The answer may surprise you – because it’s not what you think.
In fact, we think you’ll find the answer downright shocking.
Back in 1929, Harry Anslinger was made director of a government department known as the Department of Prohibition. But, as it turned out, Prohibition was a disaster – and when it was repealed, Anslinger needed a way to keep his department alive.
So, without a way to scapegoat alcohol any longer, he turned his eyes elsewhere – on cannabis.
Cannabis, he said, would make a dangerous, insane criminal. Marijuana, he said, made people turn into evil beasts. And then, he said, there was the case of the boy Victor Lacata, who’d recently hacked his family to death in Florida – with an ax. That, Anslinger said, is what happens when you smoke weed.
Documentation now shows that Anslinger wrote to thirty leading doctors, hoping they’d sign off on his crazy statements. Twenty-nine said no. One said, sure. Anslinger used that doctor to give legitimacy to his ravings.
The United States banned marijuana – then strong-armed other countries, such as Mexico, into doing the same.
Confused doctors, who knew that cannabis wasn’t the evil Anslinger was making it out to be, asked where the scientific research was to support such wild claims.
Anslinger refused to hear it, writing only “The marijuana evil can no longer be temporized with,” and as such, he would fund no independent science, not ever.
But here’s the catch. Years later, somebody went and looked at the psychiatric files for Victor Lacata – and there’s no evidence he ever used cannabis. Instead, there was a long history of mental illness in his family, and someone had actually suggested Lacata be institutionalized a year prior. There was no mention of cannabis in any of his files.
There’s no data anywhere to support the idea that cannabis causes pyschosis.
In fact, the scientific evidence suggests cannabis is safer than alcohol. Alcohol kills 40,000 people every year in the US. Cannabis kills nobody—although Willie Nelson says a friend of his did once die when a bale of cannabis fell on his head.
Isn’t it time we listened to the science—and finally put away Victor Lacata’s axe?