weed paper

weed paper - Britton Bixby English 1002 Kellen Graham...

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Britton Bixby English 1002 Kellen Graham 12/10/07 John Berger, a highly regarded art critic wrote in his essay “Ways of Seeing” that “The relation between what we see and what we know is never settled. Each evening we see the sun set. We know that the earth is turning away from it. Yet the knowledge, the explanation, never quite fits the sight.” While Berger is referring specifically to the way artwork is viewed, his philosophy on the discrepancy between appearance and true knowledge is applicable to many facets of contemporary society, including the way that facts about marijuana use, both recreational and medicinal, have been distorted in several ways by mainstream American culture. When America was founded, the right of a person to ingest any substance he or she wished. The foundation of a free-market capitalist society is free will of the individual that extends as far as possible until it begins to infringe on the rights of others. Marijuana was sold alongside several other drugs in apothecaries throughout the United States. Hemp, a multi-purpose material derived from the marijuana plant, played a major role in the country’s economy. With the exception of hemp, the primary use of marijuana at this time was medicinal, though recreational use was tolerated. This may lead many to believe that marijuana must be an extremely dangerous drug, both for the user and society as a whole. However, a simple inquiry into the history of marijuana’s criminalization proves exactly the opposite.
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In 1937, political and economic interests led to the first laws against the use of marijuana. DuPont, a growing chemical company, felt that the easy process by which hemp was made into paper threatened to take over the industry. DuPont gained support from two prominent American figures, Harry J. Anslinger and William Randolph Hearst. Anslinger served as the commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics and Hearst, in addition to owning several paper mills himself, also owned several newspapers across the country, which he used to protect his anti-hemp interests and promote his self-serving politics. These factors led to the introduction of the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937, which in retrospect is perhaps the most ridiculous piece of legislation in United States history. The following excerpt clearly illustrates this point. "A young boy who had become addicted to smoking marihuana cigarettes, in a fit
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weed paper - Britton Bixby English 1002 Kellen Graham...

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