On Juneteenth, a federal holiday commemorating the emancipation of enslaved Black individuals, President Joe Biden spotlighted his mass Cannabis pardon and scheduling review directive, underscoring his administration's continuous efforts to combat racial discrimination.
During his address, Biden referred to his action on marijuana reform. His past moves included issuing pardons for past Cannabis possession offenses at the District of Columbia and Federal levels and initiating a review of Cannabis scheduling. The holiday, established through legislation signed by Biden in 2021, has become a platform for him to showcase these initiatives.
Repeatedly, Biden has drawn a connection between his administration's cannabis-related actions and their endeavors toward racial equity. In a Martin Luther King Jr. Day event organized by the National Action Network in January, he stated that his administration was fulfilling its commitment to providing relief for individuals criminalized due to Cannabis.
As Black History Month concluded in February, Biden once again drew attention to the cannabis clemency actions and the racial disparity present in marijuana enforcement. The White House also released a factsheet before the State of the Union address in February, arguing that the President's pardons could lift socioeconomic obstacles.
The same month, Biden signed an executive order promoting equity in the White House and federal agencies, mentioning the cannabis pardons. He also proclaimed April as the "Second Chance Month" for individuals who have served prison time, using this opportunity to highlight the marijuana pardons and the indirect impacts of cannabis convictions.
Thousands of Americans charged with federal marijuana possession offenses benefitted from the pardon, while an ongoing administrative review is examining cannabis scheduling.
The review's initial phase, being conducted by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and particularly the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), aims to reassess the scientific facts about Cannabis and decide whether it should be descheduled from Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act.
While speaking to the press, HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra expressed hope of fulfilling the President's scheduling directive by year-end.
This timeline has won the support of congressional marijuana reform leaders. Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), the co-chair of the Congressional Cannabis Caucus, has expressed disappointment over the lack of significant progress. Along with 15 bipartisan Congress members, Blumenauer wrote a letter to Becerra and Attorney General Merrick Garland in March, calling for transparency in the cannabis scheduling review.
Caucus co-chair Rep. Barbara Lee emphasized the urgency for the Biden administration to take action on federal cannabis scheduling before the forthcoming election.
Once the HHS completes its review, it will forward a scheduling recommendation to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Although the HHS's scientific findings are binding, the DEA could theoretically disregard the request to remove Cannabis from schedule one.
There's been a movement within the industry by one group claiming to be satisfied with any rescheduling of the plant away from its current status of having no medicinal value. But many others have differing views and feel that there's no room on the list of scheduled substances for a plant that was never there until Prohibition, which many know had the Reefer Madness campaign.
The Bottom Line From Mike Robinson, CBGa Crumble:
The fact that the President of the United States was at an MLK event speaking about Cannabis and Prohibition's impact on people of color is monumental. It's history in the making for our beautiful plant and the tip of the iceberg in recognizing the actual crimes against humanity that occurred during Prohibition. Many should be aware that enslaved people kept Cannabis production booming for centuries in America.
Then, after being set free, many had to return to the farms they were on to be safe. The populous was fearful, hateful, and unwilling to accept other humans based on skin tone and ethnicity. It's ironic as former slaves were so willing and wanted to fit in 150 years ago. But they were discriminated against so harshly that the farms were the only solace. Eventually, they became a place where many free light-skinned folks out on a Sunday ride in the horse-drawn carriage - would see people of color - consistently hard at work.
In 2023, many are dismayed about how people with this ancestry feel - no longer ready and willing to fit in, no longer begging for acceptance, and demanding equality. The movement for social equity will not stop as it doesn't take being of any color to realize such a horrible thing happened, and I'd like to explain.
The same people that once watched the former slaves working the Hemp fields in that horse-drawn carriage eventually were adults in a Model T, and taking Sunday drives by the very same Hemp Farms, they saw the same kind of hard-working person, a black person. There was already discrimination and so much hate for hard-working people stuck in a situation they didn't choose, born into it by that time, and with no way out due to how the world around them was.
The U.S. Government was setting up a population that feared the people who worked the farms to hate them even more. Keep in mind, by the time prohibition came we were nearing World War II, and people were so gullible they gave their wedding rings and other Jewelry up to be melted into bullets, in 2023 people would never line up to give up their old socks, let alone Jewelry to help fuel war.
It created a nonstop Hollywood production for years, but it started the year before Prohibition in 1936 with the making of the crazed movie about people who use the plant "Reefer Madness." Then more films, all known and proven to be paid for by the U.S. Government, continued - there's a list below. Gullible people, so willing to believe, were turned into haters of the highest magnitude. They were taught to discriminate as children, just as their parents and grandparents were - so the Government played on that.
Doesn't this ring a bell and sound so much like what happened in California, around the same time, with Mexican Americans? But, they ended up being underpaid to work in the fields, given substandard housing, given no chance at U.S. citizenship, and for lack of better words, were hidden away from society. But enslaved people were given Citizenship, only to be used in the same Reefer Madness campaign and then targeted by law enforcement.
It's no new information to read that people of color, any color, stand a far greater chance of being arrested and given longer, even unfair sentencing for Cannabis even to this day. We can only hope to see change with the passage of even more state Cannabis laws and, hopefully, a move on the federal side that ends Prohibition.
I don't care who the name is; I applaud ANY President that steps out on a day like today and makes such bold statements that say, without a doubt, that, as a nation, America did wrong. We targeted a population of people already struggling, already a target. We used people to further our position to lie about a plant to make it no longer worthy and make room for what would make a lot of money in many areas of commerce.
People didn't matter, and that was a Century ago. Even the white man, pitted against the black man, was nothing more than a pawn being played and used like a toy in a game about money. Yet, they were not, and still are, not smart enough to realize this. I don't like being used, but some haven't minded it and stay bigoted. To each their own.
But things changed for a short period, when the Government needed hemp!
The Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor forced America’s entrance into the Second World War. And with the war came a need to restart growing Industrial Hemp in this country - after it had been prohibited and after harmful Reefer Madness propaganda and the movie had poisoned so many minds, somehow the U.S. Government was able to twist the brains of the white population again, by having members of the 4-H, kids, and encouraging them in a national campaign to grow Industrial Hemp for the war effort.
The Reefer Madness Campaign had to be put on hold, at least for a while anyway, until more movies could be made - but nobody counted on limited resources even for that.
It seems that the war created a significant Porno shortage within the film industry. Additionally, everyone in Hollywood was busy either in the war itself or making pictures about heroic war heroes, and there was no time left to make any other kind of movies. That had to change due to demand, which forced theatres to recycle older films what better material to use than those old Reefer Madness movies?
Yes, that's pretty disgusting, but then again, so is the entire history of prohibition, so it all makes sense.
Here are a few more prohibition-era films that were played repeatedly, much like the movie Reefer Madness was both before and non stop after the passage of the Marihuana Tax Act, aka Prohibition.
1940 - SMOKE DREAMS
1940- Film Society Award Given to Youngson for "Smoke Dreams"
Article in “The Harvard Crimson” - Published On Wednesday, May 29, 1940
“ Winner of the Harvard Film Society spring competition is Robert G. Youngson"
Youngson received a prize of $50 for his film entitled "Smoke Dreams,"
The winning film depicts a girl seated before a triangular mirror lighting a cigarette which later turns out to be marihuana. She is then transported to a country of changing landscapes and dream sequences.
1942 - THE DEVIL'S HARVEST
THE DEVIL'S HARVEST
Oliver sells marihuana and hot dogs to high school students from his stand across the street from the local high school. Feeling guilty over the marihuana sales (but not the hot dogs), Oliver tells Sam, a henchman of gang lord Larry McGuire, of his intention to quit the marihuana dealing. Meanwhile, naïve student Kay is asked to dance at a new nightclub run by Cliff, one of the gangsters.
Tom, Kay's high school sweetheart, is aghast at this prospect and meets her at the nightclub to protect her "innocence." Etc., etc., -- One of the lesser known marihuana exploitative films, and certainly not one of the best. The Movie Poster, however, is one of the best.
1943 - YOUTH IN CRISIS
YOUTH IN CRISIS
According to Time Magazine (Nov 15, 1943 pp94) - [Cinema] -- Youth in Crisis - Deals more with the cause and extent of the problem than with the cure. The film shows the lack of emotional security in homes robbed of their parents by the war plants and rocked by the immeasurable restiveness of war. Babies wake screaming in siren-haunted blackouts. Boys below draft age start using alcohol and marijuana and viewing obscene books.
This film follows the exploits of Captain Hayes and the LAPD Narcs as they battle the evil menace of marihuana. Markey, an infamous "dope dealer," sells marihuana cigarettes to some teens, who promptly go out and get into a car accident, killing one and demolishing the legs of another.. Note: This film's working title was The Devil's Weed. The film was exhibited in certain areas under his title. The closing titles include the following written statement: "No one seeing this film could be easily tempted to so-wreck their mind and body. But millions won't see it. To enlighten them is your job."