Reefer Madness Debunked

Cannabis in America: How it Started. How it's Going.

Chronic, Skunk, Blaze, Herb, Texas Tea, Sweet Leaf… Cough...

For most of the twentieth century, getting caught with even a small amount of marijuana would qualify somebody for a lengthy prison sentence. Why? The answer may enlighten you.

In the years following the end of liquor prohibition, politicians looked for fresh campaign issues - things that scared voters and made re-election easier. They grabbed onto marijuana, a substance that had been around since the early 1900’s, but was mostly only found in Mexican and black communities.

Using racist propaganda with keywords like “white slavery” and the image of caucasian daughters being lured into prostitution by associating with marijuana and its non-white users - twenty nine states outlawed marijuana in 1931.

In the opening scene of ‘Reefer Madness’ - the 1936 anti-marijuana propaganda film - a high school principal cautions students “Not alcoholism, not opium, not cocaine - but marijuana is the worst drug corrupting the youth of America!”

Government and media worked, if not strictly together, in tandem to create a nightmare scenario around marijuana - a drug they claimed would ultimately lead to depravity, rape or murder. Oy!