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Marijuana

Marijuana: A Short History

John Hudak
Copyright Date: 2016
Pages: 224
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7864/j.ctt1hfr1qj
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    Marijuana
    Book Description:

    From Reefer Madness to legal purchase at the corner store.With long-time legal and social barriers to marijuana falling across much of the United States, the time has come for an accessible and informative look at attitudes toward the dried byproduct ofCannabis sativa.Marijuana: A Short Historyprofiles the politics and policies concerning the five-leaf plant in the United States and around the world.Millions of Americans have used marijuana at some point in their lives, yet it remains a substance shrouded by myth, misinformation, and mystery. This book offers an up-to-date, cutting-edge look at how a plant with a tumultuous history has emerged from the shadows of counterculture and illegality. Today, marijuana has become a remarkable social, economic, and even political force, with a surprising range of advocates and opponents. Public policy toward marijuana, especially in the United States, is changing rapidly.Marijuana: A Short Historyprovides a brief yet compelling narrative that discusses the social and cultural history of marijuana but also tells us how a once-vilified plant has been transformed into a serious, even mainstream, public policy issue. Focusing on politics, the media, government, and education, the book describes why public policy has changed, and what that change might mean for marijuana's future place in society.

    eISBN: 978-0-8157-2907-5
    Subjects: Public Health, Political Science
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Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents (pp. vii-viii)
  3. ACKNOWLEDGMENTS (pp. ix-xiv)
  4. INTRODUCTION (pp. 1-6)

    MARIJUANA IS NOT NEW. For millennia, humans have used the cannabis plant for medicine, recreation, religious purposes, and food. The fibers of some cannabis plants, also called hemp, have been used to make rope and textiles. The drug that is made from the plant has also led to the expansion of government power, the imprisonment of hundreds of thousands of individuals, wars waged between nations, and the vilification of some racial and ethnic groups.

    Now marijuana has gone mainstream, becoming a relevant part of American public policy debates. Medical and recreational use of marijuana has become an increasingly legitimate and...

  5. PART I A WEED BY ANY OTHER NAME
    • ONE CANNABIS AS PLANT AND PRODUCT (pp. 9-28)

      MARIJUANA IS SUBJECT to numerous misconceptions and confusion. There is disagreement on some basic issues, such as how the cannabis plant grows, how it interacts with the body, where it comes from, and how long it has been in use. Before jumping into a discussion of marijuana policy, it is important to dispel these misconceptions regarding the plant and its products.

      Some popular misconceptions include that marijuana is easy to grow, that it can grow under almost any conditions, and that it’s pretty much the same everywhere. You grow it, pluck its flowers, dry them, wrap them in rolling paper,...

  6. PART II THE GOVERNMENT STEPS IN
    • TWO EARLY REGULATION AND A NEW (DRUG) DEAL (pp. 31-40)

      DURING THE LAST DECADES of the nineteenth century, Progressives sought to institute reforms to empower the federal government to regulate commerce in ways that protected workers, consumers, and the public. Progressive regulation grew to touch many facets of American life such as the temperance movement and the push for workers’ rights. It also shaped early efforts to regulate food and drugs.

      The American medical system in the nineteenth century was a largely unregulated one in which doctors were often poorly trained, and little standardization was applied to the elixirs the medical community used to treat conditions and diseases. Patient safety...

    • THREE MARIJUANA AS AN ENEMY, FOREIGN AND DOMESTIC (pp. 41-48)

      THE 1960S BROUGHT DRAMATIC social change in the United States, and in many ways, marijuana was at the center of it. The decade was ushered in by beatniks and out by hippies, two counterculture movements that pushed back against social and cultural norms and controversial government policies. Hippies protested what they considered an unjust government, an unjust war, an unjust society. This movement was about freedom, civil rights, peace, and whatever else young people felt needed to be changed.

      As the American government fought a foreign militia in Southeast Asia, the government and establishment found themselves battling a perceived scourge...

    • FOUR RICHARD NIXON FIRES THE OPENING SHOTS IN THE WAR ON DRUGS (pp. 49-58)

      WHILE LYNDON JOHNSON at times acknowledged treating drug use and addiction as a public health problem, Richard Nixon believed drugs to be a criminal element and a scourge on society—their use to be punished, their existence to be stamped out.

      President Nixon was a man riddled with fear and paranoia and one who often vented his frustration toward “otherness”—on blacks, Jews, foreigners, women, Democrats, Congress, even his own staff, and whomever else he perceived as a threat. Drugs and drug users were one such threat, as was the counterculture movement, which Nixon despised. Nixon inherited from Johnson a...

    • FIVE PROSECUTING THE WAR ON DRUGS (pp. 59-72)

      ONE OF THE EARLY battles Nixon faced grew out of the Controlled Substances Act itself, Section 601, which established the National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse. Nixon, who appointed nine of the commission’s thirteen members, likely saw the commission as an opportunity to produce propaganda in support of the War on Drugs—the commission was tasked with producing a report on drug use.¹ Many members of Congress praised the creation of the commission, while several other members raised questions about marijuana: its effects, its inclusion in the Controlled Substances Act, and specifically in Schedule I. Representative Gilbert Gude (R-Md.)...

    • SIX RONALD REAGAN OPENS NEW THEATERS IN THE WAR ON DRUGS (pp. 73-84)

      AFTER A PERIOD of moderation under the Carter administration, Ronald Reagan steered America back on course to a full-fledged War on Drugs. Reagan’s drug war used additional federal spending for programs across the board that enhanced criminalization, pursued narco-traffickers, increased penalties for possession and use, and decreased court defenses; it also focused on education and expanded treatment.

      In some ways, Reagan’s approach looked quite a bit like Nixon’s. Reagan saw Nixon’s Southern Strategy and the racial issues that underpinned it as a path toward electoral success for him, too. Reagan dramatically expanded the fight against drugs beyond our borders, involving...

  7. PART III POT, THE PUBLIC, AND THE POWERFUL
    • SEVEN DEMOGRAPHICS AND DEATH RESHAPE VIEWS ON MARIJUANA (pp. 87-98)

      IN A DEMOCRACY, public opinion is a powerful force. Americans both mock it and value it.

      Some American presidents have been criticized for acting only in accordance with what the latest polls say, but when presidents advance policies that are at odds with the public, they are criticized for that, too. It can be unclear whether voters want their elected officials to be responsive to their interests or not, but for better or for worse, politicians are ever aware of polls. Serious missteps with key constituencies can quickly leave the commander-in-chief looking for a new job. Public opinion can help...

    • EIGHT CANNABIS USE AS A LIFESTYLE OF THE RICH AND FAMOUS (pp. 99-116)

      DURING MUCH OF THE twentieth century cannabis in all its forms and uses was pushed to the fringes of society, its production and use associated with crime and delinquency. Taboos on the use of cannabis for any purpose kept most people in the dark as to the plant’s true value. Despite the forces of prohibition working to distance people from pot, America has a long relationship with the cannabis plant and the use of marijuana. Some of America’s most famous and most powerful historical figures have played an important role in marijuana’s presence in the United States. Highlighting those roles...

  8. PART IV MARIJUANA REFORM BLOSSOMS INTO PUBLIC POLICY
    • NINE DECRIMINALIZATION AS THE FIRST RETREAT FROM PROHIBITION (pp. 119-122)

      IN WASHINGTON, D.C., a War on Drugs had been launched, and a series of presidents and congressional majorities continued to crack down on all drugs, including marijuana. But in the states the mood, and the attitude, was different. In response to the 1972 Shafer report, initially commissioned by President Richard Nixon and then later criticized and ignored by him, the states had begun to consider their own marijuana laws. The Shafer report had criticized marijuana prohibition and recommended decriminalization rather than legalization as an effective policy change. In the states people paid attention to these recommendations, particularly during periods of...

    • TEN GANJA GRIDLOCK: The Failures of Federal Reform (pp. 123-136)

      WHEREAS DECRIMINALIZATION REFORMS succeeded in many states, decriminalization failed at the federal level. However, decriminalization efforts were not the only reforms that were proposed for the federal level. Starting in the early 1970s, two routes were attempted to reform federal marijuana laws, one route dependent on congressional action and the other requiring administrative action. By and large, these efforts turned out to be fruitless until the mid-2010s.

      REFORMS CENTERED IN CONGRESS Congress has looked at a variety of pieces of legislation intended to reevaluate or rewrite the nation’s marijuana laws. As far back as the Ninety-Third Congress (January 1973 to...

    • ELEVEN THE FIGHT FOR MEDICAL MARIJUANA (pp. 137-148)

      MARIJUANA HAS BEEN USED in the treatment of a variety of ailments for millennia, and that practice continues today in many U.S. states and in nations throughout the world. However, marijuana was effectively banned in the United States in the 1930s, and in 1970 Congress formally declared marijuana to have no medical value and made its medical use formally illegal. Many early reform efforts focused on decriminalization (discussed in chapter 9), a criminal justice reform that was silent on medicinal value. Rescheduling efforts since the 1970s have focused on marijuana’s medicinal value, but so far have been unsuccessful.

      As Americans...

    • TWELVE RECREATIONAL MARIJUANA SPROUTS IN THE WEST (pp. 149-168)

      IN NOVEMBER 2012, America started legalizing recreational marijuana for adult use. Starting with Colorado and Washington and followed by Alaska, Oregon, and the District of Columbia just two years later, these states passed ballot initiatives to embrace the most extensive marijuana policy reforms to date.

      The movement to legalize marijuana for recreational use focused on parallels with adults making choices about the use of an intoxicating substance that they would access through a regulated system—namely, alcohol. Advocates of marijuana legalization point to the failures of alcohol prohibition to argue that a regulated adult-use market proved a better alternative for...

  9. PART V THE FUTURE OF MARIJUANA
    • THIRTEEN WEIGHING THE COSTS AND BENEFITS OF LEGALIZATION (pp. 171-194)

      THE UNITED STATES has had a remarkably unpredictable relationship with marijuana. Over the course of the nation’s history, the plant has gone from a required crop to an accepted medical treatment to a government-regulated pharmaceutical to an illegal drug to a somewhat legal medicinal option to a locally legal and regulated substance.

      Within the reform community there is disagreement as to whether marijuana use is a vice—but government treats it as one.¹ Marijuana’s metamorphosis produced a patchwork of confusing, complex, and often contradictory laws at the federal, state, and local levels that at once deemed a substance illegal in...

  10. NOTES (pp. 195-208)
  11. INDEX (pp. 209-217)
  12. Back Matter (pp. 218-218)