As the number of states legalizing marijuana rises, the debate surrounding the racially charged etymology of the drug is increasingly important. The enfranchisement of African Americans and the demographic changes in the American Southwest led the federal government to demonize cannabis and criminalize its use. While it was an understandable reaction to the emergence of the American cannabis industry, the racist stance toward the plant and its users is deeply disturbing.
The first and most egregious act of anti-Mexican sentiment was the Marihuana Tax Act, which was implemented in 1937. It was declared unconstitutional in 1969. In response, Richard Nixon unleashed the ‘War on Drugs’ aimed at ensuring white voters’ opposition to the use of marijuana. In the process, he appealed to the racist fears of Black people and used the Spanish word “marijuana” to promote the fear of this drug.
Moreover, the law also promoted discrimination against Mexicans, whose immigration to the US Southwest was at an all-time high. In fact, blacks were three times more likely to be arrested for violating the narcotics laws than whites, while Mexicans were nine times more likely to be arrested. As a result, Marijuana Prohibition was an extremely racially motivated policy.
The United States federal government outlawed marijuana as a dangerous drug, which is not the case today. The government’s fear of cannabis consumption was not based on science, but rather on the fear of the black and brown communities. It was a result of the Mexican Revolution, which led to a large influx of Mexican immigrants into the US southwest. Consequently, wealthy white Americans used marijuana as a tool to consolidate their power and demonize these communities. They chose to call these Mexican-American groups locoweed and marihuana, which were also racially oriented.
A racial bias against marijuana was created to combat its racial influence. While Marijuana is still illegal in the US, black communities were more likely to become popular. The racial bias that exists today is a product of racism, and the government has a right to control its usage. A greater understanding of the history of the drug could lead to a more equitable society.
The term “marijuana” was adopted by the United Nations to criminalize cannabis. While it was considered a dangerous drug by the United Nations, it was referred to as “marihuana” by the Mexican population. The Spanish medical marijuana seeds for sale word for cannabis, “cannabis,” sounded more authentic to the Mexicans, and the United States’ politicians seized on the opportunity. The resulting racial stigma against marijuana has continued to haunt us today.
As a result, the American and Mexican press had a strong influence on the country’s legalization of marijuana. The racist rhetoric of Nixon was a key factor in the creation of this policy. He was a “law-and-order” candidate who demonized the plant. His election as president led to the creation of the U.S. Cannabis Control Act (MTCA).
The era of marijuana prohibition reveals a profoundly racially charged industry. It was an attempt to control a culture that did not embrace cannabis as a legal substance. The Mexican Revolution raged for several years, and the fear of the Mexicans brought the tradition of marijuana smoking with them. During this time, hysterical claims about the drug spread and many states started passing laws against it.
Prohibition activists abused the term “marijuana” to make cannabis sound “foreign.” In addition to causing harm to the American public, the word itself is racially charged. As a result, the drug has historically been labeled as “marijuana” to avoid discrimination. It is also used as a metaphor for racism against black people.
The racism behind the drug prohibition began in the early twentieth century. It was originally used against black jazz musicians and Latinos. As a result, marijuana prohibition continues to influence the criminal justice system, filling prisons with people of color. While whites and African Americans are more likely than non-whites to be arrested for marijuana, the use rates of both races are similar. In the early 20th century, it was the use of cannabis that was made illegal.