Now I let’s go over some recent history since marijuana was made illegal. Let’s start with the 1970’s. This is about the time where America, collectively, woke up and said, “let’s find out if this drug is as bad as the govt. wants us to think.”
In 1971, the National Commission on Marijuana and Drug Abuse was formed, thanks to president Nixon. He advocated for the elimination of small non-profit and personal criminalization. This was as big as it sounded. In 1973, Oregon was the first state to decriminalize less than ½ oz of marijuana, punishable by a fine. In 1975, Alaska followed by eliminating penalties personal cultivation and possession of up to four ounces.
President Carter also was fond of decriminalization for marijuana, along with the American Medical Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Bar Association, and the National Council of Churches. In 1977 most states had eliminated small amounts of possession to a misdemeanor, and by 1980 eleven states had decriminalized said possession completely.
In 1978, Dr Peter Bourne, the White House drug advisor, who helped Carter move toward reform, resigned and was replaced with Lee Dogoloff. Under President Reagan, there was the whole “Zero Tolerance” program, meaning, No If’s, And’s, or But’s, you’re in trouble. Aka, Just say no to drugs, and if you don’t you’re in deep shit. “By 1983” the dangerous insecticide Paraquat was being sprayed on domestic marijuana crows, and military methods were being enforced to, “uproot cannabis plants and arrest growers in northern California.” (Holland, Foreword xii).
In 1987, Supreme Court nominee Douglas Ginsberg withdrew due to pressure when he smoked as a law professor. In 1989, under George H. W. Bush, Operation Green Merchant was put into play, in which lists of people who had ordered indoor plat growing equipment had their homes raided. Under the Bush Sr. Administration, Alaska uprooted their decriminalization standpoint and recriminalized marijuana in 1990. There was also a bill passed that suspended drivers who were convicted of marijuana possession.
Since 1971, the National Institute of Drug Abuse spent millions of dollars studying the –dangers- of cannabis. Of which their millions of dollars have failed to find solid reasons as to why cannabis is dangerous. To justify this policy, the DEA distorts the truth and ignores evidence that is pro-pot. In 1991, the DEA responded to numerous requests for studying marijuana from people with AIDS. James O. Mason, head of the Public Health Service, said that the Compassionate IND Program (helped people use marijuana as medicine) would be suspended on the grounds that it made the government’s stance on drugs look weak.
Then, in 1990, (backtracking a year) an amazing discovery was made. Two THC receptors had been found, implying that the body produced it’s own versions of cannabinoid like neurotransmitters.
Alas, they found Anadamide (anada is Sanskrit for bliss). Receptors are in the lower brain, cerebral cortex, and the hippocampus. The lower brain governs fine motor skills, cerebral cortex governs higher thinking, and the hippocampus governs memory (Maybe some things make sense now).
Thus, the endocannabinoid system was born. With the emergence of this system, we see drugs such as Marinol being produced. For those who don’t know, Marinol is marijuana in pill form, without the psychoactive high. Now, the interesting thing here is that Marinol has the same chemical structure as marijuana; it’s just in pill form.
This is a bit unfair, in my own personal opinion, to the cannabis plant.
Let’s look at some things the plant does do. Cannabis, when ingested either through inhaling or eating, relieves nausea and vomiting for cancer patients, and relieved nausea for AIDS patients on certain medicines, as well as relief for glaucoma by lowering pressure on the optic nerve.
In 1972, NORML, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, tried to make marijuana legal for medical purposes. In 1986, John Lawn, the administrator of the DEA decided to hold public hearings. They lasted from 1986 to 1988 and included patients, doctors, witnesses, and thousands of pages of documents on marijuana and the medicinal benefits for it. The DEA’s own administrative law judge, Francis L. Young, agreed that marijuana should be legal and that “marijuana in its natural form, is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man…. One must reasonably conclude that there is accepted safety for use of marijuana under medical supervision. To conclude otherwise, on the record, would be unreasonable, arbitrary, and capricious.”
Young recommended that the plant be accepted for medical usage, and that “there is no lack of accepted safety for use of it under medical supervision, and that it be changed from a schedule I drug to a schedule II drug.”
No changes were made, and as you read, and things got worse.
Be sure to check out “The Pot Book”, edited by Julie Holland at the link below.