Trends in drug use among youth are indirectly attributable to trends in society. Although drugs have always
been around in one form or another, their early influences on society trace back to just before the 1930’s.
Marijuana was a popular drug among Mexican laborers, jazz musicians, and so-called beatniks. Then after
major social changes that took place in 1930, "The government cracked down on marijuana use." "In 1937,
the Marijuana Tax Act…made the use and sale of marijuana without a tax stamp federal offenses. This
unprecedented event prompted law enforcement officers to arrest recreational users. Some observers
speculate that passage of the law resulted from strong anti-Mexican sentiment in the Southwest and from
the political power of federal Commissioner of Narcotics Harry Anslinger, who reigned from 1930-1962
and was strongly anti-drugs." ( Glazer ? )
Thirty years later a counter culture emerged with strong anti-war sentiments and a disdain
for establishment. The 1960’s were a time of sweeping change and events such as the Vietnam war had
caused many young Americans to lose faith in authority. "’Grass’ became an emblem of a generation
challenging grownups’ political and social conventions. Marijuana cigarettes, or joints, were widely used at
demonstrations protesting the Vietnam War and at the seminal Woodstock music festival." ( Glazer ? ). The
revolution would be televised. With youth drug culture becoming widespread and given so much attention
by the media, the public demanded tougher law enforcement. Richard Nixon was elected in 1968 with the
public believing his intention to crackdown on drug use.
Instead, "the belief of many scientists and policy-makers that marijuana posed no long-
term health risk," (Glazer ? ) along with the attitude of many...