June 30, 2021 08:00 am ETEstimated Read Time: 5 Minutes
Cannabis is considered to be one of the most popular recreational substances in the world, yet it remains illegal in many places. Why is this? What’s behind the madness keeping this plant from the people? The answers are greed, corruption, power, and control. Cannabis prohibition and media campaigns like “Reefer Madness” have left a crippling effect on cannabis that only time will fix. You can’t undo over 8 decades of negative stigma overnight. Hell, you’d be lucky to accomplish this task in another 80 years.
Negative laws and speech about cannabis have shaped prohibition’s ugly past and have left it rearing its ugly head in our present peering into the future. Trying to teach the “we need more research” era the truths about cannabis is a painstaking task. It can’t be that people holding political offices are unable to read, can it? The research is out there supporting cannabis as a medicine and all they have to do to see it for themselves is to read it.
But sadly, so many choose to cling to what they’ve been told about cannabis rather than learning about it for themselves. Usually, when political figures show support for cannabis legalization it is because of a sick family member, profit from cannabis taxes, or election support.
Have you ever wondered if cannabis laws in an area that affect how people perceive the plant? Do you believe that places with harsher penalties for cannabis have a deeper connection to the negative stigmas of cannabis that have lived from prohibitions past? In places where cannabis is demonized the most, is typically where the most brainwashing of the people happens. This is most likely why cannabis is still illegal in places like South Carolina, Alabama, and other states that continue to support draconian cannabis prohibition.
Quotes from Prohibition’s Political Past
In the past, people could argue that cannabis was bad for you. High-profile political and government officials had to know what they were talking about right? Here are some of the quotes used by political and government officials from the past and not-so-distant past.
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“How many murders, suicides, robberies, criminal assaults, holdups, burglaries, and deeds of maniacal insanity it causes each year, especially among the young, can only be conjectured. No one knows, when he places a marijuana cigarette to his lips, whether he will become a joyous reveler in musical heaven, a mad insensate, a calm philosopher, or a murderer.”- H.J. Anslinger
“The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what I’m saying? We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or blacks, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course, we did.” -Advisor to President Nixon John Ehrlichman, 1994
“Good people don’t smoke marijuana.”- Former US Attorney General Jeff Sessions, April 2016
Study Suggest That Harsh Cannabis Laws Have Negative Effects on Views About Cannabis in Accompanying Areas
A recent study first published in the European Journal of Criminology on December 23, 2020, titled, “Cannabis users and stigma: A comparison of users from European countries with different cannabis policies” looked into the effects of cannabis laws and stigmas attached to them. This study was conducted by researchers from the University of Amsterdam and looked at seven European countries all of which have different levels of cannabis criminalization.
The goal was to identify and see if cannabis stigma was higher in regions with harsh penalties for cannabis possession. The findings concluded that regions with harsher cannabis penalties also saw heightened stigma against cannabis. According to the study, the focus of it was, “to assess to what extent and how cannabis users in different countries with different cannabis policies perceive, experience and respond to stigmatization. More specifically, we investigated three dimensions of stigma experienced by illicit drug users: discrimination, perceived devaluation, and alienation.”
We Have a Lot of Work Ahead of Us to Break the Stigma
Breaking the negative stigma of anti-cannabis laws built on the foundation of racism and falsehoods is no easy task. In areas that have harsher penalties for cannabis, you will often find the people there less are open to cannabis education. When bringing knowledge and research to the attention of many individuals that live in areas with harsh cannabis laws, people are often met with negative anti-cannabis propaganda. Most people are unaware of the science that goes into cannabinoid therapies, especially in some of the more restricted countries and territories.
The complexity of cannabinoids, terpenes, receptors, and talk of the endogenous mammalian endocannabinoid system is not knowledge that your average person typically holds unless they are a cannabis activist or patient. This can make breaking down the negative stigmas of cannabis difficult. When all people know is what they’ve seen and been told about cannabis it’s up for them to learn the truth for themselves.
Cannabis doesn’t make you grow long hair, jobless, or make you live on your family or friend’s couches playing video games and eating pizza all day. What it is, is amazing. It offers a higher quality of health and wellbeing for millions. It’s the potential for financial stability and future generational wealth. Help break the stigma of cannabis. Take some time and get to know more about this amazing plant and all the potentials it holds for the planet and the people who live on it and then share that knowledge with everyone you meet!
Ashley Priest is a patient, mother, entrepreneur, and activist that fights to end prohibition globally for a better future for all. Ashley has a passion for sharing education pertaining to the goddess plant known as cannabis. She believes that a single seed can tip the scales and that together through education we can end the stigma that is preventing cannabis from flowering to its full potential globally.
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