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29/05/2014 11:50 BST | Updated 28/07/2014 06:59 BST

American Drug History X: an allegory for today

Once upon a time near the start of the previous century a drug named "Marihuana" was fast becoming the scourge of certain states of America. It was turning up everywhere. Turning people insane. Zombifying innocent masses into drooling stupors capable of murderous ambition. It was sneaking into teapots and cigarettes while backs were turned (or so middle classes would tell authorities). What was going on! What was this substance that had penetrated American society so violently and entirely? Who were these friendly agents of Beelzebub yanking at the industrial seams of American virility, sobriety and morality?

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It was decided by democratic decree - two people in a bar somewhere - that this was clearly the work of Mexicans. Thankfully it was easy enough to spot 'them there others from across the border'. The incredulity and defiance was feverish. How dare they bring their dirty ways and wares onto innocent American soil! Their dirty Marihuana from Tijuana. This would simply not do. Border committees were set up to politely assess and discuss the matter with their Mexican counterparts.

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But from the rancid potent plumes of da Ganja clouding over veritable American industry weaved the smokey tail of a common story. For, prior to narcotic and alcohol prohibition, the Great Depression, the Great War and all manner of mires of the early 1900s that seemingly broke the common man's mores, Fluid Extract Cannabis (a liquid form of "Marihuana") and ilk had been proudly propagated and championed by America's finest medical associations and pharmaceuticals. 'Solving a whole manner of society's ills and ailments'. Medical bottles would proclaim 'American! Cannabis!'. [Home grown stuff here, not like your South American muck!].

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A particular vocal proponent, Parke-Davis (above), one of America's oldest and largest drug makers, was obviously distraught about legislation criminalising its key 'Marihuana'-based fare. And oh did they lobby vigorously.

But fast forward 100 years to 2014 as the world's two great drug manufacturers Pfizer and Astra Zeneca push and pull to create one super-organism to cure the world's ills through this or that pill (drug addiction-related illnesses being core) and there lies a bitter irony. Parke-Davis (above; the biggest player flooding middle class bathrooms at the time) was a major subsidiary of today's clean-living white-collar uber-conglomerate cleanser of the possessed and dispossessed...

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Epilogue: I

Coerced immigration across the border was the cornerstone of a budding young America in its industrial phases. Mexican folk flocked to the USA to fill new service labour opportunities. Not to sell 'da Sinsemilla' en mass.

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Epilogue: II

The pharmaceutical industry and medical associations did more to sell the benefits of 'Marihuana' into the American psyche than any Mexican or any other 'other' at the time.

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THE END.

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