Joint Ventures, Inside America’s Almost Legal Marijuana Industry by Trish Regan. I have never used marijuana nor do I know anyone who has. However, a cancer doctor friend tells me that the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes is common in California. Marijuana use combats nausea during chemo treatments and aids appetite. Some varieties of marijuana reduce pain and others combat insomnia.

The current situation in California mixes legal usage with criminal production and supply. Prices are high and that attracts criminals including Mexican drug cartels who find it more profitable to grow marijuana in California than smuggle it from Mexico. My doctor friend predicts that marijuana will be legal in California by 2018.

Some claim that marijuana is a gateway drug that leads to the use of harder drugs. Portugal has legalized all drugs and treats addiction as a disease. Instead of incarceration, in Portugal users are counseled or treated, saving lives and tax dollars. In 1936, a church group made a propaganda film, Tell Your Children, later retitled as Reefer Madness, to warn against the addictive properties of marijuana. Later the film was spoofed in Reefer Madness, The Movie Musical.

Marijuana was originally targeted by Harry Anslinger, head of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, because it was seen as a drug used by blacks and Mexican immigrants and later Chinese. The fears of whites of those minorities were used to stoke fears of marijuana. He made it a lifelong crusade to oppose the use of marijuana in the US. We owe much of the current prohibitions against marijuana to his influence.