The Social Construction of the Criminalization of Marijuana Essay

The Social Construction of the Criminalization of Marijuana Essay

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The Social Construction of the Criminalization of Marijuana
On August 2nd, 1937, United States president Franklin D. Roosevelt signed into law the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937. The law was passed only 83 days after being introduced in the House of Representatives as House Resolution 6906. This law sought to place prohibitive regulations requiring medical professionals to obtain a one dollar tax stamp in order to continue prescribing cannabis sativa as medicine. However, physicians who wished purchase the tax stamp were also required to divulge an abnormal amount of detail regarding the patient, the condition being treated, the amount prescribed and the date of the prescription. Failure to follow these strict rules while prescribing marijuana resulted in harsh penalties to both the medical professional and the patient. According to the text of the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937, “Any person who is convicted of a violation of any provision of this Act shall be fined not more than $2,000 or imprisoned not more than five years, or both, in the discretion of the court.”
Before any federal law regarding marijuana was ever proposed, some of the States took it upon themselves to regulate the possession, distribution and consumption of marijuana based on racial prejudice against Chinese immigrants. Referencing law passed by the state of California in 1913 one physician observes that, “The 1913 law received no attention from the press or the public. Instead, it was promulgated as an obscure amendment to the state Poison Law by the California Board of Pharmacy, which was then pioneering one of the nation's earliest, most aggressive anti-narcotics campaigns. Inspired by anti-Chinese sentiment, California was a nationally recognized leader in ...


... middle of paper ...


...filiated with DuPont, he would have certainly been at an advantage to fulfill two roles at once, that of a public defender, and that of the defender of his own interests as well.



Works Cited

U.S. Treasury Department, Bureau of Narcotics, The Marihuana Tax Act of 1937, 1937. Retrieved from: http://www.druglibrary.org/schaffer/hemp/taxact/mjtaxact.htm
Gieringer, Dale H. PhD, The Origins of Cannabis Prohibition in California, Contemporary Drug Problems, Volume 26 #2, Summer 1999. Retrieved from: http://www.canorml.org/background/caloriginsmjproh.pdf
Committee on Ways and Means, House of Representatives, Transcripts of House Hearings on the Marijuana Tax Act, 1937. Retrieved from: http://webstation19.8k.com/archives/37HEAR.HTM
The Herb Museum, Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 Stamp, 2013. Retrieved from: http://www.herbmuseum.ca/content/marijuana-tax-act-1937-stamp

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