This article covers:
- An ultra-brief background of cannabis use
- Why cannabis was made illegal
- Current view on cannabis
- Reasons why the government are comfortable with an illegal cannabis market
Cannabis was once legal in the UK. Hemp, a plant in the cannabis family was used as a fabric and food source. In 1928, cannabis was outlawed.
Why was cannabis made illegal?
- Illegalization of cannabis started in British colonies before the mainland. British authorities were concerned with drug use in Bengal and attempted to outlaw cannabis use in British India. However they were not successful – The Indian Hemp Drugs commission stated that the use of cannabis “practically produces no ill effects” from cannabis use. The report summaries suggested that moderate use was actually beneficial to those examined, not harmful as the British authorities thought.
- William Randolph Hearst, a newspaper business and land owner had large stakes in the paper production industry. Hearst’s business was threatened by hemp production. Hearst then created propaganda against cannabis and hemp, which was spread through the population via his newspapers.
- Illegal cannabis was a means to arrest non British citizens; “coloured seamen of the East End and clubs frequented by Negro theatrical performers” were targeted by police.
- Similar to the point above, the USA used anti cannabis propaganda as a means to disrupt Mexican immigrants; Cannabis was referred to as “Marijuana” in propaganda to sound foreign and dangerous compared to the commonly known (and used at the time) “cannabis”. In turn, this created a divide between Americans and Mexicans. In propaganda articles during the same time, cannabis was also referred to as the “devil drug from Mexico”.
- Illegal cannabis allows governments to exert more power over minorities.
A vast majority of the British public still believe in past propaganda and the popular misconceptions of cannabis as a harmful drug such as; Cannabis leads to psychosis, Cannabis is a gateway drug and everyone that uses cannabis is a lazy, deadbeat pothead. For further discussion on these misconceptions, read our article.
Due to these misconceptions, a staggering 40% of the British public are still against cannabis reform.
Why the government is comfortable with an illegal market
- To many, the “war on drugs” seems like a failure, however to the government it is a success.
Antonio Maria Costa, a UN economist said that the “war on drugs” kept banks afloat during the economic crash in 2008. Illegal drug money was pumped through the banks to be laundered, which was in the billions of pounds sterling.
- In 2016, international drug trade accounted for 8% of total trade.
- Banks create huge wealth from transactions and the handling of illegal drug money. Top banks have known ties to government officials, who are able suppress drug reform. It is widely known that even the top global banks launder money.
- GW Pharmaceuticals are the only British company with a license to grow cannabis. If you were the only grower of a product in such high demand, your company would skyrocket in value.
Theresa May’s husband, Philip, owns an investment group who is heavily invested in GW Pharmaceuticals. It is a no brainer that Theresa May is against cannabis reform when her husband will be generating huge returns from his investment.
- The government profit from criminalizing cannabis growers and dealers. Once a grower/dealer is caught, all his/her possessions will be confiscated and auctioned off. Hence why it is always the “kingpin” which is being targeted. Once the kingpin is caught, demand remains, so someone else fulfills demand, builds wealth and is then caught..
- It is thought alcohol, tobacco and big pharma companies fund false scientific studies and media articles. These studies and articles put cannabis use in a negative light, thus slowing legalization.
- The big pharma conspiracy: The top pharmaceutical companies don’t have people’s health in mind, only their profits. If cannabis were legalized, their profits would shrink substantially. Thus they “donate” large sums of money to the government to hinder legalization.
- The above 2 points are similar to oil use. Environmental damages are fully known when burning petrochemicals, yet there’s no big push to reduce oil/petrol consumption, even though the government has the power to do so. Again, high paying individuals “donate” money to government officials to slow down changes to fossil fuel policies.
- Referring back to the “war on drugs”, it is a means for the government to instrument social control and repression.