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Pot...why so illegal?
Ok, for years now the government has been changing reasoning for the prohibition of this "drug". Currently the reasoning is this: "It's a gateway drug". Now I take this as meaning one of two things. Either A: Because you have to buy it on the black market you'll be purchasing it from someone who sells crack and heroin as well, therefore increasing your chance of encountering and or using those "drugs". Or B: simply smoking marijuana will make you impulsively want to try new "drugs". Well if it's a, then it's the governments fault in the first place for making it illegal, and B....c'mon...that's like saying that eating a pork chop is gonna make me wanna try brussel sprouts...they aren't even close to being the same thing. So my question is...why? Why so illegal? I'm sorry but sometimes I just feel like I owe the man a good hard kick in the junk!
posted by Joshua Taylor on Mar 12, 2002 05:22PM

Jotch, everyone knows that eating a pork chop is all it takes to send you on the path toward the dark side of brussel sprouts. You know that.
posted by Cody Phipps on Mar 13, 2002 03:29PM

And once you start down the dark path, forever will it dominate your destiny.
posted by Joshua Taylor on Mar 13, 2002 03:34PM

I agree with you on this point. I think the man should lighten up and accept his public's devotion to the ganja. Many problems would be solved.
There's this huge debate going on right now about whether or not to teach creationism in public schools alongside theories of evolution. If the public is going to be exposed to such a rich and controversial work as the Bible in a public setting at such a young age, they're bound to come across some divine ideas about the use of seed-bearing plants and herbs. The young Americans might then (gasp!) form ideas of their own regarding the morals of combining smoke and plantlife. Could this be a double-edged blade Uncle Sam is wielding? Or is it a blade he is hiding? Just thinking.
posted by Piper -- on Mar 13, 2002 04:46PM

Well I agree with you but you have to also think about the fact that I am also a pot head so...
No but really if the government is going to make something illegal they need a better reason then "Drugs are bad ummm k"
posted by William Goodwin on Feb 02, 2004 01:30AM

I think that marijuana should be legalized, because look at what alcohol does to a person, and look what marijuana does to a person. Yeah it may make you a little slow, and no you probably shouldnt build buildings when your stoned, but for recreation purposes why not?
posted by Tiffany Barter on Mar 06, 2004 01:56AM

I just figure that the government makes this stuff illegal, because it enhances your mind and makes you more aware of the things that are going on in this World. I'm sure the Government probably thinks, that just about everybody in the country would probably smoke the stuff if it were legal, that enough people would eventualy figure their system out and try to overthrow them. This, in my opinion, is why Marijuana is illegal.
posted by Patrick brown on Jun 14, 2004 03:35PM

Tiffany, one SHOULD build buildings when stoned. It works out well. ;-)
posted by Tim - on Jun 16, 2004 04:58PM

It really has to do with oil. Both marijuana and hemp contain THC, the chemical that gives psychoactive properties. Marijuana contains approx. 5-15% THC. Hemp contains less than 0.3%, not enough to really be a "drug" plant. In the 1950's we found out that hemp plants could be made into most anything: paper, clothing, fiberboard, protein foodstuffs, and mechanical oil. The hemp plant will flourish easily in the temperate climates of North America, so anyone could grow it. It is a real alternative to petroleum fuels. The big oil companies shut hemp down so they could control the automotive industry by having a monopoly on where, how, and when oil is produced. Legal eagles pointed out to the US Supreme court that it would be responsible for widespread drug addiction, just like they claim for marijuana. Thus, to keep the oil companies in business, and the environment polluted, hemp remains illegal until we have WW3 over who will rule the last remaining oil reserves on earth. Ever see Mad Max?
posted by Morrisaurus -- on Jun 16, 2004 11:17PM

Here it is, the critical "documentary" on mary jane: "REEFER MADNESS"
posted by Cody Phipps on Jun 18, 2004 12:10PM

Josh, funny guy. Interesting topic, there are several groups of people discussing the same question right now. To learn everything you ever wanted to know about the infamous marijuana rulings, go to In fact there are several bills in congress on the topic, right this very minute! Let me know what you think.
posted by Tiffany Moore Wynn on Jul 03, 2004 05:53PM


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."

posted by Matthew Williams on Jul 07, 2004 04:56PM


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 cocaine 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.'"

posted by Matthew Williams on Jul 07, 2004 04:58PM

not that i believe any of the above, regarding translations, etc. but this is the original reason it was made illegal.
posted by Matthew Williams on Jul 12, 2004 10:44AM

These hypothesis are fairly informatve and stimulating. They truly add fuel to the fire burning in me that seeks to find the true reasons behind the prohibition of this, " drug? " A theory i heard from an online associate is that William Randolph Hearst, the newspaper magnet, is somewhat responsible for marijuana illegalization. As the story goes, he was battling the hemp industry for some reason and used his influence to persuade politicians that pot was a dangerous drug. I wonder if this story is accurate?
thx, fuskerman
posted by dave wrigth on Dec 10, 2004 12:32AM