For Release on Delivery
About 10:35 a.m. Thursday
December 13, 1934
THE NARCOTIC PROBLEM
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Commissioner of Narcotics,
Bureau of Narcotics,
THE ATTORNEY GENERAL'S CONFERENCE ON CRIME
Memorial Continental Hall
Thursday, December 13, 1934
The committee on Drug addiction of the National Research Council is making progress in the solution and prevention of addiction. This work is being carried on at the University of Virginia and the University of Michigan.
We are not getting much cooperation from state licensing boards in cases of addiction and conviction of persons professionally handling narcotics. And what about the drug addict who is driving an automobile? He endangers the public, but few states will act to revoke his license; and many states require no license at all to drive an automobile.
Marihuana is a dangerous drug and its abuse is growing. It is the same as HASHISH used widely in the Near East, derived from the Arabic word "Assassin", which so aptly describes its powers. Its user is quickly reduced from valor and courage to fear and insanity.
Sometime ago Florida had a horrible tragedy. A young boy butchered his entire family while under the influence of the drug. Florida acted. It hastily passed the Uniform State Narcotic Act which covers cannabis or marihuana; and peddlers there have been sent up for as long as 5 years. Florida is ruthlessly stumping out use of the drug.
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In Atlanta recently a pushcart peddler was selling the drug to youths. We aided the city authorities in apprehending him, and it was a matter of regret to the judge that the man could be sentenced only under an act requiring poisons to be labeled. The public was aroused but hasn't acted.
In Denver a District Attorney reported a man traveling to Kansas city with a truck load of this deadly wood. We caught him, but what could we do? There was no federal statute and no state law. there was only a city ordinance regulating poisons. He got 610 days in jail. Is that the kind of enforcement the public wants? There is much talk but little action. The Federal Government is helpless in controlling this situation; it has no police powers like the states have. It has only its taxing power.
There is practically no interstate commerce in marihuana. The drug is grown locally., What a sad commentary on the states which sit idly by with a big club in the form of police power to prohibit the growth, to arrest for possession and sale.
And I'll go further. Many Chiefs of Police call on us for assistance after raiding criminal hideouts. They have found a drug. What drug? Or agents examine it. Chief, it is marihuana, and you can have your city council enact a police ordinance over night to control it; but no, let the Federal Government do it. It is a narcotic. They handle those cases. When will states and cities wake up?
Today on the Radio - Thursday, Dec. 13, 1934 10:30-11:00 A.M.---“The Narcotic Evil,” Harvey Anslinger(sic), commissioner of narcotics, at Crime Conference, Washington, D.C. --- WEAF. As seen in the New York times of Dec. 13, 1934 p26
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