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The Marihuana Tax Act of 1937


Letter from Mrs. Hamilton Wright, special representative, Bureau of Narcotics.

Treasury Department
Bureau of Narcotics

Washington, May 7, 1937.

Hon. A. W. Robertson.

House of Representatives, Washington, D.C.

Dear sir: I am surprised there should be any opposition to the passage of the Doughton bill. Anyone with a knowledge of the seriousness of the drug evil should welcome the attempt to curb one of the most recent and dangerous drugs that is menacing the country today.

Marihuana is the American form of the familiar and insidious hashish or Indian hemp which has been associated in the Orient with crime for many centuries. We know it as the ordinary hempweed which can be grown in any backyard in any State in the Union. Its use as a stimulant or narcotic is, however, of recent date.

It was introduced about 10 years ago by Mexican peddlers in the form of cigarettes. Its use has spread like wildfire and is associated with crime in its most vicious aspects. Every attempt to curb and eradicate this drug should be encouraged and the Doughton bill is a distinct contribution to the fight against dangerous drugs. It should be realized that the drug evil is no longer an isolated problem but is closely connected with the epidemic of crime that is destroying our safety at home and our good name abroad. A recent authoritative report from California states that 70 percent of the criminals in that state are drug addicts.

The drug evil cannot be temporized with any more than smallpox or yellow fever. It must be checked at the start and not allowed to spread. The Doughton bill represents the "ounce of prevention", and is already heartily approved by the Federal Government, the big women organizations, and I assumed by all intelligent men and women who have the health and safety of the people of the United States at heart. I sincerely hope the bill will be passed as speedily as possible.

Yours sincerely,

Elizabeth W. Wright,

(Mrs.) Hamilton Wright,

Special Representative, Bureau of Narcotics.

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