The La Guardia Committee (1937-1944)

Publication Year: 

Image retrieved from on July 19th, 2014.

Video clip: La Guardia Committee section of the documentary (1999) Grass.

(1944) The La Guardia Committee Report

The La Guardia Committee was the first in depth study into the effects of smoking marijuana. It systematically contradicted claims made by the U.S. Treasury Department that smoking marijuana results in insanity, deteriorates physical and mental health, assists in criminal behavior and juvenile deliquency, is physically addictive, and is a "gateway" drug to more dangerous drugs.

The report was prepared by the New York Academy of Medicine, on behalf of a commission appointed in 1939 by New York Mayor Fiorello La Guardia who was a strong opponent of the 1937 Marijuana Tax Act . Released in 1944, the report infuriated Harry Anslinger who was campaigning against marijuana and he condemned it as unscientific. [1] Anslinger went on an offensive against what he saw as a "degenerate Hollywood" that was promoting marijuana use.

After high profile arrests of actors like Robert Mitchum, Hollywood gave Anslinger full control over the script of any film that mentioned marijuana. Text retrieved from on November 27th, 2010.

Fiorello Henry La Guardia

Fiorello Henry La Guardia (December 11, 1882 – September 20, 1947) was Mayor of New York for three terms from 1934 to 1945 as a liberal Republican. Previously he was elected to Congress in 1916 and 1918, and again from 1922 through 1930. Irascible, energetic and charismatic, he craved publicity and is acclaimed as one of the three or four greatest mayors in American history. Only five feet tall, he was called "the Little Flower" (Fiorello is Italian for "little flower", diminutive of fiore, Italian for "flower").Text retrieved from on November 27th, 2010.