Marijuana: The Real Reason it’s Illegal

James Ryan

Not to become the spoiler alert for another artist’s work, but I am currently proof-reading a graphic novel by a Toronto artist, which is completely based on a true story revolving around the prohibition. We’ve had many discussions on the subject, and interestingly enough, we’ve both found many similarities between the old alcohol prohibition and the new circumstances surrounding marijuana, which is in effect – a second prohibition.

I’ve heard many theories as to why marijuana and cannabis are illegal, but this artist, in his extensive research which lasted for over two years, offered up an explanation that I have never heard before, or since. He said that the reason marijuana became illegal was due an issue of racial prejudice.

It started in California. The government needed a reason to persecute the blacks and especially the Mexicans who were crossing the borders in record numbers. They couldn’t arrest them just for standing around on a street corner for example, but they could arrest them – deport them even, if they were caught doing something illegal. Such as smoking marijuana, which was a very common practice. Making it illegal gave the government all the power they needed. Again, this was according to this artist.

What gives this artist credibility in my eyes is that he does not represent mainstream anything or have any apparent agenda by sharing this information with me. It was just something that he came across in all of his research. A book based on historical fact. And if you know anything about really talented artists, it’s that they are very often the seekers of truth.

Anyway, something to think about.

James Ryan
James Ryan


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