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Reefer Madness Debunked

Cannabis in America: How it Started. How it's Going.

Chronic, Skunk, Blaze, Herb, Texas Tea, Sweet Leaf… Cough...

For most of the twentieth century, getting caught with even a small amount of marijuana would qualify somebody for a lengthy prison sentence. Why? The answer may enlighten you.

In the years following the end of liquor prohibition, politicians looked for fresh campaign issues - things that scared voters and made re-election easier. They grabbed onto marijuana, a substance that had been around since the early 1900’s, but was mostly only found in Mexican and black communities.

Using racist propaganda with keywords like “white slavery” and the image of caucasian daughters being lured into prostitution by associating with marijuana and its non-white users - twenty nine states outlawed marijuana in 1931.

In the opening scene of ‘Reefer Madness’ - the 1936 anti-marijuana propaganda film - a high school principal cautions students “Not alcoholism, not opium, not cocaine - but marijuana is the worst drug corrupting the youth of America!”

Government and media worked, if not strictly together, in tandem to create a nightmare scenario around marijuana - a drug they claimed would ultimately lead to depravity, rape or murder. Oy!

Having learned nothing from the failed liquor prohibition, legislators passed the Marijuana Tax Act in 1937 and cannabis/hemp became illegal in all 48 states. But human nature prevailed and the forbidden fruit - er, weed - became greatly desired. From beatniks in the 1950s through hippies in the 1960s on down to the skater culture of the 1990s, marijuana remained in demand.

At present, recreational cannabis is legal in 17 states, and medical marijuana is legal in 19. In 2020, the House of Representatives passed a bill to decriminalize cannabis at the federal level, but the bill stalled in the Senate (Shocking? Yeah, no). Whether or not - and I’m betting it will - cannabis ever gets legalized federally - (can you imagine how the national debt would plummet if weed were taxed?) the cannabis industry is thriving. Entrepreneurship, American ingenuity, science and technology, continuously improve cannabis product quality, and its future as a clean, green and sustainable industry looks bright.

Our podcast guest, Michael Pachan, is the co-founder of a Colorado based wholesale company as well as the on-line retail site, He reports over $65 million in brokered sales from 2015-2018 and total gross revenue of $3.5 million. And that’s just one guy! No wonder, in many states, there are more cannabis shops than there are Starbucks!

Tune in to the Out of Whack, podcast to hear what Michael has to say.

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