We spoke to Barney Warf, a geography professor at Kansas University who has recently had a paper published on the history of cannabis, about why marijuana legalization is so important to him.

Bud and Breakfast: Barney, you are a geography professor right? Why is it that you have ventured into the realm of cannabis and the plant’s history?

Barney Warf: Correct, I am a geography professor, but I have been interested in cannabis for a number of years. I have enjoyed smoking pot for a long time, and strongly believe that it should be legal for a person, such as myself, to do so.

Bud and Breakfast: Why does cannabis legalization matter so much to you?

Barney Warf: For me, this is a civil rights issue. Cannabis was not deemed an illegal substance in the United States for any good scientific or medical reason. All these decisions were based on political and racist agendas, and that is enough reason alone for reconsideration of the legal status of weed.

Bud and Breakfast: In your research paper, which was published in Geographical Review late last year, you referred to the illegal status of marijuana as a “historical anomaly,” can you explain what you mean by this?

Barney Warf: Yes, cannabis has been used by humans for thousands of years, and it is only in the last century that its use has been considered an offense. There is evidence dating back as far as 3,000 B.C. to show that pot was used by early humans, and we also know that it was thought of as a most prestigious herb by most. It is a historical anomaly that marijuana has been pushed into a illegal status and that is has been given such a bad reputation. For the majority of human existence, we have looked to the cannabis plant with respect and admiration.

Bud and Breakfast: What do you think that legalization should look like?

Barney Warf: It needs to be regulated. I do not believe that cannabis should be used by teenagers or children unless there is a very distinct medical reason. Marijuana use by minors should be strongly discouraged.

It needs to be respected. Anything can be abused when it is not used with respect, and the same is true for marijuana. Responsible use should be encouraged, and if weed were legal, this type of regulation would be much easier. People need education on how to consume carefully and respectfully, and when a substance is illegal, nobody can talk about this type of thing.

Cannabis should also be taxed as a luxury good. There needs to be thought out and considerate rules in place as to where and when it can be consumed. Really, there is a lot that regulation could help with if the drug were legal.

Reporter’s note:

I was interested in speaking with Barney Warf as soon as read his research paper. What the history of cannabis really demonstrates, is that the current legal status of the drug is bogus. If cannabis was made illegal in America on a racist agenda, than surely keeping it so is unethical. Another thing that Warf pointed out, was the important observation that racism still accompanies many marijuana arrests. In this day and age, race should not be a factor.

When we look at why pot is illegal and how weed has been scandalized over the past century, returning marijuana to it’s respected status should be a priority, and something that anyone—cannabis consumer or otherwise—can get behind.

Keep an eye out for Barney Warf, as he has a lot to say about the legalization of marijuana, and is someone who I believe can provide information that will show even the staunchest of non-believer that cannabis has no business being illegal.

-Tabitha Farrar

How do you think the cannabis industry will change? Do you think it should be legal and regulated?
Let us know in the comments.

Leave a Reply