Monday, 2 February 2009

Reefer Madness and Michael Phelps

There’s a new drug…

According to the BBC it can:

Be beneficial to sufferers of various medical conditions, including cancer, HIV, multiple sclerosis, and glaucoma.


It has an effect on the heart, similar to the effects of exercise. It may be just as good for the heart as going to the gym.

Its name? Marijuana. Okay, so it’s not new - marijuana has been used since time immemorial among some indigenous tribes across the world and it was perfectly legal in the UK up to 1928.

So why is it still illegal to smoke dope? I mean is it really more dangerous to smoke the occasion joint than it is to either (or both!) smoke 20 Marlboros a day or drink half a bottle of whisky in the evening? And shouldn’t it be up for us to decide anyway?

These are questions that British swimmer Michael Phelps might be asking right now after being “shamed” by the press for sucking on a pot pipe.

But demonisation of marijuana is nothing new however. Back in 1936, the American Government released "Reefer Madness", a docudrama about the dangers of marijuana. Incredible funny; it's a classic propaganda film of that era – and it raises the question of course of whether future generations will be laughing at the politically correct propaganda we come up with today.

Reefer Madness is available for free from the Prelinger Archives’ superb collection of public domain films. Download it here.