Can I see a show of hands how many people here have ever smoked Cannabis sativa, commonly known as marijuana? I see none of you raised your hand. Well obviously no one would want to admit to a criminal activity in front of their teacher. But why is it that smoking pot is so taboo in our society? After all numerous famous intellectuals support marijuana. Al Gore is considered by many to be the leading figure in climate change awareness and environmental preservation. But few people know that Al Gore also supports the legalization of marijuana. The famed German philosopher Freidrich Nietzche once said, “If one seeks relief from unbearable pressure one is to eat hashish”. The founding father of our nation George Washington, said, “Make the most of the Indian hemp seed, and sow it everywhere!” Marijuana is one of the safest medicinal substances on the planet and is supported by many acclaimed celebrity role models. Famous Hollywood actor Johnny Depp says, “I’m not a big pothead or anything like that… but weed is much, much less dangerous than alcohol”. Other well known supporters of marijuana include Snoop Dogg, all of the Marley family, Niel Young, Willie Nelson, Michael Phelps, Chris Farley, Al Gore, Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln, Nietzche, Barack Obama, John Adams, James Madison, JFK, and of course myself. A total of 11 United States presidents either grew, smoked, or supported the legalization of Marijuana. With the support of some of the greatest thinkers and world leaders of all time it’s a wonder that marijuana is still illegal. “Government ties is really why the government lies” – Immortal Technique. Common Misconceptions about marijuana are set about by high end government officials who think only of themselves and own their prosperity. For instance few people know the history of weed and the means by which it was criminalized. Most of you have probably seen “Reefer Madness”, the ridiculous propaganda film set about by the U.S. government to discourage the use of marijuana. The movie debuted in 1936 making arbitrary claims, calling Cannabis “The devils weed”, and stating that weed is more dangerous that cocaine or opium. This was the outlook of the government at the turn of the century, but in fact pot was smoked as early as 2700 BC, in China. In 500 AD marijuana spread to Europe and Africa where it was cultivated and smoked for its medicinal qualities. By 1545 marijuana had been introduced to the New World where it was grown as a cash crop alongside tobacco and cotton. Sold in bars throughout the Americas pot was seen as tobaccos little brother. It is reported that several of our founding fathers including Benjamin Franklin and George Washington smoked ganja out of water hookahs with Turkish emissaries shortly after the revolutionary war. After this experience both Franklin and Washington began to grow weed for themselves. At the turn of the 20th century marijuana began to gain popularity and by the 1920’s was the drug of choice for America’s youth. Historians say this popularity is what led to its prohibition. But history itself tells a different story. Whenever something be-it and idea, substance, or social behavior, becomes popular, American companies brand and market it for all it’s worth. Take for example punk rock which originally was a counterculture but through marketing was assimilated into mainstream society. So why is it that the same fate was not suffered by marijuana, why was it made illegal? In 1937 the first official action was taken against weed, the Marihuana Tax Act. The act itself did not criminalize the possession of cannabis but levied a tax on anyone dealing the substance. This didn’t just mean the buds anything with hemp or hemp oil in it was essentially taxed out of business. A legitimate dealer was required to have a tax stamp but no stamps were ever printed. These over elaborate regulations prevented marijuana from being a profitable source of income. In reference to the...
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