Its time to stop the charade. Its time for the federal government to bow to the will of the people they are ostensibly serving and legalize marijuana. Continuing the “war on drugs” is in itself an arguable activity, but including marijuana as an adversary in that war is ludicrous.
First, let’s look at the real reasons why marijuana was made illegal.
In February of 1892, Rudolph Diesel patented his highly efficient engine, now known as the “Diesel” engine. The prototype ran on peanut oil, and it was never intended to run on anything but biomass fuels. What does this have to do with marijuana? Well, in the 1890’s marijuana was known as hemp and was one of the most useful agricultural products known. One of its many uses was conversion into vegetable oil. As we now know, vegetable oil can be used in diesel engines. Needless to say, the fledgling oil industry saw hemp as a competitor, but that wasn’t the only enemy that marijuana had.
In his book The Emperor Wears No Clothes, Jack Herer details the Hearst/DuPont conspiracy that finally got the Marijuana Stamp Act passed which effectively outlawed hemp. Hearst and DuPont wanted it outlawed because of the inexpensive and clean paper it made without the polluting process (patented by DuPont) needed for the production of paper from wood pulp. Hearst of course, owned huge tracts of pulp forests in the northwest and in northern California.
DuPont wanted hemp outlawed for other reasons as well. Hemp fibers work extremely well in textiles. In the mid 1930’s, DuPont had patented a synthetic textile fiber process that made the fibers from petroleum byproducts. DuPont again, and petroleum – again. Of course, the reality that people of color and other low life members of society could be seen “smoking rope” and getting high without paying the liquor tax greatly assisted in the passage of legislation, and in the making of the film Reefer Madness in 1937 which, when shown before Congress resulted in the Marijuana Stamp Act. It was passed strictly at the behest of specific commercial interests and had absolutely nothing to do with the general public interest. That interest would have been better served by keeping hemp as a highly desirable agricultural product. One (among many) advantages to society would have been books that last. Tannin, found in wood pulp, causes wood paper to deteriorate in about 50 years. Books published in the 20th century must be carefully preserved if they are to be read in the future. Most will not make the journey. This is a problem not suffered by hemp paper.
Three states have now made marijuana legal for all purposes. The only reason it was ever illegal can be described as lies backed up by great quantities of money. Those lies are now exposed. That excuse for keeping this substance illegal has lost what little validity it had. The damage done to society by keeping this plant illegal is so great, in the form of abridged rights of citizens and pointless imprisonment of otherwise law abiding citizens, that it must be undone. The time has come to repeal the Marijuana Stamp Act.