Guest Column: Americans and the lies of Harry Anslinger, The Truth about Cannabis

by Sue DeGregorio-Rosen, RN, CLNC*

Americans have been denied the healing effects of cannabis since Harry Anslinger, former head of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, 1931 – 1962, pushed through legislation that was designed in secrecy and deception for 2 years.  The result was the 1937 Marihuana Tax Act that made hemp and marijuana illegal for any use.  Most historians know that Anslinger’s actions were at the request of Randolph Hearst ( how do you like or respond to that, Jann Wenner) and Dupont petrochemicals. Hearst owned millions of acres of forest that supplied paper for his newspaper empire.  Hearst knew that his land would be found out to be worthless unless he could find some other way to make high quality paper, cheaper, by using the wood pulp from the trees of these plush lands, destroying our natural resources.

A new machine had been invented to easily strip fiber from hemp to create paper and was proving to be successful.  Dupont had a similar reason.  The fiber from the hemp plant was of greater quality to a new nylon fiber that Dupont was creating.  The same fiber was more cost-effective than what Dupont had created.   From this greed, both Hearst and Dupont needed to stop the threat that cannabis could provide.  Anslinger and others utilized their own strategy from the newspapers of Randolph Hearst and convinced Congress and the American people who there were dangers lurking in the usage of cannabis and found a new name for the cannabis & hemp plant by calling it “marijuana” which is the Spanish slang for cannabis.

The American Medical Association (AMA) and the Pharmaceutical industries testified against the Tax Act because cannabis was already known to have many medical benefits with no known side effects.  Dr. William Woodward, both a physician and attorney for the AMA, testified on their behalf.  He said “This law is ignorant, and can possibly deny the world of a wonderful medicine, especially now that the medical world was just beginning to discover which ingredients in cannabis were active.”  Woodward also testified that the only reason the AMA had not come out sooner against this legislation was that they had not been made aware that this “killer weed” in question was the same cannabis used in our country by the medical community with safety to treat many disease entities for over 100 years. Dr. Woodward and the AMA were quickly denounced by Harry Anslinger and the entire congressional committee and rudely excused from further testimony,  At this point hemp and cannabis aka marijuana was enforced as 100% illegal and NO further medical studies would be done for nearly 30 years due to the demonization of this herb by Americans, contrary to scientific testimony.

In 1964, Professor Raphael Mechoulam and his colleague, Yechiel Gaoini, at the Weizman Institute of Science in Israel, isolated, analyzed and synthesized the main psychoactive ingredient in the cannabis plant as tetrahydrocannabinol, THC.  Ruth Gallily, a professor emerita of immunology at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, had studied another main constituent of cannabis, cannabidiol, CBD.

To Be Continued…..Cannabis, The Whole Plant….The 1960’s “Up in Smoke” with Cheech & Chong

*Sue DeGregorio – Rosen is a founding member of the Cannabis Nurses Network, a global network of nurses dedicated to the education of whole plant therapy.