Here is the final installment of our “Cannabis and…” Series. From all of us here at Leaf Science we would like to thank our guest writer Johnny Hughes for his brilliant reads. We have laughed and cried from his life experiences with cannabis and we are delighted to bring these stories to you. Without further ado, here is Cannabis and Prohibition:
It was June 1996 and word was spreading quickly around school that there would be a youth disco on Friday night. The disco was for kids aged fourteen or over. I was thirteen!
I knew my chances of being allowed to go would be slim. So I devised a cunning plan. Every day that week upon returning home from school I would do chores for my parents without being asked!
I would clean my room, bring up my dirty clothes and even wash up after dinner.
I was building up my credentials day by day and decided not to ask them until the end of the week. On the Friday I came home from school and told them the good news I had ‘just learnt’.
I told them that there was a dance that night and in my sweetest voice I asked for permission to go. I got a resounding no!
Instantly my calm, cool, helpful attitude was tossed aside and replaced by Mr Hyde.
I was full of rage and contempt. I slammed the door, shouting obscenities as I made my way to my room. Silence. With neither parent coming to my room to negotiate, I cried. I cried loudly.
I spent the whole of that faithful Friday night in my room feeling sorry for myself. My parents being the authoritative figures in my life set down the law. And I had to obey the law whether I agreed with it or not. If I didn’t there would have been punishment.
Now as a father I understand the reasons my parents had for not wanting me to go to a disco that I was not legally allowed to attend. I understand the worries they must have had. The fear of something bad happening to me. They wanted to keep me safe and in order to ensure this it was imperative I obeyed the law or face the consequences.
The Rules of Law
I am in favour of most laws. Take the rules of the road for example. I don’t want anyone breaking those rules as it could result in my death. So I support penalties to prevent the breaking of such rules. Certain basic life rules such as not being allowed to kill anyone work in my favour too. Rules are necessary but not all rules are created equally.
Since the early 20th century in America, laws were enacted that slowly but surely made cannabis illegal. By the mid 1930’s all US member states had some form of cannabis regulation, most notably the marijuana tax act of 1937.
In 1961 the US persuaded representatives of more than 150 countries to unify all existing treaties on drug control under one act. The ‘Single convention on narcotic drugs’ was created. An act that outlawed the cultivation of cannabis. A few years later Nixon’s ‘war on drugs’ created the ‘Controlled substances act of 1970’ which completely outlawed the use of cannabis including medical use!
In 1938 a magazine ‘Popular Mechanics’ published an article entitled: ‘The billion dollar crop’.
It showed how cannabis sativa could provide industry with ALL the raw materials required to create Food, Fibre, Medicine, and Fuel.
Not everyone was happy about this though. Vested interests mainly from the petrochemical industry (which were making dozens of synthetic products from oil at the time,) feared cannabis would weaken their power and their wealth. Something had to be done to maintain control.
William Randall Hurst the major media magnet started the propaganda war machine under the cloak of rising xenophobia. The Mexicans (who were despised by a lot of Americans at the time) referred to the psychoactive element of cannabis as marijuana. A term Americans had never heard of before. Hurst persuaded his fellow countrymen that Marijuana was the devils smoke.Using racism and lies he spread fear through the media of the time! It got worse…
Harry J Anslinger the then head off the federal bureau of narcotics at the time came out and said and I quote: “Marijuana makes white women seek sexual relations with negros”
Blatant Lies, fear and racist propaganda ruled the day and this in turn made the rules! Marijuana was banned and with it a billion dollar industry.
Cannabis Sativa, a weed that grows throughout the world, enjoyed by millions and millions of people is treated very differently depending on which part of the world you are in. Get caught smoking a joint in United Arab Emirates and you are imprisoned for 4 years, get caught in Singapore and you can get up to 10 years, get caught in California and you just might have to share that joint!
The Future of weed
A recent law in Canada ‘bill C45’ is coming into effect on the 17th of October 2018. This bill will allow Canadian adults to choose Cannabis legally and freely and so it should be.
The world is changing every day. Medicinal cannabis has only been recently made legal in the UK for epilepsy sufferers. The US has 9 states and Washington DC that allows for recreational use.
In Ireland, cannabis for recreational use is still illegal. But there is no point in me crying in my room, as like before this wont make any difference to the authorities. No it is time for the authorities here to take notice, to educate themselves, to inform and reform.
As for me; well I guess I will just have to continue breaking the law until they change the law.
If you enjoyed Johnny Hughe’s take on his life experiences with Cannabis, check out the rest of the series: