Updated: May 18
Hello people! This is part three of our M&M series. This one is about Marijuana and Money. It’s said that marijuana began to catch on in the U.S. in the 1920’s. Marijuana was more of an island thing at that time, it was abundant in the Caribbean. Islands like Jamaica, the Bahamas, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic just to name a few, were already using marijuana for rituals and medical use. I’m sure there were people smoking just to get a buzz too. It was just considered a plant like every other plant and its value wasn’t realized just yet. Historians say prohibition played a major role in the emergence of marijuana here in the states.
See, during the early years of prohibition marijuana was legal. It was ok to get high but not drunk! It wasn’t till 1931. The state of Illinois basically paved the way for the illegalization of marijuana; weed was taking away from the hemp paper industry along with prejudice against Mexicans where a lot of the weed was coming from, the great state of Illinois deemed it illegal. Businessmen, government officials, hustlers and gangsters like Alfonse Capone, Albert Anistasia, Bumpy Johnson, and Joseph P. Kennedy, yes John F. Kennedy’s dad, were all involved in the bootlegging business. The sale of illegal booze went hand in hand with weed. Why you may ask? Well marijuana was usually sold or passed out in the Speak Easies, Jazz Clubs, Brothels, etc. They called it names like “locoweed,” “muta” or “muggie” in slang. I have also heard “jazz cigarette” and, of course, “reefer.” This was considered another thing to do that went against the prohibition laws, a way to smirk in the face of the establishment. If you were a musician, an actor, an artist or any type of eclectic person you smoked “reefer”. It would cost you a nickel for a bag, hens the phrase “ A nickel bag of weed”. Gangsters, mob bosses, politicians, etc. never touched the stuff, “so they claimed”. Marijuana made you "wacky" and "unable to take care of business". Eventually prohibition was over and alcohol became legal again, people were allowed to drink again! However marijuana remained banned and illegal. However the cost for weed was going up, almost 50 years went by and marijuana began to light up the radar with the cannabis filled music of the 60’s (Read Marijuana and Music in our last blog). Marijuana was full blown illegal by this time but it was tolerated to an extent due to the Vietnam War. People who protested the war began to experiment with psychedelic drugs. Vets coming from the war hooked on heroin, communities of all races and economic backgrounds had a common enemy, an enemy that they could only fight peacefully. The enemy became the government of the United States. What, are we going to go to arms against our own people? The old guys that just didn’t get it?,couldn’t do that, but what they could do was be the most rebellious bunch of brats in the history of man kind. This sparked the “Daisy Age” and with that sparked more joints, bongs , blunts, pipes, and anything a MF**** could get to puff from! Toss in music that made you feel and think, ease the pain, zone out, and inspire you all at the same time! That makes for a movement and within that movement is the movement of drugs and money. The comfort blanket for all those drugs, Is? yeah that’s right Marijuana. At the end of the day it’s a money making juggernaut with no end in sight.
Fast forward through the 70’s, it was a real funkadelic disco time. The super stars of soul music, base and funk along with a disco vibe of the Bee Gees and at night you’d quiet it down with Crystal Gayle’s Don’t It Make My Brown Eyes Blue? I was kid but I remember… good times, good times.
Then something happened…. THAT BEAT DROPPED! And not just any beat! The heartbeat of a sleeping giant! “Hip Hop was set out in the park” “We used to do it out in the Dark!” The age of the hustlers; The 80’s. This is when the game changed. With the emergence of Hip Hop stories of the ghetto and everything that was going on began to expose what was going on in the streets, and with that came an instruction manual on how to hustle. Young people started selling weed in every corner store, alley, and project hallway. The Jamaicans were known for having the best weed and they were bringing it in by the ton. Money was being made literally hand over fist it was the pass off. Back then weed came in a little yellow envelope and yes it was considered a nickel bag only this time it was five dollars! All over the U.S. weed was selling from coast to coast. From Venice Beach to the Jersey Shore marijuana was everywhere. In the 80’s it was coming in from the south and the coast was quite literally clear. The glamorous fantasy life portrayed on Miami Vice was far from the actual truth. Bundles of weed were coming in on ships , trucks, an would occasionally be dropped from the sky. Mexicans would bring it in underground in tunnels for Christ sake. Weed transactions were wracking in hundreds of millions of dollars every year. In those transactions lived a 90% chance that you would end up doing time for selling the “Sticky Icky” more men were being incarcerated at an alarming rate than ever before. Then when Crack hit the scene it got ten times worse. Up until 1981 the war on drugs was pretty much a small thing when Nixon started it. Basically a slap on the wrist, When Ronald Reagan decided to expand the reach of the drug war and his focus on criminal punishment the increase of incarcerated people went from 50,000 in 1980 to 200,000 in 1990. See what people didn’t know or understand is that the war on drugs was really the war on weed. Marijuana was and always will be selling more than every other drug in America combined. Although at a point in the 80’s some people fell back off of weed cause the music was telling us not to do it anymore ( I spoke about that in my last blog Marijuana & Music ). So yeah, there was a drop in marijuana sales. Nancy Reagan was telling kids to “Just Say No” easier said than done but at least someone was saying it. I guess it helped somewhat! It was the time of the hustlers and everyone was in on it. As we said goodbye to the 80’s and The 90’s began to flow in. Music made weed cool again.
Throughout the 90’s weed was making the Marijuana waves and the people were riding it big time! New strains started popping up, new ways of growing weed started popping up like Hydroponics, the art of growing plants in water. We used to be ready for that Hydro, it would give you the best high. Experimentation with weed, lead to experimentation with selling weed, which lead to Colorado deciding to be the first to sell recreational weed legally in 2012. After all, what was left to do? It was only increasing since the 90’s. Once Colorado did that, their state economy skyrocketed. Marijuana went from a million dollar hustle to a billion dollar one. Over $12 billion dollars in marijuana has been sold since 2014 and its expected to only grow. Personally I don’t see it slowing down no time soon. Today marijusna is a commodity for states that have legalized it. There are now over 32 states that have legalized marijuna and their economies have boomed . Marijuana growers and sellers are taxed sometimes up to 40%, after all,1you know the government gotta get their piece. Thats the real reason its going legal all over the country its all about the benjermins baby! So like the old saying goes. Make money, money! Make money, money, money!
( Read all Three of M&M series Blogs and get the full spectrum) enjoy… Oz