. More importantly, it is keeping the money flowing to the rich families that are now building the pharmaceutical industry. This is evident by the unusual amount of French names attached to this particular piece of legislation the pivotal player being, Henri Beland. This guy has an interesting history, to say the least, but to be brief, he was born in Quebec ended up practicing medicine in Belgium and was caught and imprisoned in Germany during the war where there was quite a stir by the Canadian government to secure his release. He returned to Canada as more of a politician than a doctor and held political posts for most of the rest of his life.
The power of the pharmaceutical industry
This is a brief from Wiki about Henri Beland that I must include here. In 1923, Beland (as federal Minister of Health) announced at a meeting of a committee appointed to review Canada’s Opium and Narcotic Drug Act that cannabis would, arbitrarily and without parliamentary debate or process, be added to the federal list of banned substances. As recently as 2002, the Senate has been unable to formally justify Beland’s decision. The real evidence of foul play here is the lack of any evidence, documentation, testimony, scientific research, or any other instance of credible reasoning as to why cannabis was added by Beland. He was simply allowed the power to act no questions asked! Like clockwork, the same methodology appears in the aftermarket.
In the United States, 1936 “Reefer Madness” hits the big screen and the American public with its racist propaganda rich bullshit! Look at the poster. “A sweet pill”? It amplifies the misinformation but exemplifies the negative public connotation about pharmaceuticals or does it leave us a clue? More on that later. (hint: everyone smokes cannabis in the movie)
The Marihuana Tax Act of 1937
In 1937 the Marihuana Tax Act was put into play a year later the Federal Pure Food, Drug, and Cosmetics Act gave teeth to the international pharmaceutical monopoly in the form of a new government enforcement agency call the Food and Drug Administration.
This same recipe for success continues across the globe until cannabis is an international outlaw.
Meanwhile, the pharmaceutical industry is flourishing, kind of.
With their government approved drug pushers dealing their opiates right in plain sight and the public becomes convinced that drugs the physicians weren’t prescribing were dangerous and psychosis-inducing, the pharmaceutical industry was the new gold rush. Soon that much money would trigger the inevitable power struggles that would ensue.
Okay. Let’s talk about the “pill” in the Reefer Madness poster.
The medicinal properties of cannabis have been known for centuries and they were well known before cannabis was criminalized. Check out this list of pharmaceutical companies that were manufacturing cannabis medications (pills) before demonization occurred. As you can see by the list there are hundreds of cannabis medications being produced and purchased. While this list is not comprehensive it does give a glimpse of just how common of a cure pharmaceutical cannabis was before it was defaced.
The Use of Medicinal Cannabis
Yes, even Sears sold several cannabis medications at one time! In contrast, a table below (same link above) shows the known companies that didn’t sell cannabis medications. Not that many really.
Wait a minute! The FDA has claimed for years that there was no known medicinal use for cannabis. How come so many people found relief using it that there were more pharmaceutical companies manufacturing it than not?
What was happening was this. Addiction was the solution for drug manufacturers, not the problem. The problem was negative press. The public had become so aware of opium addiction that the Civil War was referred to as the Sick War because as our panel of drug pushers had already discovered the way to move the most amount of opiates was to wage war.
Like the soldiers of Napoleon just a few decades previous, the victims of the Civil War came home in pieces and addicted to opiates-only this time they were treated with a “less addictive” refinement of opium called morphine. Rather than abandoning that particular herb in favor of other less dangerous drugs a third refinement was made and tested on the troops during World War One. Heroin was the next attempt to convince the public that opium could be tamed touting it as a nonaddictive pain reliever that was safe enough for children! The desperation of the opium lords was becoming more and more apparent. With their distribution system in place now they needed insurance that the competition was unable to gain any foothold in the industry. In order to do that, any possible pharmaceutical companies and their products had to be either bought out or put out of business.
The Power of Controlling Opiates
Since the opium lords owned the most powerful nations in the world by financial means and brute force tactics, putting their competitors on the street was as easy as making their products illegal! You can see how drug policy evolves in response to public opinion and how the opium industry’s government pigeons responded. The most dramatic shift occurs when the Kennedy Administration tried to take control of opiates away from the drug companies and suddenly that comes to an unfortunate end. Notice the absence of a drug czar during the interim years between broken administrations. It forecasts a major shift in the way things are going to be done in the future.
In contrast to the direction, the Kennedy administration was going with their drug policy, the Nixon administration ushers in a whole agenda of pharmaceutical related policy. One of the more memorable characters involved in this being Jerome Jaffee. As with many opium campaigns of the past, Jaffee saw dollar signs in all the soldiers and the opium coming into the United States during the Vietnam drug deal and decided to expedite the pharmaceutical companies latest opium related concoction. This time they had gone so far as to claim to synthesize a “nonaddictive” opiate. The catchy name for this little number is methadone. The American pharmaceutical company Lily pretty much stole the patented process for synthesis from the Germans when they lost all their pharmaceutical patent rights after World War Two.
Bayer the Giant in Pharmaceutics and Winner of the Drug War
There was one German Pharmaceutical Giant company that weathered the storm. It was seized by the allies and rather than being looted like the rest of the industries were right after the war, it was broken up into 3 different entities and parted out so to speak. It is even stranger when you discover that the company was making chemical weapons for use against the allies. The company was the friendly folks at Bayer!
I will get back to Bayer in just a moment as we continue on with what is happening in the 1960s. In the early 1960s, an “anti-addiction compound was rediscovered by accident when a heroin junkie and his friends found that it relieved their withdrawal symptoms and cravings. Ibogaine is a compound derived from a ritualistic herb “discovered” by the French in the Congo region of Africa back in 1889. Like cannabis, it had a smooth journey as a tincture on the shelf at the local apothecary shops where it was sold as a mild stimulant.
That suddenly changed in 1966 when all products containing Ibogaine became illegal, mysteriously and even more uncanny was the World Health Assembly’s decision to classify it as a “substance likely to cause dependency or endanger human health,” within a few years time.
Remember Jaffee? That piece of shit! He was aggressively against the use of Ibogaine. The FDA classifies it as a Schedule One narcotic. This worked so well they threw cannabis in Schedule One to put it on a list of higher risk narcotics than cocaine and methamphetamine! In layman’s terms, the government is saying pot is more of a health risk and danger to society than meth or coke! Keep in mind that physicians cannot prescribe Schedule One medications.
You know what? I honestly can’t write another fucking word about this. It just gets more blatant and despicable from here on out! If you ain’t got it figured out by now, then you have just wasted your time. Look, I started out just trying to write a bit of history about northern India to open an interview with a friend of mine and I kept being pushed to write this by journalistic instinct as my research went in this direction. Never in my wildest dreams did I ever suspect the ugly reality that has come to light here. If I have somehow failed to shed so light on that reality for you then I leave you to that bliss and hope this is just my nightmare.
Just to end this I will put forth this.
Bayer is now one of the most powerful companies in the world. It has bought out most of its competition including Monsanto (a $66 billion dollar merger). It also owns General Pharmaceuticals who happens to hold the patents to the only FDA approved cannabis medications on the market right now. There is a bill on the table right now in Germany to allow the legalization of ONLY prescribed pharmaceutically produced cannabis. I wonder how that got there?
I will leave you with your doctors’ ownership in this mess. Remember doctors are supposed to have some knowledge about the medications they prescribe. I would think a cheap sales pitch would be exposed rather quickly by people with such high educations but the standard response to why they are pushing addictive drugs for Big Pharma is that they were misinformed (scammed? conned? a profit-making dupe?). Read it for yourself right here! Cannabis and the Opioid Crisis by Dr. Susan Weiss.