This week, we discuss the evolution of modern American cannabis culture with guest Bethany Moore from the National Cannabis Industry Association.
In 1972, a commission appointed by the Nixon administration brought out a report titled "Marihuana: A Signal of Misunderstanding." The chair of that commission, former Pennsylvania Governor Raymond P. Shafer, believed it was important that the Commission's report accurately reflect what they had learned, that marijuana was not 'the assassin of youth.' Their report found that the greatest danger posed by marijuana use was the threat of criminal arrest. Shafer wanted to de-mythologize marijuana to make it less glamourous and less attractive to young people, and to decriminalize marijuana so that fewer young lives would be ruined by an arrest.
Nixon on the other hand wanted a strong, hard-hitting statement on marijuana that supported his law-and-order, criminalized approach. At the time, Shafer was being considered for appointment to the federal bench, so there was a lot riding on this Commission report. President Nixon made this clear to Shafer when they met at the White House a few months before the report's release. Shafer and his Commission decided instead to deliver an honest report, which President Nixon promptly rejected at a news conference.
Forty years later, the states of Colorado and Washington voted to legalize adult social use of marijuana and to regulate commercial production and distribution. Thanks to state medical cannabis measures, when those states legalized in 2012 there was already a burgeoning legal marijuana industry in the US. What had been unthinkable forty years earlier was now reality.
These changes didn't happen overnight. Drug policy reformers and social justice activists worked hard for decades building a movement for reform. The cultural evolution arising from this ongoing political revolution is starting to be felt both in the US and abroad. To get a view of the current landscape, and a better idea of the direction in which we're going, tonight on Free Culture Radio we speak with Bethany Moore, the Communications & Project Manager for the National Cannabis Industry Association.