Drugs that are legal, such as alcohol, tobacco and sugar promote violent and competitive behaviour. This feeds into the free market hype about being ultra-competitive, especially globally competitive. So these drugs are legal.

On the other spectrum, we have illegal drugs, such as pot and E. These drugs tend to mellow out people and promote cooperation and peace which are somewhat antithetical to the free market conspiracy. So they remain illegal despite the fact that both these drugs are less harmful than alcohol.

While I do not think this is a global conspiracy, I think its an unconcious conspiracy which happens in little steps.

"...Because of its subliminally psychedelic effect, cannabis when pursued as a lifestyle, places a person in intuitive contact with less competitive behavior patterns. For these reasons marijuana is unwelcome in the modern office environment, while a drug such as coffee, which reinforces the values of industrial culture, is both welcomed and encouraged. Cannabis use is correctly sensed as heretical and deeply disloyal to the values of male dominance and stratified hierarchy." - Terence McKenna

If this is not a conspiracy, what is?

Gee, I wonder why.

Because alcohol, unlike hemp, was never a threat to the tree-using paper industry?

Because alcohol never lured foreign workers to the almighty United States?

Because propaganda has for decades convinced the masses that weed is baaaaad and a very dangerous drug, while booze is completely harmless nectar from the gods which should never be criticized?

Because most of the legislators don't even want to hear of facts, evidence or common sense when it comes to the subject of re-legalization of such a baaaaaad narcotic?
After all, voicing the popular opinion that all the pot-smoking hippies should be shot is guaranteed to provide a more positive outcome in the next election.

Because legalizing ganja would equal the politicians and propaganja machines admitting they have been - pardon my French - full of shit for several decades?

All of the above?

Disclaimer:
No, I don't think Cannabis is 100% harmless either. But whether you admit it or not, keeping pot illegal while endorsing liquor has hypocrisy and double standard written all over it.
The foreign labor argument most likely doesn't mean much nowadays, but it was among the driving forces behind the pot prohibition movement.
Feel free to downvote me if the D.A.R.E. voices inside your head tell you to do so. I understand.

 



I must say I'm happy to see many countries and even U.S. states starting to slowly move in the right direction. Each area naturally has a strong opposition refusing to use its brains, and we still have a long way to go before we see the right decisions being done on a larger scale. But any positive development, no matter how small, is good.
Here in Finland we have no signs of any support for legalization. With hardcore prohibitionists like Ville Itälä in power and the general against-everything-attitude of the Finnish masses, it's safe to say no one will be smoking a legal joint here in a 100 years.

Oh, don't think for a moment some people would not like to make alcohol illegal. For the record, they did in the US in the early 20th Century. The 18th Amendment to the Constitution of the United States of America introduced the brief era known to history as the Prohibition.

During that era it was not only illegal, it was outright unconstitutional to manufacture, import and export alcohol as a drink.

The Prohibition was the biggest flop in American legal thought: The idea that you can legislate morality.

It did not work. It gave birth to organized crime. It became the biggest embarrassment of US political structure. And US population (since it was an amendment to the Constitution, it had to be approved by the people). Soon it was overturned. The US is not going to make the same mistake again.

That does not stop US politicians to make other mistakes, even similar mistakes. Well, at least illegal drugs are not unconstitutional.

Personally, I have never used any of the illegal drugs. I would not use them even if they were legal. I think they should be legal. Not because I approve of them but because I believe there is a fundamental human right to do dumb things.

Besides, legalizing these drugs would take out profit from their distribution. We have too many people involved in the war on drugs. We have too much drug-related crime. In my humble opinion, legalizing drugs would bring about many problems in the short term, but would be beneficial in the long run. The drug usage would decrease considerably because there would be no drug pushers.

I think the main reason drugs continue to be illegal is because most politicians are embarrassed to admit they made the 18th Amendment mistake for a second time. And if not embarrassed than scared: Unfortunately, in the US for a politician to admit to a mistake is a one-way ticket to retirement.

I think that society's idea of what pot (grass, hash, ganja whatever) represents has changed radically since the good old days when they were publishing pamphlets on 'The Evils of Marijuana'. I think a lot of people (perhaps even some who voted for Dubya) have come to accept that pot is no worse for you than alcohol.

So there has been a mindshift. Good Thing. However, the gap between a mindshift and a policy change is *huge*. Modern politics (and please dont believe anything else: Pot legalisation is a political issue, not a health and safety issue) is all about public perceptions and PR nonsense. The whole spy plane incident shows that all politicians are afraid of is public policy retractions or having to change their minds in front of the people. Politicians believe that having to apologise, or account for a mistake, is equivalent to political suicide. And hey, it probably is in this mad world we live in.

So, its my assertion that because legalising pot now would be the political equivalent of saying "Yes, all those longhaired hippies in the 60s were right, sorry for locking you all up. Peace?". And you show me one politician who is prepared to do that, and I'll show you someone who I would actually vote for... But, horribly enough, any politician who would say that is not really a politician as we know it, and would never really get into a position to even make such a statement.

So, forget trying to prove that pot is not as damaging (to individuals *and* to society) as alcohol is. This is not the issue. The issue is whether or not the global political climate can handle a radical policy change like that. I seriously doubt it.

The consensus here seems to be that this is both a political and economic issue. Can’t argue with that, just want to point out as part of the economic argument that alcohol is moderately difficult to make, thus all the commercial suppliers. While pot is so incredibly easy to grow, it’s a weed, that everyone could supply themselves. Not much of an industry could be built up over legalized pot. On the other hand as an illegal industry it’s doing gangbusters.

There are several social, economic and political reasons why marijuana was declared illegal, and remains so today, while alcohol and tobacco (which are both far more deadly and destructive than any of the illegal drugs) are legal.

Social

Marijuana was first introduced to the United States by job-seeking immigrants from Mexico early in the 1900s. There was tremendous reactionary racism (as there is today) among white Americans toward immigrants, Mexican or otherwise. Mexicans in the Southwest were often demonized as being "lazy", "violent" and generally "no good". Marijuana use was common in the Mexican immigrant community (as was the use of opium by Chinese immigrants in the previous century), and as such it became associated with "dirty Mexicans" and their supposedly unacceptable, anti-social behavior. Subsequently, many local and state laws were passed prohibiting the possession and use of marijuana.

In later years, marijuana use became associated with black people, "beatniks", "hippies" and other folks considered undesirable by the "square" (i.e. white conservative) population. For those in love with the power structure and the status quo, marijuana became and remains a symbol of counterculture, the lower classes and non-whites.

Economic

Marijuana was first legislated against on the Federal level by the Marihuana (sic) Tax Act of 1937.
Hemp (the marijuana plant) was, in the 1930s, becoming a much cheaper and more efficient source of cellulose than wood pulp. There was a tremendous potential market for hemp as an industrial product; cellulose for paper manufacture and other products. Unfortunately for the hemp growers (and, subsequently, the marijuana users) the producers of wood pulp cellulose had no intention of seeing their lucrative market share undercut.

E.I. Du Pont De Nemours & Company, today known as Du Pont, was the nation's largest supplier of wood pulp cellulose. Du Pont contracted two banks to handle its finances, one of which was the Mellon Bank of Pittsburgh. Andrew Mellon, the bank's owner, happened to be Secretary of the Treasury. Mellon's financial interests were clearly tied to Du Pont, and he just happened to appoint Harry J. Anslinger, soon to be his nephew-in-law, to head the recently formed Federal Bureau of Narcotics.

The Federal Bureau of Narcotics began a massive anti-hemp lobbying campaign, citing all sorts of spurious "scientific" data about the dangers of hemp to the American people. This was, of course, true...if you define the "American people" as the E.I. Du Pont Nemours & Company board and shareholders.

Long story made a tad shorter, the lobbying was successful and the Marihuana (sic) Tax Act of 1937 was passed. This act was referred to in Du Pont's 1937 annual report with the languageradical changes from the revenue raising power of government would be converted into instruments for forcing acceptance of sudden new ideas of industrial and social reorganization.

Political

Largely an extension of the Social category from above. Prohibition of drugs allows politicians to do many things for themselves and others. They can appear to be "hard on crime". They can appear to care about the "public welfare". They can subsidize the prison-industrial complex and its many corporate profit mongers. They can give the defense industry a shot in the arm with more Drug War military spending. They can intervene overseas to wipe out "dangerous drugs", thereby reinforcing American hegemony. The list is nearly inexhaustible.

Imagine: a foreign country comes into the american South and wages chemical warfare to wipe out an incredibly lethal drug which the U.S. forces upon them. Tobacco. There would be outrage. Possible out and out war. Of course, when we do this in South America to subsistance coca farmers, it's okay.

Alcohol and tobacco are home grown or, at least, they feel that way. Nice, respectable, white Europeans were drinking alcohol long before they conquered the Americas. Tobacco was, of course, discovered here. It also became a lucrative trade commodity among nice, respectable, white Europeans...particularly the monarchs. All reasons to have never made these substances illegal in the first place (Prohibition notwithstanding).


Some of the above information was taken from Unraveling an American Dilemma: the Demonization of Marihuana(sic), a master's thesis written in 1995 for the Division of Humanities at Pepperdine University by John Craig Lupien. Many thanks to Mr. Lupien.
I have to jump in here real quick and disagree with eav. Cannabis, in its day of widespread usage, was practically a wonder crop, and it still would be if it were in use today. You can make very high quality rope, clothing, and general consumer materials such as backpacks, wallets, belts, shoelaces, hats, and virtually anything else that can be made out of leather, cotton, or similar materials, out of hemp, a product derived from the stem of the cannabis plant. Even better, all of it is EXTREMELY durable. You can also make paper out of hemp, at the same quality as paper made from trees. The key difference there, though, is that you can get four times the amount of paper from an acre of cannabis that you can from an acre of trees, and the cannabis plants will return at full size the next year, rather than taking many, many years to grow back like trees do. And all of that is just out of the plant's stem. The cannabis plant also yields edible seeds similar to poppy seeds, and the oil from the plant can be made into a cooking oil that makes a fine substitute for vegetable oil.

All of those products are, of course, in addition to the product of the cannabis plant that we all know about already: marijuana. While the value of marijuana in an open, legal market is debatable, I think it would do at least somewhat well. It should be noted, however, that cannabis plants that do not have the main narcotic ingredient of marijuana (THC) in them are rather easy to produce, and I believe Canada already produces these non-marijuana cannabis plants in some regions.

So as you can see, cannabis would still be a major economic threat if it were legalized in the United States. It is a weed that can be grown in anyone's backyard, but because of the industrial processes involved in turning cannabis into the majority of its valuable products, it would still be a crop mainly produced by farmers. Those farmers, being a necessity to create hemp and legitimate consumer products like hemp oil, hemp seeds, and pre-packaged consumer cannabis, would benefit from the plant's hardy constitution. Since it can be grown in almost anyone's backyard all across the US, it can also be grown in almost any farming environment as a main or secondary crop, and its normally insidious nature as a weed would ensure that it would return every year with a fresh crop that most likely wouldn't be damaged by adverse weather conditions. The farmers would also benefit from the range of products that cannabis can be turned into. With a place in such a diversity of markets, there would be a huge demand for cannabis from companies that want to turn it into their consumer product of choice. A demand so large that it would probably be able to satisfy any farmer that ever wanted to get into hemp farming.

Cannabis is extremely easy to grow and can be turned into an incredibly wide variety of products. Even now, it would quickly dethrone the current market leaders in paper, clothing, legal narcotics, and several other markets if it were legalized. The reasons for keeping cannabis illegal are no longer mostly economic, but if politicians and the general populace ever went past their political and moral objections to cannabis (however right or wrong they might be, which isn't the point), the economic reasons would surely pop up and would probably put a stop to any attempt to broadly legalize cannabis.

Am I the only one who sees the gaping logical holes in the hemp, the miracle plant propaganda spewed in writeups such as DarkZero's?

  • If hemp were indeed so much more productive, the industry (at least parts of it) would lobby for its legalization, not against it, as higher productivity directly translates into a competitive advantage. The processing branch of industry would have only benefits, and only those parts of the producing branch of industry that cannot switch over to hemp would have disadvantages - and how difficult is it to switch a field from one crop to another? Incidentially, the processing branch is much bigger and thus more powerful than the producing branch.
  • Also, hemp would support fewer farmers, not more - higher productivity means that fewer producers will satisfy the same demand, and the overall demand would not rise.
  • If hemp did indeed replace many other useful plants, the resulting huge monocultures would eventually result in a shitload of problems with diseases and vermin - just because it's called weed doesn't mean it's magically resistant against everything.
  • The USA is not the whole world. Growing hemp is perfectly legal in many countries. If hemp were so much more productive or resulted in products with superior quality, it would play a dominant role in such countries and even in imports. Yet, this is not so. Growing low-THC hemp variants has been legal in Europe for a few years. Experiences are positive, but not sensationally so.

To conclude: while the marijuana scare in the USA may be exaggerated, much of the propaganda spread by hemp activists is just as bad. They're not doing their cause a favor by exaggerating the plant's virtues so ridiculously and painting it as a botanical Jesus, the saviour of mankind from all economic troubles.

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