28 Examples Of Ridiculous 20th Century Anti-Marijuana Propaganda

Published October 16, 2013
Updated July 24, 2018

From fostering crazy orgies and conversations with Satan to sheer insanity, it seemed that there was little that marijuana couldn’t do to ruin your life in the early 20th century.

This anti-reefer hysteria was, at least in part, the product of belligerent Federal Bureau of Narcotics commissioner Harry J. Anslinger’s “call to arms” campaign against the plant commencing in the 1930s.

Thanks to his strategic use of mass media and emotionally jarring headlines steeped in racism, anti-marijuana propaganda spread from sea to shining sea, uniting an otherwise struggling and divided nation in a fight against the drug.

The anti-marijuana fervor only escalated throughout the latter half of the 20th century, and since Richard Nixon formally declared a war on drugs in 1971, the US government has spent around $1 trillion fighting — however nominally — the illegal drug trade.

While Attorney General Eric Holder came out against this failed endeavor in 2013 and marijuana laws have grown more and more lax, it’s going to take a lot more than a few amendments to change a culture so fixated on the terror of a single plant.

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28 Examples Of Ridiculous 20th Century Anti-Marijuana Propaganda
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After viewing these images, have a look at this vintage anti-marijuana propaganda film from the 1970s:

Next, take a look at some shameless cocaine ads from the 1970s, when regulations on drug accessories marketing weren't so strict. Then, allow this marijuana map to show you which countries smoke the most weed worldwide.

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