Analysis of the War over Weed

750 WordsMar 14, 20143 Pages
“Marijuana's contraband status is a result of historical accident, racial prejudice, xenophobia, loads of cultural baggage, and an astonishing amount of ignorance”.(Sullum) Jacob Sullum, in “The War Over Weed”, chronicles the history of marijuana within the United States from its appearance with migrant Mexican workers, to its position as a symbol of the rebellious counter culture movements. Sullum talks about Federal Bureau of Narcotics Commissioner Harry Anslinger and his campaign to outlaw marijuana. Sullum also comments on the “Commerce Clause” which enabled the U.S government to micro-manage the affairs of individual states. The outlawing of marijuana has led to an expensive and seemingly futile battle to eliminate the plant and its use. Furthermore it takes average law abiding citizens who either grow or consume the plant with accordance to state medical/legalization laws and turns them into criminals. Sullum starts off my giving a brief history of the plant. It originated in China and India as a medicinal ingredient and was later brought overseas by the Spanish to be used for hemp fibres. Sullum states that marijuana originally came to the United States with migrant Mexican workers and later was commonly associated with African American jazz musicians. “Marijuana's association with blacks and Mexicans, which marked it as an exotic drug used by inferior but scary outsiders, proved crucial to its prohibition.” The prohibition largely targeted the people associated with it rather than the drug itself. With racism prevalent during the early stages of prohibition, The majority of violent crimes were claimed to be involved with minority groups and/or marijuana. As prohibition continued marijuana had a surge in popularity as part of the counterculture of the 60’s and 70’s. The herb still remains seen as a symbol of rebellion; further convincing lawmakers that it

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