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Anti-Marijuana Propaganda from the Mid-20th Century

marijuana propaganda

For over 70 years Marijuana has been illegal in the United States.  In that time, the powers-that-be have used many forms of propaganda to maintain their control over people’s fear of cannabis in order to prevent the reforms happening today.  Initially, the fear and hatred of marijuana was stirred up by Henry J. Anslinger and his cunning use of racism and bigotry.  Anslinger and William Randolph Hearst (Hearst publishing) preyed upon the feelings of the white majority and ideas of miscegenation (white women + not-white men).  They also made sure people feared a minority uprising, led by unstoppable drugged-out berserker pot-heads.  To this day there are still people who fear this, and push for continuing anti-marijuana legislation.  However, one fear cannot be stoked continuously for 70 years.  As time went by new fears were co-opted and put to use for the war on drugs.

Cannabis and hemp were made illegal in the 1930’s, but hemp was then re-allowed in World War 2 because of its industrial use.  After the war ended the ban was reinstated and something else was needed to enforce it.  Enter the threat to National Security.  That’s right, after the Nazis were defeated and ideas of Superior Races were less popular the country needed something else to unify it.  America had a new enemy… Communism!  After the war, Anslinger continued to consolidate power into the government apparatus that would eventually become the DEA.  With Senator Hale Boggs as his partner, President Harry Truman was convinced that drugs were being utilized by Communist China to subvert Americans and undermine our democracy.  In 1951 Truman signed the Boggs Act which imposed strict penalties for violating the import/export laws pertaining to drugs. Part of these penalties were tough mandatory minimum prison sentences.  In 1961, Anslinger had JFK used the US influence at the UN to push for an anti-drug convention that eventually saw over 100 countries agree to make marijuana illegal.  It would not be the last time that national security would be used as a scapegoat for anti-drug sentiment.  All of this helped build the reaction to the counterculture of the 1960’s and 70’s.

In the 1980’s and 90’s, most anti-drug PSA’s (Public Service Announcement) were focused on the negative effects of drugs on the mind, body and social ties.  Anybody remember the “This is your brain on drugs” video with the smashed egg?  Well, after the terror attacks of September 11, that type of ad moved to the back burner in favor of a terror and drugs cocktail.  Many drugs are produced and exported by terror-supporting organizations (not going to debate that here) but once again cannabis was also targeted in these ads.  So the teenager buying a bag from his dealer (which was probably grown domestically, in some backwood) is now helping Al-Qaeda to blow up airplanes and shoot marines.  One particular PSA shows two men debating the truth of this.  The skeptic says he doesn’t believe it, and the other guy says “It’s true,” repeatedly until the other man is convinced. There’s no evidence offered, or even a counterargument. He maintains his position and eventually the other guy is converted.  As a 30-second tv spot makes a strong emotional impression, which is the crux of most propaganda.  Facts are distorted in order to evoke an emotional response, which has been proven to create a stronger impression than just a factual argument… so far.

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Propaganda, Hemp’s Enemy


“I am not really a chicken, you are a poultry.”  For individuals individuals not of sufficient age to possess observed that Public Service Announcement, individuals closing words were effective inducements towards the youth of the usa to steer clear of Marijuana.  Using the voices and moral support from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, how is the anti-marijuana watch dogs not capture the minds and hearts of countless children?

During the last century, within this country not one person or factor continues to be so consistently and deceitfully assaulted as cannabis.  The assault on cannabis started in early 1900’s because the Mexican Revolution happened and there is mix-border spillover in the unrest.  As People in mexico joined the U . s . States the negativity fomented consequently of racial tensions.  Cannabis have been grown within this country because the Jamestown Colony, and without them, the pay outs couldn’t have become into this proud nation.  Yet, with today, couple of things can provoke such irrational hate as immigration.  Anti-cannabis sentiment taken across the Southwest alongside anti-Mexican slurs.  Many lawmen and political figures noted that People in mexico were smoking marijuana and they stated it triggered these to be violent towards People in america.  Ever since then the thought of violence and marijuana happen to be inextricably linked.  It’s a historical declare that has opposed many efforts to eliminate.  By 1927, nine different states had passed laws and regulations barring Marijuana, mainly as methods for focusing on Mexican-People in america.

As using marijuana spread in the Southwest into other areas, additionally, it grew to become swept up using the development of Jazz in metropolitan areas like Chicago as well as in Harlem.  After that, anxiety about marijuana was associated with even more powerful racial hatreds, this time around towards African-People in america.  At that time, there have been other forces conspiring to operate against Marijuana.  Prohibition had ended, however the government machines remained as in position and needed new things to demonize. Harry Anslinger have been hired “Mind from the Federal Bureau of Drugs,” and that he managed to get his personal pursuit to have cannabis eradicated within this country.  With the aid of some yellow journalism from media mogul William Randolph Hearst, they released a smear campaign formerly not observed in america with the exception of occasions of war.  Anslinger labored relentlessly, gathering and delivering his “Gore Files,” an accumulation of newspaper articles filled with sordid accounts of violence and crime that credited their induce to “Reefer Madness.”

Eventually, the worry-mongering required deep hold in the united states and Anslinger had his previous day Congress. Using mainly anecdotal evidence (from his Gore Files) and completely inverting the testimony from the Ama, Harry convinced these to pass the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937.  As time have passed by, the majority of the sentiments used above happen to be scientifically proven to be wrong.  Yet they persist within the American psyche.  They have had many years of reinforcement by other anti-marijuana forces, reinvigorating in the  1960’s and ongoing on.  But individuals is going to be examined later.

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