Article by Henry Rollins, LA Weekly
Last November, California approved Proposition 64, legalizing personal use of marijuana for people over 21.
The California entrepreneur who sees a future in cannabis sales would be well advised to start planning immediately. There is demand to be supplied. With an economy as great as California’s, it is reasonable to conclude that Proposition 64 is going to make some people very wealthy.
To prepare those hoping to establish themselves in this bold new world of profit, conventions are springing up to get this industry off to an informed and advantaged start. One of them is the International Cannabis Business Conference, which took place recently in San Francisco.
In an ironic twist, I, a non-user, was asked to deliver the conference’s keynote address.
The history of marijuana and hemp in America is steeped in racism, false information and hypocrisy. At the beginning of the 1930s, Harry J. Anslinger started an obsessive crusade to demonize it. He wasn’t always against marijuana. In fact, during alcohol’s prohibition, he claimed that marijuana was harmless. But when the 21st Amendment repealed the 18th, and alcohol was again legal, Anslinger, with his Federal Bureaus of Narcotics, went after marijuana users with a vengeance.
The result was propaganda like the film Reefer Madness and a perception that marijuana was the socially deviant, anti-American’s drug of choice. Your father, powered by cheap bourbon and beer, bellowing violent oaths and racist epithets on a Saturday afternoon while you stood trembling, was an approved bonding ritual. The friendly hippie in the park smoking the low-potency weed was Hanoi Jane Fonda–loving scum.