In this audio from NPR’s Latino USA, Martin A. Lee describes how anti-cannabis propaganda stemmed from targeting the growing number of Latinos who came to the US during the Mexican Revolution. Harry J. Anslinger, the first drug czar in the United States, used fear based claims to target cannabis users of color, and the impact of this is still present today.
On August 11, 1930, Harry Anslinger became the director of the newly formed Federal Bureau of Narcotics in Washington, D.C. The Voldemort of vipers, he would run the FBN with an iron fist through six presidential administrations.
The huge underground cannabis economy was woven into the commercial fabric of California long before the 2016 passage of Proposition 64, which legalized marijuana for adult use. Transforming a shadowy, multibillion-dollar industry into a heavily taxed and regulated structure presents unique and enormous challenges. Who will gain and who will lose under the new regime? Will the expected financial dividend from legalization be broadly distributed throughout the Golden State?
With the voters in Washington and Colorado legalizing marijuana, Martin A. Lee argues that the war on pot may be over — and good riddance to decades of bad science, scare-mongering, and harsh laws.