Yesterday Washington became the second state to legalize marijuana, following Colorado’s legalization of weed last month.  Under the new laws it is legal to possess up to an ounce of pot.  It’s still illegal to grow and sell it, but you won’t get busted for having it on you.  In the past decade several states have approved medical marijuana use.  Despite it’s illegal status, marijuana is the nation’s number one cash crop.  Advocates for weed legalization have proposed taxing pot as a way to pull our economy out of the gutters. 

To change the future we have to understand the past.  Why is weed illegal?  Studies have proven time and again that it is much less harmful than alcohol, which is legal.  Many support it’s medicinal use.  If you ask a random person on the street why marijuana is illegal, they most likely can’t tell you.  Let’s find out.

Marijuana became illegal in the United States in 1937.  When we start to dig into the history books, we quickly find that more than questionable motives and unethical avenues were used to make this happen.  The star of the show was Harry J. Anslinger, an ambitious man who was appointed as the first head of a new division of the treasury department, the Federal Bureau of Narcotics.  Thinking that a war against cocaine and opiates wouldn’t be enough to secure his job for the long run, Anslinger declared an all out war on marijuana.  He was responsible for outrageous anti-marijuana propaganda.  

One of Anslinger’s pals and supporters was newspaper tycoon William Randolph Hearst.  His daughter Patty made her own headlines later after first being kidnapped by the Symbionese Liberation Army, and then appearing to join them.  Hearst was a racist who especially hated Mexicans.  He had invested heavily in the timber industry and saw hemp cultivation as dangerous competition.  A large area of land he intended to log had been lost to Pancho Villa, which further fueled his racist hatred.  When Hearst and Anslinger joined forces, newspapers were filled with outlandish tales of people trying marijuana, immediately becoming maddeningly addicted, and going on murderous rampages.  Big money further came into the picture when the DuPont company sided with Hearst and Anslinger.  They had recently patented nylon and wanted the hemp competition out of the way. 
Before we go on, let’s back up some more and look at marijuana further back in history.  It’s known use goes back 7,000 years.  Queen Victoria was prescribed tincture of cannabis for menstrual cramps.  Marijuana made it’s way to the New World when Christopher Columbus came over in 1492 and brought in along on his ships.  The first law here regarding marijuana was in stark contrast from the laws today.  It was mandated in the Jamestown colony that every farmer grow a certain amount of hemp, and they could be jailed for failing to comply. Thomas Jefferson and George Washington grew huge fields of the plants. Benjamin Franklin owned one of the first paper mills in the US, which produced hemp paper.  When Rudolph Diesel came up with the diesel engine we still use today, he originally intended it to run off hemp seed oil.  

Anslinger spent two years secretly drawing up his plan to outlaw marijuana.  He relied on newspaper stories like those Hearst was publishing to start a public outcry against the dangers of marijuana.  The popularity of weed among Mexicans and black jazz musicians fueled their fires.  Stories flew off the presses about the satanic jazz music of the devil, and how black men who smoked pot couldn’t help but to rape the first white woman they saw.  Countless stories were also printed about school children losing their minds and other users taking axes to their families after the first time they smoked.  Although there were no actual cases of any of these instances happening, Anslinger picked up speed and in 1937 brought his plan to Congress.
In an absurdly short hearing Anslinger came armed with editorials from Hearst’s newspapers and speeches in which the bulk was one long racial slur.  The one opponent Anslinger encountered was Dr. William C. Woodward, Legislative Council of the American Medical Association.  Woodward pointed out that Anslinger had distorted previous AMA information to support his stance.  He pointed out that the proposed legislation only referred to marijuana, which the common man didn’t realize was the same as hemp, which was a large industry, so that those who had reason to oppose the bill wasn’t even aware of it.  He outright stated that the AMA was opposed to the criminalization of marijuana and even accused Anslinger of misconduct and abuse of power.

Woodward was berated by the committee, who cited the outlandish newspaper articles with no factual basis as evidence that marijuana was the biggest danger to society.  When the bill went up for a vote, it was asked on the floor what the position of the AMA was.  Despite Woodward’s defiance of the movement, a congressman stood up and stated that the AMA had sent their representative there, and he had supported it 100%.  On the basis of that lie marijuana became illegal at the federal level on August 2, 1937.
In 1972 Richard Nixon commissioned a study on marijuana use.  The study found that the prohibition of cannabis was constitutionally questionable and should be subject to serious review.  The Nixon administration took no further action.  In 1973 Oregon reduced the penalties for marijuana related arrests, separating weed from other illicit drugs.  Alaska, Ohio, Colorado, and California followed suit in 1975.  By 1978 North Carolina, Mississippi, New York and Nebraska had taken action to decriminalize marijuana.  In recent years Massachusetts and Connecticut amended laws so that possession only results in a civil fine.
Here’s a few quick weed facts:

  • At one time in America you could pay your taxes with hemp.
  • The oldest relic in human history is a piece of hemp fabric from Mesopotamia dating back 8,000 years.
  • You’d have to smoke 15,000 joints in 20 minutes to get a lethal dose of THC.
  • The paintings of Rembrandt and Van Gough were on hemp canvases, with hemp seed based paint.
  • Hemp is 8 times stronger than cotton and more air-permeable.
  • One acre of hemp can produce as much raw fiber as 4.1 acres of trees, which take much longer to grow back.
  • Paper made from hemp lasts centuries longer and doesn’t yellow.
  • For thousands of years nearly all ships’ canvases and ropes were made from hemp.  The word canvas comes from the Dutch for cannabis.
  • Betsy Ross’s flag, and the first drafts of the Constitution and Declaration of Independence were made of hemp.
  • Henry Ford’s Model T was built to run on hemp gasoline and used hemp plastic panels that were 10 times stronger than steel. 
Here's a short clip from the propaganda film "Reefer Madness":

Now that we know the history of the marijuana laws, why haven’t they been overturned?  The answer is much the same as it was when these shady goings-on were taking place.  Too many big industry companies have anti-marijuana interests and can afford to payroll lobbyists to ensure it stays illegal.  It has been proven that marijuana is not addictive and has medicinal uses, the two main reasons cited for it’s initial criminalization.  The potential profits from taxes imposed on legal pot could pull us out of the economic slump we’re languishing in, especially here in the hills of Kentucky where weed is a major industry despite the laws against it. Recent law changes show that the public's attitude toward marijuana is changing.  It has taken nearly a century, but it seems as though Anslinger's unbelievable smear campaign may have cracked enough for the truth to shine through.

For more information on the history of marijuana an it's legality see the following links:
Why Is Marijuana Illegal? 
NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws) website 
Wikipedia page on legal history of cannabis in the US
I previously stated something to the effect of bath salt zombies and addiction would be the catalyst for the end of the world as we know it.  It seems I’m on the right track.  A friend recently posted about googling the effects of krokodil.  Sounded interesting so I had to know what it was.

A couple hours later I was eyeball deep in the Russian drug scene.  Recent law changes have tightened the flow of heroine in from Afghanistan and made it much harder to come by.  While here stateside, amateur chemists are busy cooking meth, Russian “make-your-dope-at-home” addicts are responsible for the invasion of a drug referred to as Krokodil. 

The drug’s reptilian name comes from it’s immediate effect of turning the skin flaky and greenish.  Users eventually end up looking like zombies, with sores continuing to literally eat away their flesh all the way to the bone.  The images and videos that follow are about as graphic as it gets, you’ve been warned.
That used to be an arm.
Krokodil is actually a synthetic form of morphine, actually called Desomorphine.  The drug was discovered in 1932 and was intended to be a substitute for morphine.  It’s use was quickly discontinued when it was found to be much more addictive than morphine.  Russian addicts desperate for a fix have been cooking up their own recipe of krokodil.  Especially in isolated and poor regions of the country, addicts continually go about the process of distilling and boiling that takes about an hour.  Krokodil’s effects, similar to that of heroine, only lasts for up to an hour.  The life of a user often consists of a continuous cycle of cooking and using. 
Actual person, not a Walking Dead extra.
Codeine tablets are available over the counter in Russia.  They’re krokodil’s main ingredient, cooked together with match tips, gas, paint-thinner, lighter fluid, and iodine.  Yeah.  When produced in a lab with proper equipment, the drug is clean.  When made with makeshift tools, it’s byproducts are as toxic and corrosive as they come. The solution is injected by users.  While it gives them their fix for a short period of time, injection sites soon develop into large sores, which only grow.  Gangrene, meningitis, and irreversible brain damage are common.  The life expectancy of a person once they use drops to two to three years.
Effects of krokodil eating the flesh of the user
When heroine users try to kick the habit they will experience withdrawal for 3-5 days.  Krokodil users face up to 30 days of physical and mental anguish.  While the drug seems to have exploded in Russia, it’s spreading throughout Europe.  Cases have been reported in Switzerland, Poland, the Czech Republic, Belgium, Germany, and several other countries.

Bad economies further the plight of addicts across the world.  In desperation, they turn to any means available to get their fix and not be sick.  The bath salt attacks here in the U.S. recently, and the effects of krokodil in Russia further the need to fund more rehabilitation programs.  Otherwise, a dystopian future populated with lethargic addicts walking around with their flash rotting of isn’t that far off.

 For more graphic effects of krokodil use, see the following videos:
This last one's not for those with weak stomach's after the 5 min. mark
It is my personal opinion that if the end of the world "AS WE KNOW IT" is looming in our near future as REM sang about, it will be brought about by addiction and bath salt zombies. 

The economic condition of our country is in the toilet.  The unemployment rates are alarming nationwide, but here in the mountains every couple weeks another large coal company announces it's closing, and laying off or letting go hundreds of employees.   These people who can't find work are turning to any means they can think up to make ends meet.  Every couple weeks the phone lines are out because someone has stolen the telephone lines for the copper to sell for scrap metal.  There was a story in the local paper last week about the sheriff's department busting some guy who had stolen almost 10 military grave markers, intending to scrape off and sell the tiny amount of copper on the markers.

Addiction has long been a problem here in eastern Kentucky.  Drug companies pushed pain pills down the throats of coal miner's. Opiate addiction is a big problem here, as well as the abuse of other prescription medications.  Recent changes in state laws have made it so that general practice doctors can no longer prescribe pain medicine.  I know an elderly man with cancer, who doesn't know what he's going to do next month when he can't get any more refills for his medicine.  The health care reps tell him to go to a pain clinic, where you sit among pill heads who have scraped up enough cash to come get their monthly script.  There are waiting lists to get into these clinics, and patients who have seen their family doctor for years now have to fight the clinic crowd to get the medicine they need. Tightening the pain pill laws will have repercussions.  The pills that people are addicted to are going to be harder to get.  They are going to become desperate and unpredictable. 

A recent article talked about how the rates of heroine related crimes in Louisville had increased tenfold in the last couple years.  With the pill laws making their drug of choice harder to get, addicts have turned to heroine to get their fix.  Heroine is arguably the most addictive drug there is.  The article stated that people have been arrested in possession of heroine in several other counties as well, many closer to home here in eastern Kentucky.  If people think things are bad here now with all the pill addictions, wait until they're cut off and turn to heroine.  Better katy-bar the door, because it'll all be over then.  

The latest drug fad to hit the area is a product marketed as bath salts. They're in no way intended to pour into a tub to soak in.  The drug is pretty much synthetic cocaine. With bath salts already booming locally, if heroine makes it's way into the area as a result of the pain pill cutback laws, things are going to get bad.  Remember when Charlie Sheen was making all those videos wired out of his mind?  Bath salts was responsible for that, and his following court issues and house arrest. 

Bath salts are so new, not much is known about their effects, short-term or long-term.  Many users experience something like a 'bad trip,' and just flip out. One user said, "Some people just can't handle it."  While on the drug, users have experienced radical personality changes, some snorting their way into a prolonged psychosis.  For a while around here it was commonplace to hear about some guy stabbing his girlfriend while on a bath salt binge, or another guy trying to fight five other guys, then slash his wrists. Other towns across the country are experiencing the bath salt boom too.  Along with it come the outrageous tales of the terrible, unexplainable, and just retarded things users have done.

In the little town that I live in, the local grocery store was broken into one night by a guy who was on bath salts.  When an employee arrived the next morning, he found a window broken, and the bath salt guy passed out in the floor, covered in peanut butter and chocolate.  Merchandise was scattered all over the store.  He had a wild night, squirting ketchup and other condiments all over the shelves.  Some reports say he had written out "I'm Sorry" in mustard on the floor.  Local newspapers dubbed him the Peanut Butter Bandit, and he was sent away to the big house.

Shockingly, many of the incidents involving bath salt attacks involve attempted cannibalism.  Guess these are definitely the people who "can't handle it."  In June in Layfeyette, Louisiana forty-three-year-old Carl Jacquneaux was said to have had a domestic dispute with Todd Credeur.  He stormed into Carl's yard and attacked him, biting a chunk out of his face while on the drug. 

Pamela McCarthy, a 35 year old wife and mother from New York was actually tasered to death after a run in with the state police.  Onlookers called police when the naked McCarthy was seen attacking her toddler son and the family dog.  The picture below was taken as the child ran to his father for safety.  McCarthy suffered cardiac arrest after the incident.  She was high on bath salts. 
McCarthy, running naked and going after her son who's dad is holding him, before being killed by the police
June was a busy month for out of control bath salt users.  On the 26th Michael Daniel was arrested in Waco, Texas.  Cops were called when he tore through his family's home in a rage, then chased the neighbors dog, barking at it as he did so.  When he caught the dog, he beat it, strangled it, then proceeded to eat it.

Also in June a 20 year old man attacked a 77 year old woman with a shovel while high on bath salts.  After finally being subdued with a large quantity of rubber bullets and a taser gun, he told officers he was an alien and that Jesus was telling him to kill the woman.

The case that started the Bath Salt Zombie craze was when Rudy Eugene literally ate the face off of a homeless man in Miami.  The attack lasted 18 minutes before Eugene was finally shot to death by police.  Warning, the following video shows the attack from a surveillance camera.  It doesn't show much detail, but might not be appropriate for the kiddies:    
Just as crazy is the story of Michael Daniel of Texas.  Family members called the police when they say he went berserk.  He attacked several family members and friends while running around on all fours and growling and barking like a dog.  Before the cops could arrive, he snatched up the family dog and started biting chunks out of it.

A little closer to home, a 19 year old Charleston, W. Va. man was found in a very bizarre position.  His neighbor had been told by friends that Mark Thompson had stolen a pygmy goat she had bought for her granddaughter.  When police went to question Thompson, they found him in his bedroom, high on bath salts, wearing women's underwear and standing over the dead goat. 
Officers allowed Thompson to keep his bra on for his mugshot

Maybe these individuals weren't the most mentally stable people to begin with, and when they used this new powerful drug, the just couldn't handle it.  Crazy people need to be extra careful when they want to go out and get high.  Lesson of the day kiddos, unless you want to find yourself naked, covered in condiments, biting chunks out of people and animals, Just Say No to bath salts!

For info on more bath salt related attacks, go to the following link: Bath Salt Attacks