Third Party & Independents Archives

The History of Cannabis Prohibition, 1937 - 1962, Part Ten, The End

The year’s from 1937 - 1962 when cannabis was first made illegal in the United States stand as a period which created much of the hysteria that still exists today. The more people that realize this period of time was based on racism, bureaucratic ambition (rather than scientific evidence), myths, and lies, the more people will question the laws that regulate cannabis today.

To conclude this series I offer a series of quotable quotes I have found from the period of 1937 - 1962 which reflect on the period.

Agent under Anslinger after Anslinger’s retirement in 1962:
“it destroyed our credibility and now nobody believes us. There was no evidence for Anslinger’s accusations, but that never stopped him”
- (McWilliams 53)

House discussion when Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 was introduced:
Mr Snell: “What is the bill?”
Mr. Rayburn: “It has something to do with something that is called marihuana, I believe it is a narcotic of some kind.”
- (McWilliams 75)

United States District Judge J Foster Symes after sentencing Samuel R Caldwell in 1937:
“I consider marihuana the worst of all narcotics- far worse than the use of morphine or cocaine… Marihuana destroys life itself. I have no sympathy with those who sell this weed. In the future I will impose the heaviest penalties.”
- (McWilliams 78)

La Guardia report in 1942 describing the cannabis smoker:
“free from the anxieties and cares of the realities of life.”
- (McWilliams 103)

William Wolf in Popular Science 1937:
“…any increase in crime in a community usually is attributed by authorities to marijuana. Many murders are committed either by persons not responsible while under the influence of the drug, or by persons who deliberately smoke it to gain a false courage for the commission of a planned slaying.”
- (McWilliams 50)

New York Times, July 6, 1927:
“Mexican Family Go Insane: Five said to have been stricken by eating marijuana:
Mexico City, July 5th:
A widow and her four children have been driven insane by eating the Marihuana plant, according to doctors, who say that there is no hope of saving the childrens lives and that the mother will be insane for the rest of her life.”
- (Sloman 20)

George Washington’s diary August 7, 1765:
“began to separate the Male from the Female hemp at Do – rather too late.”
- (Sloman 21)

Dr. A.E. Fossier:
“The debasing and baneful influence of hashish and opium is not restricted to individuals, but has manifested itself in nations and races as well. The dominant race and most enlightened countries are alcoholic, whilst the races and nations addicted to hemp and opium, some of which once attained to heights of culture and civilization, have deteriorated both mentally and physically.”
- (Sloman 42)

Los Angeles Examiner, November 5, 1933;
“Murder Weed Found Up And Down Coast – Deadly Marihuana Dope Plant Ready For Harvest That Means Enslavement of California Children.”
- (Sloman 44)

Study by Walter Bromberg on the relation between cannabis and crime:
“None of the assault crimes could be said to have been committed under the drugs influence. No crimes were committed in this group at a time during or after the intoxication.”
- (Sloman 45)

Letter to Harry J Anslinger from the Daily Courier of Alamosa, Colorado in 1936:
“I wish I could show you what a small marihuana cigarette can do to our of our degenerate Spanish – speaking residents. That’s why our problem is so great; the greatest percentage of our population is composed of Spanish – speaking persons.”
- (Helmer 55)

Conclusions of a 1925-1927 survey of northeast Colorado conducted by Paul Taylor:
“The extent to which Mexicans violate our laws appears to be magnified unduly not only by the northeastern Colorado community but even by the officers who handle the Mexican offenders.”
- (Helmer 59)

Survey of Imperial County California in 1927:
“The record of law observance among Mexicans is distinctly favorable to them.”
- (Helmer 63)

Dr. Fred Fulsher testifying at 1929 Montana debate that lead to a ban on non medical use of cannabis:
“When some beet field peon takes a few rares of this stuff he thinks he has just been elected president of Mexico so he starts out to execute all his political enemies. I understand that over in Butte where the Mexicans often go for the winter they stage imaginary bullfights… after a couple of whiffs of Marihuana.”
- (Helmer 79)

Harry J Anslinger writing to Oregon State Senator in 1951:
“You no doubt know that Senator Dirksen has introduced a bill in the US Congress which could provide the death penalty for peddling narcotics to minors. This has our complete endorsement.”
- (Bonnie and Whitebread 207-208)

Headline for L.A. Times article during 1950s:
“Dope’s Flow Said to Have Red Backing”
- (Bonnie and Whitebread 209)

Director of United States Bureau of Prisons James V Bennett after the passage of the Boggs Act:
“The Boggs Bill was passed due to hysteria.”
- (Bonnie and Whitebread 211)

New Jersey trial judge in March 1951:
“Those are major tributaries that flow from the use of marihuana. It has no value of any kind. It is a fungus growth that comes right from the bowels of Hell… no girl is safe walking the streets with a man under the influence of this devilish drug. Young girls raped, people murdered – that is the story of the highway of marihuana.”
- (Bonnie and Whitebread 212)

Harry J Anslinger testifying to House Ways and Means Committee during 1940s:
“We have been running into a lot of traffic among these jazz musicians and I am not speaking about the good musicians but the jazz type.”
- (Bonnie and Whitebread 185)

Colonel Chamberlain speaking for United States Army research committee in 1925:
“I think we can safely say… that there is nothing to indicate any habit forming tendency or any striking ill effects. All of the statements to the effect that two or three puffs produce remarkable effects are nonsense.”
- (Abel 206)

Boston Herald during 1930s:
“The weed itself looks and smells not unlike cat-nip. Have you seen the family cat under the influence of cat-nip? Well that is something what the effects of the cigarettes are supposed to have on people.”
- (Grinspoon 17)

1930s alarmist warning by FBI:
“He really becomes a fiend with savage or cave man tendencies. His sex desires are aroused and some of the most horrible crimes result. He hears light and sees sound. To get away from it, he suddenly becomes violent and may kill.”
- (Grinspoon 17)

FBN 1937:
“The Killer Drug ‘Marihuana’ – a powerful narcotic in which lurks Murder! Insanity! Death!”
- (Grinspoon 19)

Congressman Dingell at Marihuana Tax Act hearings:
“We know that it is a habit that is spreading, particularly among youngsters. We learn that from the pages of the newspaper.”
- (Grinspoon 25)

Walter Bromberg 1934:
“There is a definite difference… between the marihuana addicts and morphine or heroin addicts… morphine and heroin affect deeper layers of the personality.”
- (Grinspoon 233)

Poet Allen Ginsburg:
“Marijuana is a useful catalyst for specific optical and aural esthetic perceptions.”
- (Hellman 4)

William Burroughs:
“Cannabis is very useful to the artist, activating trains of association that would otherwise be inaccessible.”
- (Hellman 5)

Complete Works Cited for All Parts:

www.ondcp.gov

Abel, Ernest L. Marihuana: The First Twelve Thousand Years. pg. 206.
NYC, NY: Plenum Press, 1980.

Bonnie, Richard J and Charles H Whitebread. The Marihuana Conviction.
pgs 121,187,195,204-205,207-210,212-213,215,218.
Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Press, 1974.

Grinspoon, Lester. Marihuana Reconsidered.
pgs. 11,19,21,24-27,236,238,240-241,243,244.
Oakland, CA: Quick American Archives, 1972.

Hellman, Arthur D. Laws Against Marijuana: The Price We Pay. pg4-5.
Chicago, Illinois: University of Illinois Press, 1975.

Helmer, John. Drugs and Minority Oppression.
pgs. 55,58-59,63,76,79,183. NYC, NY:
Sansbury Press, 1975.

King, Rufus. The Drug Hang-Up: America’s Fifty Year Folly. pgs. 71,82.
Springfield, Illinois: Charles C Thomas Publisher, 1974.

Mcwilliams, John C. The Protectors: Harry J Anslinger and theFederal Bureau of
Narcotics 1930-1962. pgs. 50-53,60-61,68-70,72,75,78,96-97,103-104,111,
116-117,150-153,208. Newark, NJ: University of Deleware Press, 1990.

Sloman, Larry. Reefer Madness: Marijuana in America. pgs. 20-22, 29-30,42,44-46.
NYC, NY: Grove Press Inc, 1979.

The knowledge of what happened in the past can prepare us to better the future.

Posted by Richard Rhodes at July 21, 2006 3:54 PM
Comments
Comment #169575

Thanks for doing this series Richard. I found it extremely enlightening.

Posted by: tomd at July 21, 2006 5:08 PM
Comment #169665
Have you seen the family cat under the influence of cat-nip? Well that is something what the effects of the cigarettes are supposed to have on people.”

So true. The amount of furniture which has been severely depreciated in this country by the claws of pot heads is a national emergency.

Posted by: M P at July 22, 2006 1:40 AM
Comment #170177

The monumental ignorance displayed by the dialogue above speaks for itself. But, it also speaks to the monumental ignorance of politicians on so many topics to which they place their vote.

We need single issue bills, devoid of extraneous, unrelated proposals embedded in them. We need, … well, I won’t go into a litany. But, suffice it to say, those who rely on politicians for an education as to what is happening are looking to one of the worst sources possible.

Posted by: David R. Remer at July 24, 2006 9:22 AM
Comment #173113

did you write on the extensive investigations that were ordered by president nixon. Also that the united states government are still sending tins of joints to the last of the participants.

Posted by: lynn at August 3, 2006 7:16 PM
Comment #173210

It is good to see this. It is pouring to my history knowledge. Thanks for sahring.

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