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"Marijuana, Assassin of Youth"
"Marijuana, Assassin of Youth"

"Marijuana, Assassin of Youth" was originally published in The American Magazine volume 124, number 1 (July 1937). Text can be found here.

Anti-Drug Poster ca. 2000
Anti-Drug Poster ca. 2000

Since researchers showed that D.A.R.E. and "Just Say No" campaigns do not reduce drug use among children and teenagers, the Office of National Drug Control Policy has taken a more nuanced take as seen in this poster from 2000.

Anti-Marijuana Ad, 1935
Anti-Marijuana Ad, 1935

The Federal Bureau of Narcotics distributed this anti-marijuana advertisement in 1935.

Bill Cosby Filming Anti-Drug Use PSA
Bill Cosby Filming Anti-Drug Use PSA

In 1998 and 1999, Barry McCaffery, Clinton's drug czar, paid out $25 million to five major television networks for writing anti-drug messages into specific prime-time shows, with the White House reviewing and signing off on scripts in advance. The use of celebrities and popular culture has deep roots going back to the 1930s film Reefer Madness. In this photo, comedian Bill Cosby prepares to record an anti-drug public service announcement in 1990.

Cannabis Americana, U.S.P., Physiologically Tested
Cannabis Americana, U.S.P., Physiologically Tested

This advertisement appeared in 1917. Part of the ad reads, "Our American variety is the answer to the question which has so long troubled manufacturers. With our material a finished product can be turned out at a reasonable cost."

Cannabis Drawing in Medical Text, 1897
Cannabis Drawing in Medical Text, 1897

This drawing is from Köhler's book of medicinal plants, 1897.

Cannabis ruderalis
Cannabis ruderalis

Cannabis is the scientific name for marijuana. This image shows the plant growing in the wild in Russia. There are two major strains of the plant, Cannabis indica and Cannabis sativ.

General Barry McCaffrey, Drug Czar
General Barry McCaffrey, Drug Czar

General McCaffrey served as President Clinton's drug czar in the late 1990s.

Harry J. Anslinger
Harry J. Anslinger

Harry J. Anslinger, a former assistant commissioner of the Prohibition Bureau who headed the U.S. Treasury Department's Narcotics Bureau from 1930 to 1962, initially opposed federal legislation against marijuana because he foresaw it would be difficult for his agency to enforce.

Medical Marijuana Dispensary in Denver
Medical Marijuana Dispensary in Denver

Colorado was one of the first two states to legalize marijuana, although it remains a Schedule I drug at the federal level.

Medical Marijuana for Sale
Medical Marijuana for Sale

The federal government classified marijuana as a Schedule I drug, meaning it is considered to have no medical use. Although scientific verification is scarce, thousands of patient testimonials claim the opposite. Twenty states and the District of Columbia now permit the sale of various forms of marijuana for medical purposes, as seen in the above photo from a Seattle dispensary.

Partnership for a Drug-Free America
Partnership for a Drug-Free America

The Partnership for a Drug-Free America has worked with government agencies to resist decriminalization and legalization attempts (photo from 2002).

Potion Containing Marijuana
Potion Containing Marijuana

This drug bottle or potion dates from pre-1937. The label reads it was "Manufactured by American Druggists Syndicate" of "Greater New York."

President Richard Nixon and Elvis Presley
President Richard Nixon and Elvis Presley

President Nixon recruited Elvis Presley (far right) as an anti-drug spokesmen in 1970 even though the entertainer's cultural cache had already peaked and was on the decline.

Pro-Legalization Picketers in L.A.
Pro-Legalization Picketers in L.A.

Activists across the U.S. have pushed for decriminalization and complete legalization. They have been willing to take incremental steps—such as the legalization of marijuana for medical uses—to reach their final goal.

Promotion Picture for "Reefer Madness"
Promotion Picture for "Reefer Madness"

Reefer Madness was released in 1936 as an anti-drug film. By the 1970s, it was openly mocked for its corny portrayal of the supposed dangers of marijuana.

Protest in San Francisco in Favor of Marijuana Legalization
Protest in San Francisco in Favor of Marijuana Legalization

"Cannabis is Medicine" protest in San Francisco, 2007

Various Cannabis Species
Various Cannabis Species

This drawing depicts the relative sizes of different species of marijuana.

Winners Don't Use Drugs Slogan Campaign
Winners Don't Use Drugs Slogan Campaign

This screenshot of the slogan, "Winners Don’t Use Drugs," appeared in all arcade videogames imported into the U.S. from 1989 to 2000.

“Just Say No” Paraphernalia at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library
“Just Say No” Paraphernalia at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library

First-Lady Nancy Reagan promoted the "Just Say No" anti-drug campaign during the 1980s. Some of the artifacts from this nationwide campaign now reside in a display at the Reagan Library as seen above. Studies have shown that this sort of strategy is ineffective in reducing drug use.