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The History of the Drug Laws

This page, when completed, will contain a brief history of the major events which have brought us to the current state of affairs with our drug policy. Readers are invited to submit verifiable historical items which might be included in the library.

A Short History of the Drug Laws, by the National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information

A Summary of Historical Events

The Ancient History of Drugs


Natural History 96(12) {Dec. 1987} "How Carthage Lost the Sea," concerning the wreck of a 3rd century B.C. Carthaginian shipwreck discovered off the town of Marsala in western Sicily. Author Honor Frost notes (pp. 61-63):

The most surprising discovery, however, was the stems of a grass whose yellow color stood out among the dunnage (the layer of branches that protected the bottom of the hull from ballast stones). There was so much of this plant material that we could do no more than bag random samples for analysis at the Jodrell Laboratory, Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew...after excavating two basketfuls of them, we made a special request for their identification. The answer was, probably Cannabis sativa. The doubt was due to the decay of the minute hairs that would have differentiated these stems from two other plants: hops and stinging nettles. Given the choice, I accept cannabis: baskets of stinging nettles seem improbable and there is no record of Punic hop cultivation, whereas Herodotus, writing in the fifth century B.C., already refers to cannabis smoking.

Caroline T. Miller suggested in a follow-up letter ("Letters", _Natural History_ 97(7) {July 1988}) that the cannabis found was likely the remains of extra sails/rigging material (since hemp was a commonly-used material for this purpose). This was refuted in an editor's note (ibid.) wherein was noted:

According to Honor Frost...rope was found on the ship, but all of it was made, not from hemp, but from a type of grass. The two small baskets of cannabis on board would not have been suitable or sufficient for rope making.

Bhang (cannabis) and charas (hash) were first used in India in rituals honoring the god Siva, who gave cannabis to mankind.

Contrary to popular belief, American Indians did not use cannabis or it's derivatives, rather, they smoked a distinctive blend of tobacco and other selected leaves and bark commonly called kinnikinnik.

1 part tobacco

1 part sumac leaves

seasoned with the inner bark of either a willow or dogwood tree.

The word 'tobacco' actually means 'pipe'. Europeans mistook it to mean the pipes contents.

'They also have a tree,' the ancient text reads, 'which bears the strangest produce. When they are met together in companies they throw some of it upon the fire round which they are sitting, and presently, by the mere smell of the fumes which it gives out in burning, they grow drunk, as the Greeks do with wine. More of the fruit is then throw on the fire, and, their drunkenness increasing, they often jump up and begin to dance and sing. Such is the account which I have heard of these people.'

This excerpt, taken from Herodotus' account of a certain Scythian tribe, was written in the fifth century B.C.

Today, many archeologists and anthropologists believe it was Indian hemp or cannabis sativa that Herodotus called 'the strangest produce'.


The Opiates



The 1700's

From Licit & Illicit Drugs, by Consumer Reports, p. 403:

...In 1762, "Virginia awarded bounties for hemp culture and manufacture, and imposed penalties upon those who did not produce it."

George Washington was growing hemp at Mount Vernon three years later--presumably for its fiber, though it has been argued that Washington was also concerned to increase the medicinal or intoxicating potency of his marijuana plants.*

The asterisk footnote:

* The argument depends on a curious tradition, which may or may not be sound, that the quality or quantity of marijuana resin (hashish) is enhanced if the male and female plants are separated *before* the females are pollinated. There can be no doubt that Washington separated the males and the females. Two entries in his diary supply the evidence:

May 12-13 1765: "Sowed Hemp at Muddy hole by Swamp."

August 7, 1765: "--began to seperate (sic) the Male from the Female Hemp at Do--rather too late."

George Andrews has argued, in The Book of Grass: An Anthology of Indian Hemp (1967), that Washington's August 7 diary entry "clearly indicates that he was cultivating the plant for medicinal purposes as well for its fiber." [7] He might have separated the males from the females to get better fiber, Andrew concedes--but his phrase "rather too late" suggests that he wanted to complete the separation *before the female plants were fertilized*--and this was a practice related to drug potency rather than to fiber culture.

"Coffee houses in England became the centres for a certain intelligentsia and social set. There was so much argument and discussion in the houses that spies returned to King Charles with black stories of the seditious nature of those places. He was advised, and attempted to have them closed. One year there was a royal order to that effect, but within 11 days it was withdrawn because lawyers pointed out that it curbed the basic rights of man. The King then countered with a heavy tax on the drink sold publicly, which resulted in a situation like some other similar governmental prohibitions, tremendous ingenuity being expended to reduce the tax burden and still allow coffee for the houses."

Wellman, F. L. 1961. Coffee: Botany, Cultivation, and Utilization.

Interscience Publ., New York. p23.

The 1800's


The Opiates

Cocaine Invented - 1845

The Effect of the Civil War

The rise in the use of morphine

The rise in patent medicines

Following her husbands assassination, Mary Todd Lincoln is treated with cannabis while institutionalized for her nervous condition. (Not a quote.)

Meeley, M.E. Jr. and R.G. McMyrtry.1983. The Insanity File: The Case of Mary Todd Lincoln. Southern Ill. Univ. Press.

The First American Anti-Drug Law

The first American anti-drug law was an 1875 San Francisco ordinance which outlawed the smoking of opium in opium dens. It was passed because of the fears that Chinese men were luring white women to their "ruin" in opium dens. Cultural studies of the time showed that opium dens occupied a place in Chinese culture roughly comparable to the position that saloons occupied in white culture. That is, most patrons went to them on the weekends, partook of the intoxicants and went back to their work the following Monday, with no apparent interference in their work. There were opium addicts, of course, but, on balance, the addiction problem didn't seem to be any worse than addiction problems with alcohol. The usage patterns in general seemed to be comparable to the usage patterns of alcohol.

The real source of the prejudice against opium smoking was the racial prejudice against the Chinese. Opium smoking was a peculiarly Chinese custom. White people took their own fair share of opium in concoctions such as laudunum and any number of other over the counter drugs, in liquid, powder, or pill form. It was only the smoking of opium which was outlawed because that was associated with the Chinese. History records that, like most of the drug laws to follow it, the ordinance was massively unsuccessful.

The San Francisco ordinance was followed by Federal legislation in 1888 aimed at keeping the Chinese out of the opium trade and placing certain restrictions on smoking opium. Again, the laws were directed specifically at racial groups and the perceived habits of those racial groups, not the drug itself. Under these laws, there were no restrictions on whites engaged in the opium trade.

Racial prejudice at the time ran to levels which would be difficult to imagine today. One of the newspapers of the time records the story of a group of white men who got drunk and got in an argument over whether Chinese and Indians (Native Americans) were really the same race. To test their theory, they captured a Chinese man and a Native American and took them both to the river and threw them in. The Chinese man drowned, while the Native American swam to shore and escaped. On that basis, they concluded that they were not of the same race. The newspaper did not mention that anyone was punished as a result of the incident.

Sources -- Consumers Union Report on Licit and Illicit Drugs, 1972

"A few plants such as the potato, tomato, poppy and hemp seem to have the power of growing with equal luxuriance under almost any climatic condition, changing or modifying some important function as if to adapt themselves to the altered circumstance. As remarked, hemp is perhaps the most notable example of this; hence, it produces a valuable fibre in Europe, while showing little or no tendency to produce the narcotic principle which in Asia constitutes its chief value. "

Watt, George. 1889. Dictionary of the Economic Products of India. Calcutta 2:105.

The Racial Roots of our Drug Laws


One article in the New York Times even went so far as to say that cocaine made blacks shoot better, that it would "increase, rather than interfere with good marksmanship... The record of the 'cocaine nigger' near Asheville, who dropped five men dead in their tracks, using only one cartridge for each, offers evidence that is sufficiently convincing."(1) A Literary Digest article claimed that "most of the attacks upon white women of the South are the direct result of the cocaine-crazed Negro brain."(2) When Coca-Cola removed cocaine from their drink, it was not out of concern for their customers' health. It was to please their Southern market, which "feared blacks getting cocaine in any form."(3) The racism went beyond blacks. When "every Jew peddler in the South carries the stuff,"(4) inciting blacks to rape white women, what choice did we have but prohibition?


Labor organizations played a big role in anti-Oriental feeling. The leader of the AFL was particularly fond of bringing up fears of Chinese opium peddlers raping young American boys and girls:

According to Hill, "Gompers [Samuel Gompers, President of the American Federation of Labor 1886-1924, except for one year] conjures up a terrible picture of how the Chinese entice little white boys and girls into becoming 'opium fiends.' Condemned to spend their days in the back of laundry rooms, these tiny lost souls would yield up their virgin bodies to their maniacal yellow captors. "What other crimes were committed in those dark fetid places," Gompers writes, "when these little innocent victims of the Chinamen's wiles were under the influence of the drug, are almost too horrible to imagine... There are hundreds, aye, thousands, of our American girls and boys who have acquired this deathly habit and are doomed, hopelessly doomed, beyond the shadow of redemption."(5)

Some of the original laws are particularly telling. In 1887, Congress forbade *Chinese* to import opium, but not Americans. In 1890, they extended this law to allow opium manufacture only to Americans. In 1909, they banned *smoking* opium.(9) Smoking the drug (rather than drinking it) was considered "Chinese".

In 1901, Congress forbade the sale of opium and alcohol "to aboriginal tribes and uncivilized races", and later extended this to include "uncivilized elements in America itself and in its territories, such as Indians, Alaskans, the inhabitants of Hawaii, railroad workers, and immigrants at ports of entry."(7)

In 1902, an American Pharmaceutical Association report said, "If the Chinaman cannot get along without his 'dope,' we can get along without him."(8)

In Idaho, they took a separate route towards protecting Whites from Chinese: In their 1887 statute, they explicitly made it illegal for "any white person" to frequent a house where opium was smoked.(10)

Oregon's legislators were quite honest: "Smoking opium is not our vice, and therefore, it may be that this legislation proceeds more from a desire to vex and annoy the 'Heathen Chinese' in this respect than to protect the people from the evil habit."(12)

Harry J. Anslinger, head of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, continued this campaign well into the twentieth century, accusing Red China of planning a "long range dope-and-dialectic assault on America and its leaders".(11)


Marijuana prohibition started in the Southwest, where "the dirty greasers grow", as sung by soldiers under General Pershing.(13) A Texas police captain summed up the problem: under marijuana, Mexicans became "very violent, especially when they become angry and will attack an officer even if a gun is drawn on him. They seem to have no fear, I have also noted that under the influence of this weed they have enormous strength and that it will take several men to handle one man while under ordinary circumstances one man could handle him with ease."(14)

According to the Butte Montana Standard, in 1927, "When some beet field peon takes a few traces of this stuff... he thinks he has just been elected president of Mexico, so he starts out to execute all his political enemies."(15)

The American Coalition, an anti-foreigner group, stated "Marihuana, perhaps now the most insidious of our narcotics, is a direct by-product of unrestricted Mexican immigration. Easily grown, it has been asserted that it has recently been planted between rows in a California penitentiary garden. Mexican peddlers have been caught distributing sample marihuana cigarets to school children. Bills for our quota against Mexico have been blocked mysteriously in every Congress since the 1924 Quota Act. Our nation has more than enough laborers."(16)

According to the Missionary Educator Movement, "The use of marihuana is not uncommon in the colonies of the lower class of Mexican immigrants. This is a native drug made from what is sometimes called the 'crazy weed.' The effects are high exhilaration and intoxication, followed by extreme depression and broken nerves. [Police] officers and Mexicans both ascribe many of the moral irregularities of Mexicans to the effects of marihuana."(17)

The very name marihuana was introduced at this time to make it sound Mexican--some interests didn't even realize that marihuana and hemp were the same plant. Lobbyists for the birdseed industry, for example, arrived with barely enough time to get an exemption, because they hadn't realized that marihuana was what they were putting in their seed(18), and Eric Partridge's Dictionary of Slang says "hemp" is a slang word for marijuana, since "it resembles that plant"."


1)Dr. Edward H. Williams, "Negro Cocaine 'Fiends' Are a New Southern Menace,"

The New York Times, Feb. 8, 1914.

2)Dr. Christopher Koch, Literary Digest, March 28, 1914, p. 687.

3)Richard Ashley, Cocaine: Its History, Uses and Effects, p. 60.

4)"The Growing Menace of the Use of Cocaine," New York Times, August 2, 1908.

5)Dr. Thomas Szasz, Our Right to Drugs, quoting a 1988 USA Today poll (38%) and

a 1992 National Institute on Drug Abuse report (44%). Both agree on the 12%.

6)Herbert Hill, Anti-Oriental Agitation, Society, 10:43-54, 1973; p. 51

7)Andrew Sinclair, Era of Excess, p. 33

8)ibid, p. 17

9)Lawrence Kolb, Drug Addiction, pp. 145-146

10)Ronald Hamowy, ed, Dealing With Drugs, p. 12

11)ibid, Arnold S. Trebach, p. 159-161

12)Quoted in R.J. Bonnie and C.H. Whitebread, The Marihuana Conviction

(Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 1974), p. 14.

13)Quoted in P. Jacobs and S. Landau, eds, To Serve the Devil (New York:

Vintage, 1971), 1:241.

14)Quoted in Ernest L. Abel, Marihuana: The First 12,000 Years, p. 207

15)ibid, p. 208

16)ibid, p. 211

17)Quoted in J. Helmer, Drugs and Minority Oppression (New York: Seabury

Press, 1975), p. 63

18)Abel, op. cit., p. 244

1900 to 1914

Prior to 1905 - Unregulated sales.

Opium was included in the USA cost of living index in 1904. The going price was $4/pound (adjusted by CPI that becomes about $55/pound in current terms).

1905 - Increasing consumer awareness of contents of products. Coca-Cola removes cocaine from their drink. Pepsi-Cola follows

The Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906 requires contents of products to be on the label and to be pure. As a result, drug abuse starts a steady drop which lasts almost ten years.

The Prohibitionist Movement

1914 to 1920

The Harrison Narcotics Act of 1914

Few members of Congress would have dreamed that they were passing what would later be considered a general drug prohibition law. - Consumers Union Report on Licit and Illicit Drugs.

Alcohol Prohibition

1920 to 1932

The Experience of Prohibition

The Wickersham Commission Report

1933 to 1937

The End of Prohibition

The Outlawing of Hemp

In the ensuing story, one name stands above all the others in importance. That name is Harry Anslinger. More than any other single person, Harry Anslinger is responsible for our marijuana laws and much of our drug policy today. In order to properly understand the reasons for our drug laws as they are today, it is necessary to understand the motives and the evidence behind Anslinger's campaign for the drug laws. Listed below are some excerpts from a few of the better books on this subject.

reprinted from "Marijuana in America: a scientific confrontation"

by Dr. William D. Drake Jr.

Harry Anslinger was placed in charge of the treasury department's finger-in-the-dike operation to halt liquor smuggling in 1926. in 1926, not by coincidence, the first anti-marijuana stories began to appear in mass-circulation newspapers, and the yellow press had a lot of fun trying out marijuana's front-page possibilities. the first successful anti-marijuana campaign in the country, was waged by the morning and evening papers of New Orleans. While the editors of these papers did hedge their bets with the sure fire winner of racism, the central point of their stories was that all them niggers had found a new way to get at your (white) kids, and the secret weapon they used was stuff called muggles (marijuana slang name).

Whether or not the treasury department simulated the first scare stories is a moot point. what did happen is that as a result of the "anti-muggles" drive, local legislation was passed swiftly in New Orleans. Interestingly enough, it was legislation which equated marijuana, in terms of penalties, with rape & murder, the two crimes most feared & fantasized at the time by whites in their non-relations with blacks.

Moreover, Harry Anslinger & the anti-alcohol police bureaus, without authorization and exceeding their statutory authority, began circularizing sympathetic newspaper reprints of such stories. as anti-marijuana press campaigns spread, more & more local legislation was enacted to protect the citizenry. By the time that prohibition drew to a close, an awareness of the new drug menace had been generated among the people, and the Treasury responded in 1930 by creating a special Bureau of Narcotics. Harry Anslinger was appointed as commissioner.

With a commendable sense of tidiness, the narcotics bureau under Anslinger moved through the thirties reprinting articles here, giving out insider interviews there, ALL aimed toward the elevation of marijuana into a narcotic. This seems to have been motivated by the fact that there were not enough people who were into cocaine or opiates to give the bureau the kind of business it needed to expand its budget and influence. It was the same sort of game which Hoover played with the communist menace in the forties & fifties, and with crime in the streets in the sixties, to expand his F.B.I. operations. but the tactics of the narcotics bureau, while superficially crude, displayed a subtle understanding of the workings of the federal system which is the hallmark of talented bureaucrats in the search for power & security. Rather than expose their backsides by lobbying directly in Congress for anti-marijuana legislation--an approach which could be looked upon as a power grab by their jealous competitors among federal agencies--the narcotics bureau simply stimulated the growth of a tangled web of local level anti-marijuana legislation, and then, about 1935, began pointing out the need for unifying legislation on the federal level. Within two years the bureau was home free: The Marijuana Tax Stamp Act of 1937, a piece of unifying legislation if there ever was one, was passed virtually unopposed by Congress.

After this move, Harry Anslinger continued his career until his retirement grabbing more and more Washington power and status. prior to his death many years later, he was also seen as a prime mover in Joe McCarthy's similar power grab campaign against the communists in America's workplace. At one point McCarthy credited Anslingers style and background as an inspirational force behind McCarthy's own political climb.

THE ANSLINGER ERA (c) Copyright 1983 by Peter Stafford A year of considerable importance to this history is 1930, when Treasury Secretary Andrew W. Mellon appointed his niece's cousin Commissioner of the newly created U.S. Narcotics Bureau. Harry J. Anslinger reigned as Commissioner for three decades. Anslinger was to the inhibition of _Cannabis_ use what Andrew Comstock had at the turn of the century been to the inhibition of American sexual freedom. Although not particularly concerned about marijuana when he took office, he soon became obsessed with "the evils" of this weed, seeing a curse for humanity in the leaves and flowers of the _Cannabis_ plant.

Fear about this largely unknown substance had already been stirred up, especially in the southwestern states, where it was used mainly by blacks and Mexicans. Prohibitions against nonmedical usage had been enacted in California (1915), Texas (1919), Louisiana (1924), and New York (1927). In the mid-1930s, Anslinger did his best to escalate the fear into hysteria. Drawing on his experience as a journalist with a stacatto, sensationalist style, he came out with "Marihuana, the Assassin of Youth," the first in a series of articles and books recounting the horrors committed under the weed's influence: murder, suicide, seduction of schoolchildren by "friendly strangers." (All of his examples have since been refuted.)

Once Anslinger got going, he showed little interest as Commissioner in any news about the drug unless it could be worked into his atrocity file on "the Killer Drug," which he claimed was "a powerful narcotic in which lurks Murder! Insanity! Death!" The nation's papers loved it. By 1937, forty-six of the forty-eight states had banned marijuana.

Anslinger abandoned his earlier hopes for federal prohibition, because even he had come to doubt the constitutionality of such a law. Someone suggested that the U.S. might impose a "transfer tax" to be collected by the U.S. Treasury. Nonpayment of the tax would constitute a felony. In the ensuing congressional hearings, the Narcotics Bureau took a firm line; Anslinger even told legislators, "You smoke a joint and you're likely to kill your brother." In all of the testimony, only one person raised any substantive objection to the Anslinger proposal. Dr. William Woodward, a legislative counsel for the American Medical Association, argued that _Cannabis_ in medical preparations had not been abused and that the new provisions would cause hardship for doctors. He was quickly hooted down. House hearings concluded with no significant changes in the proposed bill, which then sailed through the Senate. In August 1937, FDR, who had come into office on a platform of repealing Prohibition, signed the Marihuana Tax Act. In addition to imposing the tax requirement, the law also declared _Cannabis_ a narcotic. The new penalties for its use or distribution were five to twenty years for a first offense, ten to forty for a second.


After retiring from the Narcotics Bureau, the indefatigable Anslinger went on to head the American delegation to the U.N. concerned with drug use. By 1961, he managed in this capacity to get sixty nations to sign a "Uniform Drug Convention," which pledged to end _Cannabis_ use within twenty-five years. Signing nations can, however, drop out by request. Shortly after, serious efforts to legalize marijuana usage got underway in the West.

--Stafford, Peter, PSYCHEDELICS ENCYCLOPEDIA, 1983. Tarcher.

ISBN 0-87477-231-1. pp 166-168.

The Marijuana Tax Act

Harry Anslinger & the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937

cited in a NIDA publication

"...For Anslinger, the moral entrepreneur, 1936 should have been a year of victory. In EVERY state the marihuana menace was subjected to statutory control. But for Anslinger, the bureaucrat, 1936 seems to have been another year of defeat. His budgetary appropriation remained near a low point that had not been seen in over a decade, which to some extent reflected the general economic conditions of the time....

"Again in 1937 Anslinger, the moralist, would be expected first to convince the general public that marihuana use was evil and immoral, while Anslinger, the bureaucrat, would be more concerned with attaining passage of legislation which would increase the Bureau's powers and then proceed to generate environmental support for these powers. In fact, the latter occured. The great bulk of Bureau-inspired publicity came after the Act, not before.

"Faced with a steadily decreasing budget, the Bureau responded as any organization might react: it tried to appear more necessary, and it tried to increase its scope of operations. As a result of this response, the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 was passed." The FBN and marihuana -- Dickson, Bureaucracy and morality, "Social Problems" (1968), pp. 152-155.

Marijuana--Assassin of Youth.

by H. J. Anslinger U.S. Commissioner of Narcotics. first published by "the American Magazine" in 1937.

Not long ago the body of a young girl lay crushed on the sidewalk after a plunge from a Chicago apartment window. Everyone called it suicide, but actually it was murder. the killer was a narcotic known to America as marijuana, and to history as hashish. Used in the form of cigarettes, it is comparatively new to the United States and as dangerous as a coiled rattlesnake. How many murders, suicides, and maniacal deeds it causes each year, especially among the young, can only be conjectured. In numerous communities it thrives almost unmolested, largely because of official ignorance of its effects. Marijuana is the unknown quantity among narcotics. no one knows, when he smokes it, whether he will become a philosopher, a joyous reveler, a mad insensate, or a murderer. The young girl's story is typical. she had heard the whisper which has gone the rounds of American youth about a new thrill, a cigarette with a "real kick" which gave wonderful reactions and no harmful aftereffects. With some friends she experimented at an evening smoking party. The results were weird. Some of the party went into paroxysms of laughter, others of mediocre musical ability became almost expert; the piano dinned constantly. Still others found themselves discussing weighty problems with remarkable clarity. The girl danced without fatigue throughout a night of inexplicable exhilaration. Other parties followed, finally there came a gathering at a time when the girl was behind in her studies and greatly worried. Suddenly, as she was smoking, the thought of a solution to her school problems came. Without hesitancy she walked to a window and leaped to her death. Thus madly can marijuana "solve" one's difficulties.

It gives few warnings of what it intends to do to the human brain. Last year a young marijuana addict was hanged in Baltimore for criminal assault on a ten year old girl. In Chicago, two marijuana smoking boys murdered a policeman. In Florida, police found a youth staggering about in a human slaughterhouse. With an ax he had killed his father, mother, two brothers, and a sister. He had no recollection of having committed this multiple crime. Ordinarily a sane, rather quiet young man, he had become crazed from smoking marijuana. In at least two dozen comparatively recent cases of murder or degenerate sex attacks, marijuana proved to be a contributing cause. In Ohio a gang of seven marijuana addicts, all less than 20, were caught after a series of 38 holdups. the boys story was typical of conditions in many cities. One of them said they first learned about "reefers" in high school, buying the cigarettes at hamburger stands, and from peddlers who hung around the school. He told of "booth joints" where you could get a marijuana cigarette and a sandwich for a quarter, and of the shabby apartments of women who provided the cigarettes and rooms where boys and girls might smoke them together. His recollection of the crimes he had committed was hazy. "when you get to 'floating', it's hard to keep track of things. If I had killed somebody on one of those jobs, I'd never had known it. Sometimes it was over before I realized that I'd been out of my room." It is the useless destruction of the youth which is so heartbreaking to all of us who labor in the field of narcotics suppression.

1941 to 1945 -

World War II - Hemp for Victory

Despite the fact that production of hemp (marijuana) had been effectively outlawed in 1937, when World War II came along, the Government suddenly discovered they needed it for basics such as rope for suchs, and other cordage purposes. As a result, they encouraged farmers to grow hemp (marijuana) in industrial quantities and even granted them exemption from military duty if they did. To encourage farmers to grow hemp (marijuana), the Department of Agriculture produced a film titled "Hemp For Victory." This film will soon be coming to these pages in the form of still frames of each of the significant scenes, and the full text of the narration.

The LaGuardia Commission

The studies leading to the La Guardia Report in New York in the early 1940s recorded nine psychotic outbreaks, of varying duration, among a sample of 200 studied intensely. Most of these were found to be cases of already psychotic personalities, and one of the psychiatrists involved in the study wrote, in 1942, 'Marijuana will not produce a psychosis de novo in a well-integrated stable person.'

The team who observed New York's marijuana smokers for the period found them to be a rather passive, peaceful, and friendly group, distinctly not prone to violence (though above average perpetrators of petty crimes).

1946 - 1960

Communism and Drugs

Some New Questions Arise

1960 to 1980

The rise of the "drug culture"

The Consumers Union Report on Licit and Illicit Drugs

The National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse

1980 to the Present

Reagan's War on Drugs

A Change in the Wind


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