December 22, 2014 | Angus Love | The Legal Intelligencer
In 1934, Harry Anslinger, the nation’s first drug czar, led a campaign to outlaw marijuana. Previously, it had been used for a variety of medicinal purposes and was subject to local ordinances. Anslinger mounted a public relations campaign to achieve his goal of criminalizing the drug. Some suggested the campaign had racial overtones, especially Mexican Americans who were often portrayed as menaces to society when indulging in marijuana. Others suggested the campaign was bankrolled and publicized by William Randolph Hearst to eliminate hemp as an industrial competitor to his considerable timber/paper holdings. The movie “Reefer Madness” symbolized the campaign of fear and distortion.