The Racist Origins of Marijuana Prohibition


The legal status of cannabis has been in question in the U.S. since people starting regularly smoking it in the early 1900s. The debate continues today, with Attorney General Jeff Sessions taking a firm stance against legalization and insisting that federal prohibition laws be enforced, even where states have made it legal. But how did it become illegal in the first place? As it turns out, it has some roots in racist rhetoric pushed by politicians and the media in the 1930s, when it first became illegal.


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