|Photo: The Vaults of Erowid
|Harry J. Anslinger is responsible for both the 1937 Marihuana Tax Act, effectively outlawing cannabis in the U.S., and the 1961 Single Convention Treaty on Narcotic Drugs, which outlawed weed worldwide and is still in effect.
Today, March 30, 2011, marks an unhappy birthday. Fifty years ago, marijuana became illegal worldwide.
The Single Convention Treaty on Narcotic Drugs, which started the international policy of cannabis prohibition, was signed on this day in 1961. In accordance with the treaty, marijuana is still illegal in every country on Earth — including the Netherlands, where laws remain on the books despite official policy “tolerating” its use.
The Single Convention Treaty was the handiwork of the powerful ex-director of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, Harry Anslinger, architect of the first federal cannabis prohibition law, the 1937 Marihuana Tax Act.
“Anslinger had pushed for a treaty against cannabis in order to shore up the act’s dubious constitutionality under U.S. law,” said Dale Gieringer, director of California NORML
. (The act was later declared unconstitutional for other reasons, only to be supplanted by the Controlled Substances Act in 1970, which kicked off Nixon’s War On Drugs.)
“Today, the international treaty stands as the principal cause of prohibition-related crime and violence worldwide with drug wars from Mexico to Afghanistan plus the criminalization of millions of users,” Gieringer said.