Contributing Writer for Wake Up WorldThe Big "If"
The history of marijuana and hemp prohibition is a dark and shady story with all the makings of a diabolical thriller. In a dystopian world, shady oligarchs institute prohibition in order to benefit their institutions in the short term, leading to the inception of a police state in which sustainable agriculture is ridiculed, shamanic medicine is scorned, and generations are forced into punitive situations as a result of the plant's contraband status.
Now, I don't normally dwell in the "what-if's" and rarely speculate about the "what-might-be's" either; I think it's more important to consider the "what-is". But in fact, if we concentrate on the "what-is", we can more easily ponder the "what-if" (our potential) and, importantly, more decisively define "what-will-be" (our future).
In order to understand what the prohibition of marijuana and hemp has led to, and in order to understand the beautiful potential of this suppressed plant, I think it's important for supporters of marijuana and hemp prohibition (and even supporters of its legalization) to understand the "what-if's" of legalization -- by asking the question 'What if marijuana and hemp had never been prohibited?'What if marijuana and hemp had never been prohibited?
Hemp is Medicine, hemp is food
If marijuana and hemp were never prohibited, the cancer era may never have been, and certainly would be vastly mitigated. Why? Marijuana and hemp are natural cancer preventatives and curatives that alleviate multitudes of diseases, including cancers. Hempseed oil is one of the richest sources of essential amino acids and essential fatty acids, providing an excellent balance between omega-3, -6 and -9 fatty acids, fostering healthy brain function, supporting the immune system, repairing DNA damage and defending against inflammation, a major cause of chronic illness.
If cannabis were never prohibited, which enabled the concurrent rise of pharmaceutical medicine in its place, humanity would still be using ancient herbal cures instead of chemical symptom inhibitors that don't work. Cancer would be treated naturally and effectively, supporting instead of destroying the immune system in the process. (See: Over 100 Scientific Studies Agree: Cannabis Annihilates Cancer.)
Hemp in Agriculture
An example of an obvious change in the world, had marijuana and hemp ever been prohibited, is the potential vastness of our forests. Practically all the trees that have been cut down for paper and wood products, and to clear space for crops like cotton, might have just been left alone, as humanity utilized versatile, drought-tolerant and pest-resistant hemp to supply the raw material for paper, wood, fabrics, and building materials. (See: Move Over Cotton, Say Hello to Hemp -- The 'Forbidden' Crop That's Taking the World by Storm.)
What are the less obvious side-effects of there being more trees and more old growth forests? Of there being a far more efficient crop supplying our materials? Of being able to raise plants for usable materials in a matter of months, rather than over a period of several years? Of agricultural fields producing more than 10 times more oxygen and absorbing more CO2 than common crops? Would the air be more pure? Would we be more self-sustaining? Or live more peacefully?
And what of the wild ecosystem? If marijuana and hemp were never prohibited, they would have never been eradicated from the wilds. Recognized as an important natural flora, the cannabis plant grows like a "weed" -- hence the nickname -- as nature intended. Animals, humans and especially birds enjoy the seed and plant matter for food, which also feeds the cannabinoid receptors in their bodies that await THC as if it were vitamin C (suggesting there are far wider benefits of THC in the animal kingdom than we humans currently understand.) If marijuana and hemp had never been prohibited, our environment would be flourishing to its own natural design.
No 'War On Drugs'
If marijuana were never prohibited, there would be no Orwellian private prison system, which relies on the endless 'War On Drugs' and an overtly aggressive police force to fill its beds. The prison population would not be skyrocketing, and Americans, in particular African-Americans, would not be locked up at the alarming rates we see today, working for free for the private corporations that contain them. There would be no inexplicable inconsistency between rising prison numbers and a falling rate of violent crimes. The spiritual value of marijuana as a consciousness-altering herb could be explored once more, as it has for millennia, free of legal taboo. Those with genuine substance abuse issues would be offered medical and spiritual treatment, not punitive action. And there would be no motivation for the black market trade of the cannabis plant, removing the criminal element and with that, the motivation to become a criminal. (Please see: The War On Drugs: How the "Land of the Free" Became the "Home of the Slaves" for 2.3 Million Americans.)