Anslinger smoke and mirror
[Cool photo by “www.thcmag.com” – not affiliated with this museum]

EVER WONDER HOW ANSLINGER GOT AWAY WITH IT?   Specifically how did he create a hysteria campaign (today known as the Reefer Madness campaign) which successfully ended with the passage of the M.T.A. (Marihuana Tax Act) of 1937.   A campaign that by almost everyone’s accounts (modern-day narc’s excluded) consisted of one giant lie after another.   But one whose lies remained, unchallenged until the mid-1960s (thirty years after the fact), and not seriously challenged until the mid-1990s (over sixty years after the fact).   And worse still, despite what is acknowledged as Anslinger’s lies to Congress as well as the whole of the American people, the Federal Cannabis Laws are still with us on the books to this very day.   So just how did he get away with it?

For quite some time now, I’ve personally sought to find a logical answer(s) for what to me appears to be an illogical situation.   Anslinger LIED, most people now know he LIED, and our lawmakers now know it was a LIE; ---Yet the marijuana laws (illogically) have remain on the books.   And with more than 700,000 marihuana arrests per year (statistically constituting more arrests than all violent crimes put together), this in the words of a (Star Trek) Klingon “IS NO SMALL THING,” and indeed it isn’t.   Every time a young person is arrested for Marihuana, that very arrest ruins that young person, in many cases for life.   Collage scholarships, union apprenticed programs, many job opportunities can and are denied due to that Drug arrest, even military enlistment (employer of last resort) are now also denied to that young person.   But from a social standpoint, the nightmare is even worse.   Here in Oklahoma, where industrial hemp can be grown year round, the economic losses are in the Billions, and lost tax revenues in the hundreds of millions.   And with 7% of our entire prison population there for marihuana, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out it’s costing us a bundle to maintain the law.   ALL THE AFTER EFFECTS OF HARRY ANSLINGER’S HYSTERIA CAMPAIGN.

So returning back to the question; “How did he get away with it?” --- The following are my own personal conclusions.* However in all fairness to the reader, I should state that I’m not alone in my quest.   For instance in their book “Federal Drug Control,” Jon Erien and Joe Spillane put together a pretty good write-up on the subject.   But unfortunately they started out with the false presumption that prior to Anslinger’s ascension to power, there existed a total poverty of scientific literature regarding the subject of Cannabis.   FALSE, TOTALLY NOT TRUE, as can be seen just from the museum’s ‘Medical Journals Index’ [1], there was instead a wealth of published medical articles dealing with the subject, and the same is true of agricultural (industrial hemp related) articles.   A fact that Anslinger, who had a two year agricultural degree from Penn.State University, must have been all too well aware of at the time.   But be that as it may (once more), the following is my own take on the factors/forces that allowed Anslinger to get away with it.

*   Not all museum members agree with these conclusions.


Hitler As hard as this sounds, my own personal life experiences have shown me that Adolph Hitler was right.   There’s just something about the BIG LIE that appeals to the masses.   That for whatever reasons the BIG ONE is just much more believable than a little one.   And while I’ve no psychological training, (again) I’m relying solely on personal observations, I believe that this, plus yet another human flaw --- that of not wanting to admit one is been fooled, account for much of Anslinger’s early successes.   Or as Mark Twain once wrote:

“It’s easier to fool people “
“Than to convince them that they have been fooled.”

Of which I’m personally of the belief that these two factors alone account for at least 50% of our Anslinger’s success.   Here in Oklahoma (while taking part in a Cannabis Petition drive) I’ve met various (mostly older) individuals who still believe that Cannabis is going to turn you into a cold-blooded murderer.   No, joke, they still believe Anslinger’s BIG LIE over here and they do so despite what is obvious going on all around them.   Simply put, in the ten years that I’ve been here, I’ve heard of no axe murderers, no young girls jumping out of fifth story windows,* nobody turning into a cold-blooded murderer as a result of medical cannabis.   Nothing, yet people here still believe.

So much so that I can come to no other conclusion that people just don’t want to believe that they’ve been taken in.   I guess that’s why con artists and charlatans are able to get away with it so often.

* There have been reports about a couple of jumpers over in Colorado, but as this book notes, upon closer examination, NONE of Harry Anslinger’s original Gore file cases can stand up to the light of day.   Thus I have no doubts that a serious investigation will discredit them.


Next, there is something that for better or worse I refer to as “The Fear Factor” , also sometimes referred to as “the Bony Finger.”   You know that’s when someone points the finger at you and says, “You Must Be A Drug Abuser . . . that’s why you oppose our drug war.” --- A situation which in the past, placed those at the other end of the bony finger into a situation akin to defending child molesters.   IN EFFECT, silencing all conversation on the matter.   Those who did not support the ‘War On Blacks’ must be drug using child molesters who read the koran at least twice a day, period and “End of Story.”

And while “the fear factor” is no longer the effective tool it once was (too many people now know the truth) still it is interesting to note just how seldom this one very major factor’ is even talked about today.   Book writers, magazine articles, oral lectures (surprisingly enough) very seldomly, if ever, seem to talk about it.   Yet a situation which, I for one, feel goes a long way to explain just how Anslinger was able to get away with it for so long.   Perhaps one of my own personal experiences might be in order:
Long, long ago (before being pro-medical Cannabis was cool), and at a time when pre-employment drug testing was still not required just about everywhere.* I applied for a job through an agency for which everything was looking up.   Then the subject of the drug test came up, to which I replied NO and asked that my submittal be canceled for that job.   To which a heated debate on whether-or-not I was a drug user came about.

I tried to explain my moral viewpoints on the subject to no avail.   I even tried giving them the example of Hitler’s boys, who upon entering a newly conquered area --- first and foremost of all ---sent out surveys to all employers in the area, inquiring if they had any Jews working there for them.   Now it could be said that if you don’t have any Jews working for you, then what was the problem?   Why not simply fill out the form, after all what harm could possibly come of it?

But by the simple act of “truthfully” filling out that form, simply stating NO, NO JEWS here.   You in effect allowed Hitler’s SS to focus in on and concentrate on those other factories where the Jews actually were.   Thus, the very act of filling out that form, in-effect greatly facilitated the work of the SS by allowing them to concentrate their efforts.

Thus I explained as best I could to those running that employment agency, that the mere act of taking a drug test, especially given the desperate need for Medical Cannabis by many, was in-and-of-itself, an immoral act.   Sure, I would test clean, but I would also be allowing them to concentrate on others who could not be able to pass.

But the job agency (as the reader may have already surmise) did not see it that way and as I understand it, was black listed, --- Labeled a ‘Drug User,’ not to be considered for future employment, etc.
Now please, I wish to make it clear that at that time it was still possible NOT TO DRUG TEST and that I was in a skilled group that allowed me to obtain employment just about anywhere I wanted.

Antique Andy’s famous Drug Testing Story

As a contract employee, I was not required to do a Drug Test on the way in the door.   But all permanent employees were.   Well it just so happens that such an employee (who I got along with pretty well) had just been hired at about the same time.   Then one day the Boss-man calls him into the office and explains he was being let go because he had failed the Drug Test.   But, I don’t do Drugs was his reply . . . but to no avail . . . the Drug Test failure was the end-all, be-all of the story and he was booted out.   -- Now I myself personally stuck my neck out for him, going to the Boss-man and saying, “man this guy don’t do drugs, what’s wrong with you . . . But again, the Drug Test was final.

Now, a few months later they hired a second guy who also failed the Drug test and while I didn’t like this guy so much, still I was beginning to get suspicious of the Drug testing company.   Two out of Two was probable but not very likely and I brought this factor out with the Boss-man, but again to no avail.

Then a third hire also tested positive for Drugs, and finally even the Boss-man began to get suspicious.   He did a quick check and found out that just six months earlier, we hired this new drug testing company to run all our tests (and yep), there were a lot of positives all right.   Thus this third guy was able to keep his job. . . . Moral of this story, be careful of where you work

But that is neither here nor there, the point being made here is that (while not talked about much), this ‘Fear Factor”’ of having this ‘Bony Finger’, “If you don’t support the ‘War On Blacks’ then you MUST BE A DRUG ABUSER,”’ allegation pointed at you, in effect went/goes a long way to silence things up quite a bit.   Which up until very recently, was extensively used by the narc’s and their fellow travelers, to keep all discussion on the subject down to a minimum.   And it goes a long way of-and-by-itself to explain just how Anslinger was able to get away with it for so long.

*   WARNING --- Since that time Federal law now requires numerous companies/industries to do drug-testing, so you have to drug test.   But I wish to insure the reader that I (personally) held out for as long as I could.   Although, again, due to my unique situation, my personal courage was nowhere near as great as it was for others.



Then there was the shear scale of power given by Congress to the newly created Bureau (meaning to Anslinger).   Not only was he given the power to ‘enforce’ the narcotics laws, but also the power to ‘regulate’ them as well.   A mistake (maybe not so accidentally) made yet again when President Richard Nixon created the DEA in the 1970’s.   Example: A question brought out numerous times is; “If Cannabis is so great then why don’t those unwashed hippies simply go through the FDA approval process?” A simple question with a simple answer; “Because the narc’s regulate who does/does not get licenses to do research, and they never give out any to anyone trying to do FDA research studies, that’s why.” A corruption of their regulatory powers, but it is what is. Anslinger also corrupted his regulatory powers to obtain his ends.   Example:
If you’re a pharmaceutical manufacture in the 1930’s, and a lot of your profits come from opium/cocaine based products.

    Oh you say; Anslinger controls just who gets (or doesn’t get) an opium use license?

        Oh, you hear he wants you to STOP manufacturing Cannabis medicines.
Well, one does have to stay on his good side now doesn’t one. . . . and so soon ONLY pharmaceutical manufacturer’s who DIDN’T MAKE use of opium/cocaine in their products were still carrying Cannabis medicines.

At a later time, Anslinger would also use his regulatory/enforcement powers to crush the last vestiges of America’s Industrial Hemp production (both farming and mfg.) industries.[2] Simply put, Anslinger’s power was such that he could  with very little oversight from congress, create his own interpretation of regulations and then use his enforcement powers to make it so.   A situation which, thanks to President Richard Nixon’s Controlled Substances Act, pretty much remains the same today . . . or the moral of the story is DON’T give too much power to any one agency/individual or ill will always come of it.


Anslinger photo

Almost forgotten in the (how he got away with it) debate, is the fact that Anslinger’s agency was not just given vast powers by Congress, but also the fact that (the former diplomat that he was) knew exactly how to skillfully manipulate those powers so as to achieve his goals.

Thus while we think of Anslinger as the creator of hysteria and terror, looking at his actions objectively shows that most of the time, he preferred to use the velvet glove as opposed to the iron fist.   Perhaps the best example being that of how he brought an end to the ‘Doctors Witch-Hunt’ that had been going on since the early 1920’s.   In the words of one narc: [3]
“Prior to 1915, any citizen so minded could walk into any drugstore and buy any quantity of any kind of dope his body desired.   All he needed was the urge and 25 or 50 cents.   This would entitle him to enough morphine or cocaine to satisfy his craving for a two or three day period.
“When the Harrison law made it illegal for these drugs to be dispensed without a prescription, the addicts naturally had to turn to physicians for their supply. . . . In 1920 the United States Supreme Court upheld the government, saying in effect that a physician might prescribe narcotics strictly for medicinal purposes but that he could not dispense drugs to satisfy the appetite or craving of an addict.   The result of this ruling was to put the doctors out of the dope business.   But it set the stage for the entrance of a character to be known as a dope peddler who was in a position to make big money bootlegging drugs.
“Dope began to appear in the underworld, where it was purchased for as little as $12 an ounce wholesale and retailed at tremendous, almost unbelievable, profits. Gangs took over much of the dope traffic and made it a million-dollar business. “
Now think what you will of the situation BEFORE the passage of the Harrison Narcotics Act, the fact is that we had something then that worked.   There was little associated crime (no profit motive to sell illegal drugs, etc.), but best of all, once the medical community became fully aware of the problem they launched a massive educational campaign (especially among medical school students) which soon brought the epidemic into a massive downward swing.

There are many of us (and not all of us Libertarian types), who believe the way to deal with drug abuse is best addressed via MEDICAL NOT POLICING METHODS.   And the evidence seems to back us up.   As the following chart shows:

OPIUM USE IN THE UNITED STATES (Per every 1,000 inhabitants)
Chart 1890
The use of opium which had skyrocketed after the civil war was, via education and medical methodology, already back to where it was before the war.   Then came the Harrison Narcotics Act of 1915 and all unholy hell broke loose.   Let’s just say that today the number of addicts is back up to where it was at the height of the 1890’s --– not good.   Or to para-quote the words of Earle Rowell, a zealous anti-narcotics crusader, “When you have a substance that sells for a couple of pennies in the streets of Taran, but which sells for a couple of hundred dollars in the streets of New York, you’re not going to police your way out of the problem.”
SEE Chapter "TBD" for more info on this subject
But leaving those issues aside for now, the Harrison Narcotics Act (in-effect) gave doctors a choice of either throwing their patients out on the streets to seek out illegal drug dealers or risk going to jail if they got caught providing their old patients with maintenance drugs.   And soon, over zealous enforcement of the act quickly turned the situation into a living nightmare for doctors.   Many of which, such as one of the founders of the AMA, were being sent to prison for simply practicing their profession.   In other words, a witch-hunt had gotten underway and one to which Anslinger (as one of his first actions) quickly put to an end.   Example: As per the Bureau’s Field Manual (1939) for his agents, we find the following:
“The use of an addict, who is suffering from some ailment for which the use of narcotic drugs might reasonably be indicated, as an informer in the development of a case involving a violation of the narcotic laws on the part of a physician is manifestly unfair and an imposition upon the medical profession.   Therefore the employment of such type of addict in the investigation of any physician is absolutely prohibited.”
Elsewhere, he greatly restricts the use of drug addicts as informers, thus making it all but impossible to continue the doctor’s witch-hunt.   Thus it is easy to see how doctors throughout America, many of whom had been living in fear for years, were now quite grateful that Anslinger had been appointed commissioner.   I myself can almost see them now, singing songs of joy and praise about the man, and as for speaking out against the Reefer Madness campaign?   Well let’s just say that YES, most of them knew the truth, BUT THEN they did want to stay on Anslinger good side. . . And if for whatever reason Anslinger (Meaning the government) wanted Cannabis out of the picture, well so what, it was a pretty cheap price to pay.

A little explored yet critical factor explaining Anslinger’s success, was that the momentum of History was already well on his side; --long before he became drug czar.   While the ‘Soldiers Disease’ (Civil War doctors handing out opium like it was candy) was just another narc myth.   What was true is that post-civil war doctors were indeed way-over-prescribing opiods for their patients, thus causing America’s first major drug epidemic.   A situation which in turn led to a general public alarm over the matter and calls for both educational campaigns as well as more legal controls.   By the time of Anslinger’s ascension as Drug Czar there already was a general mood among the public for some sort of logical federal regulation.   A situation which previous Drug Czars had used to their advantage and lead to the creation of the Wiley Laws ; Specifically the ‘Pure Food and Drug Act’ of 1907 and the ‘Harrison Narcotics Act’ of 1915.


Harvey Wiley
[Drug Czar Harvey Wiley (second from left) served as Drug Czar from 1882-1912]

Not only was the ‘Momentum of History’ and public opinion on his side, but Anslinger (who contrary to popular belief was NOT America’s first Drug Czar*) was able to draw from the experiences of his predecessors.   But as his agency was newly created, he was also able to do so without any of the garbage usually associated with past actions.   In other words, he was able to draw from the past, yet not be encumbered by its failures.   ---- Example; Once more, contrary to popular belief; Anslinger neither originated the Reefer Madness hysteria,[4] nor did he create, but instead, BORROWED the highly effective propaganda techniques used in its creation.   In effect, (as it suited his purposes) he effectively highjacked the campaign and orchestrated it to a successful conclusion.

Thus showing just what a skilled master manipulator he was, in fact so much so that people here in Oklahoma still believe that Industrial Hemp is going to turn you into a cold blooded murderer.   --– Don’t laugh.   While petitioning (for a Medical Cannabis voter initiative), I’ve actually run into them (mostly older people) out on the streets.   So say whatever you want about Anslinger, his skill set was solid.
* [see chapter 3 (this book) for a short chronological history of the DEA]

Elijah Summons Elisha
[ An Elisha, Anslinger was not ]

As “Commissioner of Narcotics” Anslinger gained the status of what is termed ‘The Mantle of Authority.’ Meaning in this case that:
[a]- He was now automatically perceived as an authority on the subject.   Whatever he said about narcotics must be the authoritative scientific truth on the subject as stated by America’s highest expert.
[b]- As Narcotics Commissioner, he officially spoke for the federal government, and would our government lie to us?   Of course not, so therefore his every word must be truth.
[c]- And best yet, (in the words of Erien and Spillane): “One can maintain this kind of credibility until refuted by an expert perceived to be equally or more credible, and that did not occur in Anslinger's thirty-two years.”
[TRANSLATION]--   Anslinger as head of the Bureau of Narcotics, automatically acquired the public perception of expertise/experience.   Therefore, whatever he said was automatically taken as being ‘The Gospel Truth,’ as stated (no less) by our Federal Government.   Thus if he claimed that Medical Cannabis turned its users into ‘Cold Blooded Murderers’, then it must be so.

Then there was the shear stature of the man Harry Anslinger himself:

Harry Anslinger Harry Anslinger Harry Anslinger
[While viewed one way today, back then he was viewed totally differently]

  • INTELLIGENT:   By anyone’s assessment, Harry Anslinger wasn’t just intelligent, he was an out and out genius, granted an evil genius, but a genius never the less.   Just the way he took control of and orchestrated the Reefer Madness campaign is proof of that.

  • CHARISMATIC:   This goes without saying.   The man by all accounts had a rather charismatic nature about him.   I myself almost jumped backwards out of my chair when (while listening to an Old Time Radio production) heard his voice for the first time.   Despite the ‘pops and hisses’ in the background, one can easily understand why people would follow this man through the gates of hell.   Which is exactly where he took us.

  • AN ACCOMPLICER:   Even before assuming his post as ‘Commissioner of Narcotics,’ his record clearly shows that he was an Achiever.   As a junior diplomat (during and after the First World War), his successful record quickly brought him to the attention of many.   Example: As a junior diplomat assigned to the Caribbean during alcohol prohibition, he succeeded in negotiating a treaty (in-effect) halting alcohol smuggling from that area.

  • HARD WORKER:   I have no way of determining how many hours this guy put in at the job, but it is obvious that he was no nine-to-fiver and probably took his work back home with him as well.   In addition (again, this is speculation on my part), it appears obvious to me that he also had so organized himself in such a way so as to make those hours at work ---EFFECTIVE ONES.   Were that not the case, I don’t believe he would have accomplished even half of what he did, nor would he have come to the attention of his bosses in such a good light.

  • WAS BOTH PRAGMATIC YET BULLHEADED:   Yes many of us see him an ideological nut case, but if so, then (by all accounts) he was a very pragmatic one.   For instance, while working at the ‘Bureau of Prohibition’ he must have realized that (despite Eliot Ness and his Untouchables) Alcohol Prohibition was doomed right from the start.   And soon found a way to transfer himself into the Prohibition’s ‘Narcotics Section,’ as a way of insulating himself from what he surely must have known was to come.   [so much for him being a zealot rabid nut-case] --- BUT HE WAS ALSO BULLHEADED.   At a time when less than 7% of American’s went on to college, he understood the importance of that piece of paper and worked his own way though college.   Granted, it took a long time to obtain that degree, but he finally got it.   Thus it could be said that once he set his mind to it, he was persistent if not bullheaded about it.

  • LEADERSHIP/ORGANIZATIONAL SKILLS:   He obviously also had leadership skills that set him aside from others.   Skills that were recognized early on during his career and served him well throughout his whole life.   As his associates almost universally have stated; As long as you did what he wanted, he was a real nice/friendly guy.

  • MEDIA RELATIONS SAVVY:   Long before he ever became a narc, he seemed to have developed a natural skill for influencing the media and obtaining favorable publicity.   To the best of my knowledge, his first (nationwide) mention came in the San Francisco Examiner (Feb 09, 1923 p1) followed quickly by another mention (May 22, 1923 p22) “Kiel Canal Traffic Increases in 1922,” both dealing with Anslinger’s time as a Vice Consul in Hamburg.  
In other words, this guy knew what he was doing, and with the morals of a sand crab, had no problem doing it.  

BUT probably most important factor of all is (what at the time was termed), LADY LUCK and it seemed to always be on his side:
  • He came of age just as the First World War had gotten started, but for which (due to his poor eyesight), he was not eligible for the military draft.   However (as luck would have it), with so many others off to war, he had no problem applying for and joining the diplomatic corp.
  • While I’ve no proof, I presume that he could speak some German, which made him perfect to serve as both a diplomat as well as a spy in Europe.   [It was said that during this time, he was somehow able to obtained the German Kaiser’s field mess kit, which he later on donated to a museum]
  • After the war he continued his career as a diplomat, assigned to the Caribbean just as alcohol prohibition laws took effect.   A situation which then created for obvious reasons, vast financial opportunities for those willing and able to smuggle alcohol from the Caribbean into the U.S.   -- A situation which once again, saw Anslinger in the right place at the right time.   It was there that he succeeded (via diplomatic treaty) in halting alcohol smuggling from that area.
  • After this treaty his reputation must have been such that he was then asked to directly join the “Federal Bureau of Prohibition” [of Eliot Ness and the Untouchable’s fame].   --- And here it should be noted that Anslinger himself was also an untouchable (would not accept bribes), whatever else he was, just like Heinrich Himmier and Joseph Goebbels, he was an honest man.
  • Here maybe luck had nothing to do with it.   Anslinger must have seen what was coming down the pike and (wanting a more permanent job) transferred himself into the Prohibitions Bureau’s “Department of Narcotics.”
  • True enough, with alcohol prohibition gone so was the need for the ‘Bureau of Prohibition”, BUT NOT its ‘Department of Narcotics’.   Which was in fact elevated to the status of ‘Bureau.” Where once more Lady-Luck played her biggest role.   Normally whoever was head of the old Department of Narcotics would have become commissioner of the new agency.   However, a scandal (something about reporting local arrests in the Federal figures) broke out and it was assistant head of that department (Harry Anslinger) who got the job.   [And no, there is no evidence that Anslinger had anything to do with that]
Thus it was mostly Lady-Luck and being in the right place at the right time, that lead to Anslinger’s phenomenal career.   Plus (as lady luck would have it yet again) his position as Drug Czar was almost assured for life as well as the power to launch the Reefer Madness campaign, by several factors:
  • First, as stupidity or fate would have it, his agency was empowered NOT JUST to enforce drug laws, but also to license and regulate.   Thus as Commissioner of Narcotics, Anslinger gained the power to decide which pharmaceutical manufacturers, could/could not, make use of opium products.   And as those medicines were the ones that had the good price mark-ups, it became important for Big-Pharma to stay on the good side of the commissioner, no matter what.   [Example: when the reefer madness campaign started, it must have been obvious to those inside the Pharmaceutical Industry, just what a pack of malarkey it all was.   But with Anslinger controlling who got the opium licenses, dead silence was rule of the day.

  • Second of all, he understood the importance of working with the AMA, not against it.   So he skillfully re-wrote arrest procedures with regards to Doctors, making it all but impossible for arrests to be made.   A fact that made him the darling of the physicians who previously had been facing a reign of terror from zealous narc’s who were dragging any doctor who wrote a narcotics prescription into court on the flimsiest of excuses.   [even one of the founders of the A.M.A. was dragged off to prison for such an offence] A factor that explains why the AMA remained so silent, if not out and out supportive of Anslinger during the hysteria campaign.
Thus Lady-Luck, plus being in the right place at the right time, always seemed to be on Anslinger’s side.

And granted, there were numerous other factors that played some role in the creation of the anti-Medical Marihuana laws.   Of and by themselves, they probably would have gone nowhere, WERE it not for the persona of America's first Drug Czar, Harry J. Anslinger.   It was he who most historians agree was the Catalyst needed to pull all the necessary ingredients together.   Had it not been for him, most certainly, there would have been NO anti-Medical Marihuana laws today.

Ever wonder how Eliot Ness and “The Untouchables” got their name?   It came from the days of alcohol prohibition, when the very agents that were suppose to enforce the prohibition laws were so corrupt (so on the take) that nothing could be done to stop the bootleggers.   Thus a special team of non-corruptible or untouchable cops was put together to specifically fight the Capone mob.   It appears that Alcohol Prohibition had created an environment of police corruption that no one could think of any other way.

Which brings up the subject of one of Harry Anslinger’s predecessors Harvey Wiley (Drug Czar 1882-1912), who essentially was kicked out of office for improper lobbying activities as well as missuse of government funds, or whatever.   Things like that just happen.   -- So what about Anslinger, was he corrupted by all the power?   The answer seems to be NO.   Whatever else you have to say about him; that he was a liar, a bigoted racist, an amoral man with no scruples, a desire for power with the humanity of a sand crab, whatever.   He simply did not succumb to the temptation of enriching himself via his position; there simply is no evidence of any Swiss bank accounts, etc.

Pyco Anslinger

All of which brings us back to our original question – “How did Anslinger get away with it and get away for it for so long? Which he did literally from the mid-1930’s unit the mid-1960’s when finally the first cracks began to appear in his whole ‘web-of-Lies.’ Obviously, there were many who knew the truth long before then (doctors, drug firms, etc), yet were cowed into submission or forced into silence.   But contrary to popular belief, there were actually many with the human courage to stand up to Anslinger’s propaganda machine.   Everything from ‘County Health’ official’s stating that the whole Marihuana thing was being way overblown.   To such well-known officials as Dr. Lawrence Kobe who wrote openly about dealing with drugs via medical as opposed to policing tactics: [5] Even professional organizations such as the publishers of the Military Surgeon, wrote scathing editorials with titles such as “The Marihuana Bugaboo“ addressing the foolish notions behind the whole Reefer Madness campaign, etc.: [6] But from my personal observations, these voices were relatively few in number.   Thus allowing Anslinger as Commissioner of Narcotics (and the mantle of authority it gave him) to simply drown them out.

But even more important, when the situation warranted, old two-face Anslinger was not above using raw power to crush his opposition.   Example: According to Alfred R. Lindesmith : [7] “Earle Albert Rowell came into disfavor with the Bureau of Narcotics around 1939 and this agency spent considerable energy and manpower in an attempt to silence and discredit him.“ Elsewhere, he elaborated more on the subject.   In his book “The Addict and the Law (1961)”, Lindesmith writes: [8]
[Referencing communications with Everett G. Hoffman, of the World Narcotics Research Foundation, also targeted by Anslinger's Bureau for harassment.] “And although Mr. Hoffman himself was not arrested, . . . . “Through him I learned that the Narcotics Bureau was somewhat more successful in silencing Earl Albert Rowell and his son, who were going about the country in the 1930's giving lectures on the marihuana problem.   Mr. Earl Rowell claimed to have made speeches in 40 of the states.   His disagreement with the Federal Narcotics Bureau seemed to arise from his disposition to criticize the police for inactivity and complacency and from his contention that official handouts were covering up and minimizing a growing drug problem. . . . According to Mr. Rowell's reports to Mr. Hoffman, which were forwarded to me, the Federal Bureau and its agents utilized the following tactics against Mr. Rowell: In January 1938 he was arrested in Wayne, Pennsylvania, and threatened with prosecution on the grounds that the opium pipe and small quantities of narcotics which he used as exhibits constituted illegal possession of narcotics although they had been supplied him by police officers for that purpose.   Although there was no follow up of this charge, the Bureau broadcast far and wide that Rowell had been arrested; he was accused of obtaining money under false pretenses, of making a racket of his anti-narcotics campaign, and of advocating programs contrary to the policies of the federal government.   In Evanston, Illinois he was threatened with prosecution for failure to pay an amusement tax, allegedly at the instigation of federal officials who were determined to curb his activities; he was followed and watched on his lecture tour by narcotics agents.   Derogatory information concerning Mr. Rowell was sent by wire and by mail to influential persons in the communities where speeches had been scheduled, causing some of them to be cancelled; when cancellations occurred and when local citizens made investigations of Rowell after hearing from Washington.   Such cancellations and investigations were written up and circulated by narcotics officials to discredit Rowell in other communities.   The version of Mr. Rowell's dealings with federal narcotics agents which is given in the preceding paragraph, is Mr. Rowell's and is no doubt one-sided and slanted in his own favor.   We have seen in our discussion of marihuana that Mr. Rowell was strongly opposed to the use of this "weed of madness," which he thought was a direct cause of insanity and violence, and that he was only slightly less alarmed about alcohol and tobacco.   This point of view alone could hardly have brought him into conflict with Treasury Department officials.* The real point in this imbroglio is not the correctness of his views or even whether his crusade was a racket or not, but whether it is the function of the federal anti-narcotics police force to curb reformers as well as the use of drugs.” *
But it did, at least in my opinion.   Long after Anslinger was now trying to silence the “Weed of Madness” campaign, it appears that Rowell was still going strong on it.   Still going around the country talking to people about it, etc. . . thus the real reason why he had to go. -- Again, in my opinion.
And as yet a second example (ironies of ironies), it should be Alfred R. Lindesmith himself that was also targeted by Anslinger.   Quoting the Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology: [9]
“As early as 1939, FBN director Harry Anslinger had the Chicago District Supervisor of the Bureau notify Indiana University that one of their professors was a drug addict.   An internal FBN memo also suggests that, some years later, a wire-tap may have been placed on Lindesmith's phone by the Bureau.   Incidentally, there is no evidence that Lindesmith ever used illegal drugs.   As Galliher (et al) point out, "the targeting of Lindesmith was possible because Lindesmith acted virtually alone in standing up against federal drug control policies."
So as can be seen Anslinger was. . . well Anslinger.   --- Whatever it took to get his agenda through.   But in his defense it should be noted that most of the time Anslinger used his charm, wits, and mantle of authority to remove his obstacles.   Probably the best known example of which is his (via charm) closing down of the “Interstate Narcotics Organization”.   Again, Cannabis was now against the law and so the last thing anyone now needed was an active group talking about how it had been done.   So Anslinger said (nudged actually) “CLOSE DOWN” and they did.

Brooklyn Daily Eagle1936-05-27
[Brooklyn Daily Eagle 1936-05-27]

  http://antiquecannabisbook.com/Appendix/JournalIndex.htmprovides a good listing.
[2]-   see Hemp for Victory program –
[3]–   Book, A Needle in a Hay Stack By William J. Spillard
[4]-   A quick glance at the following document – issued by the DEA (the Known as the Bureau of Chemistry) in 1917 gives proof that the hysteria campaign was in place Long before Anslinger assented to power: 1917 - REPORT OF INVESTIGATION IN THE STATE OF TEXAS PARTICULARLY ALONG THE MEXICAN BOARDER.   On the traffic in, and consumption of the drug generally known as "Indian Hemp", or Cannabis indica, known in Mexico and States bordering on the Rio Grande River as “Marihuana; sometimes also referred to as “Rosa Maria”, or “Juanita”.   --- http://reefermadnessmuseum.org/TexasReport1917/TexasReport1917.htm
[5]-   SATURDAY EVENING POST: Let’s Stop This Narcotics Hysteria article by Laurence Kolb MD, a plea for treating drug addiction as an illness, not a crime - July 28, 1956
[6]-   THE MILITARY SURGEON – Journal of the Association of Military surgeons – Vol. 96 1945 – page 532 - EDITORIAL SANITY CONCERNING MARIHUANA “. The use of marihuana does not lead to morphine or heroin or codeine addiction.” Vol. 93. – July-Dec. 1943 EDITORIAL - The Marihuana Bugaboo – Page 94
[7]-   Alfred R. Lindesmith, "The Marihuana Problem—Myth or Reality?" in The Addict and the Law (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1965), p. 237.
[8]-   The Addict and the Law By Alfred R. Lindesmith, Washington Post, 1961, Chapter 9, OBSTACLES TO REFORM - Copy can be found at: - http://www.onlinepot.org/addictandthelaw/AddictandtheLaw/chapter09.htm
[9]-   John F. Galliher, David P. Keys, Michael Elsner, "Lindesmith v. Anslinger: An Early Government Victory in the Failed War on Drugs." The Journal of Criminal Law and Criminology, Vol. 88, No. 2 (Winter, 1998), pp. 661–682


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