Since the end of the 19th century, when cannabis was effectively NOT illegal to the prohibitionist present day.. the road through the 20th century has been paved with : Lies, propaganda & deliberate misinformation.. here are some ‘mile-stones’ based on my research & knowledge:
1) 1880s Queen Victoria was prescribed cannabis to relieve her ‘women’s issues’ (PMS)
2) Cannabis & opiates are widely used in Europe & Asia, for both medicinal & recreational uses. Many famous writers are attendees at the ‘Hashish Club in Paris’
3) In Aotearoa/NZ, Mother Mary Joseph (Suzanne) Aubert grows & prepares local & exotic medicinal herbs into a line of medicines.. including cannabis (still legal). Mother Mary is now, NZs first patron saint (of pot)
4) 1919 USA enacts Alcohol prohibition laws.. under pressure from ‘Women’s temperance groups’. After WW1 many soldiers returned home addicted to opiates & alcohol. This resulted in many reports of ‘wife bashing’
5) 1926 Mother Mary passes away.. one of NZs largest public funerals
6) 1927 Aotearoa/NZ signs up the UK ‘Dangerous Drugs’ laws. This sees the cultivation, manufacture & supply strictly controlled (including Cannabis)
7) 1933 Alcohol prohibition is repealed in USA as a failure; cause of Black-markets, gangsters, violence & corruption. Interestingly the prohibition campaign was supported (financially) by at least one major petro-chemical company. This leads to allegations that they want to stop ‘booze’ being distilled into Ethyl Alcohol (Ethanol), which can be used as an alternative to Benzene/Petrol
8) 1937 USA enacts the ‘Marihuana Tax act’ which supposedly is about ensuring all manufacturers & suppliers pay any due tax. In order to get authorisation to grow ‘marihuana’ (sic) you have to purchase a $1 tax stamp.. but the story goes that the Govt. all but refused to issue any.. which led down a slippery slope to the first federal Prohibition laws.
9) Harry Anslinger is appointed as new head of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics (left over from the Alcohol prohibition ranks). He immediately set about the huge campaign of demonising ‘Marihuana/Marijuana’. His ‘Gore files’ apparently contained numerous; concocted, exaggerated & overtly misinformed ‘News stories’ about the negative effects of this plant.. (that had been used for centuries prior, with none of these issues reported)
10) 1941 ‘Reefer Madness’ (a propaganda ‘docudrama’) is released.. further ramping up hysteria about this ‘Mexican Killer weed’ that the majority were unaware was actually cannabis (still known for it medicinal uses at that time). Many newspapers carry these ‘horror stories’ splashed across their front pages: ‘Killer Weed’, ‘Plant with its roots in hell’ & ‘Assassin of Youth’ being some of the headlines, of the day
11) 1961 – to crown his lengthy career; Anslinger goes to the United Nations & steam rolls ‘The Single Convention on Narcotic drugs’ through. This becomes the cornerstone of current Drug prohibition. The cultivation, manufacture & supply of : Cannabis, Coca, Opiates & other ‘narcotics’ are effectively outlawed for personal use. The issue of possession is still being widely debated, BUT one thing is clear the Medicinal, scientific & industrial uses of these plants were not supposed to be included in global bans.
12) 1962 Pres. JFK stands Anslinger down from his Drug Czar role. Reports say he retired.
13) 1960s with Anslinger gone.. the ‘Hippy generation’ perhaps saw a change in the wind & took to smoking the herb.
14) 1971 Pres. Richard M Nixon sees ‘Drugs’ as the scourge of society (public enemy #1) & declares all out ‘WAR ON DRUGS’
15) 1975 following in the footsteps of other UN convention signatories, Aotearoa/NZ enacts the ‘Misuse of Drugs Act’ that is seen by many was ‘Prohibition’ & creates a ‘zero-tolerance’ approach to all ‘drugs’ (other than Alcohol & Tobacco)
16) 1975-today; prohibition ‘reigns happily’ with all the negative ‘unintended consequences’ of Alcohol prohibition occurring: Black-markets, Gangsters, Violence & Corruption. The Govt. pours $100millions annually into this. BUT NZ still has amongst the highest use per capita in the world !
17) Early 21st Century.. the medicinal use of cannabis begins to gain credibility again in, an increasing number of ‘western countries’.. excluding NZ
18) I believe that : 23 USA states, all Canadian provinces, many EU countries, Australia & parts of South America have all enacted laws to allow doctors to prescribe cannabis drugs to their patients. This also includes the ‘raw herb’ in many
19) 2006 The NZ Green party introduce a bill to license Hemp cultivation in NZ. It passes into law, BUT is bound by very strict rules that greatly restrict it
20) 2011 The NZ Law Commission issues its report into the outdated MODA 1975. It recommends some law reforms.. including Med-use & decriminalisation of personal, adults only use. These changes are effectively ignored by the current Govt. !
21) 2013 The NZ parliament passes the controversial ‘Psychoactive Substances Act’ which promotes licensed manufacture & supply of SYNTHETIC cannabinoids & other ‘legal highs’. It excludes all drugs currently prohibited under the MODA 1975. This leads to public protests, which sees the law reformed & all licenses revoked. This drives these synthetics underground & into the hands of the Black-market
22) During this period 4 USA states, Portugal & Uruguay enact laws to legally regulate ‘rec-use’ of Cannabis. In Portugal all drugs are ‘decriminalised’. Canada is talking about similar laws & 3-4 Australian States have also decriminalised personal, adults only use.
23) The NZ Assoc. minister of health bows to pressure & allows a pharmaceutical extract of cannabis (Sativex) to be prescribed, BUT only after a GP doctor recommends, a specialist signs it off & the ministry approves it (on a case-by-case basis). Only 2 cases of non-sativex cannabis drugs have been approved to date.
24) Current: a high-profile ex-Union Boss (cancer patient; Helen) ‘comes out’ on national TV in NZ & says she has been using illegal cannabis oil to relieve her pain & suffering. BUT the minister rejects her application for a legal cannabis medicine (not Sativex).
25) A lady who sends cannabis-laced Chocolates from USA to NZ, has her prosecution thrown out, when her lawyer calls on section 8 (exemptions) of the MODA 1975, that clearly states that any medicinal drug, prescribed overseas can be legally brought into NZ (up to one months supply). This has caused a large ripple.. I await further news.
* Of course this is only a small snap-shot of the whole story.. which still continues 😦
** UNGASS 2016 is just weeks away !! 🙂