I was reading an interesting post over at Dr. Tom O’Connell: Pot Prohibitionâ€™s Ultimate Absurdity
…how could a policy as ludicrous and destructive as marijuana prohibition have been endorsed by the whole world? The answer turns out to be critically important, embarrassing, and even more absurd than the policy itself.
In 1937, the â€œreefer madnessâ€ fantasy of a single uneducated bureaucrat named Harry Jacob Anslinger, with a big assist from the Hearst Newspaper chain, became the basis of a deceptive tax law that had the net effect of subjecting all the products of the hemp plant to criminal prohibition. The excuse used to justify that legislative sleight-of-hand was both highly imaginative and totally bereft of pharmacological validation, even by the comparatively primitive standards of 1937. Most notably missing was any clinical research on the effects of either inhaled or orally ingested cannabis on humans; nor were there any economic or demographic data on the use of what was then a legal product listed in the US Pharmacopeia.
The whole post is a good read, and pretty much lays the entire thing at the feet of Anslinger (aided by Hearst, et al, of course).
So it got me thinking… and I thought I’d get my loyal readers involved:
- Would marijuana be illegal today if it wasn’t for Anslinger?
- If you could go back in time and talk with him (and maybe show him something?), what would you do/say? (no violence, now)
- (Particularly for the science fiction fans…) If marijuana had not been made illegal at the federal level, how would the world be different today?