For most people in the U.S., marijuana has been illegal for as long as you can remember. Lately, many states have made it legal, and more may do so in the future. Attitudes toward the drug are definitely changing.
Next, Anslinger wrote letters to 30 scientists to ask if they thought cannabis is dangerous and should be banned. Twenty-nine of them wrote back and said there's no need to ban marijuana. But one said yes.
Now that he had one scientist saying marijuana can turn you into an axe murderer, most of America was convinced. Marijuana got banned. But the government wasn't content with having pot only banned in the U.S.
Hari said that years after all this went down, someone did more research on supposed pot-murderer Victor Licata. It turned out that there was no actual evidence that Licata had smoked pot. But Licata had mental instability, and was recommended to be institutionalized. So that may have been a bigger factor in the murders.