With progressions in marijuana legislation, the future seems extremely bright for a reality where common citizens don’t have to live in the shadows any longer.
Since the early 20th century, marijuana has been made to cast a long, dark shadow over those who have any association with it. Many people are unaware at the origins of marijuana criminalization and how it came to be.
In 1929, Harry Angslinger, had returned from his international work for more than a decade where he helped curtail the rising drug trade and global trafficking operations. In this time, he helped shape policy surrounding cannabis and other drugs. Some of this policy is still in place to this very day and helped construct the model for other nations’ illegal narcotics policy.
Upon his return, Angslinger was appointed as commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics and immediately got to work.
With alcohol prohibition being an apparent failure and destined for repeal, Harry Angslinger saw an opportunity to combine the fear and ideals of a nation to help build the foundation for his vision. With racism still playing a large part in American culture, Angslinger used the notions of many to be the frontrunner in his attempt to demonize anything and everything surrounding marijuana.
Aslinger parlayed racism and fear into a tightly wrapped package to deliver his propaganda to the public with the help of William Randolph Hearst.
In a collection of files researching incidents related to minorities and marijuana, The Gore Files, some findings were detailed as so by Harry Angslinger:
“There are 100,000 total marijuana smokers in the U.S., and most are Negros, Hispanics, Filipinos, and entertainers. Their Satanic music, Jazz and Swing, result from marijuana usage. This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negros, Entertainers, and many others.“
Many speculate that an additional driving force to Aslinger’s enthusiastic efforts to eradicate marijuana was a collaborative partnership with William Randolph Hearst and Lommant DuPont. William Randolph Hearst was billionaire media mogul and an outspoken racist. Lommant DuPont was the owner of DuPont Chemicals.
Hearst owned vast acreages of timber in addition to his media outlets and DuPont had just recently entered into a multimillion dollar deal to partner with Hearst in exclusively using his forests for production in rope and paper. The number one threat to this deal was the hemp industry. Proving to provide stronger and cheaper resources for competitors in the same industry as DuPont.
William Randolph Hearst quietly collaborated with Aslinger to use Hearst’s media resources to distribute propaganda to the general public and create a genuine fear surrounding the entire subject of marijuana.
Harry Aslinger held office for 32 years and in 1962 at 70 years old, Aslinger was required to retire.
His ideals and emotions involving illegal drugs shaped the way our country’s legal system prosecutes crimes involving marijuana. Also, his efforts conditioned generations of American families to view marijuana and those who use it as the worst kind of crime and criminals. Causing countless numbers of professionals, parents, senior citizens, and normal every-day citizens to live a life shrouded in secrecy for enjoying a substance that has been used in society with medicinal and recreational value since the 4000 B.C.