Politics Magazine

The Racist Roots Of Marijuana Prohibition

Posted on the 17 January 2014 by Jobsanger
The Racist Roots Of Marijuana Prohibition The man in the picture above is Harry Anslinger. He was a racist. He was also the "father" of marijuana prohibition in the United States. More than any other single person, Anslinger was responsible for the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 -- the law that made marijuana illegal, and has ruined the lives of countless Americans simply for using the harmless herb. He didn't do it because marijuana was a danger to anyone, because there was no evidence that was true (and still isn't). He wanted the law so he and other racists could have a tool to keep minorities "in their place".
And the law worked well for them. Although minorities have never used marijuana in greater numbers than whites, a far larger percentage of them have been arrested and convicted for its possession and use. And that continues to this day. A study by the American Civil liberties Union found that while Blacks and Whites use marijuana at the same rate, Blacks are more than four times likely to be arrested for it -- and in some states, that climbs to eight times as likely. Between 2001 and 2010, there were 8 million people arrested for marijuana in the United States, most for possession of small amounts of the harmless drug -- and a huge majority of those arrests were of minorities.
With the civil unrest of the 1960s and 1970s, the government began to also use marijuana prohibition as a tool to control young radicals, many of whom were white. But even that didn't change the fact that the laws were, and still are, used as a tool to control minorities.
Many in this country like to think we have solved the problem of racism, but that is far from true. Some progress has been made, but as long as racist tools are still in effect (like marijuana prohibition) they will be used by both open and closeted racists against minorities. We must get rid of these unfair and racist tools -- and a good place to start would be to get rid of marijuana prohibition. It would have many positive effects on this country -- not the least of which would be to take this tool out of the hands of racists, thus creating more fairness and equality for minorities.
The Racist Roots Of Marijuana Prohibition

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