In recent years, the United States has loosened restrictions on the commodification of marijuana. This move towards less strict policy counteracts much of the mainstream ideology surrounding marijuana during the 20th century. Such a shift in public opinion is at least partially attributable to the capitalist society itself. By analyzing the ways in which marijuana can be sublimated into capitalism, we can better understand how profit motivates today’s industries more than ethical and social circumstances. By comparing the circumstances of the 20th century, to the circumstances we are now presented with, the ways in which our legal system handles drug offenses are quite discernible. The US criminalizes people in order to prevent them from making a living outside of capitalism. President Nixon declared the “War on Drugs” to prevent the economically disenfranchised from surviving outside of the constraints of minimum wage. Since Nixon’s presidency, innovation and technology have made it possible for companies to begin profiting from marijuana. By taking the role of drug trafficking out of the hands of the disenfranchised, companies can become extremely profitable through advertisement and mass production. When marijuana is characterized as a product more so than an illicit substance, social perceptions change. These changing social perceptions are reflected in the media, through legislation, and in technological advancements.
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DeTamble, Mallory, "Marijuana and the Capitalist Agenda" (2023). Research Days Posters 2023. 137.