There have been many half-baked arguments made in favor of cannabis prohibition, but the one made by a Utah DEA agent in a recent hearing on medical marijuana has to be one of the strangest (and most Steinbeckian): what about the rabbits?
“I deal in facts. I deal in science,” agent Matt Fairbanks said, as he presented his anecdotal evidence about pothead bunnies while somehow managing to keep a straight face.
Fairbanks is a member of Utah’s Marijuana Eradication Team, and his tale of finding a stoned rabbit just languishing around a marijuana grow site was, how do I put it, interesting? “One of them refused to leave us, and we took all the marijuana around him, but his natural instincts to run were somehow gone,” he testified. Oh no. So medical marijuana should remain illegal in Utah because some rabbit might get high? Dude.
Although I enjoyed reading about Agent Fairbanks’ adventure, his isn’t the most fantastical story I have read. From the beginning of cannabis prohibition, agents and government officials have spun many a false yarn about the dangers of marijuana, many rooted in racism.
Harry Anslinger, the father of marijuana prohibition, was a master at using the spectre of marijuana to stir up racial fear. During his testimony to Congress in support of the Marihuana tax Act of 1937, he said:
“There are 100,000 total marijuana smokers in the US, and most are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos and entertainers. Their Satanic music, jazz and swing result from marijuana use. This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers and any others.”