The Story of Weed – Part 3/3

WeedArt_v2The battle escalated after Anslinger resigned from the Bureau in 1962 and moved into a bigger pond. He was appointed as a US delegate to the United Nations.[1] With his US superpower status, the anti-Weed venom spread globally.

That same year, Kennedy and the ad hoc panel on drug abuse found that most of the facts on Weed were exaggerated and based on very limited evidence.[2] With studies mounting in support of Weed’s efficacy, it naturally escalated into full-out war. Weed’s newest foe was bigger and badder than ever. At least the lies were.

As the Sixties blasted apart the Fifties, Weed was seen hanging with the dropouts. She was a celebrity to the hippie movement and became a political symbol of liberty and civil disobedience. This crowd had a plethora of nicknames for her, such as blunt, bud, chronic, doobie, dope, ganja, grass, herb, Johnson, Mary Jane, pot, reefer, schwag, spliff, and weed.

Nixon was (mis)leading the US charge, declaring the War on Drugs. Using a lot of deflection techniques and political jujitsu to hide his misdeeds, this war masked his hatred of the blacks, hippies, and anti-Vietnam protesters. Thus, the practice of demonizing the user began.

A quote from his counsel, John Ehrlichman, says it all: “Look, we understand we couldn’t make it illegal to be young or poor, or black in the US, but we could criminalize their common pleasure.”[3]

The government`s shield of massive lies was called the 1970 Controlled Substances Act which established drug ‘schedules’. Schedule I listed drugs with high potential for abuse, had no medical use, and a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision. This list included heroin, LSD, mescaline, magic mushrooms, and various amphetamines. Taking a few more steps down the logic progression, the Schedule II drugs had some accepted medical use. This group included cocaine, opium, oxycodone, morphine, and amphetamines.

Not many considered it fair to lump Weed in with these nasty cell mates. She may have been seen hanging out with some of these in the Sixties lovefest, but her guilt-by-association was easily disproven by numerous studies, all ignored by the larger public. Regardless, the drug war was ramped up with its targets based on this schedule.

Jimmy Carter called for national decriminalization of Weed, saying the punishment shouldn’t be more harmful than the cause.[4] That idea was shot down; instead they sprayed Mexican Weed with paraquat. Carter authorized N, N, dimethyl-4, 4, -bipyridinium dichloride as a weapon, which kills green plant tissue on contact, toxic to animals and humans. Parkinson’s disease was a common development from those who ingested this weed, of which a third of the samples were contaminated with.[5] Oops.

As the hippie movement got hip-checked away by disco’s jungle fever, bringing with it even more drugs. Weed’s ill repute placed her in the hands of gangsters and bikers; she had few friends outside of the fringe society. Cheech and Chong parodied the war, flipping the bird at authorities while pushing her into the spotlight of the Eighties. Along came Nancy Reagan, just saying no, making it her calling to continue spreading misinformation on Weed.

By this time, Weed was ‘well known’ to be a gateway to harder drugs like crack and heroin. Ronald Reagan introduced the 1986 Anti-Drug Abuse Act, along with mandatory minimum sentencing laws. Law enforcement had a heyday busting grow-ops and hydroponic shops, flushing underground profits down the drain in the name of prohibition.

However, there was change in the air when Weed was recognized as a legitimate treatment for AIDS. Shortly after, gangster rappers built up empires on songs about Weed. Dazed and confused, she stumbled into the Nineties relatively unscathed despite a global war launched against her.

In the cinema, a bunch of dudes were embracing her company, Jay and Silent Bob passed it on to Harold and Kumar, while she provided the basis for Seth Rogan’s career. Weed has had a long and winding career, and lately that path has led to medical awareness. Even bigger steps were taken as states de-escalated this drug war by decriminalizing, or outright legalizing, her. Doing so has turned state economies around.

As we woke up and stretched our way into the new millennium, minds were changing as eyes were opened. With the loosening laws, schools and scientists had access to legally study this plant. Science chipped away the portrait of Weed as ‘public scourge’ as lies were exhumed. The truth of Weed’s efficacy was brought to light and the exposed lies left a public in shock and disbelief.

The Global Commission on Drug Policy gathered in 2011 to say that the War on Drugs had failed and that a new approach was needed.[6]

These revelations point towards a revolution in health care and medicine. The cover-up of IH’s ability to produce paper, textiles, and concrete was deposed. His true threat is to replace lumber and petroleum, a strike at the wellbeing of numerous industries on which our economy currently depends. IH has the potential to seriously stir shit up.

In the end, most of the Twentieth Century`s depiction of Weed has been ideology with no reliance on science. As networks of communication open up, the internet reveals truths and facts that were obscured by disputable laws. The tide turns as more people realize the efficacy of Weed, joining the ranks to change her legal status and empower her to change the way we inhabit the world.

[1] Smoke Signals, 33

[2] The Cannabis Manifesto, 34

[3] The Cannabis Manifesto, 35

[4] The Cannabis Manifesto, 36

[5] The Cannabis Manifesto, 88

[6] Mallea, Paula, The War on Drugs: A failed experiment(Toronto, Dundurn Press, 2014) 32

AUTHOR - Brynn Jones

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