MARIHUANA – THE ASSASSIN OF YOUTH.
Los Angeles: The Anti-Narcotic League of America/The Narcotic Educational Foundation of America, nd. (c. 1955).
Original poster (43.2x28cm.) illustrating and describing the marihuana plant, warning of its effects (it may “release ALL vicious inhibitions”), advocating measures to “Stamp It Out”, and concluding that “A user of marihuana is a degenerate.”
Its publisher, the Anti-Narcotic League of America, was created in 1924 and originated from the ‘Temperance’ organisation founded by Edward Hall a few years earlier. In 1954 it changed its name to the Narcotic Educational Foundation of America (NEFA), suggesting that this poster, which features both names, was produced around this period.
The origins of the expression “Assassin of Youth” date from an article by the head of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, Harry J. Anslinger, published in The American Magazine in July 1937, along with the exploitation film of the same name made later that year which echoed Anslinger’s anti-cannabis views. The Marihuana Tax Act, which placed a tax on the sale of cannabis and made it illegal in practice, was enacted on August 2, 1937.
The first poster of this type and using this title was probably published by the California Bureau of Narcotic Enforcement in the late 1930s or early 1940s, though with a slightly different layout. While modern reproductions in a variety of formats abound, original copies are scarce.
Old central horizontal fold, and two faint vertical folds, suggesting this example may originally have been sent via the mail. Partial offsetting to upper part of verso, with small damp stains to two corners, one of which has partially bled through to the top right edge of the recto.