It had everything to do with the king of yellow journalism newspapers
not wanting competition for his yellow paper and the king of the new
plastics not wanting competition with them: competition from hemp.
As the methods for processing hemp into paper and plastics were becoming
more readily available and affordable, business leaders including William
Randolph Hearst and DuPont stood to lose fortunes. They did everything in
their power to have it outlawed. Luckily for Hearst, he was the owner
of a chain of newspapers. DuPont’s chief financial backer Andrew
Mellon (also the Secretary of the Treasury during President Hoover)
was responsible for appointing Harry J. Anslinger, in 1931 as the head
of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs.
Anslinger and Hearst made up whatever propaganda they thought might
scare the public into supporting prohibiting hemp:
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Portugal, which has successfully decriminalized drugs,
is similar in scale to a mid-sized U.S. state.
Somewhat bigger than
Washington state, which just almost got marijuana decriminalization
on a ballot, and of whose voters almost a majority support it.
With a little more work, people against prohibition could get
Washington to be the first state to end marijuana prohibition.
Too bad they’re not going for
all drugs, like Portugal did,
but marijuana offences account probably for the most drug-related lockups,
so that’s a good place to start.
Still, the problem won’t be solved until the drug cartels
and the prison-industrial-complex are deprived of their drug-related income
by legalizing the rest, and taxing them so states derive income from them.
Meanwhile we could refuse to participate by declining a private prison in Lowndes County, Georgia, and spending that tax money on rehabilitation and education instead.
A new Elway poll released today found that most Washington voters
supported or were inclined to support legalizing marijuana. However,
the level of majority support was within the the poll’s margin of error.
Thirty percent of those polled said they “definitely supported” legalizing
marijuana, while 24 percent said they were “inclined to support,
but needed to know more.”
Thirty-two percent of the voters were “definitely opposed” to legal pot,
and 11 percent were “inclined to oppose, but could be convinced”
otherwise, the poll found.