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Fight racism and Big Pharma to legalize marijuana

Feb 08, 2023

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Last fall, President Biden issued pardons to thousands of people convicted of “simple possession” of marijuana under federal law and Congress passed legislation that would decriminalize marijuana at the federal level. The majority of Americans support Biden’s efforts and, in fact, nearly 9 in 10 Americans believe cannabis should be legalized for medicinal or recreational use at the state level.

But marijuana, remarkably, is still classified as a Schedule 1 drug, the most dangerous of the five classifications set up in the 1970s for law enforcement purposes. Schedule 1 drugs, such as heroin, are thought to have no medicinal value and have a high potential for abuse — and yet cannabis has been approved for the treatment of various medical conditions. As Straight Arrow News contributor Adrienne Lawrence explains, there are several factors at play, including racism, Big Pharma and politics. 

As far as cannabis goes, white politicians and leaders alike would push this narrative that smoking weed would cause men of color to rise up, commit crimes, rape white women and so on. And these utterly racist tropes allowed white people to unjustly imprison Black and Mexican cannabis users – the racism running so deep that the federal government felt it was necessary to again classify marijuana as that whole strict level Schedule 1, right alongside heroin. Yeah, as though both drugs have the same dangerous effects and have absence of value.

Also, because marijuana has that strictest schedule classification, it also means that medical research on it, it can’t be done without restrictions. It has to be securely locked away, those working in the labs have to be subject to DEA inspection visits and so on. Yet alcohol doesn’t have the same restrictions, despite the fact that it has very dangerous effects.

Anyway, you can’t tell me that marijuana has no accepted medical use or value. If that were the case, why would 37 states allow marijuana for medicinal use? We’ve known for decades that it is valuable when it comes to individuals suffering from cancer and other painful ailments. 

We also know the effects of cannabis calms individuals, unlike alcohol – that legalized toxin that induces aggression in so many and kills the mind and body. But for the stronghold the alcohol industry has had on the United States for decades, cannabis would be legalized, but also alcohol manufacturers didn’t want that competition. And now things have changed with what, 21 states now allowing cannabis to be available for recreational use. 

Alcohol makers are investing in cannabis companies, THC-infused drinks. They’ve stopped fighting the marijuana movement because they’re cashing in. But, of course, cannabis now has a new opponent, Big Pharma. 

Yeah, it really doesn’t want people to experience the benefits of using a more natural plant as opposed to a chemical drug. Really, regardless of how you spin it, cannabis is a value to society that should be harnessed to serve us. In fact, Pew Research finds that 88% of adults say that marijuana should be legal for medical use or recreational use. 

And that number goes up by the day – although the Republicans are the ones that seem to need convincing. Some 84% of liberals, 63% of conservative and moderate Dems, they think legalization is good, compared to just 37% of Republicans. 

And interestingly enough, Black people and white people kind of think that marijuana should be legalized at about the same rate here. But until our leaders are willing to walk away from the drug’s racist past and pass on pocketing the money of Big Pharma, we’re going to continue to be denied access to a substance that has significant medicinal and recreational value.

It’s 2023, yet cannabis still isn’t legal nationwide. Last year, President Joe Biden pardoned people convicted of marijuana possession at the federal level. He also instructed his administration to review how marijuana is classified under federal law. 

Now, given how few people are actually incarcerated or convicted of such offenses, it was truly a small gesture what Biden did, but where has the real change been? At least in terms of the schedule classification, it doesn’t take six months or a rocket scientist to know that marijuana shouldn’t be a Schedule 1 drug. There is no reason for it to remain illegal.

And I really don’t even know where to start with the madness. But I guess I’ll start from the beginning with “Reefer Madness.” The criminalization of cannabis was 100% racist from the jump. That whole “Reefer Madness” myth was used to generate unfounded fear of Black people and Mexicans who were predominantly the users of cannabis. Simply put, white people took issue with the fact that there were groups of color partaking in some mind-altering substance that white people didn’t create or give them. Hence the criminalization of peyote but that is a whole different conversation. 

As far as cannabis goes, white politicians and leaders alike would push this narrative that smoking weed would cause men of color to rise up, commit crimes, rape white women and so on. And these utterly racist tropes allowed white people to unjustly imprison Black and Mexican cannabis users – the racism running so deep that the federal government felt it was necessary to again classify marijuana as that whole strict level Schedule 1 right alongside heroin. 

Yeah, as though both drugs have the same dangerous effects and have absence of value. Also, because marijuana has that strictest schedule classification, it also means that medical research on it, it can’t be done without restrictions. It has to be securely locked away, those working in the labs have to be subject to DEA inspection visits and so on. 

Yet alcohol doesn’t have the same restrictions, despite the fact that it has very dangerous effects. Anyway, you can’t tell me that marijuana has no accepted medical use or value. If that were the case, why would 37 states allow marijuana for medicinal use? We’ve known for decades that it is valuable when it comes for individuals suffering from cancer and other painful ailments. 

We also know the effects of cannabis calms individuals, unlike alcohol – that legalized toxin that induces aggression in so many and kills the mind and body. But for the stronghold the alcohol industry has had on the United States for decades, cannabis would be legalized, but also alcohol manufacturers didn’t want that competition. And now things have changed with what 21 states now allowing cannabis to be available for recreational use. 

Alcohol makers are investing in cannabis companies, THC infused drinks. They’ve stopped fighting the marijuana movement because they’re cashing in. But of course, cannabis now has a new opponent, Big Pharma. 

Yeah, it really doesn’t want people to experience the benefits of using a more natural plant as opposed to a chemical drug. Really, regardless of how you spin it, cannabis is a value to society that should be harnessed to serve us. In fact, Pew research finds that 88% of adults say either that marijuana should be legal for medical use or recreational use. 

And that number goes up by the day – although the Republicans are the ones that seem to need convincing. Some 84% of liberals, 63% of conservative and moderate Dems, they think legalization is good compared to just 37% of Republicans. 

And interestingly enough, Black people and white people kind of think that marijuana should be legalized at about the same rate here. But until our leaders are willing to walk away from the drug’s racist past and pass on pocketing the money of Big Pharma. We’re going to continue to be denied access to a substance that has significant medicinal and recreational value.

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