Linking cannabis to violence was a good ploy in the larger game of creating fear. Chopped-up-neighbors are scary. Something real to fear. Fear linked to marijuana. Fear the weed. Inspired by Anslinger’s fear mongering over-the-years cannabis has been linked to all kinds of scary things -- communism, radicalism, terrorism, Mexican criminals, lack of motivation, sterility, bad grades and bad breath.
Get your fear here. Fear is the beating heart of prohibition. Not until we defeat the fear surrounding the plant can we hope to end prohibition.
In the late 1960’s my tenth grade health teacher was fresh out of college and passed for “cool” at my school. One day he told us that, “one puff from a marijuana cigarette would so distort reality that, if, while high, we bumped into a friend passing in the halls between classes, we would interpret that bump as an assault and, in our deranged state, not be willing to rest until our bumped friend lay dead at our feet.” Here ends today’s lesson from the book of Anslinger.
He said these things with a straight face. Even though I had not, at that time, tried cannabis, I knew his story did not make sense. If he was right there would be an explosion of violence on college campuses and jazz clubs. And clearly there was not.
My teacher was a victim of Harry’s lies and fear. Even today much of what people think they know about cannabis is just an echo of Harry’s lies and a whiff of Harry’s fear. We can change laws one-by-one, we can open States to medical marijuana, and local ordinances can make pot prosecution the least important activity of a police officer’s day. But until we clean out the fear underpinning prohibition our success will always be hamstrung. Until we defeat fear the government will keep filling the jails – with us. Free Marc Emery.
We defeat fear by educating ourselves about cannabis, and then standing up and speaking truth each and every time we hear anyone slander the herb. We act against fear by using pot in a responsible fashion. And we stop hiding, which will demonstrate that responsible cannabis use occurs every day.
Much of the fear we face has become institutionalized – pre-employment and random drug screens, mandatory educational counseling sessions, and the like. There is profit in prohibition. Not everyone will be able to stop hiding at the same time. But our eventual victory will come from coming out.
It would go a long way in defeating fear if everyone in America personally knew a responsible cannabis user. The truth is that most everyone in America does personally know a responsible cannabis user. They just don’t know it. Fear, again. But, once we all start coming out for cannabis, the fear will subside. And then the law will change.Until then fear keeps winning.