Anslinger: The untold cannabis conspiracy - Podcast Coming Soon!
Ten years ago, I wrote a paper in college about hemp that initiated a conversation between my dad and me. The conversation was about Harry Anslinger, the man credited for demonizing hemp as marijuana and creating what has become an 80-year prohibition against the crop. My dad is a videographer and producer, so we often discussed how there was “a story” behind this man and the conspiracy that surrounded him.
The more I read about him, the more obsessed I became with uncovering what happened. I scoured through books and traveled to Anslinger’s archives that are sprinkled across America. In 2012, I started to turn my readings into a screenplay. By the end of 2015, it had transformed into a television series.
I started to pitch the script in Hollywood and after getting industry insight from producers and legendary actor, Bill Murray, I discovered I needed to protect the story and garner interest before moving forward.
This meant, I would either need to write a book or produce a podcast. And so, two months from today, on February 5th, 2018, 109 years after the first International Convention on Narcotics at Shanghai, my podcast, Anslinger: The untold cannabis conspiracy, will release on iTunes, SoundCloud, Google Play and other podcast streaming service providers!
What’s the story?
The podcast is about Harry Anslinger. He was Commissioner and Chief of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics from 1930 to 1962. He was responsible for creating the framework for virtually every international drug law that exists today.
But it’s about far more than Harry Anslinger and his contributions towards cannabis regulation. While his role as Commissioner impacted our world tremendously, in the past, present and future, the regulations he created were also wrapped up in breakthrough narcotic research that was underway at the United States Narcotic Farm and at various Universities.
This research was all in the quest to understand various narcotics, but above all, to find the “Holy Grail,” or the morphine substitute that would provide the pain-relieving benefits of the drug, without the euphoric or addictive side effects.
This quest is still underway today.
Cannabis regulation was also enveloped with our national and world economy that was re-building during and after the Great Depression and World War II. As the United States rose to dominance in the 1940s, so did our reliance on synthetic materials.
People often call the post-WWII economic expansion, the Second Industrial Revolution, but I call it the “Synthetic Revolution” — for it was a time where our understanding of organic chemistry revolutionized natural materials into synthetic products, increasing demand for petroleum and leaving the Chemurgic Movement in the dust.
This synthesis provided consistent quality and extended life for textiles, industrial goods, plastics, and most importantly, medicine.
Who was involved?
Anslinger worked with the League of Nations (United Nations) and international delegates extending across six continents. During his reign, he served under five Presidents and nine Secretary Treasurers. At the time, the Federal Bureau of Narcotics was under the Department of Treasury, not the Department of Justice, because prior to 1970 and the creation of the Controlled Substance Act, narcotic control was a taxable revenue source, not a justice issue.
Beyond government bodies, there were obviously corporate interests involved through lobbying groups, political pressure, and probably unaccounted bribery. Most people point the “Reefer Madness” campaign against Cannabis towards empires like William Randolph Hearst, DuPont Chemical and the Cotton industry, but I have found other interests that were far more responsible.
You’ll have to tune in to Anslinger: The untold cannabis conspiracy to find out!
The podcast will resemble a television series, with a new episode releasing each Monday for 12 weeks, starting February 5th. The series will extend for three years, with two releases per year. You’ll be able to find transcripts of each podcast on this blog after they are released.
It is written and hosted by me, Annie Rouse, and each episode will feature an interviewee who is an expert on the subject at hand. The interviewees include researchers, scientists, published authors, professors, economists, recovering addicts, and more!
I can’t go without giving my sincerest gratitude towards Jake Mannino and The Media Collaboratory in Lexington, KY for helping with production, alongside my sister, Amanda, who created the podcast album cover. Check out her artwork, she’s really good!
If you are in or near Lexington, KY, join me at Rock House Brewing on February 5th at 7PM for my podcast launch party and Cannabis Trivia Night featuring questions related to Cannabis pop culture, history, science and more!
Trivia will start at 8PM.