Address by Mr. H.J. Anslinger,
U.S. Commissioner of Narcotics,
over the Columbia Broadcasting Network -
at 2.:30 P.M., October 25, 1937.
(page 1 - handwritten note: Received by I.N.E.A. on 9/28/37)
Office of Commissioner of Narcotics
Ten years ago there was little traffic in Marihuana except in parts of the Southwest. The weed now grows wild in almost every State in the Union, is easily obtainable and has come into wide use in many States. The situation is especially fraught with danger because the abuse of this drug is being carried as a new habit to circles which heretofore have not been contaminated by drug addiction.
The incomplete reports that have come to my attention during the past year on Marihuana seizures effected throughout the country by State authorities show the existence of a dangerous and rapidly increasing traffic in this drug in at least thirty-one States.
Despite the fact that medical men and scientists have disagreed upon the properties of Marihuana, and some are inclined to minimize the harmfulness of this drug, the records offer ample evidence that it has a disastrous effect upon many of its users. Recently we have received many reports showing crimes of violence committed by persons while under the influence of Marihuana.
Marihuana is the same as Indian Hemp, Hashish, Cannabis, Cannabis Americana or Cannabis Sativa. Marihuana is the Mexican term for Cannabis Sativa. It is also referred to as "hay", "greefo", "muggles", "weed", "Mary Warner", etc.; in fact, the drug is known in many countries by a wide variety of names.
The origin of the drug is very ancient. In the year 1090, A.D., the religious and military order or sect of the Assassins was found in Persia, and the numerous acts of cruelty of this sect wore known not only in Asia, but in Europe as well. This branch of the Shite sect, known as Ismalites, was called Hashishan, derived from Hashish, or the confection of hemp leaves (Marihuana). In fact, from the Arabic "Hashishan" we have the English word "Assassin".
The Marihuana plant ranges in height from about 3 to 14 feet. It is a hearty plant and seemingly adapts itself to almost any climate. The flowering tops are crushed and smoked in the form of cigarettes, which retail at sums ranging form five to fifty cents each.
The toxic effects produced by the active narcotic principle of cannabis sativa, hemp, or marihuana appear to be exclusively to the higher nerve centers. The drug produces first, an exaltation with a feeling of well being; a happy jovial mood, usually; and increased feeling of physical strength and power; and a general euphoria is experienced. Accompanying this exaltation is a stimulation of the imagination followed by a more or less delirious state characterized by vivid kaleidoscopic visions, sometimes of a pleasing sensual kind, but occasionally of a gruesome nature. Accompanying this delirious state is a remarkable lose in spatial and time relations; persons and things in the environment look small; time is interminable; seconds seem like minutes and hours like day.
Those who are accustomed to habitual use of the drug are said eventually to develop a delirious rage after its administration during which they are temporarily, at least, irresponsible and prone to commit violent crimes. The prolonged use of this narcotic is said to produce mental deterioration. It
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apparently releases inhibitions of an anti-social nature which dwell within the individual.
It is said that the Mohammedan leaders, opposing the Crusaders, utilized the services of individuals addicted to the use of hashish for secret murders.
Many instances have been brought to light which illustrate the viciousness of the drug. In Colorado, a man under the influence of Marihuana attempted to shoot his wife, but killed her grandmother instead, and then committed suicide. On November 23, 1935, the Washington (D.C.) Herald published an item stating that on November 22, 1935, in Baltimore, Maryland, a 25-year-old Puerto Rican charged with criminally assaulting a ten-year-old girl, entered a plea of not guilty on grounds of temporary insanity causod(sic) by smoking marihuana cigarettes, but was adjudged sane, found guilty, and sentenced to death by hanging.
The State's Attorney in a New Mexican town estimated that aporoximately(sic) fifty per cent of crimes of violence committed in that city are attributable to marihuana addicts. A District Attorney in New Orleans stated that it has been the experience of the Police and Prosecuting Officials in the South that immediately before the commission of many crimes the use of marihuana cigarettes has been indulged in by criminals, so as to relieve themselves from a sense of natural restraint which might deter them from the commission of these criminal acts, and to give them the false courage necessary to commit the contemplated crime.
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