“Who so ever shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me.
But who so ever shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it would be better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.”
– Jesus Christ

Facts First On Narcotics

Alcohol, Habit Forming Drugs

CHILDRENS SCHOOL TEXTBOOKS (during the Reefer Madness Era)

Perhaps the best way to approach the subject is to begin with an actual example.   The following is taken directly from the book; “FACTS FIRST ON NARCOTICS” by John C. Almack:

MARIHUANA: What It Is and What It Does


[from page 96]
“MARIHUANA is a name given by Mexican Indians to the drug found in Indian hemp.   In our own words, marihuana is Mary Jane.   Marihuana is pronounced like this: ma-re-hwa’na.

"The scientists call marihuana Cannabis indica and Cannabis sativa.   Once in a while you see the name Cannabis Americana given American hemp.   These plants seem to be very similar.   At least, all belong to the Cannabis family, and all contain the active poison marihuana.

"Indian hemp was first known in the Indies, including India proper, Ceylon, Java, and the Philippines.   From its coarse, tough fibers or bark were made rope, twine, baskets, mats, hats, and even clothes.

"It was brought to America over two hundred years ago, and planted in Virginia.   From Virginia it was taken west to Kentucky, and thence spread over the Middle States and the South"

"It has been planted in the southwest by Mexican laborers, and may be seen growing wild in Colorado, New Mexico; and Arizona.   It will grow in all parts of the United States.

"It is a coarse, rough plant, growing from three to fifteen feet high.   The stalk is uneven, with many nodes and branches.   The leaves are a deep green on top, shaped like a long, sharp arrow, with saw-tooth edges.   They are a light green underneath.

"The flowers are small.   They grow in thick clusters out of each branch on the female plant.   From the flowers there flows a thick dark resin, which falls on the leaves.   This is thought to be the drug; but marihuana is also found in the bark and in the leaves.

"In the autumn the criminals who sell marihuana gather the leaves, flowers, and fibers.   They dry them and then crush them into a coarse, light-green powder.

"The powder is next rolled into cigarettes for smoking.   These cigarettes must be wrapped in two papers, for the sharp ends of leaves and stems cut through.   They are uneven in form, and feel rough to the touch.


"Marihuana cigarettes are 'peddled' like cocaine, and sell for from 5 to 25 cents each.   To start a boy on the 'habit' a cigarette may be given him, and, for beginners, the marihuana may be mixed with tobacco.

"Marihuana cigarettes are known by several names in the underworld, where they are consumed ---'muggles' ‘reefers' 'hot sticks,' 'motos,' 'Indian hay,' and 'goof-butts.'

"Stories of long ago from Arabia tell about a strange and powerful drug called hashish.   'The Old Man of the Mountain' kept a band of criminals and killers, who took the drug before starting out on their bloody expeditions.   Their drug was hashish; and they were called Hashishi, or assassins.

“This evil drug was marihuana, from Indian hemp.   Herodotus, a great writer of Greek history, refers to hashish; it was also known to Homer, the ancient Greek poet, who wrote of the siege of Troy.

"The assassins took hashish in several ways.   They made a drink of the leaves and flowers, and they mixed it with honey and with sugar into small cakes or candy.

"The round seeds of hemp are sold for food for birds and are thought to give to singing birds a thin, high note, and to induce song.   Seeds thrown out from feed stores and bird cages often start the plants.

"Hashish comes in the form of a paste composed of resin and the crushed leaves and flowers, which mixed with sugar and cooked with butter and flavoring, is made into the candy known in Egypt as manzul, maagun, and garawish.

"Hashish is smoked in special hookahs, called gozahs.

"There is no antidote for hashish.
"Present-day addicts are called hashashees.
"No one can foretell what the effect of marihuana may be.   This is because it acts in different ways on different people; and because the strength differs in different plants.   One cigarette from a strong plant may make the smoker raving mad.

"The marihuana addict shows three stages of reaction to the drug: Soon after smoking his muscles begin to tremble and his heartbeat runs high.   His ears ring, and in his head is a feeling of great heat.   Dizziness and cold hands and feet soon appear.

"In the second stage, the world round about has become unreal.   The addict thinks he is a great radio singer or an actor, and he tries to 'put on a show.' He laughs like an idiot at the slightest happening.   All his worries are gone, and he is in a new, wild world, over which he has complete control.

"One of the queer delusions is the feeling of floating.   He loses all sense of time and distance.   He thinks he can send his body where he pleases.

"If he is on the fifth floor of a hotel or an apartment, it seems but a step to the ground.   He steps out, as he thinks, for a walk in the garden, and lands a broken bundle of bones and flesh on the street below.

"In many other queer ways, he shows the power of this vile drug.   He thinks he is as tall as a building; a minute seems as long as a year.   His eyesight and his hearing fail, or he sees queer sights and hears strange sounds.   His laughter turns to weeping. "Imagine a person in this stage at the wheel of an automobile.   He has the feeling that he can do anything; that he is taller, stronger, wiser, and more expert than anyone.   He tears down the road at seventy-five miles an hour, but thinks he is creeping along.   He goes through a red light, which he thought was far off from him.   He does not see or hear signals, and time and distance deceive him; the first seems to go slowly, the second seems increased.

"In the third stage, the marihuana addict becomes a fiend.   The pupils of his eyes grow big, his eyes stare wildly, and he grows afraid.

"This stage is dangerous to others.   He suspects everyone, even his best friends.   The one big idea he is likely to have is to kill.   From India, from the Malay States, and from the Philippines, come stories of wild-eyed assassins who have run amuck with a sharp, curve-bladed snickersnee, hewing down all they meet.   Cooks who do wholesale killings with butcher knives are in this stage of marihuana madness.

"A high-school boy who had been tempted to try a 'reefer' stepped out on the street while in this mad stage.   There he saw a crippled bootblack at his stand.

To the boy's crazed brain, the cripple was an enemy, and, rushing home, he came back with a gun and shot the poor bootblack.   And, like all addicts who commit crimes while in this stage, he later said he could remember nothing of his act.

"Here are case studies of acts of marihuana addicts, in each instance a young boy:
“1.   Held up and killed a bus driver.
"2.   Killed his best friend.
"3.   Robbed and killed a hotel clerk.
"4.   Shot a man in a holdup.
"5.   Killed his father, mother, sister, and two brothers with an ax.
"When asked about their crimes after the drug effect has died out, they say: 'I do not know what happened.   Everything is a blank.'

"As the mad stage passes, the Marihuana smoker becomes very sick.   He vomits, and then falls into a heavy, helpless stupor.   His sleep is restless, and he dreams wild dreams.

"It is only a few steps from a marihuana smoke to the insane asylum.

"Marihuana is an outlaw.   It is against the law to grow it, sell it, or have it in one's possession.

"Dr. Merrill has the following to say as to what to do about it: 'Every state has peddlers who try to lure children with cigarettes in which there is marihuana. . . . The louts who sell it should be sent to prison; but the best way to "spike" the use of the dope is to tell the truth to growing children.'

"What can be done to prevent its use?

"Children should refuse to take candy or any drink offered them by a stranger.

"They should report to the principal of the school, their father and mother, and the police anyone who grows, has for sale, gives away, or smokes marihuana.

"Anyone who tries to give away any sort of cigarettes to children and youth should also be reported; he may be a marihuana peddler.

"If by any chance they hear of an addict, they should keep away from him.   Who knows who will be his next victim?

"Marihuana is of no use in medicine.   No one uses its fibers today to make homespun clothing or hats.   Cotton, Manila hemp (the fiber from a kind of banana plant), wire, and flax are much better for twine and rope.

"Indian hemp is a plant that is of little use, and one that the world would be better off without.   It should be entirely destroyed.

"I have told about a new drug, called Indian hemp and marihuana.   A longtime ago, the fibers were used for hats, belts, mats, and twine.   Now it has little real use.

'It is taken by smoking, by drinking extracts and tinctures, and by eating it in candy.   It causes complete loss of the senses, and may result in terrible accidents and crimes.   It is against the law to grow it, carry it, sell it, or use it.   It should be entirely wiped out.

"Helen will now tell you about other harmful drugs."

Things to Do
1.   Find out what things are made of hemp, and list them on a poster.   Opposite this list put the names of other raw materials from which these same things may be better produced.   Do we need hemp for any good purpose?
2.   Show' on a poster, or in some other way, the "plague spots" from which the use of marihuana is spread: low-class drugstores, pool parlors, drinking places, et cetera.
3.   Write a booklet in which you tell why peddlers of drugs, including marihuana, like to have children form the drug habit.
4.   Make a map showing where marihuana is grown and used.

For Review and Test
1.   By whom has the use of marihuana been brought into this country?
2.   How is marihuana taken into the body?
3.   For what reasons is marihuana looked upon as the most dangerous narcotic?
4.   How is it often given to young people without their knowing it?
5.   What is the best way to safeguard ourselves against marihuana?

Notes on Books
Just to show you that marihuana is bad, you might read Youth Gone Loco; the Villain is Marihuana," in the Christian Century, vol. 55, pp. 812-819 (June 29, 1938) ; and “Marihuana, Assassin of Youth,” in American Magazine vol. 124; p. 18, 19 (July, 1937).   Same in Reader’s Digest, vol. 32, pp. 3-6 (February, 1938), and "Marihuana, Mexican Dope Plant," in Nature Magazine, vol. 31, pp. 271, 272 (May, 1938).   Then you may also see "Science Speaks,” pages 5·17, and "Plain Fact," pages 18·26.

Plain Facts about . .

Science Speaks to . .  

To insure that the point (what was going on at the time) is being made, let us go through yet another Children's School Book published during the Reefer Madness Era.   The following is taken from the textbook “PLAIN FACTS FOR YOUNG WOMEN ON MARIJUANA, NARCOTICS, LIQUOR, AND TOBACCO” by Wood-Comstock, Belle MD.

Marijuana is one of the greatest menaces to American youth today.   What are its effects upon the addict?
"ASSASSIN!'.   you exclaim.   "lsn't that a pretty strong word for a thing that comes from the Rowers of Indian hemp.   a plant originally grown in India ?"

"Assassin" is a strong word, we admit: but did you know that the word actually comes from the Arabic "Hashishin," that is, '.hemp eater.'? The Hashishi were a group to whom a Persian chief, nearly a thousand years ago, gave the drug from Indian hemp in order to make them crazy to kill, for he wanted men who would go to any lengths to turn back the Crusaders.   Because these men did such a good job of exterminating thousands of Crusaders, and because they did so under the powerful influence of the drug "hashish," they were called the "hashishi," and the individual a "hashishin.'.   Hence our word, "assassin.'

The word "assassin" is none too strong for the thing called in the Orient hashish or hasheesh: in America, marijuana or marihuana; and known in underworld parlance as “loco weed” and "muggles.” Marijuana is a ruthless killer.   It kills the person who uses it, and too often it leads him to kill others.   In fact the Malayan exclamation of alarm over a man, an elephant, or a tiger, on a killing rampage,-" Amok! Amok!" ("KiIl! Kill!'), -originated in Siam when addicts to hashish went wild in a killing frenzy.   We have copied the Malayans somewhat in our expression, "Run amuck.”

PlainFacts Marijuana (the Spanish name for the drug) is not used in medicine or by the medical profession.   It is used solely for its narcotic effect.   The user seems to be floating in space.   He sees visions of beautiful gardens, wonderful flowers, towering trees.   He believes there is no possibility of pain, trouble, or sorrow.   Everything is grand; everything is beautiful.   Space means nothing to him.   Time seems endless; a minute stretches into days and months, a day into years.

But all these pleasurable sensations last only a little while.   The addict soon finds himself unable to walk, and later falls into a drunken stupor and deep sleep.   After a few months' addiction his eyelids become red and swollen.   His appetite goes.   He loses flesh, and soon looks gaunt.   His memory begins to fail him; after a while he cannot remember even the most familiar things.   Because of the terrible strain marijuana puts on the nervous system, eventually the addict goes insane, completely and hopelessly so.

But somewhere along this path that leads to darkness and night the marijuana addict may suddenly become a murderer.   He may commit the crime in order to show his imagined prowess and superiority.   He may do it because of fancied enemies and grudges.   Turn back to the very first page of this book, and you will find the true story of a twenty-year-old girl killer who testified in court that a few puffs on a marijuana cigarette made it seem all right to kill the owner of an automobile when he resisted a holdup.   (The incident there related occurred in New Jersey early in 1938.) That is just a sample of the way marijuana may affect the user.   Its course is quite unpredictable, for it affects one person one way; and another quite differently.   But the effect is always bad, both for the individual user and for society as a whole.

Marijuana is the greatest danger the United States faces today so far as narcotic drugs are concerned.   It is so because of three factors :
  1. The marijuana plant (Cannabis indica) can be grown, and is grown, in almost every state in the Union.   This is not the case with the plants from which we get cocaine and opium.   Practically all cocaine and opium is imported, and most of those drugs used illicitly are smuggled in despite the vigilance of customs officials and narcotic inspectors.   But marijuana does not have to run the border gantlet.   Brought across the border from Mexico a few years ago, the plants have found root everywhere.   They are grown in backyards in Philadelphia, in a vacant lot in Detroit, between rows of corn in Illinois, in a cotton field in Texas and in California gardens.   To be sure, both state and federal officials have suddenly awakened to the invasion of this dangerous plant; but it is so widely grown and so easily camouflaged that it is proving a most stubborn thing to cope with.

  2. The method by which marijuana is sold is also baffling to law-enforcement officers.   It is made up into cigarettes, which are called “reefers," and which look like the ordinary tobacco cigarettes.   It is peddled in underworld haunts, in cheap hotels and boarding houses, around schools and colleges, at the usual rate of two cigarettes for a quarter.   Because of its innocent-appearing form it escapes detection, and the traffic has grown to huge proportions without any very successful means of combating it being evolved.

  3. The marijuana traffic makes its major attack on youth.   Those who sell it frequent the neighborhoods of schools.   They see a boy or a girl smoking, and they then offer” a cigarette with more kick in it."   Many times the marijuana cigarette is given away in order to start the appetite for more.   Out of curiosity, many boys and girls take a couple of the "new kind of cigarettes" just to see how they differ from the brand they have been smoking.
They soon find that the new cigarette' does have a kick,-- a big kick!   It carries them off into an unreal world, and gives them sensations they never before experienced.   Inasmuch as the seamy and sordid side of marijuana is not experienced at first, unthinking youth form the habit before they have any realization of the terrifying and tragic potentialities in "reefers."   By the time they wake up, it is often too late; the habit has fastened itself securely upon them.

Thus marijuana truly becomes the assassin of youth.

Index of Reefer Madness Textbooks
The following is a list of old children’s text books deemed by the museum as having Reefer Madness contents.

1934 NARCOTICS AND YOUTH TODAY - by Robert E. Corradini
Pub: - The foundation for narcotics Research and information, Inc. 150 5th Ave. New York, N.Y. This book was originally written as a high school textbook for teachers and students.   It deals mostly with alcohol, tobacco, and narcotics in general (with Mariahuana thrown in as a minor narcotic).   In fact less than a whole page is devoted to Mariahuana; as such it verily qualifies as a Reefer Madness book.   However, what is interesting about the book is how it develops its arguments against narcotics in general.   These same arguments would soon be used in the fight against the medical marihuana plant.

1936 - ALCOHOL AND THE HABIT-FORMING DRUGS - By Grant L. Donnelly Publishers Alfred Williams & company: Preface starts - The object of this little volume is to make available for school children of an appropriate age, an honest and therefore *** contains a small section on Marihuana and how it causes insanity.

1937 - DOPE ADVENTURES OF DAVID DARE By Rowell, Earle Albert; Nashville, TN: Southern Publishing Assoc.   Front shows author with opium pipe used to illustrate his lectures.   This is a startling expose on how dope and movies have destroyed the world's youth.   Photos of narcotics police in action in the Orient and the U.S.   Marihuana is only mentioned in a couple of pages.

1938 - SCIENCE SPEAKS TO YOUNG MEN ON LIQUOR, TOBACCO, NARCOTICS, AND MARIJUANA By THOMASON, George MD; Mountain View, CA: Pacific Press Publishing.   Reefer-madness-era book for young students describing the dangers of drugs.   Includes the story of "Baptiste Chautemps, the New Orleans dope peddler, and how he sold marijuana to high school boys and girls." Illustrated with charming drawings.

1938 - PLAIN FACTS FOR YOUNG WOMEN ON MARIJUANA, NARCOTICS, LIQUOR, AND TOBACCO by WOOD-COMSTOCK, Belle MD.; Mountain View, CA: Pacific Press Publishing.   Reefer-madness-era book for young students describing the dangers of drugs.   Includes chapters "Marijuana the Assassin." This isn't just any Belle Wood-Comstock --- this is Belle Wood-Comstock, M.D. (reminding me once again of the definition of "idiopathic": the doctor's an idiot and the patient's pathetic.

1939 - FACTS FIRST ON NARCOTICS: ALCOHOL, TOBACCO, MARIHUANA, OPIUM, AND COCAINE -by John C. ALMACK, - Published by Pacific Press Publishing Association.   Hardbound, Reefer madness-era text book for intermediate grades, warning of the dangers of illegal drugs.   "The marijuana addict shows three stages of reaction to the drug.   Soon after smoking his muscles begin to tremble and his heartbeat runs high." Illustrated with charming drawings showing drug use around the world.

1939 - A CLEAR CASE AGAINST NARCOTICS: ALCOHOL, TOBACCO, MARIJUANA, OPIUM AND COCAINE, by John C. ALMACK, - Published by Pacific Press Publishing Association.   Hardbound, Reefer madness-era text book for upper grades, warning of the dangers of drugs.   Illustrated with charming drawings showing drug use around the world

1940 - STRAIGHT THINKING ON NARCOTICS: ALCOHOL, TOBACCO, OPIUM, MORPHINE, COCAINE, AND MARIJUANA, by John C. ALMACK, - Published by Pacific Press Publishing Association Hardbound, Reefer madness-era textbook for high school and college students, warning of the dangers of illicit drugs.   Illustrated with drawings

1956 - MERCHANTS OF MISERY - by J. A. Buckwalter Pub: - Pacific Press Publishing Association Mountain View, Ca. High School Text Book - (intended for teachers and parents) A latter day, reefer madness era (copyright 1956) book originally meant as a resource, on narcotics in general, for high school teachers, librarian's etc.   In fact it is surprising, given its late publication date, that such a book would still be using language like"
"A person under the influence of marijuana is exposed to the unpredictable effects of . . . because of this vicious tendency experienced by some, it has been called the 'Killer drug.'"
And although, only a few pages are devoted exclusively to marihuana, reference to it can be found throughout the book.   All the old myths are there also, the Assassin's myths, the "marihuana distorts your sense of time myth, the marihuana as a starter drug myth etc.   Be prepared for terms like, "The Marihuana Addict," instead of "The Medical Marihuana Patient" etc.

From the above list the reader may already have noticed an oddity of the Reefer Madness era. And that is just how few children's schoolbooks the museum (so far) has been able to identify and locate.   One would think that there should be hundreds and hundreds of them.   After all, wasn't the alleged reason for outlawing medical marihuana, "to protect America's youth against the "Assassin of Youth"?   Weren't the most unscrupulous drug peddlers lurking around schoolyards trying to lure them into trying a "new kind of cigarette with an extra kick in it"?   So why then weren't school officials demanding more and more reference materials on the subject.   In the words of America's first drug czar, Harry Anslinger:
"There should be campaigns of education in every school, so that children will not be deceived by the wiles of peddlers, but will know of the insanity, the disgrace, the horror which marijuana can bring to its victims." (Readers Digest, Feb 1938)
So what happened?   Why weren't teachers and educators in the lead against the evil, "Weed of Madness?"   In order to understand the answer to these questions, we must first look into the great controversy surrounding the whole subject . . . . from a teachers point of view.



Due to space / download time considerations, only selected materials are displayed.   If you would like to obtain more information, feel free to contact the museum.   All our material is available (at cost) on CD-Rom format.  



(Educational Giveaways)