Harry Anslinger, Enforcement, History, Treasury Prohibition Division, Marijuana, drug, congress, Marihuana, experts, narcotic

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Enforcement History

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Harry Anslinger

An overview of Anslinger

Anslinger, worked for the foreign service during World War I and during the 1920's. He also worked in the Dept of Treasury Prohibition Division. Scandal Rocked the narcotics sector of the Prohibition division in the late 1920s. In the 1930's he was appointed the head of Federal Bureau of Narcotics. Anslinger, remained at this post till he retired in 1962(15).

Anslinger said his first perceptions of Marijuana were based on Sheriffs and local police department reports from the west and south western United States about Mexicans getting loaded on the stuff and causing "a lot of trouble, stabbings, assaults, and so on."(16).

In 1937 Anslinger testified before congress saying "marijuana is the most violence causing drug in the history of mankind". Then contradicting himself he testified again before a strongly anti-communist congress in 1948. Anslinger proclaimed that Marijuana caused it's user's to become so peaceful and pacifist, that the communist could and would use Marijuana to weaken our American fighting mens will to fight(17 ).

The most scandalous crime accredited to cannabis was the death of a Florida family. Anslinger cited this case during his testimony at the Marihuana Tax Act hearings in 1937. The story goes "in Florida a 21 year old boy, under the influence of this drug killed both his parents and his brother and sister. The evidence shows he had smoked Marihuana". The real facts are, On October 16 1933 Victor Licata axed his mother, father, two brothers and a sister to death in their Tampa home. There was no evidence whatsoever that he was under the influence of cannabis. His family had a history of insanity, and the Tampa police had tried to commit Licata to an asylum the year before the crime, a full year and a half he first tried cannabis(18 ).

Anslinger wrote "Medical experts agree on the complete unpredictability of the effect of marijuana on different individuals. A small dose taken by one subject may bring about intense intoxication, raving fits, criminal assaults. Another subject can consume large amounts without experiencing any reaction except stupefaction. It is this unpredictable effect which makes of marijuana one of the most dangerous drugs known. Moreover, every individual will react in a different degree to the same dosage of this narcotic, depending on his physiological and emotional constitution."(19).

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Harry Anslinger, Enforcement, History, Treasury Prohibition Division, Marijuana, drug, congress, Marihuana, experts, narcotic