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Senate Judiciary Committee Hearings on National Prohibition - 1926



April 5 to 24, 1926


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Senator MEANS. I will see if we can give an answer to that after another member of the committee comes in at least, but can not tell you positively now.

Mr. CODMAN. Well, I felt that I must make my necessities clear. You appreciate that I have my difficulties too.

Senator MEANS. Oh, yes. I will try my best to induce the committee to take into consideration the difficulties that surround you. I am sorry that I can not answer for the other members of the committee, but I should like very much to hold afternoon and evening sessions if we can.

Mr. CODMAN. If there are in the room representatives of the American Federation of Labor you have heard what I have said to the committee, and have heard what the chairman of the committee has said. And I will say personally that I will give you information on the subject as soon as possible.

Senator HARRELD. Personally I will say that if we can not get a meeting to-morrow afternoon I will come back here to-morrow night for a meeting.

The CHAIRMAN. And I will do the same thing. Now, if we can find another member of the committee who will agree to that we can certainly have a session to-morrow evening.

Mr. CODMAN. I thank you very much. Congressman W. S. Vare would like to make a short statement to the committee first.

Senator MEANS (the chairman). The committee will be glad to hear Representative Vare.


Representative VARE. Mr. Chairman, and Senator Harreld, I am here to ask favorable consideration of the Edge amendment, known as the intoxication in fact amendment.

Senator HARRELD. There comes Senator Reed of Missouri now, Mr. Chairman, do you wish to wait for him?

Senator MEANS. He will hear what Representative Vare is saying. You may go on.

Representative VARE. National prohibition has been in effect for more than six years.

The experience over this period has, demonstrated the failure of prohibition under the rigors of the unreasonable Volstead law and that the Only practical proposal for the enforcement of the eighteenth amendment is the modification of the act of Congress so as to permit the sale of beer and light wines.

Sobriety and temperance, the undoubted purposes of prohibition legislation, have not been improved by the Volstead law, but on the contrary there has been a remarkable increase of drunkenness and a crime wave so general as to startle the country.

Deaths from acute alcoholism, unquestionably due almost entirely to the use of poisonous substitutes, have been growing in number by leaps and bounds.

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The increased use of narcotics throughout the Nation has been likewise appalling.

Courts are congested with pending trial lists and the delays in bearings have become a jest to the criminal elements.

The financial losses to the country through the enforcement of prohibition have assumed proportions equaling those of the war times. Not only have huge revenues to the Government been swept away, but vast sums of money, both through direct appropriations and otherwise have been expended, in vain efforts to make the Volstead law a success. Even at this time, when the house owner or renter is vigorously objecting to heavy taxation, and Congress is seeking to reduce the Federal levies upon the public, the more militant drys are demanding the spending of even more staggering amounts to further experiment in prohibition under the Volstead law.

The moral costs as well as the financial losses likewise must be considered. General violation of the Volstead law has shattered respect for other laws. Hypocrisy and deceit have taken the place of justice in our police administration and confidence in Government generally has been undermined.

Common sense now demands a change. Reaction against the unpopular Volstead law is sweeping the country. All but the impractical militant dry champions now appear to realize that if the prohibition amendment is to be made the success intended, the enabling legislation must be changed, and more moderate means introduced.

The sale of beer and light wines would provide a practical solution of the present ills. It would reduce the rigors of unenforcible prohibition. It would wipe out the market for poisonous substitutes and provide the Government with the opportunity to carry the real purpose of the eighteenth amendment into effect.

It would not only remove the burdens of taxation now resting so heavily upon the working people, but would permit still further reductions in Government levies, through the introduction of revenues from the sales of beer and light wines.

No better substantiation of the definite allegation of the increased drunkenness under the Volstead law can be presented than the official police statistics of the city of Philadelphia. The efforts to enforce prohibition in Philadelphia during the past two years were so sincere as to attract the attention of the entire country. General Smedley Darlington Butler, who served as director of public safety, under a leave of absence from the United States Marine Corps, at the request of Mayor Kendrick, was credited with absolute zeal in enforcing the law. Gifford Pinchot, an acknowledged militant dry and a pronounced champion of drastic prohibition, was Governor of Pennsylvania. The Federal agencies, under the direction of Secretary of the Treasury Mellon, were likewise vigorous toward making the act effective. However, with local, State, and Federal authorities united to enforce prohibition, the increase in drunkenness is demonstrated by police statistics.

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The following letter from Superintendent of Police WILLIAM B. MILLS to City Councilman Charles Pommer sets forth the conditions directly:

April 8, 1926.
City Council, City Hall.

DEAR COUNCILMAN: Pursuant to your request of this date, the following information is given you, taken from the official records of this bureau:

Intoxication 28,664
Intoxication and disorderly conduct 9,792
Habitual drunkards 568
Total 39,024

Intoxication 30,455
Intoxication and disorderly conduct 10,806
Habitual drunkards 466
Total 41,727

Intoxication 34,818
Intoxication and disorderly conduct 11,358
Habitual drunkards 428
Total 46,604

Intoxication 39,309
Intoxication and disorderly conduct 14,723
Habitual drunkards 760
Total 54,792

Intoxication 36,481
Intoxication and disorderly conduct 14,306
Habitual drunkards 702
Total 61,489

Intoxication 33,186
Intoxication and disorderly conduct 10,202
Habitual drunkards 633
Total 44,021

Intoxication 39,182
Intoxication and disorderly conduct 10,424
Habitual drunkards 712
Total 50,318

Intoxication 33,584
Intoxication and disorderly conduct 9,456
Habitual drunkards 562
Total 43,602

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Intoxication 25,981
Intoxication and disorderly conduct 8,674
Habitual drunkards 203
Total 34,858

Intoxication 16,819
Intoxication and disorderly conduct 6,794
Habitual drunkards 127
Total 23,740

Intoxication 14,313
Intoxication and disorderly conduct 6,097
Habitual drunkards 33
Total 20,443

Intoxication 21,850
Intoxication and disorderly conduct 5,232
Intoxicated drivers 494
Habitual drunkards 33
Total 27,609

Intoxication 36,299
Intoxication and disorderly conduct 7,925
Intoxicated drivers 472
Habitual drunkards 50
Total 44,746

Intoxication 45,226
Intoxication and disorderly conduct 8,076
Intoxicated drivers 645
Habitual drunkards 177
Total 54,124

Intoxication 47,805
Intoxication and disorderly conduct 6,404
Intoxicated drivers 683
Habitual drunkards 874
Total 55,766

Intoxication 51,461
Intoxication and disorderly conduct 5,522
Intoxicated drivers 820
Habitual drunkards 814
Total 58,617

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1910 82,017
1911 87,557
1912 96,084
1913 103,673
1914 100,629
1915 91,237
1916 95,783
1917 96,041
1918 94,037
1919 75,618
1920 73,015
1921 83,136
1922 99,601
1923 115,399
1924 130,759
1925 137,263

Very truly yours,
WILLIAM B. MILLS, Superintendent.

Increased deaths from acute alcoholism is likewise demonstrated by official records, and the allegation substantiated by the following communication from Arthur Sellers, for many years past, deputy coroner of Philadelphia.

Senator REED of Missouri. What was the last figure you gave there?

Representative VARE. Fifty-eight thousand six hundred and seventeen.

Senator REED of Missouri. And what were they for the year 1920?

Representative VARE. They were 20,443 for the year 1920, and for the year 1925 they were 58,617.

Senator REED of Missouri. Has the town of Philadelphia been growing that fast?

Representative VARE. At least in the use of intoxicants.

Senator REED of Missouri. I mean in population. I am asking seriously for information.

Representative VARE. No; I should say not. Next I have a letter addressed to me by Mr. Arthur Sellers, deputy coroner for many years of the city of Philadelphia:

December 17, 1925.

House of Representatives, Washington, D. C.

My DEAR CONGRESSMAN In going over the records of the coroner's office I find, beginning with 1913, that we had the following deaths from acute alcoholism or where alcohol was a contributing factor, as shown by the records of our office:

(No report).
1917 5
1918 (No report).
1919 2
1920 8
1921 45
1922 54
1923 65
1924 78
So far in 1925 238

We had also any number of cases in addition to these where alcohol was a contributing factor.

If there is any further information kindly advise me.

Increases in the use of narcotics are cited from the statement of the division of narcotics of the United States Treasury Department, and


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show the following prosecutions by the Federal Government under the Harrison Narcotic Act:

Fiscal Years

Cases reported
Cases dropped and compromised



Data furnished at the recent hearings on the Treasury Department appropriation bills, likewise indicate the great increase of litigation in the Federal courts and the consequent congestion in those tribunals of both liquor and other cases. Prosecutions under the national prohibition act in the Federal courts were cited as follows:

1920 1921 1922 1923 1924 1925
Criminal cases made 7,291 20,114 34,984 49,021 46,431 51,688
Convictions 4,315 17,962 22,749 34,067 37,181 39,072
Acquittals 125 765 1,195 1,770 1,754 1,838
Cases dropped 655 2,570 4,799 6,893 7,674 7,622


Senator REED of Missouri. Is that in the Federal courts only or in all of the courts?

Representative VARE. These are figures for the Federal courts alone. We have no way of getting a record of the State and municipal courts throughout the country.

Statistics of prosecutions in the numerous State and local courts are not available, but it can readily be surmised that these would add many thousands more, with the like conditions of delay in the transaction of both liquor and other litigation, and with the cost of the general administration of justice throughout the country piling sky-high, with the end, under the present law, far from in sight.

In fact, estimates of costs entailed by the Nation so far in the enforcement of prohibition are difficult to make as the expenditures have affected so many agencies, not only national, but State and local, which frequently overlap.

Senator REED of Missouri. Before you pass that let me ask you: Do you know, without attempting to give absolute figures, what the increase in criminal prosecutions in the State and municipal courts have been, whether they have kept pace with the increase in the Federal courts?

Representative VARE. I should say that we have in the city of Philadelphia more than trebled our accommodation for the trial of cases, and still our courts are very much congested.

Senator REED of Missouri. Criminal cases, do you mean?

Representative VARE. Yes.

Senator REED of Missouri. Go ahead.


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Representative VARE. Data furnished by the Committee on Appropriations of the United States House of Representatives show direct appropriations as follows:

Prohibition service (including narcotic acts):
1920 $3,750,000
1921 5,500,000
1922 7,500,000
1923 9,250,000
1924 9,000,000
1925 11,341,770
1926 11,000,000
1927 10,635,685

Coast Guard
1924, operating expenses 1,692,100
1924-25, additional vessels and alterations to vessels transferred from the Navy 12,194,900
1925, operating expenses 8,192,000
1926, operating expenses 11,545,907
1926-27, additional vessels and alterations to vessels transferred from the Navy 3,900,000
1927, operating expenses 14,560,011

NOTE.--- Twenty-five destroyers, approximate cost $1,500,000 each, transferred from Navy Department to Coast Guard for prevention of rum running.

Department of Justice: Appropriations for enforcement of prohibition not segregated, but it is estimated by department officials that approximately one-third of the total for the department and the courts is on account of prohibition, making $8,000,000 for the fiscal years 1925 and 1926, out of total appropriations for each year of approximately $24,000,000. The amount for 1927 is approximately the same.

In view of the above data, it can be conservatively estimated that it costs the Federal Government directly $25,000,000 a year for enforcement. Likewise that the expenditures, direct and indirect, National, State, and local, exceed this sum again and again, until a real calculation would provide a gigantic total.

Senator REED of Missouri. Let me ask you: In this expense do you charge in as any part of it the enormous increased expenditures of conducting the Federal courts, and the Federal prisons, or is that simply an estimate based upon the direct appropriations, and upon the expenditures by the prohibition force or forces that are employed to aid the prohibition force?

Representative VARE. This $25,000,000 simply represents, in round figures, $11,000,000 for land forces and $14,000,000 for Coast Guard and expenses. It does not take into consideration the capital invested in the Coast Guard equipment. It does not take into consideration the number of ships that the Navy has turned over to the Coast Guard. It does not take into consideration the work in the Department of Justice of the Federal Government. It does not take into consideration the costs in the Federal courts or in the municipal courts throughout the country, witness fees, or anything of the kind. Absolutely nothing of that kind is included.

Real prohibition enforcement, such as that advocated by the militant drys would cost the United States $650,000,000 a year according to estimates provided by the association against the prohibition amendment. This estimate is based upon the recent statement of United States Attorney Buckner, of New York, that it would take $15,000,000 a year for actual enforcement in that city alone.


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Modification of the Volstead law to permit the sale of beer and light wines is needed to protect the youth of our Nation, The dangers of the present hip-pocket flask among young girls and boys are recognized everywhere. In my home city, under former conditions, liquor sales to minors were prevented through rigid regulations. To-day the former barriers are removed. The passing of the whisky flask, with its customary poison,, is the expected event at the usual social gathering of youth. Formerly respectable circles frowned at drinking among the adolescents. To-day it is the accepted custom only too frequently, and boys and girls regard it as only smart to show their open defiance of the law of the land. Formerly the young man who brought the bottle of whisky to a party of girls was ostracized. To-day he is regarded as akin to a hero.

It should likewise be borne in mind that the first appropriation for prohibition enforcement was only $3,375,000. The direct costs of enforcement have already increased sevenfold in seven years. Senator King recently estimated that the greater part of the time of 250,000 public officials of all kinds, with salaries of $5,000,000 a year, was being devoted to the enforcement of prohibition. Huge sums spent on liquor-law enforcement show a remarkable contrast to the Federal expenditures to some of the great departments at Washington. The State Department, with all of its international activities, costs $16,000,000 a year. The Department of Commerce costs $30,000,000 a year; Labor, $8,626,625; Justice, $24,000,000.

Losses in excise taxes to the Nation are more easily reckoned. Revenues from these sources in 1919 were:

Distilled spirits
Fermented liquors

Senator REED of Missouri. Is that for the National Government alone?

Representative VARE. Yes.

Senator REED of Missouri. How about the revenue that went to the various municipalities and States?

Representative VARE. I have no way of computing that.

Senator REED of Missouri. It would be a very much larger sum than that, would it not?

Representative VARE. Oh, undoubtedly. A tax on beer will have the advantage that it will be paid by stamps, and, consequently, cost little for collection, and without the scandals concerning rebates and adjustments.

Modification of the Volstead Act to permit sale of beer would restore an industry in which there was an investment of $792,914,000 prior to 1920. It would put to work in the beverage plants alone over 66,000 workers, including many thousands of others who would be employed in the making of boxes, crowns, labels, and the like. It would create a market for materials estimated at $123,685,489 annually. It would open the market for farm products which 13 years ago had a value of $87,520,287 or more than the total farm production of the States of Vermont, Rhode Island, and Delaware.


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The advantages of the modification of the Volstead law have been splendidly summarized by Senator Walter Edge, of New Jersey, as follows:

It would help make the Volstead Act honest by having it conform to the verdict of the country as alone expressed by the terms of the eighteenth amendment.

It would decrease the demand for poisonous substitutes.

It would minimize the domestic brewing and amateur wine-making industry, which has transformed many a home into breweries and distilleries.

It would discourage the growing demand for strong liquor.

It would produce a billion dollars annually and at the same time, by cutting down deceit, improve the morals of the country.

It would contribute to contentment and thus greatly reduce the growing national scandal of law defiance.

It would, after all is said and done, be giving the public only what they are always entitled to.

It would not open saloons, but, on the contrary, and automatically close many illegal dives now practically unrestrained.

It would salvage many a human derelict by providing a healthful beverage.

It would discourage the class distinction present conditions foment.

Senator MEANS. Now, just a moment Mr. Congressman, please, so that I can get your position clear. You believe, then, that this proposed law which would recite "intoxicating in fact," would bring on the use of light wines and beer?

Representative VARE. I am hopeful that it would.

Senator MEANS. Then you believe that this is but an indirect way of modifying the Volstead Act so that we will have light wines and beer?

Representative VARE. I am hopeful that it will accomplish that fact.

Senator MEANS. I want further to get your views. You believe also in the repeal of the eighteenth amendment, do you not?

Representative VARE. Well, I have not gone that far.

Senator MEANS. Well, just how far have you gone? This whole subject is up, and will be, and I would like to know.

Representative VARE. I have gone as far as introducing similar bills to the Edge bill.

Senator MEANS. I know; but I want to know if you believe in the repeal of the eighteenth amendment?

Representative VARE. I repeat again I have not gone that far.

Senator MEANS. You believe, then, that all that is necessary to be done to relieve this situation is the passage of the so-called Edge Act, which recites "intoxicating in fact"?

Representative VARE. I believe that would promote sobriety and temperance.

Senator MEANS. You believe that if Congress should do that, that these difficulties that you have referred to and these enormous figures which have, as you claim, polluted the life of America, would cease, and the remedy is all in this bill, is that what I understand?

Representative VARE. I certainly believe it would be going a long way toward effecting a remedy.

Senator MEANS. Then you believe that there would be no further call on the part of the people of America to repeal the eighteenth amendment?

Representative VARE. I am extremely hopeful that this would satisfy and create contentment of mind throughout the American people.


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Senator MEANS. You do not believe then, that that would have any tendency whatsoever to break down the intent and purpose of the eighteenth amendment?

Representative VARE. I repeat again, I believe that would create contentment and stop irritation.

Senator MEANS. Have you examined the bills introduced by Senator Edge and Senator Edwards which we are also considering, which provide for an increase in the amount named by the Volstead Act of intoxicants permitted in beverages?

Representative VARE. I have presented in the House a bill similar to the Edge bill known as 2.75 by weight. I have also presented a similar bill as to intoxication in fact, similar to the Edge bill.

Senator MEANS. You believe now in passing over the so-called 2.75 and 4 per cent and taking this one bill, and in your judgment you tell the committee that will remedy the evils you complain of?

Representative VARE. In my judgment the "intoxication in fact" bill will go a long ways toward creating contentment and stop irritation.

Senator MEANS. To get how far you you want to go: You do not believe that the return of the saloon is expedient in this country, do you?

Representative VARE. I am not prepared to encourage the return of the saloon.

Senator MEANS. You do not believe that the Government should take over and manufacture and control the sale, the transportation, and the entire traffic of whisky and hard liquors?

Representative VARE. I am opposed to Government ownership of any kind, to the Government going into business.

Senator MEANS. So that you would advise this committee from your investigations and experience and as the result of your own opinion, to disregard all the legislation here with the single exception of the bill which you referred to as the "intoxicating in fact"?

Representative VARE. I have not read all your legislation.

Senator MEANS. Well, you know what has been introduced, do you not?

Representative VARE. I have not read them.

Senator MEANS. Well, I will recite them. There is the bill by Senator Bruce for an amendment to the Constitution, for Government ownership and control. That is the only constitutional amendment proposed. Then we have the increasing, by Senator Edwards and Senator Edge, of the specific amount of intoxicant in beverage. We have the "intoxicant in fact." There are amendments to those. The only others are a bill providing. for a referendum, and a bill providing that the control of doctors issuing prescriptions should be broadened, almost, by the effect of the bill, eliminating any control over them. And the other is an enforcement bill.

Representative VARE. Senator, not having read those bills I would not care to pass on them. However, if there was any legal way to have a national referendum I would certainly favor that.

Senator MEANS. Go ahead, Senator.

Senator HARRELD. Mr. Vare, do you not think that a part, at least, of this increased number of arrests and convictions on charges of bootlegging is due to the fact that the Federal officers are now using

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the charge of selling intoxicants and using intoxicants to break other kinds of vice in the cities?

Representative VARE. On the contrary, Senator, I find from personal contact with police officers that they are more broader, gauged, as it were and very often they take men to their homes rather than arrest them.

Senator HARRELD. Well, now, Mr. Buckner stated to-day that in New York they would arrest a man charged with selling whisky where he was guilty, only for the purpose of bringing about other arrests for crime in a great many instances, and he said he had given instructions to the police of that city to use that as a means of breaking up dens of crime. Does that not account for the increased number to some extent?

Representative VARE. I would not be familiar with the New York system.

Senator HARRELD. Well, I want to know if that same system is followed in Philadelphia?

Representative VARE. But I do come in contact with many police officials of the city of Philadelphia and they have told me that their policy, as far as possible, is to take a man home to his family rather than arrest him.

Senator MEANS. Mr. Vare, I want to see now just where that bill that you propose to us would lead in a fair consideration of the law that I understand now you have centered upon and advise us to consider seriously. There are now, as I understand it, 19 States that have constitutional amendments, which are what we call bone dry. If you were to have a national law which you claim will permit light wines and beer, you will have it existing in some of the States, and forbidden by State law in at least 19, if not thirty some odd by the laws of the State legislatures. Indirectly then you are breaking down the State law by Congress passing the law that you advocate, is that not so?

Representative VARE. I would say that if Congress passed such a resolution it would have such a moral effect that I believe that the fairminded people of any State would want to have a referendum.

Senator MEANS. Well, do you really think that Congress ought to pass an act which we know when we pass it will deliberately break down the constitution and the laws of 19 of our States, for there are now as I understand, 19 States who have constitutional provisions that make them bone dry, and this, if permitted in those States, would violate the constitution of those 19 States.

Senator REED of Missouri. What, to vote?

Senator MEANS. No; I am talking now about the "intoxicating in fact"; not the referendum.

Representative VARE. I doubt if such a resolution would interfere with the State rights.

Senator MEANS. Well, I do not mean this referendum proposition. You misunderstand me. I am directing it entirely to, the law which contemplates intoxication in fact.

Representative VARE. Well, I repeat again, I would not interfere with State rights.

Senator MEANS. Well, do you not interfere with State rights when a law is enacted by Congress which permits light wines and beer?


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Do you not attempt then to break down the constitutional provision of 19 of our States?

Representative VARE. While I am not a lawyer, I do not believe that Congress could take away from the States that which their constitution grants them. That would be a matter for the higher court to determine, of course. I could not pass on that.

Senator MEANS. Do you believe that this Nation can thrive and prosper and be contented when by law half of the country is wet, so called, and half of the country is constitutionally dry, so called?

Representative VARE. My answer to that would be this. As I recall, the State of Maine had a dry law for a quarter of a century before this prohibition law went into effect, and there were no complaints from the other States.

Senator REED of Missouri. Yes; and half of the States were half dry and half wet, at the same time, in the same State, under local option.

Senator MEANS. You are speaking of conditions that existed by reason of certain local option, but now we have constitutional amendments--- not laws, but constitutional provisions that make 19 States, I believe, absolutely dry. This provision of intoxicating in fact would be contrary to the provisions of those State constitutions.

Representative VARE. I am not a lawyer, and I can not pass upon that.

Senator REED of Missouri. Let us see if they would be contrary to the provisions of those State constitutions. The Constitution itself provides

Senator MEANS. You see, Mr. Vare, this has now gotten to a point where you have a discussion between members of the committee as to what the law is, and it is not evidence. I wanted your opinion, and you very frankly told me that you did not know as a lawyer.

Representative VARE. I say I am not a lawyer, and therefore I can not answer your technical legal questions.

Senator REED of Missouri. Just let me ask a proper question. The Constitution of the United States prohibits the manufacture, use, and transportation of intoxicating liquors, without defining what intoxicating liquors are, and leaves it to Congress to define it. Then we have the provision that the right of the State and the right of the Nation to control shall be concurrent. That being the case, if Congress should say that the question of intoxication and the question of liquor being intoxicating is a question of fact, if anybody was tried in a Federal court they would have to be tried in accordance with the law of Congress. If, however, they were arrested under the State law they would be tried in accordance with the State law. Do you see any reason why such a law by Congress should interfere with the right of the State authorities?

Representative VARE. Absolutely not.

Senator REED of Missouri. On the other hand, there are a number of States that are not so dry, and they have not defined intoxicating liquor up to the present time as Congress has defined it. Is not the resent law just as much of an interference with the rights of those States as the proposed law that we are discussing might be with the rights of the dry States?


140 * * * * * THE NATIONAL PROHIBITION LAW * * * * *

Representative VARE. I am inclined to think you are right, Senator.

Senator REED of Missouri. You have spoken about Philadelphia and told us of its experience under General Butler. and of the increase in intoxication and of crime in Philadelphia. From your observation what have you to say with reference to the other large cities of Pennsylvania as to whether or not they present a similar picture? Is Philadelphia a particularly bad town?

Representative VARE. No; I will say that Philadelphia represents the average large city of the country. I would rather think, if all the facts were presented as to all the cities, the possibilities are that Philadelphia would probably be a shade nearer to law enforcement than some of the others.

Senator REED of Missouri. Have you traveled a good deal through the State of Pennsylvania during the last three or four years?

Representative VARE. Not very much.

Senator REED of Missouri. You go to different towns at times, do you not?

Representative VARE. Occasionally, yes; but I do not have the same opportunity for observation in other cities that I have in Philadelphia.

Senator REED of Missouri. What has been your observation and your information as to the increase in the manufacture of liquors of various kinds in the homes of the people?

Representative VARE. I have not attempted to present any facts here other than some official records of the city of Philadelphia.

Senator REED of Missouri. I understand that, but I am asking what your information is.

Representative VARE. My information is that to a very great extent respect for law has been very, very much lessened and that people who under almost any and all other circumstances are law abiding citizens do not seem to hesitate to create an infraction of this law.

Senator REED of Missouri. But I am speaking about the manufacture in the homes of home brew, of wines, etc. Has that increased or diminished, or do you know?

Representative VARE. I have no direct knowledge on the subject.

Senator REED of Missouri. Very well; that is all.

Senator MEANS. The distinguished Senator, a member of this committee, has used you for the purpose of placing into the record an argument and a recitation as to the provisions of the Constitution. I do not think he quite stated the constitutional provision as it reads and the purpose of the same. So I would ask you to read that constitutional provision itself and then answer the questions, and not answer them quickly, because it is a question that distinguished lawyers, far more so than myself, may have to pass upon and concerning which it is hard to answer quickly a question propounded which in reality was nothing but an argument.

Senator REED of Missouri. We will call in Wayne Wheeler to advise us on it.

Senator HARRELD. Let me ask you a question, Mr. Vare. Admitting now, as we all must, that for several years directly preceding the adoption of the eighteenth amendment in various parts of the United States there were prohibitory laws and in other parts of the States


141 * * * * * THE NATIONAL PROHIBITION LAW * * * * *

there were not. Do you not think that the unsatisfactory condition growing out of that situation is largely responsible for the eighteenth amendment?

Representative VARE. Senator, I can best answer your question by referring to the police records of the city of Philadelphia for a period of ears prior to prohibition.

Senator HARRELD. Well, you never did have prohibition in Philadelaphia.

Representative VARE. Let me give you the record, if you please.

Senator HARRELD. But at that time you did have prohibition in other places.

Representative VARE. In 1916 the number of arrests in Philadelphia for intoxication, intoxication and disorderly conduct, and habitual. drunkenness was 50,318. That was in 1916. In 1917 the total had been reduced to 43,602. In 1918, if you please, it had been reduced to 34,858. In 1919 it was down to 23,000. So that under the Brooks high-license law of Pennsylvania, which governed Philadelphia, our people were gradually decreasing, as it were--- gradually improving. Since the prohibition law arrests have been gradual in mounting, increasing each year.

Senator HARRELD. I do not think that is quite responsive to my question, and I wish the reporter would read the question.

(The reporter read as follows:)

Admitting, now, as we all must, that for several years directly preceding the adoption of the eighteenth amendment in various parts of the United States there were prohibitory laws and in other parts of the States there were not. Do you not think that the unsatisfactory condition growing out of that situation is largely responsible for the eighteenth amendment?

Representative VARE. My recollection is that when that was discussed in the House of Representatives we were told that if there were conservation of grain and other things that go into the manufacture of whisky it would have a tendency toward shortening the duration of the war.

Senator HARRELD. Do you mean by that that there would not be surplus of corn in Iowa to-day if we did not have this law?

Representative VARE. I am saying that at the time of the passage of the law that was the argument on the floor of the House.

Senator HARRELD. That it was a conservation measure?

Representative VARE. That is was a conservation measure which would have a tendency to shorten the duration of the war.

Senator HARRELD. And the fact that they have a surplus of corn now would seem to indicate that there is not as much whisky made as used to be?

Senator REED of Missouri. Well, there is more corn grown.

Representative VARE. Speaking from my own personal experience, I would say that it is because automobiles have taken the place of horses.

Senator MEANS. I must apologize to Mr. Codman. We really ought not to be taking your time, and we ought to give you more time. I hope we will not take up so much of your time hereafter. You may go ahead.

Mr. CODMAN. I know the committee will give me an extension of the time they have taken up; I feel sure of that.


142 * * * * * THE NATIONAL PROHIBITION LAW * * * * *

Senator MEANS. I do not think we ought to take up your time with these questions.

Mr. CODMAN. I wanted to state that opportunity will be given before the end of these hearings for a large number of Congressmen who wish to express their views before the committee, and who desire to make short statements.

Senator MEANS. You alarm me; I am acquainted with a good many Congressmen, and short statements are not particularly in their line.

Mr. CODMAN. The reason some of the statements are long is that they excite questions from the committee.

Senator REED of Missouri. As far as I am concerned, I am not greatly interested in the opinions of Congressmen or anybody else; I would like to have the facts; when we call for an opinion of a man here, we only call for it in this sense; that is, I have only called for it in this sense, that frequently a man can not put his hand on concrete cases, but he can say from his observation and experience and what he has heard he has an opinion of a thing, that a condition exists, and that is in the nature of proof of a fact. Let us go ahead.

Mr. CODMAN. Judge Talley will be the next witness.


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