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The Racist Roots of Marijuana Prohibition

The history of marijuana (or cannabis/THC) stems back over 10,000 years and is widely recognized as one of the most useful plants on the planet. Yet it was made illegal in the United States in the early 20th century due to political and economic factors.

History of The Drug

Let’s get one thing clear: marijuana was not made illegal because it caused “insanity, criminality, and death” as was claimed by Harry J. Anslinger. It was made illegal in an attempt to control Mexican immigration into the United States and to help boost the profits of large pharmaceutical companies.

Humans have been using the plant for almost 10,000 years to make necessary items such as clothing and pottery. But the first direct reference to a cannabis product as a “psychoactive agent” dates back to 2737 BC in the writings of the Chinese emperor Shen Nung.

Southern states feared the plant so much, it was called the “marijuana menace.”

The focus was on its healing powers, primarily how it healed diseases such as malaria and even “absent-mindlessness.” The plant was used recreationally by Indians and Muslims as well.

Marijuana in America

The drug was introduced into America by the Spanish in 1545, where it became a major commercial force and was grown alongside tobacco. Farmers mostly grew hemp instead of cannabis (a form of the plant that is very low in THC), and by 1890 it had replaced cotton as the major cash crop in southern states.

Hemp continued to flourish in the States until the 1910s when Mexicans began popularizing the recreational use of cannabis.

At the time, cannabis was not primarily used for its psychoactive effects. However, and quite frankly, many “white” Americans did not like the fact that Mexicans were smoking the plant, and they soon demonized the drug.

Around 1910, the Mexican Revolution was starting to boil over, and many Mexicans immigrated to the U.S. to escape the conflict. This Mexican population had its own uses for cannabis, and they referred to it as “marihuana.” Not only did they use it for medicinal purposes, but they smoked it recreationally – a new concept for white Americans. U.S. politicians quickly jumped on the opportunity to label cannabis “marihuana” in order to give it a bad rep by making it sound more authentically Mexican at a time of extreme prejudice.

It worked. Southern states became worried about the dangers this drug would bring, and newspapers began calling Mexican cannabis use a “marijuana menace.”

During the 1920s, many anti-marijuana campaigns were conducted to raise awareness about the many harmful effects the drug caused. These campaigns included radical claims stating that marijuana turned users into killers and drug addicts. They were all obviously fake, made up in an attempt to get rid of Mexican immigrants.

“A widow and her four children have been driven insane by eating the Marihuana plant, according to doctors, who say that there is no hope of saving the children’s lives and that the mother will be insane for the rest of her life,” read a New York Times story from 1927. It was clear the newspapers and tabloids were building a campaign against the plant, and much of it has been said to be based on racist ideologies against Mexican immigrants.

The “war against marijuana” arguably began in 1930, where a new division in the Treasury Department was established — the Federal Bureau of Narcotics — and Harry J. Anslinger was named director. This, if anything, marked the beginning of the all-out war against marijuana.

Anslinger realized that opiates and cocaine would not be enough to build his new agency, so he turned towards marijuana and worked relentlessly to make it illegal on a federal level. Some anti-marijuana quotes from Anslinger’s agency read:

“There are 100,000 total marijuana smokers in the US, and most are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos, and entertainers. Their Satanic music, jazz, and swing, result from marijuana use. This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers, and any others.”

“…the primary reason to outlaw marijuana is its effect on the degenerate races.”

“Marijuana is an addictive drug which produces in its users insanity, criminality, and death.”

“Reefer makes darkies think they’re as good as white men.”

“Marihuana leads to pacifism and communist brainwashing”

“You smoke a joint and you’re likely to kill your brother.”

“Marijuana is the most violence-causing drug in the history of mankind.”

Yes, every single one of these claims is outrageous, but the strategy worked.

(Harry Anslinger got some additional help from William Randolph Hearst, owner of a huge chain of newspapers. Hearst had lots of reasons to help. First, he hated Mexicans. Second, he had invested heavily in the timber industry to support his newspaper chain and didn’t want to see the development of hemp paper in competition. Third, he had lost 800,000 acres of timberland to Pancho Villa and blamed Mexicans. Fourth, telling lurid lies about Mexicans [and the devil marijuana weed causing violence] sold newspapers, making him rich.)

The war on marijuana intensified in 1970, when the Controlled Substances Act was passed.

The two were then supported by the Dupont chemical company and various pharmaceutical companies in the effort to outlaw cannabis. Pharmaceutical companies were on board with the idea because they could not standardize cannabis dosages, and people could grow it themselves. They knew how versatile the plant was in treating a wide range of medical conditions and that meant a potentially massive loss of profits.

So, these U.S. economic and political powerhouses teamed up to form a great little act called The Marijuana Tax Act of 1937.

This act testified to the many harmful effects of marijuana and was obviously opposed by many. But it was ultimately the committee chairman who got this act passed in congress. 

The chairman decided that

“high school boys and girls buy the destructive weed without knowledge of its capacity of harm, and conscienceless dealers sell it with impunity. This is a national problem, and it must have national attention. The fatal marihuana cigarette must be recognized as a deadly drug, and American children must be protected against it.”

And there you have it: 1937 marks the year where marijuana became illegal in the United States of America.

Epilogue 

A man by the name of Harry Anslinger became the director of the newly established department — the Federal Bureau of Narcotics.

Anslinger teamed up with William Randolph Hearst (a newspaper company owner) and some big-time pharmaceutical companies, and together they launched an anti-marijuana campaign to profit off of manufactured medicine and deport thousands of Mexicans.

Marijuana was not made illegal because of its negative health impacts. It was these men who manipulated the public into believing the herb was deadly, and their impacts are still felt even today.

The war against marijuana intensified in 1970, when the Controlled Substances Act was passed.
The future for marijuana is looking very bright.

During this time, marijuana, heroin, and LSD were listed as “schedule 1” drugs (having the highest abuse potential and no accepted medical use). Obviously, this goes against thousands of years of human knowledge where it was widely known that cannabis was one of the most beneficial herbs on the face of the planet.

Congress has repeatedly decided to ignore history to the benefit of big pharmaceutical companies, which bring in billions of dollars annually from selling cheaply manufactured medicine.

The “zero tolerance” climate of the Reagan and Bush years resulted in the passage of stricter laws, mandatory minimum sentencing for possession of marijuana, and heightened vigilance against smuggling at the southern borders. The “war on drugs” brought with it a shift from reliance on imported supplies to domestic cultivation.

It wasn’t until 1996 when California legalized marijuana for medical use. Alaska, Oregon, and Washington eventually followed suit. However, it has taken well over a decade for marijuana to reach recreational legalization in these states. 

With all this being said, the future for marijuana is looking very bright. Marijuana advocates believe there is a chance for at least 11 more states to legalize recreational marijuana in the near future, which would be a huge leap forward in the grand scheme of things.

It has taken far too long to break the stigma attached to marijuana. Yes, like any drug, it can be abused. But to ignore its obvious health benefits in order to maintain large scale pharmaceutical operations and a monopoly on the health industry is ludicrous. 


David McDonald

David McDonald is a 20-year-old student at the University Of Guelph.

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Fontana, California is Sending out an SOS

                 What started out as an undergraduate paper at my alma mater Cal State San Bernardino has turned into an obsession and quest for the truth. I still remember my professor, Dr. Al Mariam, one of the brightest individuals I have ever had the opportunity to meet, tell me, “You should get this published or start your own blog.” What Dr. Mariam was referring to was a paper I prepared for the Fontana Police Department. The class was Judicial Process and little did I know at the time this paper would transcend the classroom and lead me into me talking about issues that have and continue to impact the people who live in the city where I was raised, and put a spotlight on the corruption, racism, nepotism, and unethical behavior of a police department that has been in place and intact for more than five decades. At the end of 2014, I dug up my ten-page paper and decided to adhere to the opinion of my old professor Dr. Mariam.

It is well known in academia that it is relatively hard to get one’s work published in a scholarly forum or write a book. I set about fluffing my resumé and taking a crack at trying to add more to my undergraduate paper to see if I could get it published. I had no idea where to start. So I decided that I would write about the Fontana P.D and the Fontana city government, beginning with the Fontana P.D. So I started by requesting the names of all of the police chiefs in Fontana’s history.

I started with Henry Youngue. I decided to go online, type in the names of the chiefs and see what popped up. Not real scientific, but I had to start somewhere.
The information I have gathered was astounding. I have come across everything from billboards in Fontana being used to recruit Ku Klux Klan members, killing after killing at the hands of the Fontana P.D being labeled as within policy, blatant racism, and a host of other things. On October 22, 2015, my first letter to the editor at the Fontana Herald News was published. It was entitled Fontana Is Still Affected By Racism. I put this out because I felt compelled N. I knew it was the right thing to do, and although I knew I was not reinventing the wheel, I felt like I was heading down uncharted territory. In this article, I touched on Fontana’s KKK history and issues that I had received from my social media acquaintances about people’s opinions and or problems with the department. The people responded with accounts of sobriety and insurance check points that are suspected of targeting minorities through racial profiling, corruption, abuse of power, and a history of racism in the police department and local city government.

On March 18, 2016, I wrote my second letter to the editor. It was entitled Police Force Should Resemble Community. In this article, I wrote about the ethnic, racial disparity in law enforcement. I looked at the city of Colton, Rialto, San Bernardino, Pomona, and Fontana. I took into account the total number of these cities’ minority populations and compared them to the number of minorities working on each specific city’s police force. The cities mentioned do not have police forces that resemble the communities they serve. Even cities with a smaller minority population and sworn police force have more African American officers than Fontana and, with the exception of Colton, more Hispanic officers. The result of my findings was that Fontana had fewer minorities by percentage working on its police force than any other city mentioned, despite the fact it boasts a larger minority population overall.

Before I put out this second article, I came in contact with current and retired people in law enforcement, specifically the San Bernardino County Sheriff and the Fontana P.D.
I told them that I was researching and planning on publishing something hopefully about Fontana and its police department, and they responded that they could help me. I told them cops do not tell on cops and inquired as to what was going on. They said we are on the same mission that you’re on. “What is that?” I asked. As one put it, “To reveal the true nature of the Fontana Police Department.” At this very moment, I was reminded of that scene in the Matrix where Morpheus asked the Keanu Reeves character Neyo, “Do you want to know the truth?” Morpheus gave Neyo the option to take the blue pill, and the story ends and he believes whatever he wanted to believe, or if he takes the red pill he stays in never land, and he gets shown how deep the rabbit hole goes. Without hesitation, I took the red pill.

My third letter to the editor came out on April 28, 2016; it was entitled Back at The Lion’s Den, 13 years Later. This article was a little more personal because it had to do with my personal encounter with the Fontana P.D. In 2003 I was a senior at Henry J. Kaiser High School. That same year a South Fontana native named Jose Galvez was murdered at an ATM on Cherry Avenue and Live Oak. For weeks after the murder of this man, there were no suspects or leads in finding the person or persons responsible for this murder. About one month after the killing of Jose Galvez, I had a knock on my door. The Fontana P.D wanted to question me about something at the station. They did not give me a reason or say I was under arrest, but they did want to speak to me. Being young and naïve, I accompanied and accommodated them when I shouldn’t have. During the interface, it became apparent to me that the investigators were trying to frame me for the murder of Jose Galvez. They told me they had my fingerprints at the scene of the crime. I was interrogated and bullied for hours and eventually let go because one of my friends corroborated my story and timeline.

There was a four-month gap between my previous article and my next one which was published by the San Bernardino County Sentinel on August 22, 2016. The reason for this was because the two outlets I was using to publish my work stopped accommodating me. Inland Empire Politics, I.E Politics is an online type newspaper/blog that was run and created by a woman named Sharon Gilbert. I had contacted her and told her that I had valuable information I was receiving about the Fontana P.D. and I wanted to publish the information on her website. She told me sure thing, and for a series of two months, I published one article on her website. Gilbert had built a reputation with her website that she was not a person afraid to tell it how it is and put people on blast for their unethical behavior.

I released an article on I.E politics that was entitled “The Fox Is Now Guarding The Hen House.” This article was about Robert Ramsey getting a promotion to become Fontana’s chief of police after the former chief of police Rodney Jones was forced to resign. This article specifically talked about the off-duty behavior of Robert Ramsey. Pictures surfaced of him providing alcohol to women who could have been minors, but Chief Ramsey did not care to find out or even ask the young woman their age, according to sources.

After this article, I emailed a submission for another article, and she did not respond to me. I went online to the I.E politics website, and my article had been taking down, and I no longer had access to it or was able to publish as I had previously. I continued emailing her and got no response. Since Gilbert was still allowing other work to be published, in my mind, the only logical explanation is that the Fontana P.D compromised her by threatening her. To this day I no longer speak to her nor have I written anything for her website.

On August 22, 2016, the San Bernardino County Sentinel published an article by me entitled 14 Years Later; Questions Remain Over Spate of FPD In-Custody Deaths.
This article was about three deaths in the matter of six months in 2002. Ismael Banda, David Michael Tyler, and Fermin Rincon were the names of the three men who died. My sources strongly conveyed to me that the deaths of these three men were due to an unjustifiable use of force; all police reports were withheld from the public’s view, and this incident was not investigated by an outside agency. What is odd about the three deaths of these men was that the same three officers were involved in all three deaths; which were Obie Rodriguez, who retired prematurely; William Green, and Robert Ramsey, who was not directly involved in the deaths but did play an advisory or supervisorial role.
On September 4, 2016, the Sentinel released an article of mine that was entitled Two Fontana Cops Allege FPD Is Riddled With Racism. This article was about a current lawsuit that is making its way through the San Bernardino Courts. Case number CIVDS1610471 is David J. Moore v Fontana. This particular suit brought forth by two Fontana P.D officers alleges racism, corruption, unfair hiring practices, retaliatory practices by an employer, along with many other disturbing events.

Supposedly there is evidence that shows a Martin Luther King Doll was tied with a noose around its neck and hung from a rafter in the Fontana P.D. This lawsuit makes mention of an African American man who was murdered at a Kentucky Fried Chicken on Sierra Avenue in Fontana. There is supposedly a picture of this man with a partially eaten chicken leg was strategically placed in his hand after he was dead, put there as a joke to make it look like the man was killed but still managed to hold onto a piece of chicken. This picture was supposedly taken by law enforcement and was circulated around the department for years.

The Sentinel reached out to David Moore and Andre Anderson, to obtain proof regarding the allegations of their lawsuit, but they refused to produce tangible evidence to support the serious allegations of the lawsuit. Is there any proof that this crime was more than an isolated incident or set of incidents? What would happen if the murder victim family learns that a relative’s corpse was desecrated and the crime scene was contaminated by a racist crime? Has the crime of tampering with a corpse ever been properly investigated?

My next article came out on September 17, 2016, and it was titled “Culture Clash Sent Former FPD Officer of the Year Packing.” This article told the story of a Mexican American Iraq War Veteran who was a Fontana P.D officer; who experienced racism at the department and gave an account of the nepotism that characterizes the department.
On November 19th, 2016 I wrote an article called “FPD Nepotism: One-Third Of Officers Related By Marriage, Blood, or Sex.” This article touched on the fact that the Fontana P.D is filled with nepotism, back scratching, and sexual relationships that police departments are not expected to engage in.

All of these articles that I have written are facts that can be confirmed by police officers. These police officers want the truth to be revealed about a corrupt police department and are prepared to engage in the uphill battle to fight against an entity that has never been held accountable for its members’ violation of the law.
This behavior that has taken place in the Fontana P.D takes place every day all over the United States in police agencies. What I have uncovered and am still in the process of uncovering is only the tip of the iceberg.

I encourage anybody listening who wants to know more information about what is going on at the Fontana P.D to please contact the San Bernardino County Sentinel. I also encourage news and media outlets to contact the Sentinel.

I especially hope and encourage people in Fontana, San Bernardino County, and anyone interested in following the civil lawsuit against the city of Fontana, David J. Moore v. Fontana, which starts on January 9 in San Bernardino Superior Court. Will Fontana settle the case quickly and make it go away as it has in many other cases? Will the two plaintiffs if they are paid money to keep quiet, take it and run, and forget about the slogan that runs across the Fontana P.D police vehicles – Service With Integrity? Only time will tell. One way or the other the truth will eventually set you free, and the darkness will always come to light.

According to the Sentinel’s sources the Fontana P.D has engaged in activity that includes but is not limited to murder, falsifying documents, engaging in and promoting racism, unfair hiring practices, retaliatory practices against employees, physical abuse of citizens, racial profiling, falsely accusing citizens of murder, providing alcohol to minors, excessive force, tampering with dead bodies, tampering with evidence, promoting a racist work environment and falsifying evidence.

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Flint mayor signed $67K PR contract to promote pipe replacement program

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More DEA Hypocrisy: Anti-Legalization Pharmaceutical Company Gets Schedule II Clearance for its Synthetic THC Drug

Last week, the pharmaceutical giant Insys Therapeutics scored a major victory when it was announced that their new synthetic THC drug – Syndros – was approved by the Drug Enforcement Administration for placement on Schedule II of the federal Controlled Substances Act.

According to Dr. Santosh Vetticaden, Ph.D., M.D., Interim CEO, and Chief Medical Officer at the company, “Insys is looking forward to bringing this new drug product to chemotherapy patients to help alleviate their nausea and vomiting and AIDS patients with anorexia associated weight loss, respectively.”

The irony of a synthetic version of cannabis – a Schedule I, “no known medical value” substance – being placed on Schedule II so it can help the very patients that cannabis itself has been helping for years is made even richer when you realize that just last fall Insys gave $500,000 to opponents of Proposition 205, a measure that would have legalized recreational marijuana in Arizona.

But it gets better. Insys is the maker of Fentanyl, an opioid painkiller that has been linked to a rising number of overdose deaths around the country. Cannabis, of course, has never been linked to a single overdose death in 5,000 years of use.

Insys admitted in a 2007 SEC disclosure filing that legal natural cannabis would be a problem for them. “If marijuana or non-synthetic cannabinoids were legalized in the United States, the market for dronabinol product sales would likely be significantly reduced and our ability to generate revenue and our business prospects would be materially adversely affected,” they said.

Pardon my French, but no s***.

And if fighting against people being able to legally use a product that is far safer than yours as medicine didn’t tell you enough about the ethics of those who run Insys, how about this?

The company is currently under investigation for illegally marketing Fentanyl, an opioid that is 50 times stronger than heroin, which has been linked to the death of Prince last year.

In December, several executives at the company were arrested and the CEO was forced to step down after they were charged with using speakers fees to entice doctors to prescribe Subsys, a medication for cancer patients that contains Fentanyl.

Just a few years ago, the notion that big pharmaceutical companies were conspiring with powerful people in our government for the purposes of keeping cannabis illegal was considered to be a wild conspiracy theory. Now, it is out in the open and blatant.

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14 Year Old Livestreams Rape of 15 Year Old Girl and 40 People Watch it

Chicago Police announced on Twitter Sunday that they had arrested a 14-year-old boy in connection with the sexual assault of a 15-year-old girl that had been streamed live on Facebook in March.

Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said more arrests are expected as the investigation continues. Police have said the attack involved five or six males, and Guglielmi said the boy “was one of the offenders in the video.”

The spokesman has said police were not aware of the mid-March attack until the girl’s mother approached Johnson as he was leaving a police station on the city’s West Side and showed him the video. Johnson was “visibly upset” after he watched, both by the video’s content and the fact that there were “40 or so live viewers and no one thought to call authorities,” Guglielmi said.

The girl was reported missing from Chicago’s Lawndale neighborhood after she went to the store and did not return. Then the girl’s mother was alerted to the Facebook Live video of the attack, which she showed to Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson. The girl was found the next day, taken to the hospital and reunited with her family.

“Due to the graphic content that I observed, I don’t want to go into the detail of what was on the video, but I want to tell you that the young men responsible, they should be ashamed of themselves,” Johnson said during Sunday’s news conference. “They’ve humiliated themselves, they’ve humiliated their families, and now they’re going to be held accountable for what they did.”

Police have said that the attack involved five or six people, and that 40 people watched the assault live on Facebook and did not call the authorities.

 Guglielmi said the juvenile suspect faces felony charges of aggravated criminal sexual assault, manufacturing of child pornography and dissemination of child pornography.

The girl’s mother told The Associated Press last month that her daughter received online threats following the attack and that neighborhood kids were ringing her doorbell looking for the girl. The Chicago Sun-Times later reported that the girl’s family had been relocated.

The video marks the second time in recent months that Chicago police have investigated an apparent attack that was broadcast live on Facebook. In January, four people were arrested after video showed them allegedly taunting and beating a mentally disabled man.