Shortly before the House of Representatives approved a federal ban on marijuana in 1937, the Republican minority leader, Bertrand Snell of New York, confessed, "I do not know anything about the bill." The Democratic majority leader, Sam Rayburn of Texas, educated him. "It has something to do with something that is called marihuana," Rayburn said. "I believe it is a narcotic of some kind."
Seventy-five years later, writes Jacob Sullum, we are still living with the consequences of that ill-considered decision, which nationalized a policy that punishes peaceful people and squanders taxpayer money in a blind vendetta against a plant. Last week, Sullum says, voters in Colorado and Washington showed us the way out of this crazy cannabicidal crusade.