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Friday, February 10, 2023

Harry J. Anslinger's role in the beginnings of cannabis prohibition, explained.

Harry J. Anslinger was a key figure in the early stages of cannabis prohibition in the United States. He served as the first commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics (FBN) from 1930 to 1962, and was a vocal advocate for the criminalization of cannabis.

Anslinger played a significant role in shaping public perception of cannabis by using sensationalized stories, racist rhetoric, and misinformation to spread fear about the drug and link it to violent crime and social unrest. He claimed that cannabis was a dangerous drug that caused people to become violent and commit heinous acts, and he worked to convince lawmakers and the public that it should be illegal.

Through his leadership of the FBN, Anslinger worked to enforce the newly enacted Marihuana Tax Act of 1937, which effectively banned the use, sale, and possession of cannabis in the United States. He also worked to expand international drug control efforts, and helped to establish the United Nations' Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs in 1961, which aimed to coordinate international efforts to control drugs.

While Anslinger's campaign to criminalize cannabis was successful, his methods and motivations have been widely criticized. Many historians and drug policy experts argue that his campaign was driven by racism, anti-immigrant sentiment, and a desire for personal power and prestige, rather than a genuine concern for public health and safety.

Despite his controversial legacy, Anslinger's role in the early stages of cannabis prohibition remains significant, and his efforts to criminalize the drug had far-reaching and lasting effects on drug policy and public perception of cannabis.

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