Jacob Sullum at Hit and Run has the story.
At a May 3 press conference calling attention to what he described as “growing and compelling evidence…that regular marijuana use can contribute to depression, suicidal thoughts, and schizophrenia,” federal drug czar John Walters presented the parents of a Colorado Springs 15-year-old, Christopher Skaggs, who was caught smoking pot with friends behind his school in January 2004 and committed suicide that July. The press and public were encouraged to believe that marijuana made him do it. But as the Marijuana Policy Project notes (in a press release that’s not online yet [ed. now it is]), it turns out the teenager tested negative for cannabis at the time of his death but positive for alcohol. What’s more, at least four drug tests conducted in the months before his death did not find any traces of pot. […]
Add to this, the Drug Czar’s implications regarding Jeff Weise (the Red Lake shooter), and he’s becoming more and more like his hero Harry J. Anslinger every day.
Anslinger in 1961, looking back at his reefer madness career:
“Much of the most irrational juvenile violence and that has written a new chapter of shame and tragedy is traceable directly to this hemp intoxication. A gang of boys tear the clothes from two school girls and rape the screaming girls, one boy after the other. A sixteen-year-old kills his entire family of five in Florida, a man in Minnesota puts a bullet through the head of a stranger on the road; in Colorado husband tries to shoot his wife, kills her grandmother instead and then kills himself. Every one of these crimes had been proceeded [sic] by the smoking of one or more marijuana “reefers.” As the marijuana situation grew worse, I knew action had to be taken to get the proper legislation passed.
I think Walters is channeling Anslinger.