(From the Reefer Madness Era)
The following provide us with two good examples of the kind of material written as part of the Reefer Madness campaign. The Drug Demon is actually a booklet, of which we reproduce but one chapter – the one that deals with Medical Marihuana. Note that we know nothing about the author Max Steip (assuming that is his or her real name).
The other pamphlet entitled “The Silent Horror” (again but one chapter is reproduced here) was written by Elmer James Rolling’s who also wrote numerous other such materials. Note that in our O.T.R. (Old Time Radio) section we have been able to find a recording made by him.
Today, both provide us with good examples of what people were talking about in small gatherings back then.
The Drug Demon
By Max Steip
In the United States there are a great many drug users found not only in the large cities, as many imagine, but also in towns, villages and isolated spots.
Even though the money part of the matter is in itself the most unimportant feature, millions of dollars are spent yearly by these people for alleged stimulating drugs.
If permitted without some curb, the habit becomes common to such an extent that young men in the exploration for adventures into the mysterious, will venture a first trial just to experience a taste of the notorious pleasant effects; and they cannot then retract the deed which is the key to the habit.
From childhood up our young people, boys or girls, are taught to believe for a time in Fairy Tales, Santa Claus, and other Miracles and Superstitions which their latter vision proves to them untrue. So that when in prime youth they are informed that Liquor, Tobacco and other habits are not good for them, they smile. They try, and in many cases with good judgment, often mildly- enjoy one or more of these habits. Thereafter only practical reasons must be shown to them why they should not enjoy other common habits. Anyone can readily see how easy it is then for cocaine, opium and other strong drugs to obtain a foothold, unless material facts proving all the attendant evils are laid before the people, and this is necessary at once.
Young men and women are daily becoming addicted to the habit as if it were a matter of enjoyment. People connected with the drug trade declare that the use of habit-forming drugs has been increasing at the rate of 10 per cent each year. At this rate of increase the thing is a menace. For it is as much worse than alcoholism as alcoholism is worse than the coffee habit.
'Patent Medicines containing strong drugs of every description, making possible the formation of habit, enter almost every home without protest or knowledge of the fact.
The commercialization of strong drugs, except when especially prescribed by a recognized physician, must be forbidden. In some Oriental countries and in many European colonies it has become a national danger.
The anti-narcotic law passed by the U. S. Congress early in 1915, requires every dealer in opium and cocaine, to register with the Internal Revenue Collector of his district and to report his sales of these drugs, also all drugs extracted from them and preparations into which they enter, the books and records showing purchases and sales of these drugs, being open to inspection by the collector.
Although the law does not prevent habitual users from obtaining the drugs, it makes it somewhat harder for a beginner who may not wish to register his name.
The enactment of this law was the result of a conference of nations, at which all agreed to co-operate in stopping the use of opium. China, after many unsuccessful attempts, finally prescribed the death penalty for those who persisted in the use of the drug.
Doctors give the following rules for drug users: eat nourishing food, find something to do and do it, get lots of fresh air, take the advice of a physician, make the best of the situation and stop worrying.
To effectually curb the drug demon new national laws must be passed that will take care of the unfortunate already afflicted. Then, only by preventing others from beginning the habit, 'the demon can be stamped out.
This is possible only by unrestricted education to show the reasoning brain the evils and destructive effects of strong drugs upon the human mind and body and by strict laws requiring that every purchase be registered with the government, name, address, date and reason for use, even when prescribed by a physician.
According to many authorities Narcotics may be divided into four mayor groups:
I---Narcotic Drugs---those harmful even in small doses-producing specific results on the nervous system.MARIHUANA-The Killer Drug.
Marihuana is one of the most harmful drugs known, Its effects are vicious and its victims frequently develop a delirious rage which gives them the lust to kill and sometimes produces insanity. We, who live in the United States, are unaware of the manner and speed with which its use is spreading in our large cities---among young people who are ignorant of its effects. It is not only interesting to all of us; it is a serious menace to public health and safety!
Marihuana is a poisonous weed belonging to the hemp family---often called Indian hemp. Cannabis Indica, Cannabis sativa, Cannabis Americanus, Hashish, Loco (from the Spanish word meaning crazy) Weed, the Killer Drug, etc., are some of its other names.
Although we have just recently become familiar with this drug, and many of us have not heard of it before, Marihuana has been used for ages in many countries in Asia and Africa. It is, in fact, the oldest 'known drug in Turkey.
Cigarette smoking is the most prevalent method used by Marihuana addicts, and the freedom with which very young people are permitted to smoke ordinary cigarettes has made them the readiest victims. In search for thrills the weed is innocently used-followed soon by the evil effects and the horrors of shame and despair.
Cigarettes made from this weed sell for from 15 to 25 cents each, and are labeled with such names as "Muggles", "Reefers", "Mary Warner", "Grifo", "Moota" and "Mooters". That used in pipes is generally known as 'Tiff" and "Indian Hay". Because of its stimulating properties some addicts mix it with beer or other alcoholic beverages. Others mix it with sugar and honey as a confection. ALL of these methods have the same stupefying effects.
It is most serious because the plant is abundant and cheap. It grows wild and is secretly cultivated in many different parts of our nation. In the state of New York alone the state supervisor of Narcotic control estimated that almost 200 tons of the plant were destroyed during the past year-mostly in the vicinity of New York City, Buffalo, Rochester, and Erie County.
Police authorities in many large cities have traced the cause of many cases of assault, robbery, murder and other crimes to the use of Marihuana. An investigation in New Orleans, La., showed that out of a group o f 450 prisoners there were 125 Marihuana addicts, all young people ranging from 18 to 31; out of 37 murderers 17 were marihuana addicts; and out of 193 prisoners convicted of important thefts 36 were addicts. Also about one out of every 4 persons arrested were marihuana addicts.
True Tales About Marihuana Addicts.
"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."
"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 herring containers and that the MARIHUANA from which Tylczak, the murderer of the doctor and trusty, had derived his demoniac courage, had also been smuggled into the prison."
"In Denver, Colorado, agents of the Federal Narcotic Bureau had made arrangements with one Halloway for a purchase from a plant" of stolen cocaine. It was generally known that Halloway was addicted to Marihuana and that a short time before, in a restaurant, he had made an unprovoked assault upon a policeman in full uniform who had entered to get a cup of coffee and who had to club Halloway into unconsciousness. Nevertheless, the night before a purchase of cocaine was to be completed, Halloway AGAIN RESORTED TO THE USE OF MARIHUANA, ran amuck, attempted to shoot his wife, mortally wounded her grandmother and, after shooting it out with police officers, finally killed himself.'
"A man under the influence of Marihuana actually decapitated his best friend; and then, coming out of the effects of the drug, was as horrified as anyone over what he had done."
"While walking around the curb market in Atlanta, Georgia, I passed the stand of the hot tamale man who asked me, "Do you want any hot tamales?" I said, "Don't you have anything stronger? He said, "Yes" and sold me two Marihuana cigarettes for twenty-five cents. I had never seen this kind of cigarette before. I smoked one of them and it gave me a headache. Then I smoked the other one and began to feel it. My mind changed in a queer sort of way. I craved some more of the cigarettes and, not having any money, I pawned my shoes for one dollar and bought a bag of dried leaves to roll my own. After a couple more cigarettes, I began to feel like I was on top of the world. I would walk up to anyone and ask them for anything without hesitancy. Then I felt like I would do something desperate. However, I was very tired and fell asleep. I stayed asleep for two whole days and nights." (This statement was made by an 18-year old boy.)
The United States Federal Government can pass no laws against the production and use of Marihuana, because legislation on the subject is restricted by constitutional limitations. The Federal Narcotic Farm at Lexington, Kentucky was built in 1935---mainly for prisoners, although volunteers may also go there.
A second Federal farm of cottage type was built in 1936 at Fort Worth, Texas. This one is more open in character and has fewer custodial features.
Because this is a problem for state and municipal law many states have adopted the Uniform Narcotic Drug Act, and only a few without the Marihuana provision. California has apparently the best set of laws. They too in their hospital and farm at Spadra have set up the most effective system of follow-up and cure.
It is evident, however, that to stamp out the growth this weed and its use means a campaign in which individual must take part. It means that each state and large city should have strong, uniform legislation effectively enforced. It means that YOU as well as everyone else must learn about the effects of Marihuana and spread that which we learn----if all of us wish to be SAFE!
The Silent Horror
By Elmer James Rollings 1939
Defender Publishers - Wichita, Kansas
Marijuana - The Duchess of Despair
Tall and stately grows the Cannabis Sativa, an object of charm and beauty, but beneath that comeliness lurks moral and physical destruction. Contending for the allegiance of man and catering to his depravity, this habit demon has spread its ever-widening circle of contamination from the Atlantic to the Pacific and from Mexico to the Canadian border. Requiring no special care, it can be grown in practically any climate and under almost any conditions, vacant lots, deserted farms, roadsides, and rubbish heaps serve as incubators for this destroyer of character and breeder of insanity.
Unlike Opium, Coca Leaves and other habit-forming drugs, it requires no refining process to prepare it for consumption. When picked and dried, the leaves or the flowering top of the plant are ready to be rolled into cigarettes and sold to American youth at ten to twenty-five cents each on the bootleg market.
Someone well said, "Most bad things are good things abused", and Marijuana is no exception to this rule. From the fibre of the Cannabis Sativa the very finest rope and twine is made. The long, soft, strand, and very expensive rope used by hangmen is made from the Indian Hemp or Marijuana plant. Hats, paper and textiles from the stalk, drying oil for use in paints, soaps and linoleum from the seeds, livestock feed and fertilizer from the residue of the seed after the oil has been extracted, and resin for pharmaceutical preparations made it a profitable ten thousand acre commercial crop in Wisconsin, Illinois, Kentucky, and Minnesota.
But depraved man is never satisfied to "use" the product of the universe but finds more gratification in "mis-use", and as early as 1090 A.D. in Persia we find a sect of men appropriating hemp leaves or Hashish and under its satanic persuasion committing such dastardly acts of murder and cruelty that they were known as "The Order of Assassins". Today in America we are confronted with the fruits of this depravity
in the form of a habit-forming, drugged cigarette made from the leaves and blossoms of that same plant, but now called "Marijuana", which transforms bright-eyed, ruddy-faced American boys and girls into irresponsible, immoral degenerates, brutal criminals and finally into babbling imbecile,
This Duchess of Despair spins colorful names for her nefarious messengers of insanity, immorality and crime, "reefers", "muggles", "smuggies", and "Mary Anns" and outwitting King Opium and her other competitors of the dope industry, she rolls her insidious, double-distilled essence of damnation in cigarette form! Boys and girls who would shrink from the morphine needle and find neither opportunity nor necessary funds to smoke opium, can easily, be persuaded to try a new cigarette with a "lift", and a "kick", costing only ten to twenty-five cents.
Law enforcement officers, judges, and other officials have been stunned by the unprecedented wild-fire spread of Marijuana smoking. To fix the extent of addiction at this time is impossible, but some estimate of the illicit traffic in marijuana may be made from the fact that Federal Narcotic agents with the aid of city, county, and state officers destroyed sixteen hundred tons of the weed in July, August, September and October of 1938.
One pound of marijuana will make approximately 1,500 cigarettes . . . 1,600 tons would make over 4,500,000,000 individual cigarettes . . . 225,000,000 packages, or enough to supply every citizen of the United States, men, women and children, with two packages of these deadly marijuana cigarettes. Certainly it is unreasonable to suppose that these law enforcement agencies destroyed more than half the available bootleg supply, in fact, narcotic enforcement men figure that they never confiscate more than one-tenth of the actual bootleg supply of any narcotic drug, that nine-tenths escapes them and reaches the market and is consumed by addicts. But granting that in this case they confiscated fifty per cent, leaving a similar quantity on the market. If we have a million marijuana smokers in the United States they would have to smoke 13 cigarettes a day or practically a cigarette per hour for every hour they were awake for three hundred and sixty-five days to consume that quantity. This extent of indulgence would not be possible, therefore, we are most conservative when we say that there are over a million slaves of the "reefer" in our country today, perhaps nearer two million!
May I press further to try to emphasize the tragedy these four and a half billion cigarettes, loaded with a triple extract of hell, each a potential instigator of suicide and death. Its action on the individual is unpredictable. At first it may just make him happy and stimulate his desires, and again the first cigarette may distort his brain, turn wrong to right, set passions on fire, rob him of all sense of proportion, and time, and space, and make him a potential killer.
An eighteen-year-old boy in a Midwestern city smoked two "reefers" and an hour later choked his sweetheart to death because she refused his shocking, lustful advances, born in a marijuana-crazed brain. He later testified that he loved her and had intended to marry her and when normal would never have dreamed of an improper suggestion, let alone the horrible murder.
A sixteen-year-old boy shot his mother and father to death with his father's shotgun after smoking several "Mary Anns" given to him by a new friend whose acquaintance he made by chance. He could neither explain nor remember the killing when the effects of the drug had worn off and sobbed himself into hysterical grief when told of his crime. And so, on and on, runs the record of thievery, forgery, banditry, kidnapping, brutal murder, degeneracy, and rape, all chargeable to this paralyzer of conscience and inflamer of depravity --- Marijuana!
Forty-eight states have passed legislation aimed to stamp out this menace and a supporting or coordinating enactment was passed in 1937 by the Congress of the United States bringing this dangerous drug under Federal control. The law enforcement machinery of the cities, counties, states and nation, are shouldering their responsibility---have you shouldered yours?
You are your brother's keeper, and the keeper of his children; and whether you like to face it or not, the responsibility is still there. There is always safety in knowledge, never in ignorance. Learn what the Marijuana plant looks like, then watch for it, and report anything that even resembles it to the nearest police department or sheriff's office. Warn the boys and girls in your home, school and Sunday School, sponsor lectures and discussions on the subject and thereby do your part.
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