5 Amazing Things You Didn’t Know About Marijuana

By Jack Grinspoon, Thursday at 6:51 pm

It’s no coincidence that marijuana legalization support has surged with the growth of social media. The voices of the Reefer Madness era are silenced daily as studies and testimonials continue pouring in about this often misunderstood plant. Ignorance still remains, however, and this fight won’t be won without continued education of the masses.

It takes one fact that hits home to sway someone’s opinion. Maybe one of the following will do that for you. Here are five things about marijuana you may not have known:

1.  THC and CBD, marijuana’s primary cannabinoids, are both cancer killers.

No, I’m not talking about using marijuana to help manage cancer’s effects. It’s actually anti-cancer.

Recent research out of Spain suggests that THC, marijuana’s psychoactive ingredient, kills brain cancer cells. Study co-author Guillermo Velasco claims that when THC was applied to cancerous brain tissue, the cancer cells were killed while healthy cells were left alone.

CBD apparently does the same; a pair of scientists from California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco demonstrated the cannabinoid’s ability to stop metastasis in many kinds of aggressive cancer.

Imagine if this plant were discovered in a jungle two weeks ago. What would the news be saying? The CBD article goes as far as to say the breakthrough could "potentially alter the fatality of the disease forever." The lack of media coverage for this is astounding, but that doesn’t diminish the research.

2. Marijuana triggers neurogenesis. Layman’s terms: It leads to brain cell growth.

Wait….marijuana is supposed to kill brain cells, right?

Wrong.

The roots of the marijuana-kills-brain-cells myth are deep despite the lack of credible evidence. The original study supporting this notion is questionable at best and recent research suggests exactly the opposite.

In 2005, a study showed cannabinoids’ ability to promote neurogenesis in the adult hippocampus, the brain region responsible for many important brain functions including mood and memory. The authors also cited anti-anxiety and anti-depressant effects that accompany the neurogenesis. This explains why people across California, Colorado, Washington and other marijuana-friendly states often turn to the herb for a mood-boost instead of pharmaceutical drugs. It also supports research that marijuana helps improve cognitive function in bipolar disorder patients. This brings us to our next fact….

3. Suicide rates are lower in areas where medical marijuana is available

.

A Denver state-level study analyzed the statistical trend of suicide after introduction of medical marijuana.

From the study:

"Our results suggest that the passage of a medical marijuana law is associated with an almost 5% reduction in total suicide rate, an 11% reduction in the suicide rate of age 20-29 males, and a 9% reduction in the suicide rate of 30-39 males."

It’s interesting this hasn’t become mainstream data in a country so focused on suicide prevention. Not surprisingly, one of the main reasons cited by the study’s authors for the decrease was connected to the at-risk population (20 and 30-something males) replacing alcohol with marijuana. This data makes the strictness of Illinois’ new medical marijuana policy even more laughable.

"Don’t let usage get out of control! Less people might commit suicide!"

Speaking of marijuana’s effects on well-being, I highly recommend this very personal, heart-wrenching article.

But what about the physical effects?

4. There is zero evidence that marijuana causes significant lung damage.

While vaporization is always touted as the safest method of marijuana ingestion, the largest study of its kind suggested marijuana-only smoking is harmless as well:

"We hypothesized that there would be a positive association between marijuana use and lung cancer, and that the association would be more positive with heavier use. What we found instead was no association at all, and even some suggestion of a protective effect."

The above words come from UCLA Medical Doctor Donald Tashkin, author of the study and marijuana researcher of more than 30 years.

Considering the tar in marijuana smoke was found to contain as many harmful carcinogens as cigarette smoke, this study actually strengthens the notion that marijuana is anti-cancer. The plant itself seems to have an offsetting effect for the harmful properties of smoke.

5. There are two completely different types of marijuana, both with different effects on the user.

One of the biggest mistakes made by people who first try marijuana is immediately thinking that it’s "not for them." It certainly isn’t for everyone, but what if they  just tried the wrong kind?

There are hundreds of different strains of marijuana, tagged with names like Blue Dream, OG Kush, Trainwreck or Pineapple. All of these are categorized as "Sativa" or "Indica." Here’s a simple-as-possible explanation on the difference:

Sativas

are usually day-time strains, used to enhance the experience of social events, time in nature or listening to new music. Caregivers often recommend sativa strains for patients seeking relief from depression, PTSD, fatigue and some types of anxiety and pain. Some patients even report positive effects on ADHD while medicating with sativa strains. Although sativas produce an enjoyable effect, they usually are the culprit for an inexperienced user "tweaking out" during one of their first times smoking.

Indicas

are often smoked at night due to their narcotic effect on the user. Indica strains are perfect for users suffering from any type of pain, nausea or anxiety. They’re also preferable for novice users as they acclimate themselves to the herb. This variety is popular for meditation or yoga due to its mind-calming qualities.

Here is a more extensive explanation on the two categories if you’re interested.

Marijuana isn’t for everyone. Nothing is for everyone.

But should we be throwing those it is for in cages?

I dare you to say yes.

Email me at Jack.Grinspoon@gmail.com if there’s anything in particular you’d like covered in this blog

.

Filed under: Uncategorized

Tags: brain cells, cancer, cannabis, CBD, indica, Legalization, marijuana, sativa, strain, suicide, THC, UCLA, weed

“I don’t want to fucking give this United States government one fucking dollar of taxes…” — Jack Herer, “The Emperor of Hemp”, September 12th, 2009

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_SQwmlpikJc&w=420&h=315]
Rev. Mary Spears explains the legalization vs. repeal initiatives and why REPEAL is the only way to proceed.

 

“I don’t want to fucking give this United States
government one fucking dollar of taxes…”
Jack Herer, “The Emperor of Hemp”, September 12th, 2009
(Portland Hempstalk Festival–his final speech.)
http://overgrow.ning.com/profiles/blogs/the-fallacy-of-the-legalize-and-tax-cannabis-initiatives

 

By ElectroPig Von Fökkengrüüven in Overgrow The World v2.0

The Fallacy of the “Legalize and Tax Cannabis” initiatives.

Overgrow The World

April 21, 2010

I have listened and understood the words of the late Jack Herer, and I am amazed how few people who say they believe in what Jack was saying truly understand the real reasons why he so horrified at the idea of creating new cannabis taxes. Let me explain quickly: THEY ARE NOT NEEDED AT ALL! As a matter of fact, nothing could be further from the truth!

Now I’m sure that many of you don’t believe me. If that is the case, then you also didn’t understand what Jack meant, or perhaps you simply weren’t paying attention, choosing to hear what you agreed with and ignoring what you didn’t understand, or simply weren’t interested in.

The first “ignored fact” is that the vast majority of the “illicit market” for cannabis is underground, hence, completely untaxed. There is a small fallacy to this statement, however, as even those “underground economies” still purchase their supplies, tools and equipment from “legitimate businesses” and those businesses all pay taxes of one form or another. Cannabis growers order pizza, buy gas, hire electricians and plumbers, et cetera. In this admittedly roundabout way, cannabis already is taxed, albeit to a very small degreee in comparison to the total size of the market as it stands, and to the potential which is known to exist.

Let’s say that cannabis/hemp were re-legalized prohibition was repealed today, and it was done so without the creation of any new tax codes specifically for cannabis. Most think that this would be a bad thing, as it wouldn’t be “exploiting the market” without creating new tax codes, new agencies, new enforcement regimes. Unfortunately, the people who believe that have been lied to, and it’s time that they learned the truth.

In actual fact, if cannabis were re-legalized prohibition was repealed today and taxes weren’t considered in the equation in any way, it would still be beneficial to society in terms of savings alone. We’d save money on policing, of which estimates range that between 40-60% of all police costs are directly due to “drug prohibition.” Logic follows that with police not bogged down with grandmothers taking a puff to slow their glaucoma, they would then be able to concentrate their resources on combating real crimes. Things like rape, murder, fraud, home invasion and theft, assault and battery, arson, financial crimes, environmental crimes (of which cannabis/hemp prohibition is one of the leading causes, in fact), and many more REAL crimes with REAL victims.

Taken a step further, lawyers would then be freed up to work on real crimes as well. So would prosecutors. So would judges, court stenographers, prison staff and more. WIthout locking away non-violent “criminals” who have harmed noone else–and this is the scary part for corporations–the “warehousing of otherwise productive humans for profit” would suddenly become far less profitable for the prison-industrial complex to continue, and prohibitionary statute development might begin to fade. With less “legal reasons” to imprison people for essentially minding their own business, more people would not have the lives and futures destroyed.

So let’s say that there were no new taxes created upon re-legalization of cannabis/hemp, and we ONLY consider the tens or hundreds of billions SAVED by no longer wasting time attacking people in their homes for posession or for growing a few plants for their own consumption. Are not those billions of dollars saved a tremendous enough benefit to justify the immediate repeal of cannabis/hemp prohibition? Could saving those billions of dollars not be immediately transferred into lower taxes, or public debt reduction? Would those savings alone not be of tremendous, immediate and long-term social value?

Now let’s consider the tax idea on it’s own merit.

With re-legalization repeal of cannabis/hemp prohibition, there would immediately follow the creation of new businesses to exploit what is widely known to be a global market for cannaibs and hemp products. Each of those businesses would be subject to business income taxes that currently do not exist. WIthout a single character added to business tax statutes, the net result would be the establishment of “new revenue” from those “new businesses.”

Of course, those businesses would need people to man storefronts, deliver products, develop products, design packaging, grow the raw materials, process the raw materials, et cetera. These jobs would all be legitimate jobs in the real job market. Each of those jobs would be subject to existing income tax statutes. It’s not hard to see how those “new jobs” would in turn be utilized as “new tax revenue sources” which previously did not exist. Again, without a single line of new codes written, a brand new revenue stream has been obtained.

Each of those new employees and businesses would need supplies, equipment, computers, energy sources, and services. All of those businesses and individuals would then use their incomes to purchase those items or services they needed, either to operate or enhance their businesses, or simply to make their lives at home a little better. All of those products would be purchased at existing retailers and/or wholesalers that exist in the current “legitimate marketplace.” All (or the vast majority) of those purchases would be subject to sales taxes at state/provincial and federal levels. Again, not a single comma added to the existing statutes required, but “new revenue” has effectively been attained.

Now let’s take the cannabis market ITSELF.

All of those newly created and legitimate businesses would provide products that people either wanted or needed, be they for medical purposes or for recreational uses. All of those products would then be subject to state/provincial and federal sales taxes. With each sale would then come “new revenues” which do not exist today. Again–are you starting to notice a pattern yet?–without the addition of a single line of code to any existing tax codes.

The Fallacy of “New Government Regulatory Jobs”

People keep being told that “new jobs” will be created in the “new regulatory framework” that “will be needed”, but they haven’t thought this through. Some have partly thought it through, thinking that since a percentage of those worker’s incomes will be clawed back by income taxes–say 25%–that means that those jobs are “cheaper” than “real jobs”. That’s actually not quite right.

When you look the “real economy”, or in other words, the economy from which all government income is derived via the millions of tax codes which exist to take our incomes from us all, any position in this “real economy” is one which is subject to taxation, and therefore, is generally to be considered a contributing position.

On the other hand, when you look at “government jobs” which are wholly funded by “real people” with “real jobs” in the “real economy”, every government position which exists–no matter what country or what level of government–is a drain on society, and must be so, as “we hired them to work for us.”

Now let’s take a simple example that we’ve all heard a million times: “Joe The Plumber.”

If Joe was working in his own shop, or for someone else in their business, he would be a contributing factor in the “real economy” in the amount of taxation on his income, we’ll use 25% for illustration purposes. This means that 25% of his income is diverted to “public employees and projects” needed for society to function as it currently exists.

Now let’s take Joe’s situation if he were a government employee…let’s say he’s employed by the local Public Utilities Comission. Now Joe’s income is wholly funded by tax dollars, and thus, is a drain on society. We’ve established an income tax rate of 25%, so we can now say that Joe is “cheaper” because now his services now only costs us 75% of what they would, had he remained in his private sector job.

Here is the “minor error” in that logic: Joe has moved from the “real economy” to the “government economy”. In making that move, the “real economy” has lost 100% of a “real job”, while the government has gained an employee “at a discount of only 75% of their private sector wages.” When you add that up, you see quite clearly that Joe’s “new job” is effectively now a 175% loss to society as a whole.

Joe’s still making the same amount of money. We’re still paying him the same amount of money when he does his work…but now he is NOT contributing to the “real economy” at all, while he is draining 75% of his wages from unnaportioned taxation of the people who are forced to pay his salary, whether they partake of his services or not.

Unfortunately, this also applies to every “equivalent government position” that exists in the world. Accountants cost 175% of what they would cost in the “real economy.” So do welders, secretaries, cafeteria cooks, lawyers…ALL of them! If they work for the government, they are at a much higher cost than their equivalent “real world” positions in the real economy.

We need to keep this in mind whenever we hear talk of ” new regulations” because that almost always means “new regulatory bodies”, and that DEFINITELY always means “new government employees” which are going to cost us dearly if we allow such things to occur.

If we are forced to accept some form of taxation in order to move closer to the full repeal of cannabis/hemp prohibition, so be it…let’s move a little closer…but the second we have a positive change under our belts, we must NOT become complacent! We must continue to fight for the full repeal of cannabis/hemp prohibition until the batttle is decisively won.

Once we have some “half-assed reasonable legislation” in place, we can guage what are the worst parts of those enacted bills and target them one by one until they’re all gone, and then, we will have our ofn freedom, and freedom for what is arguably the most important plant known on this planet.

At the Hempstalk Festival, during Jack Herer’s final public speech, he said (among other things):

“I don’t want to fucking give this United States government one fucking dollar of taxes…”

Obviously, he understood my thinking…or perhaps, I simply learned enough to come to an understanding of his.

What about you?

EDIT:  I have since come up with the complete solution to the perils of prohibition in THREE WORDS:

1) DESCHEDULE.
2) REPEAL.
3) DONE!!!

If you remember only three words in your lifetime, THOSE are the ones that WILL end cannabis/hemp prohibition.

If we continue to be led by propagandists and prohibitionists into accepting ever-longer-names for prohibition, while believing we are “moving closer to freedom”, we’ll never get there…it’ll just keep getting more complex, more costly, and more damaging to society as a whole…as it has for decades already.

If we allow our politicians to “reschedule” cannabis, this COULD mean an outright statutory BAN on ALL cannabis use, medicinal or otherwise, for the length of time it would take “to conduct safety studies.”  We already know that if they keep finding proof cannabis is non-toxic, anti-oxidant, neuroprotectant, et cetera, we also already know that these “safety studies” will be completed in an absolute minimum of 4-6 years, to an absolute maximum of…NEVER!

“Decriminalization” is NOT repeal.  It’s still illegal.

“Legalization” simply tells the politicians and courts that we believe the fix to bad legislation conveived of in fraud can only be fixed not by deleting it from the recored entirely, but by making it more complex…but keeping it all on the books for future “quick-n-easy” readoption when prison investors want higher revenues to do their profit-taking from.

“Re-legalization” is just two letters prepended to the above.

“Tax and regulate” tells OUR EMPLOYEES that “we owe them new taxes for not wasting our money attacking us.”  If we keep buying into the scam, they’ll get it, too!

“Regulate like [insert commodity of the hour here]” is just another way to justify the creation of a new regulatory body, hire new “government employees”, raise taxes, lower rights and freedoms, all while telling the wilfully ignorant population that “they are free.”  They ain’t.  They won’t be.

“REPEAL” means:  The statutes are GONE.  Deleted.  History.  Erased.  Terminated.  Removed from the “law” journals.  NEVER TO RETURN.

The ridiculous proposition that “if we want it legal again, we have to create new taxes” is also a prime example of idiotic propaganda foisted upon a wilfully ignorant population.  Only two seconds of thought tells you the truth of the situation…we do NOT need to “appease our employees” when we finally force them to stop wasting our money.  Not wasting all those billions of dollars every year should be, and IS, reward enough to everyone all on it’s own!

When we find out we’ve got a crooked mechanic who’s bee charging us for spark plug changes on every visit that we didn’t really need, and were nothing more than a waste of OUR money…we don’t praise them and give them permanent bonuses, do we?  So where did the idea come from, that in order for our employees to simply do their job with a litle more brainpower behind their actions, that we need to give them more money and hire more people?  Reality has to sink in eventually, folks!  Even through the infinitely thick skulls of “politicians.”  They might be as dense as the core of a neutron star, but they still have ear holes!  SO START SPEAKING UP!!!

Either we DEMAND the full repeal of prohibition, or we will continue on with it forever, just with a different name, and higher taxes…and let’s face it, folks:  OUR EMPLOYEES will be completely happy to rename what they’re doing to us and call it whatever we want to call it, if we’re dumb enough to allow it to continue.  Are we really so blind as to STILL not see the truth for what it is?

Want it over?  MAKE it over!

1) DESCHEDULE.
2) REPEAL.
3) DONE!!!

It really is just as simple as that.

* That solves prohibition on a national level…we still need to remove cannabis/hemp from the United Nations Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs in order to end prohibition GLOBALLY.

Views: 3521

Tags: Herer, Jack, PROHIBITION, REPEAL, Rick, Simpson, cannabis, freedom, health, human, More…

 

By ElectroPig Von Fökkengrüüven in Overgrow The World v2.0

The Fallacy of the “Legalize and Tax Cannabis” initiatives.

Overgrow The World

April 21, 2010

 

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w4ldCLNjbf8&w=448&h=252&hd=1]
Jack Herer’s last speech at Portland Hempstalk Festival 2009–HIS FINAL SPEECH BEFORE HE DIED…MAY HE NEVER BE FORGOTTEN!

 

MY PERSONAL COMMENT:  SOMETIMES (MOST OFTEN) OLD NEWS IS THE BEST NEWS – SMK.

Ending Marijuana Prohibition in 2013

Rob Kampia

Executive director, Marijuana Policy Project

 

Unless people have been hiding under a rock this past couple months, they know that more than 55 percent of voters in Colorado and Washington legalized marijuana on November 6. As a result, many people have grand expectations of how we’re going to get closer to ending marijuana prohibition in the U.S. this year.

Here is what I think we can reasonably accomplish by the end of 2013:

1. Decriminalize Marijuana in Vermont: Gov. Pete Shumlin (D), a strong supporter of decriminalizing marijuana, partially campaigned on the issue and easily won re-election on November 6 with 58% of the vote. The Vermont Llegislature is poised to pass the bill he wants, so this legislation could become law by this summer.

2. Legalize Medical Marijuana in New Hampshire: Incoming Gov. Maggie Hassan (D) is a strong supporter of medical marijuana, so we expect her to sign a medical marijuana bill similar to those vetoed by former Gov. John Lynch (D) in 2009 and 2012.

3. Build Support for Legalization in the Rhode Island Legislature:
We successfully legalized medical marijuana and decriminalized marijuana possession in Rhode Island in 2009 and 2012, respectively. There is now considerable momentum to tax and regulate (T&R) marijuana like alcohol, so we need to ensure that Rhode Island’s state legislature becomes the first to do so.

4. Increase Support for Legalization in California, Maine, and Oregon: There will be a sincere effort to pass T&R bills through the legislatures in these three states. Should they fall short, MPP and its allies will pursue statewide ballot initiatives in November 2016, at which time all three will be expected to pass.

5. Build Our Base of Support Online: People have said that the Internet is marijuana legalization’s best friend, and this could not have been more evident than it was last year. Campaigns mobilized their supporters, organizations raised funds, and the public was able to follow the progress in real time. Prohibitionists, who have depended on the government for its largess for years, are now at a disadvantage. Private citizens simply do not want to donate to them, and most information about marijuana is now reaching the public without being run through their filter.

6. Continue the Steady Drumbeat in the Media:
National and local media outlets are covering the marijuana issue more than ever before. Communicating to voters through news coverage is the most cost-efficient way to increase public support for ending marijuana prohibition, so we need to keep the issue in the spotlight.

7. Build Support for Medical Marijuana in Congress: There are already approximately 185 members of the U.S. House who want to stop the U.S. Justice Department from spending taxpayer money on raiding medical marijuana businesses in the 18 states (and DC) where medical marijuana is legal. We want to reach 218 votes on this amendment, thereby ensuring the amendment’s transfer to the U.S. Senate for an up-or-down vote.

8. Build Support for Ending Marijuana Prohibition in Congress: Last year, the first-ever bill to end the federal government’s prohibition of marijuana attracted 21 sponsors. Our goal is to expand the number of sponsors to more than two-dozen during the 2013-2014 election season.

Looking outside our borders, we’re also seeing progress in Colombia, Uruguay, and Chile, which have all been steadily moving away from marijuana prohibition. Although this is good news, most members of the U.S. Congress do not care much about what South American countries think on marijuana policy, so we should temper the wonderful developments south of the U.S. border with limited expectations of what will happen in our nation’s capital.

Ultimately, the U.S. is the primary exporter of prohibition around the world. If we can solve the problem here, the rest of the world will have far more freedom to conduct their own experiments with regulating marijuana.

FOLLOW POLITICS

Look what FOX News did !

[youtube=http://youtu.be/DBC_8zSYjOs]

 

Published on Dec 6, 2012

Fox News created a news story with a test they designed to measure the accuracy of stoned drivers. I knew they would skew the truth of the test, so this video shows the undercover footage I took, to show how Fox News created this test to fail and reported false news to the state of Colorado on stoned drivers.

As pot goes proper, a history of weed

 

en2661297

 

CANNABIS IN THE COLONIES

George Washington and Thomas Jefferson both grew hemp and puzzled over the best ways to process it for clothing and rope.

Indeed, cannabis has been grown in America since soon after the British arrived. In 1619 the Crown ordered the colonists at Jamestown to grow hemp to satisfy England’s incessant demand for maritime ropes, Wayne State University professor Ernest Abel wrote in "Marihuana: The First Twelve Thousand Years."

Hemp became more important to the colonies as New England’s own shipping industry developed, and homespun hemp helped clothe American soldiers during the Revolutionary War. Some colonies offered farmers "bounties" for growing it.

"We have manufactured within our families the most necessary articles of cloathing," Jefferson said in "Notes on the State of Virginia." "Those of wool, flax and hemp are very coarse, unsightly, and unpleasant."

Jefferson went on to invent a device for processing hemp in 1815.

TASTE THE HASHISH

Books such as "The Arabian Nights" and Alexandre Dumas’ "The Count of Monte Cristo," with its voluptuous descriptions of hashish highs in the exotic Orient, helped spark a cannabis fad among intellectuals in the mid-19th century.

"But what changes occur!" one of Dumas’ characters tells an uninitiated acquaintance. "When you return to this mundane sphere from your visionary world, you would seem to leave a Neapolitan spring for a Lapland winter – to quit paradise for earth – heaven for hell! Taste the hashish, guest of mine – taste the hashish."

After the Civil War, with hospitals often overprescribing opiates for pain, many soldiers returned home hooked on harder drugs. Those addictions eventually became a public health concern. In 1906, Congress passed the Pure Food and Drug Act, requiring labeling of ingredients, and states began regulating opiates and other medicines – including cannabis.

MEXICAN FOLKLORE AND JAZZ CLUBS

By the turn of the 20th century, cannabis smoking remained little known in the United States – but that was changing, thanks largely to The Associated Press, says Isaac Campos, a Latin American history professor at the University of Cincinnati.

In the 1890s, the first English-language newspaper opened in Mexico and, through the wire service, tales of marijuana-induced violence that were common in Mexican papers began to appear north of the border – helping to shape public perceptions that would later form the basis of pot prohibition, Campos says.

By 1910, when the Mexican Revolution pushed immigrants north, articles in the New York Sun, Boston Daily Globe and other papers decried the "evils of ganjah smoking" and suggested that some use it "to key themselves up to the point of killing."

Pot-smoking spread through the 1920s and became especially popular with jazz musicians. Louis Armstrong, a lifelong fan and defender of the drug he called "gage," was arrested in California in 1930 and given a six-month suspended sentence for pot possession.

"It relaxes you, makes you forget all the bad things that happen to a Negro," he once said. In the 1950s, he urged legalization in a letter to President Dwight Eisenhower.

REEFER MADNESS, HEMP FOR VICTORY

After the repeal of alcohol prohibition in 1933, Harry Anslinger, who headed the federal Bureau of Narcotics, turned his attention to pot. He told of sensational crimes reportedly committed by marijuana addicts. "No one knows, when he places a marijuana cigarette to his lips, whether he will become a philosopher, a joyous reveler in a musical heaven, a mad insensate, a calm philosopher, or a murderer," he wrote in a 1937 magazine article called "Marijuana: Assassin of Youth."

The hysteria was captured in the propaganda films of the time – most famously, "Reefer Madness," which depicted young adults descending into violence and insanity after smoking marijuana. The movie found little audience upon its release in 1936 but was rediscovered by pot fans in the 1970s.

Congress banned marijuana with the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937. Anslinger continued his campaign into the ’40s and ’50s, sometimes trying – without luck – to get jazz musicians to inform on each other. "Zoot suited hep cats, with their jive lingo and passion for swift, hot music, provide a fertile field for growth of the marijuana habit, narcotics agents have found here," began a 1943 Washington Post story about increasing pot use in the nation’s capital.

The Department of Agriculture promoted a different message. After Japanese troops cut off access to Asian fiber supplies during World War II, it released "Hemp For Victory," a propaganda film urging farmers to grow hemp and extolling its use in parachutes and rope for the war effort.

COUNTERCULTURE

As the conformity of the postwar era took hold, getting high on marijuana and other drugs emerged as a symbol of the counterculture, with Jack Kerouac and the rest of the Beat Generation singing pot’s praises. It also continued to be popular with actors and musicians. When actor Robert Mitchum was arrested on a marijuana charge in 1948, People magazine recounted, "The press nationwide branded him a dope fiend. Preachers railed against him from pulpits. Mothers warned their daughters to shun his films."

Congress responded to increasing drug use – especially heroin – with stiffer penalties in the ’50s. Anslinger began to hype what we now call the "gateway drug" theory: that marijuana had to be controlled because it would eventually lead its users to heroin.

Then came Vietnam. The widespread, open use of marijuana by hippies and war protesters from San Francisco to Woodstock finally exposed the falsity of the claims so many had made about marijuana leading to violence, says University of Virginia professor Richard Bonnie, a scholar of pot’s cultural status.

In 1972, Bonnie was the associate director of a commission appointed by President Richard Nixon to study marijuana. The commission said marijuana should be decriminalized and regulated. Nixon rejected that, but a dozen states in the ’70s went on to eliminate jail time as a punishment for pot arrests.

"JUST SAY NO"

The push to liberalize drug laws hit a wall by the late 1970s. Parents groups became concerned about data showing that more children were using drugs, and at a younger age. The religious right was emerging as a force in national politics. And the first "Cheech and Chong" movie, in 1978, didn’t do much to burnish pot’s image.

When she became first lady, Nancy Reagan quickly promoted the anti-drug cause. During a visit with schoolchildren in Oakland, Calif., as Reagan later recalled, "A little girl raised her hand and said, ‘Mrs. Reagan, what do you do if somebody offers you drugs?’ And I said, ‘Well, you just say no.’ And there it was born."

By 1988, more than 12,000 "Just Say No" clubs and school programs had been formed, according to the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Library. Between 1978 and 1987, the percentage of high school seniors reporting daily use of marijuana fell from 10 percent to 3 percent.

And marijuana use was so politically toxic that when Bill Clinton ran for president in 1992, he said he "didn’t inhale."

MEDS OF A DIFFERENT SORT

Marijuana has been used as medicine since ancient times, as described in Chinese, Indian and Roman texts, but U.S. drug laws in the latter part of the 20th century made no room for it. In the 1970s, many states passed symbolic laws calling for studies of marijuana’s efficacy as medicine, although virtually no studies ever took place because of the federal prohibition.

Nevertheless, doctors noted its ability to ease nausea and stimulate appetites of cancer and AIDS patients. And in 1996, California became the first state to allow the medical use of marijuana. Since then, 17 other states and the District of Columbia have followed.

In recent years, medical marijuana dispensaries – readily identifiable by the green crosses on their storefronts – have proliferated in many states, including Washington, Colorado and California. That’s prompted a backlash from some who suggest they are fronts for illicit drug dealing and that most of the people they serve aren’t really sick. The Justice Department has shut down some it deems the worst offenders.

LEGAL WEED AT LAST

On Nov. 6, Washington and Colorado pleased aging hippies everywhere – and shocked straights of all ages – by voting to become the first states to legalize the fun use of marijuana. Voters handily approved measures to decriminalize the possession of up to an ounce by adults over 21. Colorado’s measure also permits home-growing of up to six plants.

Both states are working to set up a regulatory scheme with licensed growers, processors and retail stores. Eventually, activists say, grown-ups will be able to walk into a store, buy some marijuana, and walk out with ganja in hand – but not before paying the taxman. The states expect to raise hundreds of millions of dollars for schools and other government functions.

But it’s not so simple. The regulatory schemes conflict with the federal government’s longstanding pot prohibition, according to many legal scholars. The Justice Department could sue to block those schemes from taking effect – but hasn’t said whether it will do so.

The bizarre journey of cannabis in America continues.

Johnson can be reached at https://twitter.com/GeneAPseattle

Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/2012/12/06/2433411/as-pot-goes-proper-a-history-of.html#storylink=cpy