By Hugh Pendexter, Jr.
MUSEUM NOTES: Sometime back the museum ran into this article [Published in various newspaper, Sunday supplement sections throughout the country. Oakland Tribune (Oct 11, 1936), Charleston Daily Mail, etc. ] which quotes Harry Anslinger himself (who himself is making reference to a written file) as its source and contains references to numerous Gore File cases. References that we have used to track down information on numerous (previously unidentified) Gore File Cases. Thus as one can imagine, we have found the article to be of no-small interest.
DON'T BE A MUGGLEHEAD
As per the Oakland Tribune - Sunday Magazine Section - Oct. 11, 1936
By Hugh Pendexter, Jr.
Just weeds; growing in back yards, along railroad tracks or in apartment house window-boxes; but they supply hundreds of thousands of young Americans with the newest "thrill drug" ---Marihuana.
Unlike opiates and cocaine, marihuana can be and is produced in nearly every State in the Union.
Ten years ago there was little traffic in this hemp drug except in parts of the south and Southwest. Five years ago the use of marihuana had spread to many American cities. In the last two years many unscrupulous persons in all sections of the country have undertaken cultivation of the weed.
"Trying to stamp out the raising of the marihuana plant is almost as difficult as it would be to ban dandelions," said H.J. Anslinger, Commissioner of the United States Bureau of Narcotics, in his Washington (D.C.) office.
"At least, every policeman could recognize a dandelion plant when he saw one, but not one in a hundred would know the 'cannabis indica' if he walked through a field of it," Commissioner Anslinger continued. "The raising of this hemp plant is becoming so wide-spread that government narcotic agents are teaching the police in hundreds of cities which have local or State laws prohibiting its culture and use to recognize it.
"As yet there is no Federal law prohibiting the growing, sale or use of marihuana. Traffic in this drug was virtually unknown when the Harrison Anti-Narcotic Law was passed and no supplementary legislation has been enacted to include marihuana with other drugs which are banned. For this reason the Bureau of Narcotics can carry on no crusade of its own against marihuana, but it does co-operate with those States and cities which have local ordinances against the drug. To date all of the States and the District of Columbia, excepting Tennessee, Kentucky and South Carolina, have enacted some form of legislation prohibiting the growing, sale or use of marihuana."
[ Caption Reads: Purveyors of marihuana cigarettes are of the same low level reached by dope peddlers. They prey upon school children. ]
The Commissioner was then handed a recent newspaper clipping which told of seventeen tons of marihuana plants being dug up by the WPA workers in Brooklyn under the supervision of an officer of the New York city narcotic squad, and was asked if this condition prevailed generally throughout the country.
"I don't know whether or not WPA labor is being used in other places to weed out the stuff," he answered, "but I can show you records of recent discoveries of its culture from New Jersey to California."
Whereupon he produced the latest Federal record of marihuana seizures, dating from January, 1935 to March 31, 1936. Here are some facts gleaned from the record:
Sacramento, Calif.: A man was arrested, charged with cultivating narcotic habits in young boys to boost the demand for his marihuana cigarettes. His source of marihuana was found growing on railroad property near Galt. The plants were cleverly camouflaged by cornstalks.
San Quentin, Calif.: Prison authorities at San Quentin Prison learned of a drug addict who attempted to sell a tobacco sack filled with prepared marihuana for smoking to another prisoner. The addict was employed in the prison garden and when his work was inspected several flourishing marihuana plants were found growing on the prison grounds.
Los Angeles, Calif.: A 74-year-old man was arrested for the possession of several thousand dollars worth of marihuana growing in a garden in Montebello Township.
[ Caption Reads: Marihuana having a value of $40,000 if sold as a filler for cigarettes was seized in Blue Mountain, Miss. The weed, when taken, was found parked in cardboard cartons ready for shipment to the makers of these illicit Cigarettes. The confiscated weed found at Blue Mountain weighed nearly one ton. At right is shown a close-up of the marihuana plant. ]
Walsenburg, Col; Following a series of crimes in Huerfano county attributed to marihuana smokers, chief of which was an attack upon the Sheriff which nearly resulted in his death, seventy-five pounds of marihuana weed was uprooted from a single plot. Another seizure of twenty-five pounds was made on West Eighth Street and about ten pounds was destroyed on a ranch near Gardner. The total haul by this Sheriff's office was approximately 200 pounds.
The note-taking was interrupted while information was sought concerning the value of these back-yard and vacant-lot seizures of the marihuana weed. First off it seemed like "small potatoes," but when one learns that the weed brings about $20 a pound and that 200 pounds of it is sufficient to "spike" 10,000 cigarettes---bootlegged for about 50 cents apiece---the illicit profit looms large.
Columbus, Ga.; Federal agents, aided by the local police, raided the premises of a house in this city and found marihuana growing in a plot of ground 10 by 30 feet between two houses. Approximately fourteen pounds of marihuana was found in the house and in a building at the rear, in the process of being dried. The estimated weight of the growing marihuana was fixed at 125 pounds.
Joliet, Ill.; Convicts in Northern Illinois Penitentiary were said to have been sold marihuana cigarettes by a notorious murderer---wanted in New York and Pennsylvania, but committed for life in Illinois. A convict became so obstreperous that an investigation was made of his cell, which led to the discovery of particles of marihuana, and later to a flourishing garden of the weed in an abandoned stone quarry, which was the source of supply.
Bluffton, Ind.; Two Mexican beet-workers were sentenced to serve thirty days at Indiana State Penal Farm after pleading guilty to possession of marihuana. The pair was arrested on a farm in Jefferson Township, Wells County, while in the act of stripping leaves off marihuana plants.
[ Caption Reads: For identification purposes the marihuana cigarette is shown at the right. The paper covering is loosely rolled and crimped at both ends, for the weed is crumbled into flakes rater than being shredded into long-cut, as are most cigarettes. ]
Clarksdale, Miss.; Following the arrest of a man in this town in possession of five and one-half pounds of marihuana prepared for smoking a number of growing marihuana plants were found and destroyed.
Asbury Park, N.J.; Police arrested a man having 100 of the dope cigarettes. He stated he had gathered a number of growing marihuana plants in a field near Tuckerton, N.J. and had had the proprietress of the boarding house in which he lived dry them in the oven, telling her that cigarettes made from the leaves were good for a head cold. The field of growing marihuana was destroyed.
New York City.; A large patch of marihuana weed was found growing in the grounds of the Welfare Island Penitentiary, where the plants were raced by prisoners assigned to grounds duty.
Buffalo: The local police destroyed a patch of marihuana approximately twenty by four feet in size, growing behind a garage. The woman arrested, when arraigned in court the following day, charged with possession of the drug, told the Court she had planted the seed herself.
Rochester, N.Y.; In a vacant lot on Lake Avenue, a quantity of marihuana sufficient to make 5000 cigarettes was found and destroyed. Three hundred pounds of cut, dried and bundled marihuana weeds was found in the rear on a River Street house, enough to "spike" 15,000 marihuana cigarettes. Another patch was found growing on Hincher Street.
Greensboro, N.C.: A number of marihuana plants were found growing in a window-box in an apartment together with some crushed and dried marihuana.
Providence, R.I.: Nearly a ton of marihuana was found growing here by local police following the arrest of twenty tramps in possession of some of the weed. The men stated they gathered it along the waterfront and after drying it, ground it in small coffee mills and rolled it into cigarettes. As a result of this discovery a bill was introduced into the Rhode Island Legislature requesting an appropriation to be used in exterminating marihuana throughout the state.
Pierre, S.D.: Two men were apprehended by the local police and found to be carrying a quantity of marihuana. When taken into custody the men stated that they had seen the weed growing along the highway and gathered it, not knowing its possession was against State statutes.
San Antonio, Tex.: Police discovered marihuana plants growing on a nearby farm, when a one-eighth acre plot contained eighteen growing plants, totaling 200 pounds in weight. The stalks ranged in height from twelve to fourteen feet and had been carefully cultivated by the owner.
"The most serious thing about the marihuana traffic is that the drug is being used widely among boys and girls of high school and college age," the Commissioner continued. "They look upon it as a new thrill. In reality it is a dangerous drug which temporarily removes all inhibitions which make for decency and civilized conduct.
"Here's a 16-year old boy in California, arrested for burglary," he said, grabbing a sheath of reports from his desk and turning to the case cited. "He stole a revolver and was on his way to stage a hold-up when arrested. He was under the influence of marihuana.
"A young man in Baltimore was sentenced to be hanged for criminal assault on a 10-year-old girl. In his plea of not guilty he testified that he was temporarily insane from smoking marihuana cigarettes.
"Not long ago a high school janitor in Chicago was arrested charged with selling marihuana cigarettes to pupils.
"Early this year the Pennsylvania State Bureau of Narcotics arrested a peddler reported to be supplying marihuana cigarettes to boys attached to a CCC camp in Lebanon county.
"Another phase of the use of marihuana which is just beginning to be felt is an increasing number of automobile crack-ups involving persons under the influence of this drug. Marihuana muddies the senses infinitely more than whisky and slows up the reactions of the user to a greater degree.
"I don't believe there would be so many youngsters who would 'try' a marihuana cigarette if they knew it is really hashish; the same stuff old Hassan Ben Sabbat fed his murderous crew in the eleventh century.
"The only difference between hashish and marihuana is that the local product is less concentrated, due to cruder, methods of processing."
Thus it was pointed out that America's new "thrill drug" dates back to the Crusades, when the witty Hassan founded his fanatical sect in Paris, known as Hashishans; from which Arable word, our English "Assassin" came into being.
In America, marihuana is used chiefly in cigarettes, sold under various names, such as "Grigo," "Mari," "Reefers" and "Mary Warner." Among the criminal element the weed is frequently referred to as "Muggles" and its users are commonly termed "Muggle-heads."
"Do not think that the recent increased police activity against the growers and sellers of marihuana necessarily indicates a corresponding increase in its use in those cities," Commissioner Anslinger said. "In many instances it is the result of an awakening public consciousness to a condition which has grown steadily worse for several years and now has become intolerable.
"But not until every copper on a beat knows what the hemp plant looks like can we hope to entirely wipe out the 'thrill weed.'"
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