What the South Is About
Southern culture is rich in good cooking right from grandma’s kitchen, breathtaking sunsets and hospitality that wins awards. Smiling faces standing under church steeples eager to share the love of God—until someone sparks a marijuana stick. Why is this?
Cannabis is a popular drug used to treat mental and physical illness; however, it is also commonly used recreationally. When we speak of marijuana, especially in the South, it is the beloved forbidden.
Most states in the South are still on the fence about fully legalizing its use. However, in recent years, the South mildly tolerates medical marijuana use. Louisiana, Mississippi, Florida and Alabama are legal states for medical use. Alabama and Florida are the only two states to have decriminalized possession.
Texas and Georgia only approved of the use of CBD oil for medicinal purposes. In Tennessee and South Carolina, it is fully illegal. North Carolina, only decriminalized the drug, according to Disa.
History of Marijuana
According to Britannica, during the 20th Century, Americans weren’t fond of weed smoking practices, only a few used from time to time. During the Mexican Revolution in 1910, Mexicans migrated to the United States, bringing along their tradition of smoking weed, which resulted in heightened hostility.
As Americans grew fearful of Mexican migration, stigmas surrounded weed to cause a “Lust For Blood”, initiating bans across the country.
In the 1930s Harry J. Anslinger, head of Federal Bureau of Narcotics, sought a federal ban on marijuana. Nonetheless, scientists ruled the drug to be safe. The campaign heavily relied on racism.
Anslinger argued that most marijuana users were minorities, specifically African Americans. He held the belief that marijuana had detrimental effects on these racial groups, leading to increased violence and mental instability.
He also suggested that “Reefer makes darkies think they’re as good as white men.” Marijuana was a threat to the white woman’s morality. Anslinger believed that by smoking pot, white women would want to sleep with Black men.
Common Denominator: Racism
In the 21st century, racial adversity in regards to marijuana heavily impacts the African American community. Black people face almost four times the likelihood of being arrested for marijuana offenses compared to white people.
There is no coincidence regarding the structures built around marijuana laws in the Deep South, as those states still cling closely to Anslinger’s qualms.