Harry Anslinger

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Person.png Harry Anslinger  Rdf-icon.png
Harry J. Anslinger.png
Born Harry Jacob Anslinger
May 20, 1892
Altoona, Pennsylvania
Died November 14, 1975 (Age 83)
Altoona, Pennsylvania
Spouse Martha Kind Denniston

Employment.png Commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics

In office
August 12, 1930 - May 1962
Appointed by Andrew Mellon

"Although it would appear that Anslinger was a conservative who truly believed marijuana to be a threat to the future of American civilization, his biographer maintained that he was an astute government bureaucrat who viewed the marijuana issue as a means for elevating himself to national prominence. The two positions are not necessarily incompatible."[1]


Harry Anslinger later claimed that as a 12 year old boy, he witnessed a scene that affected his life. He reports hearing the screams of a morphine addict that were silenced only by a boy returning from a pharmacist to supply the addict with more morphine. Anslinger was appalled that the drug was so powerful and that children had ready access to such drugs.

This experience did not stop Anslinger, while acting as the Commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, from authorizing a druggist near the White House to fill a morphine prescription for an addicted Senator Joseph McCarthy.[2][3]


  1. Jonathon Green, Cannabis
  2. Drugs & Washington, D. C. by Maxine Cheshire, from the Home Journal, Dec 1978, Vol. 195, pp. 62, 176, 178, 180, 182, morphine ref. p. 180. See also "The Murders" by Harry Anslinger p 182.
  3. http://druglibrary.org/schaffer/library/joe_mccarthy.htm

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