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This film explores the history of the American government's official policy on marijuana in the 20th century. Rising with 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 opposed to a public health approach. Fueled 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 debatable ill effects that has damaged basic civil liberties. Written by
Kenneth Chisholm <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Tracing the "scourge" of marijuana that hit the USA dating back to the early 20th Century "Grass" brings out the sorry record of how the US Government attempted to put an end to the marijuana menace. That noble effort actually backfired with millions of Americans, both young and old, ended up using it.
Narrated by actor and cannabis activist Woody Harrelson the film shows the extent of the many feeble attempts, filled with misinformation, that the US Government tried to convince the public that the harmless weed marijuana was far more dangerous then heroin or, starting in the 1970's, cocaine. These "studies" also went so far to show that marijuana was far worse then even alcohol and tobacco which are both considered, by the US Government, to be a legal substance! All that boggles the mind with both alcohol and tobacco being responsible for hundred's of thousands of Americans dying each year with marijuana, since records have been kept, not responsible for a single fatality to the millions of those who use it!
Firing the first shot of the war against marijuana in 1937 was the first designated, by FDR, US Drug Czar Harry J. Anslinger of the US Treasury Department. Anslinger used every effort to get the public educated on the dangers of the weed which in fact was really a massive propaganda campaign against any evidence that proved to be favorable to it.
Together with the many newspapers and magazines who carried lurid and shocking-as well as false- stories of what marijuana does to the "Youth of America" Hollywood also lent a hand with "educational" films on the subject like "Tell Your Children", or more commonly known as "Reefer Madness", and "Assassin of Youth". Despite the evidence in it's favor in the many studies on the drug that came out over the years the US Government suppressed them in favor of keeping the, that was later to become known, "War on Drugs" going.
In the end the war on pot-or marijuana-turned out to be a major disaster for those who advocated it with tens of millions of Americans, including the last three Presidents of the United States, having experimented or having become regular user of it! Even though the use of marijuana is still illegal in many states of the union most of the laws against it have been de-fanged with it's use being decriminalized. And in states like Oregon and Hawaii its use is not even considered to be a crime at all!
P.S What would put an end to the debate to either legalize or criminalize marijuana is if its use is to be put on a national ballot before the American Voters and have them have the final say on it. In the some two dozen states where it, the use of marijuana, was put on a state referendum it passed in almost, if not all, of them and it was passed overwhelmingly!
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