The initial decision to criminalize marijuana in 1937 wasn’t based on a study of the science and biology of addiction or pharmacology, but purely on politics and racism. Harry Anslinger, Commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics — precursor to today’s DEA — was a notorious racist and liar who based his opinions on marijuana on pure, raw racist stereotypes and who believed that marijuana was a sure gateway to violence, sedition and social discontent. It was Anslinger’s inflammatory lies which led to the passage of state marijuana laws as a component of Jim Crow and stoked the hype for propaganda films such as Marihuana: The Devil’s Weed and Reefer Madness.
As a follow-up to their wildly epic April 2nd event and their historic meeting with White House representives from the Office of National Drug Control Policy, DCMJ — the people who brought you legal weed in DC — are throwing a sequel to April 2 on May 20, the one-month anniversary of 4/20, to highlight the fact that Obama is late on descheduling cannabis, and to remind folks of the racism behind the 1937 marijuana ban which is still a major component of the War On Drugs.
And, here’s more of the wit and wisdom of Harry Anslinger…
11×15 inch medium-res color .jpg image, 680kb