Reefer Madness to Legalization: A Cannabis Story

Episode Description

In this eye-opening episode of the Kaya Cast Podcast, we're joined by Tommy Truong from KayaPush to unravel the complex tapestry of cannabis history and its controversial placement in Schedule One of controlled substances. Tommy takes us back to the early 1900s, explaining how the rise of hemp as a robust alternative to paper played a crucial role in its demonization. We delve into the influential actions of media mogul William Randolph Hearst and the first commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, Harry Anslinger, whose combined efforts with misleading journalism and political power dramatically shaped public perception and policy.

Prepare to be transported through the decades, from the propaganda-laden era of "Reefer Madness" to the landmark 1937 Marijuana Tax Act, all the way to the pivotal legal transformations in the 1990s and beyond. As states began to challenge federal rulings, the journey culminates with the recent DEA recommendation in May 2024 to reclassify cannabis, potentially changing the game for businesses and researchers alike.T

ommy also shares his insights on the implications of these legislative shifts for dispensary owners, and what the future may hold as we approach the possibility of declassification. Whether you're a seasoned cannabis entrepreneur or new to the industry, this episode is packed with historical insights and expert analyses that will enhance your understanding of the legal landscapes and opportunities in cannabis business today.

Don't miss this deep dive into the storied past and evolving future of cannabis. Tune into the Kaya Cast Podcast for a blend of history, business strategy, and forward-looking perspectives. Subscribe now to ensure you never miss an episode!

Find out more about KayaPush at:

#kayacastpodcast #kayapush #cannabisindustry #history

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Episode Transcript


Have you ever wondered how cannabis got into schedule one? How did a plant that's not physically addictive with all of its medical benefits get into the same class as heroin? Believe it or not, the story starts with hemp. Hemp has a long history in the U S and grew in popularity in the early 1900s. Hemp grown for its stock is much sturdier and stronger than paper pulp and through innovation was beginning to be cheaper, to grow than paper. And had its sight set on disrupting the paper industry.

Intro: Welcome to the KayaCast, the podcast for cannabis businesses looking to launch, grow, and scale their operations. Each week, we bring you interviews with industry experts and successful retailers, plus practical tips and strategies to help you succeed in the fast growing cannabis industry.

Enter William Randolph Hearst who ran a media company. Hearst communications. Hearst communications at that time had over 20 million daily active readers which was a lot. He also has significant investment in the paper mill industry and saw hemp as a threat to his empire. So he went out to cannabis like his life depended on it. He adopted yellow journalism and labeled cannabis as a threat to the country, a drug that increased crime without really any evidence.

He was quoted as saying users of marijuana become stimulated as the inhaled, the drug under are likely to do anything. Most crimes of violence in this section, especially in country districts are late out to users of that drug, and he frequently went after cannabis as the assassination of America's youth. This caused a lot of attention to marijuana and its peak in 1936, the film Reefer Madness came out, which had a plot that smoking cannabis caused people to go crazy.

And then you have Harry Anslinger in 1930, who was appointed the founding commissioner of the federal bureau of narcotics today. The DEA. And against the medical community at that time, he went after cannabis as a harmful drug. And together you had Harry and William, the government and the media working hand in hand to influence public perception on something that was completely fabricated.

And they were successful. In 1937, the Marijuana Tax Act was passed. It enacted steep taxes on the distribution and sale of cannabis. Anyone found not paying taxes were criminally prosecuted. And since only a few people in the country were registered to pay this tax, it effectively made the distribution of cannabis illegal. And surprise, surprise. hemp was included in this bill.

The marijuana tax act was struck down by the Supreme Court in 1969 as unconstitutional. And the Controlled Substance Act came into effect in 1971, which then regulated cannabis, Richard Nixon temporarily put cannabis on Schedule One and appointed Raymond Shafer, the former governor of Pennsylvania to research the effects of cannabis. The Shafer report came out and recommended that we decriminalized cannabis and that we treat cannabis like alcohol. Richard Nixon completely ignored this and left cannabis on Schedule One to where it is today.

In the 1980s, we saw a huge crack cocaine epidemic and a war on drugs and since cannabis was a Schedule One drug, it got swept up in this war. Things finally turned around at the state level in the nineties in 1996, California became the first state to legalize cannabis for medicinal purposes and in 2012, Colorado and Washington legalized cannabis for recreational purposes.

And finally most recently the DEA on May 2024 recommended the reclassification of cannabis from Schedule One to Schedule Three, which we're finally, finally, and the unfair tax burden plays on cannabis businesses. At first started with the Marijuana Tax Act followed by 280E and finally with reclassification, it can finally end. Reclassification to Schedule Three also opens the door for cannabis to be wildly researched for its health benefits. The FDA can now finally regulate certain compounds in cannabis to treat different ailments. Cannabis has such a wild history and there's so much more history to be written as we march towards declassification. I hope you guys enjoy this trip down memory lane until next time. Take care.

Outro: Thanks for listening to the KayaCast podcast. We hope you enjoyed the show. Don't forget to subscribe to our podcast in your favorite podcast app, or visit our website to learn more about our guests and to access the full archive of episodes from the show. Join us next time as we continue to explore the world of cannabis and help you grow, launch, and scale your business.

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