From fostering crazy orgies, conversations with Satan to sheer insanity, in the early 20th century it seemed there was little that marijuana couldn’t do to ruin your life. This anti-reefer hysteria was, at least in part, the product of belligerent Federal Bureau of Narcotics commissioner Harry J. Anslinger’s “call to arms” campaign against the plant commencing in the 1930s. Thanks to his strategic use of mass media and emotionally jarring headlines steeped in racism, anti-marijuana propaganda spread from sea to shining sea, uniting an otherwise struggling and divided nation in a fight against the ills of nature.
The anti-marijuana fervor only escalated throughout the latter half of the century, and since Richard Nixon formally declared a war on drugs in 1971, the US government has spent around $1 trillion fighting–however nominally–the illegal drug industry. While Attorney General Eric Holder recently came out against this failed endeavor, it’s going to take a lot more than a few amendments to change a culture so fixated on the terror of a single plant.
All images above come from Weed Watch.