We may very well be living in the age of legal marijuana. Twenty states allow the use of medical marijuana and two states fully legalized it for recreational use. Other states like New York and Oregon seem to be headed in the same direction. But marijuana is still illegal under federal law and is likely to remain so, despite Attorney General Eric Holder’s recent announcement that he would support Congressional efforts to reform marijuana laws. To help make sense of the conflicting messages, host Maria Hinojosa spoke with drug war historian and author Kathleen Frydl about why marijuana is so vilified. Frydl says legalization efforts are halted by the US’s chronic addiction to the drug war.
Kathleen Frydl is an Assistant Professor of History at UC Berkeley. She received her PhD in history from the University of Chicago. She is the author of “The Drug Wars in America, 1940-1973,” which explains how the federal approach to drug policy changed from largely being about regulating doctors and pharmacists and raising revenue to the punitive approach we see today. Her first book, “The GI Bill,” won the 2009 Louis Brownlow book award from the National Academy of Public Administration.