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Plain Facts for Young Women on Marijuana, Narcotics, Liquor and Tobacco



Marijuana is one of the greatest menaces to American youth today. What are its effects upon the addict?

"ASSASSIN!'. you exclaim. "lsn't that a pretty strong word for a thing that comes from the Rowers of Indian hemp. a plant originally grown in India ?"

"Assassin" is a strong word, we admit: but did you know that the word actually comes from the Arabic "Hashishin," that is, '.hemp eater.'? The Hashishi were a group to whom a Persian chief, nearly a thousand years ago, gave the drug from Indian hemp in order to make them crazy to kill, for he wanted men who would go to any lengths to turn back the Crusaders. Because these men did such a good job of exterminating thousands of Crusaders, and because they did so under the powerful influence of the drug "hashish," they were called the "hashishi," and the individual a "hashishin.'. Hence our word, "assassin.'

The word "assassin" is none too strong for the thing called in the Orient hashish or hasheesh: in America, marijuana or marihuana; and known in underworld parlance as "loco weed" and "muggles." Marijuana is a ruthless killer. It kills the person who uses it, and too often it leads him to kill others. In fact the Malayan exclamation of alarm over a man, an elephant, or a tiger, on a killing rampage,-" Amok! Amok!" ("KiIl! Kill!'), -originated in Siam when addicts to hashish went wild in a killing frenzy. We have copied the Malayans somewhat in our expression, "Run amuck."

Marijuana (the Spanish name for the drug) is not used in medicine or by the medical profession. It is used solely for its narcotic effect. The user seems to be floating in space. He sees visions of beautiful gardens, wonderful flowers, towering trees. He believes there is no possibility of pain, trouble, or sorrow. Everything is grand; everything is beautiful. Space means nothing to him. Time seems endless; a minute stretches into days and months, a day into years.

But all these pleasurable sensations last only a little while. The addict soon finds himself unable to walk, and later falls into a drunken stupor and deep sleep. After a few months' addiction his eyelids become red and swollen. His appetite goes. He loses flesh, and soon looks gaunt. His memory begins to fail him; after a while he cannot remember even the most familiar things. Because of the terrible strain marijuana puts on the nervous system, eventually the addict goes insane, completely and hopelessly so.

But somewhere along this path that leads to darkness and night the marijuana addict may suddenly become a murderer. He may commit the crime in order to show his imagined prowess and superiority. He may do it because of fancied enemies and grudges. Turn back to the very first page of this book, and you will find the true story of a twenty-year-old girl killer who testified in court that a few puffs on a marijuana cigarette made it seem all right to kill the owner of an automobile when he resisted a holdup. (The incident there related occurred in New Jersey early in 1938.) That is just a sample of the way marijuana may affect the user. Its course is quite unpredictable, for it affects one person one way; and another quite differently. But the effect is always bad, both for the individual user and for society as a whole.

Marijuana is the greatest danger the United States faces today so far as narcotic drugs are concerned. It is so because of three factors : 1. The marijuana plant (Cannabis indica) can be grown, and is grown, in almost every state in the Union. This is not the case with the plants from which we get cocaine and opium. Practically all cocaine and opium is imported, and most of those drugs used illicitly are smuggled in despite the vigilance of customs officials and narcotic inspectors. But marijuana does not have to run the border gantlet. Brought across the border from Mexico a few years ago, the plants have found root everywhere. They are grown in backyards in Philadelphia, in a vacant lot in Detroit, between rows of corn in Illinois, in a cotton field in Texas and in California gardens. To be sure, both state and federal officials have suddenly awakened to the invasion of this dangerous plant; but it is so widely grown and so easily camouflaged that it is proving a most stubborn thing to cope with.

2. The method by which marijuana is sold is also baffling to law-enforcement officers. It is made up into cigarettes, which are called "reefers," and which look like the ordinary tobacco cigarettes. It is peddled in underworld haunts, in cheap hotels and boarding houses, around schools and colleges, at the usual rate of two cigarettes for a quarter. Because of its innocent-appearing form it escapes detection, and the traffic has grown to huge proportions without any very successful means of combating it being evolved.

3. The marijuana traffic makes its major attack on youth. Those who sell it frequent the neighborhoods of schools. They see a boy or a girl smoking, and they then offer" a cigarette with more kick in it." Many times the marijuana cigarette is given away in order to start the appetite for more. Out of curiosity, many boys and girls take a couple of the "new kind of cigarettes" just to see how they differ from the brand they have been smoking.

They soon find that the new cigarette' does have a kick,-- a big kick! It carries them off into an unreal world, and gives them sensations they never before experienced. Inasmuch as the seamy and sordid side of marijuana is not experienced at first, unthinking youth form the habit before they have any realization of the terrifying and tragic potentialities in "reefers." By the time they wake up, it is often too late; the habit has fastened itself securely upon them.

Thus marijuana truly becomes the assassin of youth.

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