The Attack on Marijuana During the 1930s

How did America fall for the government’s reefer madness? Chris Calton explains how junk science, overt racism, and myths of bloodthirsty soldiers all played a …


  1. I have heard that the beer, liquor, big tobacco and big pharmaceutical companies blocked Marijuana legalization over the decades too with lobbying as they were worried about it stealing market share.

  2. A suggestion for strategy. Use catchy thumbnails that will draw ppl in who have never heard of Mises or the narrator. Instead of podcasts make them as YouTube episodes with pictures and video. This will garner way more views and attention. You could grab the non libertarian with this type of content.

  3. Dope, whatever it's form is pretty stupid unless it's for medical purposes. Fortunately, MJ has turned out to be relatively harmless. It's a waste of time much like TV or Movies. A little more concerned about strains and growing techniques that raise the THC concentration that I've heard talk about.

    Probably be a footnote in history something like: Gains popularity mostly because it is prohibited.

  4. Great presentation, Chris, thank you!

    If I may add some data I encountered when composing my article 'REAL Warriors Oppose the State’s War on Cannabis' for The American Daily Herald several years ago (link to the republished article in my blog below; the Herald's been defunct for the past couple of years). The information I came across is fascinating, and dovetails with much of the information you discuss in this video. You'll recognize some of the names, some may be new

    Regarding the criminalization of cannabis that really took off in 1937:

    "Cui bono?

    William Randolph Hearst, for one. As a media mogul of the time, he 
    jumped enthusiastically on the anti-cannabis bandwagon. As a publishing
    magnate, he was in an ideal position to use the proven technique of yellow journalism
    to whip up a frenzy of sensationalist anti cannabis sentiment in the
    public mind, and these were spectacularly successful in selling huge
    numbers of Hearst publications. Lurid tales of violence, sexual deviance
    and assorted petty crime soon became a regular sight in his
    publications, and as expected they were often attributed to the already
    marginalized minorities. Hearst was a man of the times in his racist
    attitudes common to many Americans of that era, harboring a vitriolic
    hatred of Hispanics, Mexicans especially, blacks, and other minorities.
    In addition, he was

    * especially hostile to Mexicans after losing about
    800,000 acres of prime timberland, a major source of raw material for
    the newsprint needed by his publishing empire, to Mexican rebel Pancho Villa during the Mexican Revolution.' *

    While hemp did indeed threaten DuPont's nylon, primarily due to the introduction of the hemp decorticator device that allowed much faster extraction of hemp's industrial fiber from the plant than ever before, it was Hearst's vendetta against Mexicans (which was only augmenting his original xenophobia of them) that was a primary driver in his yellow journalism campaign.

    You make a good point that I found too in researching this subject, specifically in the tie between Anslinger and DuPont:

    "There was an industrial incentive to eliminate hemp, too, though perhaps
    not as powerful a motivation as using its illegality as a xenophobic
    social control: the DuPont chemical company had just patented the
    world’s first synthetic fiber, nylon, and had a large financial stake in
    promoting it over older natural fibers like hemp. By an interesting
    coincidence, that intrepid drug fighter Harry Anslinger just happened to
    be the nephew of Andrew Mellon, one of the richest men in America…who
    was heavily invested in DuPont. Just how significant this is as a factor
    in the war on cannabis is difficult to say, but when trying to
    determine criminal culpability in a case, investigators look for motive
    and opportunity. Anslinger certainly seems to have had both."

     During the actual Congressional hearings, the real fun begins:

     “After two puffs on a marijuana cigarette, I was turned into a bat.”

    ~ Dr. James C. Munch, testifying before Congressional hearings on the Marijuana Tax Act (1937)

    "During Congressional hearings for one of the first truly decisive
    steps in what would become known as the War on Drugs, the Marihuana Tax
    Act of 1937, only two doctors were called upon to give testimony. One, a
    Dr. Woodward, testified against the Act for various reasons on behalf
    of the A.M.A.. That organization felt that the bill had been hastily and
    secretly prepared, as well as the fact that even then the benefits of
    cannabis were acknowledged by physicians prescribing cannabis, retail pharmacists selling cannabis, and medical cannabis cultivation
    and manufacturing. He was politely told to shut up and go away. While
    details are sketchy, the animosity seems to have been mutual, the A.M.A.
    strongly doubted the government’s wild claims of insanity, death and addiction made by the bill’s proponents, most notably those concocted by Harry Anslinger, newly appointed head of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics and a vehement prohibitionist for his entire professional life.
    The other was the Dr. Munch quoted above, a pharmacologist from
    Temple University, who not only testified that a taste of cannabis had
    turned him into a bat, but expanded on this claim, asserting that once
    transmogrified he “flew around the room
    for 15 minutes before finding himself at the bottom of a 200-foot high
    ink well.” Not bad for a story concocted decades before Rod Serling’s
    Twilight Zone!"

     I hope my added data helps flesh out your research, just as yours has augmented mine!

    Link to the republished article:

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