Why is marijuana illegal?

This site got a huge spike yesterday with 49,986 pageviews (I usually get around 2,000 a day, which is pretty respectable for a single issue blog). The reason for the spike – a very healthy Digg of my Why Is Marijuana Illegal? page.
I’m grateful for the interest, and it was a great day for it because it fed off the Michael Phelps issue as well. Additionally, there will be increased activity for the next week or so as other sites take it from Digg.
That page has had other big spikes, along with almost constant referrals from Stumbleupon. And, due in part to the efforts of some wonderful drug warrant ambassadors, links to the page show up on messageboards all over the world (the page has had visitors from over 150 countries).
In fact, Why is marijuana illegal? is by far the most visited page on this site. Since I started using Google Analytics in June, 2007, that page has accounted for over 62% of all page views (the front page of the blog runs around 19%). And since most visitors to the Why is marijuana illegal? page are unique visitors, it’s safe to say that well over one million separate individuals have read that page.
But why? I wrote that page back in December, 2003. It was intended to be interesting and informative, but never intended to be a scholarly study (it’s all sourced, but not footnoted) or original research.
Because of the difficulty in finding definitive corroboration for some of the detail, and contradictory sources, there have been controversies over certain facts (and I’ve corrected or clarified a couple of minor things over time). But the vast majority of the readers don’t care about that at all.
So why does it continue to get such an incredible response?
I’ve been trying to get a handle on it, and I’m not sure I know the answer, but I have my guesses.
You see, for most of us, while interesting, this is all old news. We know how government works and we know the history.
However I think most of these folks were raised on D.A.R.E. and other government propaganda, yet they enjoyed smoking pot and knew from first hand experience that it wasn’t the evil drug they’d been told. Without much exposure to drug policy reform, they had a contradiction they couldn’t resolve. They wanted to believe they were right about pot, but still thought that the government might have had legitimate reasons to make it illegal that they just didn’t understand.
Reading Why Is Marijuana Illegal? immediately puts to rest any notion that the government knew what it was doing when it criminalized pot. And the arbitrary and capricious of that action makes them realize that there’s no reason why marijuana couldn’t just as legitimately be made legal again someday.
And that’s a huge relief.
But that’s just my guess. What do you think? Why is it so popular?

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One Response to Why is marijuana illegal?

  1. Asher says:

    Your guess is correct in my case. I started smoking MJ and shortly began to wonder why in the world something like this is illegal.
    I was first brought to this website via google and found all that I was looking for. Its a gold mine of information because you can’t find it in m(any) books or all in one place on the internet. I have used the page as a refrence for a couple of school assignments. Its popular cuz its the truth.

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