album cover of 'Kaya'
Kaya, the name of one of Bob Marley's reggae albums
is a Jamaican word for cannabis, hemp, marijuana. The backcover
of this album shows a picture of a burning joint (by Neville Garrick).
The Japanese edition of Kaya was released with a different backcover,
so rabid was the anti-marijuana paranoia there.
Bob Marley has always defended this often maligned herb.
He equated condemnation of this natural herb with blasphemy.
How could a plant created by God be made illegal by humans?
"You mean they can tell God that it's not legal?" he once
asked a Canadian journalist. If growing cannabis is to be a
crime then by man's laws God who made all plants was a
criminal too. Bob was not surprized that people who smoke the
weed were persecuted by "Babylon", the ruling system,
reminding people: "Them crucify Christ, remember?"
One of Marley's greatest hits, "I Shot the Sheriff" (which
was made popular by Eric Clapton), describes the fate of a
marijuana grower hunted by a fanatical law enforcement
Sheriff John Brown always hate I,
Bob Marley was familiar with the issues. This first musical
superstar from the Third World went to jail for marijuana,
as did all three founding members of the Wailers.
He smoked a lot of grass. Some people who know only about his
untimely death and that he smoked marijuana would think that
this might be evidence for the harmfulness of this plant.
for what, I never know.
Everytime I plant a seed,
he said, kill it before it grow.
He said, kill them before they grow.
Few people know that
the cancer that lead to Marley's death was a brain tumor that
started out on his foot. It was first noticed when a football
(soccer) injury refused to heal. Bob was playing football for
hours a day. Maybe we should ban soccer? ;-) For religious
reasons Bob refused to have his toe amputated and the cancer
spread to other parts of his body. It is amazing that at his
young age he survived more than two years with his cancer.
It might have been because of his strict diet, the unorthodox
medical treatment he received by Dr. Issel in Bavaria, or it
might have been the cancer reducing effects of THC, the main
active substance in marijuana
a US government study that showed fewer cancers in THC-treated animals).
Let me assure you that I don't think smoking 10 fat joints a day
is particularly good for you, plus it's illegal. But whether
someone uses marijuana moderatly (as most of its users do) or
whether they use it more intensively, by far the greatest risk
associated with it today is to do with the fact that it's illegal
and not with any immediate harm from the drug itself.
When people are caught they go to jail, get kicked out school,
lose their jobs, etc. not because the drug makes them do bad
things to others (it doesn't)
but because drugs laws that were drawn up many years ago by
ill-informed and prejudiced politicians brand them as evil criminals,
as bad as people who hurt or rob someone. An otherwise law-abiding
person who hurts no one is considered as bad as a rapist in the
eyes of the police and the courts only because he might grow or
possess a natural plant that was grown legally for thousands of
years. This doesn't make sense.
One in four Americans, one in five Germans and one in fifty Japanese
is a criminal by virtue of having smoked cannabis. The law is not
working and it is doing more damage than it can ever prevent.
It should be changed.
When you ever find yourself in a position where the forces of reason
and the forces of habit and convention collide you will find that
reason usually loses out. Most people will hold arguments for
maintaining the status quo up to a much lower standard of proof than they
require of anyone challenging the status quo. A long time ago
marijuana could be banned because most people thought the law
would not hurt any of their friends. But now that the law has been
around for many years and large numbers of people get hurt by its
enforcement, it is still difficult to convince enough people that
it was a mistake.
All the original reasons given for the ban have
been exposed as lies. Nobody any longer belives that marijuana turns
ordinary people into bloodthirsty lunatics. We know that most of
its users do not move on to harder drugs. It is safer than many
freely sold medicines and even some foods, let alone the legal
drugs alcohol and tobacco that kill more people every week than
all dangerous illegal drugs do in
a whole year. We need a drug policy that's more than a list of
banned substances and penalties. The only drugs policy that will
work relies on information and compassion for our fellow human beings.
By popularizing reggae music and its marijuana-celebrating lyrics,
Bob Marley has prompted many people to question what they have been
told, to take a fresh look at the evidence. Bob used music to reach
and teach, to spread the message of liberty. Whether you may come to
the same conclusions as Bob did or not, have the courage to take a fresh
look at beliefs that people take for granted. Read the information
that's out there. Study the arguments. Be bold enough to judge
Bob Marley & The Wailers
Hemp in Japan
Kaya at Amazon.com
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