Every culture has some sort of behavior that are considered shameful. While some are immoral and really are deserving, others are negative because of the social engineering aspects of this. Cannabis is the latter, and while there is prohibition that’s still in place, there is a lot of different outlooks surrounding the herb. It still has a stigma to it, but hopefully, over time, we’ll see that change, and become something of respect.
Why the Stigma?
The biggest reason is the propaganda that’s around it. The first is objectivity, which means that most people usually aren’t looking at the science behind it and are instead looking at it from an objective viewpoint. The second is ideology, where some people believe that it’s bad because of what they’ve been told to believe in. In the 20th century, we saw a ton of obscene claims against this, and even foul play that comes with this, mixing up truth and objectivity.
Cannabis showed up in the US around 1850 up to 1942. Before this though, it was used in China and the middle east and even found in Japan too, in ancient times. Why did this suddenly get stigmatized? Well, during the 20th century, there was, of course, the “reefer madness” film that came out in 1936 which showcased that cannabis caused hallucinations rape, and murder, and there was also the propagandists that encouraged criminalization.
Sadly, the fiction at this point did what it enabled, and in 1937, the marijuana tax act came about, which taxed all cannabis sales. This was done to dirty the public’s image of this. It was to the point where they said cannabis caused violence in Hispanic and black communities.
Then of course, over the next couple of decades, there was now the government getting involved. There was then the Nixon War on Drugs along with the controlled Substances Act, which made cannabis a schedule 1 drug, which put it next to cocaine and heroin.
The global impact
Cannabis prohibition spread like wildfire, to the point where people around encouraged this. So who created this? Well, human nature did. Those who had vested interests and knew how to lobby were a big part of this, but a lot of it came from people that tried to judge something that they didn’t get.
Without science explaining this, there were now different cultures that came up with an interpretation, where some said that the plant would change shifts of consciousness along with the insanity. The exaggerated fears behind this, and the herb is now unjustly criminalized in most places, with the stigma still in nations with places that have legalized cannabis locations.
However, even with a lot of this, there is still progress being made with many countries legalizing this. But the problem is those legal grey areas, which makes it harder to determine one or the other, and the stigma sits around without much concrete evidence.
About 36 different states have approved this, but the problem is that at a federal level, the plant is still a Schedule 1 drug. This inconsistent form of classification does leave many concerned, and there is also the worry that those who use it medically risk their job if they need to use this.
Those with PTSD and other issues may miss out on job chances because they’re honest about using this. The DEA of the US does believe that it’s still a schedule 1 substance because there is a high chance to abuse, but there are other drugs that sing the same tune, so maybe we’ll see a difference eventually.