Grass: The History Of Marijuana

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This film explores the history of the American government’s official policy on marijuana in the 20th century. Rising with nativist xenophobia with Mexican immigration and their taste for smoking marijuana, we see the establishment of a wrong headed federal drug policy as a crime issue as oppposed to a public health approach. Fuelled by prejudice, hysterical propaganda and political opportunism undeterred by voices of reason on the subject, we follow the story of a costly and futile crusade against a substance with questionable ill effects that has damaged basic civil liberites.

The history of marijuana in the United States since its unofficial introduction in the early twentieth century is presented. As a product, it has been a focus of a strong government campaign to rids its distribution and use, primarily from the 1930′s to the 1970′s. Harry J. Anslinger, the first Commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, and President Richard Nixon were the chief persons waging the war. During the early battle, marijuana was popularly thought to cause a slew of maladies, including temporary insanity and murderous tendencies, as depicted through such movies as Marihuana (1936/I) aka “Reefer Madness”.

This popular belief led to marijuana being effectively classified an illegal substance in the United States in 1937. When some of these myths were debunked, especially through the free-wheeling 1960′s, anti-marijuana messaging turned to it being a gateway substance to stronger more dangerous illicit drugs, such as heroin. As much of the marijuana coming into the United States since the 1950′s was from China, the government also used anti-Communist messaging. Both Anslinger and Nixon quashed any scientific reports that came out refuting the government’s claims, such as a report commissioned by New York Mayor ‘Fiorello Laguardia’ . To the end of the century, America’s war on marijuana has cost the government several billions of dollars

Grass: The History Of Marijuana, 9.5 out of 10 based on 30 ratings

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  • lexieydoodle

    I have a question. In Marijuana it is time for a conversation they said that Marijuana was prescribed by doctors in the 1850′s and farmers were even required to grow hemp. That the deceleration of Independence of the constitution were even written on hemp. But in this one it says that the Mexicans brought it in the 1900′s and we were unfamiliar with it…. which is true????
    thank you!

    • Zyy

      If think that Americans were unfamiliar to the way HOW Mexicans used the plant. Americans used it industrially and in chemical form or whatever the method is called.

      • WingSP117

        What the hell are you even trying to say? I really hope English isn’t your first language. 

        Also, your comment is beyond ignorant. If there was any truth to that, legislation criminalizing the plant would have never been considered.  Yes, Propaganda was the direct cause banning marijuana, but it also worked the same way as prohibition of alcohol worked at the time. There is still no scientific evidence proving negative side effects of THC in the body, the only harmful thing about the plant is people inhaling it.( bad for your lungs)

        I’m sure with as progressive as research in the medical field is proving, the drug will be available for distribution within the next ten years. For America, atleast.

        • Anonymous

          You say someone elses comment is ignorant then go on to claim there is no scientific proof THC is harmful.  That in itself is naively ignorant.

        • Anonymous

          You say someone elses comment is ignorant then go on to claim there is no scientific proof THC is harmful.  That in itself is naively ignorant.

          • WingSP117

            I would love to see try to prove a counter statement to what I stated, rather then call me ignorant to my own statement. 

            Please back your comment with any logical/ true medical knowledge on this subject.

          • WingSP117

            I would love to see try to prove a counter statement to what I stated, rather then call me ignorant to my own statement. 

            Please back your comment with any logical/ true medical knowledge on this subject.

        • hartford3

          why do you have to be hateful? can’t you just comment without calling names. arrogant bastard.

    • wavy blade

      OK so as you know marijuana, cannabis and hemp are 3 names for essentially the same plant. Hemp is generally the term used for low THC containing varieties used for fiber and cellulose, cannabis is the scientific name for the genus and marijuana is the term used originating from Mexico for recreational smoking varieties. Cannabis has been used medicinally throughout the world from as far back as the first written medical texts in ancient china, and as such was WIDELY used in American remedies and medicines until the effective ban in 1937. The confusion comes from the terminology of cannabis vs. marijuana and this was exploited by Anslinger in his push to outlaw it. EVERYONE in the United States in 1937 knew EXACTLY what cannabis was as most people had at some point taken medicine derived from it in tonic or tincture form, many smoked it recreational (particularly in hemp farming communities)and their Levi’s jeans were made from it. HOWEVER, virtually no one knew that marijuana referred to the same plant, it is the TERM marijuana that the mexicans imported to the US not the plant. Very few Americans or even the congressmen voting on the bill realized they were outlawing cannabis/hemp and it would have gotten 0 traction if they had.

      • Dudtrish

        In answer to Lexieydoodle, and to add further to your comments, Wavy Blade, Cannabis sativa is the Latin name for Marijabanana, and Cannabis indica is the Latin name for Hemp. (There is also another cultivar, called Cannabis ruderalis but I dunno nuffink about it, except that its growth is limited to parts of Asia.) There are possibly other cultivars (varieties) but I am not berry knowledgeable – oop!

        Hooch was outlawed in Australia in 1957 (I think… along with all other so-called drugs of addiction eg, Heroin and Cocaine – heroin was available in Aussie in our cough mixtures until 1957, and Cocaine was in Coca-Cola up until …?whenever? it was outlawed in the USA) And Australia just copied English Legislation, as far as I know.
        Before the 1970′s hooch had a potentiality of approx 3% active agent, but wif the advent of the new breeds of ‘Skunk’ percentage of active-ingredient strength grew to 8% by early to mid 1980′s(??). (And of course, all of the different types of cannabis sativa have different levels of diff active agents, such as Delta-8 and Delta-nine THC, CBD, CBN THCV, CBC (all big long words that are hard to spell, and wuss to pronounce – hoot, and perhaps even more agents for all that I know.

        As you say, Wavy Blade, it was in many tonics, tinctures and many a linctus., and also in vaporizor form. And it was formally used by medical practitioners up until 1957 in Aussie.

        I have a a book somewhere on the medical use of Cannabis sativa, but not can find it today…sob. From memory, I think it listed 57 or 58 recommended medical uses (??)
        The book stated that it usage lessened over the years as increased use of Aspirin evolved, but some medical conditions I can recall include: headaches, migraine etc, rhematoid conditions (and in modern medicine I could imagine it being used with all sorts of autoimmune-type arthritis and other autoimmune problems) malaria, beriberi and other wierdo tropical diseases, constipation, menstrual cramps, stomach cramp, and even pancreatitis. These uses, are in relation to pain-reduction… so any painful ailment could possibly be included here… which is why the main modern use is for pain-relief in intractable (horrible) pain such as cancer and pancreatits. It was also used in treatment of asthma, glaucoma (reduces eyeball pressure), and it was and is used for nausea relief. It is and was used for appetite-stimulation, eg for folk undergoing radiation or chemotherapy (I wonder if it would work for anorexia nervosa -chuckle?). It was also used for pre-senile dementia (which we call Alzheimer’s now-days). The list goes on and on, but I not memeber any more – sorry! But I bet you could google it, or check out wiki???
        By the way… modern drug companies have now produced a spray-form of CBD which they will be manufacturing for use in psychosis, and anxiety conditions (pretty funny when we consider that the pharmaceutical companies were the ones who made all the propaganda fillums claiming it would send you mad eh????).

        By the way, the main reason why I wanted to reply to you, was that during WW2, my father grew Hemp under government contract for the war effort… we still have the old hemp thrasher on our family farm. It was used to make canvas for the soldiers overboots and other uniform parts, and for the Army Trucks, I guess.

        Anyhow, hope that helps a bit Lexiey… and I is hopin’ dat thet bloke wot abused yer spellin’ dusn’t be weally rude to me, and I hope you weren’t offended by his bad mood?
        If you have some form of dyslexia, or if English is your second language, I hope you can get someone to read the crappy medical terms for you???

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  • superspiffyshelby

    Its sucks that just because it came from Mexico and it was different, no one gave it a chance. 

  • saoirse

    God was so proud of cannabis he created people to share it with

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