Though more places are starting to lift the bans that have been in place for ages, marijuana is still illegal in many others. Why is marijuana illegal in so many places still? It’s a little ridiculous, actually. Let me explain.
It all started with prohibition
In 1929, Harry Anslinger was made the head of the US Department of Prohibition; the department was created because the 18th amendment to the constitution had prohibited the sale and consumption of alcohol.
Which was eventually repealed
Four years later, the 21st amendment passed and made alcohol all kinds of legal again. Nearly everyone celebrated like they hadn’t been able to in ages, but not Mr. Anslinger – He was worried about losing his job. After all, his department had basically just become obsolete.
And then there was a convenient murder
Right around the same time that everyone was all happy to be able to get sloppy drunk again, Victor Licata was accused of brutally murdering his entire family with an axe in Florida. It just so happened that conveniently, Licata was known to smoke weed; later, it turned out that there was never any evidence that that fact was even true.
Anslinger had an idea
He took the story and ran with it. Mr. Anslinger had previously said that cannabis doesn’t have any negative effects on people or make them violent, but he apparently forgot about all of that as soon as his paycheck was in jeopardy.
So he came up with a strategy
He changed his tune and started a campaign to convince the American public that being high on marijuana was the cause of Victor Licata’s murders. People were terrified – and didn’t want to become psychopathic killers themselves – so they bought it.
And got himself some professional backup
I guess he knew that eventually, somebody somewhere was going to get suspicious enough to ask for proof of his claims. He wrote to 30 different scientists asking if they thought that cannabis is dangerous and should be banned, and 29 replied no. The one who said yes is the one Anslinger held on to for dear life.
America was convinced
With one whole real deal scientist on board, America couldn’t help but to back ol’ Harry. Before long marijuana was banned in the United States. You would think that this would be the end of the story, but it’s not; getting a country-wide weed ban just wasn’t good enough for the US government.
Peer pressure on other countries ensued
It wasn’t good enough to only outlaw the harmless plant in America, the US government wanted to get rid of it in other countries too. They pressured everyone and most gave in. Mexico resisted, but then eventually conceded when America cut off their supply of legal painkillers and people started to suffer and even die in complete agony.
There was an update on that murderer from Florida
I already mentioned that it eventually came out that he didn’t even necessarily smoke pot, but it also surfaced that he was mentally unstable. In fact, he was so mentally unstable that it had been recommended to his family that he be institutionalized a year before he hacked them up.
And here we are today
People have smartened up and have better access to information these days; slowly but surely, the illegality of marijuana is being repealed state by state. Funds from the taxes in the legalized states have gone on to pay for schools and other infrastructure to better communities.
So there you have it, this is why marijuana is illegal – because some guy in the ’30s didn’t want to lose his job.
Is it legal where you are?