“What’s up Craig, What’s up Smokey? What ya’ll smoking on?”
If you’re a movie buff like myself you know exactly what movie, down to the character and scene I got this line from. But the idea of an unemployed young Black man who smokes marijuana depicts all young Black men in that image (in the eyes of others.) Often times we are stuck in certain habits that we do not stop to think what the message may send.
But what message does marijuana send exactly? That marijuana smokers are thugs, murderers, violent, bums or drug addicts?
I say forget the stereotypes and do some research. The use of marijuana can be and in some cases are used for religious purposes dating back to the second millennium B.C. according to religiousfacts.com. Ancient Chinese religions, the Scythian people group of Central Asia, ancient Germanic paganism, and Hinduism are some of the groups that used marijuana as part of a ritual. But the most well known modern religion that involves marijuana for spiritual use is the Jamaican-born Rastafarian movement.
Medical texts from 100 A.D. recommend marijuana for medical purposes, but the ancient Chinese also taught followers that if the plant were consumed over a long period of time the user would develop the ability to speak to spirits. The text prescribes consuming marijuana on a daily basis for one’s general health; however, if one desires to commune with spirits then it’s recommended that it should be consumed for 100 consecutive days.
The Greek historian Herodotus (484-425 B.C.) wrote that the Scythians used marijuana in sacred ceremonies. The ceremony consisted of making a booth by fixing in the ground three sticks and stretching around them woolen felts, they then put a number of red-hot stones into the ground, and then add some hemp-seed (It is believed that what Herodotus called the “hemp-seed” is the flowering top of the cannabis plant). They take some of this hemp-seed and throw it on the red-hot stones; which makes smokes and vapors according to religiousfacts.com
The Scythians didn’t necessarily smoke the plant but did make use of it.
In Hinduism they use Bhang, a drink that contains marijuana flowers, which is believed to cleanse users of their sins and avoid hell.
Many devotees of the Rastafarian religion believe marijuana is the Tree of Life mentioned in the first book of the Holy Bible Genesis. Many followers also believe that marijuana aids in the worship of God, Bible study and meditation.
Although not all adherents use marijuana, most Rastafarians believe it will bring a person closer to God.
Even though marijuana started out for good use, as anything else that becomes of the world, people find a way to portray a less-than positive image, making it out to be something negative.
But who is to say? Who gives one individual the right to stereotype an individual for using such a plant that gives some a better perspective of life or creative inspiration, or even gives them a better relationship with a higher power?
Some frowned upon the usage of Marijuana. Many consider it such a sinful credence that you’re sure enough to go to hell for it, when that’s definitely not the case.
If people can put their crucifix, Holy Bible and Koran down to realize the world is far from perfect, one can grasp a better understanding of this ultimately treacherous plant!
Lacey Mayo is a senior mass communication major from New Orleans.