The Awful Legacy of the 1937 Marihuana Tax Act- and how you can help end it

The Awful Legacy of the 1937 Marihuana Tax Act- and how you can help end it

Eighty-two years ago today, the 1937 Marihuana Tax Act effectively banned the sale and use of cannabis in the United States. The support garnered to pass this act was propelled by racist fearmongering. While the Marihuana Tax Act was overturned in 1969 through a ruling in the Supreme Court case Leary v. United States, marijuana prohibition was rolled up into the Controlled Substances Act of 1971, which prohibited the sale, distribution and possession of marijuana, among other drugs. The Marihuana Tax Act marked the beginning of federal prohibition of cannabis. In the eight decades following, the United States has spent billions of taxpayer dollars arresting and charging hundreds of thousands of people for marijuana related-offenses, destroying lives and families and particularly harming communities of color. We’ve made many strides today in legalization and regulation of medical and adult use on the state level, but the work is not done until prohibition ends on the federal level, criminal convictions are expunged, and restitution is provided for victims of prohibition. You can take action right now to support ending marijuana prohibition in the United States with reparative justice policy measures.

Marijuana prohibition has inflicted such severe devastation that merely ending the harm is not enough; it is our obligation to repair the harms. The Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement (MORE) Act is Students for Sensible Drug Policy’s preferred federal cannabis reform bill. 

SSDP strongly endorses and urges passage of the MORE Act, the most comprehensive bill to remove marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act while addressing the direct harms of its prohibition. The MORE Act sets the federal standard of developing an expungement process for marijuana crimes, investing in the communities most harmed by the War on Drugs, and providing support for cannabis entrepreneurs from such communities. 

Our advocacy work and our action center is made possible by our supporters like you, who understand that marijuana justice goes beyond legalization. We need to keep the pressure up on our lawmakers to create a new system where cannabis regulation goes hand-in-hand with restitution for those harmed by prohibition. Will you make a gift today to make marijuana justice in the United States possible?