A new documentary launched on streaming service, Netflix, featuring Snoop Dogg, Damian Marley, Steven Hager, and B-Real discovers the roots of marijuana in the United States, why it was banned and the future of where the decriminalization of the drug is taking the country.

As Jazz music started to spread across American states, mainly New Orleans, with it came the widespread use of marijuana. At the time, the drug was perfectly legal but thanks to Harry Jacob Anslinger, the first commissioner of the U.S. Treasury Department's Federal Bureau of Narcotics, the drug was outlawed in all states.

It was widely believed that Anslinger was racist and tried to outlaw the drug which was popular amongst many black American Jazz musicians, and fans. Even going to the length of creating propaganda surrounding the drug, claiming murders were committed and young white women were being forced into prostitution because of the harmless green leaf.

Louis Armstrong was among one of the most popular Jazz musicians of the time and was open about his use of marijuana. He was also one of the first celebrities to be arrested for smoking a joint. By the 1920s, some states had begun to outlaw marijuana uses, including California. In 1930, Louis Armstrong was famously arrested outside the Cotton Club, where he was performing, for smoking a joint.

Larry “Ratso” Sloman, author of ‘On the Road With Bob Dylan’, and ‘Reefer Madness: The History of Marijuana in America’ reads one of Louis Armstrong's personal letters where he explains his desire to his manager to acquire a permit that allows him to smoke marijuana anywhere in the United States without the fear of being arrested.

One of the things Louis never understood was why marijuana was illegal
- Larry Sloman

Sloman goes on to read an excerpt from Louis letter:

“I’m not so particular about having a permit to carry a gun, all I want is a permit to carry that good shit, you must see to it that I have special permission to smoke all the reefers that I want to, when I want or I will just have to put this horn down...I can afford to be tense, fearing that at any minute I could be arrested and brought to jail”

Author Bio: AC Speed

Senior Editor

I started my career as a music journalist in 2013 and have been involved in the music industry as a touring musician, studio engineer and artist consultant since 2002, as well as previously being a signed artist. My passion for delivering high quality, informative music-related news is a daily driving force behind the content I create. Also a huge gaming nerd! Born in the United Kingdom and currently living in Sweden. Skål!


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