On August 2nd, 1937 Congress enacted the Marihuana Tax Act, a law that eventually laid the foundation for the all-out prohibition of cannabis (both the female fruit-producing strain that we commonly refer to as pot and its male counterpart that contains virtually no THC known as hemp). The original language of the bill was penned by Harry Anslinger, a racist asshole and the director of the Federal Narcotics Bureau who was successful in rebranding a relatively benign herb into an evil weed that would lead to the extinction of white people.
To that end, he was instrumental in renaming the ages-old plant “marihuana” in an attempt to make it sound more exotic, less hemp-y, and to link it to “scary” Mexican immigrants. Anslinger also made overtly bigoted statements:
There are 100,000 total marijuana smokers in the US, and most are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos and entertainers. Their Satanic music, jazz and swing, result from marijuana usage. This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers and any others.
Although the prohibition of alcohol, a much more harmful drug, only lasted from 1920 to 1933, 75 years later, weed is still illegal.