When and where will the senseless persecutions of America’s Marijuana users end? These Marijuana smokers are typically middle class males, between the ages of 17 and 39, and one in three have no prior felony charges on their records. (HRW World Report) However, each year, hundreds of thousands of them are arrested and thrown into jail, alongside murderers, rapists, and child molesters.
The “Marihuana Tax Act” was passed in August 1937, and took effect on October 1, an incident which would forever change the country. The main reason behind the ban placed upon Marijuana was the same as most other drug prohibitions – the oppression of minorities. Case in point, the first anti-drug law on record in the United States was passed in San Francisco in 1875. Opium was outlawed at that time due to concerns that Chinese immigrants who used the drug were “ruining” white women by associating with them in Opium dens. (Schaffer sec. 1)
Cocaine was outlawed soon after when concerns were raised of what even newspapers of the time deemed “Negro Cocaine Fiends” or “Cocainized Niggers.” These allegations came about when African-Americans used the drug and allegedly raped and murdered white women. (Schaffer sec. 1) As a matter of fact there were no officially recorded incidents such as those that were suggested.
Marijuana was outlawed to target Mexican immigrants who used the drug recreationally. According to Bureau of Narcotics Commissioner Harry J. Anslinger, Marijuana had a “violent effect on the degenerate races.” As you can see, the main reason most drugs are outlawed is not for health concerns or actual crimes related to the drug, but instead because egotistical white males got the idea that t...
... middle of paper ...
... people – heroin and aspirin.
Marijuana, on the other hand, kills a staggering number of people each and every year. Zero. There has never been a death officially tied to Marijuana. Altogether, illegal drugs kill 4,500 people – 8.3 percent of those claimed by tobacco and alcohol.
Having been a Marijuana smoker for five years now, I do not consider myself a junkie, a drug addict, or a detriment to society. I smoke to meet people, and my closest friends were met through Marijuana. The wonderful and mysterious plant we call Cannabis should be embraced, not shunned, as it is today.
ABC News. “War on Drugs, by Race?” Associated Press. 8 Jun 2000
Basic Facts about the War on Drugs. Schaffer, Clifford A. 8 Sept. 2000
HRW World Report. “Drugs and Human Rights.” 10 Sept. 2000
NORML. “Portland NORML News” 24 Nov. 1998
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