THE REEFER MADNESS ERA
EDUCATIONAL TEACHERS MANUALS
(during the Reefer Madness Era)
While there was a great controversy over what was or was not appropriate for school children to be taught. There was NO controversy over what the teachers themselves were to be taught about the subject. The following are but a few examples of the materials and teacher’s manuals that were given to them on the subject of narcotic drug abuse.
Course of Study in temperance Education
(Alcohol and narcotic Drugs_ for grades 7-8-9 p70 ) - State of Vermont
G. Marihuana (Indian Hemp) (Marijuana)
3. Marihuana as -- Narcotic
There is no important use for marihuana in medicine because it is unreliable. . . .
4. Effects of Marihuana
When marihuana is taken in large doses or when it is smoked, it usually produces a characteristic feeling of pleasure and exhilaration. Very soon the individual passes into a drowsy state, during which he has beautiful dreams, and forgets everything. He has visions of gorgeously beautiful scenes, amidst which he imagines all sorts of romantic incidents. He is usually joyful and happy and seems to be in a garden of paradise far more beautiful than any previous conception of it. These dreams are more marked in the languid, oriental people. Europeans or Americans unless they are particularly emotional, usually do not have such extravagant dreams but merely become joyful and happy.
During this state of exhilaration, ideas arise so rapidly that time seems to pass much faster than it actually does. Events which usually last hours seem to occur in several minutes. This state of exhilaration lasts for a short time, perhaps an hour, then the individual falls into a normal, quiet sleep from which he can be readily awakened. Often the person has a sense of impending death, while others have terrible dreams.
The following is a reprint from a bulletin of the Signal Press, Evanston, Illinois, entitled "The Menace of Marihuana":
"The following excerpt from a pamphlet by the Department of Public Health, Union of South Africa, should awaken North America to the need for education and legal protection against this deadly drug.
No wonder so many people today oppose the use of Medicinal Cannabis.
"Dagga (Marihuana) is a habit-forming drug and its use is apt to induce a craving which increases in strength until it is practically irresistible. Every confirmed smoker will confess that the craving when the drug is withheld becomes unbearable torture.
"A very serious aspect of this question is the prevalence of the vice among youths and even school boys. The evil effects are quickly shown by emotional instability and unreliability."
Some concrete examples (taken from the records of the Federal Narcotics Bureau) are quoted:
"Reefer" cigarettes, as marihuana cigarettes are often called, are sold to high school pupils by persons attempting to build up a trade for this drug. Such sales are sometimes made at hot dog stands or on the street, secretly, the price being about twenty-five cents per cigarette. A real menace to American youth lies in this drug because the hemp is so easily raised, the drug so readily obtained, and so suicidal in its effects. There has been much agitation against marihuana, the most deadly of all narcotic drugs.
- "It happened in Florida: A young boy who had become addicted to smoking marihuana cigarettes, in a fit of frenzy, because, as he stated while still under the marihuana influence, a number of people were trying to cut off his arms and legs, seized an axe and killed his father, mother, two brothers, and a sister, wiping out the entire family except himself.
- "It happened in Michigan: Sometime ago the silence of the state prison at Marquette, Michigan, was shattered by the sound of fusillade of pistol shots and an hour later a kindly prison doctor lay dead and beside him lay the trusty who had given his life trying to save his friend, the doctor. An investigation developed that arms and ammunition had been smuggled into the prison in the false bottoms of burying containers and that the marihuana from which Tylczak, the murderer of the doctor and trusty, had derived his demonian courage, had also been smuggled into the prison.
- "It happened in California: A man under the influence of marihuana actually decapitated his best friend; and then, coming out of the effects of the drug, was horrified as anyone over what he had done."
EDUCATIONAL PROPAGANDA (From the P.T.A.)
Here is another example of what what was being said about Medical Cannabis back then. Note that this one comes to us courtesy of the P.T.A.
(Locally produced during the Reefer Madness Era)
The following is taken from a locally made booklet entitled, "The Three Rackettes (Medicinal Cannabis being somewhere in there), and is shown here as an example of a locally (to San Jose, Ca.) produced Reefer Madness era narcotics Educational publications. Note that it is hand typed as opposed to press printed. It thus probably stayed a local booklet used mostly by local San Jose school teachers.
Contributions from the California Teachers Association
THE REEFER MADNESS ERA
The Evil California Teachers Association
Is the C.T.A. (California Teachers Association) evil? Maybe, in all likelihood probably! Our museum first became interested in them after locating one of their old articles: parts of which read as follows:
"Marihuana has proven to be a drug of addiction and an alarming factor in the creation of degeneracy . . . The vicious qualities of the drug render it highly dangerous to the body and mind upon which it operates. Eventually it weakens the physical powers. It destroys the will, causes the user to lose the power of connected thought, produces imaginary situations and frequently leads to insanity. … the addict may develop a delirious rage and become temporarily irresponsible and likely to commit violent crimes."
[The following examples were given:]
"A man under the influence of the drug attempted to shoot his wife but killed her grandmother instead and then committed suicide."
"A man 25 years old, charged with criminally assaulting a 10-year-old girl, entered a plea of not guilty because of insanity. He was convicted and sentenced to death."
"A young boy … addicted to smoking marihuana cigarets, killed his father, mother, two brothers and a sister, wiping out the entire family."
SIERRA EDUCATIONAL NEWS Nov. 1938 (page 40)
Official Journal of California Teachers Association.
Pretty strong stuff for a group of schoolteachers; especially as it was published in their "Official Journal," meaning it constituted their official position at the time and one which they would hold for over 60 years thereafter. It must also be remembered that teachers (technically not the world's dumbest people), would have had access to public health nurses as well as close contact with other health workers. At a time when there were numerous medicines containing Cannabis STILL on the market, it would have been all but impossible for them not to have known the truth. Surely someone would have spoken up and told the truth.
The C.T.A. also serves as an excellent example of how hard it is to track down information about what occurred in our public schools during that era. Repeated requests for information on their role in the reefer madness campaign---what pamphlets were used, what lectures were given, minutes of C.T.A. meetings on the subject etc., have all been ignored. More importantly they have even refused to acknowledge any role in or apologize for their actions during that time.
As an aside, some states have passed laws forcing companies to go over and make public their old records concerning their role in the Holocaust, slavery etc. One wonders what might turn up (how many big fish would come out of the closet) if reefer madness were added to that list.
(During the Reefer Madness Era)
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