Reefer Madness Museum


I'm not sure how long it's been around or why I never came across it before, but the Reefer Madness Museum, a quirky collection of anti-pot images and text from newspapers, magazines, schoolbooks, comic books, paperback novels, and movies, is well worth a visit. The site focuses on the decades just before and after the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937, illuminating the fears underlying cannabis prohibition. Some of the material, such as the 1937 movie Reefer Madness and Federal Bureau of Narcotics Director Harry Anslinger's 1937 American Magazine article "Marihuana: Assassin of Youth," is familiar, but there are plenty of weird cultural artifacts I'd never seen before, such as the 1949 Green Hornet issue featuring "The Case of the Marijuana Racket" and a 1940 editorial cartoon from an Indiana newspaper whose message the site sums up this way: "Marihuana turns Mexicans into Nazis." The site also sifts through the contents of Anslinger's "Gore File"–accounts of violent and frequently gruesome crimes he attributed to marijuana–and tries to figure out which cases were invented from whole cloth, which were real crimes with a fictional marijuana nexus, and which were real crimes involving real pot smokers where marijuana's causal role was simply assumed.

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  1. Jeez, Jacob, you act as if the government and the media exaggerate and lie and distort, when it’s clearly in your best interest to be a good citizen by not questioning those in authority who know much more than you about such matters. Why do you hate America?

  2. Yeah, and he probably switched his phone service to those terrorist cuddlers at Qwest too!

  3. Here’s one to add to Anslinger’s “Gore File”:

  4. Gosh, everything else on Hit & Run today has been HORRIBLY DEPRESSING due to racist nutjobs, or Bil Keane or Alphonso Jackson. So I figure, great, a little reefer humor – some old school drug war propaganda will brighten my day. Yeah, well, at its heart, this is depressing too. I need to blow a doob.

  5. “Marihuana turns Mexicans into Nazis.”

    It would be prudent to do some research into whether marijuana does, indeed, turn Mexicans into Nazis.

    But where, I ask, where are we going to find any Mexicans willing to serve as subjects?

  6. Has anyone checked the ad in the upper left corner for “Fast Talk Nation”? For an anti-Eric Schlosser website, it does a great job of promoting him.

  7. Unfortunately, there is no Drug Prohibition Museum, because Drug Prohibition is still alive and well, and worse than ever. A viewing of “Refer Madness” informs the viewer that all the ideas espoused in the movie are still alive and well today. The ideas in “Refer Madness” are used in today’s anti-drug propaganda and among so-called drug policy “reformers”, whose only “reform” is to empower the legal sytem to coerce people in “drug treatment”.

  8. …and only jazz musicians were smoking marijuana….

  9. “Marihuana turns Mexicans into Nazis.”
    WWII turned Nazis into Argentinians.

  10. Mr.F.Le Mur,

    So…by implication, Marijuana turns Mexicans turned into Argentians…

    You’ve just solved the immigration problem.

  11. I mean “Argentinians”.

    No marijuana makes me a bad typist.

  12. I visited about 10 years ago a very small but really cool museum in Amsterdam with a lot of war on drugs stuff and posters from WW2 saying “Grow Hemp for the War!? Does anyone know if it’s still there?

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