Mescal beans, at least what are called mescal beans, aren't really psychoactive. However there is reference to them in some drug literature, though its been found they were just named for another bean that no one seems to know what it is. Brugmasia and Datura are legal, they grow everywhere, I have one in my garden, but the psychoactive nature of these plants is not very attractive to most people (3 days of not knowing who or where you are, talking to people who aren't there and leaving you at the whim to anybody who tells you to do something. In some countries people blow it into the faces of others and make them empty their bank accounts.) Nightshade is more of a poison than it is a psychoactive.
That said, there are plenty of psychoactive plants that remain legal. San Pedro cactus contains trace amounts of mescaline, the same compound found in Peyote. Countless grasses, trees, vines and seeds contain DMT, which can easily be extracted, but which is a Schedule 1 substance. Even the human body contains DMT, and the Colorado River Toad excretes a venom of 5-meo-dmt. Its hard to make a frog illegal. Morning Glory seeds and Hawaian Baby Woodrose seeds contain the alkaloid LSA, a close analogue to LSD, these are also legal and can even be found at Walmart. Salvia is legal in many states as well.
Not to mention all the synthetic research chemicals that are in a legal grey area, due to there just being too many of them popping up for legislature to catch up with.
To get to the point, the reason why marijuana, and many of the scheduled substances are illegal right now has absolutely nothing to do with its effect on the human body or health. In the long long time ago, William Randolf Hearst had a big golden castle with olympic pools and lavishly decorated rooms (I've been there, its pretty crazy) all because of his business of printing paper and making cotton. At some point in the late 20s, early 30s, a device was made that could turn the tough fibers of hemp into paper and fabric, even concrete and fuel (the first car Henry Ford ever made was made entirely out of hemp, lighter than fiberglass and stronger than steel, and it ran entirely from the oil of hemp seeds). The paper and fabrics were also far more effecient, using the whole plant rather than the tiny percentage of the tree that actually goes into paper.
Hearst also owned the newspapers at the time, and he knew that if hemp products caught on, he might have to sell one of his solid golden pianos, so he teamed up with Harry J Anslinger and began the propaganda campaign of yellow journalism (which still holds on with some people to this day) to make cannabis illegal. Anslinger's fight was different, it was about getting minorities out of the country so decent white men could keep jobs. Mexicans were bringing in marihuana, blacks brought cocaine, and the asians brought opium, while the white men favored alcohol. In order to fight the immigrants, they made up claims about these substances, saying marijuana would make white women have sex with black jazz musicians, and a direct quote being that "Marijuana makes the ****** think he's as good as the white man."
Realize that these were much different times, and there was no internet, so everybody believed what they read in the papers Hearst owned. This is how the whole Reefer Madness craze began. Stories were fabricated and believed, just because nobody knew any better, and there wasn't anywhere near the amount of research that we have now about these substances.
Fast forward to the 1960's. For the past two decades, psychedelics had begun to be researched by scientists all over the country. They believed it was a discovery more important and as earth shattering as nuclear weapondry. Controlled tests were being done showing their amazing ability to increase mental function, aid in mentally unfit patients, and in understanding their symptoms. They had think tanks set up where a group of scientists would take LSD and begin working on a project in whatever field they were interested in, architecture, mathematics, art, biology, and they all showed immense breakthroughs in their work. DNA was actually discovered under the influence of LSD.
Eventually though, it wasn't just the scientists who has access to these powerful chemicals. Men like Timothy Leary from Harvard believed that everyone should have this experience, and began giving it to his students. By the 60's, LSD and other psychedelics could be found on the street, and with the pressure of the country during the Vietnam war, many of these drug users began to protest the government. This is when it became a threat, in 1970 an act was passed that not only regulated these drugs as Schedule 1 substances (meaning having no medical value, which has been proven untrue) and even made it illegal for scientists to continue their research on these drugs.
After 40 years of a dark age in psychological and psychopharmalogical research, finally the research has picked up, and in recent years these drugs have been found to do many amazing things that no one at the time even knew. They are currently being used for PTSD, alcoholism and addiction, anxiety and depression, and as a way for dying cancer patients to cope with death.
Sorry for the huge rant on drug history. If you're looking for some reason in the current drug laws, you're not going to find any. They are arbitrary and pointless, and only serve to create criminal industries. I'm happy to see that things are finally starting to change, even if its really really slowly. To think this prohibition is nearing its hundred year mark, when psychoactives have been used religiously for all of human existence (it used to be manditory for you to undergo a psychedelic trip or an ordeal poison for you to be considered an adult or man.)
· 7 years ago