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Anslinger's Folly: A Brief History of Marijuana Propaganda and Criminalization (Continued)

In 1937 F. La Guardia was the mayor or New York when he publicly declared that the majority of the United States citizens did not want the Marijuana laws enforced and were resisting enforcement. Therefore the only thing to do was to change the law. He was skeptical of the government's claims and commissioned 31 impartial scientists to research the herb. After 6 years of medical and sociological research the team concluded that Marijuana does not cause violence, anti- social behaviors or uncontrollable sexual urges and that it does not alter one's basic personality structure. In fact the research dispelled every negative effect claimed by Henry Anslinger. When the report was released Anslinger was furious! He used the government's press influence to discredit the report and everyone involved in the development of the report. He destroyed every copy he could get his hands on. He ordered his cronies to dig up dirt on anyone that disagreed with him. He targeted the music and entertainment industry which he felt to be a degenerate moral influence upon America. Hollywood surrendered and gave Anslinger control over all movie scripts that mentioned drugs or may be morally objectionable in Anslinger's opinion. He scraped all movie scripts he could get ahold of.

1951 Senate Crime Hearings Anslinger backs proposal to increase penalties. Anslinger said that increased penalties were needed because behind every narcotics peddler there was a communist preparing to overthrow US government. No politician wanted to look soft on communism. The proposal passed.

1951 The Boggs Act Anslinger was on a roll. He introduced the Boggs Act to impose mandatory sentences for drug offenses and put Marijuana in the same category as heroin. This also passed without question.

1956 The Narcotics Control Act This act created mandatory sentences of 2-10 years for the first Marijuana possession offense. After this act passed a second possession charge in Missouri could land you in prison for life.

1961 New York City United Nations Anslinger went to the United Nations in attempt to bring together over 100 countries to consolidate drug agreements. Another success. Countries are still bound by this agreement.

1963 Anslinger retired. He was presented an award by President John F. Kennedy for his dedicated efforts to combat drugs.

The 1960s was a decade of change. Not because of Anslinger' s retirement but because the country was changing. Events such as Watergate, (a Nixon White House scandal), and the war was on the news daily news. Dissent was spreading across the county. The government saw need to change their propaganda to focus more upon the youth of the country. Remember the Vietnam War? I know some of you do and you people know what I'm talking about.

1968 Presidential Campaign Nixon built his campaign on restoring law and order in the United States. He won the nomination and the presidency. During his time in office he feared looking soft on crime.

Operation Intercept Early in his first term Nixon initiated 'Operation Intercept'€ and put 2000 customs agents on the Mexican border with orders to stop Marijuana from coming into the United States. This project failed and was abandoned about 3 weeks after it began. This only increased Nixon's determination to eliminate Marijuana. Marijuana arrests skyrocketed in the United States. Most arrests were of young middle class Americans. After 10,000 young people were arrested in one city in one year the parents started asking why their kids were in jail and questioning the government's claims regarding Marijuana. (During this time a young man named Don Cole returned from Vietnam with several medals of honor. Don had not been in the United States long when he was accused of selling less that one ounce of Marijuana and was sentenced to 50 years in federal prison). The government continued to support increased penalties for marijuana offenses.

1969 Senate Hearings On Marijuana Legislation Congress passed the 'Controlled Substances Act'€. This eliminated minimum sentencing and reduced penalties for Marijuana possession. Government propaganda continues.

The National Commission On Marijuana and Drug Use: Due to pressure from parents and other citizens Nixon was forced to prove his stance on Marijuana. He spent tons of money and put together the 'National Commission On Marijuana and Drug Use'€ who's job was to prove the government's claims about Marijuana.

The Official Report of the National Commission On Marijuana and Drug Use: The report dispelled every claim made by the government regarding Marijuana and recommended law reform. Nixon was furious! He threw the report away never even reading it.

This mess has become much too lengthy and must end. If the above information has given you the munchies for more check out our video library. Part of the videos belong to Henry County NORML and part of them are from my personal collection. You may check out the HCNC videos, one at a time, free of charge but I am not so free with my collection. You still may see them. For more information contact me at (660) 885-8880 or e-mail

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