Cannabis history is nearly as long as the history of human civilization, but unlike other agricultural products, the story of weed has often been. In , University of Kansas professor Barney Warf published a paper called “ High Points: An Historical Geography of Cannabis” in the Geographical Review. Part I of this Note examines the history of racial stereotypes and .. marijuana criminalization, intertwined with xenophobic sentiment and likely.
and The Cannabis Histories Are Intertwined Race of
We've decided to take a weekly look at a word or phrase that's caught our attention, whether for its history, usage, etymology, or just because it has an interesting story. This week, we look into how we came to call cannabis "marijuana," and the role Mexico played in that shift. Marijuana has been intertwined with race and ethnicity in America since well before the word "marijuana" was coined. The drug, my colleague Gene Demby recently wrote , has a disturbing case of multiple personality disorder: It's a go-to pop culture punch line.
It's the foundation of a growing recreational and medicinal industry. A deeply disproportionate number of marijuana arrests the vast majority of which are for possession befall African-Americans, despite similar rates of usage among whites and blacks, the ACLU says. Throughout the 19th century, news reports and medical journal articles almost always use the plant's formal name, cannabis. Numerous accounts say that "marijuana" came into popular usage in the U. A common version of the story of the criminalization of pot goes like this: Cannabis was outlawed because various powerful interests some of which have economic motives to suppress hemp production were able to craft it into a bogeyman in the popular imagination, by spreading tales of homicidal mania touched off by consumption of the dreaded Mexican "locoweed.
But this version of the story starts to prompt more questions than answers when you take a close look at the history of the drug in the U.
What role did race actually play in the perception of the drug? Are historical accounts of pot usage — including references to Mexican "locoweed" — even talking about the same drug we know as marijuana today? How did the plant and its offshoots get so many darn names reefer, pot, weed, hashish, dope, ganja, bud, and on and on and on anyway? And while we're on the subject, how did it come to be called "marijuana"?
Let's start with the race question. Eric Schlosser recounts some of the racially charged history of marijuana in his Atlantic article "Reefer Madness" some of the source material for the best-selling book:.
The prejudices and fears that greeted these peasant immigrants also extended to their traditional means of intoxication: Police officers in Texas claimed that marijuana incited violent crimes, aroused a "lust for blood," and gave its users "superhuman strength.
Sailors and West Indian immigrants brought the practice of smoking marijuana to port cities along the Gulf of Mexico. In New Orleans newspaper articles associated the drug with African-Americans, jazz musicians, prostitutes, and underworld whites.
Narcotics Commissioner Henry Anslinger testified before Congress in the hearings that would result in the introduction of federal restrictions on marijuana. Daily Courier , which said in part, "I wish I could show you what a small marihuana cigaret can do to one of our degenerate Spanish-speaking residents. That's why our problem is so great; the greatest percentage of our population is composed of Spanish-speaking persons, most of who [ sic!
Folks weren't just worrying about Mexicans and jazz musicians, either. Finger, a powerful member of California's State Board of Pharmacy, in a letter page It seems clear that much anti-cannabis animus had a racial dimension. Here's the thing, though. Marijuana and the Origins of Mexico's War on Drugs. Mexico's prohibition of pot actually came in , a full 17 years before the U. And while there may have been a class dimension to the movement against marijuana in Mexico, Campos suggests, people were banning the drug because they were seriously freaked out about what it could do.
If you've ever watched a stoner movie, this account of marijuana's effects will likely seem very familiar:. If this resin be swallowed, almost invariably the inebriation is of the most cheerful kind, causing the person to sing and dance, to eat food with great relish, and to seek aphrodisiac enjoyment. The intoxication lasts about three hours, when sleep supervenes; it is not followed by nausea or sickness, nor by any symptoms, except slight giddiness, worth recording.
Add some "Cap'n Crunch," and bam, you've basically just described the plot of Half-Baked. Most of the pre press references to cannabis relate either to its medical usage or its role as an industrial textile.
This is the only evidence wanting to convince the public that he is guilty. Such occurrences are frequent. Suddenly, the drug has a whole new identity.
Here's a representative New York Times headline from This disparity between "cannabis" mentions pre and "marihuana" references post is wildly jarring. It's almost as though the papers are describing two different drugs.
In Spanish, the drug's name is spelled "marihuana" or "mariguana" ; "marijuana" is an Anglicization. But according to Campos' book, these accounts in the American press echoed stories that had been appearing in Mexican newspapers well before. He is now preparing to launch a much larger all-purpose facility, which will grow, sell and provide space to safely consume weed on a three-acre piece of property, formerly an auto wrecking ground.
My mom and my dad even came and helped with the first harvest. She serendipitously landed with the company after she lost her job. She has recently been diagnosed with cancer, so Horton has set to work trying to develop a cannabis strand to help her deal with the illness. The idea that there is a place for every single color, race, creed.
I feel like I have a short window of opportunity to put my son in a better position, build a better position for my family and my community — for people of color. Accounts have suggested it was chosen to make the drug instantly associable with Mexicans, or non-white people.
While studies have shown that cannabis consumption is similar in terms of percentage across races, black and brown people are far more likely to be arrested for both distribution and simple possession of the drug in the US — about four times on average nationwide. In an in-depth analysis on the subject, the American Civil Liberties Union ACLU found that over the course of the first decade of the 21st century, even as cannabis legalization was beginning to take hold, cannabis arrests increased, rather than the opposite.
Oakland, California, has offered perhaps the most groundbreaking laws to date addressing the issue. A recent city-commissioned report spoke in stark and harsh terms of, on one hand, the existence of mostly white medical cannabis businesses, and on the other a cracking down on black and brown community members for cannabis possession and distribution. To the north, Portland, Oregon, is the first city to direct part of its cannabis revenue taxes towards reinvestment into communities of color.
Los Angeles and San Francisco are seeking to implement similar policies. While details are still being smoothed out, the text of the law is extraordinary in that it creates a link between a formerly criminalized population and the new industry.
There is no formal apology or admission of wrongdoing, but it is not a stretch to see the wording as a recognition of people being owed something, and between the lines, the need for repair. Massachusetts is also the first state not to bar former convicted felons from operating in and around the industry.
Much of this may seem utopian, or at least unrealistic. Steps for reparations, which, in the American context, most often refer to a call to pay damage to the descendants of slaves violently brought from Africa for the purpose of multi-generational labor exploitation, have repeatedly gone nowhere. But these measures could mark the first time an explicit form of reparations takes hold in this country. Of course, at a federal level, cannabis remains illegal. In fact, it is classified as a Schedule I drug, which means the federal government sees the drug as having no medical benefit whatsoever.
This marks it as more dangerous than Schedule II drugs, which include opioids, meth, and cocaine, among others. Trafficking charges included non-violent cannabis charges. This could prove worrying for cannabis entrepreneurs but even more so for communities of color, for whom the business of cannabis has never ceased to be equated with the risk of imprisonment. He says Sessions would not be reviving a war on drugs, only re-escalating one that never went away.
Arrests are still being done, including in states where legalization has taken place, and still disproportionately in communities of color. Inequality and Opportunity in America. Jesce Horton, a young entrepreneur who wants to see more black business owners enter the cannabis industry. Jesce Horton This series is supported by. These quiet, small steps towards justice are nothing short of revolutionary. Topics Inequality and Opportunity in America.
Why Canada banned pot (science had nothing to do with it)
The drug has been intertwined with race and ethnicity since well before awful lot we don't know about the recent history of the cannabis plant. July 22, • The drug has been intertwined with race and ethnicity since well an awful lot we don't know about the recent history of the cannabis plant. I. REEFER MADNESS: THE HISTORY OF RACIALIZED PROHIBITION safety and welfare.5 In the case of marijuana, racial prejudice against.