The campaign against Medical Marijuana (Cannabis) 1930–1937…or Why Harry Anslinger would have been dismissed from Court today

The campaign against Medical Marijuana (Cannabis) 1930–1937

Restrictions on Medical cannabis (Cannabis indica, often called “Indian Hemp” in documents before the 1940s) as a drug started in local laws in New York in 1860. This was followed by local laws in many other states and by state laws in the 1910s and 1920s. The federal Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906 regulated the labeling of patent medicines that contained “cannabis indica”. In 1925 United States supported regulation of “Indian hemp” as use as a drug, in the International Opium Convention.[6] Recommendations from the International Opium Convention inspired the work with the Uniform State Narcotic Act between 1925 and 1932.

Harry Anslinger had not been active in this process until approximately 1930.[7][8] Prior to the end of alcohol prohibition, campaigning for a new Prohibition against its use.

Anslinger had claimed that cannabis was not a problem, did not harm people, and “there is no more absurd fallacy” than the idea it makes people violent. His critics argue he shifted not due to objective evidence but self-interest due to the obsolescence of the Department of Prohibition he headed when alcohol prohibition ceased

Anslinger collected dubious anecdotes of marijuana causing crime and violence,(e.g. The Gore Files) and ignored contrary evidence such as doctor Walter Bromberg, who pointed out that substance abuse and crime are heavily confounded and that none of a group of 2,216 criminal convictions he examined were clearly done under marijuana’s influence,[9] or a discussion forwarded to him by the American Medical Association in which 29 of 30 pharmacists and drug industry representatives objected to his proposals to ban marijuana. One such statement claimed that the proposal was “Absolute rot. It is not necessary. I have never known of its misuse.”, although only the single dissenter was preserved in Bureau files.[10]

Anslinger sought and ultimately received, as head of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, an increase of reports about smoking of marijuana in 1936 that continued to spread at an accelerated pace in 1937. Before, smoking of marijuana had been relatively slight and confined to the Southwest, particularly along the Mexican border.

The Bureau first prepared a legislative plan to seek from Congress a new law that would place marijuana and its distribution directly under federal control. Second, Anslinger ran a campaign against marijuana on radio and at major forums.[11][12] His view was clear, ideological and judgmental:

By the tons it is coming into this country — the deadly, dreadful poison that racks and tears not only the body, but the very heart and soul of every human being who once becomes a slave to it in any of its cruel and devastating forms…. Marihuana is a short cut to the insane asylum. Smoke marihuana cigarettes for a month and what was once your brain will be nothing but a storehouse of horrid specters. Hasheesh makes a murderer who kills for the love of killing out of the mildest mannered man who ever laughed at the idea that any habit could ever get him….[13]

By using the mass media as his forum and receiving much support from yellow journalism publisher William Randolph Hearst,  Anslinger propelled the anti-marijuana sentiment from state level to a national movement….

The La Guardia Committee, promoted in 1939 by New York Mayor Fiorello La Guardia, was the first in-depth study into the effects of smoking marijuana. It systematically contradicted claims made by the U.S. Treasury Department that smoking marijuana resulted in insanity, and determined that “the practice of smoking marihuana does not lead to addiction in the medical sense of the word.”[28]Released in 1944, the report infuriated Anslinger, who was campaigning against marijuana, and he condemned it as unscientific.[29]

 

Harry Anslinger would have been dismissed from Court Today

Bloggers Note: Harry Anslinger enrolled at Altoona Business College at the age of 17. He followed his father in going to work for the Pennsylvania Railroad. In 1913, he was granted a furlough so he could enroll at Pennsylvania State College where he studied in a two-year associate degree program in business and engineering. Therefore be it known he had no Objective Foundation to substantiate any Opinion about Medical Cannabis the LaGuardia Committee produced as unscientific due to his formal lack of Capacity to formulate such Expert opinion for the Courts. He lacked any formal Medical or Scientific Capacity to make such claims in Court. His testimony would perhaps be admitted still as he did have DEA field experience but most certainly would have been challenged under Daubert. In addition, the Scientific Communities testimonies would have been admitted and found to be overwhelmingly substantial as those opinions were formed with proper Capacity to do so. Therefore, the Foundation in U.S. Law on which Prohibition of Medical Cannabis rests is unsubstantiated since 1993 due to lack of Capacity of those Expert Witnesses who gave testimony at the time. Today’s standards would admit testimony from those with Capacity to formulate such opinions to aid the court. Since the Daubert rulings no longer can Expert Witness without proper Capacity testify in Court. (Daubert 1993) Through the modern lens of Daubert Medical Cannabis Prohibition is not of today’s standards of Law and Order.

Source: Wiki: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harry_J._Anslinger