Written By: Ben Crockett
Thomas Jefferson said growing marijuana was “of first necessity to the wealth and protection of the country”. And the first draft of the Declaration of Independence was printed on paper made from marijuana. From the nation's founding to the beginning of the great depression marijuana was an American cash crop. Then in 1937 the progressive new deal Democrats, riding a wave of xenophobic racist sentiments, federally outlawed marijuana. Legalizing Marijuana is a conservative issue. Here’s why.
There’s an old story about the progressive vs. conservative disposition. A progressive walks down a path and sees a wall. He tears it down. A conservative walks down a path and sees a wall. He asks “why was it built?” And depending on the answer he may or may not keep it up.
One of the leading proponents of criminalization, Henry Anslinger, the chief of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics in the 50s, said that “the primary reason to outlaw marijuana is its effect on the degenerate races” and by effect, he went on to explain how “Reefer makes darkies think they're as good as white men.” Such was his hatred for weed, that after a young man had murdered his family, he consulted 30 doctors. 29 said marijuana played no role in the murder. The 30th Doctor said it did. So he propagated the view of the 30th. Marijuana criminalization is a wall that needs to be torn down because it was not based on conservative principles like life, liberty, and property, but rather on racism.
In 1765 George Washington was contemplating replacing tobacco at Mt. Vernon with hemp. And although he did not replace his tobacco fields with hemp, by 1770, he was growing acres of it for profit. While President, he told his field manager, “hemp, sow it everywhere!” 200 years later the controlled substance act was passed outlawing hemp growing and placing it in the same category as heroin, making George Washington, not just the first president but also a felon.
Don’t get me wrong, the issue isn’t mass incarceration. In 2017 according to data from the U.S Sentencing Commission only 92 people were sentenced for marijuana possession in the federal system. Here’s the kicker. Over 7 million people were busted for possession between 2001 to 2010. 600k were arrested in 2016. That is a massive financial burden on our criminal justice system and you, the American taxpayer. To the tune of 3.6 billion dollars, that is. Which breaks down to $4,390 per arrest. Ultimately, all government spending is taxpayer funding.
The choice to legalize cannabis is simple. On one hand, there’s the Founding fathers, and right principle and on the other there is racism. To the New York Bar on marijuana criminalization William F. Buckley, founder of YAF and the National Review, said almost 40 years ago: “it is outrageous to live in a society whose laws tolerate sending young people to life in prison because they grew, or distributed, a dozen ounces of marijuana. I would hope that the good offices of your vital profession would mobilize at least to protest such excesses of wartime zeal, the legal equivalent of a My Lai massacre. And perhaps proceed to recommend the legalization of the sale of most drugs”
It’s time to end Prohibition.
A writer and contributor at Young Americans Against Socialism, Founder of the Be the People Podcast.
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