A RADIO SYMPOSIUM ON
MARIHUANA---THE KILLER DRUG
THE INTERSTATE, COMMISSION ON CRIME
THE COUNCIL OF STATE GOVERNMENTS
Honorable Clarence V. Beck, Attorney General of Kansas
Honorable John J. Bennett, Attorney General of New York
Honorable Brien McMahon, Assistant United States Attorney General
Honorable Frank H. Patton, Attorney General of New Mexico
Network of the Mutual Broadcasting System, Friday, December 3,
1937 - - 2:15 p.m. E.S.T.
FRANK H. PATTON
The problem of Marihuana smoking in the United States is fast becoming the most important narcotic problem in this country.
Today in Newark, New Jersey, The Interstate Commission on Crime of the Council of State Governments is meeting in executive session. Our attack against crime and the criminal is proceeding on many fronts. One line of our attack is directed against the increasing sale and use of this dangerous drugs.
It is one of the functions of our Commission to provide cooperative machinery among the states and the Federal Government by means of which they can work together effectively to eradicate the use of Marihuana.
Neither the Commission's efforts nor the efforts of any of the law enforcement agencies, even though they work hand in hand, can alone prevent the ever-increasing use of the drug. The problem calls for strong and immediate action of the citizens of America. This Commission and the law enforcement agencies can do their share toward the elimination of the use of marihuana by countless thousands of our, people--many of-them in their adolescence. It is up to our people to support us in our legislative program and to support the police authorities in their work so that the use of marihuana can be wiped out. Ten years ago there was little traffic in the drug except in parts of Now Mexico and other parts of the southwest my section of the country. The development of a widespread traffic during the past few years has been rapid. This has been particularly true since the demise of Prohibition. In the southwest its disastrous effects upon cattle and horses ate well known. Throughout that part of the country for many years it has been known as loco weed and I have no doubt that many of you [MARI-1] who are listening have heard frequently of marihuana under that name, and that you have often read of its effects.
Attorney General Beck, who comes from Kansas, I think can tell us briefly what some of the main difficulties are in the suppression of this drug and the prevention of its use.
CLARENCE V. BECK
It Is estimated the Narcotic Bureau of the New York Police Department in 1936 alone destroyed almost 40.,000 pounds of marihuana plants, found growing within the city limits. Because of its rapidly increasing use, Marihuana demands a price as high as $60 a pound.
While city officials have destroyed hundreds of thousands of plants, those parasitic criminals who traffic in the drug, plant the seeds in open lots where it grows without the need of cultivation. Then under cover of darkness, the weed is harvested, dried and Its leaves made into cigarettes. These cigarettes are sometimes called reefers and are also known as "goof Butts," muggles," "Tea," or "gage." They are bootlegged at prices ranging from five to fifty cents.
The drug is considered to be more dangerous than either cocaine or opium neither of which will grow in this country and must be smuggled in.
While medical men and scientists have disagreed upon the properties of marihuana and some have been Inclined to minimize the harmfulness of this drug, records offer ample evidence that it has a disastrous effect upon many of Its users.
Marihuana is the same as Indian hemp, hashish, cannabis, cannabis americana, or cannabis sativa. Marihuana is the Mexican term. As far back as 1090 A.D. many acts of cruelty of the Sect, [ MARI-2] known as The Assassins, were reprinted in both Asia and Europe. The plant was known to the Greeks as "Nepenthe." Its use in Egypt has been common since ancient times and has continued down to the present. The natives of the Malay Peninsula while under its effect have been known to engage in violent and bloody deeds with complete disregard their personal safety. To run "amuck" Is synonymous with saying that one is under the influence of this drug.
Smoking of the drug produces such a condition of drugged stupor that the user often commits horrible crimes, not only on strangers but on members of his own family. Habitual users of the drug become completely unaccountable for their actions and often are maniacal in their deeds.
Prolonged use of the drug produces a complete mental deterioration. In a bulletin issued by the Federal Government it s reported that a man under the influence of marihuana attempted to shoot his wife but killed her grandmother instead and then committed suicide.
Judge Hartshorne, the Chairman of our Commission, who is one of the Judges sitting here in Newark, recently tried a murder case, in which the defendant's intellect was so prostrate from smoking marihuana cigarettes that he committed an unspeakable brutal murder. The particular brutality of the murder was accounted for by a fact that the defendant had been smoking reefers.
One of the places where marihuana stroking has greatly increased has been in New York, and I think perhaps Attorney General Bannett of that state has had presented to him some of the difficulties [MARI-3] that the police there have experienced in attempting to stamp out the use of this drug.
JOHN J. BEENETT
In New York City Police Commissioner Valentine has reported that 80% of those arrested by his department for drug violation showed prior criminal records, ranging from misdemeanors to murders. This record In New York City probably would be duplicated in survey of the records of the police department of any of our large cities. It is a good index of this type of person who is producing, possessing, and commercializing the unlawful sale of marihuana in this country today.
This week, a group of gangsters, charged with being international traffickers in narcotics, were rounded up in New York. An indictment, returned by the Grand Jury, named 30 persons, including certain present and former Federal employees. This dope ring was smuggling narcotics into this country and bootlegging them at exorbitant prices. This type of narcotic peddler, difficult though he may be to detect, can be more easily apprehended than the reefer dealers who traffic in marihuana because there is none of the attendant difficulty of bringing the drug into the country, nor Is there the same distribution problem with which the other dope dealers are faced. The ease with which marihuana can be grown and harvested in this country facilitates frustration of the authorities.
The Marihuana sellers, arrested in a great many cases, are found to have been bootleggers whose incomes were depleted when prohibition was ended. They have turned to this new and lucrative field to rebuild their diminishing bank accounts.
Because there are hundreds of these small dealers peddling these drug filled cigarettes and because there are thousands of potential smokers the police and the narcotic bureaus can not effectively [MARI--4] cope with the problem alone. They need the support of the State Legislatures of the Federal Government, and of the citizens, as had been said, to put in their hands new and effective weapons to control the sale and use of the drug. Bills have been passed in many of our state legislatures which provide control over production and possession as well as the sale of the drug. Congress likewise has endeavored to prevent the interstate sale of marihuana. And the Interstate Commission on Crime is preparing an administrative program to aid the states in cooperating to step the use of the drug. But all of these efforts will fail unless the people support all of these programs which are, in effect, not only measures to stop the possession and sale of the drug, but, what is more Important, are part of a broad crime control program.
There is another phase of this problem and that is the vicious methods which are being used to introduce the boys and girls of America to this drug. Assistant United State Attorney General Brien McMahon, I think, can discuss this phase of our problem which is national in its scope.
Before discussin(sic) that phase of the problem I should like to point out to you the work that has been done by the Work's Progress Administration, cooperating with the Health and Police Departments of various cities in harvesting and destroying tons of these marihuana plants. I refer to this particularly because the surveys upon which these projects were based disclosed the plants growing in many cases very close to school buildings. This is probably no direct connection between these facts but it does show how widespread the growth of the weed is. [ MARI-5 ]
Investigations show that school children have been approached in many of our large cities such as Denver, New Orleans, St. Paul and Chicago by reefer peddlers. The children are induced to buy these doped cigarettes in many cases while on their way to or from school sessions.
In some cases the peddlers have been hot tamale or frankfurter peddlers selling their products from push carts near school grounds. Investigation has shown that underneath their layers of hot dogs and "front products" they have a hidden supply of marihuana for nefarious sale to those school children who can be induced to buy,
Only by a campaign of education conducted in ever state and every community in every state in this nation can we bring home to the citizens the importance of eradicating this marihuana evil. All our children should be instructed not only to avoid it but to report the sale or attempted sale of the drug or reefer cigarettes to them or their friends. Special knowledge of the weed, how it grows, what it looks like should be in the hands of the people and the local authorities, so that the weed can be destroyed. These steps, though simple, will, if carried on throughout the country, have a salutary affect on the control of the problem.
The drug can be said to release all of the anti-social inhibitions of the user. It is this devastating potentiality of the drug which makes mandatory and emergent country-wide action to wipe t out and prevent its use.
While there is a Federal law under which some convictions have been obtained already, nevertheless the fight against marihuana abuse is largely a problem of state legislation and local enforcement. The Bureau of Narcotics of the Treasury Department will early on its crusade against marihuana. The Federal Government will cooperate [ MARI-6 ] with those states and cities which have local ordinances against tile drug.
General Bennett, you referred a few minutes ago to the difference in type between so-called dope peddlers and reefer sellers. I wonder if General Patton would discuss the difference between the two types of users.
FRANK H. PATTON
In our minds we conjure up a picture of Oriental splendor in Chinese opium dens. This Is contrasted with the sneaking, sly, cocaine sniffers, furtively making their way along dark alleys. Both these pictures are exaggerated. But none of us think of these dens as places where we find people who by use of these drugs feel compelled to commit crimes.
The picture drawn of the arrival of the reefer man at a "tea pad" or marihuana party is not exaggerated. Nerves Jangled--.by fast life, our pleasure-loving citizens have lifted marihuana smoking from the slum sections of our big cities to pent-house parties which are becoming more common every day.
Many criminals nerve themselves to commit a contemplated crime by sniffing cocaine, but the effect of marihuana upon a smoker is to incite him to commit atrocities never planned. Atrocities are committed and when the effects wear off the smoker remembers nothing, and is horrified by the deeds he has committed. Incurable insanity is the frequent end of marihuana smokers.
Our time is drawing to a close and perhaps General Bennett Will conclude our discussion.
JOHN J. BENNETT
Can America control this drug?
America can if the citizens of America will cooperate to [ MARI-7 ] and this scourge, and will take this action at once. Education, legislation, cooperation, all combined with support of those entrusted with the enforcement of the law can end marihuana smoking.
It must be a fight made by all. No longer can any one state hope to eradicate the use of this drug within its own borders unless it can be assured that it will not be imported from its neighbors.
Because it is a nationwide problem the states ask, and are entitled to, the support that can be given them by the Federal Government. The states and the Federal Government in turn ask, and are entitled to,, your support to end the use of marihuana.
Our children must be protected so that they may go to and from their schools- -their pathway unimpeded by reefer peddlers.
Either marihuana smoking must be stopped or we will continue to face day after day hideous crimes, committed by those who, under the influence of this drug, know not what they do.
LITERARY DIGEST - Jan. 1, 1938
Broadcast Over Mutual Network
The dangerous narcotic drug marijuana grows wild in almost ever slate in the Union and therefore is easily obtainable. Not only does it grow in the countryside, but along the roadsides an in the vacant lots of our cities as well In many cities its presence was first discovered when health officials surveyed vacant lots in a drive to destroy ragweed and other noxious plants. Because it grows in so many different places, it has become the cheapest of all drugs.
It is estimated the Narcotic Bureau of the New York Police Department in 1936 alone destroyed almost 40,000 pounds of marijuana plants, found growing within the city limits. Because of its rapidly increasing use, marijuana demands a price as high as $60 a pound.
While city officials have destroyed hundreds of thousands of plants, those parasitic criminals who traffic in the drug plant the seed in open lots, where it grows without the need of cultivation. Then, under cover of darkness, the weed is harvested, dried and its leaves made into cigarettes. These cigarettes are sometimes called reefers and are also known as "goof butts," "muggles," "tea," or "gage." They are bootlegged at prices ranging from 5 to 50 cents.
The drug is considered more dangerous than cocaine or opium, neither of which will grow in this country.
While medical men and scientists have disagreed as to the properties of marijuana and some have been inclined to minimize its harmfulness, records offer ample evidence that it has a disastrous effect on many of its users.
Marijuana is the same as Indian hemp, hashish, or cannabis. Marijuana is the Mexican term. The plant was known to the Greeks as nepenthe. Its use in Egypt has been common since ancient times and has continued down to the present. The natives of the Malay Peninsula while under its effect have been known to engage in violent and bloody deeds with complete disregard for their personal safety.---Clarence V. Beck, Attorney General of Kansas
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