Just a quick post. Here’s a short paper I wrote for my polisci class at Hillsborough Community College. I hope you fucking love it and I hope you learn something.
As I argued in my initial reaction to the documentary film The Culture High (2014), the production seemingly purposely overlooked the initial prohibition of marijuana. Twenty-seven minutes into the film, the narrator asks the following questions (with my paraphrasing in parenthesis):
“If marijuana prohibition isn’t achieving the goals we think it should (i.e. if over 82 years, prohibition efforts have been a lost cause), what has caused it to be pursued the way it has? (i.e. why are most drug convicts minorities?) What are the elements that keep it propped up? (i.e. how could this possibly have lasted for 82 years based on what it’s actually based on?) And where did it all start?”The Culture High, documentary, Amazon Prime Video
… and then, instead of pointing along with “most fingers”, “to the year 1937 when marijuana was first outlawed by a tax stamp required for hemp”… instead of actually providing information on the processes that occurred when it actually was outlawed, the narrator says “let’s fast forward 34 years to 1971”… when President Nixon is famously quoted saying “Drug Abuse” being America’s newly designated number one enemy to the immediate public. Drug Abuse is not marijuana, and this is where the film absolutely went off track– with over an hour and a half remaining.
The Culture High, documentary, Amazon Prime
With all that being said, for my outside references, I decided to use encyclopedias from the HCC Ybor Campus library to gather the facts I’d need to show what the film production omitted factually as I claimed above. Those unfamiliar with who Harry Jacob Anslinger was are missing key information to our nation’s history given arguably anyone alive in the world today knows someone who has somehow been affected negatively by the bogus marijuana laws that are in place in America today.
My first source was the Alcohol and Drugs in North America: A Historical Encyclopedia Vol 1 which is a $95 textbook on the market. In this encyclopedia, Harry Anslinger is quoted as “the individual most responsible for the War on Drugs mindset” (page 55), and is “most famous for his central role in the criminalization of marijuana.” He actually, coincidentally started working for the United Nations in 1970, just one year before Nixon is quoted in the film talking about that oh-so-dangerous drug abuse (according to drugpolicy.org, there were only 72,000 accidental drug overdoses in the year 2017, but we also know, according to the film, that cigarettes cause the death of over 5,500,000 accidental deaths every year, and we also know from the film that part of the reason for marijuana being outlawed was because it’s dangerous, but the facts do not back the claims whatsoever).
My second source was the Encyclopedia of Drugs, Alcohol, & Addictive Behavior 3rd Ed which costs over $400 new on the market for the set– that’s some important information if it’s that expensive, right!? This source also backs the claim that Anslinger became the Chief US delegate to international drug agencies of the United Nations in the year 1970, where it also notes “much of his legacy remains current”. It’s mentioned that Anslinger was in the Narcotics Division of the Prohibition Unit from 1920-1930 when another infamous drug was prohibited, and we’re all allowed to know by now how that all worked out (talking about alcohol). Aside from the many quotes of Anslinger using racial slurs towards black and hispanic peoples, which easily translates over to the film where it mentions the difference in convictions between classes and races of people, aside from all of that, there are such written works titled the “Anslinger Papers” which prove he was aware of marijuana not being dangerous. And if the film wasn’t purposely misleading its audience over “when it all began” when the narrator could have taken it “to the year 1937 when marijuana was first outlawed by a tax stamp required for hemp” but didn’t take it there… did he maybe not take it there because the name of that tax was the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 and not the Hemp one?
Without discussing alcohol and tobacco deaths, without discussing the number of deaths associated with cancers and chronic illnesses proven to stem from poor diets, and without discussing actual war where the premise is to kill others with weapons over different beliefs, I think we can say that there are plenty of things we could much be better doing with our time than arresting people for carrying a plant on them that we know from several different research studies has never caused anyone to die, so I will leave off with this fact about policing the possession of marijuana in New York City (the italics are mine):
“…In those eleven years [2002-2012] the NYPD made a total of 439,056 possession-only arrests. Multiplied by 2.5 hours police time per arrest that equals 1,097,640 hours- or approximately 1,000,000 hours of police officer time to make 440,000 arrests. That is the equivalent of having 31 police officers working 8 hours a day, 365 days a year, for 11 years, making only marijuana possession arrests.”
I think it’s time our people get the facts they deserve, for this is not a joking matter as many of Anslinger’s ‘gang’ seemed to think. It’s not doing us any good to keep hiding the truth.
By: Nicholas Muller – PoliSci Documentary Response Paper – HCCFL
Special Thank You to my dear brother Tyler Dolbin. Much love, homie G.