GRASS: WAR ON DRUGS PART 4 OF 5
A MARIJUANA DRUG CZAR
Marijuana cultivation goes back over 400 years in America, but for most of that time, nobody thought of it as a drug. Everyone thought of it as a fiber, a plant that could be used for rope, shoes, or clothing (Thomas Jefferson grew hemp). It wasn’t until the 1920’s that someone discovered you could get "high" or "stoned" by smoking it deliberately. Nobody knows who this first person was, perhaps a farm kid who wanted to imitate, on a small scale, the disorienting effects that farmers often talked about when burning large bales of the stuff. Regardless, the secret got out, and since the 1920's were a prohibition decade, the U.S. government stepped in almost immediately. The Federal Bureau of Narcotics (FBN) was formed in 1930, and according to Valentine (2004) became "the most successful federal law enforcement agency ever."
Harry Anslinger, America's First (Marijuana) Drug Czar
Having started his career in the 1920's as an Assistant Commissioner in the Prohibition Bureau, Anslinger in 1930 became the Commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics (FBN), a job he held up to 1962 until he was fired by President Kennedy for insubordination. His priority was to make marijuana smoking seem the worst crime in America. Here's a sample of his testimony and public statements: "Most marijuana smokers are Negroes, Hispanics, jazz musicians, and entertainers. Their satanic music is driven by marijuana, and marijuana smoking by white women makes them want to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers, and others. It is a drug that causes insanity, criminality, and death -- the most violence-causing drug in the history of mankind."