Cannabis Its Last Days

Chapter 17

Pacific Drug Review - Nov. 1937

Cannabis is unique in one respect; unlike other botanical medicines which were allowed to die a natural death, as other hopefully better medicines or treatments came along, Cannabis instead was cut down in its prime---literally speaking it was outlawed.

Please skip or ignore this chapter if you have high blood pressure, a weak heart or are subject to extreme nausea.   Trust me, you'll be doing yourself a big favor.

The inclusion of this chapter is debatable[1]; what does a governmental orchestrated hysteria campaign have to do with antique medicine bottles?   Or for that matter what does it have to do with antiques period? The logical answer should be NOTHING; but I believe the reader knows better.   After all, why do antique Cannabis collectors exist?   Why not antique camphor bottles, or antique digitalis collectors.   Obvious what is now known as the Reefer Madness hysteria campaign had something to do with it. Thus the reason, after a great deal of debate, for this chapter.


It seems that the doctors, who had been prescribing Cannabis for their patients for almost a hundred years, had all failed to notice one little thing. That among other things, many of their patients were going around grabbing axes, meat cleavers, what-ever, and chopping innocent people to death. Or at least that was what the newspaper headlines, spurred on by the narcotics police and government officials, would have had us believe. Perhaps the following dictionary definition best describes the situation.

"Marijuana, or Hashish, a subtle, crazing drug which is being surreptitiously sold in U.S. in the form of cigarettes. Narcotic officials named it "The Assassin of Youth," and state that it is as dangerous as a coiled rattlesnake. Its effects when smoked vary with different individuals. It may make of its victim a philosopher, a joyous reveler, a mad insensate, or a fiendish murderer. Its purveyors whisper into the ears of American youth the wonders of a new cigarette with a real thrill, and without harmful effects. Students are lured to its use by promises of resultant keenness of mind, the easy solving of problems, an aid in exams. An addict was hanged in Baltimore in 1937 for a criminal assault on a ten-year-old girl. In Florida, a crazed youth killed his father, mother, two brothers, and a sister. In more than 30 cases of murder or degenerate sex crimes in 1937, marijuana proved to be a contributing cause." Editions Copyrighted 1952-to-1957 - H.S. STUTTMAN Co.
And while many of us will find such a definition a bit amusing and of questionable accuracy, it should be noted that the wording was taken almost word for word from federal narcotics officials and their publications.

By the mid-1930s magazine articles were full of reports about the most bestial crimes being committed while under its deadly influence. Such titles as "Marijuana - Sex-Crazing Drug Menace" or "Marihuana-the Evil Weed" become common place. Religious leaders began screaming from the pulpits about the "Weed of Madness." Even comic books were having their super heroes opposing the deadly weed.

Pulp Fiction
Pulp Fiction

Reefer Magazines

Motion Pictures
Motion Pictures

Reefer Comics
Comic Book


Maybe a more historical viewpoint is in order. Throughout history, there have been both positive as well as negative things said about the use of medical Cannabis. For instance, their are those who claim that an ancient Sumerian text reads as follows:
"Medical Cannabis -- The drug that takes away the pain, but also robs the user of his soil"
However, this interpretation (only one of many) fails to take into account the fact that around 50% of all Sumerian medial texts consisted of magical spells, or incantations, to drive away the evil demons that were thought to be the cause of illness. [A belief that held up well past biblical times; i.g. Jesses was said to have cured the ill, by casting out demons etc.]

Thus a more accurate interpretation should be:
"Medical Cannabis - The drug that takes away the pain, as well as the evil spirit afflicting the victim"
Or if one prefers:
"Medical Cannabis - The medicine that takes away the pain as well as driving away the evil spirit or demon that is the cause of the pain"
Because no one today can really speak ancient Sumerian (everyone, including the experts are just taking guesses), one can accept any of the above interpretations (which obviously depend on ones political viewpoint) as being the correct interpretation. Be that as it may, it appears that the controversy surrounding medical Cannabis has been going on for a quite long time.

However, one must remember that in free societies this is only normal. Scientists, who by definition are seekers of the truth, are bound to disagree. Over the effects of medical Cannabis, over the effects of even distilled water, and here don't laugh, there's suppose to be at least one study out there that makes the claim that distilled water causes cancer -- thus we shouldn't drink any!

Point being made; on anything, expect disagreement and the occasional crack-pot or two. But, also expect the voices of logic and reason to speak out and thus counter-act them.


For the sake of brevity, let's move ahead in time some six-thousand years, to the early 1880's. To a time just before the Federal Government's orchestrated hysteria campaign will remove / prevent those voices of logic and reason from being heard.

Although the Hemp[2] plant is native to Eurasia; the word "Marihuana" most certainty came to us and into the English language via Mexico. Where the word had been in use by Mexico City Newspapers long before the 1880's, and than always in the past tense. As if everyone already knew the meaning of the word and thus no explanation was needed. These references were always in the negative and read hypothetically something like: Those rebels and bandits up in the mountains use Marihuana, but not our troops led by the valiant General . . . . etc.

In the English Language, the first known use of the word appears to be in an obscure 1883 article entitled "Contributions to American Botany" by Sereno Watson, which lists it solely as part of a giant list of botanical plants, as follows:
Cannabis Sativa, Linn. At Guanajuato (Duges); known as "Marihuana."-- American Academy of Arts and Sciences May 1883[3]
However, with what was happening in Mexico it didn't take too long for (what is today known as) yellow journalism to take advantage of their new find. The following syndicated article is the first such article that this museum has been able to locate:
In southern Arizona the jail and prison officials have their hands full in trying to prevent the smuggling into their institutions of the seductive mariguana. This is a kind of "loco" weed, more powerful than opium. It grows from seed by cultivation in southern Arizona and in Mexico. It is a dangerous thing for the unintated(sic) to handle, but those who know its uses say it produces more ravishing dreams than opium. The Mexicans mix it with tobacco and smoke it in cigarettes, inhaling the smoke. When used in this way it produces a hilarious spirit in the smoker that can not be equaled by any other form of dissipation. When smuggled inside the prison walls its devotees readily pay $4 an once for it, but free men buy it on the outside for 50 cents an ounce. General Shriver of the prison force at Yuma has just unearthed a large quantity of the weed that had been cached within reach of the convicts who work in the outside chain gangs.---[Daily Northwestern (Oshkosh, Wisconsin) Dec 6, 1897 pp8]
It is interesting to note, that no mention is made of the fact that Mariguana and Cannabis were one and the same thing. In fact, unless one were a heavy-duty botanist, one would be hard press to make the link period. But to be fair, in all likelihood, even the newspaper writers were unaware that they were in fact taking about the Hemp plant, which at the time was actively being grown commercially in the U.S.

Additionally it should be pointed out that the concept of a newspaper was somewhat different at the time. In addition to printing the news, it was also seen (in mostly rural America at the time) as a form of entertainment. This could help explain some of these original articles, and let's face it, it did make for fun reading.

But as previously noted, crack-pots and their writings have been around for quite some time and given this countries basic freedoms this will provably always be so. However, SO WHAT, that is to be expected. What is important is that free people, act responsible and speak out. And speak out they did, for every crack-pot that spoke out against Cannabis, there where others who spoke out in its defense ---effectively counteracting the crack-pots. Thus by all rights, Cannabis should still be around and in medical use today. And indeed it would be; had not an unlikely series of factors ALL converged together in the early 1930's.

Factors that (at least in the author's opinion) led to the creation of the anti-Medical Cannabis laws that we have today.


  • The W.C.T.U. [Women's Christian Temperance Union]:

    Now before going any further, the author wishes to state that he personally has the sincerest admiration for this organization. At least on a spiritual level, they were right, it was simply the implementation of their ideology that created the horrors. Simply put some things SHOULD NOT / CANNOT be legislated. But be that as it may, it is generally acknowledged that the WCTU played a pivotal part in creating the Alcohol prohibition laws of the 1920's. They had done this by literally organizing themselves at the grass root level, with almost every small town in the Midwest having a local chapter. It's enough to say that even after the end of prohibition in 1932, the WCTU was still alive and very powerful AND NOW LOOKING for something to do.

    Alcohol prohibition ended in 1932/33, which as one can imagine, put an awful lot of police officials in a somewhat uneasy position. Granted, many of us would like to think of the police officials as brave warriors, in the holiest of holy war against crime, but on the other hand, let's face it. The reality of the matter is that most of us (including Police Officials) are only a few paychecks away from total bankruptcy. And I think we all know what that means, thus, it is not without reason that some say, it was no accident, that the DEA was at one time known as the Bureau of Prohibition.[4]

  • The Creation of the Federal Communications Commission:
    The damage done by the creation of the FCC (Federal communication commission) simply cannot be overlooked or underestimated. Literally, it silenced the whole of the electronic news media and created, what for America, is a very unusual situation. The FCC Act required anyone who wanted to operated a radio broadcasting station to obtain a government issued license, which were only issued for a temporary unit of time revocable at any time AND not necessarily subject to renewal. A situation that put the licensee in constant fear of having it taken away.

    TRANSLATION: For the first time in American history, it was possible to own expensive broadcasting towers, lots of brick and mortar, and millions of dollars in electronic equipment; AND ALL OF IT, literally meant nothing. ALL of it, ALL of it, could be taken away from you at the whim of a government regulator. NO broadcasting license, NO broadcasting period. Given the fear of losing everything, I for one, don't blame Radio broadcasters for remaining so silent.


    Another factor that simply can't be overlooked was our country's state of race relations at the time. Along with alcohol prohibition, the 1920's also saw a great resurgence or rise in the membership and shear power of groups like the Ku-Klux-Kan. And while normally these groups wouldn't take much interest in medicines. Due to the Mexican connection, and the perception that the use of this strange Mexican Weed" made those people think that they were as good as white people, quickly brought it to their attention.

    That and one other reason that is just as important but usually overlooked by most historians. While these racially charged groups, like the KKK, were nationwide in scope, most of their members were essentially concentrated in the "Land of Cotton" and in the 1920's, Industrial Hemp[5] was feared to be making a comeback. And obviously, if there was one thing that cotton farmers now [during the depression] didn't need or want was a natural and much cheaper competitor.

    Contrary to popular belief, the Great Depression did not begin on the day of the stock market crash, but had already (at least in some parts of the country) been well underway for some time.

    TRANSLATION: Mexican farm workers who were so welcome during the Go Go years, were now no longer so welcome. Those (whites) newly out of work or who just didn't like Mexicans, now began to speak out against the new comers. As the depression went on their voices became louder and louder. And that Mexicans were perceived as users of the "Evil Weed," obviously was soon used to help demonize them. Sort of like that cartoon which shows an illegal alien being beaten over the head by a group of policemen. The caption reads:
    "Only been in this country for four hours and already I'm being treated like a KING---A Rodney King"

    It cannot be stressed enough that at one time newspapers were bought for their entertainment value as much as their news content. This was especially true in rural America. Thus, it should come as no surprise that (starting around the 1880's) various, mostly syndicated, stories about Hasheesh Houses and Loco Weed smoking Mexican bandito's started appearing.

    Most of these stories revolved around a central theme; The innocent Young-American Girl, tricked into . . . . etc. Both Magazines as well as newspapers essentially carried the same kind of stories and were for the most part obvious works of "Fanciful Fiction."

    It's therefore easy to understand that when the first earnest Reefer Madness stories in the mid-1920's about the new Horror drug started appearing, they easily fitted right into an already established genre. Only instead now the main theme was revolved around High School students, with Headlines[6] such as:
    "Shocking New Menace to Nation's Youth" - "How the innocent suffer - Peddlers all over the country send agents to the vicinities of schools."

    "St. Louis Newest Evil, the Dope Cigaret, Menacing Ranks of Youth"

    "Young Slaves of Dope Cigaret Pay Tragic Price or Their Folly"
    The interesting thing about these stories is that in many cases the editors/writers of these very stories KNEW up front that it was all a pack of lies, but never mind the truth, there were newspapers to be sold, money to be made, and after all, public wanted to be entertained.

    With literally hundreds of (at the time), very legal, Cannabis medicines sitting on drug store shelves, it's a little hard for doctors, editors of medical journals and certainly the AMA [American Medical Association] to claim that they didn't know any better. Yet the one group that should have been expected to speak up instead chose [essentially] to do NOTHING.

    So why the silence?     Why didn't they speak up?

    The answer seems to be very complex and requires an understanding of the cultural and practical considerations of the time. First, it would be helpful to understand that the early 1930's marked the high point of yet another hysteria campaign, one in which Doctors themselves were portrayed as the villains and thus its victims. This came about as a result of the (1914) Harrison Narcotics Law, which at first only required Doctors to keep tack all their narcotic prescripts. But soon the law was being used to restrict the sale of opiates which placed Doctors in quite a bind. Unless they continued to prescribe opiates to their addicted patients, they understood that they would be forcing their otherwise law respecting patient's right into the hands of the criminal underworld. . .

    While many just stopped writing prescriptions all together, obviously many others felt some sympathy and continued the prescriptions. Then the arrests began, in fact one of the very founders of the AMA itself was jailed on such a charge. ----- In the words of one Doctor:
    "I have seen members of the profession to which for fifty years I have belonged, and to which five generations of my patronymic ancestors belonged, haled into Federal courts, under indictment for felonies---because they had given treatment to sick people. I have seen these physicians arraigned before juries, with solemnity that might befit trials for high treason, and prosecuted by Federal Attorneys with a zeal that seemed to me vindictive . . . and the physicians thus arraigned had not violated even the minutest technicalities of any law whatsoever. ---Drugs Against Men [1933] by Henry Smith Williams, MD
    It was within this environment that the new drug czar Harry Anslinger came into power. As he quickly put a stop to (or greatly reduced) these arrests, he must have seem (to the whole of the medical community) like a God sent at the time. But one to whom they were indebted to and surely did not want to piss off. So if the fool (hypothetically) said that either red fire hydrants or medical cannabis was evil, who cared, just humor him. After all, why rock the boat?

    Another group that also knew the truth [who had to know the truth] were the pharmaceutical manufacturing houses. After all, they had been making medicines with Cannabis for years. Yet, they also remained remarkably silent on the subject---WHY? The answer [in the author's opinion] is both simple and complex.

    Traditionally America has maintained its liberties by sub-dividing governmental power via a system of checks and balances. This means that no one person or agency is allowed to possess so much power that control is lost. In fact to my knowledge the DEA is the first such exception to the rule. In terms of the subject in hand, it was given the power to license and thus effectively to regulate and control WHO DID and WHO DID NOT get the right to manufacture opium/cocaine medical products. As almost ALL pharmaceutical manufacturers had to obtain such licensing . . .. etc. . . . . I think the reader gets the point.

    It's easily understood why the remnants of yellow journalism did what they did. But what about the (what we now term) the mainstream media. Why didn't they tell the truth?

    The answer is simply, they DID, or at least some courageous sectors of the media did, but they were simply drowned out by what was going on around them. The real question was, why didn't enough of them do so? [A subject that due to time constraints can only be hinted at here]

    But maybe we shouldn't think too ill of the 1930's news media. As anyone who's ever read Randy Shilts' book, "And The Band Played On" about the opening days of the AID's epidemic, knows just how easy it is for both government AND the main stream news media to fail.

    According to Shilts,' the mainstream media, simply didn't want to touch the subject because of dealt with [what at the time were considered] taboo subjects. Or putting it another way: GAY + SEX = NO WAY.

    But the [so-called] GAY news media also failed us, WHY? ANSWER: Gay Newspapers needed Ad revenues and were under heavy political pressure, from the political types in their own community, to report ONLY on the positive aspects of their community. Both political sources as well as Ad revenue would have been lost had they reported on the epidemic and how the virus was being transmitted.

    Point being made -- Stuff like this just happens every now and then.

            ---CATALYST OF HYSTERIA:

    Harry Anslinger - Americas first drug czar:

    While all of the previously stated factors played some role in the creation of the anti-Medical Marihuana laws, of and by themselves, they probably would have gone no-where, were it not for the persona of America's first Drug Czar, Harry J. Anslinger. It was he, who most historians agree, was the Catalyst needed to pool all the needed ingredients together. Had it not been for him, most certainly, there would have been NO anti-Medical Marihuana laws today.

    As whole books have been devoted to the biography of our first Drug Czar, I see no need to reiterate [at least not in an antique buyers guide] what has already been well documented elsewhere.

    Here, it is enough to say that that he was Evil. And please, I know that Evil is a word has been banded about a lot of late, but if ever a term applied, surly this is that case. Anslinger, who we can prove, knew that he was lying about the effects of medical marihuana, showed little or no mercy toward his victims.

    For example, he was at the trial of Samuel Caldwell, [the first person arrested under the newly passed federal anti-medical marihuana laws] and just stood by as he listened to the Judge uttered the following words:
    "I consider marihuana the worst of all narcotics . . . far worse than the use of morphine or cocaine. Under its influence men become beasts . . . Marihuana destroys life itself. I have no sympathy with those who sell this weed."---Judge J. Foster Symes
    Again, Anslinger knew [and I believe knew all along] that it was all a lie. Yet he did nothing while Caldwell and all so many others after him, were sent to jail. To say that he was Evil may not be doing justice to the word.

    However, leaving that aside for now, Anslinger was quite a fascinating man, and in his own [Fu Manchu] sort of way, a true genius. Just look at the almost impossible factors that he was able to overcome. In the early 1930's, for the most part:
    • Industrial Hemp was still being grown commercially in parts of this country.

    • Literally hundreds of different Cannabis medicines could still be found on drug store shelves throughout the country.

    • The garment industry was still making heavy-duty use of Industrial Hemp as a fabric.

    • Poultry (the bird industry) made extensive use of Hemp seed cakes.

    • Industrial Hemp and Hemp oil, was still being used extensively by commercial industries such as paint manufacturers, paper manufacturers etc.
    Again, an almost insurmountable task, yet Anslinger (the Evil genius that he was), succeeded against all odds,---Truly a remarkable man.


    Although Anslinger and his co-conspirators, orchestrated the hysteria campaign, it is interesting to note that they actually created nothing new. They simply took already existing propaganda techniques and utilized already pre-existing organizations, such as the WCTU, American Legion, etc., for their own ends.

    As previously noted, stories about "Loco Weed" or the "Mexican Opium" had already been in print for quite some time. In fact in 1926 the New Orleans Morning Tribune had carried a whole series of articles devoted to the "Muggles Menace," or that strange drug being used by those color folks, with such headlines as:
    "Marijuana Industry is Thriving in City, Children Are Addicts" --Oct. 18, 1926

    "School Children Found in Grip of Marijuana Habit by Investigators" --Oct. 20, 1926
    And this was in 1926, Anslinger and his bureau of narcotics didn't even come into being until 1930. Additionally numerous local municipalities, mostly along the Mexican boarder, had already passed local ordinances against its use. Example: The very first documented Medical Marihuana arrest took place in the city of Los Angeles [1919] under a local, NOT a Federal or State ordinance. This was against a "Mexican woman" who was using it to treat her back pain. [7]

    It is interesting to note however, that most of these original laws were meant to apply, only against the use of something called "Maria-huana" and NOT against the use of Cannabis, which in most cases could still be found in any local drug store. In all likelihood, law makers and police officials didn't even know that they were one and the same thing.

    Anslinger, however would soon change all that. As previously noted, Anslinger and his co-conspirators introduced nothing new. The very same themes used by Anslinger were the vary same themes used by prohibitionists against Demon-rum, tobacco, soft-drinks, coffee (the caffeine drug), and a whole host of other ailments. That its use led to:
    • Insanity
    • Degenerate lustful behavior
    • Crime
    • Young [white] girls were being led astray
    • We must protect our youth -- Save our children
    • etc.
    Substituting a few words and a couple of the slogans, and one could almost recycle the alcohol propaganda that was all so successfully used just 20 years earlier to bring about alcohol prohibition.

    Anslingers true genius was in obtaining the help of such groups as the Federation of Women's Clubs, and the W.C.T.U. into helping him disseminate the big lie.

    Now here I wish to reiterate that I personally have the greatest respect for the WCTU. However, their role in the creating the anti-Medical Marihuana laws cannot be under stressed. Through their network of women's clubs, a massive education campaign was launched. And because these women usually belonged to more than one group, soon other women's groups were jumping on the band wagon.

    Meanwhile Anslinger himself began to speak up on the subject, as he would later write:
    ". . .on radio and at major forums, such as that presented annually by the New York Herald Tribune, I told the story of this evil weed of the fields and river beds and roadsides. I wrote articles for magazines; our agents gave hundreds of lectures to parents, educators, social and civic leaders. In network broadcasts I reported on the growing list of crimes, including murder and rape. I described the nature of marijuana and its close kinship to hashish. I continued to hammer at the facts."---The Murderers [1961] by H. Anslinger
    In addition, through charm and/or intimidation he quickly began taking control of the news/information media of which whole volumes could be written about. The following are excepts from our sister museums website at Only three examples will be given.

    How could any group of people, no matter how wealthy or well connected, possibly take control of the whole of the newspaper media? In a society which values its "Freedom of the Press," this would seem a most formidable (if not impossible) task today, and given the much, much larger number of newspapers (some cities had as many as 16) in the 1930's, even more so. Unfortunately the answer to the question of HOW was…"Very Easily."

    Anyone who has done even a quick scan through some of the newspaper articles our museum has collected (many scanned into MS-Word format) from that era can't help but notice two letters - 'AP' - such as in the "Associated Press." It seems that there was no need to go to each and every newspaper editor and/or publisher and attempt to co-op them. All one needed to do was control a few of the national wire services and a few other news sources; sources that in turn were relied upon by local newspapers to provide them with their national news stories.

    It was the Associated Press that kept feeding the nation a constant stream of boring, yet negative articles (everything from statistics on marihuana arrests, to a short article on a public school teacher who was going to speak on the subject at some local civics group). The purpose of these articles seems to be not to shock, but to keep the subject in a negative light and constantly before the public eye.

    Additionally, it has been noticed that many of the worst articles (Marihuana made him take an axe and cut her head off, etc.,) appeared in the Sunday supplements; newspaper magazines that were written and controlled by national, not local, interests.

    Of course, the Bureau of Narcotics (forerunner to the D. E. A.) did everything possible to encourage local Reefer Madness articles, and provided as much technical and logistical support as possible. And then, unfortunately, there were too many unscrupulous reporters who had no regard for the truth. While the name of the New York Times (Pulitzer Prize winning) Moscow correspondent, Walter Duranty, who in 1933 at the height of Stalin's organized famine in the Ukraine (which killed millions) wrote articulate denials on the subject e.g.; "Any Report of a famine in Russia is today an exaggeration or malignant propaganda," may be well known. How many of us recognize the name of Julius Klein, who in 1935 wrote a series of Reefer Madness articles for the St. Louis Star times. That he knew he was lying is not in question, one of the articles misquotes a military study conducted on marihuana so skillfully that there is no question that he had complete knowledge of the truth.

    At a later time (long after the campaign), even Harry Anslinger speaking in total disgust would report that many a newspaper editor had done a great disservice to the county. Even going so far as to give examples:
    "One reporter on a Southwestern newspaper pointed out that there was a suspicion of marihuana use in a case. Next day the headlines read, "Gang of Marihuana Crazed Hoodlums Leave Bloody Trail." "Questioned, the scribe had nothing tangible on the marihuana angle and claimed that the heading had been composed in the editorial room." . . . [and than again] . . . "Several years ago a story appeared in a Midwestern paper headlined, "Doped by Marihuana, Youth 'Goes Crazy' in County jail Cell." It sounded interesting in print and quoted the jailer at length on the evils of marihuana. When checked the jailer denied even mentioning marihuana and the reporter stated that he had had no information regarding marihuana but had simply written the story as a humor story because the jailer was "quite a character." ---The Traffic In Narcotics by H. Anslinger
    It seems that even the D.E.A. wanted to back off from what had happened.

    While not all students of governmental dis-information agree as to the importance of (what are obviously fictional) dime store novels as propaganda. And no doubt some would even argue that they played no role in the reefer madness campaign. But this author for one feels that they played a much greater role than is generally attributed to them.

    The main objective of any dis-information campaign is to shape and then control public opinion. In the case of the Reefer Madness campaign, this would mean imprinting the impression that only criminals, sex trade workers and low class people would ever use Medical Marihuana etc. And given how well orchestrated the dis-information campaign was conducted, I for one feel that such an useful medium (or even an un-useful medium) would NOT have been ignored by them.

    The same (successfully used) tactics used by them to control other forms of media were also applied the pulp novels.
    • Technical and logistical support was provided ONLY to pro-Reefer Madness authors and publishers.

    • Every action was taken to create the image that there was only one side to the issue.

    • Never debate the subject; work only with those that fully support the anti-Medical Marihuana laws.
    And the tactics worked and worked very well. To this very day, many still believe that "one puff of a Medical Marihuana cigarette will automatically lead to a life of degradation, addiction and depravity.

    However, we would be fooling ourselves if we thought the evil hand of the drug police was everywhere. Unlike magazine editors, no evidence exists of government coercion of any pulp fiction writers or their publishers. But as these covers show, none was needed, many a publisher was in it solely for the money. And soon they had writers jumping over each other to see who could write the most outrageous story lines. As for the true, it was boring and probably wouldn't have sold anyway. Reefer Madness simply made for more fun and money. Where else could one get a story that read:
    "A cheap and evil girl sets a hopped-up killer against a city." - "Marihuana turns weak King Turner into a deadly weapon, a conscienceless killer with no more human feeling than a hooded cobra or a mad dog."
    For Pulp Fiction novels, the Reefer Madness era started around 1935 and lasted until the early 1960's, at which point the naivety long ago had stopped.

    Obviously most, if not all, of the Encyclopedia editors (who for years and years had been writing nothing but glowing praises about Hemp for its Industrial as well as its medical uses) knew the truth. In fact, given the vast array of consultants and professional historians available to them --- it would have been all but impossible for them not to have known. So what should one make of them, what should one call them, Liars, Sellouts, Conspirators . . . . . .

    But perhaps it would be unjust for us to pass judgement too quickly, without first walking a thousand footsteps in their moccasins. We must never forget that this was the middle of the great depression, when people were literally going hungry. And let's face it, even today, most of us are only seven or so paychecks away from total bankruptcy. How many of us would really be willing to risk losing our jobs given the times.

    Today (now looking back with 20/20 hindsight), it is easy to see that those who sought to outlaw Medical Marihuana, had made (the control of all) encyclopedia definitions a high priority. And these were the kind of men who had no qualms about using whatever means it took to accomplish their goals. If gentle persuasion and beguiling words (given under the badge of governmental authority) were not enough, subtle and sometimes not so subtle threats were soon to follow. It is even rumored that the sexual preference of at least one of the editors' was threaten with exposure should he not fall into line. And as the owners of some of these encyclopedias were (in all likelihood) in on the fix, the pressure to cooperate must have been intense.

    So if the early definitions for Marihuana, almost all of them sound like they came from the then bureau of narcotics------that's because in all likelihood they did.

            ---THE CAMPAIGNS LEGACY:

    Obviously, the main effect of the campaign is that (to this day) Medical Cannabis is against the law. However, there were also many other tragic results.

    17.7.1 - NEWS MEDIA CONTROL:
    The main tragedy of course was the virtual silencing of what now is termed, the mainstream news media, thus establishing a bad precedence, which still haunts us to this very day. EXAMPLE: Every wonder who gets to air those Anti-Drug Ad's so frequently seen on TV these days. ANSWER: Obviously, those stations who do what they are told.

    Before the Hysteria Campaign, there was no such thing as Medical Cannabis Patients: There were only patients. The following chart shows just some of the verbal changes/contradictions created by the Campaign.

    Before The Campaign
    After The Campaign
    Used experimentally to treat opium drug addiction   A dangerous habit forming drug
    Medially recognized as an anti-Spasmodic agent  It use leads to uncontrollable muscle twitching 
    Medically recognized as a sedative   Causes violent reactions, which often lead to acts violence and murder 
    Recognized and was used to treat Mental Illness   Its use leads to and was the cause of insanity  
    Was medically used to treat nervous Tension   Such a dangerous stimulant that its use causes young girls to jump out of windows  
    A harmless medical agent that not even quacks wanted to use   A dangerous drug, as deadly as a coil rattle snake  
    Users were called Patients  Users were now being called drug Addicts  

    The list of contradictions could go on and on, seemingly with no logic behind them. Maybe it would be best not to look for logic where logic is not there to be found.

    But this does bring up an interesting point. Were the doctors back then so ignorant that they failed to notice that their patients, (some of which they had they had been prescribing cannabis to for decades), had all this time been going around grabbing axes, meat cleavers, etc., and chopping innocent people to death? Surly at least one of them would have noticed? Or could it be that our narc's were not exactly telling it like it was?

    In either case, the bottom line is that today, otherwise law-abiding citizens are forced to risk everything just for a chance (to survive cancer) or improve the quality of life.
    • They risk drug forfeiture asset laws
    • They risk their children being taken away from them
    • They risk jail, the taking away of their very liberties
    • They risk losing their very right to human dignity with the LABEL OF DRUG ABUSERS
    All in all, I suppose they [medical patients] are the big looser out of all this.

    While not speaking particularly about Medical Cannabis, the following [written by a narcotics official] is very appropriate:
    "Prior to 1919, any citizen so minded could walk into any drugstore and buy any quantity of any kind of dope his body desired. . . . In 1920 the United States Supreme Court upheld the government, saying in effect that a physician [under the Harrison Narcotic Law] might prescribe narcotics strictly for medicinal purposes but that he could not dispense drugs to satisfy the appetite or craving of an addict. the result of this ruling was to put the doctors out of the dope business. But it set the stage for the entrance of a character to be known as a dope peddler who was in a position to make big money bootlegging drugs. Dope began to appear in the underworld, where it was purchased for as little as $12 an ounce wholesale and retailed at tremendous, almost unbelievable, profits. Gangs took over much of the dope traffic and made it a million-dollar business." ---Needle in a Haystack --the exciting Adventures of a Federal Narcotic Agent by William J. Spillard
    Which is rather interesting as this very situation had been predicted long before the actual anti-Medical Marihuana laws came into being. As Earle Rowell author of "On the Trail of Marihuana -The weed of Madness," wrote:
    "Stub," [A dope peddler was] young, dark, stocky, ambitious, a college graduate, [and] was now the head of the dope ring of five states. He was bragging to me about the extent of his business. Not only did he deal in liquor, gambling, women, and dope generally, but he declared he had just taken on a new line - marihuana. He was a shrewd gangster, looking to the future. "Marihuana is the coming thing!" he declared. "But," I protested in surprise, "marihuana is not a habit-forming drug like morphine or heroin; and, besides, it's too cheap to bother with." He laughed. "You don't understand. Laws are being passed now by various states against it, and soon Uncle Sam will put his ban on it. The price will then go up, and that will make it profitable for us to handle." [9]
    And true enough, crime and the law have gone hand and hand every since, but unfortunately so has FEAR. Example:
    During a seminar on Pain Management [8] held at the University of San Diego, one of the speakers Dr. [Name withheld] a noted pain specialist and author the book, "The War on Pain", spoke the following unkind words about Medical Cannabis:
    "While marihuana is proven to be an effective drug. The problem is this the Supreme Court has spoken, and the Supreme Court has said that we cannot prescribe Marihuana. So I caution you, whatever your beliefs are about using this drug." [aka Don't use it period]
    No truer words were ever spoken, some time ago one individual in Oklahoma was given a 93-year prison sentence for Medical Marihuana. And as the anti-Medical Marihuana laws are still in place and even members of the AMA are afraid of jail or of just losing their licenses.

    The problem with all this is that it ignores reality. As one ex-law enforcement official (who used to imprison Marihuana users before developing cancer) so well put it:

    "I'VE TRIED THE OTHER (anti-chemo therapy) STUFF AND IT DIDN'T WORK."

    Ignoring all the pain and suffering caused by the anti-medical marihuana laws for now, and being a little more philosophical about the whole thing. Had it not been for the hysteria campaign, our Cannabis antiques probably won't be worth half of what they are today.

    But still one can't but help feeling a little wispy-eyed about what happened. The 1930, Eli Lilly pharmacetical price and product catalog had no less than 23 Cannabis products mentioned. That's 23 different products from one manufacturer alone. However, by Dec. 1937, a survey of Drugs [still for sale] containing Cannabis was compiled by the Bronx County Pharmaceutical Association, as follows:
    • Cannabis; Cannabis seeds; Extract Cannabis
    • Fluid Extract Cannabis; Powder Extra Extract Cannabis; Tincture Cannabis
    • Cannabinon; Cannobene
    • Corn Collodium (Squibb); Corn Collodium P. R. B. I. (Pharmaceutical Recipe Book)
    • Collodium Salicvllcum Compound N. F. Cosadein (Parke Davis & Co.)
    • Elixir Chloral & Potassium Bromide Compound (as per National Formulary)
    • Elixir Bromides & Belledonna Compound (Eli Lilly)
    • Chloranodyne; Elixir Passiflora Compound
    • Cannabin Compound, Red; Cannabin Compound, Green
    • Allxttire Chloroform & Morphine Compound (per National Formulary---5th edition).
    • Tablets Chloranodyne; Tablets Chloranodyne half strength
    • Tablets Sedative Dr. Brown; Tablets Sedative Modified "A" (Eli Lilly)
    • Tablets Cannabin Compound (Stoddard)
    • Tablets Hvdrastine Compound (B. & W.)
    • Tablets Menovarian
    • Tablets Orchic Compound (National Drug Co.)
    • Tablets Gano-dyne
    • Cannabin Tannate (B. & W.) (Known as Hydrastina Comp. B. & W.)
    • Pill Neuralgic (Brown Sequard)
    • Colic Mixture Veterinary (Parke Davis & Co.)
    • Utroval (Piscidia Compound) (Parke Davis & Co.)
    • Syrup Tolu Compound (Eli Lilly)
    • Syrup Lobelia & Tolu Compound (Eli Lilly)
    • T.T. Cannabis 1/4 Gr.
    • Hypno Bromic Compound; Neurosine
    • Bromidia; Bromidonia Elixir (McNeil)
    • Mentholated Cough Balsam (Parke Davis & Co.)
    A very poor showing for a drug that only a few years before was as common as aspirin is today.

    In 1942, under heavy pressure, Cannabis was officially removed from both the U.S. Pharmacopoeia as well as the National Formulary. And by the time (the late 1940s) the following words were spoken even the memory of its medical uses had been forgotten.
    "Opium or any of its derivatives . . . have a therapeutic value. They bring consolation to the sick and dying; they make their last days on this earth comfortable. But marihuana has no therapeutic value whatsoever. It has been responsible for the commission of crimes of violence, of murder and of rape. . . I don't say misuse of it. It has no value of any kind." ---Hon. William T. McCarthy; U. S. District Judge, Boston, Mass., 1949

    [1] The whole of Chapter 17 constitutes solely the opinions of one individual (the author) and DO NOT necessarily constitute the viewpoints or opinions of any other museum members.
    [2] Cannabis is actually the Flowering Tops of the Hemp plant.
    [3] American Academy of Arts and Sciences -May 1883 V.18 pp96 "Contributions to American botany" By Sereno Watson
    [4] The history of the D.E.A. [Drug Enforcement Agency] is quite unique. Before its present reincarnation, it was known as the Bureau of Narcotics [1930-1972] and before that it was known as the Bureau of Prohibition [1920-1930], and before that as the Bureau of Chemistry etc., etc.
    [5] For those not in the know, the word Canvas and Cannabis have the same root, and pretty much anything you can do with cotton (cloths, backpacks, rope etc.) can also be made with Hemp.
    [6] For those interested in such Newspaper Headlines, the museum has extensive indexes, which can be sent via e-mail.
    [7] First Recorded Medical Cannabis Arrest L.A. Times July 6, 1919 pp9 part VI ] "Officers Object to "Dream Weed" Crop"
    [8] As per Audio-Digest, Family Practice --cassette v.50 ISS 30, speech presented May 11, 2002 by Dr. [Name Withheld] at the University of California, San Diego, School of Medicine and the Western Pain society.
    [9] "On the Trail of Marihuana -The weed of Madness" by Earle Albert and Robert Rowell 1939 - Also another pamphlet. Marihuana--The Weed of Madness, The Killer Drug 1938 by Earle Albert Rowell

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