10 signatures reached
To: President Donald Trump, The United States House of Representatives, and The United States Senate
I would like to provide an abbreviated history of the process that resulted in marijuana becoming an illegal substance here in the U.S. Afterwards I will examine some of the consequences. Finally, I will propose a common sense approach to the federal law governing the plant.
Marijuana was criminalized in the U.S., at the federal level, based primarily on the efforts of Mr. Harry Anslinger. In the 1930's, he held the position as Commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics. This bureau was part of the Department of the Treasury. At the time, the Treasury perceived that the sale of marijuana resulted in a loss of revenues since it could not be taxed due to it's legal nature in some states.
It is also known that William Randolf Hearst and Mr. Anslinger objected to the uses for marijuana (or hemp as it was called at the time) instead of cotton for economic reasons. This is how the campaign to make it illegal at the federal level began. As indicated in the following quote, Mr. Anslinger used strong propaganda towards this end.
* “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….”
Assertions about racial mixing while under the influence of marijuana were also used as a scare tactic with inferences of blacks having sex with the whites' daughters while under the influence of marijuana.
The idea that marijuana was a gateway drug to the use of stronger drugs like heroine was also presented as an argument against the continued legal status of marijuana.
Virtually none of the the anecdotes that Mr. Anslinger used could be verified, but strong federal laws were enacted based on his statements where the use or even possession of small amounts of marijuana could result in strong criminal charges and incarceration. The actual result has been to take people who posed little if any threat to society and turned them into hardened criminals due to incarceration.
To summarize, the criminalizing of marijuana was accomplished because of finances, fear, and propaganda.
The result is that our prison systems have been overfilled because of U.S. citizens' possession and use of relatively small amounts of marijuana.
The resources of our law enforcement personnel have been diverted from the arrest and prosecution of the truly violent offenders.
And tremendous amounts of money have been spent on the the so-called "war on drugs" which has incidentally been proven to be a horrible failure. Innocent people have been killed without cause in the Mexican border towns at the behest of the leaders of the (marijuana) drug cartels.
Meanwhile, little has been accomplished to stem the tide of marijuana into the U.S.
It can be argued both ways whether the criminalizing of marijuana was a good or bad idea at the time of Mr. Anslinger. However, the time has come to take a more sensible approach to marijuana by decriminalizing it on the federal level now while keeping the discussion in the realm of reality.
It's time for the sun to set on the federal marijuana laws. Leave it up to the states to decide how they want their marijuana laws to read.
* Quotation from Wikipedia with graditude
Why is this important?
The "War on Drugs" has proved to be a tremendous failure. Deadly violent Mexican cartels have taken control of the supplying of marijuana.
Even American tourists who weren't trying to procure marijuana have been killed for being at the wrong place.
The costs of U.S. enforcement are astronomical while violent crimes are put on the back burner.