How to Outlaw a Plant

How absolutely absurd is it that the cannabis plant is illegal?! Consider another plant that actually causes all sorts of trouble for mankind. A common garden flower that has lead to mass shootings and the killing of entire populations. That plant is the common hosta and it has caused an all out war between hungry deer and suburban man. But we wouldn’t ever dare to prohibit the propagation, use, or sale of hostas would we? And since we wouldn’t restrict people from growing them, and obviously deer don’t recognize our laws (so we can’t make them illegal for them to eat), the only solution we can seem to come up with is to kill them.


Many cities have now been making it a habit to hire sharpshooters to perform annual deer culls, in order to thin the herd of deer that live on the outskirts of the city, in the suburbs where garden plants are plentiful. Instead of recommending that the people who live in these areas simply use deer resistant foliage for landscaping, deer are just killed off for no good reason, other than because of the fact that they are perceived as a nuisance. But some aren’t too comfortable to this approach to deer population control, and it seems oddly similar to other situations where certain ethnicities of humans have been deemed unwanted or undesirable.


Now it may seem like a stretch to compare the seemingly innocuous hosta to the cannabis plant, or to liken human class warfare to culling animal populations. But if you think of it in terms of social classes between humans and amongst other species as well, it really would be just as absurd to try and make the hosta illegal as it was to criminalize cannabis. After all, the hosta is a source of sustenance for deer, as cannabis has been for humans for many thousands of years. Both plants are very nutritious and the deer seem to like eating hostas just about as much as humans enjoy cannabis.


Let’s take a look back at the history of cannabis prohibition now, for a little more insight. First of all, back in the early days of prohibition, “the problem” was immigrants from Mexico who came to America and brought “marihuana” with them. Just as deer are punished for consuming garden plants, these immigrants were feared and abused as well, for using a plant that was already commonplace in America, yet known under another name. According to an article by Dr. Malik Burnett and Amanda Reiman published on the DrugPolicy.org website:

“Mexican immigrants referred to this plant as ‘marihuana’. While Americans were very familiar with ‘cannabis’ because it was present in almost all tinctures and medicines available at the time, the word ‘marihuana’ was a foreign term. So, when the media began to play on the fears that the public had about these new citizens by falsely spreading claims about the ‘disruptive Mexicans’ with their dangerous native behaviors including marihuana use, the rest of the nation did not know that this ‘marihuana’ was a plant they already had in their medicine cabinets.

The demonization of the cannabis plant was an extension of the demonization of the Mexican immigrants. In an effort to control and keep tabs on these new citizens, El Paso, TX borrowed a play from San Francisco’s playbook, which had outlawed opium decades earlier in an effort to control Chinese immigrants. The idea was to have an excuse to search, detain and deport Mexican immigrants. That excuse became marijuana. This method of controlling people by controlling their customs was quite successful, so much so that it became a national strategy for keeping certain populations under the watch and control of the government.”


Imagine now, that if a media campaign was started today, demonizing both suburban deer and their favorite garden plant, the hosta (which would probably be referred to as funkia, a scarier yet more generic name), what associations people might start to make. It could easily be exaggerated to make the deer out to be ravenous beasts with an insatiable appetite for funkia, which increases steroid levels within their systems and causes them to destroy lawns and local flora. Suburbanites would become simultaneously furious and frightened of this horrible situation. They may even call for the complete extermination of the white-tailed deer species. But, of course, a more rational approach would be to simply outlaw their favorite food source and substance of choice, funkia…or the once enjoyable and beautiful hosta plant.


This whole situation would be no more absurd than the situation we have now found ourselves in, with regard to the legal status of the cannabis plant. How could we ever allow for plant to be so restricted and even made illegal? Obviously it has not kept it from growing, and it doesn’t keep people from cultivating and using it. Just like the deer who enjoy our garden plants and utilize them for sustenance, humans will also continue to use cannabis even under threat of persecution and prosecution. Let’s hope that some day soon cannabis will be as common and accepted as the hosta…though the deer would probably eat your cannabis plants too if they were used for landscaping!


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About Evan Farmer (81 Articles)
Father of four beautiful boys, the first two of which are twins...husband, artist, writer, barista, and a reluctant entrepreneur; my wife Koren and I own Cuppa - Handcrafted Coffee and Espresso Creations, which is located in downtown Jackson, MI. I'm also a freelance writer and WordPress web developer, a bicycle enthusiast and an avid gardener.
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