Before this lead my favorite conspiracy-in-advertising was “the four basic food groups” education campaign in all the public schools. Supposedly a way to teach kids about education, what most people didn’t know was that these educational posters were brought to us by the good folks at the Dairy Farmers Lobby, the Cattle Farmers Lobby, the Grain Farmers Lobby, and the Fruit Farmers Lobby. What was brought to kids in the name of education was really just a subtly disguised advertisement campaign for four specific products. As the economy changed, so did the ads. The lobbies got together and invented the food pyramid as a better educational plan to sell their crops in proper proportions.
So what was behind the anti-marijuana campaign? For some reason over the decades we’ve come to believe that marijuana use is immoral. It’s a pretty shallow rationale as it stands up to very little scrutiny. More immoral than beer? Less healthy than tobacco? More dangerous than uncontrolled handguns? I would guess the answer is “no” to each of these questions, but perhaps that whole discussion is moot. Perhaps the vilification of marijuana had nothing to do with recreational consumption of drugs at all. Although in the 80’s, one of the major contributors to the “Just Say No” campaign was Anheuser-Busch. It doesn’t take much logic to realize that the legalization of pot might eat into the sit-around-and-drink-beer time of Americans. But before beer companies started lobbying, the impetus for the vilification of pot had its roots in fabric rather than recreational substances. “DuPont saw hemp fiber as a threat to the acceptance of their own synthetic fibers. They financed the original plight to make marijuana illegal.” Could it be that DuPont really convinced us that pot is a dangerous drug to sell more fabric? I don’t know. Truthfully I didn’t have the time to find a quote from a reliable source, but it makes as much sense that DuPont would get behind “Just Say No” as it does that the cattle farmers would lobby to make meat an equal part of your diet as vegetables.
There’s food for thought.